It’s “Viva la France!” at Costco in Burbank, with an amazing array of highly rated and budget priced wines, in a rainbow of colors. At these prices, it’s a great opportunity to experiment and taste what all the fuss about French wines is about.
For the Francophile and the uninitiated, Costco has stocked up on a variety of wines, great for summer sipping and backyard barbecues. The majority of French wine is very reasonably priced, affordable enough to enjoy every day, and not fatiguing to the palate like some New World wines, that often are fruit bombs high in alcohol, and no refreshing acidity.
Crisp French white wines, high in acidity and lower in alcohol, are a great way to quench your thirst and refresh your palate in the summer heat. Chablis, a leaner version of Chardonnay, delights with it’s aromas and flavors of apple, lemon, and stone. Pascal Bouchard Premier Cru Montmains 2009 Chablis, sourced from some of the best grapes in the region, blends a vibrant structure and the richness of melon and apple, highlighted by lemon and stone, and comes in under $20 a bottle. If you like a fuller-bodied Chardonnay, try a Jean-Charles Pivot 2009 Pouilly-Fuisse, a delicate yet powerful wine with melon, ripe apricot, almond, and minerality, beautiful body and a lingering finish. These wines pair well with shellfish.
Sancerre or Pouilly-Fume, made from the Sauvignon Blanc grape, are aromatic white wines, with aromas and flavors of citrus, flowers, herbs, and minerals. Chateau de Sancerre 2009 Sancerre tastes of grapefruit and minerals, a fresh, crisp, distinctive yet subtle wine, at under $20 a bottle. Claude Michot “Les Berthiers” 2009 Pouilly-Fume, an intensely fragrant wine with notes of grapefruit and acacia blossoms, and hints of nuts and honey, slides in under $15 a a bottle. These wines pair well with fish, seafood, and goat cheese.
Enough of stony white wines? How about the Cave de Ribeauville Gloeckelberg Alsace Grand Cru 2007 Pinot Gris, an opulent, medium sweet white wine, with aromas of dried and crystallized fruits, and flavors of peach and quince, good with richer food such as roasted veal, duck or game. This is not a dessert wine, as it’s acidity keeps the sugar in check, and finishes with some spicy accents, just over $20. Chateau de Montfort 2008 Demi-Sec Vouvray, made from the Chenin Blanc grape, is off-dry, with medium body and high acidity. It resonates baked pears, lemon, and minerality. It finishes dry with a touch of sweet fruit, and under $15.
How about drinking your dessert? A special sweet wine, Chateau Haut-Bergeron 2007 Sauternes from Bordeaux, is an intense, complex golden wine, with a bouquet of ripe and candied fruit; apricots, pineapple, mango, sweet spice, almonds, and raisins. Although it might breach the budget at $33, a little goes a long way.
Ready to switch gears? See part 2 for roses and reds!