View of Pouilly Fume and the hill of Sancerre from "les Monts Damnes" above the village of Chavignol, world-known for its famous Goat Cheese "Crottin de Chavignol".
The small cylindrical goat cheese from the area around Chavignol has been produced since the 16th century, but it wasn't until the year 1829 that it was first written about.
View of the Pouilly-Fume vineyards across the Loire River from the hill of Sancerre. The tiny village under the forest in the middle below the horizon is Saint-Andelain. Below and the right is the lieu-dit "Les Berthiers" where Claude lives and makes his wine.
Pouilly-Fume is made of 100% Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignon Blanc is a green-skinned grape variety which originates from the Bordeaux region of France. It is now planted in many of the world's wine regions, producing a crisp, dry, and refreshing white wine. Conversely, the grape is also a component of the famous dessert wines from Sauternes. Sauvignon blanc is also widely cultivated in New Zealand and California.
Depending on climate, the flavor can range from grassy (New Zealand) to sweetly tropical (many California examples). Wine experts often use the phrase "cat's pee in a gooseberry bush" as a favorable description of Sauvignon blanc from the Loire Valley. Sauvignon blanc, when slightly chilled, pairs well with fish or cheese, particularly Chevre (Goat cheese). It is also known as one of the few wines that can pair well with Sushi...
In the "Cuverie", Claude has me try two samples from two different vineyards. The cuvee "Les bois" (clay-limestone soil) and the cuvee "Les Chailloux" (all of the above plus a lot of silex). The two plots are distant from 300 feet but the wines are totally opposite. The terroir of silex add some beautiful light mineral notes. Claude plans to release the "silex" cuvee in the near future.
Chateau Laubade Salon where we tasted fantastic Armagnacs: VSOP, XO, 1978, 1948 and 1924 among others.
Chateau Laubade also produces Floc de Gastogne, equivalent to the Pineau des Charentes in Cognac.
Laubade Floc de Gascogne blanc is 17% and a light yellow gold. Quite sharp and fruity, it has tones of pineapple and hints of pine sap, making it very interesting, refreshing and complex.
Appelltion Floc de Gascogne contrôllée is a style of lightly fortified sweet / tart wine usually served in France chilled, without ice, in a wine glass as an aperitif. It also goes well with foie gras, dessert and chocolates. Floc de Gascogne is meant to be drunk immediately and should be enjoyed within a year or less of of the production. The date of bottling is usually hidden in very small type on the bottom of the back label.
Floc de Gascogne is made from traditional Gascony recipes originating in the 16th century by combining 1/3 fresh, unfermented grape must (juice) with 2/3 of the finest Armagnac. The grapes are grown in Gascony vineyards located in Gers and a few parishes in Lot-et-Garonne and Landes of South West France. The Armagnac must be made from grapes grown, distilled, and aged in the same winery as the unfermented must. After blending, the wine is then stored in barrels for at least ten months for aging.
This sandy and silty soil produces fruity, light, delicate and highly praised eau-de-vie
Baco Noir is an hybrid. It results from the crossing made with the Vitis Vinifera "Folle Blanche" and the Vitis Riparia " Grand Glabre" created in 1902 by Francois Baco, famous French bybrid maker, who gave it his name. Its strength is incredible and it must be cut very severely to decrease its productivity. It is not very sensitive ti fungus diseases and tends to ripen late.
Tasting: Baco noir produces a medium body, deeply tinted, acidic red wine which is fruit forward and often carries aromas of black fruits and caramel.
Folle Blanche was a foundation grape for Armagnac in the past but has lost ground to the earlier maturing Ugni Blanc. It is also known as Picpoul, although it is in fact unrelated to the Picpoul of the Languedoc) as well as Gros Plant and Enrageat blanc.. Folle Blanche is grown in small plantings in California, Spain and even Uruguay.
Tasting: Distilled alone, Folle Blanche is fine, elegant and very complex, as Bacco, on the other hand, is rich and opulent.
First used to make Cognac and Armagnac although not as popular for that purpose as Ugni Blanc and Baco. The Colombard has a high natual acidity making it a good choice for blends. If given the proper treatment Colombard can produce crisp whites with citrus fruits and a pleasant minerality.
The best Colombards come from the south of France where it is sold as the VDP Côtes de Gascogne. It is also an important varietal in South Africa though decreasingly so.
The Ugni Blanc, also known as Trebbiano, is planted in France, Italy and Australia and is used for making wines as well as brandy. Its wines are usually dry and high in acidity.
- The Armagnac region lies between the Adour and Garonne rivers in the foothills of the Pyrenees.
- Armagnac was granted AOC status in 1936.
- Armagnac production is overseen by a Bureau National Interprofessionel de l'Armagnac (BNIA).
- Armagnac production is significantly lower than that of the Cognac region; for every six bottles of Armagnac sold around the world there are one hundred bottles of cognac sold.
- Armagnac has been making brandy for around 200 years longer than Cognac.
- Bas-Armagnac is the most famous area of production of the Armagnac AOC. With its capital city Eauze, it extends over the Landes and Gers departments.
- Health Benefits: research has suggested that Armagnac has health enhancing qualities. For example, those living in Gascony, the area of France wherein Armagnac is made, tend to live around five years longer than the average in France. Experiments have suggested that a modest dose of Armagnac each day could also reduce the likelihood of heart disease. Some speculate that Armagnac's health benefits relate to its unique distillation process and aging.
Une barrique de vin peut réaliser plus de miracles qu'une église pleine de saints.