A Trip to France, Bathed in Wine

Posted by on Apr 12, 2013 in Foodie Advice, Frenchie Fridays | 13 comments



Okay, so I wish I were on a trip to France, bathed in wine. I’ve been so busy I can hardly see straight. A couple nights ago I thought: TO HELL WITH WORK! WALK AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER. TURN OFF YOUR PHONE. So I did, and I wound up at dinner (grilled salmon over mixed greens with goat cheese and poached pears–YUM) and a wine tasting with a couple of friends. It had been eons since I’d been to a tasting, and no other store around does it quite like Divine Wine Emporium on the coast. Especially when we’re talking French country wines.

ONCE AT THE EMPORIUM, we loaded our plates with varieties of what I call stinky cheese, and fig confiture (OMG delish), and settled in to listen. The woman who presented was a hilarious American woman with a robust sense of humor and plenty of drool-worthy pictures of French countryside. As France geek extraordinaire, everytime she asked a question, I was like ooooh oooh, PICK ME! I had to sit on my hands so I wasn’t THAT GIRL in the front row, overly eager and embarrassing her friends.

At any rate, I was transported from sweatpants and computer, to a vineyard excursion. SIGH. And dude, did I need that.

AS FOR THE WINES, all of the grapes are hand-harvested by farmers and NOT processed through machinery like the vast majority of bargain wines and well, most wines made today. These wines had so much more class and pizazz–it really showed when we tasted them! So I highly recommend them for weekend cooking hosted by Beth Fish—because what is food without wine?




CHATEAU LA TOUCHE–a muscadet that’s a white wine with a clean mineral taste that makes your mouth pucker ever so slightly–a perfect pairing with oysters or any other delicate seafood or chicken dish. This wine comes from the Loire Valley in France, a region famous for Joan of Arc, its gorgeous limestone châteaux, and the former stomping grounds of French royalty.

VISAN CÔTES DU RHONE–a grenache and syrah blend that’s a medium-bodied red with a fruitiness that would pair well with soups, tomato sauces, or grilled meats. This hails from the southwest of France.  Rocky, hilly countryside, dry, hot sunshine. Yes, please!

Quick tip–if you ever need to grab a quick bottle and have no idea what to buy, just about any Côtes du Rhone is not only dependable, but delicious in my opinion. And they’re often $9-$13.



ESPRIT DE FLORE CAHORS–a malbec blend that’s a full-bodied red with a bite that would be delicious with a heartier meal, rich in fat. (Yum. Who doesn’t love fat?) It comes from the Bordeaux region, mostly famous for its many vineyards, but also for the beautiful coastline to the west.

Food and wine tour of France anyone? I, for one, am sold!









Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Vaughn Roycroft

    What fun! I’m glad you were able to “step away from the keyboard,” Heather! And what a delicious way to step away. It all sounds wonderful.

    A lady here made a business of organizing wine and beer pairing dinners in concert with the better restaurants in our area, and they are always so wonderful. She’s brought in winemakers from California, Oregon, Italy, Australia and New Zealand, but never from France, if you can believe it. I admit, of all the wine regions and varietals, I am always the most intimidated by the French ones. So thanks for the tips. Cheers!

    • Heather

      Vaughn, I’d looooooove to attend a dinner like that! French wines are simple once you know which grapes grow in certain regions:

      Burgundy: pinot
      Loire Valley: muscadet, chardonnay, chenin blanc (predominantly white wines)
      Bordeaux: merlot, cabernet, malbec, cabernet franc
      Cotes du Rhone: grenache, syrah, grenoble

      Of course there are variations within all of those regions, but when you pick up a bottle of French wine, just look at the region and use this key. 🙂
      Thanks for your comment!

  2. Beth F

    I love Cotes-du-Rhone. What a great sounding event. I’m going to look for this label. Also we’ll look for the ESPRIT DE FLORE CAHOR. We had an old-vine Malbec the other day that was really good.

  3. caite@a lovely shore breeze

    forgive me…but the whole subject of wine is just a little complicated for my addled brain. someone gives me wine..I like it..or I don’t, but the whole study of it is not for me.
    now on the otherhand, wine growing areas are often very lovely and fun to visit.

    • Heather

      Caite–LOL! I understand. It can be overwhelming at first. I’ve learned about it slowly over time and I still wouldn’t call myself an expert. I love the wine/liquor stores that include a little tag that describes the flavors and the point rating. That helps a lot!

  4. Esme

    For as much as I like food I cannot profess to like wine as much-I am not much of a drinker. When I do go to France I do enjoy finding new wines. A few years ago I was in Burgundy and it was a treat to visit the villages that harvest the wine. Have you ever read the Billionaire’s Vinegar?

  5. JoAnn

    I love events like this, but it’s been far too long since I’ve attended one. Excellent recommendation for Cotes-du-Rhone. We serve it most frequently in the summer with grilled meats.

  6. Joy Weese Moll (@joyweesemoll)

    I’ll look for these wines in France. We’ll be in the Loire Valley for much of our trip and that sounds like a wonderful wine.

  7. Heather

    Ihave attended one wine tasting and it was for an engagement party. It was held at a small winery and we had a host who led us through the event. it was a lot of fun. Now I drink mostly New Zealand wines, which are our flavour of the moment. Though I have tasted wonderful wines from a number of countries.

    • Heather

      Heather, I love Matua, a New Zealand sauvignon blanc. It’s got the perfect amount of grapefruit and mineral flavor. I drink it a lot in the summer or with spicy food.

  8. Tina

    Love a malbec, actually, there haven’t been many wines I don’t enjoy sampling but your reviews here have me menu planning, food and drink, for next week.

  9. Laurie C

    I can barely remember the types of wine I like (merlot, reisling are the only two that come to mind) much less vineyards and years, but I have enjoyed the various wine tastings I’ve gone to over the years. Yours sounds like a lot of fun!

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