Vino File: French connection

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Bob Bernardo always tries before he buys.

The owner of Carnardo Wine & Cheese on Riverside Drive in Upper Arlington travels regularly to different regions to get his first taste of future vintages and share his feedback. Most recently, he visited France in September.

"The harvest in Burgundy this year was tremendous," Bernardo said. "Also in the Rhone, everybody had smiles on their faces. So in a couple years, we'll have a lot of good wines coming up."

Some of his favorite bottles come from the Joseph Drouhin family. They've been making red and white wine for about 200 years in Burgundy and, in the late 1980s, the family built a vineyard in Oregon.

"They kind of put Oregon on the map," Bernardo said. "Veronique, the daughter, makes all the wines there, including one called Cloudline."

Below, he offers three French (or French-owned) picks.

You can try before you buy at Carnardo, too. Eight bottles are always available for tastings by the glass, and there's never a corkage fee if you want to crack open your purchase in the shop. -Brittany Kress

Joseph Drouhin Laforet chardonnay (2008)

Region: Burgundy, France

Cost: $13

Flavors: Lightly oaky

Pairs well with: Chicken, turkey, seafood

Bob Bernardo's advice: "Normally I wouldn't recommend a lot of California chardonnay because it's too heavily oaked. But this is something you could drink."

Joseph Drouhin Laforet pinot noir (2006)

Region: Burgundy, France

Cost: $15

Flavors: Soft and balanced, with black cherry and juicy berry tastes

Pairs well with: Chicken, pork, pasta

Bob Bernardo's advice: "It's a very versatile wine that you can do with white meats as well as you can with red meats, because it is a softer red wine."

Domaine Drouhin pinot noir (2006)

Region: Willamette Valley, Oregon

Cost: $48

Flavors: Dark fruit essences with a heavier, meaty center

Pairs well with: Pork, ham or steak

Bob Bernardo's advice: "It's a lot more expensive, but it's one of the better domestic wines that we have."