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The Sweet Complexity of French Wine
Friday March 14th 2014, 2:14 pm
Filed under: Mad Picks | Wine, Beer, & Spirits

The French Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) certification system for wine is perhaps the oldest and most respected in the world. It sets standards for boundaries, growing parameters and production techniques for sites fortunate enough to have obtained this coveted certification. Actually, it is not just for wine but also covers cheeses, honey, meats, lentils, butters and a few other agricultural products. Handled by the Institut National de l’Origine et de la Qualité (INAO), it is a living process which can change its requirements as improved techniques develop or newly discovered regions or wine varieties emerge.

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Such is the case for Coteaux Bourguignons, one of France’s newest appellations.  Officially decreed in November 2011, its wines are just now reaching our shores.  Coteaux Bourguignons replaces another appellation, Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire (yes, it’s rather puzzling that a wine could be both “great” and “ordinary”). Its boundary, however, has been expanded to include not only Burgundy but also Beaujolais. The grapes allowed are Aligoté, Chardonnay, Melon, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris for the whites and Gamay, Pinot Noir and César for the reds and rosés. Oddly a Nouveau is allowed but only as a white wine.

At Plum Market we’ve seen the first of Coteaux Bourguignons to hit our shelves.

2011 Signé Vignerons Coteaux Bourguignons Vieilles Vignes. 

It is from a cooperative of growers based in France’s Beaujolais region. From 100% Gamay grapes, it eschews the classic, vivid, red-fruit edge typical of Beaujolais to take on a sleeker, more tender expression of the grape. Indeed, it offers delicious elements of red cherries and cranberries with a little lemon zest and vanilla.

If you want a wine with a more stylish tone and with a degree of subtlety and complexity not often seen in traditional Beaujolais, this might be the one for you!

 

Guest Post from Rod Johnson, Wine Specialist at Plum Market Ann Arbor.

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