The best wines from France at the Wine Access 2012 International Value Wine Awards
France has suffered in the international table wine market for the past couple of decades, losing share to inexpensive New World wines. But the nation is fighting back, and the south is leading the charge. In fact, nine of the Top 15 value wines were from southern regions. Maybe it’s easier, and cheaper, to make consistently good wine in the warmer climates year after year. Burgundy makes a stronger case this year, though, with a high-scoring Bourgogne blanc, a brut rosé and a tasty wine from Beaujolais. Alsace — which rarely disappoints — is also there with two wines. Only one Loire wine made the cut, and Bordeaux is conspicuously absent. (Craig Pinhey)
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Garlic and butter enhance the natural mineral flavor of aged beef. The garnishes add different elements of flavor, depending on which you choose. Boldly flavored red wine gravy blends the flavor of herbs with the garlic to make a well-balanced, earthy combination. The salad cuts through the richness of the meat. Both the cabbage with bacon and the cauliflower gratin match that richness and play it up a little.
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Escape the crowds of Tuscany and head to the hills of nearby Umbria instead. This wild, mountainous region of Italy isn’t as famous as, say, Chianti, but that just makes discovering its bright, food-friendly wines that much more exciting. Umbria has long been known for Orvieto, a crisp, dry, white blend produced around the medieval village of the same name. But it is also becoming celebrated for elegant reds based on sangiovese, such as Torgiano Rosso, which pairs beautifully with the area’s hearty, game-based cuisine. Be sure to visit the village of Norcia, which is as famous for its pork salume and black truffles as it is for being St. Benedict’s birthplace.
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Illustration by Michael Newhouse