I am cautiously adding this page.  I am by no means an expert on wine, but certainly enjoy drinking it so I think it would be nice to share things that I learn while living in one of the best wine countries in the world.

Wine Posts
Bordeaux, St. Emilion
Our Wine Club

The Basics 

A few things to begin with.  Wine in France is not labeled by grape but by region. They expect you to know what grapes are grown in what region.  A few things I do know:
Bordeaux grows a lot of cabernet savignon and merlot grapes, and blends of the two.
Cotes du Rhone grows mostly syrah and grenache grapes, and blends of the two.
Burgundy grows mostly all pinot noir and chardonnay and the grapes are un-blended.
I must admit, I do not know as much about white wines, but once summer rolls around hopefully I will be motivated to learn more on that end. 

I adore Bordeaux.  I think it's a very safe choice when picking out a bottle of French wine because most vintages (year the wine was made) over the past 10 years produced excellent wine.  I hate Beaujolais Nouveau.  Georges Duboeuf (the flagship wine company for BN) is brilliant. He took a very poor product and did a great job marketing it until it became successful.  It is terrible wine. (the Mr. did a marketing project on this wine... very interesting from a business standpoint). 

My heart lies with Cotes du Rhone...originally, because my college room mate Shannon raved about it when she returned home from studying abroad in France and since I knew nothing about wine, I took her word for it.  5 years later, the Mr. proposed in Arles (city in Provence) after a day of exploring a Chateauneuf du Pape vineyard (the creme de le creme of the Cotes du Rhone region).  Chateauneuf du Pape wines are usually pretty pricey, so it is more of a special occasion wine for a newlywed couple.  When roaming through a grocery store in the US or wine shop in Paris, I generally go for a Cotes du Rhone.

Our tour guide Mike teaching us about grapes at a Chateauneuf du Pape vineyard.
The Rhone valley
Burgundy and the Loire Valley.  We plan to explore in the Spring.  I don't drink much Burgundy right now because I simply don't know much about the region.  I also do not love pinot noir because I enjoy a more full bodied wine, although a really good pinot noir can be delicious!  Loire Valley... I got nothing right now. I don't even know what grapes are grown there.  Stay tuned....

Quick lesson on AOC wines
I typically try to buy AOC wines in France because it means that the wine making process is strictly controlled by an oversight board.  All AOC products are held to a rigorous set of clearly defined standards. (AOC also applies to other agricultural products such as cheese).  In an AOC wine, the vineyard is precluded from diluting wine because the AOC strictly controls how the wine is made and what can be put on the wine labels.  The alternative is table wine or vin de pays, table wine being totally unregulated and vin de pays regulated loosely, but not to the standard of AOC wines.  Thus, vin de table and vin de pays are typically cheaper than AOC wine.  However, just because a wine is from an AOC region certainly doesn't mean it has to break the bank.  With me? (The wine labeling rules in France are very complicated in and of themselves, so we will save that for another day). 

The Original Post

My first wine post:  "Each time we drink wines, I am going to blog about them in the hopes that I will learn more in the process.  I thought a Bordeaux would be a good starting place."

Yeah... so that didn't happen.  If I had blogged about every wine we have enjoyed in France over the past nine months, I probably would not have had time to leave the apartment.  So, no more broken promises.  I am definitely going to share every single wine we drink with you.  Only the special ones.  The first (and only) two wine posts I actually did are below. 

Bordeaux 2008, Chateau Haut-L'Artigue

Forgot to take the picture before we opened... and spilled.

After a little googling, I discovered that the grape varieties of this wine are 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot.  You don't get this from the label like you would with California wines.  Grapes were aged in oak barrels.  We had this with a cheese tray and thought it was very nice.  Nothing phenomenal, but a great table wine.  Has a fruity nose but tastes a little smokey. The tannins are nice, but not too strong. A very well rounded wine. Robust with a light finish.  I would definitely buy it again.

Vin de Savoie
The wine of the moment comes from the Savoie region in France which sits at the foothills of the Alps near Switzerland (you can see it on the little map below).  It is produced by Jean Perrier et Fis and is made solely from the Mondeuse grape.  I chose this wine because it was on sale at Monoprix (our grocery store) and it said Appellation d'Origine Controlee on the label, a classification typically seen in it's three letter acronym form, AOC.  I also wanted to expand my horizons beyond the usual Bordeaux and Cotes du Rhone (still my true loves, of course).

After a little quick research, I learned that red wines from this region are typically very light and usually made from Mondeuse, Gamay Noir or Pinot Noir grapes.  This one happens to be a Mondeuse.  It is very similar to a Pinot Noir because of the light body.  It had a smooth finish and complimented our ravioli well.  I usually prefer something fuller bodied, but the Mondeuse was a nice change of pace.  So use this little wine savvy at your next dinner party or on your condescending waiter at the next fancy restaurant, "I am usually a Pinot Noir drinker but love a good French Mondeuse when I can find one."  Tres impressive.