We think white Burgundy is the purest expression of the Chardonnay grape. It drinks well on its own, and reaches magnificent heights with food; but prices often restrict white Burgundies to special occasions. We try hard to find examples that are priced to enjoy on a weeknight.
Syrah is a grape of many forms. Grown everywhere from Spain to Switzerland to South Africa, it ranges from rich and dark to delicate and refreshing. But most agree that Syrah’s finest expression comes from the Northern Rhône, in places like Hermitage, Côte Rôtie, and Saint-Joseph.
Most wine in the US is opened too young. Blame it on retailers moving inventory or on our age of impatience, but it’s increasingly rare to enjoy a bottle that has been been properly cellared. Which is why we’re always excited to find older vintages still available at French domaines.
We stumbled upon the Domaine Nicolas Maillet last year during a visit to the Maconnais, and he has turned out to be one of our best finds. Maillet is a man full of passion -- for his vineyards, for his rootstocks, for biodynamics, and for the purity of his harvest. And he manages to translate all of this energy into extraordinary wines.
We recently celebrated our sixth year as a père et fils business, a multigenerational approach that is common in Burgundy. The Belland family in Santenay is a particularly impressive example. Their domaine has operated since 1839, and today Roger and his daughter Julie comprise the 5th and 6th generations. With 176 years of experience, the Bellands know their terroir intimately.
It was a cool and dewy morning in the Loire Valley when we visited the Domaine Frederic Michot back in June. We had little more to go on than a brief note in a French wine guide promising a small scale, excellent Pouilly-Fumé. The rutted tracks in the ridges above the hamlet led to a modest house with a small tasting room attached.
As the world’s climate warms, the world’s wines have warmed as well. With grapes able to ripen in ever more locations, an “international” style has emerged: very ripe fruit, soft tannins, new oak, and high alcohol. They’re the drugstore paperbacks of the wine world -- fast and easy, but not particularly distinctive or interesting.
Côtes du Rhône is one of the world’s most recognizable brands. From Parisian bistro chalkboards to grocery store shelves in the States, it seems to be everywhere. And as with most popular appellations, we’ve had bottles both memorable and forgettable.
Most of Burgundy completed the harvest last week, with all signs pointing toward an excellent 2015 vintage. As once tractor-filled streets return to their sleepy normalcy, the excitement and celebration in the air has given way to the sweet, yeasty smell of fermentation.
Many wine collectors seek out red Burgundies for their longevity. Aged well, the best can improve for decades. With time in the bottle, these wines develop extraordinary nuances, unlike any other food or drink. But not all red Burgundy requires such patience.
The Languedoc is an ancient winegrowing region. The Greeks were the first to plant here, in the fifth century BC, and so Languedoc wine predates France itself. The region has had its ups and downs over the last two millennia, and until recently earned its reputation for mediocre, uninteresting wine.
With September weather finally in the air these days, we welcome the signs of autumn: yellow schoolbuses, wool sweaters, and the return of football. As cooler days turn to even chillier nights, our palates turn towards denser, more full-bodied reds, and white with some depth and roundness.
Sauvignon blanc grows around the world, from California to South Africa to New Zealand. But its origin is most likely the Loire Valley, where it took its name from its resemblance to wild (savuage) grape vines. And it is here, particularly in the neighboring towns of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, that Sauvignon blanc finds its purest expression.
The wines of Beaujolais get an unfair rap. Their brand has been linked to the Beaujolais Nouveau, a cloying, fruity wine made just weeks after the harvest. But those drinkers who avoid the region entirely miss out on some exceptional wines.
Michel Gros is perhaps the most recognizable producer in our portfolio, and his wines are well deserving of their praise. Gros makes wines from four villages along the Côte de Nuits: Nuits-St-Georges, Morey-St-Denis, Chambolle Musigny, and his home town Vosne-Romanée.