French Country Wines.
For over 10 years, the wine importer French Country Wines has developed relationships with winemakers throughout France, from small family-owned and artisanal wineries known in France as “Vignerons Independants” who are truly involved in sustainable agriculture.
Can you tell us more about you and your background?
Jean-Philippe Guy: I was born and raised in the restaurant industry. My parents have always owned restaurants in France and here in Houston. I’m originally from Clermont-Ferrand in Auvergne, but I’ve been calling Houston home for close to 38 years. After working in the restaurant industry for 25 years, working with French wines seemed like a natural progression. About 7 years ago, I was approached by original owners Tim & Phyllis Smith to help them develop the wholesale side of French Country Wines. After a successful partnership with them, I bought them out in March of 2018, and I became the sole owner.
What is your opinion of the French Wine market (US and Texas)?
JPG: There has always been a very large demand for French wines in the US and notably in Texas. Houston is home to a diverse crowd that is well travelled. French wines means of course, Bordeaux and Burgundy, but in the last few years, more more wines of smaller appellations in the Languedoc and Rhone Valley have proved to offer very good values at a price point that appeals to consumers. Over the last few years, rosé wines, especially from Provence, have gained a lot of popularity in Houston. Rosé is easily one of the most popular – it pairs very well with different ethnic foods and, of course, the weather. It is no longer a summer drink, and it is now enjoyed year long.
What do you like about your job? What are your ambitions?
JPG: I’m extremely fortunate to have a job I love and happy to go to every morning. I meet people of all walks of life, from the small vineyard owners to the high-end executives. Best of all, I give a voice to passionate small vineyard owners who would not have one without my help.
What is your favorite wine region? What is the Best wine that you would recommend ?
JPG: I really favor the Rhone Valley- so many different styles in such a small area. Wines can be fruitforward, barnyardy, or sometime even austere, but they’re always so terroir-driven. You can just look at the vineyard to see what’s growing, and most certainly find it deep in the bottle. Domaine Rouge Bleu in the southern Rhone Valley in Sainte Cécile makes a small batch of 100% old wine Grenache- called Lunatique. The wines are on average 100 years old, and they only produce about 1200 bottles each vintage. Yields permitted in the area are about 45hl/h, but the vines are so old it gives them about 15hl/h- so only about 1/3. The name has a double meaning- first you have to be a complete Lunatique to even consider making wines at such small yields, and then the wine is made based on the lunar calendar; therefore cutting, harvesting and vinifying by the phases of the moon. This red is full of dark berries, licorice, and pepper. It would pair wonderfully with roasted lamb and even barbecued meat.
Learn more: www.frenchcountrywines.com
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