Over thousands of years the monks and farmers of France experimented with different grapes to find the varietals that best fit their land. The grape-place pairings were settled centuries ago, and now the happy marriages -- Syrah in the Northern Rhône, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Burgundy, Sauvignon Blanc in Sancerre -- produce many of the world’s finest expressions of each varietal.
In midst of the summer heat, we like to open wines that don’t require much thought. Not wines that are boring or one dimensional, just uncomplicated and highly drinkable. Which is why we’re so excited about our brand new Sancerre.
The 2015 red Burgundies have been great successes. Warm weather, small berries, and low yields made a vintage that many critics have called one of the best in decades. Most of the fancier 2015s are dense and tannic today, signaling excellent aging potential, but needing time to reach maturity.
We spent years in search of a nice Aligoté. Forever in the shadow of the finest Chardonnays in the world, Burgundy’s “other white grape” is neither profound nor expensive. Most of our searches yielded disappointment: wines with too much acid, too little body, or both.
Today the French celebrate the storming of the Bastille in Paris and the start of the French Revolution. In Burgundy, the decline of the Monarchy marked a profound change in vineyard ownership. Napoleon’s 1804 Code Civile abolished primogeniture, forcing all sons into inheritance and forever changing the Burgundian landscape.
Perched on a charming Tuscan hillside, the Fattoria Poggerino is certainly one of the most attractive domaines in our portfolio. (If you’re ever in the area, we highly recommend a visit.) As it turns out, the wine is just as beautiful as the source — Poggerino often appears in the international wine press as a source for classic, affordable Chianti. Their careful organic viticulture results in wines of unusual purity, and they seem to get better each year.
Burgundy is where Chardonnay finds its finest expression. In cold climates, the grape can be acidic and thin; in hot climates, it runs the risk of high alcohol and over extraction. But in Burgundy, Chardonnay has the potential to strike its most elegant balance between soft, mouthfilling fruit, and crisp, refreshing acidity.
Visiting Pierre Bourée is always a treat. The Bourée family domaine in Gevrey-Chambertin is home to a warren of underground cellars, holding stocks dating well back into the 1980s. It can be hard for wine buyers to track the provenance and history of bottles from a decade ago, but at Bourée it’s simple — they’ve never left home.
The Languedoc is one of the world’s oldest winegrowing regions, tracing its history back to 125 BC. For many years it has been known for abundant, cheap, and largely uninteresting wine, but in the past few years the region has seen a renaissance. There is a new wave of small scale winemakers, many committed to low-intervention, “natural” styles of winemaking. Our clear favorites in this category are the winemakers of the Mas Foulaquier.
No town in France is more celebrated for its wines than Vosne-Romanée. Home to some of the world’s finest and most sought-after bottles, Vosne is undoubtedly the most famous Pinot Noir village on earth. Michel Gros is a lifelong resident. His family has made wine there for centuries, and his mother was once the mayor.
Hot weather can make it hard to enjoy wine. Bottles with high alcohol or dark and woodsy comple xions are hard to match with summer temperatures. In July and August, we like wines that are straightforward, refreshing, and inexpensive.
Francis Muré’s Alsatian Riesling has long been one of our most popular wines. We’ve used this wine to cure dozens of tasters of their “Riesling fear” — it’s bone-dry, crisp, and as refreshing as a Sancerre or Chablis. There’s plenty of sweet, flat, uninteresting Riesling around, but after one taste of this and you’ll want to reexamine the grape.
We are delighted in July Futures to offer exciting wines across a wide range of prices. For those in search of value, we have excellent options from Chablis, Beaujolais, Bordeaux, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. For those looking further up the price scale, July Futures includes exciting, age-worthy wines from Gevrey-Chambertin, Chassagne-Montrachet, and the slopes of Côte Rôtie.
The wines of Meursault may be popular today, but it’s hard to describe it as a passing fad. The monks of Citeaux first planted vines there in 1098, and over the last nine centuries the village has proudly earned its glowing reputation.Though it has no Grand Cru vineyards, Meursault’s wines are among the most sought after in the world.
There’s been no shortage of hype surrounding the 2015 Red Burgundies. Even our favorite reviewers, whom we follow in part because of their restraint, have been effusive. “One of the half-dozen top vintages for red Burgundy of the past generation,” writes Stephen Tanzer of Vinous; “a genuinely great vintage,” opines Allen Meadows (Burghound). And indeed, our initial tastings from barrel and early bottles have confirmed this enthusiasm.