A long time ago a nice, courteous PR professional pitched a blogger on some wines. These wines, French wines, were from a well known producer that many of us wine lovers hold in high esteem. What was particularly interesting about said wines was the pricing, much lower than this producers other offerings.
Maison Joseph Drouhin makes wines that cost $12 all the way to over $500. Here in Oregon, their Domaine Drouhin property is considered one of the states finest sites for great pinot noir and chardonnay. Winemaker Veronique Drouhin has redesigned the La Forets brand, more on that below.
As I read further into the pitch, I noted that these wines are designed for restaurants to pour by the glass. Perhaps the hottest category in on-premise wine programs, btg lists are fast becoming places not just to dump off cheap wines, but to also find unique, exciting, and delicious wines. American btg culture is changin, albeit slowly, into something far better than it was.
To taste these wines in approximately real world conditions, I took them to my fiancee's shop, Urban Decanter, and ate a meal with a glass of each wine. In between bites and sips, I took notes on what the wines were like. The food pairing was a meat and cheese plate to start, then one of Urban Decanter's famous paninis.
2012 Joseph Drouhin "La Foret" Bourgogne Chardonnay: Grass, butter, green apple, and fun! This just has a whimsical, happy element to it. When tasting, the word of the day is clean, clean, clean! It's so crisp and pure on the palate, with wonderful texture and a finish that's beautifully light and airy. For such an inexpensive chardonnay, this is firing on all cylinders. Recommended! $12.00 SRP.
2011 Joseph Drouhin "La Foret" Bourgogne Pinot Noir: Reminds me of macerated cherries, baking spice, wood, and tart strawberry. In other words, a perfectly normal set of aromas one finds in pinot noir from around the world. Soft and fruity on the palate, with a bit of acidity and tannin thrown in. Clean, easy-drinking, red Burgundy. Recommended! $12.00 SRP.
Wines like this on restaurant btg lists make a lot more sense than what is currently there. This goes doubly true for big chains like Landry's. If you're a wine lover and have ever looked at lists for places like McCormick's, El Gaucho, etc, you know that the list of high quality, unique wines is limited. It's mostly a bunch of boring stuff supplied by one of the mega distributors operating in the United States.
Ok, rant over.
These two wines are good and priced extremely well. If you see them on restaurant lists you can be assured they'll be food-friendly and of high quality. Should you see them on store shelves, I recommend considering each for that casual, Tuesday night bottle.
To find out more, visit the Drouhin La Forets website or the Maison Joseph Drouhin website.
These wines were samples for review purposes.
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