Grower Champagne 101: Class is in Session!

Champagne is rediscovering itself through the eyes of the farmer, but what does that mean? Traditionally, small farmers didn't make their own wine. Instead, these grapes were sold to  houses, who would blend grapes from across the region to create a "house style". Very often many excellent wines were made, but very few had any traditional sense of terroir. With help from passionate Importers, and a cultural shift towards authentic experiences, the region has been transformed. Now, thousands of growers keep grapes for themselves and make their own unique expressions of terroir. Because holdings are often tiny it is now possible to experience site specific wines, of extraordinary ... Read More »

John’s Dispatches from Burgundy

A new generation is shaking up Burgundy. Mathilde Grivot, Amelie Berthaut, Charles Lachaux, Charles Van Canneyt have all reinvigorated their family domaines. Then, there are a handful of new producers like Nicolas Faure, Armand Heitz of Heitz-Lochardet and Maxime Cheurlin of Domaine Georges Noellat. It's hard to believe that another incredibly talented class from the Lycee Viticole de Beaune are now seasoned veterans with many vintages behind them. This trip I arrived early Friday March 9th on Swiss International to Geneva.  On the same flight was Maxime Cheurlin of Domaine Georges Noellat. He offered me a ride to Beaune - lucky me. Max's Swiss importer met us at the the airport and drove ... Read More »

Cuvée Caprice: Extraordinary Value From Classic Terroir

Milon’s Cuvée Caprice The “great” viticultural regions are most famous for their grandest wines; they usually take decades to mature and also cost a fortune. But these same venerated regions also produce fresh and delicious wines that can be drunk young- the kind locals choose for everyday expression of their local terroirs and traditions. Such pleasures are key to the enjoyment and understanding of wine itself. We drink Piedmontese Dolcetto, and Burgundy’s Bourgogne Rouge and Passetoutgrain. Yet for some reason, when it comes to Bordeaux we focus almost exclusively on the grand vins of the most famous châteaux; these giants need decades of cellar time before they are ready to drink. 2018 ... Read More »

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 »

Cru Bourgeois Part 1

I’ve been drinking a lot of Bordeaux lately. Mostly, this is because I was in Bordeaux. But not for a fancy trip; I didn’t visit a single Grand Cru Chateau. I was there to explore and drink Cru Bourgeois. If you love wine, especially Bordeaux, you need to pay special attention to this category. It provides some of the very best values in the world for red wines in the $20 - $50 range. And I’m going to explain why in a short series of posts. This first post is for a little background.  What is Cru Bourgeois? To be a Cru Bourgeois a chateau must come from one of the Medoc’s eight AOC’s: Medoc, Haut-Medoc, Margaux, St. Julien, Pauillac, St. Estephe, Moulis, and Listrac-Medoc. ... Read More »

Herri Mina

Pétrus is at the absolute apogee of the wine world. And it isn't just a trophy wine for people with far too much money, although it is that, in part. Just like some other untouchables (DRC comes to mind) the château actually makes utterly sublime wines that show the utmost respect for local tradition and terroir. That the wine is so honest and true to itself is in no small part thanks to Jean-Claude Berrouet, who oversaw 40 vintages there, including many of the great wines that put Pétrus into the wine world's pole position. But Berrouet wasn't satisfied playing only at those rarefied heights: he also craved that quintessentially French experience of working on more modest, humbler wines—country ... Read More »

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 »

Fenouillet Rosé

If you subscribe to our newsletter, you may recall a story we ran last year in our newsletter about "The Once a Year Marvel that is Rosenthal's Very Best Value." It was Fenouillet's red wine, an oddball blend of Merlot and Marcellan that's priced like a mass-market grocery store wine but made with love by a small family domaine. Right now we have a slightly different version of this marvel: Fenouillet's rosé. We tend to think of rosé as falling into one of two categories. There are the vins de soif (wines for thirst), light-colored rosés you drink as an aperitif on your rooftop, and vins gastronomiques, slightly darker rosés that pair well with food. The Fenouillet is somewhere ... Read More »

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 »

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 »