Every year since 1880 the French celebrate La fête nationale, or French National Day, on July 14. The day is to commemorate both the Storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, and the Fête de la Fédération on July 14, 1790. English speaking countries recognize July 14th as France’s Bastille Day. I cannot think of a better way to honor the French and this important day in their history than with enjoying some lovely French wines.
The Bastille was a medieval prison in Paris. It was associated with the harsh rule of the Bourbon monarchy of the eighteenth century. On July 14, 1789, citizens and troops stormed the Bastille, igniting the French Revolution. The following year, the French began the Fête de la Fédération celebrations as a way to celebrate the establishment of a constitutional monarchy and the unity of France. One year after the storming of the Bastille, the celebration was meant to celebrate peace.
Both the Eiffel Tower and the French flag are important symbols commemorating these events. The French flag is one and a half times as wide as it is tall. Its three vertical bands of red, white and blue are equal in color and size. These symbols bear witness to the peaceful day of Fête de la Fédération and the unity of France over the bloodshed and violence of the storming of the Bastille.
I cannot think of a better way to honor this day in French history then to celebrate with the bounties of French wine. In fact, I am going to take you on a brief virtual wine tour of France. We will start in the northwest corner of France at the German border in Alsace, then journey south through Burgundy to Beaujolais, followed by a sharp west turn through Bordeaux, then on to the south of France in the Rhone Valley, and finally all the way to the Mediterranean coast in Pays d’Oc IGP of Languedoc-Rousillon. These wines came from Central Market.
Barth Rene Vin D’Alsace 2014 Riesling: A beautiful golden yellow in the glass; crisp aromas of stone fruit, tropical fruit, melon, and crushed stone; racy on the palate with penetrating acidity that coated the mouth and created a long, mouth-watering, dry finish; I love Alsace, even the inexpensive wines are amazing. SRP $14.99.
Maison Louis Latour 2013 Pinot Noir Bourgogne: It poured a light ruby into the glass; delicate aromas of ripe cherries, strawberries and cranberries with violets, soft spice notes & green olive tapenade; soft on the palate, well-structured with mouthwatering acidity, well integrated tannins and a tart fruit finish. SRP $19.99
Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2015: This fun 100% Gamay wine poured an inky purple into the glass; lively aromas of dark jammy fruit including blackberries, black plums, and black raspberries, were met with notes of chocolate, soft baking spices, and a touch of vanilla and tobacco; it was thick and rich on the palate with balanced acidity and well-integrated tannins that create a lush mouth-feel and a long, palate coating finish; a fun wine and super food friendly, drink young and slightly chilled.
Chateau Graville-Lacoste 2014 Graves: This wine was crafted of 75% Sémillon, 20% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Muscadelle; it poured a glistening gold into the glass; fresh aromas of ripe peaches, lemon and lime zest, and crushed stone rest on a firm mineral foundation; zesty on the palate with mouthwatering, penetrating acidity, creating a mouth-coating long finish. SRP $19.99
Côtes du Rhône 2013 for Kermit Lynch by Jean- François Pasturel at Terres d’Avignon: This wine was crafted from 62% Grenache, 26% Syrah, 5% Carignan, 4% Cinsault, and 3% Mourvedre; it poured ruby with scarlet hues; aromas of cherries, blackberries, boysenberries, plums and pomegranate are met with licorice, violets, touch of dried fruit, spice notes, and hints of dark chocolate and vanilla; these layers of aromas came together in an easy drinking wine, not complex or particularly textural on the palate but a nice wine with good structure, round acidity, integrated tannins, medium body with a medium finish. SRP $19.99.
Racines de la Terra Pays d’Oc IGP: This 100% Malbec poured a deep ruby in the glass; aromas of mixed berry jam consisting of cherries, blackberries, red raspberries and boysenberries are mixed with chocolate, baking spices, minerality, and dusty earth; silky mouth feel with round acidity, dusty tannins, mouth coating long spicy finish; really nice Malbec that was easy to drink. SRP $11.99.
My Song Selection: The two events celebrated on French National Day were not the end to all internal conflicts in France. Victor Hugo wove the Paris Uprising of 1832 into his famous novel, Les Misérables, as a subplot that figured more prominently in the musical adaptation. It is a book and musical I absolutely love. Furthermore, I love the soundtrack. Therefore, I chose a song from the soundtrack of Les Mis about the Paris Uprising of 1832 to pair with these wines.
Get your own bottles of French wine to celebrate Bastille Day and let me know what song you pair with them. Cheers!