Monday, March 26, 2012

If you have recently begun following my blog, it merits repeating that my company, Grape News Importing, Ltd. is dedicated to sourcing wines from small French properties. For my readers, you will appreciate the photos attached.

We are all looking for authentic wines, wherever they come from. Many times it is very difficult to discern  if a wine is made by someone who owns his/her vineyards and makes their own wine with the respect for terroir and their personal style, and that which comes from larger production facilities but labeled to appear as authentic.

Well, I just finished a few days at a Paris Wine fair called the Salon of Independent Vignerons (winemakers). I have sourced many of my selections at this fair, that is actually open to the public. That's right, if you lived, or were simply vacationing in Paris, you could go to this fair, taste wines, and buy them while chatting with the person(s) who made them, and take them home that afternoon and enjoy them with dinner, or all by themselves. These folks are the real thing. You can talk vintages, terroir, and better taste through their entire range of wines, usually between 3-6 wines. From Alsace too Bordeaux, Burgundy to Rhone, Languedoc to Sancerre, Muscadet to Crozes-Hermitage to Champagne, they're all there. Here are a few photos of some of my producers:

First two photos, the producers of Chateau Mangot. The properties and personalities of the rest of the photos in order are as follows:

Francois Arnaud and Hubbie - Chateau Pomys St Estephe
Pierre Lieubeau and Me - Chateau de la Bourdiniere and La Fruitiere - Muscadet
Didier Vesselle and Me- Champagne Maurice Vesselle Grand Cru
Gerard Bouges - Chateau La Fon de Berger Haut Medoc
Jacques Rodet - Chateau Brulesecaille Cotes de Bourg
Jean-Marc Bernhard - Domaine Jean Marc Bernhard, Katzenthal, Alsace
Jerome Mathieu and Me - Domaine Mathieu - Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Martine Riviere and son Martial - Chateau Haut Chatain Lalande de Pomerol
One aisle of 24 at the wine fair.
Pascal and Marilynne Bodin - Chateau Granins Grand Poujeaux Moulis-en-Medoc

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Chateau de Tiregand-Wines from Saint-Exupery

Welcome back! This next series of posts will focus on wines of the Southwest of France. This is a home of great values, and wines using the same grapes as found in Bordeaux. My first discovery from this region, long before I embarked on the wine road as an importer was Chateau de Tiregand. Their appellation is Pécharmant, one applied only to red wines on a long ridge just east of the city of Bergerac, and in fact, the appellation name translates to "charming hill".

I first had the chance to meet the winemaker, François-Xavier de Saint Exupéry in 1995 whilst pedaling through the region and came across Chateau de Tiregand. Knowing the wine, and then discovering the property, I was thrilled. Even on a French national holiday, he agreed to meet at the winery, and a wonderful friendship was forged, as well as a 16 year and ongoing business relationship.

What's more, the Saint Exupéry family is well-known in France as well as in the US. Need a hint? How about the book "The Little Prince"? That's right! The author Antoine de Saint Exupéry is François-Xavier's uncle! Antoine's face, as well as his creation, the Little Prince, appeared on the 50 franc note until the changeover to the euro.

Chateau de Tiregand is a family run property that produces both a white Bergerac wine from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grapes, as well as two fabulous wines with the Pécharmant appellation, their flagship Pécharmant, and the premium cuvée, Grand Millésime. These wines are rich and savory, and age remarkably well.

You can have the chance to meet François-Xavier de Saint Exupéry in late April as he will be in Chicago participating in the Pastoral Artisan Producer Festival on Saturday April 28th from 11AM-3PM. Oh, and he speaks English so bring your questions.

You can also attend a wine dinner on the evening of Thursday, April 26th at Kiki's Bistro on 900 N. Franklin Street in Chicago (312-334-5454) where he will be featuring his three wines paired with dishes prepared by Kiki's wonderful kitchen. Follow me on Twitter  @grapenewsimport  to stay tuned to updates and other events where you can meet this charming winemaker.