Last week we wrote about our last few bottles of the 2004 Pomerol Chateau La Clemence. As we feared, the orders exhausted our supply in a matter of minutes. Though we can’t blame you for your interest in Pomerol, we could barely fill the first two orders from our inventory. So we called M. Dauriac at the Chateau Clemence and asked if he could spare a few more cases of his 2004. He did us one better, and sent us a list of older vintages from all three of his properties.
As Burgundy devotees, we drink a lot of Pinot Noir. Most comes from the golden hillsides of Burgundy’s Côte d’Or, but not all of it. For many years we’ve enjoyed Francis Muré’s Alsatian take on the grape: simpler, juicier, more floral.
As in most of the world, there’s really only one sport of consequence in France. This afternoon all eyes will be on the French National Team as it takes the field against Honduras in Brazil. After a disastrous showing at the 2010 World Cup, “Les Bleus” will be looking to redeem themselves. Not too long ago, Chablis was the French export in need of redemption.
As a père et fils business ourselves, we like working with multigenerational domaines. It’s great to watch fathers hand down their nuanced craft to their children, passing along decades of knowledge and experience. The younger generation usually brings new energy and a healthy spirit of innovation. (The innovation can backfire, of course – we sometimes see a burst of overoaking with new hands on the tiller.)
Many of the winemaking families we work with have been in the business for generations; some as far back as the 16th century. It can take years to acquire vines and equipment, and even longer to build a name. All of which makes the earthy, spiced syrahs Denis Basset produces so impressive.
The branding of wine changes from one winegrowing region to another. The Old World tends to use place to identify wine, while the New World tends to use grape varietal. It seems a subtle shift, but it has enormous implications for the way wines are perceived.
With June here and temperatures rising, we tend to be pickier about the alcohol content in our wines. Hot weather and hot wines just don’t match up well. For us, summer means wines from Chablis, Burgundy, the Loire Valley, and Alsace. And, of course, Germany.
“How do you find your winemakers?” is probably the most common question we’re asked. The answer: we trust the locals whenever we can. Sometimes this means recommendations from vignerons we already work with; sometimes it is customers with vineyard connections. But our favorite source is often the local wine list.
We’re envious of Francis Muré’s lifestyle. In the tiny Alsatian town of Westhalten, Francis and his wife Josiane raise chickens and goats, make duck confit, manage a small gîte, and can homemade jam. Francis makes smoked trout from the fish his brother catches in the local mountain streams. He also makes wine -– straightforward, delicious, award-winning wine.
Most of our wines come from small-scale producers you’ve likely never heard of – but not all of them. 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.