The Quotes …
On why Francois make 70 different wines from 5 different countries: “I like to produce them. I like the diversity, they all have a reason to exist, there is no marketing link, none of them are made to just fill some kind of marketing hole.”
About his 4-million bottle production of ‘Les Fumees Blanches’ (France – Sauvignon Blanc): “I want to prove that we can produce volume and quality.”
About his closure of choice: “If I could put all my wines under screwcap I would … they are a neutral solution, cork adds too much to the wine, good and bad.”
On why he is making wines all over the world: “I think you can produce very good, inexpensive wines all over the world. I think I have accomplished that goal.”
On the use of natural versus cultured yeast in the making of wine: “Never use natural yeast on a white wine; the best way to make a bad white is to use natural ferment.”
On Pinot Noir: “I love new world Pinot Noir, those are the kinds I drink.”
The Wines …
(France) – 2008 Les Hauts de Janeil (Syrah / Grenache) … a fresh, fruit driven wine, beautiful red fruit, supple and easy drinking, good spice and black pepper notes (****) – available November 2009 at the LCBO ($12.95).
(France) – 2006 Mas Janeil (Grenache / Syrah / Carignan) … sweet licorice and vanilla, elegant, spicy, peppery; beautiful on the palate, with just a touch of tannins (****½).
(France) – 2004 La Racaoufa du Chateau des Erles (Syrah / Grenache / Carignan) … black fruited and toasty, cinnamon and spice with graphite on the finish (****½).
(Spain) – 2007 Campo Alegre (Tinta de Toro) … a co-production with Michel Rolland. Average age of the vines is 50 years, and the complexity really shows. Big cherry fruit, cigar box and white pepper on the nose, lovely acidity with a touch of spice, vanilla, cinnamon and oak notes – look for the delicious mocha finish (****½).
(Portugal) – 2007 Quinta do Malho (Touriga Franca / Souzao / Tinta Amarela) … sweet spices and herbs start off the nose, deep sniffs produce blackberry, black cherry and chocolate; there’s juicy black fruit and chocolate on the palate, smooth, supple and very tasty (****½).
(Chile) – 2009 Vina Hacienda Araucano (Sauvignon Blanc) … grapefruit and melon rind aromas; melon, tropical fruit, citrus on the palate, nice hit of acidity on the tongue, good mouth feel, long finish (****).
(Chile) – 2008 Vina Hacienda Araucano (Pinot Noir) … earthy and smoky yet seemingly sweet on the palate, nice up-front fruit flavour (****½).
(Chile) – 2007 Clos de Lolol (Syrah / Cabernet Franc / Carmenere) … floral, black fruit and sweet cherries; this is a very red fruit driven wine with vanilla and red licorice backing it up, there’s also a nice chalky-mineraliness here (****).
(Argentina) – 2009 Bodega Lurton (Pinot Gris) … Lurton was the first to plant Pinot Gris in Argentina, and the funny part is it was accidental (the nursery sent the wrong vines), but now it is a very important varietal for them there. Delicious apple, apple blossom and wild flower honey on the nose; melon rind, citrus-orange on the palate with very good acidity (****½) – available at the LCBO, $10.95.
(Spain) – 2004 Campo Eliseo Gran Vino de Tinta de Toro (Tinta de Toro) … big blackberry and cassis, lots of fruit and spice with peppery notes and show ageworthyness with big tannins (****½).