Nestled side by side just south the city of Beaune, three neighboring towns represent the crown jewels of White Burgundy: Chassagne-Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet, and Meursault. This trio produces the finest whites in Burgundy, which most consider the greatest white wines in the world.
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Of the 12,000 acres of vineyards planted in Chablis, only 250 (2%) qualify as Grand Cru. This highest tier includes seven distinct vineyards, each famous in its own right. But among the seven, the Grand Cru “Les Clos” is generally considered the finest. As Master of Wine Clive Coates puts it, Les Clos is “Chablis at its very, very finest… combining depth, intensity, and great elegance.”
Grape varietals often get their names from a visible aspect of their fruit. The name Sauvignon blanc comes from sauvage (“wild”) because its leaves look like those of wild grape vines. Pinot Gris refers to the blue-gray (gris) color of its grapes. But our favorite varietal (etymologically speaking) has to be Sangiovese — a wine so inky and black that it is named for the “blood of Jove.”
Today’s wine comes from one of the most famous names in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. We imported their wines for our Futures group for decades, but their national importer kicked up a fuss about us a few years ago. So to avoid conflict we’ve taken them out of our main sales channels.
Beaujolais is the source of plenty of uninteresting wine. Fully a third of the region’s production is the Beaujolais Nouveau, a cheap insipid red rushed to market a month after harvest. But the rest of the region contains many undervalued wines, some in the same class of top wines from the north of Burgundy.
The first inquiries about the 2015 Michel Gros lineup started coming in more than a year ago. Our best-known producer; the vintage of a generation; “just want to make sure I don’t miss it.” Back in April, our barrel tastings confirmed 2015’s considerable hype — an excellent vintage, from top to bottom.
Some wines we import are meant for grand occasions. These are the famous wines of Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne, bottles to pull from the back of the cellar when the moment is significant. Special moments call for special wines to match.
The famous white wines of Burgundy nearly all spend some time oak. The barrels help develop the wines’ palates, adding a roundness through micro-oxygenation. And while they’re typically less heavily oaked than many New World wines, the toasty, woodsy notes are an important part of the great white Burgundies of Chassagne, Puligny, and Meursault.
The 2015 red Burgundies have been great successes. Warm weather, small berries, and low yields made for a vintage that many critics have called one of the best in decades.
Michel Gros is the most recognizable producer in our portfolio. His wines are elegant and precise, often showing smoky or toasty qualities, and always silky and beautiful. A few years ago Clive Coates MW listed Michel Gros in the top 17 domaines in all of Burgundy — a list that included Romanée-Conti, Leroy, and Comte Lafon — and highlighted the “nobility and elegance” of his wines.
For a crowd-pleasing red, it’s hard to beat Côtes du Rhône. Guests with New World leanings will appreciate the richness and full flavor. Those with Old World inclinations will appreciate the balance and traditional style. It’s a wine nearly everyone will enjoy without too much thought.
For many, “serious Beaujolais” is an oxymoron. The region still suffers from its bacchanal, nouveau image — a triumph of marketing and little else. But there’s some truly exciting wine being made in Beaujolais these days. Take the Domaine Perrachon, a multi-generational domaine in Juliénas. Though their wines are from gamay, their style is refined and polished, and their cuvées easily rival the density and complexity of a top Bourgogne rouge.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape is among the world’s great wines. Made famous by French Popes more than seven centuries ago, the area boasts a long winemaking history. Today the small appellation (only about 12 square miles) makes some of the world’s most sought-after wine.
From our deck above Harpswell Sound we can watch the turn from Summer to Fall. Morning still carries the throaty rumble of lobster boat engines, but there are fewer traps and fewer boats now. Last evening half a dozen seals returned to the rocks beyond our dock; soon they’ll move south and stay there until […]
Chablis continues to be one of the best bargains in the wine world. Though the past few years have brought devastating frosts and hailstorms to the region and the available quantities have plummeted, winemakers have only gently raised prices. Where village level white Burgundies from the Côte d’Or quickly push past $50, fine Premier Cru Chablis can still be had for under $40.