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

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Affordable Luxury – Premier Cru Chablis

Monday, July 18, 2016 5:56 PM

 


2014 Chablis 1er Cru Côte de Léchet
Domaine Sébastien Dampt
 
 
The above photo may look romantic, right? Who doesn’t like a lit up vineyard at night? Unfortunately, it’s not romantic. This picture Sébastien Dampt sent David back in early May shows what sometimes is done in hopes of fending off any severe damage from forecasted overnight frost by keeping the newly broken buds warm. 2016 has been a nightmare for Chablis producers as they had not only frost to contend with, but suffered through two hailstorms. Damage was so severe in some communes that the vintage itself has come into question, as in “Will we make wine in 2016?” As far as we know,Sébastien will make his wines in 2016, but how much is anybody’s guess. Taking that into consideration, one could come to the logical conclusion that in order to keep his business running, he may need to raise his pricesslightly to recoup lost revenues due to lost fruit. It’s a sad reality, but it is reality nonetheless. Let’s keep that in the back of our minds and focus on what’s in front of us now, in the present, and currently in-stock: 2014 Domaine Sébastien Dampt Chablis Premier CruCôte de Léchet and its incredible low price.
 
When David is on assignment in France, he usually stays in touch by sending us notes and comments from some of his tastings. Last winter, he sent this in an email, “Lots of good tastings. I tasted a couple of ’15s at Dampt today – they’ll be nice, round, early maturing. I went through all the ’14s and they are THE BOMB! I actually prefer the 1er Crus to the Grand Crus. The Vaillons, Léchet, and Beugnons are just fantastic.” I probably don’t need to add anything to that; if David is going to recommendsomething with that kind of enthusiasm, I would say we would be depriving ourselves if we don’t heed his advice.
 
We’ve mentioned Sébastien Dampt before, as we’ve been directly importing his wines for a few years now. That’sdirectly importing, as we deal with Sébastien himself, not a negociant or special contact who have their hands open for a “finders’ fee.” This, of course, is great news for all of us as prices are as low as possible. Take that fact and then read Burghound’s Allen Meadows’ comment that, “As the scores and comments suggest, these are well-made wines and at the prices the Dampt wines generally sell for, they are first-rate bargains.” And yes, they’re all that.
 
 
I have a soft spot on my palate for wines from Côte de Léchet. Long ago, back when one could tell my hair color was once brown, we had a different producer’s Côte de Léchet, and I loved it. It was $44.99 per bottle.Obviously, we weren’t the importer for that wine. But while we had this other producer’s line of Chablis, it was a rite of late spring to grab one bottle of each vineyard and head over to a buddy’s house to taste them against each other while noshing on sautéed shrimp and scallops. Go figure that the Côte de Léchet was always the standout. So when we began importing Dampt’s wines, it was not a surprise that I gravitated toward the Côte de Léchet. As if I needed further encouragement, the sub $30 price tag was a huge bonus! Don’t you love it when you’re ready to pay $50 for something, but are then told it’s only $30?
 
The Chablis, shrimp and scallops tradition may have waned in recent years, but tasting Sébastien Dampt’s newly released Côte de Léchet has picked up right where we left off. I tasted the 2014 the other night, this time with some baked chicken with garlic and herbs. Bingo! I think that the thing about Côte de Léchet that tips the scale for me is its richness. When I’m about to take my first sip of Chablis, I am prepared for sleek, zippy acidity and a mineral underlay. From the aromas to the finish, this 2014 Sébastien Dampt Côte de Léchet delivers some rich, fleshy, white and yellow Chardonnay fruit; kind of like a green apple with a little lemon blossom. That fruit is propped up and balanced by the sleek, fresh profile, and the harmony of the finish is quite the upside surprise. I’m a fan.
 
As summer continues, it just makes sense to have wines on hand that are delicious when chilled. Holy cow! The Thirst Gamay that Anya wrote up last weekend hasearned a permanent place in my refrigerator door! Though, just in case I find some nice looking shrimp or scallops at the market on my way home, I’m going to want a bottle of 2014 Sébastien Dampt Côte de Léchet on that shelf too! The new treehouse is finally taking shape and I enjoyed a glass of something nice last night out on the deck while the sun set behind the canopy of trees. Now that’s romantic. – Peter Zavialoff
 
Please feel free to email me with any questions about Chablis, Côte de Léchet, Bordeaux, European Football, Sauternes, or treehouses: peter@wineSF.com
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A Taste Of Burgundy – December 2015

Thursday, December 10, 2015 9:08 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.

morotsign
 
 

 

2013 Chablis Grand Cru Bougros
Maison Dampt

The Dampt name has been known in Chablis for over 150 years. Sébastien and his brother Vincent represent the next generation of the family’s vignerons. Together they have worked for their father’s Domaine Daniel Dampt; and Sébastien has been bottling wines under his own name since 2007. Maison Dampt is yet another project involving the trio, using purchased must from a few of Chablis’ Grand Cru vineyards. Bougros is the western-most of the cluster of Chablis Grands Crus, and sits on the same slope as Les Grenouilles and Les Clos, all three just north/northwest of the village. Though volume was very low yet again, the 2013 vintage in Chablis yielded medium-bodied wines with pretty floral aromas that should provide pleasure for early to medium-term drinking. This 2013 Grand Cru Bougros is a bit of an exception to that. It’s sturdy and dense and it has seen some time in oak barrels. We would recommend decanting should you wish to taste this early in its life, otherwise it should be fantastic from 2018-2026+.

2012 Beaune 1er Cru Teurons
Domaine Albert Morot

“Domaine Albert Morot is a very good place to start investigating Beaune.” Or so said Clive Coates MW in his comprehensive Burgundy reference book Côte d’Or. Domaine Albert Morot was founded in 1820, and Geoffroy Choppin de Janvry has been winemaker there since 1999. Regarding his 2012’s, he stated, “I like the vintage as the wines are ripe, fresh and concentrated, in fact there’s really not much to dislike about them.” It has been mentioned here that despite the challenges and low production from the 2012 red Burgundy vintage, the quality of the harvested fruit is on par with the finest vintages of the 2000’s. The sizable 1er Cru Les Teurons sits just west/northwest of the village of Beaune, and is known for producing red wines that are, in Coates’ words, “fullish but properly round, rich and balanced, with plenty of depth.” The 2012 Morot 1er Cru Teurons is a formidable wine which could stand a few years in the cellar before strutting its stuff. It will be at its best from 2020-2030 and beyond. – Peter Zavialoff

 

Reg. $114.98
On Sale $89.98
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2014 Chablis From Sébastien Dampt

Wednesday, December 9, 2015 12:21 AM

 
2014 Chablis from Sébastien Dampt
 
It seems counterintuitive, nevertheless, I’m drawn to sleek, stripped-down whites like a nervy Chablis when it’s cold outside, baby! The mineral attack provided by well-madeChablis mimics that rush you get when you step outside into the chill. Your senses get a jolt.
 
The Wine House’s David Netzer (palate extraordinaire and lead wine scout) had been searching to direct-import a Chablis producer for some time. A series of fortunate twists and turns led David to young vigneron, Sébastien Dampt. Sébastien began making winesfor himself in 2007, having acquired 7 hectares of vines; mostly old vine. Prior to starting out on his own venture, Sébastien had done the requisite internships in other viticultural areas and countries. He had been, and continues to still, work alongside his father and brother at the family’s, Domaine Daniel Dampt. Sébastien’s wines are incredibly pure, traditional in approach, and, because he is at the start of his career, wildly affordable.
 
Sébastien and his brother
A village Chablis can lack the distinction of Premier Cru or Grand Cru Chablis – not Sébastien’s. His village Chablis is well-above the crowd. Some of the credit goes to his vineyard holdings which include several parcels of lieux-dits – Vieille Voye, Champlain, Petit Léchet, Bois de Milly et les Fontenilles. He masterfully blends old vine with young vine fruit to create the right balance of fruit to acidity that he is looking for in his wines. As you’d expect, the wine is vinified in stainless steel tank. It goes through malo-fermentation and sits on its lees in tank for six months before bottling.
 
 
The 2014 vintage was a favorable one in Burgundy. In Chablis, fresh, vibrant mineral notes are the stand-out. You will get that in abundance with Sébastien’s 2014 Chablis.Crunchy on the palate with sparks of white fleshed fruit and delicate citrus notes that collide into a prolonged finish. This is what one hopes to achieve with Chardonnay grown on Kimmeridgian soil. While visiting Sébastien two weeks ago, David checked in via email and reported this back to us, “I went through all the ‘14s, and they are THE BOMB.”
 
 
By December, I’ve usually had a few meals with Dungeness crab thanks to my Sicilian father-in-law, who frequents, and is friendly with, the guys down at the wharf. Not this year. The crab season has been delayed (for good reason), and no start to it is in sight. Boo hoo! Still my mind can imagine how delicious a cold glass of Dampt Chablis with cracked crab would taste. Of course any crustacean or shellfish would pair beautifully with this wine, so I can also imagine a glass served with a tower of fruits de mer. Now wouldn’t that be grand!– Anya Balistreri
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As 2013 draws to a close, we’d like to thank you all for your continued patronage. We love hearing from you, whether in person, on the phone, or via email. Whether it be regarding our write-ups, sales & specials, or our continued dedication to bring you some of the best deals on wine, your collective encouragement keeps us going, day in and day out. As you would imagine, December is a very busy month for our staff, and this year has been no exception, but that’s not going to stop us from letting you in on yet another new producer now imported by TWH. Introcucing Domaine Sébastien Dampt!

 

Long time customers know our M.O. here.  David visits Burgundy (and the Rhône, and the Loire …) several times annually, seeking out top quality producers in search of a California importer. At any given time, he has irons in the fire; as he prefers to taste several vintages from any given producer, before pulling the trigger and opening the gates for direct-importation.  Consistent high quality for price is the motivation that ultimately leads to “Imported by Wine House Limited” on the back label. Well, he’s done it again, and this time with a producer in Chablis! Ah, Chablis. We love it. You love it. What’s not to love? It’s Chardonnay is its purest form: fleshy yellow fruit framed by mineral undertones and that unmistakeable bright, zippy acidity. No wonder the wines from Chablis have such a strong, dedicated following.

 

 

Sébastien’s family has been making wine in Chablis for over 150 years. He started his domaine in 2007 after working for several years with his father, Daniel, and his brother, Vincent at the family’s Domaine Daniel Dampt. He’s located in the village of Milly which is just west of Chablis at the bottom of the famed Premier Cru Côte de Léchet vineyard. Half of Sébastien’s holdings are Premier Cru, including nearly a hectare of 50 year old vines in Côte de Léchet. He makes his wines in the old-school Chablis style: all tank fermentation, bringing out the natural flavors of the fruit with the region’s hallmark minerality and zippy freshness. Burghound’s Allen Meadows cites the young Dampt’s no oak philosophy in describing the “well made wines and at prices the Dampt wines sell for, they are screaming bargains.” Having had the wines sitting on a pallet in our warehouse, we haven’t (literally) had a chance to get them to our sales floor. Well, we have several customers who love Chablis, and have fished out some bottles for them. The response has been remarkable. Chablis-centric TWH customers do not just like the Dampt wines, THEY LOVE THEM!!! With the zeal that only a life-altering wine experience can provide, customers have returned and loaded up! This prompted me to sport for a bottle of the 2011 Domaine Sébastien Dampt Chablis Premier Cru Côte de Léchet to share with today’s Saturday staff. I popped a bottle, took a whiff … ripe apples and mineral and a kiss of citrus emerge un-coaxed, but on the palate, oh my! It’s fresh and lively, why of course it is, it’s Chablis … Premier Cru Chablis, that is! I came back from the tasting table and looked at Anya, “Oh, you’re going to looooove this!” She does. So does Tom. Anya did add that one can catch a hint of tangerine in aromas as well. Maybe because it’s late December, but I get that too. The last time we had Premier Cru Chablis in the house, it’s price tag was approaching the half-a-hundred level. The biggest benefit of direct-importation? This baby’s sub $30!

 

Here’s what the aforementioned Mr. Meadows had to say about Sébastien’s 2011 Côte de Léchet when he tasted it from barrel, “A strikingly complex and refined nose features an abundance of citrus influence but also scents of green fruit, mineral reduction and sea shore aromas. There is really lovely intensity to the precise and stony flavors that possess terrific drive on the dry, clean and impressively persistent finish. This is potentially first rate.”

 

So yay! We’ve got yet another new star producer among our stable of small production, super quality imports … a Chablis producer, that is. That gives us all reason to celebrate. Speaking of celebration, this begins my personal busiest time of the year. The football has been frenzied and highly entertaining. The band has a gig tomorrow night (and another one on January 11) and tonight, we’re all headed to Chapeau! for our holiday party. Mmmmmm. Oh what fun we had last night selecting the wines! Then, of course, comes New Year’s.

This being our final Sunday email of the year, I’d like to thank you all again for everything you’ve done keeping us happily busy, scouring the planet for some of the best deals in the wine world. On behalf of our entire staff, I wish you all a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous 2014! – Peter Zavialoff

As always, please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about Chablis, direct importation, English Football, music, or Bordeaux: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

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