Jean-Pierre Chambas brought another great wine tasting to Wine World Friday night, this time from the south of France.
All the wines were from the Rhone Valley and Provence. There were many very nice wines among the nine we tasted, and as always, Jean-Pierre brought many funny stories.
Jean-Pierre Chambas informs and entertains the crowd.
Jean-Pierre Chambas informs and entertains the crowd.

Jean-Pierrre grew up in France, and he has many contacts there. It’s no surprise that he finds treasures, but perhaps his most endearing quality is his down-to-earth attitude about wine. As CEO of Aleph Wines, an importer and distributor based in Columbia, S.C., he has a warehouse full of expensive wines.
“You don’t have to be rich to drink very good wine,” he said. “Wine should not be something you buy to show off to your friends. It should be something you share with your friends.”
He demonstrated that to the crowd Friday night: Several wines sold for only $14, and the most expensive was only $43.
Jean-Pierre has entertained folks at Wine World many times, sometimes bringing new discoveries and other times old favorites, such as Guigal, a winery and négociant that specializes in Rhone wines. He said he had been selling wines from Guigal for more than 30 years because they know how to produce quality wines.
Andrew and Amy.
Andrew and Amy.

Here are the wines Jean-Pierre brought for the tasting:
Roquesante Rose de Provence 2015
This was a beautiful example of the dry Rosé popular in France. The salmon color was inviting, as were the mild aromas. It had a beautiful mouthfeel, smooth, dry and round.
“This should be the national wine of South Carolina,” said Jean-Pierre. “Why? It’s always warm here, and this is a perfect wine for warm weather.”
Domaine Houchart Cotes de Provence Blanc 2015
This was a beautiful wine, so aromatic that you could smell it around the room as soon as it was poured. Citrus and white peach filled the air. This white blend of Rolle and Clairette was produced by the seventh generation of the Quiot family to work with these vineyards.
The wine tasted fruity and lively, full of ripe fruit. It would be a good wine with seafood or light cheese.
Jean-Pierre said these grapes benefited from improved vineyard techniques. In the past growers would push for big production which resulted in lower quality. Now they have reduced the yield and quality has gone way up.
“Warm this wine up a bit,” he said. “Don’t serve it too cold straight from the fridge. Allow the flavors to open a little in the glass. Be wary of a wine that they say ‘Serve well chilled.’”
Domaine Houchart Cotes de Provence Rouge 2013
This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Grenache and Syrah had strong floral aromas. It was dry, with a smooth finish. Like most of the wines at this tasting, it is a soft wine, not one that hammers your taste buds. This tasted like it would benefit from even more aging.
Domaine du Vieux Lazaret Cotes du Ventoux 2013
Light, mild aromas led to a pleasant, well-rounded wine. It had good body, but was not a heavy wine. Jean-Pierre called this a “typical, modest red wine of Southern France, made for everyday foods, comfort foods.”
It is a blend of Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah with wonderful flavors of raspberries and silky tannins. Like many of the red wines from the region it spends eight months in large neutral-oak vats. This wine also is made by the Quiot family.

Chateau du Trignon Cotes du Rhone Blanc Roussanne 2014
After a break for hors d’oeuvres, we had another white, a single grape wine which is unusual for the area. Few wineries anywhere in the world produce a pure Roussanne.
It had a peach aroma, good acidity, a sharp taste that was clean and fresh. It is a good wine with food, especially seafood and white meat. It is a nice alternative to big, buttery Chardonnays. It is a delicate, elegant wine.
This wine also was made by the Quiot family.
“They own about 200 acres that sits on six different appellations,” said Jean-Pierre. “Each is bottled differently. The tastes are different, depending the parcel where they are grown. The soil and the local climate make all the difference.”
Chateau du Trignon Vacqueyras 2010
Made from Grenache and Syrah this was a well-rounded wine. It had ripe fruit aromas and red fruit tastes, with some spice. It had a little bite to it, and tasted like it would benefit from a little more time in the bottle.
This would be a good wine for all kinds of wild game, such as wild pig, duck, goose, venison and cajun food.
Jean-Pierre said this was a good example of the harmony found in well-made wine. All the components are in harmony. He said the alcohol is about 15% but you don’t notice it because the wine is so well made.
“The secret to a good wine is harmony,” he said.
Chateau du Trignon Gigondas 2010
This was one of my favorite wines of the night. My first thought after taking a sip was “Wow!” It’s a full, rich, elegant wine. It’s full-bodied and complex, with a slight oaky finish. This wine underwent malolactic fermentation and aged a longer time in oak than previous wines at the tasting. This one can age a long time, at least 10-15 years.
It is made of Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah.
Guigal Crozes-Hermitage Rouge 2011
Made from 100% Syrah, this wine comes from the largest appellation of the Northern Rhone.
I thought it had a barnyard aroma, with flavors of blackberry and red fruit with notes of earth, herbs and minerals. This is a big wine and likely will age well for many years. It was aged in barrels for 24 months before release, mostly second-year oak.
Les-Combes D’Arnevel Chateauneuf du Pape 2011
Jean-Pierre saved the best for last. This was an outstanding example of the famed Chateauneuf du Pape. It is another wine in the Quiot family portfolio. Even though regulations allow up to 13 grape varieties, this Chateauneuf du Pape has four: Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah.
It is a deep, blood red in the glass with wonderful fruit aromas. It is a well-rounded, smooth wine perfect for red meats, stews, dishes with rich sauces, and strong cheese.
Jean-Pierre recommended it for Easter dinner with a leg of lamb. “You will have a marvelous Easter with this wine,” he said.
The crowd loved the wines and especially loved Jean-Pierre’s tour as he led us through the wines of Southern France. Let’s hope he comes back soon.


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