For many, gift exchanges, holiday parties, and large family meals fill the next four weeks. Whether you’re a host or a guest, everyone’s just a bit happier to see you with sparkling wine in hand. Here’s a bottle of affordable, versatile bubbles that fits as well in a secret Santa or office cocktail party as on your family’s holiday table.
With Thanksgiving but a few days away, delicious smells have begun to emerge from our kitchen. One of cooking’s most intoxicating aromas comes from a process called the Maillard reaction. First identified by Frenchman Louis Camille Maillard in 1912, it’s the flavor most often associated with browned meat, though it’s also found in bread crusts, chocolate, dark beers, and coffee beans.
Burgundy isn’t always the most accessible of wines. Many bottles require cellaring, food pairing can be tricky, and there’s often a hefty entry fee. But as anyone who has ever tasted a well aged Burgundy can tell you, when it’s good, there’s nothing quite like it.
Puligny-Montrachet and Meursault are neighboring small towns in Burgundy. From end to end they cover just under five miles, and their combined populations number less than 2000 souls. Both towns have made wine for a thousand years, and today are world famous as sources of the finest white Burgundy.
The Loire Valley is at the heart of France’s natural wine movement. Many winemakers here live a back-to-the-land ethos, crafting wines as organically and minimally as possible. While some vignerons certainly may take the low sulfiting and unfiltered ideal too far, most wines turn out balanced, fresh, and more complex.
It is often said that good wines are made in the vineyards. That may be true, but they can also be saved in the winery. When we visited the Domaine Collet in Chablis in the midst of the 2013 harvest, it seemed a scene of tragedy. Rot-laden grapes and malfunctioning machinery had kept the young winemaker Romain Collet up all night with worry, and we made a mental note to exercise caution before buying the finished product.
For years our readers asked us to find a grower Champagne, and for years our search fell short. But in June we struck gold at last, based on a recommendation from Burgundian winemaker Michel Gros. We’re excited to have filled this hole in our portfolio, and particularly to have done so with such a singular source.
Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays -- a celebration of family, feasting, and maybe some football. We’ve got lots of suggestions for wine on your Thanksgiving dinner table, in our nine mixed cases and November Notebook. But this year we’ll be adding another, more traditional beverage to our table: crisp, refreshing, Breton cider.
For about a thousand years between the 5th and 15th centuries, French monks dominated the world of wine. It was the monks, tasting the products of the rich Burgundian soils (and often the soils themselves), that first developed the idea of terroir.
Red Burgundy is known as a wine lover’s red wine, often requiring years of aging and a hefty price of entry. Even mature, many red Burgundies exhibit a finesse and delicacy can be drowned out by the cacophony of New World tannin and oak.
Condrieu is one of the most sought after white wines in the world. Made from pure viognier, and grown in a tiny Northern Rhône appellation of less than half a square mile, this nectar-like white wines is both delicious and pricey. Our favorite source is the brothers Christophe and Patrick Bonnefond.
For the fans and farmers of Burgundy, 2009 was a golden year. The weather was perfect, the grapes were clean and healthy, and there were plenty of them. One writer soon after the vintage predicted that the early-drinking 2009s would probably age well, if only collectors could keep their hands off them long enough to find out.
The tiny Burgundy village of Morey-St-Denis covers just under four tenths of a square mile. It has long played second fiddle to its famous neighbors Chambolle-Musigny and Gevrey-Chambertin, but in fact it holds five Grand Cru vineyards and produces excellent red Burgundies. At their best, the wines of Morey-St. Denis show a beautiful lace-like minerality, and an elegance only possible in Pinot Noir from Burgundy.
In Burgundy as in real estate, location is everything. A slight change in slope or soil content can make an enormous difference in a wine. Though it’s classified as a premier cru, today’s wine is surrounded by five grand cru vineyards, and many believe that it stays a premier cru more from politics than from geology.
Today Chassagne-Montrachet is known for its opulent white Burgundies, most famous among them from the Grand Cru vineyard “Montrachet.” But for most of its existence, Chassagne was known for its red wines. As late as the 1930s, Chardonnay comprised only a fifth of the vines planted in the town.