Burgundy? Taste these lesser-known French wines
You love Burgundy but oh, those prices. You can’t drink Champagne all the time, and
Bordeaux is just not what you’re craving. There’s plenty of other French wine you shouldn’t miss out on. The cabernet-franc-based reds, with pure fruit and savory flavors, have long been the pour in Parisian bistros, and top whites made from chenin blanc are serious alternatives to Burgundy. legendary estate that makes several cabernet franc cuvées. This one is subtle, spicy, silky, and utterly elegant. Exciting changes are happening in the south of France, where this small region hugs the border with Spain. 2014 DOMAINE GAUBY VIEILLES VIGNES BLAN
2015 DOMAINE GUIBERTEAU SAUMUR BLANC
The reds and whites from this estate are found on cutting-edge New York wine lists and are also a French favorite of Napa winemakers. The entry-level chenin blanc has dazzling purity and lightness, with savory and mineral flavors and a deep, mouthwatering character. 2012 CLOS ROUGEARD SAUMUR-CHAMPIGNY
OK, it’s expensive. Every three-star restaurant in Europe hustles to get a tiny allocation from this
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Gérard Gauby was the pioneer who restored decades-old vines on his family property and planted trees to shelter them from the hot afternoon sun and powerful winds. This brilliant rich white, with honeysuckle aromas and citrusy flavors, is made from macabeo, grenache blanc, and grenache gris. (The estate makes great reds, too.) For great syrah, people turn to the northern Rhône Valley’s fashionable appellations CôteRôtie, Hermitage, and Cornas. These wildly expensive wines need decades of aging before they’re ready to drink, though.
2014 DOMAINE ALAIN GRAILLOT SAINT-JOSEPH ROUGE
This producer in Crozes-Hermitage expanded into Saint-Joseph and makes a red there that’s delicious right on release. It has rich, smoky, black olive, and licorice aromas, with juicy dark fruit and peppery flavors. 2015 DOMAINE FAURY SAINTJOSEPH BLANC
This luscious, succulent white blend made from marsanne and roussanne grapes is from a top vintage in the Rhône. It has wonderfully layered aromas of smoke and white flowers, with exuberant ripe peach and spice flavors. This region in Provence, nestled around the fishing village of the same name east of Marseille, is a magnet for rosé lovers. But Bandol’s less wellknown reds, which are
powerful and sophisticated, are the real treat. 2013 CHÂTEAU DE PIBARNON BANDOL
The château has one of Bandol’s most beautiful vineyards, in an amphitheater of rustic stone terraces overlooking the Mediterranean. This bold red has tons of depth and spice, with wonderful flavors of leather, earth, and herbs such as thyme and rosemary.
2012 CHÂTEAU PRADEAUX BANDOL
The Portalis family has owned this estate since before the French Revolution. This lush, round red from old vines of mourvèdre has subtle, wild complexity with notes of licorice, leather, olives, flowers and tobacco. Source: Elin McCoy/Bloomberg News