O ne of Wine World’s favorite presenters, Michael Simmons of Republic National Distributing, had great stories to tell and great wines to present Friday night after his trip to France. He toured some of the country’s most iconic wine regions, Champagne, Alsace, and Burgundy. He tasted wine at some of the finest wineries, and caroused with wine makers, vineyard managers, and producers.
The wines were wonderful and the stories both insightful and hilarious. Everyone at the tasting seemed to have a grand time.
Andre Jacquart “Experience” Blanc de Blanc NV
(Wine World used this wine in a seminar last May, and wanted to revisit, as Mike spent time with the Jacquart family during his trip.)
This interesting sparkler is 100 percent Chardonnay. It has a wonderful aroma of fresh baked briosch. It is nice and crisp, with high acidity, making it perfect for food.
Mike explained the house style is not to have too many bubbles. The family also started using oak barrels for some of the aging. He also spent some time talking about riddling, the process of regularly giving each bottle a quarter twist as the bottle gradually moves into a top down position. This allows the lees, or the dead yeast cells, to collect at the neck of the bottle. This plug then is frozen and removed from the bottle. He said a good riddler can turn 60,000 bottles in one day.
Taittinger Prestige Brut Rose NV
While Mike was talking there was a loud “pop” from the back of the room where bottles were being opened. Some of the Champagne from one bottled swirled up and over the sides of the bottle, giving us all a good laugh. Mike said that’s a good example of what happens if a bottle inadvertently gets shaken.
He also said you can drink sparkling wine from a white wine glass, and there is no need to pour it in flutes. He also described touring the caves carved out of chalk beneath the Taittinger winery. This is one of my favorite wines.
The wine is a beautiful, bright pink with lots of bubbles. (Mike said the estimate is there are 49 million bubbles in a bottle of Champagne.)
Zind-Humbrecht “Zind” Chardonnay / Pinot Auxerrois 2012
This is a buttery, warm, mellow, smooth Chardonnay. Everything at this winery in Alsace is biodynamic, which Mike described as “super organic.” They don’t even start or stop fermentation of their wines. Everything is done naturally.
He said Chardonnay and Pinot Auxerrois are the two least planted grapes in Alsace.
Trimbach Riesling 2013
This is another one of my favorite wines. Alsace Rieslings are almost always good, full of crisp and dry fruit flavors. The wine does not undergo malolactic fermentation, leaving a bright, crisp wine that is great with food.
On his latest trip Mike met Ann Trimbach, the 14th generation of her family to run the winery.
I like this wine with my Thanksgiving turkey, and Mike also recommends Alsatian Gewurtztraminer, which also is good with Asian food.
Jadot Pouilly Fuisse 2015
This 100 percent Chardonnay was smooth, rich and full of pleasant fruit flavors. It is a great wine for sipping or with food.
Jadot Chateau des Jacques Morgon 2014
This delicious wine from the Beaujolais region was full of juicy cherry and raspberry flavors. It has good structure and tasted like it would age well for several years.
Mike pointed out that many great wines come from Beaujolais, and that wine drinkers too often think only of Beaujolais Nouveau when they think about the region.
The main grape in the region is Gamay. He said there are many hidden gems from Beaujolais, great wines at low prices.
Jadot Chateau des Jacques Moulin a Vent 2014
This is another ageworthy wine from Beaujolais; Mike said it could be cellared for 15-20 years. He also said we should consider chilling wines from this region a little bit before drinking.
I completely agree with his premise that most of us serve our red wines too warm and our white wines too cold.
This wine was full of ripe fruit flavors, with a little bit of weight. It’s a beautiful wine.
The crowd at Wine World seemed to really enjoy both wines from Beaujolais.
Trimbach Pinot Noir Reserve 2014
This was a bright, translucent red in the glass. It had pleasant aromas and a fresh fruit flavor. Mike recommended chilling this wine as well. You don’t often see Pinot Noir from Alsace, but this is a great example of what they can do.
Mike said the winemaker there told him, “Wine is from God. The grapes are perfect. All we’re trying to do is not mess it up
Jadot Givry Pinot Noir 2014
This was a gorgeous wine, lush, but with restrained fruit. I especially tasted plums, raspberries and cherries.
This wine was priced a little higher than many of the other wines, but it was still a bargain for a red Burgundy.
1er Cru Jadot Volnay Clos de la Barre 2014
This was a spectacular wine, with rich aromas and lots of good fruit. Made in the typical Burgundy style, everything is in balance. I would describe the taste as chewy, or grippy. The wine fills your mouth with flavor.
Mike's French Wine Seminar: Great Wine, Fun Stories
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