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French Whites: What Do You Buy?


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John, I'd be happy to contribute to a wine thread IF we can keep it from getting too serious. I used to follow & occasionally contribute to the THE wine forum, but those guys are too heavy for me.

Wine is to be drunk & enjoyed, not agonised over.

So, as a starter I'll ask what kind of everyday white wine do French forum eGulleteers buy?

We tend to buy Bourgogne Aligot a lot of the time, but I also have to admit a fondness for some of the cheap pays d'Oc Chardonnays.

What else do YOU buy?

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John, I'd be happy to contribute to a wine thread IF we can keep it from getting too serious. I used to follow & occasionally contribute to the THE wine forum, but those guys are too heavy for me.

Wine is to be drunk & enjoyed, not agonised over.

So, as a starter I'll ask what kind of everyday white wine do French forum eGulleteers buy?

We tend to buy Bourgogne Aligot a lot of the time, but I also have to admit a fondness for some of the cheap pays d'Oc Chardonnays.

What else do YOU buy?

OK, I'll bite.

Our house whites are the 2004 Roulot Bourgogne Blanc and the 2004 Ramonet Bourgogne Blanc. They retail for about $20 each in NYC and are fantastic values. Both producers make excellent higher-end stuff, but their lowest-end stuff sees the same amount of care. These go great with tons of dishes as well as being yummy on their own.

Our current house red is a 2004 Usseglio Chateauneuf-du-Pape, also retailing in NYC for about $20. This is a delicious red that also mates well with tons of food (BBQ and steak anyone?) or is nice on its own.

Cheers! :cool:

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My favorite French whites (no château, no serious, lots of fun):

- Picpoul-de-pinet from Languedoc: when it's good, it's good.

- Jurançon moelleux, especiallty an aged clos-lapeyre (oops a château), the perfect wine with, um, truffles. It even tastes like truffles.

- Saint-joseph blanc

- Chinon blanc

- pouilly-fuissé from old vines

- In bordeaux, I love white pessac-léognan

- Coteaux-d'aix, palette: château-simone (a château again, but there are only two châteaux in this appellation)

- Condrieu

to be continued sometime

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Mm! I love white vins de soif. And we have it lucky, because wine is so often so well priced in France.

These are wallet- and meal-friendly whites I like to buy:

Edelzwicker (Barmès-Buecher, Sylvie Spielmann): delicious, light, green-appley Alsace

Quincy (Jacques Rouzé): white flowers and flint and minerals in a lesser-known Loire sauvignon

Menetou-Salon (Henry Pellé, Chavet): similar in style to Sancerre, flinty and dry

Cheverny (Hervé Villemade, Michel Quenioux): ridiculously inexpensive for some outstanding wines; sauvignon topped w/ chardonnay; chenin blanc for the Chevernys; the exotic romorantin grape for Cour-Cheverny

Crémant de Saint-Pourçain: yes! though I hate white Saint-Pourçain (the icky tressallier grape), there is an excellent crémant from M. Pétillat which is dry and sharp.

Crémant d'Alsace: an excellent vintage version from Audrey & Christian Binner. 90% riesling! The 1996 was deep gold, good body.

hell, why not small producer champagne: a bottle of Pierre Moncuit NV or Pierre Gimonnet for under 15 euros départ cave... And these are some elegant blanc de blancs.

Bourgogne blanc: if Leflaive is a little steep (still, only around 20 euros), look for something like the mind-bogglingly tasty C. & Cl. Maréchal 2005 Cuvée Antoine.

Montagny: (Cary Potet, Vignerons de Buxy) lesser-known Burg appellation from the Côte Châlonnaise.

And then there are also the interesting Gaillacs (esp. Mauzac vert) from Bernard Plageoles... Or Corsican vermentino (but it's not as cheap as it should be... esp. producers like Antoine Aréna, but I just love that grape)...

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I'm no longer finding Loire Valley whites that are reasonably priced that are any good any more here in the East Coast.

But the wines of Alsace, especially the lower-end Pinot Blanc, still makes a great showing. You can get such wineries as Alsace-Willm, or Wunsch et Mann, for under ten dollars, and as long as you don't drink them with foods they clash with (where something herbaceous or pungent is called for, like a Sauvignon Blanc), you get delicious drinking.

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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We keep a good stock of Menetou Salon and Muscadet. I second the earlier recommendations for the 04 Roulot Bourgogne Blanc and the 04 Leflaive Bourgogne (we still have some of the 92 and 96 Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc, both of which are still drinking beautifully). Also worth looking for are the Villaine Rully and the Cote Chalonnaise Les Clous.

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"I'm no longer finding Loire Valley whites that are reasonably priced that are any good any more here in the East Coast."

there are plenty of muscadets available on the east coast. i bought alot of 2005 from various importers. kacher,dressner,sussex, etc.

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I think the prices on Loire whites, especially Sancerre and the more longstandingly costly Pouilly-Fumé, but also the more notorious producers of Vouvray, are all rising considerably. It's a shame. Paul Prieur, an excellent Sancerre producer, goes for 15 euros at Lavinia (tho' 12.65 at Augé!); others, such as François or Pascal Cotat, are in the 20 euros and up range.

Etc. It's harder and harder to find the small gems. I was in Reuilly last fall, and was shocked that these off-the-radar, and really not outstanding, wines were being sold by the producers at their domains for around 8 euros and up. Ridiculous.

But then there's an excellent producer such as Michel Quenioux whose basic Cheverny bottling is priced at 4.60 euros at his domain. Villemade, whose wines I like even more, is also easy on the wallet.

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just curious, what vouvray producers are you considering notorious?

i've met and visited a few, and found them all generous hard working people who are justifiedly proud of their wines. i am actually quite happy that the better producers are getting rewarded for their efforts.

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"John, I'd be happy to contribute to a wine thread IF we can keep it from getting too serious.

Wine is to be drunk & enjoyed, not agonised over."

Come on people. NOT serious!! Loire, smoire, does it taste good? I've met a few Muscadet's that I didn't like, but I've met more that I did.

As to price; lets face it we're completely spoiled here in France.

Let's save our passion for something serious; like like, like I don't know what.

Edited by Dave Hatfield (log)
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Interesting, as a enthusiastic but inexperienced wine drinker with a limited budget I have always steered clear of most French whites, new world being a lot cheaper and consistent. I'll have to try some of these recommendations - if I can find them. I do enjoy Alsace Pinot Blanc and riesling though.

But this summer I think I will be mainly drinking Albarino....

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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"I'm no longer finding Loire Valley whites that are reasonably priced that are any good any more here in the East Coast."

there are plenty of muscadets available on the east coast. i bought alot of 2005 from various importers. kacher,dressner,sussex, etc.

You are correct. But for me Muscadet can get a little one-dimensional, or boring, and when I said "Loire Valley", what I had in my own mind was the other end, Pouilly-Fume and surrounding areas (I'd name the grape, but we're not supposed to get too serious here) - that's a wine I crave in summer, that I no longer find in the reasonable range. But depending on what I'm eating, I sometimes reach for a Muscadet.

And regarding the "not too serious", I have to say that I have a friend who buys her wines by letting her child pick them out by which labels are the "prettiest" - but it's always hit or miss for her when she brings home a mixed case, because without knowing which regions or grapes she likes and which ones she doesn't, she can never actually buy what she enjoys - some knowledge is a good thing.

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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Interesting, as a enthusiastic but inexperienced wine drinker with a limited budget I have always steered clear of most French whites, new world being a lot cheaper and consistent. I'll have to try some of these recommendations - if I can find them. I do enjoy Alsace Pinot Blanc and riesling though.

But this summer I think I will be mainly drinking Albarino....

I think there are several things to remember in your case:

1- don't be afraid if you can't read the label (French/Spanish/Italian/German);

2- set a budget and stick with it, asking your local wine merchant/wine geek to recommend some in that price range;

3- remember what you like/don't like so you can narrow your choices;

4- know that Old World wines tend to have very little oak, so if you like your Chardonnay buttery and full of vanilla, a St. Veran or Chablis will NOT be for you;

5- don't hesitate to try new things!

Drink what you like, not what you think you're supposed to like.

That said, I do find it ridiculous at how expensive wines in the US can be when they're so cheap in France. So those of you complaining about pricing in France should consider yourselves lucky compared to the rest of us in the US!

Cheers! :cool:

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"John, I'd be happy to contribute to a wine thread IF we can keep it from getting too serious.

Wine is to be drunk & enjoyed, not agonised over."

Come on people. NOT serious!! Loire, smoire, does it taste good? I've met a few Muscadet's that I didn't like, but I've met more that I did.

As to price; lets face it we're completely spoiled here in France.

Let's save our passion for something serious; like like, like I don't know what.

Whilst i agree with your comments Dave could you not say the same thing about food? I always thought it was to nourish and provide sustinance, sometimes when i see people performing scientific experiments with ingredients i wonder where it will all end.

Me, i love wine of all types, currently drinking ST Aubin 1er Cru Les Frionnes - Vincent Pruniers - 12 euros at Leclerc, 28 euros in the UK. You are right we are spoiled in France. Now if only i could find chocolate hob nobs on a regular basis :raz:

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"John, I'd be happy to contribute to a wine thread IF we can keep it from getting too serious.

Wine is to be drunk & enjoyed, not agonised over."

Come on people. NOT serious!! Loire, smoire, does it taste good? I've met a few Muscadet's that I didn't like, but I've met more that I did.

As to price; lets face it we're completely spoiled here in France.

Let's save our passion for something serious; like like, like I don't know what.

Whilst i agree with your comments Dave could you not say the same thing about food? I always thought it was to nourish and provide sustinance, sometimes when i see people performing scientific experiments with ingredients i wonder where it will all end.

Me, i love wine of all types, currently drinking ST Aubin 1er Cru Les Frionnes - Vincent Pruniers - 12 euros at Leclerc, 28 euros in the UK. You are right we are spoiled in France. Now if only i could find chocolate hob nobs on a regular basis :raz:

David. Spot on! Yes you could & I do say the same thing about food. Cook, eat, enjoy. Its nice if it looks pretty, but taste & aroma are what count. I like to eat with my nose & my taste buds, not my eyes. Who would have ever eaten on oyster by sight?

Must try the St Aubin. Off to LeClerc in the morning.

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I rarely buy the same wine twice and instead go to an interesting shop and ask the cavist to choose something. Unfortunately I don’t take many notes, which means I never remember the details later. Thanks to this thread I have bought a little note book so I can start keeping better track of what I like and don’t.

Recents whites that I have tried and liked were all from the Augé Loire tasting

Domaine du Bois Lucas, Touraine Sauvignon 2005, by Noella Morantin and Junko Arai for 14,79€ (a bit pricy but really delicious, made by two women winemakers)

Villemade’s Cherverny Blanc 2005 for 6,12, (this one I would certainly get again as it was quite delicious and inexpensive)

www.parisnotebook.wordpress.com

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I rarely buy the same wine twice.......

I'm afraid I'm in the same boat. I so rarely have white wine that it's usually something special and I go to the most interesting of the stores around me that carries very reasonable unfiltered wines and never record their names. Before I got tired of our local Nicolas, the then owner there used to recall what sweet (dessert) wine I got once a year, but he's retired, the chain moved on and so did I.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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prices can be a hindrance, but I've had some good luck with Sancerre. Alsacian whites like pinot gris and Entre-Deux-Mers bordeaux are my less expensive everyday options. In the sparkling wine category, a cremant d'Alsace can be lovely, though if I can afford a good champagne, there's nothing better.

I recently sampled some white chateauneuf du papes that were amazing, not something you see often, at least in the States. I splurged on a few bottles (at around $40+ apiece) that I'm saving for the right meal.


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Host's Note

Just a reminder that we should keep the boundary between the France Forum and the Wine Forum clear and only discuss here issues, subjects etc that are specific to say buying/tasting/drinking French wines in France. If you'll look at the Wine Forum I think you'll agree that most topics are better off discussed there. Thanks.

John

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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