Here at Paul Marcus Wines we love to celebrate any and all occasions involving food and wine.  Which is why we are so psyched about March 20th. Why? Because it’s International Francophonie Day! This day celebrates the approximately 220 million Francophones, plus the additional 72 million Francophiles throughout the world who are learning French.

International Francophonie Day was in 1988, and celebrates the signing of the Niamey Convention in Niger on 20 March 1970. The convention established the Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique, the precursor to the International Organization of La Francophonie, which represents countries and regions throughout the world where French is the lingua franca. Although French speakers come from diverse ethnic, cultural and political backgrounds, all can rejoice in that they are united by the love and commonality of their shared language.

Irina Bokova, the former General Director of UNESCO aptly described the honorary day, on the occasion of International Francophonie Day March 20, 2017.

“The French language crystallizes centuries of culture and history. … It is in French that Pascal, Voltaire or Rousseau led the fight for tolerance, democracy and human rights. It was in French that Assia Djebar defended the rights of women and that Césaire, Senghor and so many others laid the foundations of modern humanist consciousness. On all 5 continents, hundreds of millions of men and women express their hopes for a better life in French.”

So how can we, out here in sunny California, celebrate Francophonie language and culture? How about checking out a French language film? Nouvelle Vague perhaps? Or breaking out that iconic Charles Aznavour record that’s collecting dust in the closet. How about revisiting one of hip hop’s best and brightest, MC Solaar (La 5ème Saison – oh yeah) All this talk of Francophonie is making me hungry.  A chunk of chevre on a freshly baked baguette sounds pretty fantastique right about now.

And if wine is your thing (and as you are reading this I suspect, yes) how about pulling the cork on a bottle of French wine to celebrate! We at PMW certainly will do so. Incidentally, the wine thing pairs equally well with movies, records, and cheese. Below are two of our current staff favorites that we’d love to share with you. Both wineries are family owned and operated and tout à fait francais.

2017 Patrice Colin “Pierre a Feu” Coteaux du Vendomois (Chenin Blanc) – $19  

“Pierre a Feu” literally translates to “Rock of Fire” in French- an appropriate name for a wine that proceeds from the flinty soils of the “Coteaux du Vendomois” appellation in the Loire Valley. While this area only received its appellation status in 2001, wine production here can be traced all the way back to the 11th century, and Patrice’s family has been in the business since 1735.  All farming is organic and vegan here, with the fruit being vinified in stainless steel to preserve crisp floral and mineral flavors. This is a beautiful example of Chenin grown to the north of Vouvray… dry, elegant, and pure. Chevre and other semi-soft cheeses call forth pear and peach fruits, and “Pierre a Feu” is also excellent with fried fish, cilantro, (think Baja-style tacos) or chicken.

 

2016 Roc des Anges “Segna de Cor” Cotes Catalanes – $29 

Another wine with an interesting linguistic twist in the title, “Segna de Cor” is actually the name of the producer- which is Roc des Anges, but just spelled backwards! And truly, “Rock of Angels” is the perfect name for this project, as these vines are grown in full view of the majestic Pyrenees mountains. This is breath-taking country can be a bit difficult for vignerons: it is infamous for its arid climate, intense sun, wind, and nutrient-poor soil. However, the cold mountain air does encourage complexity in the grapes, which winemaker Marjorie Gallet has bio-dynamically farmed since 2001.

Gallet’s self-proclaimed goal is to chisel out structure and elegance from this challenging terroir, where “concentration is the enemy.” Sample some of her determination in “Segna de Cor”, a GSM  blend that sings with aromas of blackcurrant, date, and fig- making it a wonderful pairing with the savory-sweet flavors of Moroccan cuisine. Alternatively, pick up a bottle to bring along with you to a plein air picnic to usher in the spring. The depth of fruit, good acid, and dry finish make it perfect with semi soft cheeses, paté and charcuterie.

à votre santé!

Day Wines Lineup

What will you be drinking this National Drink Wine Day? (Or as some others may refer to it as, “Presidents Day“). Whether you’re celebrating the day off with family or at home by yourself, we’ve selected a few wines that should make your day off a little more exciting. For this special holiday, we are showcasing some President’s “Day” Wines. Day Wines is led by Brianne Day, a natural wine producer who seeks to capture the essence of “place” in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

National Drink Wine Day Silvershot Vineyards Pinot Noir

Silvershot Vineyards 2015 Pinot Noir

This Pinot Noir hails from the Eola-Amity Hills, the southernmost sub-appellation in the Willamette Valley. The nose is all decadence with aromas of strawberries and raspberries, but on the palate this wine shows real class and restraint. 2015 was the hottest vintage in recent Oregon history, and according winemaker Brianne Day, the vines in Silvershot actually had a stress reflex to the heat and lack of water- they stopped accumulating sugar- and that’s the reason why the wine has a lower 12% alcohol content. A delicious accompaniment to your President’s Day BBQ, or just your back porch. (available for $34)

National Drink Wine Day Silvershot Vineyards Pinot Noir

Belle Pente Vineyard Chardonnay 2015

Cherry blossom, fresh cream, lemon, and nectarine. The stunning fruit here comes from “Belle Pente” (or “Beautiful Slope”), a site which truly embodies bio-diversity in the vineyard. The husband and wife team who care for the vines there also farm veggies, fruits, chickens, geese, and even cows! Brianne has crafted a pristine and head-turning Chardonnay with this bottling, reflective of the harmony and uniqueness of the site. (available for $38)

National Drink Wine Day Silvershot Vineyards Pinot Noir

“Queen D” 2016

50% Marsanne, 25% Roussanne, and 25% Grenache Blanc, this is a clean and precise blend which showcases Brianne’s light and intuitive hand in the cellar. From Oregon’s rugged Applegate Valley appellation by the California border, this dry and subtlety stone-fruited wine is excellent with chicken, cheese boards, and seafood. (available for $23)

Photos Credit: Day Wines | Tasting Notes by Heather Mills

And to keep up with all the National Drink Wine Day news, make sure to follow the National Wine Day facebook page for more content.

Valentine's Day Special Selections - Paul Marcus Wines

Make your Valentine’s Day complete with the perfect wine pairing. Below we have hand selected and tasted 8 bottles we believe will pair perfectly with a range of meals. Looking for some prepared meals to go with these great wines? We have also selected some pairings from Market Halls special Valentine’s Day menu that would go great with our wine selections.
Valentine's Day Special Selections - Paul Marcus Wines

Red Wines

Domaine Charleux Bourgogne - Valentines Day WinesDomaine Charleux Bourgogne – $20
Bourgogne, Pinot Noir
This village-level Pinot Noir is a fantastic value. Approachable and generous with its raspberry fruit and slight spiced note, it is enjoyable on its own and most certainly a versatile choice for chicken, pork, or game if you are cooking for your special someone.
Frederic Esmonin Gevrey-Chambertin 2014 “Les Jouises” Vieilles Vignes - Valentines Day WinesFrederic Esmonin Gevrey-Chambertin 2014 “Les Jouises” Vieilles Vignes – $50 
Gevrey-Chambertin, Pinot Noir  
This is an old-vine offering from one of Gevrey’s top producers. It greets the taster with aromas of ripe black cherries and red currants, followed by crushed rock, damp earth, and strawberries on the palate. A bold and traditional offering with good acid and length. Pairs perfectly with duck.

White Wines

Domain Pellé “Les Blanchais” - Valentines Day WinesDomain Pellé “Les Blanchais” 2017 – $33 
Menetou-Salon, Sauvignon Blanc
Ephemeral orchard fruits, subtle yet supple with real limestone minerality. Great with any kind of  seafood, vegetables, or salad, or just with a glass and a loved one…
Mount Eden Vineyards 2014 - Valentines Day WinesMount Eden Vineyards 2014 – $64 
Santa Cruz, Chardonnay 
This cuvee is the epitome of richness and balance. Full-bodied, crisp golden apple and lemon chiffon on the nose, followed by vibrant acidity and a good weight on the palate. This is serious Santa Cruz Chardonnay that is grown, fermented, and bottled at 2,000 feet of elevation.

Rose Wines

Chermette 2017 Beaujolais Rose - Valentines Day WinesChermette 2017 – $17 
Beaujolais, Gamay 
Pretty, red fruits with a crisp clean close. Excellent and drinkable Valentines Day pink from Beaujolais!
Domaine de Terrebrune 2017 Bandol Rose - Valentines Day WinesDomaine de Terrebrune 2017 – $29 
Bandol, Mourvedre 
With high aromatics of honeydew melon and white flowers, this Bandol is on the lighter side, and arguably the most elegant rosé that we have in the shop. Chin-chin!

Sparkling Wines

Patrice Colin NV “Les Perles d'Anne Sophie” - Valentines Day WinesPatrice Colin NV “Les Perles d’Anne Sophie” – $21 
Sparkling Loire | Brut
This bottle of bubbles is pure delight. A blend of Chenin, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay, we’re charmed by the atypical yet decadent aromas of Anjou pear and baking spices. This Loire sparkler is a little rich but has a clean, dry close.
Jacquesson 741 - valentines Day WinesJacquesson 741 – $80 
Champagne | Extra-Brut
Based mainly on the 2013 vintage, but blended with 33% of reserve, this is a complex and finely-tuned champagne truly fit for a king or queen. The Jacquesson house has existed since
the 18th century, and remains today one of the most unique and high-quality producers in the region. The grapes achieve optimal ripeness and are only sourced from Grand or Premier Cru plots. This graceful bottle showcases flavors of star fruit and lemon curd, but it is the wine’s lithe acidity and palpable minerality that make it an exceptionally balanced and beautiful Champagne.

Market Hall Valentine’s Day Pairings

Market Hall Foods will be featuring a special Valentine’s Day menu, to compliment their updated menu, we have selected a Red and White that will compliment most of the menu.

White: Domain Pellé 2017 Menetou-Salon “Les Blanchais”

This Sauvignon Blanc hails from Menetou-Salon, an appellation adjacent to Sancerre. In this single-vineyard offering, we encounter subtle orchard fruit and herbaceous notes highlighted by limestone minerality.

Valentine’s Menu pairing: Crab Croquettes with Lemon Caper Aioli, Beet-Cured Salmon with Horseradish Crème Fraîche, or Mixed Chicories Salad with Citrus, Mint & Green Olives.

Red: Frederic Esmonin 2014 Gevrey Chambertin “Les Jouises” Vieilles Vignes

This wine, from one of Gevrey’s top producers, opens with aromas of black cherries and red currants, followed by earth, strawberries and wet stone on the palate. Bold and traditional with good acid and length, this middleweight old-vine Pinot Noir perfectly complements the earthiness of braised duck and mushrooms.

Valentine’s Menu pairing: Braised Duck Legs with Wild Mushrooms & Cipollini Onions.

Champagne & Caviar Pairings

Caviar: Tsar Nicolai “Classic” – $38
Pairing: Xavier Reverchon NV Brut – $27

This “Cremant” (which is a sparkling wine made in the same way as Champagne, but from a different region in France), is broad and rich. The wine shows very subtle fruit, with bass notes of salinity and minerality, complementing the light brine and fruitiness of Tsar Nicolai’s “Classic” caviar.

Caviar: Tsar Nicolai “Estate” – $64
Pairing: Jacques Lassaigne “Les Vignes de Montgueux” NV  – $59

This Chardonnay-based Champagne has high-toned citrus and herbal notes, with plenty of acidity and brightness to complement the richer sea brine of the “Estate” level caviar, while the wine’s limestone minerality coaxes out its more subtle flavors.

Caviar: Tsar Nicolai Truffled Roe – $20
Pairing: Dehours & Fils “Terre de Meunier” – $53

This Champagne is made of a single grape variety, called “Meunier.” This is a grape which contributes body and richness to Champagne blends. In this Dehours bottling, extended lees contact provides toasted, brioche-like flavors that meld perfectly with the decadent and earthy flavor of truffles.

(Tasting notes by Heather Mills)