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 »

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 »

Jérôme Prévost Les Béguines

Under the La Closerie label, Prévost makes only two wines from a tiny 2.2 hectare parcel, Les Béguines, southwest of Reims in the village of Gueux. The grapes there are almost all entirely 40-year-old Pinot Meunier vines, with a very teeny amount of young-vine Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc in an adjacent bloc which (for now) are blended in to Prévost's flagship wine. The soils in this region are calcareous with sand, and the signature chalk of the Champagne region lies many meters below the surface, making these wines and interesting illumination of the varied terroir of Champagne. All of Prévost wines are fermented in neutral oak barrels, and then bottled the following summer ... Read More »

Moncuit Champagne + Italian Picks from the Polaner Portfolio

Pierre Moncuit works some of the oldest vines in the Grand Cru village of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger in the Côtes des Blancs. Their 2004 vintage bottling is aged 8 years on the lees prior to release and undergoes full malolactic fermentation in stainless steel tank. Racy, vibrant and mineral, this is Mesnil Blanc de Blancs as it was meant to be. Moving on, from France to Italy...Ciro Picariello is a heralded white wine producer from Campania whose Fianos have held their own in tastings of Coche Dury, Lafon and Dagueneau. He also makes a tiny amount (less than 3,000 bottles a year!) of floral, fresh and citrusy Greco that's not to be missed. Next, we'll visit the mountainous zone, of Carema right ... Read More »

Louis Roederer Cristal 2006 and 2007

A benchmark estate in Reims, Roederer has been owned and operated by the same family since 1833. They are of course, best known for "Cristal", the cuvee developed in 1876 for Tsar Alexander II of Russia which today remains of the most sought after and admired of the worlds great prestige champagnes. Usually we open the Roederer Brut, or sometimes a vintage wine, both of which are great introductions to the house's unique style. This Friday though, we're doing things differently- consider it an early christmas gift for all our loyal customers. Starting at 5pm sharp, we'll be pouring both the Cristal 2006 and the Cristal 2007. This tasting is free and open to the public but we'll only be pouring ... Read More »

Post-Turkey “Roederer Refresh”

November has arrived and the real holiday season is upon us. That means bottles of Roederer! An establishment in Reims since the late 18th century, this famous Champagne house is best known for Cristal, and while it's not time for that quite yet, both the Brut NV and the vintage Brut Nature 2006 are certainly worth celebrating! We'll be Tasting: Louis Roederer, Champagne "Brut Collection", NV $49.99 Louis Roederer, Champagne Brut Nature, 2006 (Philippe Stark gift box) $83.99 Read More »

Skurnik Burgundy: Dureuil-Janthial, Paul Pillot, and PYCM

With a vast portfolio of wines from around the world, Skurnik Imports really shines in the Burgundy department. We'll have some of our top picks open this Friday night! After a quick sip of Duc de Romet Champagne to whet our palates, we'll move on to the Maizieres, a spectacular value in white burgundy from Dureuil-Janthial, an established Cotes Chalonnaise domaine based in Rully. In the words of Jean-Francois Coche,"If I see his name on a wine list, I don't give it a second thought and simply order his wine." Next, from Paul Pillot, a Santenay that stands as a testament to the quality of Pinot Noir coming out of this excellent (if under-rated) village in the Cote-de Beaune. And finally, we'll ... Read More »

French Gems from the Weygandt Portfolio

This tasting begins with lovely Blanc de blancs from the family run estate of J. L Vergnon. The domaine’s east-facing vineyards on the slopes of the Cote des Blancs in Mesnil and Oger are planted over a layer of chalky subsoil, particularly suited to the Chardonnay variety. Next up, it’s velvety, aromatic Fleurie from Pierre-Marie Chermette, one of our very favorite growers in the Beaujolais. We'll move on to Gevrey-Chambertin from Domaine Jean Tardy. Now run by son Guillaume, the estate has tempered it’s use of new oak, returning to a classical style we can all agree on. Per Burghound “if you don’t know the wines, you owe your pocketbook the favor of making their acquaintance”. Finally, ... Read More »

Grower Champagne from the Kermit Lynch portfolio

A family domaine that dates back to the 1850's Veuve Fourney is located in Vertus, one of the rare villages in the Cote des Blancs permitted to grow both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Chalky soils are interspersed with clay and limestone and the domaine benefits from a unique southeastern exposure that allows grapes to ripen more fully. Farming is meticulous, parcels are vinified individually and dosage is kept to a minimum in order to best express terroir. The Fournys almost always blend wines that have gone through malolactic fermentation with wines that have not, and at least a portion is aged in Burgundy barrel, lending lush texture and fresh character to these beautiful champagnes. From ... Read More »

New Producer Feature: Champagnes of Etienne Calsac

Fete du Champagne festivities continue this week at Flatiron Wines! Thursday we're featuring the wines of Etienne Calsac, a grower who only began estate bottling in 2010. Prior to that, all the fruit on his family's 2.8 hectare estate was sold to negociant. Yet despite his recent arrival on the scene, he seems to have the right formula. Farming organically, and working selectively with only the heart of the pressing (the coeur de cuvee), to obtain the highest quality juice, he is making waves as one of Champagne's most intriguing young winemakers to watch.  We have a distinct feeling Etienne's young star is on the rise and with production as limited as it is, it won't be long before these ... Read More »