As you know I proclaimed this my summer for expanding my knowledge of French wine. It has been an awesome journey and I have written many posts sharing my journey with you. A great blessing occurred regarding my journey in early June. I received an email from McCue Communications inviting me to be one of twelve wine bloggers to participate in a virtual tasting featuring the re-launch of Arrogant Frog wines from Languedoc, France. Though I was not familiar with Arrogant Frog I was familiar with the Languedoc region so of course I said yes.
McCue Communications tells brand stories through media relations, through content creation through media, trade and consumer experiences for industries they love. Though strategy is the foundation of what McCue Comm does, PR is the framework. The McCue Comm media department helps develop brand stories, package them into easily digestible pieces, and deliver them to appropriate writers with whom we’ve built relationships and trust. It has been a great honor and privilege to be invited by McCue Communications to participate in the tasting of Arrogant Frog wines. The four samples of Arrogant Frog were provided to me by McCue Communications.
Arrogant Frog was launched in 2005 by winemaker Jean-Claude Mas. The label and name were designed to create a serious French wine with inspiration from the new world. The wine has been very successful in Francophile countries that enjoy the wine and understand the humor behind it. Jean-Claude Mas is a fourth generation wine maker who crafts Arrogant Frog wines as old world wines with a new world attitude. Now brand visionary Jean-Claude Mas is taking the radical step of relaunching his already successful label in a desire to emphasize the “vineyard story” behind the iconic frog. “A major goal of the Arrogant Frog re-launch is to show that this is wine made in a place with long history, by a winemaker with a deep connection to the terroir and the region,” explained Elin Mann, Domaines Paul Mas US Brand Manager.
A few key points to share about these Arrogant Frog wines: first, they are all priced at $10 each which is incredible and easily taste like they cost much more; second, they are each labeled as “country wines,” again you would never guess it by their taste; third, as you can see the Arrogant Frog is a cheeky fella, he represents a sort of cartoon character, part stereotype, part authentic, of the “humble wine maker himself” Jean-Claude Mas; fourth, each wine tasted was a 2013, these wines will age quite well and be outstanding (again for $10) in a few years!
As Jean-Claude Mas said, “Arrogant Frog is made like a great French wine, with attention to vineyards, vinification, aging and blending” at a price point that allows for Arrogant Frog to be an “everyday luxury!”
Arrogant Frog Sauvignon Blanc 2013: This crisp golden wine glistened with green tints. On the nose the aromatic bouquet brought forth grapefruit, citrus, fresh grass and passion fruit. On the palate those aromas delivered in grape fruit, citrus, and herbs with a lingering minerality. It was lightly dry and lightly acidic, mildly tart with a light body. This Sauv Blanc was crisp and refreshing with 12.5% alcohol. This wine would pair well with light dishes such as Quiche Lorraine, Boiled shrimp, and a fresh citrus salad with rotisserie chicken. Very enjoyable wine; recommended!
Arrogant Frog Chardonnay 2013: This soft straw colored wine had an inviting bouquet of tropical fruit, stone fruit and toast. On the palate this wine tasted of pineapple, ripe peaches, toasted almonds, vanilla and a hint of honey suckle on the back of the palate all wrapped in the creaminess of crème brulee. This wine was slightly dry and tangy with a light-medium body and mild acidity. Twenty-five percent of the grapes were fermented in New American oak before undergoing malolactic fermentation; however, this wine was anything but a butter bomb! It was creamy but crisp with layers of flavor. The wine’s alcohol content was 13.5%. This wine would pair well with most seafood dishes, Chicken Piccata, Eggs Benedict, creamy French vegetable soup and sushi. Very enjoyable wine; recommended!
*I must note the next two wines arrived at my door in the 100 degree heat with their corks slightly protruding from their bottles. I was concerned the wines were cooked and reached out to McCue immediately. Because of a time crunch they offered to send me two new wines if these wines were indeed “bad” but were unable to get the new wines to me before the live tasting; so we agreed I would open them Tuesday afternoon to taste before the official tasting began. These two wines rested and cooled in my dark wine refrigerator for 6 days. Below are my notes from these two wines based on this information.
Arrogant Frog Lily Pad Pinot Noir 2013: This wine was a bright ruby in the glass. After two hours of decanting an alluring aroma of berries and earthiness swirled from the glass. My palate was met with ripe berries of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and fresh cherries; followed by a deep earthiness with flavors of spice, licorice, and currants. This medium body wine was well balanced with nice acidity, and fine tannins. It was aged in old oak, 60% American and 40% French. Furthermore, it underwent cold maceration to extract the flavors without extracting the tannins and fermented at low temperatures. Jean-Claude Mas said, this Pinot Noir was a “white wine disguised as a red wine” because the two were so similar in style. This was not a Burdundy pinot noir made for sipping; this was a Pinot Noir that as Mas put it “you can drink!” Good food pairings include roasted pork tenderloin with a cranberry glaze, roasted duck, and roasted turkey. This wine gave NO indication of being damaged in any way, it was delightful; recommend!
Arrogant Frog Cabernet Merlot 2013: This wine met the glass with in a swirl of deep garnet with aromas of ripe dark berries, spice, smoke and mocha. On the palate this wine brought forth flavors of rich dark cherries and ripe blackberries, followed by baking spices, dark chocolate with a hint of wet tobacco and vanilla. Mas said he tasted blueberry jam, I felt the fruit was richer and deeper than blueberries. This wine was crafted with 55% Cabernet and 45% Merlot grapes to create a soft, full body wine with well rounded tannins and enough acidy to keep me coming back for more. Like the pinot this wine was aged in 60% American oak and 40% French oak. This wine would pair well with a juicy steak, roasted lamb, red deli meats and hard cheeses. It was a very enjoyable Cabernet/Merlot with NO signs of damage; recommend!
My Song Selection: The song I have selected to pair with these four great wines and the fun tasting event is Pompeii by Bastille. Does it seem strange I would pair and English band with a French name singing about an Italian City? Well it is; however, this is July, the month of the Tour de France, the month of Bastille Day and the tasting took place the day after Bastille Day. Therefore I am select a song that is currently popular with a great beat and a fresh sound to represent four wines that when you try them, and you must, they will become popular with you (at $10/bottle)! The tasting was great fun, watching it streamed live on UStream and interacting with Jean-Claude himself. I thoroughly enjoyed drinking these wines and look forward to enjoying them in the future!
Get your own selection of Arrogant Frog wines and let me know what song you would pair with them! Cheers!