Bucket List Wines: France

GDP's bucket list of French wines


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La Mission Haut-Brion

I might as well get this out of the way as quickly as possible. Yes, Bordeaux is stupidly expensive and many of the wines don’t really excite me as much as they once did, but there are still a few Chateaux that produce iconic wines. La Mission Haut-Brion is one of them.

This is first growth Bordeaux, classically styled with an expressive core of black currant fruit, wrapped in cigar wrapper tobacco notes and dusted with crushed gravel. Still austerely styled, it’s what Bordeaux used to be. By that I mean elegantly styled and long lived.

Yes, the great vintages like 2010, 2009 and 2005 are all stupidly priced at $700 and up, but vintages of lesser renown can give you a great introduction into first growth quality. Check out both the 1998 and, for my tastes, the 1995, which is just coming into its own and clocks in at just over $200 a bottle.
 

French Bucket List

1.
Château Haut-Brion Blanc Cave de l'Elysée Pessac-Léognan (1990)
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2.
Joseph Drouhin Chambolle-Musigny les Amoureuses (2006)
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3.
Thierry Allemand Cornas (2007)
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4.
Vatan Chavignol Clos la Neore (2007)
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5.
Clos Rougeard Saumur Champigny Biodynamic (2007)
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6.
Trimbach Clos Ste. Hune (2002)
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Comments

  • Snooth User: badbobby
    200769 15

    Your right, you should get grief on excluding the great white burgundies, some of the finest expression of chardonnay on the planet. The fact that we've all had it extends to bordeaux and burgundy too, but those didn't get left out. Because France produces so many fine wines, perhaps the list should be extended to 15 or so. CDP? Beaujolais? Vouvray?Champagne?Chablis?

    Jun 14, 2012 at 3:32 PM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 204,480

    You are of course correct. There are so many great wines one should try that I had to trim the list. Maybe parts two and three are in order. Thanks for the comment.

    Jun 14, 2012 at 4:07 PM


  • Snooth User: Richard Foxall
    Hand of Snooth
    262583 2,876

    Well, you could have left out the reds from the Loire so that people like me could still drink them and gloat at their reasonableness! I do think there's room for a part two: Leaving out the chenins of Vouvray is like leaving a continent off your travel bucket list.

    Jun 14, 2012 at 4:20 PM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 204,480

    I see a theme forming here. Part II will be sketched out shortly.

    Jun 14, 2012 at 4:26 PM


  • Snooth User: Azeredo
    536111 9

    Expensive, but nice list.
    Everybody forget Côte-Rotie, and they are an unforgettable experience.

    Jun 14, 2012 at 7:13 PM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 204,480

    Thanks! I was gong to include Gentaz, but the wines are now pretty much unobtainable. Ogier might have been my next pick, or Jamet, but that's another wine for a second or third part of this series.

    Jun 14, 2012 at 7:46 PM


  • Snooth User: Skip Utsey
    1096285 15

    Wow. No Champagne? I expected to see Salon on this list.

    Jun 15, 2012 at 7:34 AM


  • Snooth User: duncan 906
    Hand of Snooth
    425274 1,586

    I can see from this list that you have expensive tastes.I was interested to see a Loire valley red on your list because one does not often come across them.Coincidentally I had a bottle of Saumur-Champigny this weekend which I very much enjoyed but it was a lot cheaper than yours.I have now posted a review for it

    Domaine de la Cune Les 3 Jean Saumur-Champigny

    Jun 17, 2012 at 2:19 PM


  • Snooth User: badbobby
    200769 15

    Duncan 906 - This is a bucket list after all, so price/value really isn't the primary consideration, only quality. There are some great values and really fine red wines in the Loire, as there is in most of the regions in France, and what is listed here is a good representation of what one could sample and die happy knowing they had drunk wines that were fine examples of their style and place. These wines also come with well deserved reputations and a long history of excellence, which is another reason why they are are on the bucket list. Such wines with established pedigrees are necessarily more expensive than those who make good wines in good vintages, but can't maintain that level in ordinary or poor years. Certainly, there are many wines that could qualify, but there has to be a limit, and I think GDP has done a pretty good job getting the ball rolling. France is a place where the list could be as long as your arm, or leg, or pick an appendage...

    Jun 17, 2012 at 11:54 PM


  • Making a Bucket List Napa Valley - Cheers,

    Jun 23, 2012 at 12:34 PM


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