Exploring France on a Budget: Domaine du Tariquet
I’ve often thought, “if it’s from France, and it’s really good, the price will be high.” If someone had offered me a blind tasting of the Classic white wine and the Chenin Chardonnay blend, both from Domaine du Tariquet out of Gascony, France, I would have guessed their prices to be between $25 and $35 dollars a bottle. Not so – their prices are surprisingly low at $8.99 and $10.99 respectively.
Domaine du Tariquet, located in Gascony, France, has been family owned and operated since 1912. Although the property was purchased when the grape vines were in shambles from phylloxera, generations of family have brought the estate and wines to be what they are today – which includes award-winning white wines and Armagnac (brandy). Gascony, France is famed for its quality of life, delicious foie gras and terroir-driven Armagnacs, and because of Yves Grassa, co-owner of Domaine du Tariquet, it is now recognized as a region that produces fine wines too. 25 years ago, Grassa went against all odds and broke the rules when he planted Chardonnay, Sauvignon and Chenin grapes. After continuous observation in the vineyard and in dedicated winemaking practices, Domaine du Tariquet was selected as Wine of the Year in England, in 1987 – bringing attention to the region for excellent white wine.
Today, Domaine du Tariquet continues to produce fine white and rosé wines with its third generation winemakers; in addition to, world-class Armagnacs. Of their nine white wines and one rosé, I really enjoyed the two that I sampled: the Classic and the Chenin Chardonnay. And, with the tight budget I have for the next two months (after all the holiday spending), I’ll be enjoying these high quality/great value wines absolutely guilt-free.
Domain du Tariquet 2011 Classic ($8.99): I’ve never had a better wine at this price, this is really outstanding. Aromas of peaches and key lime pie flow through to the palate with added flavors of grapefruit and herbs. It’s bright, refreshing, clean and an absolute delight to drink on its own, but I’ll bet it’s outstanding with shellfish and other seafoods. A glass of this in the middle of winter made me feel like it was summer – liquid sunshine.
Domaine du Tariquet 2010 Chenin Chardonnay ($10.99): I loved this wine! Flavors and aromas of lemons, apples and sweet ripe pears were perfectly rounded out by a solid acidic backbone. Extremely well balanced with an elegant mouthfeel, the finish is pure bliss. Completely refreshing and an outstanding price to boot – I’m impressed with Domaine du Tariquet. Santé!