Ridge For The 4th

It took the monks centuries to figure out how to make great wine in Burgundy and the Mosel. Somehow, at California's Ridge Vineyards, they figured it out in just a few years. While fashions have come and gone, Ridge has stood fast for over 50 years, working their incredible vineyards with care and making true American masterpieces. July 4 is as good excuse as any to open a good bottle of Zinfandel, but no excuse is really required. Zinfandel has been maligned in some crowds, but only because too many producers have made overripe, high-alcohol versions that taste more like a coca cola–based cocktail than fine wine. Ridge never succumbed to that unfortunate trend, and they continue to ... Read More »

Minière Champagne

“If I hadn't met Anselme [Selosse] I would not be making the wines I make today.” - Fred Minière So many of today's great Champagne growers trace their roots back to Anselme Selosse. It's amazing that some of them still fly under the radar. But it's likely the case that you haven't heard of Fred Minière, who worked for Selosse in the 1990s before deciding, with his brother Rodolphe, to convert the family domaine into an all-organic grower-producer working in Selosse's Burgundian style. You are not to blame for your ignorance. It was only after their father retired in 2007 that the brothers could take over and run things like they wanted. And it's only recently that their wines ... Read More »

Santa Cruz Mountain Winery

For a while the wine world talked about New California—the wave of new producers like Arnot-Roberts, Cruse, and Donkey & Goat, that made wines of finesse and drinkability—in contrast to the point-seeking monsters of the Parker era. But critics were quick to dispute the "New" designation, because California had a long history of making elegant wines. They pointed to famous producers like Ridge, Mayacamas and Heitz. Those names are well known. Here is one that may be new to you: Santa Cruz Mountain Winery. The Napa Valley is California's most famous wine region, but many think that the greatest terroir is actually in Santa Cruz. Here you have a range of altitudes, a complex mix ... Read More »

Musso

Piedmont is still, slowly, climbing its way into the ranks of great wine regions. It's a fun moment. There are still plenty of discoveries to be made. This is especially true in Barbaresco, a DOC with a remarkable number of small producers who make fabulous wines that only intermittently make their way over to the U.S. Why bother with exporting when you can sell everything you make to local restaurants? An example is Musso. Small and off-the-radar, Musso has only six hectares of vineyards in the DOC of Barbaresco. What they do have are well situated, as they lie entirely within the Crus of Rio Sordo and Pora. They have been bottling their own Barbarescos since the 1930s. One of our ... Read More »

Produttori del Barbaresco 2013–Better than 2010 Barbaresco?

Three years ago we offered the Produttori del Barbaresco 2010 to our newsletter friends and suggested buying it by the case: an under-$35 wine that is delicious to drink on release but that just gets better and better for year or even decades. And we took our own advice–but even at that, we didn't buy enough. Don't you wish you still had cases of the 2010 lying around now? We do! But with the release of the 2013s, nature has given us another chance. Vintages this great usually come only once in every generation or so. But this time, they're only three years apart. As Jancis Robinson puts it (in her clinical British prose), "The prognosis is for a vintage similar in quality to the ... Read More »

A Farewell from Dan Weber

This Saturday, August 2 will be my last official shift here at Flatiron Wines.  After two amazing years at the shop, I am leaving to work for Schatzi Wines, a new importer focused on German, Austrian and French growers.  I will be working directly with wine stores and restaurants here in New York as well in other markets up and down the east coast.  I am very excited to learn another side of the wine business and to work even more closely with the producers. It has been one of the great pleasures of my life to have been a part of Flatiron Wines from the embryonic stages to seeing it grow into the great wine shop that it is today.  The concept was simple, create the wine store where ... Read More »

New Sauvignon Blanc in the Old Style

Back in the '70s and '80s Kermit Lynch was one of a tiny handful of pioneers that roamed the French countryside, discovering wines to bring to America. Now there are literally hundreds of Americans doing exactly that. But surely all the great wine has long been found? Every now and then I'm surprised to learn that's not the case. I learned it on Monday evening with a bottle of Quincy from a producer who is completely new to us: Domaine Trotereau. It was a truly delicious bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. The temptation in Quincy is to make Sancerre. Sancerre, after all, is a very famous name, and the easiest thing in the wine business is to tell people "this is just like Sancerre but it's $2 cheaper." ... Read More »

Old Rioja at Unbeatable Prices

For decades it was like a little secret.  Almost no one knew about them.  Maybe just a few Spanish and Basque here and there, some drinkers from southwest France who thought the wines paired well with fish, plus a small handful of Americans and Brits. The Spanish themselves became obsessed with new things -- French barriques, wines with big scores.  They didn't know what to do with the funny-looking bottles in wire cages that they inherited from their moms and dads.  But Americans started to figure it out.  At first, it was just a trickle of interest.  Really it was just hard-core wine folks who started to drink the wines.  But that circle expanded dramatically thanks to writers like ... Read More »