Carignan is the most widely planted grape you never heard of. It covers nearly 80% of the vast Languedoc, and given free rein the grape can yield 200hl/ha (versus about 30 in Burgundy). This is a formula for ordinary wine. But kept in check and grown carefully, Carignan can produce really delicious wine.
There’s hardly a food with a greater distance between in-season and off-season quality than the tomato. We’ve enjoyed a tomato-filled summer -- in salads, dressed simply with olive oil, or cooked down into sauce for fresh pasta or homemade pizza. When they’re sweet and crisp and soft, there’s nothing better.
The September Futures Issue features seven produces from three regions. Five of the winemakers in this issue are from Burgundy, where we visit sources in Meursault, Morey-St-Denis, Gevrey-Chambertin, and Chablis. Other wines inlcluded come from Chinon and Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Much of our wine comes from small-scale producers you’ve likely never heard of – but not all of it. The Domaine de l’Arlot is one of Burgundy’s great names, and their wines appear in the finest restaurants and cellars around the world. Our allocation from them is always small, but their wines are always excellent.
After watching a rough day on Wall Street, we’re in the mood for something safe. While sure bets are as rare in the wine world as they are in the equity markets, this wine is about as close as it gets. (We’re thankful Burgundy isn’t listed on the commodity exchanges.)
Prices in Bordeaux have never been higher, fed by increasing global demand, particularly from China. We’re always looking for value in Bordeaux, and we often find it in second wines of famous vineyards, or secondary properties from famous winemakers. These wines command much more reasonable prices, but are still the products of masterful winemakers and excellent terroir.
There’s a sense of ancient history in the south of France. Roman-era towns and crumbling ruins dot the countryside -- even the modern highways follow the ancient “Via Agrippa” of the Romans. Winemaking here is just as old, and archeologists have found presses dating back to 400 BC.
Of the four vineyard levels in Burgundy, “Grand Cru” is the highest. Reserved for the top 1.3% of vineyards, the classification represents the finest Burgundy has to offer. The town of Gevrey-Chambertin is known for deep and powerful wines, owing their richness to the high level of clay in the soil. The Grand Crus of Chambertin are some of the darkest and longest lived wines in Burgundy.
Chablis is a singular place. Its combination of deep stony soils and cool climate exists nowhere else on earth. These factors produce a similarly singular wine -- mineral and crisp, pure and clean. Our goal as importers is to find wines that reflect the place from which they come, and there is no better place to find them than Chablis.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the world’s most widely planted grape. It’s grown everywhere -- from Bordeaux to Brazil to British Columbia -- and comes in a wide variety of textures and expressions. Cabernet Sauvignon is a cross, likely spontaneous, between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon blanc -- a gift from the winemaking gods.
Burgundy is a small place. The town of Puligny-Montrachet, which Clive Coates calls “the greatest white wine commune on earth,” covers less than a single square mile. And yet the wines from this town have been prized for over a thousand years.
The effect of time on wine is one of the culinary world’s great magic tricks. Timing and conditions are crucial, and with patience and cellar space in short supply, well-aged wines are increasingly rare. Older French wines in the US have often been stored poorly, or have changed hands so many times they include layers upon layers of markups.