One of the best parts of living in France has been getting to know winemakers like Jean-Marc Espinasse, and the delicious wine he produces at Domaine Rouge Bleu in the Rhone Valley.
Jean-Marc and I became friends through his wife, Kristin, who pens the lovely blog, French Word-a-Day. Before I ever lived in France, I used to sit in my grimy Beijing office, reading Kristin’s tales of family, friends, and Golden Retrievers in sunny Provence and dream of life there.
Last year, I was honored to share an event with Jean-Marc at Shakespeare & Co (I read from my book, he offered a dégustation). It was a lovely evening — what could be better than wine and friends amid the book-lined walls of a literary landmark?
Well, in case you missed last November’s tasting, Jean-Marc is back in Paris — where he will be offering two dégustations this week! In honor of his events, I’m thrilled he took the time to answer a few questions.
What will you be pouring at your upcoming events in Paris?
A wine named Dentelle, which means “lace” in English. The name refers to both the Dentelles de Montmirail, a famous hill where the grapes were grown, as well as the wine’s lacy style. We will also be pouring a wine named Mistral, which refers to our famous strong wind and also to the wine’s very powerful style.
You’re a relatively new vigneron, having recently completed your fifth harvest. What inspired you to start making wine?
Working as a broker with other small, organic winemakers with a strong identity. Their devotion to making natural wine with high personality inspired me to do the same.
How does your wine reflect your personality?
I have made a wine called “Lunatique” which really can reflect my personality but this is a very small amount of our production. But, generally speaking, I think my wines are a bit moody, sometimes they show wonderful and sometimes they need a bit of time to express themselves. But I know they have been made with love so I know they are good.
Your wine is sold around the world, including the US, Australia, and Japan. Do different countries prefer different cépages?
I don’t think so. We are making natural wines (which means organic in the field and no additives in the cellars) with a strong identity and this is what our distributors look for.
What’s your favorite wine and food pairing?
I remember (almost 20 years ago) cooking spaghetti with a Roquefort sauce and pouring a Chateauneuf du Pape with it. Well, this is still quite good. Now, my favorite pairing is pigeon with a Pommard. As people say, the more you evolve with wine, the more you go to Burgundy and this is also true for me.
Are you in Paris this week? Come meet Jean-Marc and taste his delicious, gold medal-winning wines (the 2009 Mistral was recently awarded two stars by the 2o12 Guide Hachette des Vins). And if you see me there swilling back a glass, please come and say hello!
Thursday, Dec 1, 17h00-20h00
La Carte des Vines
26 bd Beaumarchais, 11e
Friday, Dec 2, 17h00-19h30
La Dernière Goutte
6 rue Bourbon le Château, 6e