Top 5 Reasons to drink Cru Bourgeois

Why to drink Bordeaux Cru Bourgeois In my first post on Bordeaux Cru Bourgeois I explained: what they are: great Chateaux that didn't sell for enough to be classified as Bordeaux Cru Classé in 1855 how they came to exist: a bunch of the best non-Classé Chateaux banded together for marketing purposes, and why it all stopped working: it was too complicated and bureaucratic! In this, my second post on Bordeaux' Cru Bourgeois, I want to give you five reasons to look beyond Bordeaux' Grand Cru Classé–more specifically, five reasons to look at the Cru Bourgeois wines for delicious values that do everything we want our wines to do. 1. The Virtual Circle of Good Money Making Great ... Read More »

Ridge For The 4th

It took the monks centuries to figure out how to make great wine in Burgundy and the Mosel. Somehow, at California's Ridge Vineyards, they figured it out in just a few years. While fashions have come and gone, Ridge has stood fast for over 50 years, working their incredible vineyards with care and making true American masterpieces. July 4 is as good excuse as any to open a good bottle of Zinfandel, but no excuse is really required. Zinfandel has been maligned in some crowds, but only because too many producers have made overripe, high-alcohol versions that taste more like a coca cola–based cocktail than fine wine. Ridge never succumbed to that unfortunate trend, and they continue to ... Read More »

Santa Cruz Mountain Winery

For a while the wine world talked about New California—the wave of new producers like Arnot-Roberts, Cruse, and Donkey & Goat, that made wines of finesse and drinkability—in contrast to the point-seeking monsters of the Parker era. But critics were quick to dispute the "New" designation, because California had a long history of making elegant wines. They pointed to famous producers like Ridge, Mayacamas and Heitz. Those names are well known. Here is one that may be new to you: Santa Cruz Mountain Winery. The Napa Valley is California's most famous wine region, but many think that the greatest terroir is actually in Santa Cruz. Here you have a range of altitudes, a complex mix ... Read More »

The Crazy Market in Bordeaux and How to Take Advantage

As we've explained before in our newsletter, the market in Bordeaux is upside down. New releases are expensive and often over-priced. But mature bottles -- bottles that are actually ready to drink -- represent some of the best values in the world of wine today. I'm not talking about First Growths, Cheval Blanc and the like. Those wines have powerful brands and you will always have to pay for that. However, look beyond the famous names and you find plenty of great Bordeaux that are just, well, great. And many of them are superbly priced. We are finding more and more opportunities working with negociant partners in Bordeaux itself. Because release prices for Bordeaux are so high, it is rare that ... Read More »

Top Five Steak Wines

Grilling season is now upon us, and a good grilled steak is just about the only excuse you need in warmer weather to open up a big red wine. But some red wines work with steak better than others.  Here is a top 5 list, in no particular order: 1.  Brunello di Montalcino.  Anyone who has had Steak Florentine in Tuscany knows that Sangiovese is the perfect partner for steak, and Brunello is the grandest and noblest Sangiovese. Keep it on the young side, to ensure good fruit vigor and lively tannins. Consider giving your steak full Tuscan treatment: cook it rare but with a crusty exterior (which should be coated in salt, pepper and if you like some minced rosemary or sage), and then dress ... Read More »

Les Allees de Cantemerle

Not growing up drinking fancy wines (often it was wine from Niagra, Ontario!), I have a strong memory of tasting the first bottle that was really something special. It was a Cantemerle, the 5th Growth from Haut Medoc, from a great vintage. Usually, as you get into wine, your tastes will change over time. The story that you hear from a lot of people these days (at least in New York) is that when they were younger they liked Chateauneuf-du-Papes and Californian wines, but now they’ve “moved on” (though I bet I could show them plenty of wines from both categories that they would still love!). And my tastes have changed too. But one taste has not, and that is my love of Cantemerle. Every ... Read More »