Inside this Week’s Tasting: Cracking the Mysteries of Timorasso

The other night, after acknowledging that this August’s welcome yet unseasonably cool temperatures might warrant something other than Muscadet or rose, I scanned our Italian section for something with a bit more weight. Not quite ready for red, I landed on what I thought was a white wine from southeastern Piedmont, Vigneti Massa’s “Derthona.” Actually it was orange, and, ready or not, I soon realized I had inadvertently selected one of the strangest and most engaging wines in the entire shop. The wine is made entirely of Timorasso, a little-known variety native to the Colli Tortonesi, that has until recently lived in abject obscurity. It was almost entirely destroyed by phylloxera, ... Read More »

Germany 2013 Vintage: The Beauty of Contrast

There's been some intense discussion about the 2013 vintage in Germany. Reviews and notes from reputable sources have been published—try View from the Cellar and Mosel Fine Wines—and prominent importers Terry Theise, Rudi Wiest, and Vom Boden have all offered their perspectives. These are all very good resources offering balanced perspectives on the conditions of the vintage, and how the wines appear to be out of the gate. Empirically, it takes time to taste and evaluate a vintage, and oftentimes the market demands we skip to conclusions far sooner than what is ideal for a fair assessment. Challenging vintages like 2013 give me pause to wonder whether the concept of a "perfect vintage" is ... Read More »

Edges of Burgundy: Savigny-les-Beaune

This is the next installment in a series of blog posts called Edges of Burgundy that explores some of the under-appreciated villages of Burgundy.  We have already covered St. Aubin and Santenay.  Today we look at Savigny-les-Beaune. Of the villages I've covered so far, Savigny-les-Beaune is the most puzzling.  I kind of understand why St. Aubin is off the radar, as it occupies a separate valley from the classic villages of the Cote d'Or. And it's no surprise that Santenay isn't anywhere near as famous as villages further north, which benefit from super star producers and terroir that is superior to all but the most northerly corners of Santenay.  But Savigny?  This is a village that ... Read More »

Tasting 2013 and 2012 Raveneau with the Raveneaus: Truax begins his Burgundy Trip at the top

Chablis is an iconic wine.  Chablis is one of the most famous names in wine.  For a long time Chablis was misused and abused as a generic name for dry white wine - especially from California.  This drove the poor growers in Chablis crazy. Just like Champagne is constantly fighting to defend its world-renowned appellation.  The poor growers of Chablis do not have the financial resources of their Northern neighbors, but thankfully the days of California Chablis seem to be over.  I wonder how Champagne and Chablis feel about the legions of exotic dancers who have also misappropriated their appellations? On a recent trip to Chablis, Fabien Moreau told me that like Champagne, Chablis belongs ... Read More »