Chambolle-Musigny is the essence of Burgundian grace. The wines of the town embody the elegant, silky side of Pinot Noir, a continent away from New World’s warm climate versions. Though it’s a village of 320 inhabitants on less than 500 acres, this tiny town produces some of the most ethereal and sought-after red wine in the world.
Next month both France and the United States celebrate their independence. Having overthrown their respective kings over two centuries ago, both countries now mark the occasion with fireworks, parades, and outdoor merriment.
When vines grow old, vignerons are faced with a choice. Older vines mean lower yields, which can squeeze a domaine’s bottom line. But old vines also produce more concentrated and better quality juice, leading to wines of depth and intensity. We are always pleased to find vignerons who sacrifice quantity for quality and allow their vines to continue into old age.
Most wines benefit from aging, but some require it. Grand Cru red Burgundies taste fine after a year or two, but it’s a shame to open them before they’ve had time to reach their full potential. Properly aged, mature red Burgundies are hard to find, though, and usually come with vague histories and 3- or 4- digit price tags.
Burgundy is best known for its wines of refinement and elegance. The delicate, often ethereal Pinot Noir from towns like Vosne-Romanée and Chambolle-Musigny are known the world around for their beauty and uniqueness. But there’s a whole other world of red Burgundy south of the Côte d’Or.
Most people consider the white wines of Burgundy to be among the world’s finest wines of any color. Nowhere else does Chardonnay achieve the same balance between fruit, minerality, acidity, richness, and elegance. With production limited and ever increasing demand, the prices of white Burgundy have risen almost as quickly as those of red.
Morey-St-Denis is a tiny town. Home to only 680 people, its half-square-mile of vineyards produces a wide array of wines, ranging from simple Bourgogne to famous Grand Cru. We’ve found much to like across this small terroir, particularly in the premier crus from the Domaine Pierre Amiot. Today’s offer is for Amiot’s excellent 2012 premier cru from “Ruchots.”
We’d bet that many readers have garages bigger than the Domaine Malmont’s winemaking space. We work with some small-production winemakers, but even by our standards Malmont’s winery is tiny. The small space attached to winemaker Nicolas Haeni’s house in Séguret looks more like a large tool shed than a winemaking operation.
Bordeaux is much larger than Burgundy. The region covers nearly ten times as much land, and the wineries themselves are usually far larger. For example Burgundy’s most famous vineyard, Romanée Conti, produces about 450 cases per year; Châteaux Margaux and Haut Brion are closer to 12,000 each.
If Vosne-Romanée is the paragon of Burgundian sophistication, then neighbor Nuits-St-Georges has the humbler charm of a country gentleman. Spread across five miles of varied terroir, the wines of Nuits-St-Georges range from spiced and elegant to meaty and rich. Wines from plots near the Vosne border can borrow a bit of spice and silk from their neighbor.
“Oaked” or “unoaked” sounds like a yes-no question, but it really is a range. Most of the wines we import spend some time in oak, but the strength of its influence depends on the age and size of the barrel, the chauffe (how heavily the inside is charred), and time in the barrel.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape dominates the south of France. No other town is more famous or produces more widely respected wines. But the relative anonymity of the surrounding towns belies the high quality of wine they produce. And while Châteauneuf-du-Pape will always be a more recognizable purchase, Gigondas often provides more bang for your buck.
We try not to be too beholden to seasonal drinking patterns. With certain dishes, red works best in the summer and white in the winter. But it’s hard to deny the appeal of a summertime rosé. Our criteria for rosé are threefold: dry, inexpensive, and refreshing.
For most people, the summer is rosé and white wine season. We’re thrilled to help in both categories (look for the Goubert Rosé release on Friday), but for something smoky off the grill, or for a cool midsummer evening, it’s helpful to have some red around.
The Loire Valley is a pastoral land of magnificent chateaux and humble goat cheese makers. The range of wines across its 250 mile expanse is just as dramatic: 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.