Monday, December 30, 2013



While it is easy to make noise about a country or place you live at and disagree with the way things are done,  the locals have a point in stating that we are temps, visitors and if we don't like it, we can just up and leave. Not an intelligent argument, but a point of view nevertheless. 
I wrote this post a while ago ( took some heat for it, so in order to make up for my opinionism I am typing a few posts about the very best this country has to offer.  Which does not mean I'll stop pointing out some truly bad french stuff once in a while. How does THE WORST OF FRANCE sound as a counter weight? If for nothing else, to get some of the french readers going......about us foreigners. Did I mention that the local Front National politicians wanted to rent our store for the upcoming mayoral elections? Ironic, to approach a foreigner for something they need. They couldn't afford it either.

Anyway. An Austrian newspaper recently opined about France in a very good way and how this country is a mystery to most.
The article does not translate well, but you may get the idea of it. One paragraph though came through very much to me. 
Outside of Paris this is very much a farm country still. Granted, Toulouse has the AIRBUS plant, there is major shipbuilding going on at St. Nazaires and there are other heavy industries in the north. But deep down, when tourists go back home to their own cultures after a whirlwind Tour de France what is it they rave about most? Exactly. The bread, the cheese, the food and the WINE! Maybe the Eiffel tower. And really, right they are.  This country has some of the best small agricultural producers anywhere. True farmers.

How about wine? While being produced around the world, we all associate wine with France and Bordeaux in particular. Marketing maybe, history for sure. Well over 1500 wine chateaux in the Bordeaux region alone have been making some of the world's best wine for centuries. 
Very shortly after we moved here, we were introduced to one maker in particular. I have yet to meet the vintner, but he has a strong connection to Jarnac. He used to own the bar next door and has many friends in town because of it. 
His Chateau is called Jaugue Blanc in St. Emilion, where his focus is on natural production, not bio, but less and less harmful influences. The result, a Grand Cru is really really good. If it would just me saying that, that would be one thing,  after all I never graduated beyond the "Wine for Dummies" book and have been seen drinking this Grand Cru from an IKEA water glass, but I have served this wine to many locals, visitors and even took a few cases back to Austria and all have liked it. Loved it. 

Last year at an agricultural exhibition in Paris this vintner achieved a gold medal for his 2011 vintage and if that is not enough for you, Robert Parker gave his 2010 vintage 89 points.  Add to that a price of less than 15.00 US$ and you have a Best of France kind of product.  I stashed some boxes for you. Come and visit.

Here is more of a write up:

Chateau Jaugue Blanc Saint-Emilion Grand Cru. 

5.75 ha property consisting of 75% Merlot 20% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Family owned for 3 generations. It is a vineyard terroir gravelly, sandy with a basement dirt iron. For the sake of qualitative approach at the highest level, we work mechanically ground and thus no herbicide use.Green grapes are followed by stripping, helping to bring a healthy grape quality to optimal maturation. This wine bottling in French oak barrels (we work with 4 different coopers each bringing their own complexities them), thus benefiting from subtle and refined notes of wood. soft tannins, hints of vanilla, toast 
This wine is a deep ruby red, the nose develops aromas of ripe fruit: cassis, blackberries and licorice. The palate is soft with a beautiful more structured development and a long velvety final. I hope this fine and elegant wine will delight all lovers of traditional and fruit products in high respect for the land.







Nadege said...

For food, France still has the savoir faire (the meilleur ouvrier de France is still idolized...) and wonderful food and wine. It might be old people's food as I heard young chefs calling french food, but when you want to be an accomplished chef, all the successful ones took lessons in French culinary schools and apprenticed in France. France just has to reinvent itself on many domaines and more non-career politicians better get involved in politics, get elected, challenge and change old ways. I was reading a great interview with Noam Chomski "Governments are power systems, trying to sustain power"; when I read these kinds of articles, it always reminds me of "old french farts" politicians who don't want to give it up. They are holding on to some passé institutions and ideas… But let's be real as corporations are dictating us what to do and they will not give up their power. They've got so much money, they buy politicians who are just eager to take the dough and put it away in swiss bank accounts, screwing their country and countrymen. I don't know what the solution is going to be but unlike 1789, I don't think the revolution will start in France. I always look fondly towards scandinavian countries. They seem to have gotten it right, but not 100 % . I know that in the US, many people are just disgusted with what is going on politically. I am not a fan of Carl Rove, but he is brilliant. Using the religious right to make people vote against their own best interest, buying and manipulating the media for propaganda… and on and on… Absolutely brilliant!

H.Peter said...

Happy New Year Nadege. Politics and all

ellorneo said...

I'm not a person who consumes alcohol or any wines, but your description of Saint-Emilion Grand Cru makes me want to try. Nicely done!

H.Peter said...

A glass of red wine a day keeps the heart attack away. Or so the saying goes, Lorne.

Lauren Jane Marie said...

I've yet to find a Bordeaux sold in the LCBO that I enjoy as much as this one.

A best of France indeed.

H.Peter said...

Let's find an importer who is willing to bring that stuff to you then.