Marquis Wine Cellars’ French Fete
Marquis is a special wine store here in Vancouver. They seek out lesser known and high quality producers from around the globe, but especially from france. I have had the good fortune of benefiting from their expertise and recommendations for a couple years now. This event was their celebration of all things French while also being a charity fundraiser for the Fraser Academy – and what could be better than drinking wine for charity!
The event was well constructed and Marquis had plenty of fantastic wine to go around, although I found the importers less impressive. However, one big problem was that nearly all the restaurants who came to show off their wares and provide some bites to accompany the wine ran out of food in ONE HOUR! Yes, one hour. I don’t know what these chefs were thinking, but running out of food at a wine tasting event so close to its opening is a huge faux pas in my books and reflects very poorly on the restaurants (Le Gavroche, Cru, Salt Tasting Room, Provence and Senova ran out of food very quickly while Bistrot Bistro and Benton Brothers cheese had enough for the majority of the evening), especially considering 1. this was a charity event, and 2. all the guests paid $75 each to attend. That said, Marquis itself did a fantastic job and I hope they send out a nasty email to the restaurants chiding them for this ridiculous oversight.
There were quite a few wines, so I will only be discussing those I think were worthy of discussion – which was plenty, and I will divide them as Marquis did by region or by importer (if not provided by Marquis). My notes were pretty concise given the constraints of the event.
Pierre Luneau-Papin Muscadet Sevre et maine Sur Lie 2006
A good quality muscadet for the price, I’m afraid I’m not sure this grape is for me: grapefruit and licorice but hot on the palate.
$19 at Marquis
Reuilly Pinot Gris 2007
Tart, very dry citrus. I found this quite simple and not as flavourful as the last wine.
$24 at Marquis
Domaine Huards Cour-Cheverney Romarantin 2005
I’d certainly not tried this grape before and found it quite unique: petrol, apple, pear on the nose with a floral palate and a thick texture.
$23 at Marquis
Domaine Huet Demi-Sec Vouvray 2006
Huet is one of the top producers in Vouvray so I was excited to taste this. Strangely I got blue-cheese on the nose with grapefruit and other rounded citrus (the sweetness cut the tartness well). But what really made the wine stand out was its silky and subtle texture that filled the mouth beautifully. Thick and ripe, but balanced.
$44 at Marquis
Domaine Guion Bourgueil Cabernet Franc 2005
Smells like a wet forest floor. A very woody classic cab franc with nice aromatics and full flavour. Fantastic for the price.
$18 at Marquis
Natter Sancerre Rouge 2006
I’ve never had a Sancerre Rouge before so this was pretty exciting. Made from Pinot Noir and very much like a Burgundy Village wine with its strawberry funk nose. However, the palate was very savory and perhaps a little too dry and not delicate enough for me. Unique though, and worth a try.
$32 at Marquis
Henry Pelle Mentou-Salon Rouge 2005
Another Loire red with dusty red fruit and savory pepper filling the nose and palate. A simple but incredibly food friendly wine that went fantastically with the 1 bite of food I had that evening. Get this to pair with a salty and rich dish.
$28 at Marquis
Barmes-Buecher Pinot d’Alsace 2004
This is a wine to get those who drink only sweetened alcohol into something a little more serious. So, while sweet, this is full and flavourful with orchard fruit, particularly pear. Nice mouthfeel too.
$27 at Marquis
Albert Mann Pinot Blanc/Auxerrois 2007
Citrus and apple dominate. I found this standard and a little boring.
$26 at Marquis
Albert Mann Rosenberg Riesling 2006
Classic petrolly nose with lime on the palate. This was unbalanced and I would prefer a German Riesling over this for the price.
$48 at Marquis
Weinbach Riesling Cuvee St. Catherine 2004
This was serious stuff and had a beautifully intense and aromatic nose of petrol and clay. While off-dry, the sweetness was very subtle and the palate sparkled with minerals and tight acidic structure. Balanced. A very nice riesling in a different style than I am used to (being a German and Austrian fan).
$59 at Marquis
Arnaud Ente Aligote 2005
Big toasty almond nose with superb depth and concentration but also bright and balanced acidity. I’ve never had Aligote like this – a find of the show and worth every penny.
$40 at Marquis
Potel-Aviron Fleurie Vielles Vignes Beaujolais 2005
A Beaujolais Cru, and a good one at that. Licorice and strawberry, very bright but not over the top acidity. This is very food friendly and could age for some time. Also, a good value.
$33 at Marquis
Tollot-Beaut Bourgogne Rouge 2005
A basic red Burgundy with funky roasted fruit on the nose. Delicate and aromatic, I enjoy this sort of thing a lot more than the new world style of Pinot. Again, food friendly.
$39 at Marquis
D’Agassac Haut-Medoc 2005
Very approachable now with classic cedar and cassis on the nose. Very expressive, smooth and balanced. A good place to see the potential of the vintage young.
$43 at Marquis
Gree-Laroque, Bordeaux Superier 2005
Spicey dark fruits. Tannic now, but good structure and body.
$45 at Marquis
Clos Puy Arnaud Cotes du Castillon 2005
A minty cool nose, the palate on this was quite different from all other Bordeaux’s I’ve had so far – clay-like even. I have a hard time placing this. Long finish.
$55 at Marquis
Chateau Beau Soleil Pomerol 2005
Very very nice. Chocolatey, funky and flinty that had superb length and structure. Finesse and elegance abound.
$65 at Marquis
Duhart-Milon Pauillac 2005
Woody, dark berries, cassis. A potent palate with less finesse than the Pomerol, but with the structure to last quite some time. This needs the most age out of all of the Bordeauxs.
$110 at Marquis
Chateau de Cazeneuve Pic St. Loup 2004
100% Roussane. Honeyed and floral nose that was rich and round. I really enjoyed this and would pick it up again.
$30 at Marquis
Tardieu-Laurent Les Grands Augustins 2006
Peppery sweet fruit. I was expecting a bit more balance, but this was certainly flavourful and again it isn’t over the top so it can pair well with food.
$20 at Marquis
Domaine Tempier Bandol Classique 2004
Mmmmmourvedre. Ok, that was bad. Funky sweet dark berries with real intensity. I love he colour on this – very dark and rich. I would love to try their higher end bottlings because this was quite good, balanced, and not at all clumsy, which I’ve experienced with other Mourvedres before (this is blended, though).
$39 at Marquis
Clos des Fees Rousillon Rouge Vieilles Vignes 2004
Apparently this is getting very good press in France. Very unique nose, with foresty, maybe pine-like characteristics. I also got pepper, earth, and some sort of barn animal. Still tannic, this needs time, but I am intrigued.
Very Good to very Good+
$53 at Marquis
L’Oratoir St. Martin Blanc, Cairanne 2005
I’ve had this before, but it tasted better tonight. Rousanne/Marsanne blend: honeyed and floral with good rich flavour.
$34 at Marquis
Grand Nicolet, Cotes du Rhone 2006
All the 2006’s I’ve tasted from the Southern Rhone are really shaping up fantastically and this is another stellar example. Cool minty aromatics with nice dark sweet fruits like plums and blackberries. I enjoyed the balance and concentration of the wine and found it very expressive and approachable. A fantastic value.
$22 at Marquis
Mas de Boislauzon Cotes du Rhone 2006
Thie is classic CDR: peppery, gamey, brambly fruit. Very enjoyable, but a little less balance and finesse than the Nicolet. I certainly want to try Boislauzon’s Chateaneuf, however.
$22 at Marquis
Domaine Monardiere Vacqueyras 2006
A farmy wine with good flavour but somewhat clumsy structure. Unfortunately, I don’t have the greatest notes for this.
$30 at Marquis
Domaine la Barroche Reserve Chateaneuf-du-pape 2005
Very nice purity of fruit – fantastic concentration in the very authentic red and dark berry flavours: raspberry and blackberry dominate. The potency is coupled with pretty serious tannins right now, but I think in 5 years this will be stellar. Certainly a good value.
$50 at Marquis
Free House Wine and Spirits (Importer)
Cousino-Macul Sauvignon Gris 2007
A unique pre-phyloxera Bordeaux variety that stood out as a peachy, orange and grapefruit concoction without the cheap tang of crappy whites. A modest use of oak gives complexity while not dominating the fruit. A balanced wine with acidity.
Chateau Montfaucon Baron Luis Cote du Rhone 2005
Much better than the last time I tried this, but still too expensive for what you get. Licorice and earth with subdued fruit. I was hoping for a little more fruit purity, but this does have structure and finesse that gives it ageability.
Chateau Pesquie Quintessence Cotes du Ventoux 2004
Big blockbuster wine. Less structure, but more power than the Montfaucon. Minty dark fruits with a real punch. A question of style preference.
Charton Hobbs (Importer)
Domaine La Lieu Organic Chardonnay vintage?
Classic orchard peachy and a little creamy chardonnay. Nothing that blows you away, but very few chards at this price come close.
Paul Mas “Clos des Mures” Coteaux du languedoc vintage?
Big black fruits. Drinks well now with solid integration. A good value, but made more in the new world style.
So, those are the wines I enjoyed most at the tasting. I appreciated the quality brought by small french producers at outstanding value and if anything this tasting demonstrated the importance of supporting lesser known and unrated wine makers.