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Top Wine Picks for 2021

We can all agree 2021 hasn’t been the greatest of years so far, but it hasn’t been all that bad for the wine world. As the French wine industry gets back on its feet after the global pandemic, the wine coming out of the cellars is astounding.

Here are Hourlier Wines Top Picks for 2021. Wines from lesser-known wine regions and made of unique varieties. These wines are guaranteed to make you remember why French wine is so special; these works of art are the very definition of what the French call ‘terroir’.

 

Alsace: Famille Cattin Pinot Duo 2019

You undoubtedly know Alsace is known for its white, mono-varietal wines, some of the most expressive, textural and versatile wines at the table. Still, winemakers, even some of the most traditionalists, are taking the region to the next level, in this case, Domaine Joseph Cattin and its white blend Duo.

Duo is a blend of Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris, two noble varieties that find in Alsace’s sunny vineyards the perfect place to ripen to perfection. The wine opens with the loveliest floral scents to later reward you on the palate with fresh pitted fruit and a sound minerality over a medium-bodied palate. Cattin’s Duo is the appropriate partner for butter-seared shellfish and poultry. Coq au vin, anyone?

Reuilly: Gerard Bigonneau 2020

Isolated amongst cereal fields, Domaine Gerard Bigonneau specialises in wines from the acclaimed Loire appellations of Reuilly and Quince, where Sauvignon Blanc thrives with extraordinary results; the region is not dissimilar to the acclaimed neighbouring Sancerre.

Reuilly gravelly soils are ideal for ripening Sauvignon Blanc, rewarding one’s senses with fresh-cut grass, gooseberries and hints of citrus over a thirst-quenching palate of immense length. Extraordinary for fresh seafood, oysters, white fish and sushi.

Vinsobres: Domaine d’Aloes Cuvée JL 2016

Vinsobres is the new-kid-on-the-block in Southern Rhône, gaining its own appellation for red wine in 2005. Domaine Aloès was created in 2013 to cultivate the arid land with sustainable principles, and you can taste the result it the estate’s Grenache and Syrah blend — it’s a beauty!

Cuvée JL is aged for four months in oak, and it’s as vibrant as Rhône wines get. Cherry liqueur and garrigue permeate the nose, while robust tannins caress the palate into a long finish. Enjoy with game, slow-cooked stews and casseroles.

Anjou Villages Brissac: Domaine De Sainte Anne Les Pains Bénis 2016

We might know Anjou for its fruity rosé. Still, serious producers, like Domaine De Sainte Anne, with six generations of winemaking tradition in the area, produce the most majestic red wine as well.

Les Pains Bénis is a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the vineyards around Brissac. The gold medal winner offers towering tannins supporting nuanced red berry aromas, all held together by vibrant acidity. This Loire Cabernet is superb with fatty grilled steaks and duck.

Pinot Gris: Orange Cattin 2020

Rounding up this year’s wine picks, Domaine Joseph Cattin, a family-owned estate with 300 vintages under its belt, shows Alsace can also be part of the orange wine trend. The noble Pinot Gris grapes experience an extended maceration period that infuses the wine with texture and flavour for a unique take on the classic region’s wine style.

Expect a dry palate supporting an explosive bouquet of dried fruits and warm spices and the most thrilling medium-texture balanced by mouth-watering acidity. This is not only a superb Alsatian wine; it’s a superb wine, period. Enjoy with oily fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel or with curries.

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