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About this Episode

Certified sommelier Michaela Quinlan and Robert Tas review the wine list at L’Auberge Chez Francois, an elegant restaurant serving classic French dishes in a farmhouse setting with a delightful garden patio. Family-owned since 1954, the ethos here is to set the standard for authentic French food that satisfies your appetite and your soul. Michaela reviews the extensive wine list of old-world and new-world wines, and shares her knowledge of pairing wines with the menu and tasting notes to help you make an informed decision. 

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2020 Domaine Schoenheitz Gewurztraminer,  Alsace

  • 2015 Domaine Brana, Bizi Berri, France

  • 2019 Anthill Farms, Mixed Blacks, Russian River Valley, California

Transcript: L'Auberge Chez Francois



Music Intro:

Hello and welcome to CorkRules! 

A podcast where, in each episode, we will review a wine list from your favorite restaurants. I’m your host Robert Tas along with Michaela Quinlan, certified sommelier.


Hello Michaela, it’s great to be back together for another episode.


MQ: Hi Robert!


RT: Before we jump in, let’s talk about CorkRules.

We created CorkRules, our mobile app and our podcasts to demystify wine lists because we know from experience, that sometimes when we get that  list handed to us, well… it can be intimidating, and even a little daunting.


Our aim is to help prepare you to navigate that list, find those hidden gems, or value wines or that special bottle that will take your dining experience over the top.


RT: So, sit back and listen as we review your favorite wine list.


RT: Today we are talking about L’Auberge Chez Francois in Great Fall, VA. Family owned and operated since 1954, L’Auberge features classic French cuisine, paired dinners and produce from two of their on-site gardens.


Michaela, I can’t wait to hear what you think of their wine list?


MQ: This top-rated restaurant is truly a must visit for special occasions. Their wine list features an extensive list of local, Old World and New World favorites, along with multiple formats, such as half bottles, magnums, and 3L bottles.



RT: That’s really great, as you looked at the list did you see anything jump out at you?


MQ: We must start with a French classic. Consider the 2020 Domaine Schoenheitz Gewurztraminer from Alsace. This Gewurztraminer is medium bodied with notes of tropical fruit, ripe peach, dried apricot, with honeysuckle and a mineral finish. The slight touch of sweetness to this white wine makes it an excellent pairing for hard cheese and spicy dishes. 



RT: That is for sure unique. Did you find any others that caught your eye right away?


MQ: A French red wine that caught my eye was the 2015 Domaine Brana, Bizi Berri, from Southwest France. This Cabernet Franc blend is well balanced featuring ripe blackberries, and ripe red cherries, along with notes of herbs, mushrooms, olives, black pepper, and earth. Pair this wine with herbed proteins and savory dishes.


RT: So Michaela, their list seems to have lots of range but was there anything that you would say is a “must-try” ?


MQ: A must try is the beautiful, local white blend from Barboursville Vineyards. Consider the 2018 Nascent which consists of Viognier, Vermentino, and Falanghina. This wine features white flowers, lemon zest, ripe pear, and dried apricots. Pair this rich, yet dry wine with seafood such as tuna and scallops, as well as cream sauces.



RT: These are some great calls.


So you know I’m getting thirsty and will need to order a bottle with my dinner, where would you guide us?


MQ: A rich, New World red blend to consider would be the 2019 Anthill Farms, Mixed Blacks from the Russian River Valley of California. This blend consists of Zinfandel , Petit Sirah, Mourvedre, Carignan, along with several others, including a splash of white wine. This organic and aromatic blend features ripe red cherries, cassis, licorice, violets, and sage with round tannins on the lingering finish. This unique red makes an excellent companion to herbed and richly sauced proteins and pasta.



RT: Ooh, Terrific.


Michaela, speaking of price, sometimes people have a budget in mind...  any other great value wines you’d point us to? 


MQ: A favorite white varietal that is always a winner in quality and value to consider is the 2020 Domaine de la Pepiere, Muscadet from the Loire Valley in France. Muscadet is a classic pairing with oysters and shellfish, or as an aperitif.  It is a light, dry white wine with bright acidity, lemon zest, grapefruit, and a touch of saline on the mineral finish. A fresh, crowd-pleasing white wine.


RT: That sounds great. What is your other value selection?


MQ: Always a winner, the 2018 Chateau Haut-Monplaisir, Cahors in Southwest, France. Cahors is the region that produces exceptional Malbec. Rich and round, this smoky red features ripe blueberries, blackberries, earth, leather, oak, and notes of cocoa on the dry finish. An excellent quality/value wine to pair with all richly sauced proteins such as pork and beef.


RT: Now Michaela, what if I have a big client dinner or special occasion where I want to take it up a notch?


 MQ: Of course, L’Auberge features extraordinary CA Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux selections. Since this is a destination for special events and celebrations, consider a vintage Champagne. The 1996 Duval-Leroy, Femme de Champagne from the Champagne region of France. Duval-Leroy has been crafting highly rated vintage and non-vintage Champagne since 1859. This bottle consists of your classic Champagne varietals, Chardonnay, Piot Noir, and Pinot Munier. Notes of Meyer lemon, ripe peach, and nectarine with brioche, and almond on the finish.

This bottle is Late Disgorged. A final step in Champagne production is Disgorgement. The wine spends additional time on the lees and is then inverted into freezing liquid causing the yeast, which brings us those gorgeous bubbles, to freeze and is then removed. Later disgorgement results in a wine with additional richness. A traditional, vintage production to add to any special occasion.


RT: Michaela Thank you so much for all your great suggestions and helping us navigate L’Auberge Chez Francois’ wine list. I can’t wait to go try them myself. 


To our audience, thank you all for joining us here on CorkRules.


If you would like us to review one of your favorite restaurants, please send us email to: Info@CorkRules.Com or visit our web website where we have a request form available and we will do our best to get it in the queue as quickly as possible.


We are looking forward to being with you on another CorkRules episode soon. In the meantime, please check out our website for other episodes of your favorite restaurant wine lists. 


And finally, drink what you love and please make sure you drink responsibly.


Thank you.





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