There are wineries to remember, regions of the great wine-producing countries to remember, and I'd suggest a few importers to remember.
I've written about Eric Solomon before and continue to recommend his wines without reservation.The Languedoc's Gerard Bertrand is another name I've come to really appreciate and recommend. The third wine was disappointing.
Domaine La Garrigue 2009 Vacqueyras - This great Rhone blend is dynamite French wine for under $20. It's a blend of 70 percent Grenache, 15 percent Syrah, 10 percent Mourvedre and 5 percent Cinsault.
It's a dark-colored wine with floral hints, dark fruit, and the wonderful freshness often found in Grenache-driven Southern France wines. I like the spice and the depth or multi-layered flavors found in this Soloman wine. The wine got 90-93 points from Robert Parker.
This winery has been run by the same family for six generations. Check the Rhone section of your favorite wine shop.
Domaine La Garrigue 2009 Vacqueyras, $17.99, Highly Recommended.
Gerard Bertrand 2008 Chateau L'Hospitalet - If you like a richer white wine the Bertrand L'Hospitalet is for you. Many Southern French whites can be quite light on flavor and the palate. This wine is for those who like just the opposite.
The wine comes out of the bottle more yellow than most suggesting you're in for bigger flavor and more viscosity. I thought there was peach and pear flavors but also a unique hint of cooking spices.
The wine has a beautiful long finish for a French white that will pair wonderful with seafood dishes.
Gerard Bertrand 2008 Chateal L'Hospitalet, $19.99, HIghly Recommended
I split four bottles of this wine with a Rose-lover friend. We almost always agree on the ones we liked. But not this one. He loved the wine from the moment he opened it. I disliked it and found it flat, no freshness, missing any reasonable acidity, and uninteresting. After talking to my Rose-loving pal, I thought maybe it was a bad bottle or my palate was out to lunch. So the very next day I opened the second bottle with similar results.
I think the exercise just goes to show that even if you have a wine drinking friend and find yourself often agreeing on the things you like, there are no guarantees.
The Rose' is a blend of Cinsault, Black Grenaches and Mouvedre. I wanted to love it. I didn't.
Domaine Du Garde Temps 2011 Tourbillon, About $20 but has been on flash wine sites for as low as $11, Not Recommended.
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