Monday, November 15, 2010

French Wine Tasting - Bordeaux and Cotes Du Rhone

Food and wine go together hand in hand, however we haven't done many posts related to wine. We've done a few about winery tours, but none related to our day to day eating. There are a few reasons for that.

  1. We're definitely wine amateurs, but to our defense, we do understand what we like and what we don't like. Emi told a guy helping us buy wine today that we'll drink anything, even Yellowtail. That's where I draw the line, too many bad memories of that crappy wine. I know someone who loves that wine, but she probably won't read this, so I should be OK. And if she does, you know I'm sort of kidding, but not really.

  2. We never used to drink wine all that often, alcohol in general, unless it was the weekend or a special occassion. Work has changed all of that, now there's nothing I want more then a glass or two of wine to help me unwind after I get home. Hey I love my job, but I've also come to enjoy my vino.

  3. We're poor.

Now that we've picked up a little more "experience" we thought it was time to start sharing our adventures with all of you as well. Besides drinking more wine recently, we've also decided that we need to broaden our palattes beyond our NW and Napa Valley wines. Especially with our upcoming trip to Paris and the Mediterranean next summer, it's time to prepare. Since it's our first trip out to Paris and Italy, we might as well have an idea of what we'll want to drink while we're out there because there will be a lot drinking. Also learning is fun!

Since the first stop off our trip next summer will be in Paris, we decided it was time to gain a better understanding of French wine. A few things I've learned so far:

  1. French wineries highlight the region the wine came from over the grape variety. In general you won't find a bottle that says Syrah on it, but if you understand the region that is famous for Syrah, then you should buy a bottle from that region. Meaning some research and understanding is required.
  2. Most French wines are a little harsher than PNW wines and need to breathe.
  3. What I've seen so far is that French wines are primarily blends over a single type of grape. There are always exceptions to the rule.
  4. The wine guy at Central Market told us, if the wine calls out what type of wine it is (Cabernet Sauvignon) over the region, it's probably cheap and no good.

Bottle #1 - Cotes Du Rhone Rouge:

  • Name - 2007 - Perrin Reserve - Cotes Du Rhone Rouge (from the Cotes Du Rhone region)
  • Price - $12 at QFC - $9 at Trader Joes
  • 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourevedre, 10% Cinsault grapes
  • Winery's notes - peppery, black cherry, cassis and spice flavours
  • Our take - harsh from beginning to end, even when we let it breathe still didn't like it. In general our first French wine taste test was pretty bad.

Bottle #2: Bordeaux Rouge:

  • Name - 2008 - Les Caves Joseph Bordeaux
  • Price - $6 at Trader Joes
  • 60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Winery's notes - serve with roasted or grilled beef, lamb, and game
  • Our take - compared to the first wine and PNW wines in general, this was a great value. Smooth, yet bold, smokey, and peppery all for half the price of the other bottle. This made me think I need to try more wines from the Bordeaux region.

If any of you out there have any recommendations for what we should try please let us know. We are definitely looking to keep things economicaly ($13 or under, $20-$25 on the very high end). In general we prefer reds and for comparisons sake we love Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs, Napa Valley Cabernet's. Also we enjoy Syrah and I've recently started to really enjoy Malbec's.

- Kyle


  1. I am right there with you passing on Yellowtail and Malbecs are definitely my go-to! I have found a few Malbecs from TraderJoes that are pretty tasty!

  2. You guys should check out Esquin sometime. It's in SoDo and they are great. We drank Cotes Du Rhone throughout all of France - yum!!!

  3. We are big fans of Esquin. Becca and Lowell told us about that place and we've definitely spent a lot of money there over the past few trips. We want to make another trip out soon to learn more about French wines.