The Jura’s craziest: Macvin from Montbourgeau

Mountbourgeau's Macvin!  We have this now.  What is it, you ask?  Well, it's a wine.  It's a spirit.  It's both.  It is confusing. Macvin is a traditional product of the Jura with almost a millennium of history behind it.  It is made by fermenting late-harvested grapes (all five varieties grown in the Jura are eligible, though most is made from the whites, Savagnin and Chardonnay) and then arresting the fermentation prior to completion by adding marc (brandy made from pomace leftover from fermenting other wines).  Macvin may only be made with marc from the Jura. Most Macvin is pretty nasty, syrupy, insipid, strawberry-tasting stuff, but there are a few good ones out there, and we just ... Read More »

De Montille Beaune Les Sizies 2011 — it’s ready!

Somebody reminded me today of Beaver's great post on 2011 Burgundies, which inspired me to take a couple of bottles home.  First up, Domaine de Montille's Beaune 1er Cru Les Sizies! I opened it at the shop and poured tastes for everyone.  It was pretty enough, but the overall sentiment was: "Needs time."  Things weren't quite hanging together right.  No greenness, as you might have feared.  But it also wasn't showing the generosity I expected, even given its youth. Well the time it needed was hours, not years.  I rode home on the train, forgot about the wine while we ate take-out thai, and then poured a glass after getting the kid to bed.  Delicious! The nose has opened up ... Read More »

Chambolle Musigny under the radar: tasting with Domaine Digioa-Royer’s Michel Digioia

This was a favorite visit on a great trip to Burgundy some years ago. We drove into a very small courtyard with enough room to park a couple of cars and maybe a step van. It looked like the kind of place where you would see a goat tied to the fence with a rope. I kid you not. We got out of the car and stretched and then very carefully descended the few stairs below the limestone lintel and found ourselves in one of the tiniest cellars that actually produced wine. It looked more like a cellar to store a collection than a working domain. Michel Digioia's tiny cellar holds just his Chambolle Musigny wines, and there were perhaps 30 barrels stacked two barrels high jammed in the two small rooms. What ... Read More »

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 »