The bulk of our Thursday afternoon commuter tastings feature wines from specific wineries in California, not sure why it works out that way….are we thinking that more people will turn out of domestic wines? Is it because we are more likely to have multiple wines from one winery in California to feature? Honestly, it’s probably a little of both but it seems like the few French commuter tastings we do have, while mildly attended, have been hugely successful!
I first noticed this after we did a tasting spotlighting the Loire Valley’s superstar, Francois Chidaine, there were only like 34 people that trickled in but the wines not only knocked people on their asses, a couple of them sold out! The next time I saw this happen was after our Loire Valley Whites tasting, again not packed but we sold a bunch of the featured wines….Menatou Salon, we sold like 10 bottles of Menatou Salon…..freaking sweet!
I can only assume the reason the turn out for these events is on the smaller side is because people are still unsure about French wines, (place names rather than varietals), the misconception that they are more expensive and people are nervous about plunking down their hard earned duckets on something they may not like…..on this last issue I gotta call folks out a bit, our commuter tastings are $8.00….not that big a risk really when you think about it. You get 4-5 wines, cheese and an education on wines you may not just grab off the shelf….the expansion of one’s palate is worth more than $8.00 don’t you think?
This last Thursday we showcased the wines from one of our favorite little Rhone, (Luberon) producers, Chateau la Canorgue. We have carried these wines for years, they have a pretty loyal following and it is the estate where A good Year, (that movie with Russell Crowe) was filmed. The turnout was meh….not packed but not bad but once again the wines floored people! The attendees went from wine to wine asking what each was made from, (never quite understand this…are you going to compare it to the other, Clairette you have had…yeah exactly) tasting them and I swear almost everyone said, “WOW, this is really, really good”…each wine, I just love it when that happens!
At the end of the tasting I popped over to the Rhone department and it had happened again, we sold almost a case of each wine…dude, that is unheard of for a Thursday commuter tasting! The moral of the story, French wine RULES!! That or once people get over their trepidation about tasting wines they know nothing about, they just might find a wealth of palate treasures and a new favorite wine or two!
2005 Chateau la Canorgue Cotes du Luberon Rouge $16.99 A blend of Syrah and Grenache this wine has lovely bright red fruit but gets that deep berry note that makes me crazy for Syrah! Massive dark fruit with a savory herby flavor and just enough meaty notes to remind you that you are drinking Syrah. The finish is firm but the amount of curvy fruit seems to make the wine perfectly balanced.
2006 Chateau la Canorgue Vin de Pays de Vaucluse Viogner $15.99 People we shocked when they tasted this wine, "This is Viogner?" they asked, "I don't normally care for Viogner but this one is really nice" they told me. Pretty peachy and white floral aromas with a light mouth feel and plenty of grippy acids to keep everything in check. Would be brillant with a cheese course.
2007 Chateau la Canorgue Cotes du Luberon Blanc $16.99 Hands down the rock star of the day! A blend of....ya know what, I'm not telling...who cares, it's just damn tasty! I have a special place in my heart for this wine as it was the white wine I served at my wedding reception, that being said this wine, this vintage....way better than the one we served! This wine is laced with tropical fruit, apples and citrus but still spicy enough that it comes off like a baby Chateauneuf-du-Pape blanc...but for one quarter the price.
2007 Chateau la Canorgue Cotes du Luberon Rose $15.99 Number two rock star of the evening...so like the base player to the white wines lead singer. Super tangy, lovely texture in the mouth with layers of strawberry and wet stones all with a clean mouth puckering finish...I kept re-filling my glass with this little refresher!