Oenology and Ornithology.
Named for the Orphean Warbler (Sylvia hortensis), the Mas Foulaquier’s Orphée is a 50/50 blend of grenache and syrah. There’s rich, intense dark fruit, with earth and lavender. Parker’s David Schildknecht found “black pepper, pan drippings, and meat stock.”
On Pizza, Taxes, and Chianti.
“Death may be certain in Italy, but taxes are another matter,” wrote the Economist last year. If Italians have the world’s prettiest language, most enthusiastic drivers, and best food, perhaps we can forgive the 18% of GDP (€285 billion) they’re missing from unpaid taxes. But even on tax day, it’s the food we’re more concerned with.
White Burgundy under $20.
White Burgundy is a perfect food wine. With the possible exception of Riesling, no wine goes so well with so many different dishes. Bottles from the top producers rise quickly into triple digits, but you don’t spend top dollar for delicious, classic white Burgundy.
White Côtes-du-Rhône: Pear and Citrus.
Our main criterion for interesting white wine is balanced acidity. Good white Burgundy has it in spades, as do the best examples of Muscadet, Sancerre, and that German Riesling we keep going on about. Without it, wines are flat and dull.
Grenache Vines from 1895.
In February of 1895, George Herman Ruth Jr. was born in Baltimore, Maryland. That year there were forty-four United States, Grover Cleveland was president, and the first patent was filed for a gas-powered car. Meanwhile across the ocean in France (a six-day crossing by boat), a vineyard of grenache was planted just outside Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
Vintage Crémant from Burgundy.
Winemakers in Champagne are notoriously protective of their name. The appellation’s trade body spends time and money running ad campaigns and bringing lawsuits to protect the name. While we understand their desire to protect the brand, there are plenty of bubbles to go around.
White Burgundy from a One-Car Garage.
You don’t need a chateau to make good French wine. Some of our favorite finds over the years have come from tiny producers who taste us through their wines at their dining room table. It’s skill, rather than scale, that makes these producers special. One such vigneron is Michel Forest.
Sauvignon Blanc, White Bordeaux
As asparagus comes into season, a perennial dilemma faces wine drinkers. The chlorophyll-filled bite of good spring asparagus, delicious though it is, turns many wines wine metallic and bitter. Our answer to this pairing puzzle is Sauvignon Blanc (or just Sauvignon if you’re in France).
Red Burgundy en plein air.
We love to eat meals outside. Whether it’s on a stone patio, a picnic in a park, or a roof deck in the city, food (and wine) tend to taste better outdoors. But in case this latest blast of cold was winter’s last, we’re ready with some red Burgundy.
Five Regional Samplers
To know French wines is to know French geography. Each region has its own food, culture, and winemaking tradition. (Sometimes the language even changes.) We've assembled six-bottle samplers from five regions around France, and each is a collection of the region's signature wines.
White Burgundy in 140 Characters.
We tried this recipe over the weekend, paired it with the 2009 Hautes-Côtes de Nuits white from Michel Gros. It was a lovely match, with the freshness in the Burgundy cutting nicely through the surprisingly rich sauce. And in the spirit of brevity, we’ll sum up our thoughts in a tweet.
Gigondas and the Joy of Living.
We’re not sure what they’re drinking in Cartier-Bresson’s 1938 photo of picnickers on the banks of a river, but we bet it tasted good. In our imagination it’s a wine from a town whose name itself derives from “joy of living:” Gigondas.
Sparkling Pinot Noir.
While Pinot Noir is synonymous with red wine, its juice is clear. Press the juice off the skins and ferment it on its own, and you get a wine that’s much closer to a white. In France it’s called a Blanc de Noirs (white from black), and is nearly always bottled sparkling.
Futures: the March Issue
Browse through the March Issue of our Futures Program. Deadline for orders is March 30.
Alsatian Spring on the Coast of Maine.
As the epicenter of Ansonia moves further up the Atlantic seaboard, our diet of fish and shellfish has risen accordingly. We’ve spent this last week on Harpswell’s rocky shoreline, surrounded, in E. B. White’s words, by “restless fields of protein.”
Old Vines and Ocean Air.
Mark Kozine’s carignan vines average 60 years old. His Chateau Gaussan-Kozine also has the advantage of good location. It’s at the eastern end of the Corbières region, close enough to the Mediterranean to feel an influence from its breezes.