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 »

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 »

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 True Taste of Pouilly Fuissé – A Tasting with Antoine Vincent of Chateau Fuissé

[caption id="attachment_10993" align="aligncenter" width="1224"] Antoine pours wines for our customers.[/caption] Is Pouilly Fuissé a great wine? We rave about Meursault and Puligny Montrachet. We spend too much money on culty Chardonnay from California. We obsess over the Chablis of Raveneau, Dauvissat, and (finally) a handful of other producers as well. But the Macon doesn't get any love. At best, it's considered a source of "good value" wines. It's true that for $20 or less the Macon is probably the best source of Chardonnay at that price point anywhere. But it's so much more than that! And Antoine Vincent, wine-maker at Chateau Fuissé proved beyond doubt just how great P-F is, ... 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 »

Chambertin for Coq au Vin?

A chef friend we work with wanted a case of Burgundy for a stew he was making. I pointed out that a case of Cotes du Rhone would be a lot cheaper and, after hours of cooking, pretty close in flavor. But he insisted on Burgundy, “I’m following a 19th century recipe that calls for a case of Chambertin!” Nowadays, of course, a case of Chambertin costs well over $3,000. That would be a pricey chicken dish. Besides, supplies are so limited you would need to go to several sources to cobble together a 12-pack. It’s probably been a very long time since that particular recipe was followed! Amusing, yes. But it also raises an important historical point that surprisingly few people are ... 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 »

2015 Fleurie from Clos de la Roilette

To understand how important producers like Roilette have been, it's worth keeping in mind that as recently as 10 years ago Beaujolais was a region that virtually no serious wine-lover would look to. Check any leading wine store's catalogue from back then and the Beaujolais section – if there is one – will be dominated by George Duboeuf's mass-produced wines. Of course, the more boutique shops in New York have since discovered the great artisans that work Beaujolais' unique terroirs – without the manipulations and yeast additions that make all the wines taste like vaguely like banana. And of those artisans, Alain Coudert would be on anybody's short list of the very best. Coudert is ... Read More »