Magic On The Humble End

If you ask me which wines I love most, my answers are easily to be the lush and opulent Chateauneuf Du Pape’s Clos St Jean’s La Combe Des Fous 07, the pure and massive La Mission Haut Brion 2000, my all time love of the powerful Chateau Leoville Las Cases 86, the explosive perfumed Cheval Blanc 07, the too many vintages of the elegant VCC, the powerful and fuzzy La Mondotte, Bonneau du Martray’s Corton Charlemagne by the respectable Jean-Charles, Jacques Selosse’s and my list is pretty much endless.

The come backs, not surprisingly, often would be one of those: “that’s easy!” or “Oh, only the expensive”. The truth is, I do, of course, have my own affordable pick on bottles, which as well, reminiscing the mind-blowing memories of the best.

However, if you ask me which I love the most, I can only be honest here, I just love them. With or without the price tag, I do. These are special bottles that gives illuminating experiences. Almost like drugs which possibly makes one laughs and tears (not being dramatic here but I had a hard time holding back my tears when having a vertical tasting of Bonneau du Martray with Jean-Charles at his cellar a month ago, divine, explosive and magical all came to mind.) To some, these wine, by chance, maybe be one which turns them from being someone loving wine enough to a fanatic, opening eyes to the love and possibilities in beautiful bottles.

It is certainly a pity that younger people today have fewer opportunities to drink the greatest wines that our grandparents may have had taken advantages of. Great wine are just way too expensive now! However, the good news is that there are much more better wine produced these days with better knowledge in wine making and stepped up technologies. We are certainly not missing out too much by not paying up for crazy price tags.

Antoine at his shop L’Artnoa

I had few degustations at my favorite wine bar L’ARTNOA in Biarritz by Antoine Vignac, whom is a passionate wine guy that I enjoyed talking to about wine, and their makings at time. Antoine, a young entrepreneur grew up in Saint Emillion, started his own wine shop in Biarritz 7 years ago and reopening this chic wine bar with a terrace on Rue Gambetta 2 years ago. I love this place as he got not only the expensives but also great picks of interesting wine on the humble end.

At L’ARTNOA we were tasting few of the southern french wine blinded. Honestly, not all of them were my glass of wine, but there was certainly a few terribly great ones with absolutely great values where everyone can take the sips with no sweat holding on to the bank statement end of month. Pleasures surely don’t limited to the expensive.

Below are the few of the great ones I find some interesting persona in them, and they are all below 15 euro a bottle at L’ARTNOA where you can take back home :

Domaine Les Creisses 2011. A Languedoc wine. Syrah, Grenache , Cabernet Sauvignon Dark red, aromas of spices, leather, red currants and cherries. Dense, quite powerful with good structure. Long spicy finish.
A wine makes you warm @15 €!

antoine r

Irouléguy Blanc – Domaine Abotia 2011. A pay Basque wine – Irouléguy,”the smallest vineyard in France, the biggest in the Northern Basque Country”. Low production and only 10% are white. This wine is made of Gros Manseng, Petit Manseng and Courbu. Nose more opulent after a little while of getting warmer yet I prefer the taste more when it was slightly cooler probably because its a little fat (in a good way, and round). Pear, toasted brioche and summer fruits. Good finish. Surely great if you like to try a good basque wine. Around 15 € / bottle.

Antoine and the Irouléguy

Domaine Clavel Cascaille Blanc 2012. Another Languedoc. Who say Languedoc is not as good? This one born in red clay gives mineralities I like which supported by great acidity. Little creamy in texture but not at all fatty. Floral and honey.
What one is asking for with 12 € / bottle when it gives something much more?


Domaine de la Rectorie – Cote Mer 2011 Rouge. The vineyard clings to the steep slopes of the seaside around Banyuls in Roussillon. This wine made from Grenache, Carignan and Syrah. Intense with good minerality. Not exactly refine but long full finish. A wine to drink young.
Around 14,50 € / bottle.


JAVA Cote de Gascogne A bright light yellow color. Nose of exotic fruits , fresh round attack in mouth, dry and fruity. Had this many times with oysters and at apero.
A wine so friendly and fresh @ 6€ / bottle!! No complaints!


L’ARTNOA – Maison des vins à Biarritz
56 rue Gambetta – 64200 Biarritz

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