We returned to the Maconnais region of Burgundy in April, in search of a new winemaker. One morning, after an overlong and disappointing tasting, we found ourselves rushing through back roads to our last idea – no appointment, a cell number and vigneron name on a scrap of paper provided by a friend, and nearly at the non-negotiable mid-day lunch deadline. We nearly called off the search and headed to lunch ourselves.
The Ansonia Wines team has been on the move for the last few years, leaving familiar haunts to begin new chapters in far-flung locales. But it’s nice to have a place that will always be home. For us, that’s a cluster of cottages on a remote stream in Northern Pennsylvania. It’s the source of family roots, countless memories, and our company name: Ansonia, PA.
One of our most popular wines these days has been the Clos Bagatelle Tradition 2012. It’s refreshing, easy to drink, and (most importantly) it’s a bargain. Hailing from the sea of mediocrity that is much of the Languedoc, Bagatelle’s Tradition distinguishes itself with low alcohol and balanced mouthfeel. We have yet to meet someone that doesn’t enjoy it.
In France, the idea of terroir is not limited to wine. In our travels there we often find other culinary expressions of place: from Basque country hams, to Belon oysters, to every type of cheese imaginable. It's something the French do particularly well - letting the place dictate the product.
Wine writer Lettie Teague describes Sancerre as a wine about “pleasure and not profundity.” And though we’ve certainly had memorable bottles of Sancerre, it’s true that the wine shows a certain joie de vivre – more gourmand than gourmet. For us, a glass of Sancerre calls to mind a large bowl of mussels in a Parisian bistro rather than a Michelin-starred white tablecloth.
A source of stress. From the rock-covered fields of Châteauneuf-du-Pape to the mold- and hail-prone slopes of Burgundy, the French plant vines in the most unusual places. And no location makes a vigneron’s life more complicated than the strikingly steep slopes of Côte Rôtie. Growing and harvesting grapes here is so difficult that until the […]
St. Aubin is the insider’s white Burgundy. For years we’ve pointed our friends and customers here for remarkable values. (We’re not alone – author/sommelier Rajat Parr wrote that “it produces some of the best-value Chardonnays in the world.”) Our favorite has always been Gérard Thomas’s St. Aubin 1er cru “Murgers des Dents de Chien.” But this spring we discovered another Thomas wine from St. Aubin, this one at the village level.
The Loire Valley is a pastoral land of magnificent chateaux and humble goat cheese makers. The range of wines made here is just as expansive: sparkling and still, dry and sweet, and everything from almost-clear Muscadet to deep purple Chinon. There’s a wine here for almost every taste. Today we’re introducing a new rosé from this land of extremes: Pinot Noir Rosé 2013 from Jean-Baptiste Thibault.
Today’s wine is the Domaine Ravaut’s Corton Grand Cru “Les Bressandes” 2012. Corton-Bressandes is among the most famous and sought after of the climats on the hill, and Ravaut renders this terroir beautifully. Our notes from a May barrel tasting describe a wine that is spectacularly dark and deep, with a beautiful cassis nose and very fine tannins. With notes of dark chocolate and a mouthfeel that lasted for several seconds, it was the only wine of the tasting we couldn’t bring ourselves to spit out.
“If gold were a flavor,” Matt Kramer once wrote, “it would taste like Meursault.” Though limited to just premier cru and village levels, the wines of Meursault are some of the most sought after in the world. The gold analogy extends to cost as well, and buying Meursault can feel like investing in fine jewelry. Just west of Meursault lies the appellation of Auxey-Duresses, a town of lesser fame and better prices.