Here in the US, we’re wary of monopolies. But in Burgundy, at least in the winemaking world, they’re championed. A mônopole is the unusual circumstance where one vigneron owns an entire vineyard. After centuries of splitting holdings among inheriting sons, a single-owner vineyard is rare.
The French drink much more sparkling wine than we do. Chez nous, we’ve been trying our best to imitate them -- serving sparkling wines at the beginning of a dinner, paired with creamy dish, or just as an after-work aperitif. But if you need a celebration to pop a cork, there’s no shortage of them over the next few weeks.
The February Notebook is a collection of articles written by the staff at Ansonia Wines. In this month's Notes from Harpswell, Mark discusses wintery life on the coast of Maine. Isaiah's column Depot Journal focuses on winter in the vineyards. February's Notebook Sale features twenty wines, all 25%-50% off.
Most grapes reach their finest expression at their northern ripening limit. The Pinot Noir of Burgundy; the Riesling of Germany’s Mosel Valley; the Chardonnay of Chablis; the Syrahs of the Northern Rhone -- many of the greatest wines in the world hail from their grape’s northernmost ripening latitude. To that list we add today’s wine made from pure Viognier: Condrieu.
In France, Saint-Amour is known as the most “romantic” of the Beaujolais Crus. Located at the northern end of the Beaujolais region, it’s neither the richest nor the most tannic wine of the region. But the wines from this Cru possess a silky, enchanting quality. Whether it’s the amorous name or the smooth berry fruit, there’s always something charming about Saint-Amour.
This is a perfect match for Red Burgundy — duck is a red meat with mild flavors that marry perfectly with Pinot’s earthiness and wild cherries. Bell and Evans makes a great frozen duck breast product, often available at Whole Foods.
The Domaine Ravaut is the ultimate local wine source. For 120 years the family has cultivated a loyal clientele of friends, neighbors, and workers at the stone quarry in thee hamlet of Ladoix. Though they have expanded their reach in recent years, they still sell more than half of their wine to clients who walk in the front door.
Burgundy isn’t known for its inexpensive wines. A limited growing area and perpetually high demand make it hard to find bottles below $30. For most wine drinkers Burgundies are special occasion wines -- elegant and ageworthy, but too pricey for a Wednesday.
Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, and Chassagne-Montrachet get most of the white Burgundy press. But surrounding towns can offer excellent value. Many whites from St-Aubin and Santenay punch way above their weight, as does today’s white Burgundy from Auxey-Duresses.
After a string of difficult years between 2010 and 2013, Burgundy collectors are rejoicing. Two magnificent vintages -- 2014 in whites, and 2015 in reds -- are being heralded as some of the finest in decades. The 2015 reds are just coming to market (see our current January Futures), but today we’re releasing a gem from 2014.
Michel Gros is as much a part of Vosne-Romanée as the pointed steeple, the ancient vineyards, and the narrow crooked streets. He is a lifelong resident of the town, as were his father and grandfather before him -- his mother was even mayor. The Gros family name has been synonymous with Vosne-Romanee for centuries.