Sun | Dec 4, 2016

Cheers to the wine club dinner

Published:Thursday | March 12, 2015 | 12:00 AMJason Clarke
Clarke
The range of French wines the club enjoyed.
Scotiabank gal pals Rosi Voordouw (left) and Claudine Miller.
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Once a month, a group of us as friends get together to educate ourselves and try new wines. Last week's meeting was no different, and host for the evening Rosie, inspired by Diner en Blanc, themed this session accordingly - all white, but more important, it was a French wine session. Vive les francais - Long live the French!

France has 10 major wine regions which are responsible for some of the world's most respected and revered wines. These 10 regions are Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Beaujalais, Champagne, Cotes du Rhone, Jura Languedoc, Loire Valley, Medoc, and Provence. French wines are old-world wines, which means they are labelled based on where they come from and not the varietals that they contain. This can be particularly difficult for us to appreciate.

Bordeaux is one of my favourite wine regions in France. It produces three main grapes for red wine, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvinon and Cabernet Franc. White are not to be forgotten, and includes Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.

For the night we had Mouton Cadet Bordeaux and a Mouton Cadet Saint Emilion. Saint Emilion is a province in Bordeaux. The Reserve Bordeaux was exquisite with an absolutely beautiful nose. But the Saint Emilion was simply magnificent. An incredibly intense nose, with aromas of blackberry and jammy fruits. To the taste, amazing! An incredible mouth feel that is more like velvet on your tongue. It is a well-balanced wine with a long finish, which makes it good from the first sip to the last drop.

Beaujalais is made primarily from Gamay grapes which produces a great light-bodied wine with low tannins. It is very similar to a Pinot Noir in body and feel, which makes it exceptional with foods like fish. It is a refreshing wine with a distinct candy-like strawberry flavour. In fact, it might be a great red option if you have cut meat out of your diet for Lent, and thinking of something red that will complement fish. It also makes for a great breakfast wine for a Sunday brunch.

There is a growing trend among old winemakers, to adopt how new-world wines are labelled in order to make them more appealing to younger more inexperienced wine drinkers. One such brand is Hob Nob - modern new-world labelling and a screw cap which makes for easy consumption anywhere. The Malbec we tried was very different from Argentinian Malbecs. This was certainly a lot more earthy than fruity or berry, like its South American counterpart. Hob Nob carries a full range of varietals that are available in most supermarkets.

It is near impossible to have a French wine night and not have champagne in the mix - a little bubbly to toast the stars. Champagne has such elegance and refinement that cannot be ignored. Looking at varietals, champagne is made up of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Meunier. It's this delicate balance that produces some of the most revered sparkling wines in the world. This night we opened a bottle of Henriot Champagne, which simply put is clean, refreshing and comes to life in your mouth. True to a typical champagne, it is incredibly dry (not sweet). Talk about the ideal celebratory bubbly which this so happens to be - the perfect way to celebrate life, friends and building great memories.

Every now and again, get together with a few friends and plan your own wine night, and try new things. Explore together and keep track of what you have had, what you enjoyed and what you enjoyed about it.

- I am not an expert, merely a wine enthusiast sharing my thoughts and experiences. Feel free to share your own experiences at wineenthusiastja@gmail.com.