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
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 winesare 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
Château 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.
We 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.
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.
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 leaves hisPerle de Rocheen 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