Friends of Flatiron Wines, We are very excited to let you know about another exciting tasting here at Flatiron Wines. Join us on Monday, March 4th for an opportunity to meet many of the winemakers from Schatzi Wines, a boutique importer based here in New York City. Many of you might already be familiar with Schatzi—thanks in no small part to our intrepid sales rep and former Flatiron employee, Dan Weber. We'll be hosting many winemakers from France, Germany, Austria, Italy and beyond, pouring an incredibly diverse lineup of wines. From Riesling to Grüner Veltiner, from Anjou Chenin Blanc to New York State cider, there'll be dozens of wines worth tasting.This is your best opportunity to taste like a pro and try wines in an event akin to industry portfolio tastings (but much more intimate). Please sign up for our newsletter to keep up to date and keep an eye on your inbox next week for the official invitation! When: Monday, March 4th, 6pm to 8pm, divided into two one-hour tasting slots. Where: 929 Broadway, Manhattan. What: You'll meet close to a dozen winemakers and taste current release wines from them. Why: To celebrate and explore dozens of delicious wines imported by Schatzi Wines, a small, independently-run book. About Schatzi: Schatzi is a small importer focusing on Old World producers who respect the earth as much as the terroir and tradition of their home regions. We hope to see you on Monday, March 4th! Cheers, Valerie
Friends of Flatiron, Finally! The rains have departed, at least temporarily. If you've been shut in the past few weeks get out of the house and join us for a exciting week of tastings. We also have some great offers lined up for our newsletter you won't want to miss. In-Store Tastings: Wednesday 2/20, Tasting of Italian wines with Girasole Imports at 5pm: Girasole Imports represents a portfolio of truly authentic Italian wines chosen over years of forming personal relationships with the winemakers. Hunters of small, family run producers will have much to enjoy at this tasting. $5/tasting Friday 2/22, Tasting of Marcarini Barolos at 5pm: Today as in the past, the Marcarini family, now six generations strong, manages their own vineyards with passion. They produce wine according to the most rigorous standards in Piedmont and, in particular, Langhe traditions. Come taste a selection of their most recent releases. $5/tasting Friday 2/22 Bollinger Champagne Tasting at 5pm: The Bollinger champagne House has created prestigious champagnes with character, distinguished by their elegance and complexity since 1829. Indeed, this famed house is loved the world over by sommeliers and collectors. Do not miss this opportunity to taste the one of the true icons of Champagne. $5/tasting In our weekly newsletter we're excited to be offering the 2016 Fleurie from Domaine de Fa, the Graillot family's Beaujolais project, as well as a selection of wines from the quirky natural local producer Old World Winery. If that doesn't get your glasses swirling we've also got the 2016 Balthazar Cornas as well as their 2017 Cotes du Rhone. Cheers! Your Friends at Flatiron Wines SF Don't want to miss a beat? Sign-up for our newsletter already! As loyal subscribers already know, the newsletter is not only the best place to get first crack at your favorite, hard-to-find wines at special discounts but it's also where we go in great depth about the producers, vintages, regions and trends in the world of fine wine. We send it once a week on Wednesday, unless, you elect to receive more. You can do so by using the form below or, here, if our site's sophisticated technology isn't functioning as described. ;)
The New York Times' Best Wines Under $20 From the beginning, our philosophy has been simple: buy wines made by small producers, families and artisans that honestly reflect the world’s great terroirs and traditions. The New York Times' latest list of the 20 best wines under $20 has just been released, and we couldn't be more pleased to see which bottles made the cut. The theme of this list aligns decisively with the type of wine we love to drink and sell—those bottles that speak of where they come from and the individuals who crafted them. When a vigneron spends each day amongst the vines or in the cellar, he or she has no choice but to focus on the quality of the wine. Even with a full cellar, it can be difficult to open a special bottle on an otherwise nondescript day—and this is where a wine from the list below comes into play. While good wines can be found in any price range, there are so many wines in the $15-20 range that meet all of our needs. They are delicious, they are complex, and perhaps most importantly, they are affordable. Once again, Eric Asimov presents us with a diverse and compelling list of wines, most of which we were able to obtain for you. It is with great pleasure that we offer a selection of the Times' picks with special discounting available: buy any 6-11 bottles and get 10% off or buy any 12 or more bottles and get 15% of We hope this special pricing will encourage many of you to make yourself acquainted with some of Eric's choices. To order, please just reply to this e-mail with your selections and quantity of each wine requested. As soon as this article is published, the wines will almost immediately disappear from the marketplace. This is your chance to beat the rush and get the wines at a nice discount. This offer expires the evening of Monday, 2/18. Please allow 24-48 hours for confirmation, as we typically receive a large response. Wines will be available for pick up or delivery any time after Thursday, 2/21. Cheers, Valerie ________________________________ Oddero, Barbera d’Alba Superiore, 2015 $16.99 Classic, but lifted, Barbera from a family winery in Barolo, dating back to the 18th century. There is ample cherry and blackberry fruit, enlivened by a hit of pepper and fine tannins. For pizza, pasta or antipasti, this is a no-brainer. Happs, Margaret River Sémillon, 2014 $16.99 Hailing from one of the most remote wine regions in the world, this Sémillon is both fresh and rich, with a golden hue and a luxurious texture. There are notes of citrus, especially mandarin, and dry wildflower honey. A gorgeous wine on its own or with lighter food. Lambert de Seyssel, Petit Royal de Seyssel Methode Traditionelle, NV $19.99 A remarkably complex sparkling wine from the Savoie, this is made up of two obscure, indigenous grapes: Molette and Altesse. Molette brings acidity and citrusy notes, while Altesse brings complexity and a lovely floral bouquet. Two years aging sur latte ensures toastiness and a long, lingering finish. You don't need an excuse to pop open a bottle of bubbly when it's this delicious and this affordable. Raul Perez, Bierzo Ultreia Saint Jacques Mencía, 2017 $19.99 Mencía is perennially one of our favorite grapes, and Raúl Perez's, bolstered with a bit of Bastardo (also known as Trousseau) and Garnacha Tintorera (alias Alicante Bouschet) packs a lot of power into one bottle. Perez is one of the finest winemakers working today in Spain, and his entry-level bottlings show true finesse. Bright red berries and cacao dominate here. Dr. Bürklin-Wolf, Pfalz Wachenheimer Dry Riesling, 2017 $18.99 Riesling grown in the Pfalz, Germany's warmest region, can yield remarkably aromatic and elegant dry wines. Bürklin-Wolf's Estate Riesling is dry, yet juicy and redolent with stone fruit and lime leaves. All of their farming is biodynamic, and 2017's long, warm summer makes for a delicious wine that expertly combines power and grace. Empire Estate, Finger Lakes Riesling Dry, 2017 $17.99 This little dazzler starts with blossom, peach, and pear on the nose, and the palate is dry as a bone full of minerality, lemon pith, and a cool limeade finish. It's reminiscent of Rieslings from Australia's Clare Valley, but with an assertive, kaleidoscopic verve than reminds us of Keller. La Palazzetta di Flavio, Rosso di Montalcino, 2017 $19.99 This is a gorgeous example of young Sangiovese, grown organically and intended to be drunk young. Its fresh acidity and luminous red fruit make for an all-around delectable wine. It has a lovely floral aroma, with a touch of violets, and buoyant, cheerful fruit. Sidonio de Sousa, Bairrada Reserva Tinto, 2015 $18.99 Baga is one of a myriad of characterful grapes indigenous to Portugal, and this wine is 100% Baga and tastes sort of like Cabernet Franc meets Trousseau. Spicy, herbaceous, fruity, and fresh. Truly one of the best wines under $20 we’ve ever tasted. Really a knock-out at this price. Domaine Bru-Baché, Jurançon Sec, 2015 $16.99 Bone dry, with waxy yellow fruit and hints of ginger, this is an elegant and versatile sipper. Gros Manseng produces crisp and complex wines, and thanks to the limestone and clay on which they are grown, wines of intense minerality. Jurançon is perhaps an unknown quantity to many, but one which we all should be acquainted with. Bonny Doon Vineyard, Clos de Gilroy Monterey County Grenache, 2017 $16.99 Mostly Grenache, enlivened by a little Mourvèdre, this is all dazzling red fruit—raspberries and sour cherry—but there's plenty of earth and graphite to keep it all grounded and balanced. It is easy-drinking and charming, makes a perfect accompaniment to lighter fare, and is best served with a slight chill, for ultimate refreshment. Broadside, Paso Robles Margarita Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, 2016 $19.99 This is Classic California Cabernet, with a lighter touch. Grown at 1,000 feet above sea level, with cool winds whipping off of the Pacific Ocean, this wine captures all of the blackcurrant, plum and blackberry notes we expect in Cabernet Sauvignon, with notes of fresh herbs (mint, rosemary) and earth that boost its Guillaume Clusel, Coteaux du Lyonnais "Traboules", 2017 $16.99 Unusually for the Northern Rhone, this delightful wine is made from 100% Gamay, and it encapsulates what we love about both the Rhone and Beaujolais—lithe, energetic red fruit, crushed Provençal herbs and just enough structure to make things interesting. This is an all-purpose wine, to drink with food or with nothing at all. Serve slightly below room temperature. Domaine Filliatreau, Saumur-Champigny, 2017 $18.99 Classic Saumur-Champigny (perhaps the most under-valued AOC of the Loire, even with the influence of Clos Rougeard—baffling!), with ripe cherries, dried herbs and electric minerality. Supple and elegant, this is a wonderful example of vibrant Loire Valley Cabernet Franc from a producer dedicated to biodiversity and sustainability. Grifalco, Aglianico del Vulture "Gricos", 2016 $18.99 100% estate-grown fruit from younger vines, this is Aglianico for drinking young. It has all of the spice and grip of Southern Italy's favorite red grape, made in a fresh and forward style. This is smoky, peppery and plummy, all at once, thanks to the unique volcanic terroir of Vulture. Château Massereau, Bordeaux Superieur, 2016 $19.99 Massereau is simply one of the best values in the entire Bordeaux region. The viticulture is so diligent and the winemaking so unobtrusive, that you could consider this a natural wine. But the well-delineated flavors, redolent of of dark forest fruits and wild herbs, are as classic as it gets. L’Umami, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, 2017 $19.99 Truffles and mushrooms galore in this little Willamette bottling. There is some a splash of red cherry, a kiss of oak, and a dash of baking spices in what is a killer value for Pinot Noir from Oregon. Foxglove (Varner), Zinfandel Paso Robles, 2015 $16.99 Classic Cali Zin from Paso Robles, which is known for big, rich reds with hints of chocolate and spice. Although it's quite brambly, it's not jammy or cloying. No, this wine is fresh and dark-fruited, full of plums, blackberries and dark cherry, and it is a fantastic value for a great example of California winemaking heritage.
Now that I’ve actually tasted some 2017s from Burgundy; it’s time to follow up my earlier post on the 2017s with some actual impressions, based on tasting. This blog follows a single event: the barrel tasting of Burgundies imported by Frederic Wildman for the trade, held February of every year. I tasted a lot of wines at the event and I also talked extensively with producers and other tasters. Here were my five main take-aways: 1. 2017 is a really good vintage, perhaps just short of being one of the legends like 2005 or 2010. The 2017s I tasted were delicious. They were balanced and fully ripe. They were transparent, accurately reflecting their respective terroirs. I really, really liked them. Did I have quite the same feeling I got when I tasted wines from 2005 or 2010? No. This may not be the vintage to buy with bequeathing to your grandkids in mind, but it is a great vintage to buy for drinking now, in ten years or, for top wines, in 20 years. To give it some more context, I thought these were a little better than the 2014s — a vintage that I really adored — as they had just a little more substance and ripeness, but also 2014’s freshness and transparency. 2. This is not a problem vintage. This may seem kind of obvious, given point #1. But, it’s a point worth making in a different way here. One of the most useful things I’ve learned at these Wildman barrel tastings is whether a vintage has any real problems. The very first tasting I attended was the 2004 vintage. My tasting book from that event was filled with comments like “what is that green note?”. A few months later, the wine chat boards on the internet were filled with discussions about the “greeny meanies” that have plagued 2004s ever since. I similarly noticed the phenolic under-ripeness of the 2011s, wondered about the high acidity in 2008, and so on. This is all to say, when a vintage has a problem, you can tell at this barrel tasting. The 2017s are problem-free. There is simply no reason to avoid or be wary of this vintage. 3. Some people have been under-estimating this vintage...sort of. Although the most widely-followed Burgundy critics have had very high praise for the 2017s, we’ve heard lots of people referring to this vintage as a “restaurant” vintage, often comparing the 2017s to the 2000s and the 2007s. To be fair, they do not mean this to be insulting. It is great to have “restaurant” vintages (vintages that you can drink young), and both the 2000s and the 2007s have ended up aging much better than expected (I mean, wow, the top wines from 2000 are so good today!). To the extent that the 2017s follow this pattern, nobody should be disappointed. But my own impression tasting the 2017s last week -- and this was a view shared by virtually all the other tasters that I spoke with — is that these wines are considerably more serious than either the 2007s or 2000s. My guess is that the wines have gained a little weight since those early impressions were first formed. It is true that the tannins are not at all aggressive, making the wines far more approachable in their youth. But the wines otherwise seem far more structured than either earlier vintage and they really seem like wines that will age very well, if not for as long as, say, the 2015s. 4. This is not a vintage that obviously favors red wines or white wines. Some of the earlier reports I read or heard about suggested that white was stronger than red. My impression form this event was that the reds were slightly better (and more serious!) than expected — as noted in #3, above — and that while I loved most of the whites I tasted I did find some of them to be just a touch too creamy and lacking the slightest bit of definition. They did not seem as crispy and crystalline as, say, the 2014s — though many of them really were excellent. My impressions may change over time, but for now, having slightly upgraded the reds and slightly downgraded the whites I’m now pretty much equally bullish on both colors of Burgundy from 2017. 5. Chablis is a sweet spot. As I mentioned in my first post, there seemed to be a wide range of opinion on Chablis from 2017. I tasted only from two producers — Christian Moreau and Billaud-Simon — but I loved them both! The Moreaus, in particular, were stronger than every vintage I have tasted since 2010, except maybe the 2014s. The difference between these 2017s and the 2014s is that the 2014s had a touch of austerity to them while the 2017s already give lots of pleasure. This might suggest that the 2014s will out-perform in the long run, and they probably will, but I did sense that there was plenty of power and stuffing lurking beneath the pretty 2017 fruit and I’m very confident that they will keep nicely as well. This was, of course, just a small sampling of producers. There is plenty more to taste, and very few of the wines have even been bottled yet. Impressions will surely evolve, but with few exceptions over the years, my general vintage assessments, based on the Wildman tasting, have held up pretty well. Another little observation not directly related to the wine: When I first started going to these tastings, only buyers from the top restaurants and retailers would come. Over the years, things have become more democratic, and I was really surprised at how well and how broadly attended this year's event was. I've long expected trickle-down effects in the Burgundy market, and maybe that's finally happening. By that I mean that all the immense hype at the very top level of Burgundy -- DRC, Roumier and all that -- is now spreading out across Burgundy and across the market, so now even smaller retailers are getting in the game by carrying wines from lesser-known corners of Burgundy. This is probably a great thing for Burgundy, though it does mean that we're inevitably going to see even second-tier producers becoming far more tightly allocated. Oh well. As I post this we are now in the midst of our Wildman pre-sale campaign, offering a lot of what they import had the best prices you’re likely to find in the U.S. Please be sure to email us if you’re not already on our list getting our pre-sale offers.