Tasted While in Brittany and Normandy

Just returned from 2 weeks in Brittany and Normandy, which included a self-guided bicycle tour from Saint Malo to Bayeux, and then some time in a rented house near Crac’h on the Bay of Morbihan. We ate at small dining establishments purchasing little gems off the wine list, or cooked our own meals accompanied by wines purchased from a local wine shop in Auray. This region is awesome for its beauty, maritime culture, seafood, galettes, cider (didn’t have much of that), profound history, and gracious hospitality. Not a wine producing region but we were exposed to lots of wines from nearby Loire Valley and also from Beaujolais. TNs are not in order as I have yet to figure that out (sorry!).

  • 2014 Paul-Henri Thillardon Chénas Les Blémonts - France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Chénas (10/3/2016)
    Darker ruby. Fresh nose of plum blossom and blackberry amidst floral notes and stone. Bright flavors of red plum and dark berry laced with copious acidity and light underpinning of rock and iron. Tannin buried beneath fruit. Purity of fruit was exemplary. Moderately long finish of red, earthy, but grippy fruit. Needs time to deepen but all the parts are there to be outstanding with time in the cellar. (89 pts.)
  • 2014 Guy Breton Morgon - France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Morgon (10/1/2016)
    Purchased off the wine list at Le Bistrot des Campagnes, Paris. Darker garnet color. Nose of sweet plum, stone, lavender, cassis. Gobs of dark plum fruit on the palate with purity and lithe muscularity. Nice acidity and firm tannins submerged beneath primary fruit. Longer finish of red plum and sweet grip. Lovely wine. (90 pts.)
  • 2001 Vincent Dauvissat (René & Vincent) Chablis 1er Cru La Forest - France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru (9/30/2016)
    Served chilled. Fairly advanced light honey gold color. Took about 45 minutes to warm a bit and open up. Nose of white stone, flint, alpine florals, lime, and grapefruit. Once open the palate was precise, exhibiting layers of applecore, grapefruit, sea brine, and flint. Copious acidity and firm, steely structure. Only moderately long finish but lots of saline grip. Excellent but not great. (90 pts.)
  • 2012 Philippe Alliet Chinon l’Huisserie - France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Chinon (9/30/2016)
    Medium purple color. Nose of blackberry, dark plum, damp earth, trace of green pepper, hyacinth. Bursting with bright, fresh red and dark currant fruit laced with earthy and green pepper notes. Plenty of enlivening acidity to balance firm tannin. Moderately long finish of savory red fruit, stone, and subtle grip. Terrific paired with grilled lamb chops. (90 pts.)
  • 2013 Domaine Dominique et Janine Crochet Sancerre Rouge - France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Sancerre Rouge (9/25/2016)
    Purchased off the wine list at the Lion d’Or restaurant in Bayeux. Medium ruby color. Nose of citrus, dark raspberry, cherry, violets. Palate notable for brightly acidic dark berry and linear red plum notes laced with lime and stone. Fine-grained tannin. Longer finish of squeaky clean red grippy fruit. Very lovely showing. (90 pts.)
  • 2015 Vignoble Dauny Sancerre Rouge Pynoz - France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Sancerre Rouge (9/25/2016)
    Purchased off the wine list at Moulin de la Gallette in Bayeux. Darker ruby. Nose of fresh raspberry and black cherry with an unmistakable citrus element (grapefruit mostly) present, as well as a notable floral component. Red mulberry and raspberry fruit in spades again laced with grapefruit and citrus notes, accompanied by copious acidity and structured tannin. Resounding finish of copious red fruit and rock. Tastes a bit bigger/coarser and of course more primary than recent samples of Sancerre rouge of the 2014 vintage, perhaps due to hotter temps. Nicely done. (90 pts.)
  • 2014 Domaine Eric Bureau Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil - France, Loire Valley, Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil (9/22/2016)
    Purchased off the wine list at La Caryopse in Saint-Lo, Normandy. Purple color. Nose of blackberry, stone, peppercorn, beguiling floral notes, and a bit of green pepper. Lithe and flavorful on the tongue with layers of sappy blueberry, blackberry, and cassis laced with rock and green leaf. Lively acidity and moderately structured tannin leading to a harmonious but somewhat short finish of blueberry, mulberry, green pepper, and stony grip. Delightful. (89 pts.)
  • 2014 Paul Vattan Sancerre Rouge Pente de Maimbray - France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Sancerre Rouge (9/21/2016)
    Purchased off the wine list at OXC3 in Granville, Normandy. Medium ruby hue. Lovely nose of cherry blossom, raspberry, violets, stone, anise. Intense black cherry and raspberry elements on the tongue with singular purity and bounce, undergirded by subtle but tensile stony structure. Refreshing acidity and fine-grained tannin buried beneath primary fruit. Moderately long finish of fresh dark cherry notes with hints of gravel. Intensity without weight, Sancerre style. (91 pts.)
  • 2007 François Raveneau Chablis 1er Cru Butteaux - France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru (9/17/2016)
    Purchased off the wine list at La Cagouille. Served at a cool, not cold temperature. The sommelier, who visits the domaine yearly, mentioned that after wondering for years how one was to remove the wax covering when opening the bottle, asked the Raveneau brothers. “They said just plunge right in with the corkscrew”, which is what he did. Pristine white gold color. Nose of white stone, gun flint, oyster shell, alpine floral notes, grapefruit, a bit of apple core. Ethereal, persistent layers of citrus, granny apple, and hints of white peach laced with flint and aristocratic steely spine on the palate. The whole thing unfolded like the opening of a flower. Bright, incisive acidity and long finish of mouth-watering mineral, white fruit, and poised grip. The combination of this wine and the expert presentation of superb seafood at La Cagouille was a great way to begin our trip. (93 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

Also sampled a nice little 2008 Saint Aubin Le Charmois rouge from Famille Picard: Darker ruby color. Nose of red berry, anise, floral notes, earth. Texture on the palate inexplicably evoking velvet and fine-grained gravel at the same time, revealing layers of plum and mulberry laced with bits of iron and earth. Nicely acidic with firm tannin leading to a moderately long finish of grippy red fruit. Open for a 2008. 90 points.

If you have any inkling about traveling to this region, don’t think twice. Just go.