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09 February 2015

France: whites of the moment (Chablis, Gewurz, Champers and sweeties).

Shrivelled grapes from www.jurancon-cauhape.com

Chablis 2014 L’Eglantière Jean Durup (Chardonnay, 12.5% abv): surprisingly soft and not too acidic for a Chablis that was probably only bottled recently; it was a bit awkward and closed up to start with, although has attractive citrus fruit on top of its 'mineral' structure, subtle concentration too then tight and crisp on the finish. Needs a few months in bottle to express itself but should be good. €11.75 cellar door, Thorman Hunt & Co. London, $15.99 K&L Wines California. Also available in Germany and the Netherlands...
Chablis 2012 Louis Moreau (Chardy, 12.5% abv) - pretty classic and classy style Chabbers, not very forthcoming at first (was a bit too chilled out) but slowly revealing subtle ripe citrus and peachy fruit, lightly creamy touches and fairly crisp finish. UK: Marks & Spencer £14 (was on promotion for £10.50). Easy to find the Moreau name just about anywhere in the world.
Champagne Louvel Fontaine Brut NV (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier; 12% abv) - sounds like a madey-uppy name and the print was totally tiny, but probably made by one of Champagne's reliable co-op wineries. Attractive Pinot-dominant style with a little more structure and bite than most own-labels, yet nicely balanced by subtle yeasty biscuit flavours. UK: good buy from Asda for £10 on offer, but I wouldn't pay the supposed £24.50 full-price though.
Alsace Gewurztraminer 2013 Cave de Turckheim (13% abv) - another spot-on style typical of well-made Gewurztraminer from Alsace: full of perfumed lychee and rose water aromas/flavours, rounded and quite rich with off-dry finish and a bit of oomph too. Try with Thai food or blue cheese. UK: £8 Sainsbury's "Taste the Difference". Turckheim's wines are widely exported.
Sauternes 2010 L'Ilot de Château Haut-Bergeron (Semillon, Sauvignon blanc; 13.5% abv) - lovely sweet classic, drinking well now although still has a bit of fresh structure to age for a few more years. Lush honey and spice with dried apricot cut by lively orange peel acidity and bitter twist, rich and concentrated but not too heavy in the end. Probably about £12 for a half-bottle - I bought it a while ago now, and that's the price of a different label and vintage of Sauternes currently listed by M&S.
Jurançon 2012 Symphonie de Novembre Domaine Cauhapé (Petit Manseng, 14% abv): selected berries hand-harvested in mid November (see photo at top) then barrel fermented. Delicious and complex opulent nose, honey and botrytis-type? aromas, oily and toasted nutty too with floral citrus edges; lush and sweet vs very fresh cut and oomph, oxidative and honeyed flavours with very light coconut tones, sweet textured vs crisp bite, long and tasty finish. Yum. Try with foie gras, venison or duck paté, strong or blue cheeses, apple or peach tart. Cellar door €19.20, £13.99 half-bottle The Wine Library London, £11.99/€16.50 half-bottle James Nicholson Northern Ireland, £24.90 Hedonism Wines London; $18.84 half-bottle Saratoga Wine Exchange NY, $23.99 half-bottle Toast Wines CT. Also available in Germany, Belgium, Netherlands and Switzerland. Made by one of the region's leading estates.
You might also like to have a look at, you've guessed it, some French "reds of the mo" HERE.

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Header image: Château de Flandry, Limoux, Languedoc. Background: Vineyard near Terrats in Les Aspres, Roussillon.