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Chateau Cadillac Bordeaux 2004
Chateau Cadillac Bordeaux 2004. First impressions of smooth cherries... made from 70% Merlot with 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and a 12.5% alcohol content, this Bordeaux is aged in oak barrels for 12 months on one of the oldest properties in all of Bordeaux. Dark ruby red and medium-bodied with aromas of red berries, licorice, spice and white pepper. On the palate there are flavors of cherries, mocha and vanilla, and cedar finishing with smooth silky tannins. $21.

Chamarre Grand Reserve Pinot Noir 2005 (Vin de Pays Vignobles de France)
All Pinot Noir but from 2 different regions: half from Corsica and half from Burgundy AOC grapes. A very soft style to this Pinot Noir with a nose of mellow red fruits, violets and a very smooth minerality with a palate of raspberries, licorice and vanilla (there is also a slight toastiness from 6 months in oak). I'd say a very nice balancing act is going on here. This one goes for about $13. Note: Chamarré is the first brand to take advantage of the new French wine appellation, "Vin de Pays Vignobles de France" which allows blending across regions. Founder Pascal Renaudat and winemaker Renaud Rosari have access to sources from cooperatives across the country and now can blend the best of each.

Chamarré Grand Reserve Shiraz 2005 (Vin de Pays Vignobles de France)
France... This is 100% Shiraz from Chamarré... but produced with half of the grapes from the Northern Rhone (for the spicy kick and fresh acidity) and half from Languedoc (for the jammy, ripe fruitiness). The scales tip slightly on the side of the south, with a more intense, fruity roundness opposed to a subtle typical spicy Shiraz profile. On the nose is a definite spiciness and the palate is cooked fruits, white pepper and a smooth finish. One thing all the Chamarré wines have in common is the same brushstrokes by the artist (vintner)... they're all tied together neatly by a mellowness and even quality. This is available at The Wine Room of Forest Hills for around $12. Note: Chamarré is the first brand to take advantage of the new French wine appellation, "Vin de Pays Vignobles de France" which allows blending across regions. Founder Pascal Renaudat and winemaker Renaud Rosari have access to sources from cooperatives across the country and now can blend the best of each.

Chamarré Grand Reserve Viognier 2005 (Vin de Pays Vignobles de France)
Another new French wine from the Chamarré brand is this white which is made from 100% Viognier grapes, half from the northern Rhone and half from the Languedoc appellation. It is aged 6 months in oak. The grapes from the northern Rhone come from the AOC Condrieu where Viognier may have originated. Straw colored with floral aromas, a hint of oak and summer fruits, the palate is a big citrus and apple butter burst of color. This is in the $12 range at The Wine Room of Forest Hills.
Note: Chamarré is the first brand to take advantage of the new French wine appellation, "Vin de Pays Vignobles de France" which allows blending across regions. Founder Pascal Renaudat and winemaker Renaud Rosari have access to sources from cooperatives across the country and now can blend the best of each.

Lirac Domaine Du Joncier 2005
Cru Des Cotes Du Rhone. This blend from France is made from 45% Grenache, 45% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre, it has a deep ruby color with initial aromas of black pepper and ripe plum. It's big on the palate combining a fragrant spice with a nice barnyard kick and a fairly high alcohol content of 14.5%. At $14.99 this is a nice replacement for an expensive Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Found this bargain at a tasting at The Wine Room of Forest Hills.

Chateau Mas Neuf Costieres de Nimes Tradition Red 2006
I sampled this French red wine at the Alsace & Rhone Wine Expo this week, poured by the vintner, Luc Baudet. Deep purple rose in color, It is a blend of 60% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre and 10% Carignan and is designed to go well with food, especially duck or lamb. Aromas of bittersweet dark chocolate and black pepper are host to generous, bright flavors and luscious smooth tannins. Enjoyed this one very much.

Bandol Domaine De Fregate 2003
This dry red wine from Provence, France is made from 80% Mourvedre and 20% Grenache grapes (vinified separately) and oaked in barrels for 18 months. Light ruby red, and warmer colors around the edges. A good casual wine to have a meal with (meats, cheeses, mushrooms, or red sauce) -- there is a light berry and oak nose, with dry raisin and moderate tannins and 13-14% alcohol. Bon! (Thanks Carolina.)

Domaine De Coste Chaude Cotes du Rhone Villages Visan L'Argentiere 2005
From Rhone, France comes this blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah produced by Marianne & Marc Fues, whom I met at the Alsace & Rhone Valley Wine Expo earlier this week in NYC. Marc told me the oak the wine is aged in (for 12 months) comes from many different regions, giving it an interesting character. Color is a dark ruby with a subtle fruitiness and black cherry with traces of licorice and vanilla. This is one of my favorites from the day and can imagine it accompanying roasts very well.

Gustave Lorentz Pinot Gris Reserve 2007
I sampled this French white wine from the Alsace region at the Alsace & Rhone Wine Expo last week, poured by the importer, Michael Corso, and producer Pascal Schiele. Straw colored, this is a 100% Pinot Gris with a bit of honey on the nose, bright fresh flavors of citrus fruits, a slight minerality, pear, lemon and a crisp dry finish.

Chamarré Rosé Selection Grenache-Shiraz 2006 (Vin de Pays Vignobles de France)
Chamarré is the first brand to take advantage of the new French wine appellation, "Vin de Pays Vignobles de France" which allows blending across regions. Founder Pascal Renaudat and winemaker Renaud Rosari have access to sources from cooperatives across the country and now can blend the best of each. In this refreshing blend they use Grenache for body and Shiraz for zing, both from Corsica. Light body and pale peach colors meld with bouquets of berries and spice and ending with a citrus finish. In the $10 range, this Rosé is a perfect summer wine and may be found at The Wine Room of Forest Hills.

Chateau Grand Moulin 2005 France
This red wine from France is a blend of Syrah and Grenache grapes. Color is clear dark garnet red with cherries, ripe fruit and tar on the nose. Palate has black cherry and white pepper undertones and moderate tannin. It is paired well with warm gruyere gougeres. Not bad by the glass for $9.

Chateau Haut Montaud 2005 Grand Vin De Bordeaux
2005 has turned out to be a banner year for French Bordeaux. This is an inexpensive one but still carries itself with head high. It's color is clear ruby red, with medium to heavy body, nose of cherries and wood smoke. Medium tannins at first open nicely to draw out the plum, cassis, and black pepper on the palate. The $11 price tag is well worth it. I wouldn't be surprised if a year or two in a cellar would bring out the luster.

Domaine Du Cros Marcillac Lo Sang del Pais 2006
This dry red wine from the Marcillac region of France is made from 100% Le fer Servadou grape varietal. Color cherry red, medium to heavy weight, it's soft, smooth and silky with cherry & raspberry on palate, with a soft finish of black pepper, barnyard and straw. 12% alcohol content, price $14. Paired well with meat loaf and broccoli.

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