Extraordinary Value from Classic Terroir: Pepiere’s Muscadet Les Gras Moutons

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 ... Read More »

What about that cheap wine in Europe?

In New York we have a lot of European visitors. Some of them complain about our prices. Not: "Oh, I can get this same wine back home for 30% less," which would sometimes be true (though often not). Rather, it’s more of a blanket statement like: "At home wines cost just 5 or 6 euros.” I happen to be in Europe for a few weeks so I decided to investigate. You may remember Turin, a very sophisticated city in Northern Italy, from the Winter Olympics a few years back. But it’s more important to us a center for the wine trade just a few miles from the Langhe, one of the world's greatest wine regions and home, not only of (expensive, age-worthy) Barolo and Barbaresco, but also of more humble ... Read More »

Ameztoi “Kirkilla”

When you travel to Basque country and enjoy a glass of Txakoli at the bar, it feels like a truly authentic experience: you're drinking the "real" wine of the locals. And it's true! Txakoli's a delicious and local treat you're unlikely to find just one or two towns over in, say, Santander or Biarritz. But that Txakoli is actually a modern invention made possible by mechanical farming and steel tanks. It's different from what the locals drank even a generation or two ago. What were the wines like back then? Well, now you can find out, thanks to our friends at Ameztoi (the growers behind perennial Rosé fave, "Rubentis"). For the first time, Ameztoi has exported a super-old-fashioned Txakoli, ... Read More »

Getting to Know Aglianico — An FAQ

In the last few weeks we've been writing articles in our newsletters about Aglianico. We love the grape, and it is overlooked. We think it's time to give it some space. Our newsletter, though, does not have room for lots of detail. For anyone who wants to drill down and really get to know this wonderful grape, here's an FAQ: What is Aglianico? Aglianico is a grape variety grown in Southern Italy, mostly in Campania and Bascilicata. Most experts consider Aglianico to be one of Italy's "noble" varieties, alongside Sangiovese and Nebbiolo. It is the grape that makes Taurasi, the most famous red wine from south of Tuscany. Why is it called Aglianico? Most people will tell you that ... Read More »

Lesser Known Grapes from Piedmont

Wineries such as Brovia, Francesco Rinaldi, and Castello di Verduno are famous for their top-notch Nebbiolos. But at home in the Langhe even legendary winemakers don’t drink Barolo and Barbaresco every day. Instead, the Piemontese drink a host of lighter reds, and the list doesn’t stop at Barbera and Dolcetto. Freisa, Ruche, Grignolino, Brachetto, and Pelaverga make up an important (and delicious!) part of Piedmont’s complex viticultural heritage—a part that may have been a little over-shadowed by our collective fascination with the greatness of Nebbiolo. These are fascinating varieties with their own unique characters, nobilities, and place at the table. Freisa is either ... Read More »