Mac's Notes from France - Fall, 2016

Mac is traveling south-eastern France and checking out some of his favourite wine venues; he is sending along some photos and notes on his travels for PrestonWine readers.

Anncey, 25 October, 2016

Abbecy canal

Annecy is a winter summer resort located on a beautiful lake in the French Alps within easy striking distance of Megeve, Chamonix, Mont Blanc and Albertville.

It is located in the viticulture area of Savoie whose climate is modified by the lakes and the lower western slopes.

Familiar varieties include Pinot Noir, Gamay, Monduese and Chardonnay plus a bunch of cultivars you have never heard about. Quality has improved since I first passed through this area fifty years ago and again five years ago.

Tain-l'Hermitage, 30 October, 2016

The view from a hotel room in Tain-l'Hermitage looking across the Rhone to the West Bank town of Tournon.

This is Syrah Central in the world of wine. Hermitage, Crozes, Cornas and Saint Joseph represented by famous producers such as JL Chave, Chapoutier, Paul Joboulet and Delas.

The sweet smell of fermentation fills the air but a string of successful vintages does not seem to be trickling down to this town of 6,000.

... more to follow as we move south to Ménerbes.

Southern Rhone - Côtes du Rhône Region, 11 November, 2016


Mont Ventoux, at 1911 meters, dominates the Southern Rhone landscape.





The Southern Côtes du Rhône, led by Chateauneuf du Pape, have, for many years, provided a world standard for the production of wines made from Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah grapes.

This area is warm and getting warmer, but some innovations are taking hold.

Mourvèdre, a heat seeking grape, is replacing Syrah in some areas because the latter grape can get flabby and lose its pepper under hot conditions. Grapes like Syrah are also being planted at higher altitudes.

The Dentelles de Montmiral is a mountain chain that backs the regions of Gigondas and Beaumes de Venise. The higher altitude plantings provide a fresher more balanced wine than those found at lower locations.

I have hiked some of the extensive network of trails that cross these mountains and found plantings up to 400 metres on mainly limestone alluvial deposits.

To the east, the imposing Mont Ventoux Massif also provides kilometres of high altitude slopes for cultivation of the vine.

This is a region to watch.

We will soon be enroute home... just in  time for the arrival of our Spanish (Montsant)  frozen musts and juices - the last of our Harvest 2016 offerings. Looking forward to seeing you all...

in vino veritas....

Mac MacDonald
from France

(updated 2016-11-11)

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