Tag Archives: France

Martell Blue Swift

Martell Blue Swift Arrives in Atlanta

Cognac meets Kentucky in the latest release from Martell, the oldest and one of the best known Cognac houses. Introducing Martell Blue Swift, a VSOP Cognac finished in Kentucky bourbon casks.

Martell Blue Swift

Martell Blue Swift was unveiled at an exclusive launch party in downtown Atlanta earlier this month. After guests sipped on Martell VSOP cocktails, brand ambassador Karim Lateef pushed back a wall revealing a room dedicated to Martell Blue Swift. The celebration then kicked into high gear with a DJ, live artist painting and tastings of Blue Swift on its own and in cocktails.

Martell Blue Swift launch party

Blue Swift is a spirit that represents the partnership between France and America. Martell was the first to ship its Cognac to the United States more than 230 years ago. The name is a tribute to Martell’s swift emblem, a bird that can fly for extremely long distances, including across the Atlantic Ocean.

Martell Blue Swift

Blue Swift is an Eau de Vie de Vin. It starts with a base of high quality Cognac, the VSOP, and then spends additional time aging in Kentucky Bourbon casks. The VSOP has flavors of candied fruit and plum, while the bourbon casks impart notes of vanilla and smoky oak. Round and smooth, Martell Blue Swift can be enjoyed on its own or in cocktails. My favorite way to sip it is mixed with ginger ale.

Click here to learn more about Cognac

Martell Blue Swift is now available in Atlanta and select U.S. cities. It retails for $49.99.

For more information visit Martell’s website at martell.com/en-us/.

Cru Bourgeois

Cru Bourgeois: High Quality Wine from Bordeaux’s Left Bank

With the incredible number of châteaux producing wines in Bordeaux, how do you know how to select a good bottle?

Sure, you can pick one from one of the five growths of the 1855 Classification – a ranking of Bordeaux’s best wines as requested by Emperor Napoleon III for the 1855 Exposition Universelle de Paris.

However, a lot has changed since 1855. So you may want to opt for something that has kept up with the times (not to mention that is also a lot easier than pulling up the list of classified estates).

When selecting a Bordeaux wine, look for Cru Bourgeois.

Cru Bourgeois logoCru Bourgeois du Médoc wines have met the strict quality selection procedure of the Alliance des Crus Bourgeois. This union was created in 1962 to study, defend and promote the interests of the owners and producers in the Médoc area. The term dates back to the 15th century, when the bourgeois (merchants) of Bordeaux were able to acquire the finest properties in the region.

“We use an external and independent verification body – Bureau Veritas – to supervise every stage of the process to ensure quality standards and impartiality at every stage,” explained Crus Bourgeois du Médoc Director Frederique de Lamothe via email.

“Since 2008, each vintage is tasted blind by external professionals and evaluated before being sold, making the ‘Cru Bourgeois’ quality approach unique and a benchmark for Bordeaux and the rest of France.”

Cru Bourgeois wines are easy to spot, thanks to an authentication sticker affixed to each bottle since the 2010 vintage.

Cru Bourgeois sticker

“This sticker not only guarantees quality, but also that the wine is representative of its specific terroir and appellation,” said Mr. de Lamothe. “The sticker also has a QR code that allows easy and immediate access to that particular château’s technical information on the Crus Bourgeois du Médoc website.”

The wines come from the famous sub-appellations on Bordeaux’s Left Bank: Médoc, Haut-Médoc, Listrac-Medoc, Moulis en Medoc, Margaux, Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe. They’re made mainly from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

The wines in the Crus Bourgeois de Medoc offer variety, both in taste and price. Bottles range from $20 to $50, with the average price of a bottle currently at $25.50.

For more information on Crus Bourgeois du Medoc including member châteaux visit www.crus-bourgeois.com.

Toast to #LanguedocDay on May 27

Back in 2013 I said the Languedoc region in France was one to watch. I still feel that way, if not more so.

It’s really the best of all worlds. The weather is ideal, the villages are beautiful, and seemingly every grape does well there. Plus you’ll find an abundance of great values.

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click to enlarge

Looking for a sparkling wine? There’s Blanquette and Crémant de Limoux, made using the same traditional method as Champagne (and the second most imported French sparkler after Champagne).

How about the perfect summer white? Picpoul de Pinet is the wine that goes from poolside sip to nighttime aperitif, and is made for shellfish and seafood.

And the de rigeur rosé? Mais oui! Though Provence, its neighbor to the east is best known for its rosés, Languedoc comes in a close second. The climate and grapes make for wines that are very similar in style to Provence rosés.

For the red wines there is just about anything you could want — Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Grenache and beyond.

This #LanguedocDay I invite you to join me on Twitter and Instagram and share what Languedoc wines you are sipping.

For more information visit languedocadventure.com.

#LanguedocDay is sponsored by the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Languedoc.

Cheers and santé!

May 29 is #LanguedocDay

Languedoc Day

Want to share your love of the Languedoc or looking to discover this wine region in the south of France? Join the Amateur Gastronomer and wine fans on Friday, May 29th for #LanguedocDay.

Why do we here at AG love the Languedoc?

It’s a beautiful place for growing grapes.
The region gets 320 days of sunshine on average. That means picture perfect growing conditions and grapes that can reach their ideal ripeness.

There’s a wine for every taste.
Red, white, rosé, sweet and sparkling, you’ll find it in the Languedoc. It’s the best of all worlds — there are Burgundy varietals like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Bordeaux varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and Rhône varietals like Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.

With so many wines to discover.
The crisp Picpoul de Pinet is perfect for summer and pairs well with seafood and shellfish. Or if you’re in a celebratory mood, Crémant de Limoux makes an excellent alternative to Champagne.

And at great values.
Wines from the Languedoc are extremely wallet friendly. You’ll find many delicious wines for under $20 a bottle.

To join the conversation, pick up a bottle of wine from the Languedoc and share what you’re sipping with posts and pictures on Social Media using #LanguedocDay.

For more information on the wines from the Languedoc visit languedocadventure.com.

>> Connect:
Facebook: LanguedocWines
Twitter: @LanguedocWines

image via Languedoc Wines’ Facebook page

Argentina Malbec

Cahors Malbec and the South America Connection

How did Malbec go from its birthplace of Cahors to being the national red wine grape of Argentina? It started some 175 years ago.

Malbec arrived in Chile from France in 1840. It was brought to Argentina from Chile in 1850.

Its success is the combination of several factors starting with South America’s long tradition of winemaking, which dates to Mendoza’s founding in 1561. Prior to Malbec’s arrival, Chile and Argentina had been producing wine made from native grapes.

As Malbec was beginning to take root, it was helped along by a massive immigration from France, Spain and Italy in 1878. This brought better winemaking techniques and a culture of appreciating wine. Notable winemakers adopted Malbec early, and by 1890 Malbec had become an important grape in Mendoza.

More recently, the 1990s saw a revitalization and modernization of winemaking in Argentina and a growth of exports. Between 2000 and 2012 the number of hectares planted with Malbec vines doubled.

Today half of the exported bottled wine from Argentina is Malbec.

Whether it is Cahors Malbec or an Argentine Malbec in your glass, take a moment to enjoy the rich history in each sip.

A special thank you to Professor Pablo Lacoste from the University of Santiago in Chile for the facts and figures cited in this article.

Return to the main page of Cahors Malbec

Cahors Malbec Rose

Cahors Malbec Rosé

With an appreciation for tradition, winemakers in Cahors also seek to modernize Malbec for a new generation of wine lovers. Today the new trend is to produce a rosé of Malbec.

Cahors Malbec roseThe past few years have seen a surge in the popularity of rosé wines in the United States, particularly rosé from France. Though it is still difficult to find Cahors rosé in US stores and restaurants, you’ll definitely want to look for it if you have the opportunity to travel to the region.

Malbec is an extremely versatile grape for rosé. The wine can span a variety of colors and styles – from salmon pink to bright magenta, light and fruity like the rosés of Provence to bursting with ripe red berries like a light bodied Gamay or Pinot Noir.

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Saint-Cirq Lapopie

Snapshots from Saint-Cirq Lapopie

Your visit to the Cahors region is not complete without a day in Saint-Cirq Lapopie.

The commune perched on a cliff overlooking the Lot River is classified as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in France” (Les Plus Beaux Villages de France). In 2012 the French voted it their favorite village in the country.

Take time to stroll along the cobblestone streets and visit the boutiques. There are plenty of cafés and restaurants to enjoy a drink or bite to eat. Climb the steps near the church for magnificent views of the rooftops and river.

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Chateau de Cayx

Guide to Cahors Wineries

Here is your go-to guide on Cahors Malbec.

For a taste that will make you fall in love with Cahors Malbec try wines from these domaines and châteaux.

The wines from each estate are generally listed beginning with entry level (easy to drink, less oak and aging, lower price point) to top of the line (excellent quality, complex, cellar-worthy, higher price point). Vine age is the average age.

Click here to learn about why the location of the vineyards — on the terraces or plateau — is so important to Cahors Malbec.

Scroll down to the bottom for a map of the wineries.

Château du Cèdre

Owned by brothers Pascal and Jean-Marc Verhaeghe who took over the vineyard from their father in 1987, Château du Cèdre produces exceptional Malbec in Vire-sur-Lot. For that “aha! moment” – when you take a sip and understand what makes Cahors Malbec so special and delicious – try the 2011 Le Cedre. In 2003 the Verhaeghe brothers transitioned to organic farming and were awarded official certification in 2009.

Chateau du Cedre wines

Location and soil: Third terrace; clay and limestone soils.

Website: www.chateauducedre.com

Wines to try:
Cèdre Heritage 2011
100% Malbec from 30 year-old vines, 18 months on the lees in tanks.

Château du Cèdre 2011
90% Malbec, 5% Merlot, 5% Tanat from 30 year-old vines. 22 months in oak barrels: 1/3 new, 1/3 one year-old, 1/3 two years old.

Le Cèdre 2011
100% Malbec from 40 year-old vines. Hand harvested. 24 months in barrel, 80% new.

GC 2011
100% Malbec from 55 year-old vines. Hand harvested. Fermentation and 27 months aging in new oak barrels.

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Clos Triguedina

A Visit to Clos Triguedina

When you arrive for a visit at Clos Triguedina, one of the first things you will likely say is “I would like to taste something.” It is a sentiment that has been expressed there countless times over many centuries.

Cahors and Clos Triguedina are located along the Pilgrimage Route of Santiago de Compostela. In the Middle Ages, pilgrims would find a welcoming place for food and rest at the estate in Vire-sur-Lot. In the Occitan language they would say, “I am longing to dine” – “me trigo de dina.”

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Luzech plateau Cahors

Cahors Crash Course Part 2: Terroir and Terraces

When getting to know Cahors Malbec, it helps to learn about the terroir.

Sure we can go into detail on the geology, terrain and soil depth or type, but today we’re boiling it down to an easy to understand concept – terraces.

These layers of alluvial deposits are what make for such a variety of wines in the Cahors region. Knowing about terraces is the key to understanding the different styles and aging potential of Cahors Malbec.

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