Perle de Roche Crémant de Bourgogne from Jean-Marie Chaland
Perle-de-Roche-with-glasses

If it isn't Champagne, what do you call it?

In France, the term used to denote a sparkling wine other than Champagne is Crémant. The Perle de Roche Brut Nature from Domaine Sainte Barbe is a Crémant de Bourgogne and therefore technically not a Champagne, but you’d be hard pressed to guess otherwise if given a glass to taste blind. An absolute dead ringer for authentic Champagne.

And, just like it's done in Champagne, Domaine Sainte Barbe has the wine go through secondary fermentation in bottle. This is called Méthode Traditionnelle. The legendary monk, Dom Perignon, is erroneously credited for discovering this technique of making still wine into sparkling wine. The transformation of still into sparkling wine was less of a sudden discovery and more like a drawn-out process that evolved over a long time period. At any rate, Domaine Sainte Barbe’s winemaker, Jean-Marie Chaland, uses 100% Chardonnay, a blanc de blancs as it were, from the lieux-dits La Verchère, a parcel of 50 year old vines in Viré, just north of Mâcon. The Chardonnay grapes are grown on clay and limestone soils, lending a pronounced mineral quality to the wine.

jean-marie-chaland
Jean-Marie leaves his Perle de Roche en tirage for a good long time; it sits on the lees for 30 months before disgorgement. Perle de Roche is a Brut Nature, which means it has zero dosage and less than 3 grams of sugar per litre. As a comparison, a Brut can have up to 12 grams of sugar per litre. In other words, it is a sparkling wine for Rock Heads – an affectionate term used for wine drinkers who have an affinity for mineral-driven, steely wines. At the store, we call the Perle de Roche, the Poor Man’s Les Mesnil because of that distinctive, crisp, sleek finish.

Perle de Roche is not made in every vintage and production is tiny, less than 300 hundred cases produced. The bottling we have in stock is entirely from the 2014 vintage. A truly artisanal effort. And here is the real kicker - it's only $28.98 per bottle! 

No need to twist my arm, I gladly embrace the tradition of drinking a glass – or two- of bubbly this time of year. Of course, I don’t usually need any encouragement to drink it as I adhere to the Lily Bollinger way of thinking (“I only drink Champagne when I’m happy, and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I am alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when am. Otherwise, I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.” LB)

This holiday season, I’ll be stocking up with bottles of Perle de Roche to take to parties, give out as gifts and have at the ready in case people pop by the house. The price makes it doable. It doesn’t hurt either that the package is elegant, but ultimately it is the quality in the bottle that will impress and so no one will be the wiser that I did not have to overpay for mediocre Champagne. 

Cheers! - Anya Balistreri

Special Holiday Hours:

We will be open both Sunday, December 17 & December 24

From 12:00 noon - 4:00 pm

Our 40th Anniversary Sale continues ...

And, as in years past, our most popular annual sale will be extended through the end of the year.  That means savings on wines from all over the shop for the rest of 2017! 

Now that we're in the middle of the holidays, maybe it's time to leave some of our favorite "weeknight wines" in their respective boxes and pop the cork of something a little more special.  Our sale has that covered.



Do you like Burgundy?  If you're reading this email, that's a rhetorical question.  We've picked out a handful of highlights from our Burgundy wines on sale; both red and white.  These wines were great values BEFORE they went on sale - You've got to love them now!



First, a trio of fancier reds from the outstanding 2012 vintage.  Clive Coates, MW, has written that, "There are some who regard the potential of 2012 reds as superior to anything recent, and that includes 2010, 2009, 2005 and other years."  That motivated me to stock up on 2012's.



For the whites, we have 3 different vintages represented, including the already famous 2014.  If studying vintage charts is your thing, then you probably know that the quality has been great for white Burgundy for quite some time, year after year.  These fancy whites will impress all who sample them. - Peter Zavialoff    



2012

Xavier Monnot Beaune 1er Cru

Les Toussaints




Reg. $55.98

SALE $39.95



"The mouth feel of the medium-bodied flavors is lush to the point of opulence with good mid-palate density before culminating in a beautifully complex, round and solidly complex finish."

- Allen Meadows,

Burghound 



Sounds like he liked it.






2014 Claudie Jobard

Rully Blanc


Montagne La Folie



Reg. $27.99

SALE $19.95



Claudie Jobard is Laurence Jobard's daughter.  Laurence was head oenologist at Maison Josef Drouhin for 3 decades.  Winemaking is in her blood - and we love her wines.  Don't let the low price put you off - this is special wine!

 


2012

Château de la Matroye

Chassagne-Montrachet

1er Cru Clos St. Jean



Reg. $64.99

SALE $45.95



Made by the meticulous Jean-Pierre Cournut (he's a former aeronautical engineer), the wines from Maltroye are known for their high-toned expression and balance.  The clay soiled vineyard of Clos St. Jean allows the fruit to ripen fully, giving the wines a core of crunchy berry-like fruit.

 

2012 Xavier Monnot

Meursault 1er Cru

Les Charmes




Reg. $106.99

SALE $59.95



White Burgundy lovers know one cannot go wrong with Meursault, though there is something particularly special about the wines from the Charmes vineyard.  This 2012 is ready for action with bright pear and apple fruit, stony mineral, and a crisp finish.  Yum!


2012

Stephane Magnien Grand Cru

Clos-Saint-Denis




Reg. $149.99

SALE $114.95



The youthful Stephane Magnien may only have 4.5 hectares to tend, but in what impressive vineyards do they lie??!!  This Clos-Saint-Denis will be the wine to pour for New Year's 2025, but there may not be any around by then. 

 









2013

Chateau de la Maltroye

Chassagne-Montrachet


1er Cru Le Dent De Chien



Reg. $199.99

SALE $124.95



And in the super-special wine department, there is this Dent de Chien.  Rumor has it that these two plots once belonged to the Grand Cru Le Montrachet vineyard.  This wine certainly gives credence to that claim.

A Taste Of Burgundy - December 2017

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 5:33 PM

A TASTE OF BURGUNDY

DECEMBER 2017

2015 Chassagne-Montrachet

Château de la Maltroye

 2015 Chateau de la Maltroye Chassagne-Montrachet BottleChâteau de la Maltroye is located smack dab in the middle of the appellation of Chassagne-Montrachet. It’s surrounded by a host of Premier Cru vineyards including the eponymous monopole, Clos du Château de la Maltroye.  Jean-Pierre Cournut has been owner/winemaker since 1993, following his father’s retirement after running the property for some 20 years.  When asked about the 2015 growing season in Burgundy, Jean-Pierre replied, “It was a huge relief relative to the last few vintages.” Regarding the harvest, he later added, “the fruit was so clean, I basically paid people to watch it go by on the sorting table.”  Such was the case with 2015 white Burgundy; the fruit was perfectly ripe. It was apparent, early on, to Cournut that the wines would be very rich, so he did not perform any battonage on his wines. This village Chassagne is rich and concentrated, suggesting it will age well, though there is plenty of opulence showing already. We recommend drinking it from now-2030.

2015 Beaune 1er Cru Teurons

Domaine Albert Morot

2015 Domaine Albert Morot Beaune 1er Cru Teurons BottleWe are going to be hearing about 2015 red Burgundy for a long time. It’s a benchmark vintage of the highest quality with better than average yields. Burgundy expert Clive Coates, MW has written that in his opinion, the best Premiers Cru vineyards in the Beaune appellation are Grèves and Teurons, stating that they “produce Beaune at its most elegant: fullish, but properly round, rich and balanced, with plenty of depth.” The Premier Cru Teurons vineyard lies in the middle of the Beaune appellation due west of the village. Geoffroy Choppin de Janvry has been running the show and making the wine at Albert Morot since 2000. He immediately implemented organic techniques and now is officially certified. Regarding the 2015 harvest Geoffroy commented that the fruit was, “ripe and as clean as could be.”  For his 2015 Teurons, he used 20% whole clusters to give the wine freshness, and was light-handed with extraction. This terroir-driven wine is concentrated and complex. Time in the cellar will help; drink from 2021-2035. 

40 Novembers

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 5:11 PM

We Just Turned 40!!!


In November 1977, The Wine House was founded by John Carpenter at 535 Bryant Street in San Francisco.  Two locations and 40 years later, here we are at 829 26th Street in the city's Dogpatch neighborhood.  To say thank you to our customers for your patronage, and to help you celebrate with us, we're slashing prices on much of our inventory!



Deals abound in all corners of the shop!  There are some in-house specials to be found around our store, just look for the gold tags!  Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhône, Sauternes, Italy, and more! 
     

To whet your appetite ...

Having been around for an Anniversary Sale or two over the years, experience tells me there is demand for "everyday Burgundy."  What is "everyday Burgundy?"  That is a subjective question to be sure, so I will share what "everyday Burgundy" means to me.



An American friend of mine who once lived in London for a short time returned a changed man.  He regaled me with tales of wine tasting and fraternizing with members of the staff of his local Nicolas wine shop.  One point he was abundantly clear on was the importance of "everday wines."  As in, one doesn't need to splurge on a bottle for their Thursday night dinner.  Again, what is "everyday" to one isn't to another; so let's use the budget of $20 per bottle and under here.  Well, anybody who knows anything about Burgundy knows it isn't cheap.  Red Burgundy wines below the $20 price tag, firstly, are nearly impossible to find.  Secondly, they practically beg for scrutiny.  Right? 

"Hey look!  It's red Burgundy for less than $20!!"

"What's wrong with it?" - would be the usual response.

Some of the nuances which can cause this kind of bias would be that a wine is perceived as being too light, or too rustic, or not having much fruit, or maybe having a nervy acidity level.  If one tastes through a line of sub $20 red Burgundies, it is likely that you will come across all of those descriptors.  But again, "too light?" "too rustic?" - that's all subjective.  To be a good "everyday wine," most importantly, a wine needs to be balanced.  So we'll lead off our 40th Anniversary Sale with an everyday red Burgundy that is elegant, honest, and balanced.  The 2014 Rully La Chaume from Claudie Jobard - regularly $25.79, on sale for $17.95!!



If you've followed us over the past 5 years or so, you've probably heard of 
Claudie Jobard.    Her mother, Laurence was head oenologist at Maison Joseph Drouhin for 30 years.  Apples.  Trees.  Actually, her Mom and her aunt co-own the Pommard domaine, Gabriel Billard.  Guess who they entrust to make the wines there?  If you said Claudie, you'd be correct.  The Billard wines are great in their own right, but today's email is about "everyday Burgundy."  The appellation of Rully lies south of Burgundy's famous Côte d'Or in what is known as Côte Chalonnaise.  There's been a lot of investment over the past decade in this region, as some of Burgundy's famous domaines have been purchasing land there.  This is a good time to be interested in wines from this region as the quality is going up, up, up, yet the price remains in check.   Claudie's 2014 Rully La Chaume has classic, brambly Pinot Noir aromas:  blackberry thicket, a hint of strawberry, herbs, and forest floor.  The palate is bright, elegant, honest, and in harmony.  Just the right amount of fruit, with the right amount of acidity, dancing together with a fresh, elegant finish.  I mentioned above that sub $20 red Burgundy was nearly impossible to find.  I don't think I've ever enjoyed a sub $20 red Burgundy as much as I enjoy this one!  The bottle's been open for 3 hours now, and the wine is singing!  - Peter Zavialoff

       

2015 Saint-Bris Domaine Verret

Friday, January 5, 2018 5:41 PM

saint-bris-on-patio

If it's Burgundy and it's not Chardonnay, but Sauvignon Blanc - you're drinking Saint-Bris!

What?!! Aligote is not the only "other white grape" of Burgundy? Nope. Saint-Bris is yet another exception to the rule that says white Burgundy must be Chardonnay. Saint-Bris is an appellation in the northwest region of Burgundy, just southwest of Chablis, where the dominant white grape grown is Sauvignon Blanc. This might seem strange at first, but if you look at a map, you'll notice that Saint-Bris is closer to Loire Valley's Sancerre than to Beaune. 



At The Wine House, we've been on the hunt to expand our direct-import Burgundy portfolio, especially from under-represented regions. To this end, we've been scouting out leads, tasting a lot, and in general, doing our homework. Newly arrived Domaine Verret, with the "Imported by: Wine House Limited, San Francisco, CA" sticker (that's us!) on the back label, met our criteria for offering wines of quality, value, and an authentic sense of place. I remember tasting samples of their wines last year and liking the Saint-Bris immediately. I wasn't concerned that this lesser known appellation would be too esoteric for our clientele. I was confident that those who shop with us and enjoy fresh, vivacious Sauvignon Blanc would be drawn to this wine. 



The limestone soils contribute to the zippy minerality, though the texture of the wine is rather round. Super aromatic, on the nose exhibiting more exotic fruits and less cut grass aromas. As you can see from the photo above, I enjoyed a glass of Saint-Bris as an aperitif out on the back deck, enjoying the last of summer's warm rays after work last Saturday. 





A month into the new school year, I've got the carpool arrangements nailed down and the after school activities locked in. Now into Fall, the days are recognizably shorter and the nights significantly cooler. I've been hitting the farmer's market hard, trying to satiate my lust for vine-ripened tomatoes. At home, I've planted my first ever fall/winter vegetable garden. I've already begun harvesting lettuce and kale. Some time soon, I'll be braising greens and serving it with this lovely, evergreen-scented Saint-Bris. It should be a tasty match! -- Anya Balistreri

May 27, 2017. In search of tidbits of information about our habits over Memorial Day Weekend, I came across one which purports that 75% of Americans participate in some sort of barbecue activity over the three day period. Sounds about right, as my recollections of the unofficial start to summer are full of memories of good eats, good friends, and yes, good wines. A fortnight ago, I wrote a bit about Carolina Furque’s 2015 Malbec, and last week, Anya showcased a stunning 2014 value in the form of Château Sénéjac. If you purchased either one (or both), you’ve got some great grillin’ wine on your hands. But let’s have a look forward. Summer IS coming. There will be plenty of wines to chill and enjoy over the warm months, but some wines warrant stocking up on. David just slashed prices on a whole lot of our Burgundy selections, and two of these wines strike my particular fancy: The 2012 Auxey-Duresses Les Boutonniers and Les Hautés.


Auxey-Duresses is located in the Côtes de Beaune, just west of Volnay and Meursault. Both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are planted there, the former planted on the Volnay side and the latter near Meursault. Gilles Lafouge is the 6th generation vigneron for the property which can trace its lineage back to the 17th Century. He makes good, honest Burgundy, wines with wonderful expression and balance. 2012 was another very good vintage for white Burgundy, joining a long line of high-quality vintages going back to 2004!


Though both vineyards border Meursault, it is the Les Boutonniers which is most like its neighbor. The 2012 Auxey-Duresses Les Boutonniers is awash with orchard fruit aromas mixed with dusty minerals with a soft, inviting palate. There is balance and lively acidity midway, with the ever-present Meursault-like softness caressing the palate throughout. The Les Hautés vineyard is further up the slope from the valley floor, and its soils are rich with limestone. The 2012 Auxey-Duresses Les Hautés is a lively, mineral driven expression of Chardonnay, much in the direction of a village Puligny-Montrachet. It has fresh aromas of citrus blossom, stony minerals, and hints of apple/pear fruit. The palate is sleek and nervy, and the fresh white fruit falls right in line with the wine’s structure. The finish is crisp, complex, and harmonious. These two wines are well worth their retail price of $39.99 per bottle, but now that they’re marked down to $19.95, it’s time to stock up. Warning: We don’t have a whole lot of either wine, and a little educated guesswork has me thinking that they both will sell out in the coming weeks. If you want to stock up on some delicious go-to white Burgundy for summer 2017, we suggest you act sooner than later.




Yep. Summer is on its way. The signs are everywhere. Just today on my drive in, as I passed St. Mary’s Cathedral (which was built on the site of a former Lucky supermarket where I remember grocery shopping with my parents as a small child), there were scores of caps and gowns roaming about, as Sacred Heart College Prep was holding their graduation ceremonies inside the church. Our local baseball team is not giving us any reason to be excited or optimistic this summer, but if one can stock up on some quality white Burgundy for an entry-level price, and enjoy them throughout the season, that is good reason to be excited and optimistic! – Peter Zavialoff

Domaine Parent’s Exquisite Pommard

Monday, May 8, 2017 1:29 PM

Anne Parent visited The Wine House at the end of January along with her sister Catherine and our dear friend and colleague, Jeanne-Marie de Champs. It’s not often we welcome three influential and prominent players from Burgundy at the same time, let alone three women. The dynamic in our tasting room was turned on its head. Most often, I am the only female in the room, but this time I was in the majority. As you can see from my expression in the photo below, I was overjoyed to be in their company.



Jeanne-Marie, Anne, Anya and Catherine


Anne and Catherine represent the twelfth generation at their family’s estate. Anne makes the wine while Catherine handles the commercial side of the winery. Domaine Parent itself was founded in 1803 in the heart of Pommard, but the family can trace its winemaking heritage back to the beginning of the 17th century. In fact, in 1787 Etienne Parent established a friendship and working partnership with Thomas Jefferson. Etienne assisted Jefferson in navigating Burgundy while he resided in France and then later partnered with Jefferson to import wine to the US when Jefferson returned to Monticello. This tidbit of history delights me – probably more than it would have prior to the invasion of Hamilton An American Musical into my home sphere courtesy of my obsessed daughter. Nevertheless, I am fascinated by wine’s influence on culture and history.



Getting ready for TWH staff


We tasted a couple of vintages and a number of different crus from Domaine Parent’s holdings. The wines are at once robust and not shy of tannin, yet remain finesseful and polished on the palate. We tasted mostly 2013 and 2014, but when we got to the 2011, Anne declared that “people will rediscover 2011”. As so often happens, classic vintages can get lost after hyped, exceptional vintages, in this case 2009 and 2010. 2011’s in Burgundy did have their fair share of challenges, but as Anne is widely quoted and said to us, “there are no bad vintages, only bad winemakers”. 2011 was one in which sorting grapes was of the upmost importance. At Domaine Parent, they sort in the vineyard where they only hand-pick the grapes, then again at the winery, first on a vibrating sorting table and after by hand. This thrice sorting method assures quality grapes. At the Domaine, they farm organically and practice many of the tenants of biodynamic farming.



What a line-up!


I was reflecting on how wine is marketed as the perfect gift for Father’s Day, but not so much for Mother’s Day. Maybe it’s the company I keep or my own personal preference, but I can’t think of too many women who wouldn’t love to receive a special, luxurious bottle of Pinot Noir, like the Parent 2011 Pommard 1er Cru Les Chaponnières. Les Chaponnières sits just below Rugiens and Parent’s vines are 60+ years old. The wine is aged in barrel, of which approximately 30% to 40% is new. Parent’s Pommard shows typicity by way of its fullness and sturdy backbone and yet, Anne coaxes out a suppleness and balance that creates a wine which is harmonious on the palate.



Les Cadeaux


I’ve written this many times, TWH customers are the best. Come on in and I’ll share some stories about the many kind and interesting people I’ve met working here. A case in point, today a couple, who coincidentally share a surname with this Domaine I’m writing about today, came in bearing gifts from a trip they recently took to France. This generous gesture touched my heart, put a smile on my face and reminded me how lucky I am to be a part of this thing called the wine business. I’m thinking the anchovies can be added into a marinade for lamb that in turn should be mighty tasty with a glass of 2011 Pommard Les Chaponnières, n’est ce pas?– Anya Balistreri

A Taste Of Burgundy – April 2017

Saturday, April 15, 2017 12:56 PM

2014 Saint-Aubin 1er Cru Le Champlot

Domaine Sylvain Langoureau

Saint-Aubin sits along the hillsides above and around the corner from the Côte de Beaune’s Grand Cru vineyards. Premier Cru Le Champlot enjoys full-on western exposure, situated just above the village of Gamay in the appellation’s rolling hills. Winemaker Sylvain Langoureau continues to farm his 9 hectares organically, and for his 2014’s, Langoureau praises the “remarkably clean fruit” which was harvested in mid-September. He also went on to say, “I really like the style of the ’14s because while everyone always says that a given vintage will be good young and old I really do believe that 2014 gave us wines that will in fact fulfill those promises!” We couldn’t agree more; 2014 is clearly one of the region’s exceptional vintages. In an effort to express the hallmarks of the terroir and vintage, Langoureau kept bâtonnage to a minimum and limited the amount of new barrel used to 20%. What he produced is a clean Le Champlot with focused structure, good tension, and expression. It’s good to drink now through 2029.


2013 Pommard 1er Cru Les Chanlins

Domaine Parent

Pommard has enjoyed a long history of notoriety for producing classic wines which are deep in color, profoundly aromatic, structured, and reliable. The village sits between Beaune in the north and Volnay to the south. Premier Cru Les Chanlins lies on the upslope just south of the famous Les Rugiens vineyard, south of the village. For Anne Parent to be energetic and upbeat while discussing her 2013 vintage would mean that considering the challenges (cool, wet spring, trouble during flowering, and a hailstorm in July), she was happy with the overall quality of her bottled wines. Production was less than 50% of average, and there was a bit of sorting which needed to be done. Anne quickly recognized that the fruit was in a delicate state, which caused her to vinify her wines softly and to use less than half the new barrel she would from an average vintage. She went on to say, “I absolutely love the fresh fruit as the flavors are racy and refreshing.” 100% organically farmed, this will be at its best from 2019-2030. – Peter Zavialoff

A Taste Of Burgundy – February 2017

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 11:58 AM

2014 Viré-Clessé Thurissey – Domaine Sainte Barbe

Jean-Marie Chaland founded Domaine Sainte Barbe in 1999. He farms 8 hectares in and around Viré-Clessé organically, achieving certification in 2006. He has old vines, as 75% of his holdings are over 50 years old. Chaland’s vines in the lieu dit Thurissey are over 90! Thurissey is a tiny vineyard, consisting of half a hectare facing due south. Jean-Marie makes a mere 200 cases of his showpiece wine, and no new oak is used. The vineyard has a reputation for producing wines that are rich in minerality, and we imagine the roots of Chaland’s old vines are deep into the clay and limestone subsoil. There’s no doubt that 2014 was an exceptional vintage for white Burgundy, and the 2014 Viré-Clessé Thurissey from Domaine Sainte Barbe is one special wine. Its aromas are of citrus blossoms, snappy apples, and stony minerals. The palate is rich and bright with a hint of a saline/mineral quality, and the wine intensifies at the mid-palate. It’s tightly coiled and ready to spring. Drink this from 2020-2030.


2010 Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru Aux Petites Noix – Domaine Stéphane Magnien

Stéphane Magnien is now the fourth generation winemaker at this domaine in Morey-Saint-Denis which dates back to 1897. He took the reins from his father, Jean-Paul in 2008, and farms 4.5 hectares in the Côte de Nuits. Though his holdings may appear small, they include some fancy locales. Stéphane’s Aux Petites Noix is actually a blend of his holdings in Premier Crus Les Greunchers and Clos Baulet, two tiny vineyards just east of the village. One doesn’t need to do much research to understand that 2010 was an exceptional vintage for red Burgundy, particularly in the Côte de Nuits. In general terms, the wines are teeming with expression and are structured sufficiently for a long life in the cellar. Magnien’s 2010 Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru Aux Petites Noix is in a beautiful place at the moment, showing aromas of briary red berry fruit, earthy mineral, and forest floor. It’s medium in body with great balance and expression. It’s open for business and can be enjoyed from today through the 2020’s. – Peter Zavialoff

A Taste Of Burgundy – December 2016

Wednesday, December 14, 2016 11:47 AM

2014 Chablis Grand Cru Valmur Maison Dampt

As we have mentioned before, The 2014 vintage for white Burgundy was stellar. The growing season was cool and, at times, wet. This was beneficial as the vines produced grapes with lively acidity. Warm weather took over in September, ripening the fruit leading up to the harvest. Up in Chablis, the Dampt family has enjoyed a solid reputation for producing wines of serious quality for very fair prices. Or as Allen Meadows of Burghound puts it, “They are screaming bargains.” Maison Dampt was started in 2008 by Daniel Dampt’s two sons, Sébastien and Vincent. Together with their father, they purchase grape must from three Grand Cru vineyards and bottle them using the Maison Dampt label. Aging these Grand Crus in older oak barrel gives the wines added dimension and texture. This 2014 Grand Cru Valmur is full of life. It’s big, dense, and powerful, with aromas of minerals and citrus. This willl need some time in the cellar, and should be best from 2020 – 2030.


2014 Pommard 1er Cru Les Charmots Domaine Gabriel Billard

Gabriel Billard was a 6th generation winemaker in Burgundy. He passed his domaine down to his two daughters, Laurence Jobard and Mireille Desmonet in 1989. You may recognize Laurence’s name as she had been head enologist at Domaine Joseph Drouhin for some 30 years. Laurence believes that great wine is made mostly in the vineyard, that good grapes from a good place will yield world-class wine with minimal intervention. The sisters now entrust Laurence’s daughter, Claudie Jobard to make their wine, and the family’s winemaking tradition continues. Their parcel in Les Charmots was planted in 1929 on the steep hillside. This 2014 Pommard is powerful and concentrated with complex aromas of wild berries, forest floor, earthy minerals, and a hint of spice. Again, the 2014 vintage for red Burgundy was a very good one with plenty of sunshine leading up to the harvest. Decant this wine should you open it before 2019, and it should drink well for at least a decade thereafter. – Peter Zavialoff


It always happens. During our Anniversary Sale, the distractions are everywhere. Case in point; one of our regular customers who always participates in the Anniversary Sale popped in for a few special bottles today, and after he gave me his parameters, I quickly whittled down my mental list to a trio of contenders. He wanted something red and I had one red Bordeaux, one red Rhône, and a red Burgundy all set to recommend. Then I physically walked over to our Burgundy section. Oh, if price signs could talk …. Actually they were talking to me. All of them. But there was one in particular. I immediately replaced the 3 bottles in my head with the one in my hand. “You want something nice. A red wine from France. Something that can be laid down and drink well in 5 years’ time. Something special, but less than $75, right? This is it right here.” That is what I said to him. What was the bottle? The 2012 Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru Les Faconnières from Stephane Magnien.


A little background on this. When I was a budding wine taster/collector, I worked for a guy who was less than pleasant to work for. In true “there’s an exception for every rule” fashion, this dude must have gone into a fine wine shop and asked a staffer to recommend two very nice bottles of red wine. He gave those two bottles to me during the holidays as a thank you. One was a Corison Cabernet and the other was a Clos Saint Denis from Domaine Dujac. At the time, I knew nothing about either one, and I’m sure that my benefactor didn’t either. I graciously accepted the gifts, and years later, when I opened the Dujac, I was overwhelmed. That was my introduction to Burgundy. In retrospect, I think it would have been better to have tasted something more affordable as a first Burgundy experience, but what can you do? That was all I knew about Burgundy at the time, and that led me to taste more wines from Morey-Saint-Denis and its environs. So let’s say that the village is a particular favorite for me.

A few years ago, when I found out that David had signed up Stephane Magnien to TWH stable, I was thrilled to see some Morey-Saint-Denis (and Clos Saint Denis!) in our bins. We don’t get to taste fancy wines like those often, but when we do, the occasions are memorable. Of his Premier Cru wines, I usually favor Stephane’s Les Faconnières. All I can say is that I like the other wines as well, but there’s an expression there that just fits with my palate and olfactory senses. Having tasted several 2012 red Burgundies over the past couple of years has solidified my opinion that it is a vintage to have in my cellar. In fact, a while back while researching the vintage for A Taste Of Burgundy write-up, I stumbled upon a note from Clive Coates, MW, “But in the end – quality-wise – 2012 has turned out, not merely ‘all right’, but really very good indeed, if not perhaps even very fine. I have already heard the wines refered to as ‘classic’. There are some who regard the potential of 2012 reds as superior to anything recent, and that includes 2010, 2009, 2005 and other years.” I don’t know about you, but if Clive Coates says something like that, I take note. A serious note.


As one can see, Les Faconnières lies just below the Grand Cru vineyards in Morey-Saint-Denis. As a matter of fact, you can draw an equilateral triangle whose three points would be in Clos-Saint-Denis, Clos de la Roche, and Les Faconnières. That’s some special sod, indeed. The wine is already showing its potential, but after another 5 years of cellar time, I anticipate it will be entering its optimal drinking plateau and staying there for many years. Its aromas express dark red berries, herbs, a healthy dose of earthy mineral and tar, and a kiss of vanilla bean. The palate is sturdy, yet balanced. The fruit is part of the package, which at this time is coiled, needing either aeration or a few more years of cellaring, but there’s no question that the fruit is just waiting for the structure to back off one small step for it to shine. The mouth feel is medium bodied with fine tannins, and the finish is balanced and all in line. The wines from Morey-Saint-Denis can be very expressive, and this young Morey has the ingredients to become a great wine some day in the not too distant future. Did I say it can be enjoyed now? Sure, but I highly recommend decanting for 90 minutes.

I’m hoping that you all are enjoying the Thanksgiving weekend! It has been a fun one for me. Of course I continued my Thanksgiving tradition of giving thanks and enjoying some fine Sauternes … or in this case, Barsac. ‘Cause that’s how I roll. You can probably guess the chateau. But with two months of special days ahead, there will be occasions for fine red wine as well. I see an opportunity to slip a 2012 Morey-Saint-Denis Les Faconnières from Stephane Magnien! – Peter Zavialoff


Whew! It’s been quite a week. Returning to work after a two week break always comes with a readjustment period, but what happens when two days into that period, Jeanne-Marie de Champs from Domaines et Saveurs in Beaune comes to town? Burgundy. We open bottles of Burgundy. And other wines too. Each time Jeanne-Marie has visited us over the years, she fills us in on the goings on around Burgundy (and other French viticultural areas). We are always interested in her updates and introductions to the wines and the producers she represents. Then come the wines themselves. Usually, when David takes Jeanne-Marie out to visit wholesale accounts, he grabs 6 to 9 sample bottles to open and pour. Sometimes 6, sometimes 9.This year’s visit was different. There were over 20 sample bottles of Burgundy opened on Wednesday and Thursday, and they all made their way back to TWH for a staff tasting. I’ve never been to a La Paulée tasting, but I imagined that what we were doing was very much in line with the spirit of those fancy Burgundy tastings. You know, comparing the different Premier Cru Chassagne-Montrachets, or different vintages of Premier Cru Morey-Saint-Denis. This pretty much never happens, so we made the most of it, and tasted some mighty fine wines in the process!

 
Tasting flight #2 of 3 – Thursday, 6 October

 

We tasted several wines from producers such as Paul Pernot, Stéphane Magnien, Pernot-Belicard, Claudie Jobard, Sylvain Langoureau, and Château de la Maltroye. So if you have any questions about those producers and their new releases, please feel free to ask any of us! As we tasted through them, the wines went from strength to strength; at every price point. Yet before the exact prices were known to us, one red wine stood out for its aromatic expression, firm structure, and balance: The 2014 Bourgogne Pinot Noir from Château de la Maltroye.It held its own while being tasted with a group of Premier Crus, and we had a ballpark idea of what price range it was in, but when we looked up the exact price, we knew 20 cases wasn’t going to be enough.

 
Jeanne-Marie at the trade tasting
 
It was during flight #3 that we finally got around to tasting the Maltroye Bourgogne, so my palate had already gone back and forth between reds and whites a couple of times, yet I still prefer to taste red wines first if there are whites to be tasted also. So I got to it before my colleagues, and it had me at first whiff. Dark, brambly, red and black berry fruit, a hint of cola spice, and forest floor waft from the glass. “My kind of wine,” I thought. Then I tasted it. Very nice. The entry is bright and lively, the fruit enters and expands on the palate, the structure is medium bodied with healthy acidity and fine tannins. The finish is all in harmony and long lasting. It’s a Bourgogne that is long on character, and it’s less than $30 per bottle. Actually, by the case, it’s less than $23! I grabbed the bottle and held it up for the others, “This one right here; Wow!” That’s all I had to say. A few minutes later, Anya, Chris, and Christian tasted it as well, and we were all in agreement; we had a sub $30 red Burgundy that is underpriced. 20 cases is not going to be enough. You may want to act sooner than later on this one.
 
What a week, indeed! I awoke Monday morning, predawn, in a hotel in Ljubljana. Three flights later, I was back in San Francisco at 5:30PM PDT. My goal was to stay up until at least 9:00PM to get my body clock back in synch with Pacific Time. Mission accomplished. My trip to Slovenia was fantastic in so many ways. The natural beauty of the country and the outdoorsy spirit of its natives proved to be infectious. The wine culture is strong, vibrant, historic, and thriving. Each producer whom I visited, in addition to their main wines, had some kind of experimental project going on. Whether through extended skin contact, under water fermentation, or making a sparkling version of each of their still wines, they all displayed a bit of playfulness which brings me back to a quote uttered by a California winemaker during my first week on the job, “Don’t take wine too seriously. It’s for joy!” There’s a lot of joy to be had with the 2014 Bourgogne Pinot Noir from Château de la Maltroye.– Peter Zavialoff
 
Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about this week’s Burgundy tastings, Slovenia, Bordeaux, or English Football: peter@wineSF.com

A Taste Of Burgundy – June 2016

Friday, June 24, 2016 7:10 PM

TOB-BANNERBasic Facts for those of you who are new to the program: Every two months we select two Burgundies, one red and one white. We include write-ups detailing the background of the grower, the vineyard source, and the wine. Finally we knock a significant percentage off the prices of the wines, making the Sampler price $89.98. If you would like us to add you to the Sampler Club and receive the wines regularly, please notify us in the comments field, and we will charge your card accordingly. If you would like us to ship faster than the standard ground service, please specify this as well.

 
 

 

2014 Mâcon-Verzé, Domaine Leflaive

Domaine Leflaive needs no introduction. Their array of wines are some of white Burgundy’s most prized, highly allocated wines the world over. We can say with certainty that no wine from Leflaive has ever been in our Taste of Burgundy sampler. Legendary for their Grand Cru and Premier Cru holdings in and around Puligny-Montrachet, the domaine purchased nearly 10 hectares in Mâcon-Verzé a little over a decade ago. The late Anne-Claude Leflaive was a pioneer in biodynamic viticulture, and régisseur, Eric Remy continues to implement the techniques in the vineyards. The wines gain in precision and expression of terroir. The 2014 vintage for Burgundy’s white wines was fantastic. The 2014 Leflaive Mâcon-Verzé is rich and complex. Aromas of pears and citrus are framed by a speck of spice and apple pie. The palate is bright and pleasant with hints of minerals and the orchard fruit. There’s plenty going on here, but that’s what you get from anything with the vaunted Leflaive name on it. Drink 2017-2026.

*NOTE: This wine is allocated – meaning that after distribution to club members, a very small quantity will be left over for further purchases. After it sells out, we will be happy to substitute a wine of equal or greater value.

 

2014 Volnay 1er Cru Les Aussy, Domaine Michel Bouzereau

Allen Meadows of Burghound states that, “It is rare when almost every wine in a given domaine’s range outperforms for its level … It is even rarer when it happens again the next year but this is again what happened in 2014,” at Domaine Michel Bouzereau. The 2014 vintage got off to a smooth start with a warm, dry spring. Things changed in late June, as a hailstorm hit the Côtes de Beaune for the third year in a row, damaging vines in Volnay and Pommard. Jean-Baptiste Bouzereau said that he and his team “worked as hard as they ever have” to produce such a pure, gorgeous, penetrating Volnay that showcases the silver lining of having warm, dry weather that led up to the light, yet easy harvest. The wine has sturdy structure and reveals wonderful wild cherry and berry aromas. Jean-Baptiste made just 3 barrels of his Volnay in 2014, with one barrel being new. That’s 75 cases for the world. Bouzereau went on to say that, “I like the 2014’s, and I’d gladly make wines like these every year.” This will be best from 2019-2030. – Peter Zavialoff

Passetoutgrain is a regional appellation in Burgundy. It covers a large area, nearly 2000 acres, and the wine must be at least 30% Pinot Noir and have a minimum of 15% Gamay. So, how come so few know about or drink Passetoutgrain? For the most part, Passetoutgrain has lost favor, particularly in villages that command high dollars. In these places most producers have replanted Gamay with Pinot Noir. This makes economic sense, but as a result some of the cultural history of Burgundy is lost.Passetoutgrain occupies a useful category as it provides an affordable option for locals to drink and it can be poured at domaines while their age-worthy wines are being cellared. You won’t find anyone mistaking Passetoutgrain for Grand Cru, but if you are looking to rub shoulders with Burgundy without mortgaging your home, Passetoutgrain is a viable way to go.
 
 
All this background is to emphasize my delight when I discovered bottles of Domaine Françoise Lamarche’s 2013 Bourgogne Passetoutgrain in our wood box stacks. I didn’t even know Lamarche made a Passetoutgrain, let alone that TWH was carrying it! Chock it up to working here part-time. At any rate, I couldn’t wait to taste it! It’s a delicious blend of 50/50 Pinot Noir and Gamay that spends some time in neutral barrel. The production is tiny and comes, according to The Queen of Burgundy, Jeanne Marie de Champs, from a vineyard “on the low part of Vosne Romanée”. It’s pretty polished for this type of wine withloads of cranberry, tart cherry and flavorful spice notes. Put in the context of Pinot Noir from anywhere, I’d sayLamarche’s Passetoutgrain will appeal to those who prefer old-world Pinot Noir. It is light and delicate but with enough fruit to keep one’s interest.
 
Burghound’s Allen Meadows wrote this about Lamarche’s 2013 Passetoutgrain:
“The exuberant nose of very fresh red berry fruit aromas displays notes of spice and pepper. There is a surprisingly silky mouth feel for a PTG and while there is a touch of rusticity on the finish the overall impression is unusually refined.”
 
 
The history of Domaine François Lamarche reads like a novel. The family has been making wine for several generations and can trace their roots in the village of Vosne-Romanée back to 1740. Their vineyard holdings are impressive and include the Grand Cru, La Grande Rue,which is sandwiched between La Tâche on one side and La Romanée and Romanée-Conti on the other. Today, Nicole Lamarche is making the wines, having taken over from her father in 2006. With Nicole at the helm, vineyard practices have changed to biodynamic cultivation, new barrel regiments have been employed using less new oak and the winery has been updated to modern standards. Drinking a glass of Lamarche’s Passetoutgrain gives me that chic hi-lo vibe, like wearing a designer gown under a leather motorcycle jacket. It’s not a Cru, but it is incredibly enjoyable nonetheless – I am drinking Burgundy and spent less than $25 – what a deal!
 
 
 
Basketball, basketball, basketball. From NCAA to the Warriors to the last game of my daughter’s CYO league,March has been mostly about Basketball…and Burgundy! My daughter has never played on an organized sports team before this season. It was entirely her choice to play basketball and though not a “sporty” girl, she loved the whole experience! Her team made it to the first round of play-offs. It was a tough battle. She played in the 2nd quarter, caught a rebound, turned to shoot and was fouled.Her first trip to the free throw line and she made it in! Her first score of the season! Her team lost the game, there were tears for a hard fought game, but my daughter….well she ran off the court with the biggest smile imaginable, shouting “Did you see it? Did you see it?” I sure did and it was great! – Anya Balistreri
 

As we wade through the enormity of a newly arrived French container, we are always excited to find wines that are new to us. Sometimes, it is equally exciting to find“old friends”; as in wines we have known and loved in past vintages, now to be greeted by their latest incarnations. This past Tuesday, a handful of new wines went out on tour, poured by our reps for their wholesale customers. At the end of the day, the remaining bottles made their way back to headquarters, and our staff were able to sample them. A few of them were indeed new incarnations of old friends, one of which being a wine it seems we love in every vintage. After tasting the 2013 Domaine Michel Bouzereau Bourgogne Blanc this past Tuesday, we can confirm that last sentence!

 
 

The wines from Domaine Michel Bouzereau are very special wines. Winemaker Jean-Baptiste Bouzereau has a loyal following of Burgundy lovers, and many of his top bottlings are in very short supply, despite prices that hover around the $100 threshold. Lovely wines are these, but some of us can’t burn a Benjamin every time we drink white wine. Something our staff is all clued in on, as well as the many customers who have inquired about Jean-Baptiste’s wines, is that Domaine Michel Bouzereau is located in the village of Meursault. He makes a Bourgogne blanc, but it’s no ordinary Bourgogne blanc. The fruit is sourced from in and around Meursault, and that’s pretty much all we need to know. Heck, there is a litany of evidence in our wake as to how much we love this wine. His 2009 made our Top Ten Wines of 2011 list, and Anya and I have taken turns writing about this wine for several vintages.

 
2013 was yet another challenging vintage in Burgundy. There was trouble at the stage of flowering. There was rain. There was hail. There was damage.Jean-Baptiste was lucky to not be affected by the hail, but did point out that there were times when it was so wet that he couldn’t get his machinery into the vineyard to treat the vines as usual. After the harvest, when speaking toBurghound’s Allen Meadows, Bouzereau declared, “I would gladly sign a contract today to make the quality that I did in 2013 every year. However, I wouldn’t want to sign up for the same amount of stress and work every year as I would be an old man pretty fast.” He went on to tell Meadows, “As to the wines, I love this style as they’re racy, refreshing and very terroir driven with just the right amount of citrus character that stops short of being aggressive.In terms of style, I would compare the 2013s aromatically to the 2007s but with better overall concentration.”
 
The 2013 made a considerable impression on me. The layers of complexity one senses with this wine is beyond the mere Bourgogne designation. I picked up a delicate, floral nuance on the bouquet in addition to orchard fruit and lemon zest. The fruit on the palate was subtle and nuanced, with lively acidity keeping it in focus. It was indeed very Meursault-like. The conservative Meadows had this to say, “An exuberantly fresh nose offers up notes of citrus, floral and apple while introducing textured, sleek and delicious middle weight flavors that conclude in a clean, dry, precise and notably complex finale. This is unusually good for its level and would make a fine all-around choice for a house white plus it should improve for a year or three as well.” As a matter of fact, in his listings on Burghound, occasionally you will see a heart symbol next to a wine, which means, “outstanding.” Meadows reviewed 10 wines from Bouzereau in 2013, they all have heart symbols next to them!
 
We will delve further into this container as time goes forward. As we taste the goodies, we promise to report back. Try the 2013 Michel Bouzereau Bourgogne blanc, you won’t be disappointed! – Peter Zavialoff

2010 Domaine Alain Michelot Bourgogne Rouge

Saturday, August 15, 2015 8:34 PM


Isn’t it great when things come full circle? It happens a lot here at TWH. An example of the traditional route of things coming full circle here would be when we travel overseas, taste a slew of wines, make some decisions,purchase the wines that we like best, return home and wait until they finally make it here, and then we put them in your hands. That’s the traditional route. I was recently made aware of one further step to “full circle.” That’s when something we taste overseas makes it over here, a customer takes it home, and then a few years later, the customer pours it in a glass and hands it to me. Now that’s FULL circle! In an effort to put it out there to the universe, that’s what I am attempting to do here. If you buy this wine and don’t share it with me a few years down the road, I won’t mind, but just know that you will possess a wine that will provide pleasure for yourself and those who you do choose to share your wine with!
 
 
It should go without saying, but all of my close friends who like wine are TWH customers. That’s not a stretch. In fact, it was my best friend who tossed out this line to me before my first interview with David all those years ago: “Tell him you’ve got an order for a case of Bordeaux in your pocket if he hires you … if that helps.” Too cool, right? Well, this buddy of mine just got married last month, and the newlyweds threw a little shindig to celebrate at their home. Of course beverages were served and I was in charge of making sure that those who were drinking wine, myself included, were taken care of. The wines being served were selected before my arrival, and I was delighted to see 3 bottles of an old favorite on the table when I got there. When I took my first sip, I proudly smiled and silently celebrated the victory. I aspire to repeat this feat a few years down the road with the 2010 Bourgogne Rouge from Domaine Alain Michelot.
 
 
Red Burgundy can be pricey. Something that we strive to do, and succeed at, is finding wines of quality that aren’t pricey. We’ve been importing the wines from Michelot since the 1990’s; their nearly 8 hectares of vineyards are located in Nuits-Saint-Georges and Morey-Saint-Denis. The domaine dates back to the 1880’s, and Alain’s daughter Élodie represents the fifth generation running the show there. With a little bit of modern know-how, yet in keeping with the domaine’s traditional style, Élodie makes wine that expresses her respective terroirs. Her Premier Cru offerings have quite the following among Burgundy lovers and the 2010 vintage was outstanding, producing wines of substantial structure and expression, all with marvelous balance. The Premiers and Grands Crus will need lots of time in the cellar to show their best, but her Bourgogne is a more modest wine that can be enjoyed today or up to another 7 years down the road. It is a fuller-bodied Bourgogne, yet the fruit manages to stay in focus throughout the entire tasting experience. Serve it blind, and you may hear some guesses that it is a Nuits-Saint-Georges, as the fruit is sourced from vines in the south of the appellation. The wine is well worth the regular price of $28.99, but forthis weekend only, starting now, it’s just $19.95 a bottle. This is going to sell out, and we apologize for that, but there’s a container about to land and we need the space!
 
So there you go; I’m putting it out to the universe. Actually, I was a little more proactive than that. I have what we call an “open order,” or the authorization to assign particularly good deals to some of my close friends. I’m hoping they can be patient enough to hang on to a few bottles of the 2010 Bourgogne Rouge from Domaine Alain Michelot for a party a few years down the road! –Peter Zavialoff

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Two major forces converged on TWH this past week: a fresh

container from France and négociante, Jeanne-Marie de Champs. The timing was grand because more than a handful of wines from said container were shipped by Jeanne-Marie and her company, Domaines et Saveurs. She spent a couple of days here in the Bay Area visiting clients, and at the end of one of those days,she returned to our HQ here in southern Dogpatch to pour a fine array of recent arrivals for our staff. We were all pretty impressed with how each wine was showing (there was one of those fancy, hyphenated Montrachet types in there), but at that momentwe were all taken by … get this … the 2013 Paul Pernot Bourgogne Blanc!

 

 
Yes, the 2013 version of Paul Pernot’s Bourgogne is here! It’s always a bargain, and it always sells out.We’ve been importing this wine and enthusiastically writing about it for decades, as it is true white Burgundy crafted by one of the region’s most reputable longtime producers. Seasoned TWH customers certainly need no introduction to Pernot’s Bourgogne, as each year it’s on the short list of best bargains from Burgundy. It’s a regular spring occurrence with some customers to pop in and “pick up my case of the Pernot Bourgogne.” We see it time and time again. Collectively, our entire staff enjoys this wine in every vintage, but there was something special about tasting the 2013 last Monday with Jeanne-Marie in the room.
 
The old adage is “you had to have been there,” and that’s pretty much true for everything you read about wine tasting experiences. That’s also true with any story which is recanted lacking its spontaneous, in the moment experience. When tasting a wine for the very first time, one usually has expectations, but with no first hand experience, surprises may arise. We’ve tasted many vintages of Paul Pernot’s Bourgogne, and even with our expectation levels, are usually impressed. This time our impressions were elevated. Rich, ripe, fleshy yellow and white fruit permeate the aromas. There is more than a hint of stony mineral, and it is all wrapped up with a spicy, toasty frame.It tasted much more fancy than its sub $30 price tag warrants.
 
When asked about the oak treatment, Jeanne-Marie informed us that usually for his Bourgogne, Pernot uses all neutral

barrels. His overall 2013 production was less than expected (and far less than average), so there were a few extra new barrels available, and Pernot vinified 15% of the 2013 Bourgogne in them! Perhaps that’s where some of the fancy aromas and texture come from. But it’s far more than that. In order for a wine to exhibit character like this, it must have rich fruit, layers of complexity, a tame alcohol level (12.5%), and harmonizing acidity. This wine has no, as in zero, rough edges. It is seamless in its harmony. There wasn’t much up for grabs at the end of the tasting, but let’s just say that more than one of us (read: all of us) wanted what was left to take home.
 
So yeah, you had to have been there, but the good news is that the 2013 Paul Pernot Bourgogne Blanc is here, in stock! Put two hours of refrigerated chill on a bottle, pop the cork, pour out a couple of glasses, and you will be there too! – Peter Zavialoff
 
*Photos by Anya Balistreri
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A Taste of Burgundy – February 2015

Saturday, February 14, 2015 9:51 PM

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2012 Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Sous Frétille Domaine Rapet Père et Fils

Domaine Rapet is fairly well known among insiders in and around the Côte d’Or. They produce great wines for their price-points, and their appearance on the wine lists of bistros and restos in the area is numerous. Even while visiting Vincent Rapet, we are constantly interrupted by individuals wanting to purchase his wines for their own consumption. The domaine’s holdings are in excess of 20 hectares, about half planted with Chardonnay. 2012 was very difficult for Burgundian vignerons, as the weather was challenging from early spring through mid August. Production was way down, though the finished wines are of high quality. The healthy fruit that was harvested had relatively thick skins and less juice, contributing to sturdy concentration. The wines have expressive aromas and flavors, and bright acidity. Rapet’s 2012 Sous Frétille exhibits soft fleshy fruit in a medium bodied package, laced by its traditional mineral presence, which continues through the crisp, lifting finish. This will drink well from 2018-2028.

2012 Beaune 1er Cru Les Vignes Franches Domaine Michel Bouzereau

Jean-Baptiste Bouzereau described 2012 as a vintage where quantities were down around 50% of normal, though that number varies from plot to plot. However, just as with the Chardonnays, the miniscule quantity of Pinot Noir that was harvested is of fine quality. In the mold of the 2009 vintage, the wines are full of expression, and they possess plenty of concentration. The Premier Cru Les Vignes Franchesvineyard borders Les Pertuisots due west of the town of Beaune. Jean-Baptiste’s 2012 Beaune Les Vignes Franchesimmediately grabs the taster with its pretty berry fruit aromas. There is plenty of concentration on the palate; it’s all about the pure dark red fruit expression that latch onto the round tannins before the fresh, balanced finish. As we continue to discover, Burgundy’s 2012’s deliver big time. As Clive Coates MW reminds us, “There are some who regard the potential of 2012 reds as superior to anything recent, and that includes 2010, 2009, and 2005.” Decant if drinking young, this wine will shine from 2019-2029 and beyond. –Peter Zavialoff

2012 Jean-Marie Chaland Macon Villages Les Tilles

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 1:25 PM

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Sneaky – that’s the way I see it anyway. The 2012 Mâcon Villages Les Tilles from Jean-Marie Chaland is sneaky the way its flavors intensify with repeated sips. With an unoaked Chardonnay from the Mâconnais you might not expect much complexity, but this one is different. Once you get past the first refreshing, satisfying swallow, what emerges is a sophisticated expression of classic Chardonnay flavors like apple and pear.jmchaland

Talented winemaker Jean-Marie Chaland, whose swashbuckler good looks make him a shoo-in for a remake of The Three Musketeers, organically farms several old-vine (some darn near ancient) micro-parcels in the villages of Viré and Montbellet. The grapes for the 2012 Les Tillesare mere youngsters at 40-50 years old and come from a single parcel grown on a plateau of clay and limestone soil near Montbellet. Jean-Marie takes a simple approach to vinifying this wine: stainless steel tank fermentation, natural yeasts, no added sugars or acidification. What you taste in the glass, aside from any clever flavor descriptor I can come up with, is the environment in which the grapes were grown (soil, climate, viticultural practices) and Jean-Marie’s gentle guidance of turning the grapes into wine.

 

 
 
Jean-Marie Chaland may take a simple approach to making his 2012 Mâcon-Villages Les Tilles but the end result is extraordinary. It is analogous to a chef, someone like Judy Rodgers of Zuni Cafe, who honored ingredients by skillfully preparing them without masking their inherent goodness and flavors. When you have a perfectly ripened garden tomato or a farm-fresh egg, there is not a whole lot you need to do to make it taste better.
 
 
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And so to recap, the 2012 Mâcon-Villages Les Tilles:
 
1) organically grown grapes,
2) grown on clay/limestone soil,
3) 40-50 year old vines,
4) unoaked
and….
5) $19.99 per bottle or $16.99 by the case!
 
Did I just hear a needle scratch over the record? I must admit, I have tried excellent unoaked local Chardonnay but I can assure you, they don’t cost under $20 a bottle! An amazing value when you consider the material in the bottle.
 
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Sent my big Bro home with a bottle!

Now for a little sharing – rather than watch the Super Bowl at home with her parents, my daughter opted to spend it at her BFF’s house – they too were having a party. Right after halftime, she called home to inform us that she had eaten dinner. After I assured her that that was fine and that I expected she would have eaten with them, she followed up by making me promise to save some of the Buffalo Wings we were serving for her to eat later! My little foodie!
 

 

Bouzereau’s 2011 Bourgogne Blanc is a sensational deal. How often can you drink white Burgundy priced at $24.95 per bottle and get this level of complexity? Sadly, not too often these days. That said, it is our unending quest to keep searching the Côte D’Or for hidden gems to import at affordable prices. Though Bouzereau no longer can be considered a “hidden gem”, as the domaine is becoming well recognized for making exceptional Meursaults, Puligny-Montrachets and Volnays,it is their Bourgogne Blanc that gives us mere mortals with aspirations of drinking more white Burgundy more often the possibility to pull the cork even on casual occasions.

crabbouz

My neighbor across the street has a son-in-law who is an avid amateur fisherman and, lucky for me, can’t seem to consume all the crab he brings her. So she shares it with my family. Two things I don’t tire of is fresh Dungeness crab and white Burgundy, separately or together. It bears mentioning here, that I have gone on record many times with saying that if I could, I would drink white Burgundy every day. Knowing I had crab marinated in parsley, Meyer lemon and olive oil waiting for me last night, I fretted all during the day deciding what I wanted to drink with it. Often I go with something light and crisp, but this time I wanted richness, something luxurious and layered to accompany the crab. White Burgundy, that’s what I wanted. Not Chablis, not some crisp Macon, something with more heft and flesh. Heading into the gift-buying season, I had to be budget conscious too. Bouzereau Bourgogne Blanc: the clear and obvious answer.

 

 

 
 
Bouzereau’s Bourgogne Blanc comes from 3 parcels, including one from Meursault and one from Puligny-Montrachet. The oldest vines were planted in 1957.Aged in barrel, this is no ordinary Bourgogne Blanc. It is much, much more and quite frankly, easily mistaken for a village or Premier Cru level wine. Yes, it gives you that much to appreciate. The nose is boisterous with notes of anise and hazelnut creme, minty even. The flavors on the palate are textured and lengthy, with beautifully integrated fruit and oak notes. This is darn good Chardonnay!
 
 jeanbaptiste
 
In a review of the 2011 Bourgogne Blanc from Bouzereau,critic Allen Meadows of Burghound ended with “One to buy by the case” – no kidding!

 

 

 
Take his word, take my word, you will want to drink this over and over again and at $24.95 per bottle you can do so without feeling any pangs of guilt.
 

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