As the world’s climate warms, the world’s wines have warmed as well. With grapes able to ripen in ever more locations, an “international” style has emerged: very ripe fruit, soft tannins, new oak, and high alcohol. They’re the drugstore paperbacks of the wine world — fast and easy, but not particularly distinctive or interesting.
Côtes du Rhône is one of the world’s most recognizable brands. From Parisian bistro chalkboards to grocery store shelves in the States, it seems to be everywhere. And as with most popular appellations, we’ve had bottles both memorable and forgettable.
Most of Burgundy completed the harvest last week, with all signs pointing toward an excellent 2015 vintage. As once tractor-filled streets return to their sleepy normalcy, the excitement and celebration in the air has given way to the sweet, yeasty smell of fermentation.
Many wine collectors seek out red Burgundies for their longevity. Aged well, the best can improve for decades. With time in the bottle, these wines develop extraordinary nuances, unlike any other food or drink. But not all red Burgundy requires such patience.
The Languedoc is an ancient winegrowing region. The Greeks were the first to plant here, in the fifth century BC, and so Languedoc wine predates France itself. The region has had its ups and downs over the last two millennia, and until recently earned its reputation for mediocre, uninteresting wine.
With September weather finally in the air these days, we welcome the signs of autumn: yellow schoolbuses, wool sweaters, and the return of football. As cooler days turn to even chillier nights, our palates turn towards denser, more full-bodied reds, and white with some depth and roundness.
Sauvignon blanc grows around the world, from California to South Africa to New Zealand. But its origin is most likely the Loire Valley, where it took its name from its resemblance to wild (savuage) grape vines. And it is here, particularly in the neighboring towns of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, that Sauvignon blanc finds its purest expression.
The wines of Beaujolais get an unfair rap. Their brand has been linked to the Beaujolais Nouveau, a cloying, fruity wine made just weeks after the harvest. But those drinkers who avoid the region entirely miss out on some exceptional wines.
Michel Gros is perhaps the most recognizable producer in our portfolio, and his wines are well deserving of their praise. Gros makes wines from four villages along the Côte de Nuits: Nuits-St-Georges, Morey-St-Denis, Chambolle Musigny, and his home town Vosne-Romanée.
Carignan is the most widely planted grape you never heard of. It covers nearly 80% of the vast Languedoc, and given free rein the grape can yield 200hl/ha (versus about 30 in Burgundy). This is a formula for ordinary wine. But kept in check and grown carefully, Carignan can produce really delicious wine.
There’s hardly a food with a greater distance between in-season and off-season quality than the tomato. We’ve enjoyed a tomato-filled summer — in salads, dressed simply with olive oil, or cooked down into sauce for fresh pasta or homemade pizza. When they’re sweet and crisp and soft, there’s nothing better.
The September Futures Issue features seven produces from three regions. Five of the winemakers in this issue are from Burgundy, where we visit sources in Meursault, Morey-St-Denis, Gevrey-Chambertin, and Chablis. Other wines inlcluded come from Chinon and Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
After watching a rough day on Wall Street, we’re in the mood for something safe. While sure bets are as rare in the wine world as they are in the equity markets, this wine is about as close as it gets. (We’re thankful Burgundy isn’t listed on the commodity exchanges.)
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