Litaud’s Chardonnay

Jean-Jacques Litaud's vineyards are nestled beneath the colossal cliff of Vergisson in the tiny hamlet of Les Membrets. The soils are limestone mixed with a rich red soil. Why red? Well, they're said to be stained red by the blood of countless animals which were driven off the cliffs by stone age hunters. And archeological digs have found lots of wooly mammoth skeletons at the base of those giant rocks. Some of the vines are almost 100 years old – old, but much younger than the Woolly Mammoth blood.  These magnificent cliffs in the Macon region are stunning. If you're a reader of Asterix and Obelix, you'd be interested to know that they were holy sites for the Druids. Readers of Libération may ... 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 »

Minière Champagne

“If I hadn't met Anselme [Selosse] I would not be making the wines I make today.” - Fred Minière So many of today's great Champagne growers trace their roots back to Anselme Selosse. It's amazing that some of them still fly under the radar. But it's likely the case that you haven't heard of Fred Minière, who worked for Selosse in the 1990s before deciding, with his brother Rodolphe, to convert the family domaine into an all-organic grower-producer working in Selosse's Burgundian style. You are not to blame for your ignorance. It was only after their father retired in 2007 that the brothers could take over and run things like they wanted. And it's only recently that their wines ... Read More »

Amiot-Servelle

Amiot-Servelle has great holdings in Chambolle-Musigny, including some lovely village plots and vines in Les Charmes and Les Amoureuses. (not to mention Clos St. Denis). We recently had the chance to taste some ‘13s, ‘14s and as-yet-unreleased 2015s. Our lesson? The Domaine is doing great work! The wines are fresh and pure with beautiful fruit and terroir-specific aromatics. Their plot of Bourgogne Rouge is just across the RN from the heart of Chambolle-Musigny. It has seductive aromatics that, like all great baby-Chambolles, hint at the village’s classic perfume and elegance. But the soils are deeper and the wine is already a pleasure to drink, more fruit-focused than the village ... Read More »

The Reasonable Cellar:  Savary Chablis

Keeping a cellar may seem fussy, complicated and expensive, but it doesn't have to be. Just a year ago, I purchased a case of Savary Chablis 2012. With a 10% case discount, it was about $22 per bottle. I took the case, and I put it in my basement. It was not a refrigerated space, but it never gets that warm in the summer, probably never above 70. This is not ideal for long term storage, but just fine for a year. Recently I was stumbling around the basement looking for my kid's ice skates, and there was the case. We are selling the 2014 right now in the shop, and online. It's a great vintage, but not yet quite where I like my village-level Chablis. Young Chablis is fresh and piercing, and I ... Read More »

The Radicalness of Chardonnay

We talk a lot about the importance of terroir, and its impact on the flavors of wine. This, of course, is true no matter what grape variety is used to make the wine. But the more I taste, the more I become convinced that Chardonnay provides a truly extreme example of this. I first started tossing this idea around back in 2012, when I visited Pierre de Benoist, who manages his uncle's domaine in the Côte Chalonnaise. His uncle, by the way, is Aubert de Villaine, director and part-owner of the Domaine de la Romanee Conti. Yes, we love Aubert's Grand Crus Vosne Romanees, but we drink far more of his delicious Aligoté, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from further south! Although related to the great ... Read More »

2014 Chablis from Jean-Claude Bessin

The big town of Chablis has a population of about 2,500 people. North of Chablis proper is the tiny hamlet of La Chapelle-Vaupelteigne with a population of 100. Jean-Claude Bessin's house is found there. It is an immaculately preserved little jewel built of local white limestone. Not surprisingly – as he was trained as an architect – everything is very ship-shape. So are his cellars, nothing is out of place. Some wineries look like a bomb went off, they are studies in chaos, whereas Bessin's cellar is calm and tranquil. Hoses are coiled, the floors are clean, the barrels in rows just so, like you are onboard a yacht. Jean-Claude married a Tremblay and was given the opportunity to take ... Read More »

Pure Burgundies from New Star Chantereves

Chantereves is an absolutely brilliant tiny negociant in Savigny-les-Beaune. The Chantereves team is the very outgoing and charming – Tomoko Kuriyama and her shyer and more reticent husband, Guillaume Bott. Tomoko went to wine school in Geisenhem and became the estate manager at Freiderich Altenkirch in the Rheingau. In addition to her winemaking and vineyard work at Chantereves she does vineyard management at Chandon de Briailles. Her husband Guillaume Bott worked at Etienne Sauzet and became the winemaker at Domaine Simon Bize, where he still works. Their partnership at Chantereves started in 2010. They make wines of stunning purity and focus in both red and white. Their approach has resulted ... Read More »

House Wine: Chablis Edition

Over the years Savary has become our house Chablis. Since we opened we’ve carried every vintage and made many customers very happy with the finely etched wines (wow, was the 2008 fantastic!). At first, customers tried Savary’s Chablis for the obvious reasons. The pricing is great and the connection to Raveneau is certainly a good sign (they were childhood friends, and it was Bernard Raveneau that introduced Olivier Savary to Kermit Lynch). And when we first featured Savary in our newsletter it was from the bright and beautiful 2010 vintage. And these are important factors to consider when venturing to try a new wine for the first time, but in the end it always comes down to taste. And ... Read More »

A Week In Burgundy With John Truax (Part 6)

Tuesday, November 17 I had to great fortune to be invited back to Becky and Russell’s house in Bouilland for another gala luncheon and a vertical tasting of Grivot Richebourg. Thanks to a generous Burgundy collector we able to taste every single vintage of Richebourg that Etienne Grivot has made. We had 20+ vintages on the table that day. The wines were lined up on both sides of a bare wooden table. There were lots of accomplished wine tasters present from France, UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, the USA and points beyond. Any wines that our gracious host could not provide came directly from Domaine Grivot for the tasting. An effervescent British taster from Hong Kong exclaimed, “Oh my. This ... Read More »