All wines called 'Champagne' must come from the Champagne region of France. Mailly Brut Reserve is from the Montagne de Reims region of Champagne. It is made from both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, all from Grand Cru vineyards, that is, the finest vineyards of the village of Mailly. The wine is fermented dry. It is very crisp with grapefruit and ginger aromas, and a mineral finish. Wine Spectator gives this Champagne 91 points. It retails for $39.99.
From the region of Chablis in Burgundy France we tasted a Domaine Chenevieres. Chablis is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes, fermented dry, and gets no oak. More than any other wine, Chablis truly reflects the Kimmeridgian soil in which the grapes are grown. The wine smells of wet stones, soil, mineral flint with some soft apricot and peach aromas. It has a fresh acidity tha is perfect with light seafood. But more than that, a sip of the wine will make you feel like you are standing in a vineyard in Chablis. It is a true expression of the terroir. It retails for $19.99
The white wines of Graves in Bordeaux are, also, highly expressive of their terroir. Chateau Clos Floridene Blanc Graves is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grapes. The aromas are of Meyer lemon, Chamomile, and Juniper. The acidity is quite crisp. Rebecca Davidson, Total Wine's manager who led the class passed around stones, rocks and dirt from the areas that she had toured. The smell of the stones from Graves were an exact match to the smell of the wine. This white Bordeaux really brings its region with it. Wine Spectator rates Chateau Clos Floridene Blanc a 91. It retails for $29.99
From the southern Rhone Valley we tasted a rosé, Chateau de Nages Bui Nages Nimes. Like many of the southern Rhone rosés, this one is a blend of Grenache and Syrah grapes. It has aromas of rose water, strawberry and raspberry with a crisp pink grapefruit finish. Chateau de Nages practices biodynamic farming. This wine retails for $10.99
All four of these wines are light and crisp, and reflective of their respective terroirs. They are all food-friendly, especially with summer fare.
Currently, Total Wine is offering a 15% discount on all their regular-priced French wines.