Organic viticulture is the future of winemaking — the majority of our winemakers are organic or in conversion. But at some domaines, it’s also the past. The Domaine du Joncuas in Gigondas turns 100 years old next year, and they’ve practiced organic winemaking, as they put it, “depuis toujours” (“since forever”).
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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.
Ask a group of sommeliers to name their favorite wine region and most will say Burgundy. But ask them to pick a single favorite grape varietal, and we’d put some money on Riesling. Aside from its excellent food friendliness, Riesling communicates terroir with as much honesty and precision as any other grape.
Pommard and Volnay are the red Burgundy royalty of the Côte de Beaune. Pommard, the king, produces wines that are sturdy and masculine, drawn from clay and iron rich soils. Volnay, the queen, produces wines of unparalleled elegance, a study in subtlety and grace.
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.
The Clos de Tart is one of Burgundy’s greatest properties. The vineyard has had only four owners since the 12th century, and, unusually for Burgundy, has never been subdivided. Today the wines from this 7.5 hectare monopole start around $500 per bottle.
The Loire Valley is an exciting place these days. We’ve added three Loire sources in recent years, each bringing something new to the Ansonia portfolio: whites from the Upper Loire (Garenne in Sancerre) and Central Loire (Paget in Touraine-Azay le Rideau), and reds from today’s source, the Domaine des Sanzay in Saumur-Champigny.
In a Beaune restaurant last April we stumbled upon that most elusive of wine merchant targets: an unknown Burgundy domaine. Formed in 2002 with just 1.5 hectares of vines, the Domaine Bohrmann has no other importers, zero critical reviews, and hard-to-reach winemaker.
Burgundy has been on a roll of late. Starting in 2014, winemakers have enjoyed excellent quality for five straight vintages. Quantity has been slower to catch up, but in 2017 (at last) Mother Nature delivered a full harvest.
Sancerre has no premier or grand cru classifications — all 6400 acres are under the same appellation. But, as you might expect, not all of Sancerre’s terroirs are created equal. Among the most famous is the steep slopes of the Monts Damnées (damned mountains).
Of the 45 winemakers we work with, about half are from Burgundy, and all but a few are French. Our longtime exception to this rule is the Fattoria Poggerino, a source for pure Sangiovese wines from the hills of Chianti.
We’re excited about our new source for grower Champagne: the Domaine Jacques Robin. We’ve nearly sold out of their top-notch 2007 vintage cuvée, which readers have found “spectacular” and “terrific” and “very well-priced.” Today we’re focused on their excellent Non-Vintage cuvée, a complex, delicious Champagne priced to pull out at a moment’s notice.
Sancerre has always been the star of the Loire Valley. Though recent years have seen more interest in the region’s other appellations, Sancerre remains the best known and among the best-liked. It’s popular, easy to drink, easy to pronounce, and pairs well with lots of dishes.
We’re really excited to have added the Domaine des Sanzay to our portfolio. Not only are their labels (designed by the family’s son) the classiest in our cellar, as it turns out the Sanzay family are terrific winemakers.