If you're a regular newsletter reader you already know how much we admire Matthieu Baudry. Following in the footsteps of his father, Bernard, today, Matthieu is making exceptional, organic, terroir-driven wines that we can’t get enough of. Over the years, we've written in great detail about the domaine's range of benchmark reds but today wanted to highlight Baudry's two whites, which include: an easy-going but exotic Chinon Blanc and the storied, benchmark La Croix Boissée Blanc. In our experience, Baudry's bottlings are amongst the finest Chenins being produced in the world today and deserve mention alongside the greatest wines of Chinon. The Chinon Blanc is made from younger Chenin vines grown in a combination of clay and limestone soils. Layered flavors of orange, pear and lime sorbet find balance around a core of precise, mineral grip. It's a charming wine and a perfect complement to seasonal produce encountered throughout the Bay Area this time of year. La Croix Boissee Blanc, on the other hand, is 'Grand Cru' Loire and one of the most compelling, thought-provoking expressions of Chenin Blanc around. A south-facing slope that sits atop clay and limestone soils, the lower slopes of the vineyard is planted mostly to Cabernet Franc and produces a seriously structured wine, La Croix Boissée Rouge, that wants a couple decades in the cellar. But at the top of the vineyard, the clays all but disappear leaving a chalky mix of limestone and sand. Long ago, the Baudrys found that Cabernet Franc suffered here, so twenty years ago they tried replanting to Chenin Blanc and, in doing so, laid the foundation for creating one of the great wines of the Loire Valley. The first vintage I tasted was 2009. It left such an impression that I decided right then and there to stash a pair of bottle away to revisit another day. That day came earlier this month and I'm thrilled to report that it has evolved just beautifully. What makes Baudry's Croix Boissée Blanc so compelling is how its complexity is presented in a finely etched, tensile and powerful mosaic of flavors. Stone fruits, honey and salt are layered atop gentle bitter notes and flinty smoke. It is as complete and satisfying a wine as I've tasted. Full of polish and sophistication, it is, in every sense, beyond category and I look forward to opening my last bottle in 5-7 years time. We wish we saw enough of both these wines to have them on the shelf all year, but it's just not the case. Grab them now from while they're around. Domaine Bernard Baudry, Chinon Blanc, 2016 -$28.99 * Domaine Bernard Baudry, Chinon Blanc, "La Croix Boissée", 2016 - $42.99 * Did you like this post? Want to receive more stories about the artisans and terroirs that make our favorite wines so special? Great - sign-up for our newsletter and we'll deliver stories like this one to your inbox once a week! As an added bonus, when you sign-up you'll receive a code for 10% off your first online order.** 2016 La Croix Boissée Blanc is just one of the over 5,000 artisan wines that we carry, so begin the exploration! * These wines are for sale and will be fulfilled through our San Francisco shop. ** For new subscribers only.
I wasn’t lying about how great the Milon Cuvee Caprice ’16 was the other day. It’s a hell of a wine for $19.99. Hey, but so is this Pepiere. Gras Moutons is one of Pepiere’s more serious cuvées. There are a few from this domaine, arguably Muscadet’s finest. 2016 is a very good, classical (ie not too ripe) vintage. This is really clean, like “spring water” clean. Iodine, stones and salt are present. Faintly creamy. There is really good “detailing” in the taste(s). You can find all kinds of pale notes in this wine. Fun stuff. There is some fruit flavor, too: nearly-ripe peach, citrus that is like lemon bordering on mandarin orange. But really, this is not a fruity wine. Mostly it’s just super-refreshing, clean, and elegant. That textural finesse sets Gras Moutons apart from other, cheaper Muscadets. It’s like water with lemon, but silkier, and more complex, and also: it’s 12% abv. Compare this to Clos des Briords, another Pepiere cuvée, and this is the more delicate, understated wine. Briords is richer, more layered and subtly tropical. The Clos des Briords is planted in classic, granitic soils, but this Gras Moutons grows in a hillside vineyard with gneiss subsoils that fracture easily, allowing the roots to go deep. They are both really good. Pepiere is what’s up. Drink with all the confidence in the world! This is a really really good wine for less than 20 bucks and guess what: it ages, too. Domaine de la Pepiere, Les Gras Moutons, 2016 - $19.99
Rieslingfeier is upon us! The annual celebration of what some consider to be the world's greatest white wine is happening this Saturday, January 27th. We are getting the party started early with a selection of wines from the event's organizer, Vom Boden, an importer with strong German roots. We're very excited to have the incredibly knowledgeable Bryn pouring a selection of Riesling this Thursday, 1/25. We'll have a diverse group of bottles, ranging from a bone dry Riesling Sekt to an off-dry Feinherb style. We're featuring a few of our favorite producers, and we may even have a special bottle or two you'll only taste if you drop by to the shop in NYC from 5-7pm. Weiser-Kunstler, Riesling Feinherb Qba, 2016 -- $21.99 Peter Lauer, Riesling Kabinett Trocken “Fass 8 ", 2016 -- $31.99 Peter Lauer, Riesling “Unterstenberg”, 2016 -- $38.99 Shelter Winery, Sekt Brut, 2012 -- $39.99 As always, there will be a 15% discount for newsletter subscribers. Not a subscriber? Sign up on our front page.
Today, we are happy to highlight the recent arrival of the 2016s from Dominique Lafon's trailblazing Mâconnais project, Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon. As our regular newsletter readers know, Dominique, widely considered one of the finest winemakers in France, founded this domaine back in 1999 with an eye on making world class Chardonnay in a region known more for its industrially farmed, high volume wines. The goal: produce some of the most complex, vibrant and impressive wines to express the unrealized potential of the Mâconnais. Since 2006, the day-to-day winemaking responsibilities have been in the hands of long-time apprentice, Caroline Gon. Over the years, we have had the pleasure of following the domaine's growth and evolution under Caroline's leadership. What she has been able to accomplish during this time, has been extraordinary and one of the principal reasons why the gospel of the Mâconnais enjoys the authority and range we observe today. Brava! The 2016 vintage in Burgundy was excruciating for growers. The Mâconnais was spared the painful frosts that devastated famous address throughout the Cote d'Or but though the region was spared this extreme weather it received a relentless series of hailstorms that ravaged the region from mid-April through the end of July. With yields dramatically down and disease pressure in the vineyards spiking, it was a vintage characterized by bad news arriving almost daily and one that many yearned to forget. When the wines finally began making their way out into the world, the reception was mixed and even the most experienced taster found it difficult to give the wines their support. Re-tasting these 2016s now has reconfirmed one of our most fundamental convictions: simply that 'off' vintages are special opportunities to buy and enjoy the world's most distinctive, terroir driven wines that we so often miss out on in top vintages. With decent stock across the range, we thought it'd be fun to present our loyal readers with an unique opportunity to begin a focused exploration of the distinctive terroirs of the Mâconnais through the lens of a master and from the hands of a world class talent. So, here's the deal: get 10% off when you buy a 6-pk, 15% off when you go deep and buy a case online. Feel free to mix-and-match. No further discounts. Offer expires on Sunday January 28th or while supplies last. All wines are being stored and will ship from our store in Downtown San Francisco. Shop All 2016 Heritiers du Comte Lafon Heritieres du Comte Lafon, Mâcon Milly-Lamartine, 2016 - $28.99 It was the high altitude, cooler terroir of the commune of Milly-Lamartine that attracted Dominique to the possibility of realizing his vision of producing world-class Chardonnay in the Maconnais. Beautiful white flowers and citrus zest with nice focus and grip. There are small limestone rocks that sit atop hard bedrock strewn across this steep, East facing slope. A great introduction. Heritieres du Comte Lafon, Mâcon Milly-Lamartine Clos du Four, 2016 - $39.99 Sourced from a single vineyard, Clos du Four is unique due to the high proportion of clay in its soils relative to other parcels in the commune. Consistently the lowest yielding vineyard, this also tends to produce the most full-bodied wine from the line-up. Heritieres du Comte Lafon, Mâcon-Prissé, 2016 - $28.99 One of the newest additions to lineup. Prisse is sourced exclusively from the lieu-dit La Verchère, on a gentle, east-facing slope, 200m altitude, well-structured clay soils on hard limestone bedrock. It is a site closer in proximity to St-Veran. Baked apple, hazelnut and flint smoke. Bright, open-knit and easy-going though not lacking for substance. This is a wine to watch. Heritieres du Comte Lafon, Mâcon-Bussières Le Monsard, 2016 - $33.99 Early-ripening terroir from the lieu-dit En Monsard. Juicy apple, pear, candied citrus and almond cream. Great mineral drive, clean and precise. Heritieres du Comte Lafon, Mâcon-Uchizy Les Maranches, 2016 - $33.99 Blend of two parcels within the lieu-dit Les Maranches. Sunny and warm sites that produce a wine full of exotic fruit and heady floral aromas. There is a disarming opulence to this wine that finds its balance in finish that is precise and saline. Classic Lafon. Heritieres du Comte Lafon, Mâcon-Chardonnay Clos de la Crochette, 2016 - $33.99 From a single-walled vineyard (clos) in the commune of Chardonnay. Nicely structured with a generous mid-palate weight. White fruits, lemon zest and fresh. The rest of the new arrivals from 2016 Heretieres du Comte Lafon: Heritiers du Comte Lafon, Viré-Clessé, 2016 - $41.99 Heritiers du Comte Lafon, Saint-Véran, 2016 - $41.99 What pairs perfectly with your fancy seafood courses? World class Chardonnay. Dungeness Crab, creamy lobster pasta or raw bar options will all benefit from the balance of richness, texture and bright acidity that Heritieres offers every vintage. With gratitude, Andrew