France VS. USA

Free tasting | Friday, May 25, 2018 | 5-7PM

Jackson from Mise Wines is reffing 6 heavy-weight wines (more like light, medium, and full-bodied wines) this Friday, as they compete head to head at the shop! In one corner, we have the other, we've got the USA. Who’s it gonna be?? Who is more delicious? Who is fiercer? Shall we call it a draw? 


No one can argue that France or the US don't appreciate wine – in 2016 France produced 41.9 million hectoliters of wine while the USA made 22.5 million! When conversation turns to personal preferences that's when people start to differ. Some people only drink certain grapes from Old World countries, like France, while others prefer wines from New World countries like the good ole US of A. Old World refers to countries where the OG grape species, Vitis Vinifera, originated and where they have hundreds of years of winemaking traditions like France, Italy, Spain, and Greece. New World wines hail from countries where winemaking and the Vitis Vinifera grape were introduced by colonists like New Zealand, the US, and South Africa. An important factoid is that all New World wines have been inspired by Old World winemaking and methods. All of the wines that you’ll taste on Friday from Mise Wines, both Old and New World, are made with natural wine growing methods – you can taste the grit and differences in the terroir; the wines are gorgeous and strut the best of their regions so taste, compare, and enjoy! 

In FRANCE’s corner…


NV Valentin-Zusslin Crémant d'Alsace Brut Zero (Alsace, France)| An advantage that Old World wine regions have, quite frankly, is time. Remember when your parents used to say that you’d understand “[insert mind-blowing life lesson here]" when you were old, wise, and paid taxes? The Alsatian winey has certainly earned its metaphorical wrinkles: it's been around since1691! While run the Zusslin family now, the sister and brother team (Marie and Jean-Paul Zusslin) have certainly inherited knowledge from previous owners from the 327 years that the winery has been around! The Zusslin's switched the growing methods over to all biodynamic practices. This Crémant is a blend of Pinot Auxerrois, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris and was grown in a walled vineyard in Clos Liebenberg where horses still work the land. No sulfur or dosage were added to this sparkling. It is an electric, dazzling mouthful of rockiness, lime, and grapefruit.

2014 Philippe Badea, La Foulée des Zinzins (Côtes du Rhône, France)| When Philippe and Agnès Badea announced to their friends that they were starting their own vineyard in the small village of Tulette, they were met with eye rolling and a decree of them being bonkers. Taking their friends words to heart, the couple proudly named their winery "La foulée des Zinzins" which translates to 'The Stride of the Crackpots!’ This Grenache is as unapologetically French as its creators: the fermentation was traditional, and only indigenous yeasts with no added enzymes, fining or filtering. Alike to the local French pâtisserie with your freshly made croissant, the supply is limited...only 1000 cases of this yummy Grenache were made! 

2016 Domaine Guion, Cuvée Domaine Bourgueil (Loire Valley, France) | Located a hop away from the Loire River, the Guion family founded their winery in the 1950's. From the start, they were passionate about the health of their land and started using organic wine growing methods in1965. In the mid-90's, Stéphane took over the 8.5-hectare winery. This Cabernet Franc was grown on clay and limestone soil and aged in stainless steel. All of the wines at Domaine Guion are aged in a large cave that was once as a hideout by the Resistance during World War II.


In the USA’s corner:


2017 Division 'Les Petits Fers' (Willamette Valley, Oregon)| Division was started in 2010 after its founders, Kate Norris and Tom Monroe, spent years learning winemaking techniques across France. They adored Oregon and thought its rugged valleys, mountains, and desert terrain was an awesome New World substitute to experiment with some of the classically honed winemaking methods from France. 'Les Petits Fers' translates into 'The Little Irons' and is an apt name; this Gamay is like baby Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy – while light and playful, it has a powerful backbone and ferocity! It was grown on volcanic clay soil that had some marine sedimentary overlay and like Gamay grown in Beaujolais it went through carbonic maceration. It spent between 25-35 days on its skins and, after pressing, was aged in both a stainless-steel tank and a puncheon (500L) French oak barrel. This wine is a fusion of rose petals, black pepper, and strawberries.

2017 Division, 'Béton' (Willamette Valley, Oregon)| Kate and Tom fell in love with red Touraine blends during their apprenticeships in the Loire Valley and decided to create one in Southern Oregon with the same freshness and vivacity. The Gamay and Pinot Noir grapes undergo carbonic maceration while the Cabernet Franc and Malbec grapes are fermented in whole clusters. They were blended post pressing and aged in concrete, including Division's newest 975-gallon concrete tank ‘Big Bertha’! Last year’s wildfires have imparted a unique Mezcal smokiness to the wine, and the blend also has notes of bell pepper and blackberry.

2017 Old Westminster Winery, Pét-Nat Albariño (Maryland, USA)| This sparkler is a stellar example of what New World terroir can produce when teamed up with an Old World grape like Albariño. Typically grown in Spain and Portugal, Albariño is a versatile grape and does well in cool, wet, and dry climates. The Baker siblings (Drew, Lisa, and Ashli) in Westminster, Maryland wanted to work with both their parents and on their family’s farmland, so they planted wine grapes to experiment. They found that their soil was rich with nutrients and that the Albariño grapes loved the elevation and constant breeze of Westminster. After being aged on its lees and hand bottled, this dry and delightful Albariño has notes of guava, passion-fruit, lime, and a salty, long finish. Pair with a large bucket of oysters.