Wines of France, simply the best!!!

I will update this post initially done in 2011! in my blog. I have written several wine posts ever since as it is my other passion but this general entry would like to update for you and me! Hope you enjoy it.

It is a passionate subject for me as I am a wine enthusiast. It is ,also, a very diverse and subjective issue as wine is today the center piece of many individuals and countries tastes and habits. Even if most if not all take their modern beginnings from France…I would like to concentrate on my personal experiences and share them with my readers.

My first recollection of drinking wine was when I was 8 years old and my maternal grandmother (Amparo from Tenerife) had me taste a couple of fingers of Spanish wine. I recall it tasted very bad, but she insist it was Spanish wine!!! I took it again on and off for several years until already a young adult in Florida and wanting to be once again part of the beach bums in Daytona Beach moved to the area to get whatever job I could lay my hands on.

The first job was as a store clerk at the ABC wine and liquor store in South  Yonge St almost to the corner of Granada Blvd in Ormond Beach, Florida (store still there!)under the watchful eye of store manager JD Brandy!  This was about January 1985. Once in a while I had to serve as bartender in the adjoining bar which didn’t like too much. In the store, most were gear to heavy drinkers and wines were put at a disadvantage; so much that I end up in charge of orders and inventory keeping of the wine section in the store. This allows me to mingled with other wine lovers, and go to wine pool parties as server, gaining valuable knowledge in the world of wines.

It was the beginning of something magical that has continue to my now life in France. I was instrumental in working with SOPEXA ,Food and Wines from France (now in NYC) organisation in helping French wine sellers introduce themselves to the south Florida market. At the same time passing a rigorous test on French wines from the organisation. I worked with the Commercial Office (ICEX) of Spain in NYC under director Julio Becquer to bring about Spanish wines bodegas and restaurant under the beautiful Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables for an evening of wines and tapas as an introduction to Spanish wines. I participated tireless into many wine tastings events done by the stores like ABC, Crown,and Gourmet Spain (no longer there) in South Miami under Alberto Mueller writer for the newspaper El Diario de las Americas (still going on!).https://www.diariolasamericas.com/contenidos/cultura.html

ICEXhttps://www.icex.es/icex/es/index.html

SOPEXAhttps://sopexa.com/en/

Many French , Spanish, Italian,American, Chilean, Argentinian wine growers would come to showcase their wines there in Miami. I was able to meet many of them, the most popular and biggest players in their respective countries. This contacts later materialise into visits to their wine operations in their respective countries. One memorable was meeting Pierre-Henry Gagey of Maison Jadot , Beaune, Burgundy in Miami on a Crown wine tasting evening. This was followed same year with a visit to his company in Beaune, France, and even thus he was not in house, I was treated like royalty and taken by able Commercial Manager-Europe Marc Dupin on a family personal tour of the installations and tasting 5 reds and 5 whites of great international renown. A pleasant encounter that has lasted thru time.  I was able to visit Concha y Toro in Santiago ,Chile and realised the original owners were French immigrants, the tour was personal only me and my Chilean wine salesman friend, I still have souvenirs wine glass and t-shirt from this trip in 2002!! and of course, the river has overflown since then on many visits including Michele Chiarlo in Piemonte Italy! and Ramos Pinto in Portugal and others in the Americas and Europe!! Too numerous the beforehand were the firsts!

By 2011, I was subscribe to the leading magazines of wine in the world,keep a healthy wine cellars in my house, and especially, travel and visit the very best wineries in France and Spain, and realised that after tasting wines from the rest of the world including even brand Viñales from Cuba !!! the very best are indeed the French ::) My concentration in the last years have been exclusively French with some bottles tasted of Spanish, and Portuguese wines. And like I notice, all of these wines are made with French wines mostly, the ageing barrels in most are purchased used in France, the method of production and winemaking are French, and many use French advisors to help them improve their wines, like Michel Rolland of St Emilion in California. Yet some dare to say their wines are better lol!

Tasting wines is an art form with over 900 identifiable smells and nuances available,you need years of top level tasting to arrive at this level of proficiency, is an ongoing learning experience even for me. Usual lenght of guarding these wines depends on the year and the producer as well as the grape varieties. Usually Champagne,Alsace, Beaujolais, Loire Touraine are between 1-5 yrs, up to 10 years are the village appelation of Burgundy, Bordeaux, Rhone valley, Loire Chinon etc, then,  up to 20 years you can cellared Burgundy premiers and grand crus, Rhone valley Cornas, Châteauneuf du Pape, Côte Rotié, etc Bordeaux  crus bourgeois ,and Medoc etc, Loire sweet wines like Bonnezeaux, and finally those over 20 yrs are  the Jura wines, L-R Banyouls, south west sweets like Monbazillac, Jurançon, and the Bordeaux grands as well as Sauternes sweets. The grape varieties are many indeed from the well known Cab Sauvignon/Franc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Gamay, Pinot Noir, to the the less known Tannat,Malbec,Sauvignon blanc,Semillon,and the rare Duras (consider the oldest grape variety southwest France), Carignan, Cinsaut,Grenache, Grolleau,Mourvérdre, the list is endless it seems ::)

I will give you the wine official sites for the regions I like best, lots of official information can be found there. If you have any question on a particular wine don’t hesitate to contact me ok. In English when available,but  in French it has more information.

wines from the Loire region: https://www.vinsvaldeloire.fr/en

wines from the South West (Sud Ouest): https://www.vignobles-sudouest.fr/#

wines from Bordeaux region: https://www.bordeaux.com/us

wines of Champagne region: https://www.champagne.fr/en/homepage

For sentimental reasons my first and still drink from there, the Spanish site Apoloybaco , also a link on my blog roll bottom of main page on Spanish bodegas , which I collaborated many years ago at the start of the site on wines/vinos. In Spanish: http://www.apoloybaco.com/vinos/

The best magazine in France is La Revue du Vins de France as here in my blog roll : https://www.larvf.com/

My favorite online shop is Vinatishttps://www.vinatis.com/

And have visited the mains châteaux but now usually buy online the wines of Château Mouton-Rothschild and family under la Baronnie : https://www.labaronnie.fr/fr/

For wine stores here everywhere ; I look and member of  Nicolas stores.   https://www.nicolas.com/

While in the Paris area I, also, shopped at Lavinia , a Spanish chain but wines from all over and tasting bar as well at 3 boulevard de la Madeleine. https://www.lavinia.fr/fr

Or passing by going home made the effort several times to stop and shop at the  La Cave de Passy, 1 rue de Passy,16éme arrondissement. not far from the Pont Bir-Hakeim. No webpage. tel +33 01 46 47 77 12, metro Passy line 6. Over 2600 bottles to choose from.

And of course, many others over the years that we buy online usually after we visit the property far away like the Cave de Gan of the Jurançon etc. The choices like I said are endless. En Vino Veritas!

Hope you have enjoy my entry into the world of Wines, French wines continue to be a reference point for all others to follow, with French advisors, grapes, methods, and investments all over the World. China is the next frontier and already the French are there even the magazine La Revue du Vins de France has an office.  The potential for wine is great and if carefully chosen a good enjoyable investment ::)

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!

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