While discussing wine, terms like AOC, AOP, DOC, DOCG, AVA, and appellation are often thrown around. The acronyms and words all equate to a recognized geographical area where wine is made. Within that geographical area, there are often rules, laws, and regulations that dictate what grapes can be grown, the weight of the grapes that can be harvested off one acre or hectare, barrel aging requirements, and what percentage of grape varietals have to be in a bottle labelled with the geographical term.
For some geographical areas, the restrictions are such that, if a wine is bottled with the term for that area, that the wine must be 100 percent of one specific grape. We decided to give this the name “The Rule of 100” for this blog.
In Burgundy France, if the appellation name is listed on the bottle and it is a white wine, then it must be 100 percent Chardonnay; and if it is a red wine (excluding Beaujolais, which is technically part of Burgundy), then it must be 100 percent Pinot Noir. If a wine is a red and labelled one of the Beaujolais appellations, it must be 100 percent Gamay. Wines from the Loire Valley that are labelled Vouvray will be 100 percent Chenin Blanc, and those labelled Sancerre will be 100 percent Sauvignon Blanc. Learning all the different regulations where a wine must be a minimum of X percent of grape A, and then the rest can be made up of grape B and grape C is arduous. Learning some our self-proclaimed “The Rule of 100” appellations may help you determine whether you may like a wine or not, if you recognize the appellation name on the label and know what grape it is.
This Saturday, January 9th 2021, City Vino will be featuring three wines that are made from 100 percent from one grape variety. Two of the appellations require the wines to be made from that grape alone, and the third requires the wine to be at least 70 percent of one grape, but most winemakers make the wine from 100 percent of that grape, so a slight deviation from our “rule.”
The first featured wine will be the Domaine Jean Paul Thibert Macon Fuissé 2019. This white wine hails from Burgundy, France, and as was noted above, if it is a white wine from a stated region like Fuissé, then it must be 100 percent Chardonnay. The soils in this region are limestone, like Chablis, but the temperatures are warmer, making the wines a bit less acidic, richer, and fruitier than Chablis. This wine may present aromas of ripe pear, yellow apple, and fresh peach, along with a whiff of toasted hazelnut. On the palate, it may have flavors of apple, pear, peach, grilled pineapple, lemon, lime zest, and a hint of salinity. Due to its richness, this wine will pair beautifully with a dish made with a sauce made with butter or cream, like chicken pot pie or a fatty fish, like salmon.
Up next in our “The Rule of 100” tasting is the Albert Bichot Chateau de Varennes 2018, which is from one of the AOC designated Beaujolais Villages in France. The wine is made from 100 percent Gamay, which is the required grape for the region. Aromatically, this wine has floral notes of violets and peonies, with raspberry and black currant. This wine’s flavors echo the aromatics, showing prominent ripe fruit and subtler floral characteristics, with a long finish. Pair this wine with charcuterie, Italian dishes, quiches, or savory tarts.
Finally, our third wine is Château Famaey Fût de Chène Oak-Aged Malbec 2016 from Cahors, France, which is a bit of a stretch or technical outlier to our “rule.” The Cahors region, which is in southwest France, requires wines to be at least 70 percent Malbec, with the remainder made up of any combination of Merlot or Tannat. While 70 percent Malbec is the legal requirement, most Cahors labelled wines are 100 percent Malbec, as is this wine. Aromatics and a palate of dark cherries, vanilla, black pepper, and earth make this wine a great pairing for duck breast with a cherry sauce, lamb shank, or beef with portobellos or other mushrooms.
Join us this Saturday for our “The Rule of 100” wines!