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Dry Organic Pinot Blanc: Your Autumn Aperitif. $22

Winemaker: Vincent Gross is a fourth generation winemaker just outside Colmar in Alsace. He crafts exquisite, biodynamic cuvées from a handful of grapes, each a precise expression of terroir and technique. Ranging from dry to sweet, and from red to white or orange, Gross’s wines are exciting and bursting with life.

Varietal: Pinot Blanc is a humble grape, known for its soft texture and round mouthfeel. It’s pleasant rather than profound, showing exotic notes of pineapple, orchard fruit, and a soft minerality. It ranges from off-dry to dry — today’s is totally dry.

Wine: Gross’s 2018 Pinot Blanc is utterly pleasant. The nose bursts with honey, lime, minerals, and lemon peel. The mouth is softer than Gross’s Riesling, with notes of apple, pear and lychee. Though it bursts onto the palate with ripe, mouth filling fruit, it finishes quite dry and clean; and at 12% alcohol you could even serve it before lunch.

Pairing: We love using wines like this as an aperitif — delight background music to unwind after a day staring at Zoom. Hungry? Pair it with sushi or Indian.

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Gross Pinot Blanc 2018
bottle price: $22

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A “Superb” Red Burgundy Source: Sophisticated New 2018 Givry

We’re often apprehensive when a new generation takes over a domaine. Young winemakers often implement needed modernization, but sometimes get caught chasing trendiness. No winemaker in our portfolio has more expertly balanced these impulses than Gautier Desvignes.

The transformation chez Desvignes has not gone unnoticed. Vinous’s Neal Martin recently found Gautier’s wines “really quite superb.” And the Wine Advocate’s William Kelley named Gautier one of the region’s “five rising stars,” advising “importers looking for a potential future star should beat a path to his door.”

Our customers have thoroughly enjoyed the fruits of Gautier’s winemaking renaissance. His 2018 village Givry is as good as entry level red Burgundy gets, and has been charming people through our Zoom tastings this month.

But the wine that shows just how far Gautier has been able to push his terroir is his Givry 1er cru “Clos Charlé.” The 2018 is dark, bold, and classy — the nose shows stewed red fruits, with cassis and violets. The mouth shows plum, toast and earth, with beautiful fine-grained texture.

In short, this is proof that seriously good red Burgundy can be found outside the Côte d’Or. Givry continues to be a real source of value, and the wines continue to get better.

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Desvignes Givry 1er “Clos Charlé” 2018
bottle price: $38

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Electric New Sancerre: “Like Biting into a Stone.” $34

The soils of Sancerre are famous for their flint. This unusual mineral gives the region’s wines a note of smokiness and stones — a perfect foil for Sauvignon Blanc’s lush grapefruit notes. This unique balance has made Sancerre one of the world’s most popular wines.

Our Sancerre producer, the Domaine de la Garenne, makes three excellent cuvées: a fruit-forward Sancerre from a blend of soil types, an intense and refreshing Sancerre “Bouffants” from limestone-heavy soils, and today’s vibrant Sancerre “Infidèle” from soils full of classic flint.

If you like your Sauvignon Blancs zippy, dry, and mineral, it doesn’t get more exciting than this.

We opened this at warehouse tasting last year (back when we could do those), and the reactions were striking: “I really don’t like Sauvignon Blanc, but this is delicious;” “It’s like biting into a stone…in a good way;” and “Most exciting white I’ve had from Ansonia all year.”

In the nose 2019 Infidèle is delicate and lovely — a combination of dry grapefruit, straw, oyster shells, and a hint of gunflint smokiness. In the mouth it’s outstanding, packed full of flinty minerals, notes of chalk, grapefruit and lime rind, and smooth, tension-filled texture. It’s full of ripe fruit from a warm year, cut expertly by smoke and minerals.

We’ve been out of this for a while — Garenne only makes 200 cases a year — but it’s back and ready for action.

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Garenne Sancerre “Infidèle” 2019
bottle price: $34

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New Chambolle-Musigny: Velvety, Graceful and Sleek

After years of searching, we at last found a source for Chambolle-Musigny last spring. With a stellar reputation and miniscule size, it hasn’t been easy to find a domaine without existing importing relationships. But this spring we finally stumbled upon the Domaine Boursot, a humble family of winemakers right in the heart of Chambolle.

Brothers Romaric and Romauld Boursot are the fifteenth generation to lead the domaine. Our first vintage with them, 2017, was a smashing success, and we sold nearly everything we bought. The 2018 vintage proves this was no fluke — these are excellent winemakers with extraordinary terroir. Vinous’s Neal Martin calls them “superb,” “very fine,” and “worth seeking out.”

Boursot’s village-level Chambolle-Musigny is deep, perfumed, and delicious. Grown on the flat near the Route Nationale, this clay-rich plot turns out powerful red Burgundy with a healthy splash of Chambolle grace and charm. The 2018 vintage provided ample warmth and sunshine, and this rich, velvety wine is a delight even today.

The nose is dark and floral, with notes of licorice, silk, forest berries, and sweet burnt wood. The mouth is graceful and poised even at this young age — the tannins are ripe and juicy, with excellent depth and silky length. It’s classical Chambolle presented in a smooth, modern and beautifully textured wrapping. We expect it to improve for another five years, but the bottle we opened last night with roast chicken and root vegetables was strikingly good already.

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Boursot Chambolle-Musigny 2018
bottle price: $69

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Exquisite 93-point Dry Riesling from an Austrian Legend. $24

Winemaker: The Salomon-Undhof estate dates to 1792, and is currently on its 7th and 8th generation winemakers, father and son Bert and Bert Salomon. Their terraced vines overlooking the Danube have long been an excellent source, with the country’s preeminent wine guide calling them a “figurehead of Austrian wine history.” Their style is what you’d expect after 225 years of history — clean, polished, and refined.

Varietal: Austria is best known for its Grüner-Veltliner, but Salomon also produces some terrific Riesling. This is bone dry, made from 30-50 year old vines — concentrated and intense. Dry riesling like this is a perfect food wine — think breaded fish or veal.

Wine: We found the 2018 Riesling Ried Kögl magnificent. It offers gorgeous dry fruit rippling with tension and minerals — everything that dry Riesling can (and should) be. We were pleased to discover that the Wine Advocate’s reviewer had a similar reaction. Awarding 93 points, he called it a “perfectly ripe and lush, remarkably balanced Riesling classic,” both “highly attractive and with excellent aging potential.” He concluded, “Well structured, the finish is pure, salty-piquant and reveals lovely grip and tension as well as stimulating salinity, while the fleshy fruit remains.” Wine of this caliber for less than $25/bot is unheard of — don’t let the skinny bottle scare you away.

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Salomon-Undhof Riesling “Ried Kögl” 2018
bottle price: $24

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“Beguiling” New 2018 Cornas: Syrah at its Most Intense

Cornas is a tiny appellation. It covers 145 hectares (compared with Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s 3,000+), and is home to fewer than 50 vignerons. The name comes from the Celtic word for “burnt earth,” and it’s an appropriate moniker: Cornas is pure Syrah like the rest of the Northern Rhône, but the feel is of something sunnier from further South.

Today fifth generation winemaker Nicolas Serrette farms a miniscule 1.8 hectares (4 acres) in Cornas. We feel lucky to have finally gotten an audience at this address — a tiny, well-known producer in a tiny, popular appellation. Give their wines a bit of time and space, and they’re sure to impress.

Simon Field MW of Berry Brothers writes of the Dumien-Serrette wines’ “granitic splendor” and “beguiling floral elegance which sets them apart.” They draw from 80+ year old vines to produce intense, teeth-staining Syrah, with extraordinary depth but remarkable freshness.

The 2018 Cornas “Patou” is magnificent — a combination of inky black flavors with unusually refined floral finesse. Full of fine-grained tannin and perfectly ripe fruit, this is as bold and intense as Syrah gets. The nose is deep and rich, showing cherries, cocoa, anise, and pepper. On the palate it’s masculine and distilled, with notes of cherry jam, violets, and olive.

Most wines this ageworthy will run $100 or more; we think this provides excellent value at just over $50. Put this one in the cellar for a year or two before drinking — then enjoy for another ten.

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Dumien-Serrette Cornas “Patou” 2018
bottle price: $52

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Jubilant Old-Vine Beaujolais: “for Drinking, not Contemplating.” $19

We work with many winemakers with low profiles, but Jean-Marc Monnet might be the least visible. He has no roadside, no website, no employees, and no other American importer. Jean-Marc himself is as humble as his winery is hidden, but the wines themselves are a wholly different story.

Beaujolais has long been known for its unserious wines — over-marketed and under-cared-for. But Monnet’s wines have the complexity of real red Burgundy, and the density of a Northern Rhône syrah. The 2019 vintage produced bold, mouthfilling, user-friendly Gamays that require no patience or pretension: just a corkscrew, a couple glasses, and a friend or two.

All of Monnet’s 2019 cuvées are rich, intense, and perfectly extracted — his Chiroubles and regular Juliénas are punchy and delightful. But today’s wine, his old-vine Juliénas, is another level of impressive. Drawn from 50 year old vines, the fruit is inky and dense but with no hint of bitterness. The mouthfeel and color will make you think Syrah, but the bursting red fruit is classic Gamay.

There’s a startling amount of flavor stuffed into this sub-$20 bottle. The color is inky purple, with a dark nose showing raspberry and pure wild cherry. The mouthfeel is intense and smooth with a long, dense finish of cranberry, minerals and violets.

It’s still jubilant Beaujolais, in the best sense of the word — as Jancis Robinson puts it, “meant to be drunk, not contemplated.” But this is hardly background music.

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Monnet Juliénas Vieilles Vignes 2019
bottle price: $19

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Dark, Woodsy Red Burgundy: Terrific 2018 Côte de Nuits

Winemaker: The Domaine Ravaut is the ultimate local wine source. For over a century the Ravaut family has cultivated a loyal clientele of friends, neighbors, and local workers — our tasting visits are frequently interrupted by neighbors stocking up their cellars. The domaine continues to sell nearly half its wine to folks who walk in their front door.

Appellation: This regional level appellation covers a wide swath of land, but, at least in this case, it’s well named — this wine is unmistakably Côte de Nuits. Dark, briary fruits mix with earth, toast and mushrooms in a profile that couldn’t be from anywhere else.

Wine: Ravaut’s entry level wines are usually lightweight and pretty — but not in 2018. Abundant sunshine and warmth produced a crop of bold, juicy, delicious reds with lots of stuffing and character. It’s dark, sleek, and beautiful with notes of gingerbread, earth, wild cherries, and smoke — all wrapped up in Ravaut’s signature polish.

Pairing: Serve this fruit-forward refreshing red with seared tuna for a terrific (if not perhaps traditional) match. For classicists, go with game or duck and mushrooms.

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Ravaut Côte de Nuits-Villages 2018
bottle price: $36

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Smooth, Golden, Mouthfilling 2018 White Burgundy

When we shape our portfolio, we look for wines that “punch above their weight.” These are wines that exceed expectations based on the price tag and the name on the label. For overperforming white Burgundies, many of our favorites come from the towns of St-Aubin and Santenay.

Located just south of Chassagne-Montrachet, Santenay offers much of its neighbor’s golden richness. The wines are rarely as complex, but the pricetags are far friendlier. In a warm year and with a careful vigneron, Santenay can be a source for really impressive white Burgundy.

Clive Coates MW calls Roger Belland “one of the best sources in the village.” Together with his daughter Julie, Belland crafts excellent wines with cool, fresh fruit and beautiful balance. They are the fifth and sixth generations of the Belland family to work this property, and know their land and vines intimately.

Belland’s 2018 Santenay 1er cru blanc is a few hundred yards from the Chassagne-Montrachet border, and drinks like it’s from much fancier terroir. From a warm year, this is rich and mouthfilling without being heavy. The nose bursts with exotic notes of mango, white flowers, pineapple and lemon peel; the mouth is round, smooth, and rich but with excellent freshness and terrific length.

Burghound found a “beguiling succulence,” calling it “sleek and nicely detailed.” Serve this with Julia Child’s chicken with mushrooms and cream.

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Belland Santenay 1er “Beauregard” blanc 2018
bottle price: $45

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Inky Smooth Red Burgundy: Peony & Plum. $24

Winemaker: The Perrachon family has made wine in Juliénas since the 1870s. Perrachon makes the most complex and sophisticated Beaujolais reds we’ve had. Raised carefully in oak barrels, their pure Gamay wines compete with entry level Burgundy Pinots on complexity and value.

Appellation: Today’s wine comes from Juliénas, an appellation known for its serious, intense wines. Perrachon’s gamay vines here are nearly 80 years old, and their low yields produce wines of inky depth and richness. Made from south facing vines and raised in large 500L barrels, this is as impressive as Beaujolais gets.

Wine: As with most 2018 reds from Burgundy, this is rich, bold and delicious. The nose is dark and very serious, with notes of licorice, plums, spice, peony and woods. The mouth is smooth, dark, and polished without a hint of ruggedness and a long, refined finish.

Serving: Drink this on its own at the end of a weekday when you can’t stare at Zoom any more. Or pair with a takeout pizza. Or both.

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Perrachon Juliénas “Clos des Chers” 2018
bottle price: $24

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Delightful Grüner Veltliner from an Austrian Legend. $19

Winery: The Salomon-Undhof estate dates to 1792, and their terraced vines overlooking the Danube have long been an excellent source. The country’s preeminent wine guide calls them a “figurehead of Austrian wine history.” Their style is what you’d expect from 225 years of history — clean, polished, and refined.

Grape: “Austrian wine” is nearly synonymous with Grüner-Veltliner, and 75% of the world’s Grüner is Austrian. The grapes typical expression is dry and savory, with excellent acidity and low alcohol. It’s a lovely glass on its own, but we think it particularly shines with food.

Wine: Salomon’s 2018 Grüner Veltliner “Wieden” is a delight. The nose shows juniper, herbs and lime. The mouth is dry and mid-weight, with good notes of cucumber, lime zest, and grape skins. At 12% alcohol and with excellent freshness, this is a Swiss army knife when it comes to matching food.

Pairing: Our favorite pairings are oysters, sushi, pork, and fried chicken.

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Salomon-Unhof Grüner Veltliner Wieden 2019
bottle price: $19

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Gorgeous New 2018 Premier Cru Red Burgundy: “Sleek” & “Subtle”

The wine writers’ notes on 2018 reds are full of qualified enthusiasm. The best are said to be ripe, rich, mouthfilling, bold, and delicious — Vinous’s Neal Martin found “a sense of nascent joie-de-vivre” across the vintage. But wines picked too late can be overripe — “very ripe wines of highly variable quality,” concluded Allen Meadows (Burghound).

In tasting over a hundred 2018 reds we found much to like, and were able to select for those that we felt matched structure to their fruit. One particular success was today’s cuvée, a premier cru Santenay from Roger Belland. Belland’s wines always tend towards fruit and accessibility, and we were a bit nervous they’d be pushovers — delicious young, but lacking structure.

We needn’t have worried — Belland managed to craft his 2018 reds into real successes, with terrific definition and depth.

Even amid a trend of warmer and earlier vintages, 2018 stands out: record breaking temperatures, an early budbreak, enormous yields and high sugar levels. Many winemakers drew comparisons to 2003, but credited a very wet winter with 2018’s much better balance — same heat, less drought.

Belland’s 2018 Santenay 1er cru Gravières carries more weight than usual, but it’s bolstered by beautiful minerality and firm structure. We were delighted with the mouthfeel of the wine — at once rich and ripe but long and tense. Burghound agreed, awarding 90 points, finding “poached plum, cassis, violet and plenty of earth,” and calling it “rich, supple” and “sleek.”

The 2018s may trend bolder than usual, but in the hands of a careful winemaker committed to balance, they’re no less Burgundian.

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Belland Santenay 1er “Gravières” 2018
bottle price: $42

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Juicy, Delicious, Teeth-Staining New Gamay. $18

Appellation: Chiroubles
Chiroubles may occupy the lightweight end of the Cru Beaujolais spectrum, but in a vintage as warm as 2019, that means it offers elusive balance. There’s nothing lightweight about today’s cuvée, which combines bright floral precision with inky, juicy gamay density.

Varietal: Gamay
Gamay produces wines with bursting fruit profiles — explosively floral bouquets and crunchy juicy mouthfeels. Today’s cuvée offers a richer take on the grape, but it’s no less jubilant or gulpable.

Vintage: 2019
The 2019 vintage was hot and dry in France, among the warmest in decades. The result was low yields, very ripe grapes, and intensely concentrated juice. Tasted blind, you might even guess today’s wine was Syrah.

Winemaker: Jean-Marc Monnet
To call Jean-Marc Monnet an “under-the-radar” winemaker would be understatement. He has no website, no road sign, no employees, and no other US importer. But his wines have won him acclaim in France, where the Guide Hachette named him a Winemaker of the Year” in 2017. His style is old-school Beaujolais, but with extra polish: no oak, exuberant fruit, gorgeous mouthfeels, and attractive prices.

Tasting Notes: 2019 Chiroubles
The nose shows intense perfume of violet, graphite, peony, earth, and wild cherries. But the unusually hot year produced an extraordinarily dense wine — the mouthfeel is punchy and vibrant, with bursting tannins and cool refreshing notes of cranberries and woods.

Pairing Suggestions
Monday: Burgers. Wednesday: Netflix. Sunday: Coq-au-Vin

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Monnet Chiroubles 2019
bottle price: $18

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Crisp, Autumn White Burgundy under $30

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.

Winemaker Vincent Ravaut deftly walks this balance between fullness and crispness in his white wines. The Ravaut family’s white Burgundies include some of the best we know, including an extraordinary, age-worthy Grand Cru Corton-Charlemagne. But today’s offer is for their simplest — a Bourgogne blanc that combines the golden texture of elegant Chardonnay with a vibrant line of freshness.

The Ravaut Family is a low-profile domaine in an often-forgotten town. They still sell a majority of their wine to loyal customers who visit their front door, and during our tastings their cellars are often crowded with visitors from Paris and elsewhere in France. The Ravauts fly mostly below the radar of the international wine press, and we feel lucky to have found them.

From France’s warmest vintage since 2003, the 2018 Ravaut Bourgogne Blanc offers smooth and ripe – an effortlessly drinkable glass of wine. The nose is expressive and attractive, showing pear and coconut, with a hint of lemon peel. The mouth is silky but lively, with notes of almond and toast balanced by green apple freshness. There’s more chalky length than you’d expect from a wine of this level.

This is a perfect house white Burgundy — lively and energetic, but full of rich smoothed fruit to coat the palate in style.

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Ravaut Bourgogne blanc 2018
bottle price: $28

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[ADVANCE ORDER] Bold, Vibrant New 2018 Michel Gros Bourgogne. $25

Our final Futures issue of the year comes out next week. It includes some of our most popular winemakers — Goubert, Boyer-Martenot, Desvignes, Bardoux and more — but one favorite in particular: the Domaine Michel Gros. His entire lineup of 2018s will be available next Sunday, but today we’re focusing on one wine that is always in short supply.

The 2018 vintage was a hot one across France, and in Burgundy it produced bold wines with broad shoulders and impressive density. The wines may be light on Burgundy’s signature elegance and precision, but they more than make up for it with gusto and pluck.

Great winemakers make excellent wines from even the humblest terroir. Gros is famous for his fine, high-end red Burgundies, and we can’t recommend them enough. But for everyday enjoyment, Gros’s simpler wines show the class of much fancier bottles.

Gros’s Bourgogne 2018 is bold, muscly and delicious. It’s richer than usual — lots of dark smoky fruit over present nicely integrated tannins. There’s far more complexity here than most reds at the Bourgogne level. Look for raspberry and plum, and an earthy, complex palate. Vinous found “bright red cherry, bilberry and light black olive” with “chalky tannins” and “vivid blueberry and strawberry fruit.”

We expect Gros’s 2018s to make lots of friends over the coming years. But this one, scheduled to arrive in late November, will be a treat by the holiday season. For a Burgundy lover, this is about as good a wine as $25 will ever buy. First come, first served until our allocation is used up.

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Michel Gros Bourgogne 2018
Ansonia Retail: $384
October Futures: $295/case

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AVAILABLE BY THE CASE AND HALF-CASE