France has one of the richest histories in wine. Grape cultivation for winemaking began as early as the 6th century BC, so the French have perfected the art of winemaking with terroir driven ideals. This month, in celebration of Bastille Day, we are featuring some of our favorite French wines available in North Carolina, made by the coolest winemakers from the best regions in the country! Amazing values are still to be had in French wines; let us take you on a trip around this wonderful country through the lens of their wine culture, climate, soil, and traditions.
Champagne Charles Mignon
Arguably the most famous wine region in France, Champagne sets the standard for sparkling wines all around the globe. Charles Mignon is run by Bruno and Laurence Mignon along with their children, Manon and Guillaume. Together, this dynamic family produces some of the finest champagnes in the region. The Mignon family comes from a long line of winegrowers, and they have extensive knowledge of viticulture and bring a fresh perspective to their wines while also showing off the history of their old vineyards. Those looking for a well priced and delectable addition to meals or aperitif on a hot summer’s day will be pleased with these selections.
Charles Mignon Premium Reserve Brut contact for pricing
Charles Mignon Premium Reserve Brut Rose contact for pricing
Charles Mignon Premier Cru contact for pricing
Charles Mignon Cuvée Comte de Marne Brut Grand Cru contact for pricing
Charles Mignon Cuvée Comte de Marne Rosé Grand Cru contact for pricing
Charles Mignon Cuvée Comte de Marne Millesime Grand Cru 2015 contact for pricing
Situated in the Agly Valley in Roussillon, Château Saint-Roch has been a prominent estate since the 1950s. Jean-Marc LaFage purchased the château in the early 2000s and has made a significant impact. Château Saint-Roch is 15 miles from the Mediterranean Sea and their vineyards are surrounded by berry bushes, fig trees, pomegranate trees, cherry trees, carob trees, oaks, as well as fields of thyme, lavender and fennel. These conditions create truly unique wines that pair well with almost every type of cuisine. Southern France produces lots of cheap and rough tasting wines; these are not that. Refined elegance, approachable, and crowd-pleasing drinking styles make these perfect additions for restaurant by-the-glass programs.
Taking us to the beautiful and wild Atlantic Coast of France, Armorica is a seaside wine that combines the minerality and saline qualities of the Atlantic with the florality of Brittany’s wildflower meadows. The blend includes Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris, resulting in a wine that is perfect for summer. Located at the southern tip of historical Brittany, the vineyards are impacted by the salty sea breezes that pass over the rugged coastlines, jagged cliffs and spectacular seascapes. The grapes are farmed organically by a family who has a long history of producing award-winning wines from this region. This crisp, clean, dry, and delicious wine makes a wonderful addition to any summer wine list to enhance North Carolina’s bounty of local seafood.
Domaine Yvon & Laurent Vocoret
Domaine Yvon & Laurent Vocoret is a small, family-owned estate in Chablis whose history dates back to 1713. This region in Burgundy has years of history, from Vikings to Romans to Monks, that have led to what we enjoy today: organically farmed and terroir-driven Chardonnays. Laurent and Yvon are the 5th and 6th generation winemakers to uphold the family motto: “quality, dignity, and respect.” Their Chablis is welcoming with an evenly textured approach. The wine has notes of lime and minerality from the limestone soils and finishes smoothly. Domaine Yvon & Laurent Vocoret’s Chablis represents the essence of their exceptional terroir. A quintessential French-style wine for those who want something remarkable and special on their wine lists.
Domaine la Font de Notre Dame
Domaine la Font de Notre Dame, another family run operation, is situated in the foothills of the Dentelles de Montmirail in Southern Rhône. The warm Mediterranean climate lends itself to grapes that can take some heat. Grenache is the backbone of all of their wines, with Syrah and Mourvèdre blended, bringing the beauty of their terroirs into the bottle. We fell in love with these wines at the first taste, because they’re meant to go with a variety of foods. Don’t miss the Lirac and Rasteau – the quality of these wines rivals Chateauneuf du Pape without the price tag.
La Rétro Vin Rouge
Domaine LaFage Nicolas Cuvée
Cuvée Nicolas is another LaFage family affair. Named after Jean-Marc and Eliane LaFage’s son Nicolas, this wine comes from a blend of Grenache grown in the red schist soils of the foothills of the Pyrenees with Grenache from the black schist soils of Maury. These low yielding vines are around 65 years old and produce a dynamic wine. Bright, ruby-colored, and ripe, this wine is loaded with red and black fruits: raspberry, cassis, blueberries and blackberries, with a great length. Nicolas Cuvée is a delicious and drinkable food-friendly wine at an amazing price for an Old Vine Grenache.
Ending our tour of France near the Atlantic coast in Nantes, Famille Lieubeau specializes in Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, a grape that deserves a lot more attention in our seafood-loving state. The vines are planted, in most cases, on sheer cliffs of rock. The vines, and the wines, are fed by water that is awash in wet rock. Combine this with the cold Atlantic breezes, and you’ve got an amazing cool climate, high cut, precise bottle of white wine. It’s not a big shock that the wines smell and taste more like rock and minerals than fruit or flowers. There is no better pairing for a summer seafood meal – high brow like a cold platter of crab and shrimp, or simple as a fried flounder sandwich. These are delicious, vibrant wines that are a symbol of French coastal lifestyle.