by Fred McMillin
for October 1, 1997

It's Chantefleur Fer Sure

Prologue: "For the astute buyer and the adventurous consumer, Southern France is an area well worth mining. There are today more exciting discoveries to be made in that region than anywhere else in Europe." ...by Remington Norman in "Rhone Renaissance"

The Rest of the Story: One of those "exciting discoveries" was made by the students in my last wine course at S.F. State University, College of Extended Learning. We examined 60 wines carefully. Picking the BEST BUY RED was a slam dunk. It was a Merlot from Southern France for only FIVE BUCKS. The brand name is Chantefleur and the importer is the Parliament Wine Co. Of N.J. I lived in New Jersey when they started exactly 30 years ago.

Their wines have always been "sleepers" in my classes, that is, they scored well but the students had not heard of the Chantefleur label. Parliament was not suprised, telling me at the time they "spend much more time on the quality of our selections than on their promotion." They still do, and my class felt the time was very well spent.

The Wine:
1996 Merlot, Vin De Pays d'Oc, Southern France
Importer—Parliament Import Co., N.J.
Phone—(609) 348-1100
Quality—Highly Recommended for those who drink red wines in the $5 range.

Postscript: Occitan is the name of a language spoken in Southern France...hence, the wine region name d'Oc. If you are interested in learning more about these French wine terms, see the July 24 WineDay titled "What's Up, d'Oc"?

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

Read more articles by Fred McMillin in the eGGsf

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