Meet-the-winemaker-double-header: Oregon and Burgundy!

We’re getting spoiled!

We have another amazing, two-for-the-price-of-one (well, actually, it’s free) meet-the-winemaker-tasting at the New York City shop this Thursday, April 6, featuring two incredible American winemakers:

  • Ben Casteel, winemaker at Oregon’s Bethel Heights Vineyard will be pouring his family’s gorgeous, sustainably-grown Pinot Noirs and Chardonnay, and
  • Brian Sieve, the cellar master at Burgundy’s legendary Domaine de Montille, will be pouring a selection of de Montile (and Deux Montille) wines.

We are so thrilled to have these two, incredibly knowledgeable, passionate winemakers in the shop. It’s a rare opportunity to taste truly top-flight Burgundy and Oregon wines side by side and in the company of their makers. The fact that both winemakers are native English speakers, excited to share and discuss with other wine lovers makes this a truly unparalleled opportunity.

Bethel Heights

Bethel Heights makes quintessential Oregon Pinot Noirs. They have a lightness (especially compared with so much California Pinot Noir), delicious fruit and a complexity that makes you think of Burgundy without pretending to be anything but Oregon wine.

Their vineyards are in the Eola Hills at the southern end of the Willamette Valley, where cold ocean winds keep temperatures cool and the vines from over ripening. The volcanic soils there are stonier than in the more heavily planted parts of the Willamette closer to Portland. In wet years this drainage is an enormous boon, saving the wines in what otherwise could be dilute or disease-pressured vintages.

Bethel’s oldest vineyards are ungrafted. The vines, pushing forty and phyloxera-infested, produce very little­—but very concentrated—fruit. It’s a treat to get to taste wines that express their terroir so directly from root to fruit.

Ben will pour:

Chardonnay 2014 ($33/29 $25 $21.99)

Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir Estate 2013 ($36$33 $29.99) The family’s wine blended from various sites. 2013 has beautiful, small-berry fruit balanced by herbaceous notes.

Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir Aeolian (named after cold wind; cool, lithe, more mineral)

Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir Casteel a selection of the best barrels of vines dating back to 1997 and 1994, this is the most generous of the wines we’ll be tasting:

Domaine de Montille

One of the most storied domaines in Burgundy, de Montille needs no introduction. But here’s a quick one: the historical domaine dates back to pre-Revolutionary France, but the domaine we know really began post-WWII, when Hubert de Montille started to take over and, decades ahead of the times, began focusing like crazy on the family’s terroirs, quality production and, to make all of that worthwhile, bottling and selling their wines rather than shipping them off to negociants.

Today Hubert’s kids, Etienne and Alix, are in charge at the domaine, and Brian is their right hand man. Deeply involved in overseeing everything from the pressing through the bottling, Brian works with the de Montille’s to help realize their vision of making gorgeous, aromatic, long-lived, terroir-specific Burgundies.

We will taste:

Deux Montille Soeurs et Freres, Rully Blanc La Chaponniere, 2013

Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet, Clos du Chateau, 2013

Domaine de Montille, Bourgogne Rouge 2013

Domaine de Montille, Volnay 1er Cru Les Taillepieds 2013

Further reading:

Here’s a great piece on Bethel Heights in World of Fine Wine

And here’s their website, which has lots of good information (and pictures!), as well as links to plenty of reviews and other press:

de Montille is, of course, a multi-page entry in any decent book on Burgundy. In fact, there really ought to be a book just about them! But in the meantime, you can browse the family’s webpage, which is full of historical, growing, winemaking and other interesting details.

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