Top 5 Pinot Noirs

I had a terrific opportunity to attend a Sigel’s event at the Park City Club in Dallas with Jasper Russo at the helm. Have you ever had two and a half hours to taste 40 Pinot Noir wines?  Well, I hated to be put in that position, but I tried!  Did I also mention tasting the appetizers served to compliment the wines:  herb crusted beef tenderloin, smoked chicken quesadillas, New England style crab puffs, fresh fruit, and of course artisanal cheeses?

When you think of a Pinot Noirs, you usually think of the region of Bourgogne (Burgundy) France.  The majority of red wine from that region is Pinot Noir; where the majority of white wine from that region is Chardonnay.  The Pinot Noirs for tasting that night were not just from Bourgogne, but a large sampling from California, Oregon, New Zealand. Most were great, and some were good.  It’s all a preference of one’s palate.  What tastes great to me, may be so-so for you.  No biggie!

Now, let’s take a look at the top five fabulous wines that Sigel’s had to offer that evening (in my opinion):

1.  Louis Jadot Pommard – 2007 –  Product Description:  Big, fresh, vibrant red raspberry and cherry flavors followed by impressions of spice and earth mark this generous, robust Pinot Noir, which finishes on a full, ripe note underscored by firm tannins.

Louis Jadot Pommard, Cote de Beaune, France label

2.  Bertrand Ambroise Nuits St. Georges - 2009 – Producer Notes:  This modern, dynamic and reliable producer ensures his wines offer intense, juicy and generous fruit characters whilst still maintaining the mineral, floral and licorice elements of good Nuits St Georges.

3.  Lucien le Moine Bourgogne  – 2009 – the style of 2009 has a broad appeal for wine lovers because of the ripe, pure fruit flavors and fleshy textures.

4.  Coup de Foudre, Sonoma Coast - 2010 – coming out of nowhere!  This bottle was indeed a “Thunderbolt of Love.”   The 2010 Pinot Noir possesses an expressive bouquet of spring flowers and black raspberries. The palate consists of hints of fresh porcini mushrooms, dark cherries, black currant and cream, underlined by spicy notes. It displays great balance of structure and richness as well as abundant tannin.  Believe it or not, this was one of the most expensive wines of the evening running around $100/bottle.

Two lovely ladies from Pioneer Wines at the event to pour the Coup de Foudre.

Pioneer Wine Reps

Pioneer Wine Representatives

5.  Loring, Rosella’s - 2010 –  very velvety in structure, with a density and purity of fruit beyond anything the winery has seen in prior vintages.

Although my list of top five Pinot Noirs at the tasting were not all from Burgundy, most were.  Visiting the Burgundy region of France is beautiful and a wine lover’s paradise; a perfect place to learn about wine making. Some wine drinkers will maintain that only Burgundy provides the most haunting  bottles, memories of which may last a lifetime.

Come to Burgundy where “the price is right” and with the strong dollar to the euro right now, good time to consider an “extraordinary wine travel experience to France.”  Because it is a value, consider buying the French Pinot Noirs.  And where do they buy the better valued wines? At Sigel’s and Sigel’s Elite in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area!

French Burgundies rule!

This is Burgundy country: rolling hills, lush valleys and vineyards as far as the eye can see. You can stop at many of the little “caves” along the route to sample the fine Burgundy wine. In France, wine cellars are called “caves” so where you see a sign for Caves, you will find wine tasting and wines for sale.

I am hoping to take an intimate group of 10-12 epicurean enthusiasts to the Burgundy region through Epicopia Culinary Journeys, and would love to get your input.  Do you have a favorite region of Burgundy?  I am also curious if any Red Burgundies have given you the “chills”, in a good way!

I live in the Dallas area, and perhaps we could have our own Burgundy experience here to whet our appetites?  What do you think?  Anyone game?  A Burgundy wine tasting, an after-party or dinner…

~ A la Votre ~





International Sommelier Guild – Class 1

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010, was my first class at the International Sommelier Guild.  The class will meet for 16 weeks, every Sunday, from 12-6pm.  We learned so much that I am behind already!  We raced through all the material, I was writing so fast and still missed information.  We are starting off with grape varietals.  During class 1, we studied the Chardonnay grape and the Sauvignon Blanc grape.  We did two blind wine tastings – 6 at one time during the first half of class and 6 others during the second half of class. 

The instructor, Karla Barber (President of the Dallas Chapter of Women for WineSense) , was kind enough to bring in a plethora of “picnic food”  -  3 types of cheese, sausage, olives, almonds, warm baguette bread.  Awesome.  It looks like there will be about 10 people in the class – some are somewhat advanced and some don’t know much at all.  I think I’m right in the middle (maybe I’m boasting)…

Since our text book is not in yet, I went to the Allen and Plano libraries looking for wine books.  I also browsed through the collection of books at Borders and Barnes & Noble.  So many of them are full of beautiful pictures.

If you haven’t visited  my FaceBook page yet, please visit and “like”…


Loire Valley Wine Region

The challenge for week 2 is to talk about a wine region that I am least familiar with.  I am happy to do that because I will be travelling to Paris, France next year.  Part of my plan is to visit vineyards and winemakers of the Champagne region and the Loire Valley region (which I am least familiar with).

I happenned to attend a wine tasting event at Vino100 in Dallas, Texas this past week.  I was speaking with the marketing representative from a South African winery, and he offered me a Chenin Blanc.  I hesitated for a moment when a friend of mine asked if I had ever tasted a Vouvray, which I have.  She said that Vouvray is made from the Chenin Blanc grape which is a huge export of the Loire Valley….who knew?  Vouvray can be dry, medium dry, sweet and sparkling.  Sparkling – my favorite!  Well, I actually haven’t tried it yet, but any type of grape that comes in a bubbly texture has got to be good, am I right?

Another varietal of the Loire Valley is the Cabernet Franc.  Have I tried this before?  Perhaps in a blend?  Hey, I was correct!  I was visiting the site which mentions that varietal is mainly for blending.  This site is quite informative for my challenge.  It also mentions that the Loire Valley is France’s most diverse wine region, producing excellent and affordable wines in every style.  The more I read about the wine region and what it produces, the more set in stone my plans will be to visit there.

An 80 page magazine/book about the Loire Valley wines is available and can be sent to the US only.

Vouvray Wine Cork


Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc

Had one of my old standby’s this weekend – Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc – New Zealand has a reputation for producing excellent wines of this kind. Monkey Bay is slightly under $10 – another Sauv Blanc from NZ is Kim Crawford’s – sets you back by about $15….I’d like to hear what you think…do you like Sauv Blanc? If so, what is your favorite?