French Wines from Independent Vintners for the Independent Thinker
Aliane Wines is a small San Diego importer and distributor owned by two
hard-working ladies, Aline Thiebault and Anita Busquets. Their focus is in bringing small producers from France who are committed to sustainable agriculture yet making old world wines for the new world palate. They have built personal relationships with growers and wine makers and started importing wines into the States. Aline, daughter of a cooper in Burgundy, always dreamed of being an “ambassador of Burgundy”. She has built many strong relationships with growers and wine makers in Burgundy. (In this business, strong relationships are what matters whether you are a wine grower, wine maker, distributor or buyer). Anita has an amazing palate with a strong business sense. After graduating from Cornell and receiving her MBA from Simmons Graduate School of Management, she went on to receive her level 3 Sommelier diploma from the International Guild of Sommeliers.
I find them to be very courageous. The wine business is a tough business. It takes a colossal investment of both time and money, and the rewards are not seen immediately. But more than that, I am surprised that they chose San Diego to import French wines. I’ve been back in San Diego for about 7 years now, and I still have a hard time selling French wine. In San Francisco it was not a problem. French wine was the standard. Here in San Diego, the market’s focus is California wine. Aline and Anita took a big risk in starting their business in this town.
But, as I had mentioned before, they are hard-working individuals and their perseverance is starting to pay off. Aliane Wines entered the LA market in 2010 and is doing very well. Last year they also branched out into San Francisco, and have become one of the more sought after French wine importers. Aline mentioned that they are the new kids on the block in San Francisco, and in typical SF tradition, the next new thing is always hot. I hope that they continue with great success.
What Aliane means
Aline and Anita combined their first names to create “Aliane”. Only later did they realize that it is also an old French name meaning “noble” or “gracious”.
I first met Anita and Aline at a 3 day Spanish Wine Educators Seminar. Like good students they were on the front row taking notes and asking questions. When they found out that I was the buyer for Cohn Restaurants they immediately came to introduce themselves. I was a little leery to set time in my day to taste with another vendor, and a French one at that. Don’t get me wrong, I love French wines, however, I haven’t had much success with them in San Diego. At our first meeting I was blown away by the quality and price of the wines. Purchasing from them was a no-brainer. We went on to have a great success at Island Prime with Domaine Girault Sancerre, Nicolas Rossignol, Patrick Puize and Domaine Rene Bouvier.
Now for the wines. Aline’s cheerful and friendly demeanor has made her the perfect candidate for “ambassador of Burgundy”. She has been working closely with some of the top wine makers of the new generation. She has created her own label, Aliane, which represents some great fruit sources and well-known wine makers. Unfortunately Aline is under a confidential agreement to not release her wine maker’s name. The wines are very much Burgundian, however, they also have this fruity appeal for the American palate. Aliane Wines is not solely restricted to Burgundy. They also import delicious wines from the Loire, Rhone and Bordeaux.
Aliane Bourgone Blanc ’09
Aged for 10 months in 2-3 year French barrels. Bright acidity yet cream on the palate. Aromas of pear, yellow apples, and minerals. Has a zing of citrus in the finish.
Patrick Piuze “Terroir de Chablis” Chablis ’09
All fruit is sourced from an un-named single plot (part of the confidentiality agreement) It is hand harvested and aged for 10 months in 20% stainless, and the rest in 8 year old barrel. With fresh aromas of green apples, orange and mineral, it has a fleshiness without losing its zing. Finishes with melons and chalk.
Domaine Le Capitaine “Demi-Sec” Vouvray ’08
Aged 9 months in stainless. A beautiful Chenin Blanc! Ripe aromas of apricot and stone fruits followed with candle wax and minerals. Finishes off-dry with orange and tangerine flavors.
Perndand Vergeless Rouge ’08
Hand harvested and aged in 12 months, 25% new and the rest in 2-3 year old barrels. Freshness of fruit on the nose, raspberry, cranberry and pomegranate with a hint of silt. Finishes with a gravelly minerality and very expressive.
Haut Musiel “Signargues” Cote Du Rhone ’07
85% Grenache and the rest Syrah, fermented separately. The Grenache is in large barrels and the Syrah in small. Signargues is a village similiar to Chateauneuf-du-pape. The soils are made up of the same “Galets roulés,” round stones. Aromas of black fruit, blue berry, red cherry, dusty earth. It is lean with minerals and bright red fruit on the palate. Finishes with a hint of alcohol and cherry-cola.
Saint Ahon Haut-Medoc Bordeaux ’05
Aged for 1 year in 25% new French oak. Aromas of traditional Bordeaux, hay and barnyard; however it also has a fruitiness of blackberry and cassis. Lively acidity and finishes with a sense of place; flavors of iron and gravel.