Boulay Vertical

For years, we have been advising that Sancerre should be added to your list of must-cellar categories. I recently had the privilege of attending a vertical tasting of Gerard Boulay's single vineyard Sancerre "Clos de Beaujeu", going back almost 60 years, including the last bottle of 1959 in Gerard Boulay's personal cellar. It was truly gratifying to experience such stunning confirmation of our advice. It's funny, but followers of Boulay have a tendency to overlook the wine from this Clos. Of Boulay's three single vineyards, it has the least name recognition. This is surely because his other vineyards, Mont Damnes and Le Grand Cote, are also made by the famous Cotat cousins. And let's face ... Read More »

Barbaresco & Barolo: What’s the Difference?

They are both made 100% from Nebbiolo grown in the Langhe. But Barolo and Barbaresco are clearly not the same wine. What's the difference? The easy answer is the legal one: Barolo and Barbaresco are two different DOCs. They are located in slightly different parts of the Langhe (see the map below). There are slightly different rules that they have to follow -- for example Barolos have to be aged for 38 months, of which at least 18 months are in barrel, while Barbaresco only requires 26 months, of which 9 must be in barrel. Barolos have to hit 13% alcohol and Barbarescos only 12.5%   I guess that sort of thing is great to know for your WSET exam, but it doesn't get you into the heart and soul ... Read More »

The Reasonable Cellar: Fontodi Chianti Classico

Fontodi's Chianti Classico is a remarkably fine and elegant expression of Sangiovese for a very reasonable price that will drink well for years to come. It's the kind of wine you should have in any reasonable cellar, and when we visited Fontodi in the fall we tasted examples that went back decades and were still delicious and full of life. 2013 is already considered to be a spectacular and classic vintage by both Tuscan wine-makers and the critics; and we agree that this is a wine and vintage you don't want to miss! Fontodi is not a "new" name to fans of great Tuscan wine. In fact they have been known and celebrated for decades. But there was some concern among Chianti purists that the wines ... Read More »

Bartolo Mascarello’s Dolcetto: Here Now, for a Hot second!

We've been championing Piedmont's "little grapes"–Dolcetto, Freisa, Pelaverga, etc.–for years now, both in our newsletters and in the shop. So we were psyched when Eric Asimov turned to Dolcetto for November's New York Times Wine School. It was a great piece, as always. But it did include one wine that was a bit of a tease: Bartolo Mascarello's Dolcetto. Like all of Bartolo's wines, the Dolcetto is amazing. It both exemplifies and transcends the type. Like all great Dolcetto it's a delicious, fruit-focused taste of Piedmontese terroir when it's young. But unlike most Dolcetto (which you should drink, as Hugh Johnson says, youngest available), it ages magically. With a few months or ... Read More »

2014 White Burgundies from Lafouge

Auxey-Duresses has always been in the shadow of its better-known neighbors, Volnay and Meursault. We like to talk about the "Edges of Burgundy"—places just off the beaten track of famous villages. These Edges provide tremendous value. Auxey-Duresses, quite literally at the edge of one of the most famous white wine villages in the world, may provide the greatest value of all. Auxey-Duresses, flush up by Meursault, is one of those magic places in Burgundy that grows both great red and white grapes. White is the focus on the Meursault side of the village. Wines made by Auxey's top growers can rival great Meursault, and we think Lafouge is at the very top of the heap. (D'Auvenay does make some ... Read More »

The Reasonable Cellar:  Savary Chablis

Keeping a cellar may seem fussy, complicated and expensive, but it doesn't have to be. Just a year ago, I purchased a case of Savary Chablis 2012. With a 10% case discount, it was about $22 per bottle. I took the case, and I put it in my basement. It was not a refrigerated space, but it never gets that warm in the summer, probably never above 70. This is not ideal for long term storage, but just fine for a year. Recently I was stumbling around the basement looking for my kid's ice skates, and there was the case. We are selling the 2014 right now in the shop, and online. It's a great vintage, but not yet quite where I like my village-level Chablis. Young Chablis is fresh and piercing, and I ... Read More »

2Naturkinder: Wunder Nature Kids from Franconia

"The majority of wine drinkers aren't aware of all the additives used to give wine the right taste, color and mouthfeel. Natural wines can look & taste unusual & crazy but it makes the wine a lot more authentic and individual. Our mission is to produce and bring natural wine from the vineyards of Franconia to the glasses of people appreciating pure wine." - Melanie Drese & Michael Voelker The natural wine movement began in Beaujolais with the work of Jules Chauvet. From there, it spread to a few other corners of France, like the Loire, the Rhône, and the Languedoc. It then took a trip to Italy, especially Sicily. Bits of it are now showing up in California, Australia, and ... Read More »

2007 Cantalupo Ghemme: The Thrill of Something That’s Been Around

I'm as guilty as every other wine geek in America, and get super excited about the latest thing. A new vintage of my favorite Haute Cote de Bourgogne from Digoia-Rohyer shows up, and I have to bring it home and drink it immediately.  Because it's new.  Even though I have a bottle from two vintages earlier that are readier to drink. But I don't make that mistake every night. Last night, my wife and I drank Cantalupo's 2007 Ghemme. At Flatiron, we have been happily buying and re-ordering this wine since 2015. It's now 10 years old, and it's astonishing to think that we still have it on our shelves at its original release price. Ghemme is one of those villages up above Barolo in the area called ... Read More »

The True Taste of Pouilly Fuissé – A Tasting with Antoine Vincent of Chateau Fuissé

[caption id="attachment_10993" align="aligncenter" width="1224"] Antoine pours wines for our customers.[/caption] Is Pouilly Fuissé a great wine? We rave about Meursault and Puligny Montrachet. We spend too much money on culty Chardonnay from California. We obsess over the Chablis of Raveneau, Dauvissat, and (finally) a handful of other producers as well. But the Macon doesn't get any love. At best, it's considered a source of "good value" wines. It's true that for $20 or less the Macon is probably the best source of Chardonnay at that price point anywhere. But it's so much more than that! And Antoine Vincent, wine-maker at Chateau Fuissé proved beyond doubt just how great P-F is, ... Read More »

Brovia’s Barolo — Not so Normale?

Single vineyard vs Blended wines in Barolo Most of Barolo's top wines these days are made from single vineyards. We love this micro-terroir focus, but it is actually a fairly modern trend. Traditional Barolo is a blend from a number of different vineyard sites—each contributing different elements—to make sure that the final wine has a "completeness" to it. Of today's top Barolos, only Bartolo Mascarello is still made in this way. The result is that many wine drinkers, even some Barolo lovers, think of the term “normale,” often used to refer to a winery’s non-vineyard-designate Barolo, as almost a pejorative. But in the case of many of our favorite producers, like Brovia, the ... Read More »