Don’t miss out on the 2014 Red Burgundy Vintage!

2014 was one of those rare vintages in Burgundy that was equally good for red and white wines.  Most of the hyperbole was directed to the fantastic quality of the white wines.  Indeed it is true that from Macon, through the Cote Chalonnaise and in the great growths of the Cote de Beaune - even all the way up to Chablis - the 2014 white Burgundies were hailed by everybody as the greatest vintage since 1992 and so on and on.  They are undeniably marvelous. However - 2014 Reds are being overlooked and this is a sad state of affairs.  Because of the hoopla over 2015 red Burgundy, people are forgetting about one of the best red wine vintages we have seen in a long time. The 2014 red burgundies ... Read More »

Chanterêves

We knew it was only a matter of time before Chanterêves would be "discovered," as in talked about and chased by U.S wine drinkers beyond us and our customers. But now they appear headed for the big leagues. For a while, the wines from this micro-négociant husband-wife team of Tomoko Kuriyama and Guillaume Bott were available only with us. But they now have distribution here in New York thanks to the team at Grand Cru, a boutique importer/wholesaler with a legendary Burgundy portfolio in the making that includes producers like the Marquis d'Angerville, Roumier, and Comte Liger-Belair. And now Chanterêves has the honor to be sold alongside those famous names. We are very excited for them! They're ... 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 »

The Twilight of Small Family Owned Domaines in Burgundy?

It's a story that has been told again and again in France ever since Napoleon l.  The head of a successful family dies and the estate is divided equally between all of the children.  It used to be that the eldest son got everything, the second son joined the military, the third the priesthood, the daughters were married off.  If you were the fourth son, well - you might have to work for a local landowner tending his vineyards. So to this day in Burgundy the vineyards are divided equally between the heirs.  Not everyone wants to be a country winegrower, the work is relentless, unforgiving and at the mercy of capricious weather.  What's more, almost every successful family want their sons ... 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 Terroir of Oregon Pinot Noir

It’s no secret that Oregon, and specifically the Willamette Valley, is great terroir for growing Pinot Noir, but the reason behind that may come as a surprise. Willamette Valley has been home to arguably the best domestically produced Pinot Noirs since growers started planting vines there in the late 1960s-- most notably David Lett of Eyrie Vineyards. Stretching from Portland south to Eugene, the region covers roughly 150 miles and encompasses several recognized sub-AVAs (American Viticultural Area), from the renowned red-soiled Dundee Hills to McMinville. A bit inland from the coast, the valley is bordered on the west by the Coastal mountain range and to the east by the Cascade mountain ... Read More »

The Chablis-Like Red Wines of Dominique Gruhier

It was, of course, a thrill and an honor to host superstar Burgundy producers Lafarge and Mugnier at our store for a free tasting the other night. And it was no surprise that their wines are awfully good. The biggest revelation of the evening for just about everyone was Dominique Gruhier.  And "everyone" includes Freddy Mugnier, who had never tasted the wines before and was supremely impressed! [caption id="attachment_11024" align="alignnone" width="640"] Wines of Dominique Gruhier[/caption] You see, Mugnier, like so many U.S. Burgundy drinkers these days, admires purity and clarity over power and ripeness. And Gruhier's wines are so pure and clear that they seem to shimmer, like the water ... Read More »

Oregon Pinot Noir: A Chat with Jean-Nicolas Meo

A few months ago I promised to start exploring Pinot Noirs from Oregon. I drank a bunch of wines. I wrote up a blog post. My computer crashed and I lost all my work. I got demoralized and the project stalled. But it was reinvigorated by a recent visit from Jean-Nicholas Meo, of the great Vosne-Romanée domaine Meo-Camuzet. He has just released the inaugural vintage of his Pinot Noir from Oregon, the 2014 Nicolas-Jay, and he swung by to taste and chat. We covered a lot during our brief visit but here are the highlights: Meo didn't go to Oregon because of the weather but rather its diverse soils and the availability of interesting sites to work with. In addition to Oregon, Meo is interested ... Read More »

House Wine: Sancerre Rosé Edition

Back in the early 1980s I ran a wine bar in DC called Suzanne's. There was the first time I had Sancerre Rosé, and I was immediately struck by how grassy, crisp, and mineral it tasted. So refreshing! Still pretty new to wine, I wondered what grape it was made of.... and was very surprised when I learned that it was 100% Pinot Noir! We had a Valentine's Day dinner and served Sancerre Rosé with Coulibiac of salmon. It was a big hit! Sancerre is now virtually synonymous with Sauvignon Blanc, but it used to be mostly a red-wine town? It’s true: the Pinot Noir from this special spot of Kimmeridgian soils used to be famous. However, after the American soil louse, phylloxera, hitched a ride over ... 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 »