Tag: Sancerre

WINE QUALITY IS A REFLECTION OF THE WINEMAKER’S PASSION FOR LIFE

WINE QUALITY IS A REFLECTION OF THE WINEMAKER’S PASSION FOR LIFE

I am far from a wine expert, however, as is the case with many things in life – I become more knowledgeable and appreciative as the years go by. I know what I like to drink, I know which foods I enjoy with certain wines, I am very open to trying anything new, and I have become very enthralled with the people who dedicate their lives to the grape.

Case in point, although I am not that fond of white wines, I am very enthused with Sauvignon Blanc, and in particular, those grapes that wind up as a Sancerre. Having visited the town of Sancerre many times and having built some familiarity with the Loire Valley, I consider myself to be a bit of a Sancerre advocate.

I have enjoyed the privilege of tasting wines in the private cellars of noteworthy wine makers in Sancerre and in particular that of Daniel Chotard. After many years I now consider Daniel to be my friend (even though his English is almost as shaky as my French – almost). I have hosted Daniel and his wife in Saranac Lake, have worked diligently with my other French friends: the Weissberg’s – to get Chotard’s wine on regional lists, and have had the pleasure of breaking bread in various bistros throughout the Loire with Daniel and a cadre of enthusiastic chefs and wine afficandos.

I read the following review of Chotard’s Sancerre; in this case a 2009, by the Wine Spectator and Robert Parker:
“90 points Wine Spectator: “Super fresh, with lots of chive, fleur de sel, lime and chalk notes backed by a strong flinty note on the bracing finish, which really stretches out. Drink now.” (12/10) 89 points Parker’s Wine Advocate: “Daniel Chotard’s 2009 Sancerre is diversely scented and flavored with papaya, grapefruit, cassis, and passion fruit. A distinctly saline overlay – along with bright acids – helps convey a sense of invigoration and refreshment and offsets the relatively bitter cast to a persistently zesty finish. I suspect this will be best enjoyed over the next 12-18 months.” (08/10)
Not a bad review; one that certainly would help Daniel move his wine into certain American restaurant circles, however it really doesn’t tell the whole story. There is something else about wine that is more social that taste, flavor and aroma. Certainly anyone who enjoys Sauvignon Blanc would find Chotard’s to be quite exceptional, but to me it is impossible to separate the wine from the person.
Daniel Chotard, and now his son to follow, is 100% dedicated to the grape and his wine. Whether it is Chotard, Mondavi, or Helen Turley, that passion is what really makes a wine sing. Whatever the situation, it is the grape that comes first. To a wine maker caring for the grape is comparable to caring for a child. It requires so much time, knowledge, passion and luck, that it becomes quite apparent that the wine maker must pass on some of his/her own characteristics to the end product. Just as a parent influences how the child evolves and the type of person they become, so too does the grape reflect this caring relationship.
Daniel Chotard is a wonderful, hard-working, dedicated, caring person who in turn produces a wine of unique character. As is the case with those who are as dedicated to wine making, as a chef is dedicated to cuisine, Chotard represents all that is right in the world of wine.
I would certainly encourage anyone who can find a bottle or two of Chotard Sancerre to saver it, but more importantly I would encourage you to plan a trip to the Loire and pay my friend a visit. I guarantee the wine will become more than a great beverage, it will become a reflection of the man and a memory for life.
Harvest America Ventures will be planning a Educational Adventure Wine Vacation to France in September of 2013. Daniel Chotard is one of the program contributors. Visit our website for more details as they unfold:
http://www.harvestamericaventures.com
click on Wine Vacations

Plan Your French “Wine Memories” Vacation

In the fall of 2013, Harvest America Ventures, in partnership with The Weissberg Family of Paris and Chef Sarah Steffan of the Lake Placid Lodge, will present a vacation opportunity of a lifetime.

Unlike most wine tours that focus primarily on tasting, this educational wine immersion program is designed for wine lovers, restaurant professionals, cooks and chefs, those who appreciate the connection between wine and culture, and adventure tourists who are drawn to the beauty of Burgundy, France.

Participants will tour regional vineyards and wineries, walk the vineyards and touch the vines, chat with wine makers and renown chefs, taste various wines from the rich regions of Loire and Burgundy, visit Middle Age and Renaissance castles, enjoy the aromas and flavors of traditional French food, become a part of French village life, enjoy the musical talents of a renown French pianist, and bike through the most picturesque and peaceful French countryside.

Your home base for the wine experience will be a 16th century stone building: “The Maison des Adirondacks” in Entrains sur Nohain, France. This beautiful property is in close proximity to Beaune, Vezelay, Sancerre, Pouilly sur Loire, Chablis and Auxerre.

All of your meals, in-country transportation, wine tastings, classes, immersion activities, and lodging are included in the price of the week long, life-experience.

Watch for additional details as they unfold by checking our website at: http://www.harvestamericaventures.com. The anticipated dates at this point are September 23-29, 2013. Mark your calendars! The program is limited to four couples (8 persons) this year.

Paul Sorgule
Harvest America Ventures, LLC

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