Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Return To Terroir At Port4lio, Los Angeles 2012


 Return To Terroir is a French wine importer focused on, “unique and authentic, hand-crafted wines that are the precise expression of their terroir.”  If you are not familiar with the term, terroir is a French word that conceptualizes the sense of place one finds in wine.  It refers to a vineyard’s location, soil, and climate, and how those factors are incorporated into the taste of the wine.

I got to visit some of France's wine regions at the Return To Terroir table at the recent Port4lio tasting event in Culver City, California.

Bordeaux’s gravel-based soil in the left bank region and the limestone clay of the right bank offer two separate terroirs to explore.

Château Cadillac (AOC Bordeaux Supérieur, older vines) 2009 Bordeaux Supérieur - 70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon;  beautiful smoky nose with cherry and acidity on the palate;  nice tannic structure

Château Fitère (AOC Madiran)  2009 Madiran - 70% Tannat, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon;  stainless steel fermentation; very tannic with plum and smoky spice; great acidity and long finish

Château Flotis (AOC Fronton) 2008 Fronton - organically-farmed Negrette, which is indigenous to Fronton, plus 10% Syrah; nose is funky, floral, meaty all at once; palate loaded with cherries

The Southwest region of France offers a multitude of different terroirs and correspondingly diverse wines, often made from grapes not found elsewhere in the country..

Domaine de Brin  (AOC Gaillac) 2009 Gaillac “Petit Brin” - 40% Duras, 25% Braucol, 20% Syrah, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon; savory, smoky, peppery cherry and plums

The chalky limestone soil in the Loire Valley is particularly well-suited to the white wines for which the region is best known.

Domaine Gaudron (AOC Vouvray) 2009 Vouvray Sec - 100% Chenin Blanc  flinty minerals, peach, apricot;  2009 Vouvray Demi Sec - restrained sweetness, minerals and peaches

Burgundy offers soils of clay and limestone on top of granite, lava and schist - the kind of stuff great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are made from.

Domaine de la Douaix (AOC Hautes Cotes de Nuits)  2008 Bourgogne Blanc En Mairey - 60% Pinot Blanc 40% Chardonnay;   very steely despite 12 months in oak; green apples and very nice acidity

Domaine Denis Carré (AOC Hautes Cotes de Beaune) 2010 Hautes Cotes de Beaune Blanc - 100% Chardonnay ; smoky fruit shines with nice acidity and a lengthy finish;  Their 2008 Pommard  benefits from a streak of iron oxide under the limestone clay which gives this Pinot Noir a strong minerality and great acidity

Côtes de Provence has a varied terroir, with limestone soil in the northwest to crystalline rock in the southeast part of the region.

Château Saint-Pierre  (AOC Côtes de Provence) 2010 Côtes de Provence Rosé - 40% Grenache, 60% Cinsault; strawberry, cherry,  bit of tartness; dry , nice acidity


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