You might remember our first Neyers tasting in March with Bruce Neyers, this time around we welcome winemaker Tadeo Borchardt and will be pouring a few wines under his label Camino as well. Neyers continues to be one of our bestsellers in California creating wines that are organically farmed, expressive of their terroir, and most importantly affordable! Don't miss your chance to come and taste next week with the man behind the wines.
The dark age of Piedmont was the early 1990s. Fresh off the twin victories of 1989 and 1990, things just seemed to fall apart. The 91s and 92s completely sucked. The 93s were drinkable, but not great. The 1994s were worse. The 1995s were actually considered good, but only because the Piedmontese were dying to have something to celebrate. Then suddenly, everything changed. 1996 was a great Piedmont vintage. And since then every vintage has been either good or great, with the sole exceptions of 2002 and 2003. It’s not just Mother Nature that’s been kind. Producers have been steadily upping their game as well. Farming improved dramatically. Green harvests were introduced. Sorters were introduced. Cellars were cleaned up. Yes, some producers got a little too oaky, but those excesses are now disappearing. And with enough time, many of those wines have eaten the oak and begun to show some terroir. In short, since 1996, a phenomenal amount of delicious Barolo and Barbaresco has been produced. And guess what? If you agree that great Barolo and Barbaresco vintages start to show best around age 20, we’ve finally entered a golden age of drinkable Nebbiolo. Start cracking those ‘96s! But even better, look at vintages that are somewhat less “great,” and therefore readier to drink than ‘96s. 1997s, ‘98s and even ‘05s are delicious to drink now. There’s so much to chose from! We frequently get bottles from these vintages but they sell out instantly, often before they get to our web site. Please be sure to sign up for our newsletter here (just scroll down a little bit) to learn about these opportunities in advance.
I keep a “Reasonable Cellar.” Sure, I’ve got a treasure or two tucked away. But mostly I lay down under-$50 bottles. These are wines wines for drinking in the short- to medium-term. They don’t take decades to get to full maturity, so you get the payoff sooner. They're also great to cellar because you never really get a chance to buy examples with bottle age; nobody’s auctioning their collection of mature Sancerres (unfortunately). Most of these wines are for drinking 3-5 years out. And mostly they get drunk in that window. But one of the pleasures of keeping a cellar is that occasionally you stumble across an older bottle that you’ve completely forgotten about. Like, for example, a bottle of Faury St. Joseph from the 2004 vintage! A rational collector would have drunk this wine 5 years ago. The 2004 vintage is hardly a blockbuster, and Faury’s wines are made in a relatively approachable style. But this bottle got buried until I finally found it, 12 years after the vintage. And it was a very lucky find. The bottle was magical. A good St. Joseph is usually one step up from simple pleasure. This was more like two or even three steps. It was how I like my wine. All the structural elements were fully resolved, but it still had fresh fruit. And there was the extra dimension that only ageing can bring: a layer of tertiary flavors that complement, not replace, the fruit. It was a supreme $30 bottle of wine. Of course, what I don’t know is whether the bottle got to where it did only because I accidentally waited those extra years. But I'm setting out to learn. I plan to cellar enough of some promising wines that I can drink a bunch during the “rational” peak time, and still expect to enjoy a few bottles that slip through the cracks a little later in life… Here are a few St. Josephs I’m throwing into my “Reasonable Cellar,” just to see. Monier-Perreol, St. Joseph Rouge, 2014 - $37.99 – A wonderful artisanal producer that qualifies for John Livingstone-Learmonth’s “STGT” (Soil To Glass Transfer) status, meaning that the producer successfully transfers the qualities of the terroir into the wine. Jean-Baptises Souillard, St. Joseph Rouge, 2014 - $39.99 – Souillard is another artisan that really makes his Syrah to age. Whole cluster fermentation and ageing only in used barrels. Domaine Guy Farge, Saint Joseph “Passion de Terrasses”, 2013 - $34.99 – This one really reminds me of the Faury, in that it’s very pure and approachable in its youth. But I bet this will really sing in 3 to 5 years! Please click through the links above and then "add to cart." And don't forget that you get 10% off any order of 12 or more!
Serge Férigoule is at Flatiron Wines NY, 929 Broadway tonight from 5-7pm [caption id="attachment_10820" align="alignleft" width="382"] Serge and his mustache are visiting Flatiron NY tonight only![/caption] It’s a cool autumn day—perfect for the gnarly, wild, warming and delicious Rhone wines Serge makes on the “plateau des garrigues” in Vacqueyras. Garrigues, of course, is the wild herb blend that grows everywhere in this part of France. And you can taste it in Serge’s wines. You can also taste layers of dark fruit, minerals and animally goodness. The wines are intense and deep, but balanced and drinkable. Serge works organically, by hand, in a traditional manner. The wines show it, expressing the clay, mineral and “galets roules” soils, the Southern Rhone’s summer sun and cold, mountain winds, and the ancient traditions. Join us tonight to meet Serge, share his wines, learn about how he does what he does, and (last but by no means least) check out his legendary moustache. And of course, Serge's wine will be available at a special discount to Newsletter subscribers! And pro tip: we'll have fellow Kermit Lynch producer, La Vieille Tour, in the shop Wednesday from 5-7. No RSVP required and we hope to see you at both!