Wine Tasting: A Tour de France of Wines
Inside the private collection of the owners of Smith Haut Lafitte, and a tasting of their 100 point 2009 red!
Wine tastings are often the highlight of Bliss Travels trips. No one does wine quite like the French, and we fully embrace their talents! Whether it’s a simple chilled rosé at lunch on a Provencal farm or a private barrel tasting with the winemaker in his 14th century cellar owner, or chatting with the technical director of a world famous chateau, Bliss always includes wines! And we treat these events as they should be treated: As relaxed fun!
Bliss owner Wendy Jaeger brought fun stories to the evening on a recent trip to Atlanta.
Here are a few of our all-time favorites! And to learn more, watch our video of Burgundy or our our 3 minute video of our trips here!
Provence offers ancient perched villages, flawless sunny days, and miles of lavender fields. It’s the most relaxing area in France!
2012 Famille Abeille Rosé
Rosé: Côtes de Provence, France
Owner, Jean Abeille after a private tasting and tour of the winery, led by him.
$13.50 per bottle with the 10% discount.
Grapes: Grenache, Syrah-Shiraz, Cinsault, Vermentino
Area: This wine comes from a family-owned estate, which is part of Château Riotor, located in the heart of Provence in the commune of Cannet des Maures. The vineyards are only 30km from the Mediterranean, and enjoy a warm, maritime, Mistral-influenced climate.
Flavor profile: A delicate and refreshing rosé typical of Provence. Locals (and Bliss, of course) drink rosé at lunch for a perfect midday pick me up. Its gentle flavors reminiscent of fresh peach, clementine, pear and raspberry tend to be on the dry rather than sweet.
Pairs well with: soft pink fish, like poached trout.
Burgundy boasts of vineyards as far as the eye can see–many consider this the best wine region of France!
White: 2012 David Moret Bourgogne Blanc
White: Burgundy, France
A trip to world class Domaine de l’Arlot (not open to the public) and a tasting held by their technical director. Not too shabby!
$21.60 per bottle with the 10% discount on a case at Princeton Corkscrew wineshop
Area: This comes from one of the finest Cru holdings in the region, Beaune. Moret is known as one of the premier white Burgundy producers, using detail-oriented procedures to ensure the finest quality wines. Bliss clients stay in a privately-owned chateau on a vineyard, where we get a private tasting of the wine!
Flavor profile: Notes of honeysuckle, toasted walnuts and Anjou pear greet your nose, with rich fruits, lemon zest, minerals and elegant acidity filling your mouth in waves. The finish is long–peeling away the layers before your next sip.
Pairs well with: Epoisse, a bloomy cow’s milk cheese. Delicieux!
Burgundy calls to anyone looking for quiet, history-laden Medieval villages and incredible wines.
2011 Agnès Paquet Bourgogne Pinot Noir
Red Burgundy (Pinot Noir): Burgundy (Auxey-Duresses), France
$16.65 per bottle with the 10% discount based upon purchase of a case at Princeton Corkscrew wineshop
Area: The charming Agnès Paquet is based in Meloisy, in the Hautes Côtes de Beaune. Half of the vines for this cuvée are planted in her home village, the remainder coming from an 85 year-old plot in Volnay, adding depth and structure to the blend. The villages of Burgundy, like Meloisy, are known for their beautiful architecture and history (check out our blog post of what a trip here is like with Bliss!)
Flavor profile: This vibrant, fruit-forward red has a delicate aroma of red currant, cherry, raspberry and vanilla. Its balanced, medium bodied palate offers notes of ripe red fruit, caramel, vanilla and tobacco complemented by balanced acidity and silky tannins.
The Rhone Valley is known for its gorgeous castles and stunning hill views.
2011 Domaine des Amouriers Vacqueyras
Rhone: Rhone Valley, France
$21.60 per bottle with the 10% discount
Grapes: Primarily Grenache grapes, with notes of Carignan, Merlot, Syrah, Grenache blanc, Roussanne, and Viognier.
Area: Climate-wise, the area is strictly Mediterranean (the eponymous sea is only 50 miles/80km to the south) and is therefore blessed with a long, hot, growing season, ensuring maximum ripeness for its vineyards. This, combined with the site’s south-westerly aspect, make it one of the most sought-after viticultural sites in the Rhone valley, which explains the density of vineyards in the area.
Flavor profile: Spice and fullness. After a few swirls of this dark purple wien, notes of blackberry, garrigue and tapenade come forth. The first sip fills your mouth, full of fruitiness, balanced tannins and acidity with a lasting finish. This is the “Grand Cru” of Vacqueyras.
Pairs well with: heartier dishes and meats, such as a good steak. Or, if in Provence –Lamb!
Bordeaux is as passionate about its wine as Burgundy!
2010 Château Lalande Cru Bourgeois
Bordeaux: Listrac-Médoc, France
$20.25 per bottle with the 10% discount
Grapes: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a dash of Petit Verdot
Area: The area produces some of the most sought after wines in France. In fact, some of the vineyards in the area resort to picking grapes with tweezers to get the most “perfect flavor.” These growers take their flavor seriously, as do we! On our trips here, we spend a day making our own wine and have cases shipped home. Bragging rights are definitely earned!
Flavor: Aromas of ripe plum, blackberry, and cassis rise from the glass. A little aeration brings out a wonderful balance of berries, plum, and minerality that coats the mouth pleasantly. A short time in oak barrels lends a beautiful silkiness that leaves a full, smooth blend.
Pairs well with: lamb in any form, as well as beef. Parfait, non?
Now you’ve gotten a good start to a wine tasting of monumental proportions. The next step? Drink them where they were created! Come on one of our “exclusive access, insider” food and wine vacations and visit the vineyards themselves. Make delicious memories! Contact Wendy (firstname.lastname@example.org) to learn more. We have trips to Bordeaux, Burgundy, Provence, Paris and all along the Mediterranean. We have even expanded to Spain!
Why not pair one of our destinations with our insider Paris experiences -like dinner in the home of a Paris chef! This month, our exclusive seasonal menu included the following:
Amuse Bouche of Foie Gras with Champagne
Caramelized carrot soup with quinoa and ginger, with a white Crozes Hermitage from the Rhone
Asparagus with Slow Poached Egg, Hollandaise, with a white Burgundy from Meursault, Premier Cru, Les Charmes 2009
Turbot with Cauliflower Puree and a White Asparagus Emulsion
Rabbit Roulade au Jus, Greens with a Pinot Noir from Burgundy, a Grand Cru Chambertin
Chocolate Cake, Strawberry/Balsamic Sorbet, Olive Oil Powder, with a Sauternes from Bordeaux
owner, Bliss Travels