A Brief History of Chateauneuf-du-Pape

A Brief History of Chateauneuf-du-Pape

...in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, there was a castle that the pope lived in. In the 14th century a castle was built on the hill over the village. This was during the Avignon Papacy when the Pope(s) lived in Avignon rather than Rome. Why? Because French King Philip IV finagled the election of a Frenchman, Clement V to the papacy.
Jeff Patten
Read more
Barbaresco & Barolo: Top 5 Differences

Barbaresco & Barolo: Top 5 Differences

They are both made 100% from Nebbiolo grown in the Langhe. But Barolo and Barbaresco are clearly not the same wine.

What's the difference?

The easy answer is the legal one: Barolo and Barbaresco are two different DOCs. They are located in slightly different parts of the Langhe (see the map above).

There are slightly different rules that they have to follow -- for example Barolos have to be aged for 38 months, of which at least 18 months are in barrel, while Barbaresco only requires 26 months, of which 9 must be in barrel. Barolos have to hit 13% alcohol and Barbarescos only 12.5%.

I guess that sort of thing is great to know for your WSET exam, but it doesn't get you into the heart and soul of how these wines are distinct. Hopefully this list of five key differences will help you do that:

Jeff Patten
Read more
Edges of Burgundy: Pernand-Vergelesses

Edges of Burgundy: Pernand-Vergelesses

More so than any of the other villages covered in this Edges of Burgundy series, Pernand-Vergelesses qualifies for its Edges status thanks to both its red wine and its white wines.  Don't be surprised by this: P-V lies just beneath Corton, the great hill and only village (a small exception in Musigny aside) capable of making Grand Cru wine from both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. With two grapes for the price of one village, this is an area worthy of your attention. Let's get started.
Jeff Patten
Read more
New Australia?

New Australia?

Ever since Jon Bonne published his great book (and even before that in our weekly newsletter!) there’s been lots of talk about “The New California Wine.” And for good reason! There’s no more exciting recent development than the rise of Cali growers and winemakers who look back to the Golden Age of California Wine for inspiration to make wines that are balanced, interesting, subtle and, most important of all, delicious.

But America isn’t the only country with a long, complicated and under-appreciated history of winemaking. It isn’t even the only such new world country that, for a while, went a little bit overboard making “Parkerised” wines. Far from it!

So it's time we Americans recognized something important and exciting: the parallels between what's happening in California and in Australia are striking. Maybe we need to start talking about New Australia. 

Jeff Patten
Read more
Seven Rules for When to Open Meursault

Seven Rules for When to Open Meursault

In the world of fine white wine, perhaps no name resonates quite as much as that of Meursault. It's the kind of wine that everyone knows is pretty good. It is a safe choice. And it is often a very good choice. Maybe one day we'll get to a full guide to the intricacies of Meursault -- all the wonderful vineyards (many of which are classified at the village level and strongly over-perform), and the many fine producers.

For now, I'm just going to address one simple question: when is the right time to open up a bottle? 

Jeff Patten
Read more
Edges of Burgundy: Marsannay

Edges of Burgundy: Marsannay

It is easy to see why Marsannay gets "Edges" status.  It is literally at the very edge of the Cote d'Or.  For a long while, it's wines were all designated mere Bourgogne.  That only changed in 1987, when Marsannay was awarded full AOC status.  It still does not have any premier crus, and many people still associate it with Rose (interesting fact: Marsannay is the only village entitled to produce in red, white and rose!)
Jeff Patten
Read more

Edges of Burgundy: Mercurey

It's true that Mercurey does not produce any reds on the level of the Cote d'Or's greatest.  Yet, compared to red wines from many other regions of the world -- including many others that produce Pinot Noir and Chardonnay -- the quality is extremely high and the prices are unaccountably low.  Let's get drinking!
Jeff Patten
Read more
Germany 2013 Vintage: The Beauty of Contrast

Germany 2013 Vintage: The Beauty of Contrast

Challenging vintages like 2013 give me pause to wonder whether the concept of a "perfect vintage" is itself flawed, and does it really behoove us to seek to drink and cellar only those seemingly “perfect” vintages anyway?
flatironwines Admin
Read more
Edges of Burgundy: Savigny-les-Beaune

Edges of Burgundy: Savigny-les-Beaune

Of the villages I've covered so far, Savigny-les-Beaune is the most puzzling.  I kind of understand why St. Aubin is off the radar, as it occupies a separate valley from the classic villages of the Cote d'Or. And it's no surprise that Santenay isn't anywhere near as famous as villages further north, which benefit from super star producers and terroir that is superior to all but the most northerly corners of Santenay.  But Savigny?  This is a village that boasts well known producers like Pavelot, Chandon de Briailles and Simon Bize. The premier crus are some of the best in the Cote de Beaune for red wine.  So why no love?

Jeff Patten
Read more
Edges of Burgundy: Santenay

Edges of Burgundy: Santenay

For a while I felt that drinking Santenay was like visiting your family of wild cousins and marveling that they are related to you.  Was that really Pinot Noir....or was that a Cotes du Rhone I was drinking?  It seemed that there was simply too much coarseness and clunkiness for the wines to be from the Cote d'Or.   But wine-making has really improved in Santenay over the last decade or so, and more and more I've been finding bottles of wine that truly satisfy my cravings for great Burgundy.  Pay just a little bit of attention, and you can find those bottles too.
Jeff Patten
Read more
Edges of Burgundy: Saint-Aubin

Edges of Burgundy: Saint-Aubin

Today we start exploring the Edges of Burgundy with Saint-Aubin.  This is a series that focuses on villages of Burgundy that are less heralded despite producing world class and age-worthy Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. 

Jeff Patten
Read more
Edges of Burgundy: Our New Blog Series

Edges of Burgundy: Our New Blog Series

Is Burgundy going the way of Bordeaux?  Prices certainly are going up every year.  The top producers’ wines are now out of reach for the vast majority of us.  In famous villages (Vosne Romanée, Chambolle Musigny), even relatively unknown producers don't come cheap.
Jeff Patten
Read more
31 results