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. 

A Taste Of Burgundy - October 2017

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 4:47 PM

A TASTE OF BURGUNDY

OCTOBER 2017

2014 Beaune 1er Cru Pertuisots

Domaine Pernot-Belicard

The 2014 vintage for white Burgundy was a great one, and depending on who you ask, it borders on legendary status.  August was relatively cool, but it was followed by an exceptional September when the sun 2014 Domaine Pernot Belicard Beaune 1er Cru Pertuisots Bottleshone every day but three.  The perfect conditions at harvest assured that there would be some fine wine produced from the vintage.  Philippe Pernot, grandson of Paul Pernot, one of Puligny-Montrachet’s most famous vignerons, made just two barrels of his Beaune Premier Cru Pertuisots.  That’s just 50 cases for the world, and we got half of them!  The 1er Cru Pertuisots vineyard lies south of the village, very near the highly esteemed Clos des Mouches.  Considering the ideal conditions, it’s not surprising that the 2014 is Philippe’s best vintage to date.  The aromas are fresh and distinct — lime, citrus blossom, snappy green apple, and stony mineral.  The palate is concentrated and that stony mineral holds court with the lively fruit.  The finish is crisp and perfectly balanced.  Enjoy from now-2020.

2015 Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru Les Faconnières

Domaine Stéphane Magnien

As great as 2014 was for Burgundy’s white wines, the 2015 vintage is equally magnificent for the reds.  Stéphane Magnien represents the fourth generation of winemakers from this branch of the family.  The youthful Magnien has Pinot Noir vines growing in some of the Côtes de Nuits’ most prized vineyards, including about a half a hectare in the Premier Cru Les Faconnières, which is literally a stone’s throw from the famous Grand Cru, Clos de la Roche.  Magnien’s 2015’s are his most fleshy, easy to approach wines since the 2009 vintage, yet they are classically structured, suggesting they will age gracefully.  The bouquet of Stéphane’s 2015 Les Faconnières is wildly expressive with brambly red, blue, and purple berry fruit and spice.  The palate is dense and chewy, yet the tannins are finely integrated, and the finish is harmonious.  If you want to get the most out of this one, we suggest giving it some time in the cellar. Drink from 2020-2035.     

A Taste of Burgundy - August 2017

Friday, January 5, 2018 4:35 PM

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A TASTE OF BURGUNDY

AUGUST 2017

2010 Domaine Xavier Monnot Beaune Toussaints 1er Cru2015 Meursault Les Tessons

Domaine Michel Bouzereau et Fils

According to Jean-Baptiste Bouzereau, 2015 “presented us with an easy growing season, and for the first time in years, we even obtained reasonable quantities.  Even so, it appeared that we would have a huge production, but in the end, there wasn’t all that much juice in the berries, so yields turned out to be normal.”  The Les Tessons vineyard lies among a cluster of lieu dit vineyards just west of the village.  Burgundy authority, Clive Coates MW named Domaine Michel Bouzereau as one of the “best cellars for (these) Deuxièmes Crus.”   Coates went on to call the domaine the “best of the Bouzereau cellars [with] fine, racy, stylish wines which can be held longer than most.”  Bouzereau began picking his 2015 a little early, in late August, preserving the zippy acidity levels a ripe vintage like 2015 needed for balance.  Burghound’s Allen Meadows writes that the domaine’s 2015 clearly outperformed the general quality of the vintage.  The wine is showing lovely aromas of citrus, peach, apple, and a hint of smoke.  Drink from 2018-2028.

2010 Beaune 1er Cru Les Toussaints

Domaine Xavier Monnot

2010 Xavier Monnot Beaune Les Toussaints 1er CruWe went down to the cellar to pick the red wine for this installment of the T.O.B.!  The 2010 vintage for red Burgundy was a great one, and it seems that all of the pundits agree.  It’s classic in nature, though in general terms, the wines’ structures are firmer than their 2009 counterparts suggesting they’ll be longer lived.  Aubert de Villaine of Domaine Romanée-Conti conveyed that the 2010 reds are more terroir driven than the ripe 2009’s.  In Beaune, the Les Toussaints vineyard is just west of the village, sandwiched between Cent Vignes, Bressandes, and Les Grèves along the mineral-rich line of Premier Cru vineyards at the base of the slope.  Formerly known as Domaine René Monnier (named for his maternal grandfather), Xavier Monnot can trace his lineage back for six generations of winegrowers.   His 2010 Les Toussaints shows crunchy dark fruit, smoke, and spice on the nose.  The palate is medium bodied and well balanced with the dark fruit at its core.  The finish is bright and all in balance.  It’s just hitting its drinking plateau now and should provide pleasure through 2027.       

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A Taste Of Burgundy – June 2017

Thursday, June 22, 2017 11:15 AM

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2015 Puligny-Montrachet 

Domaine Paul Pernot et ses Fils

When asked about the 2015 vintage, Paul Pernot said, “It gave us a relatively easy growing season, which was a welcome relief after the last three years where things were constantly in doubt. Basically, the weather was hot in the spring, hot during the summer, and hot right up to the point the fruit was set to pick, and finally the temperatures broke. When it did, we began picking. The fruit was spotless with very good potential alcohols that averaged right around 13%. As to the wines, I would describe them as both very ripe and rich, yet they manage to remain well-balanced and refreshing. They should drink well early on and should very much please those consumers who enjoy young whites.” For his Puligny-Montrachet bottling, Pernot sources the fruit from four lieux-dit vineyards whose average age is 50 years. This 2015 is raring to go with its wide array of aromas: snappy apple, citrus blossom, and a hint of mint. The palate is round and rich, held together with buoyant acidity. It has a sneaky, long finish. Drink 2018-2026.



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2014 Fixin-Hervelets 1er Cru 

Domaine Bart

We featured the 2013 vintage of Martin Bart’s Fixin-Hervelets 1er Cru back in the October 2015 installment of our TOB. Due to popular demand, we now feature his 2014! Now run by nephew, Pierre, with Martin looking on, the Barts tend some 22 hectares of vines in the north of Côtes de Nuits. There are five 1er Cru vineyards in Fixin, three of which are monopoles. The other two are Les Arvelets and Les Hervelets. The fruit for this bottling comes from a 1.5ha parcel between the two. Fruit from Arvelets may be included in bottles labeled Hervelets, but not vice-versa. The two vineyards enjoy their perch on the gentle slope which sits just above the other 1er Cru vineyards. Apart from a mediocre summer, Pierre has said the growing season was relatively easy. Commenting on the ripeness and structure of his 2014’s, Pierre went on to say, ” there is a roundness, even tenderness to the textures which should make them approachable young.” Mineral notes abound in this refined, medium-bodied wine. Drink 2019-2030. – Peter Zavialoff

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

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

Cellar Aged Chardonnay From Ici/La-Bas

Tuesday, February 28, 2017 12:00 PM


When you discover five cases of a 2008 Chardonnay made by arguably one of California’s most respected winemakers, who do you call? The Wine House! Mel Knox along with winemaker Jim Clendenen partner to make wines under the Ici/La-Bas label. Mel called a week ago and said he had some wine he wanted to show us. Any opportunity to taste with Mel Knox is a welcome one – I will always make time for him. Mel has an encyclopedic knowledge of California’s wine history and of wine in general. He began his career in retail, then started his own company selling French barrels nearly 40 years ago. He knows the industry intimately both here and abroad and has been an integral player in the advancement of California’s wine industry.



And so, Mel came by the store to pour us wine from Ici/La-Bas and from another project he is involved with. I wouldn’t characterize Mel as a typical sales person as he is truly candid and honest in assessing his own wines. A masterful storyteller, his visits are never a splash and dash. The first wine he poured was the Ici/La-Bas 2008 Elke Vineyard Chardonnay from Anderson Valley. Inventory management being what it is, Mel “found” a few cases of it in his warehouse. I wouldn’t say I was skeptical, I know how well Jim Clendenen’s wines age, I just wasn’t expecting to be so blown away by it. It was youthful, fresh, delicious and complex. The flavors on the palate unfurled with each taste, noting apple, pear, creamy vanilla, flint and mineral and a whole lot more. It is a truly Burgundian-styled California Chardonnay.



I asked Mel if he would email a few notes on the winemaking to me. The Chardonnay was barrel fermented in 228 liter Francois Freres barrels. A barrel expert, he explained that, “The barrels were made from wood from the Bertranges forest, air dried three years. Bertranges gives wine a bit more tannic structure, perhaps bad for short-range consumption of the wine but great for long term aging. The longer seasoning of the wood eliminates the harsh tannins and provides a more subtle flavor. We used about 35% new barrels.” The wine was left on its lees for an extended period, then bottled in the Spring of 2010. Now with almost seven years of bottle age, the wine is in its prime! How often do you get the benefit of a cellared wine for such a reasonable price? TWH is offering the remaining bit of 2008 Chardonnay for $29.98 a bottle!




I spent a portion of the morning reading online articles on Jim Clendenen. My intention was to use some provocative quote of his to highlight Jim’s reputation for being a non-conformist in the wine industry. If you’d like to read a couple quick articles on Jim, please click here, here or here. In my early days at TWH, Jim often came by with new releases. David was an early admirer of Au Bon Climat wines. I was also fortunate to have been a guest at Jim’s annual luncheon at his friend, Michael Wild’s restaurant, Bay Wolf, a couple of times. A tasting of new releases from Au Bon Climat would precede a lunch that always included cellared bottles – that is how I discovered how well his wines aged. Jim lives up to his reputation and I find him inspirational. I always left those luncheons glad to be a part of the wine business.


When Mel left the store, David and I remained in the tasting room discussing the 2008 Chardonnay. David, like myself, was impressed with the wine. He said that TWH might not be known as a California Chardonnay house, but when a wine is this good, we can’t pass it up. With that, I placed my order. Revel in this well-cellared wine. It is in its prime, will likely age further, but is really one to enjoy right now – be in the moment! It is a testament to the skill of the winemaker. It’s a show piece.


I’ll be buying some bottles to take home. I plan to stump industry friends with it, share with my girlfriends who are exclusively Chardonnay drinkers, and for when I am hankering for the style of California Chardonnay I enjoy most. The Ici/La-Bas 2008 Chardonnay Elke Vineyard is not to be missed!

Anya Balistreri

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


Two weeks ago, the dust had just settled after one of Jeanne-Marie De Champs’ bi-annual visits to TWH.As I wrote at that time, the protocol had changed … over 20 bottles of Burgundy were opened, and when the dregs of these sample bottles made their way back to us, we were able to taste through a wide spectrum of quality Burgundy much like a La Paulée tasting. The result is that the experience is fresh in our collective minds, soif you have any questions about any of our new Burgundy wines, we all have some recent experience with them. Which gets me around to my topic of the week:crab season.

 

 
On my day off this past week, I wandered in to one of my favorite lunch spots only to bump into a former colleague from my days in the finance biz. I hadn’t seen him in a decade, so we began to catch up on things a bit. It was the usual small talk. He’s been living in New York for the past 8 years and he was visiting because his daughter is going to school out this way. Since he wasn’t in California last fall, he didn’t know about demoic acid and our lack of a crab season. So I was surprised to hear any optimism associated with the question, “How long until crab season?” Really? My eyes got big. A mutual friend who was seated between us matter-of-factly nodded his head and said, “I’m hearing situation back to normal, the season should start in mid-November.”Understanding his not being an authority on the subject, I made a mental note to get some verification. I asked Anya and Christian about it earlier this morning, and they seemed to echo his sentiments. Then, in walked one of our favorite customers whom we know is a crab enthusiast.“If anyone knows the answer, HE certainly does,” I thought to myself. So I asked him. He answered. Crab season here in northern California will begin November 5, with the commercial season beginning two weeks later. Really? Yes.
 
 
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see where I’m going here. I can make a case for pairing a lot of different white wines with crab. The things to look for are expression, balance, complexity, and acidity. If your white wine has these components, your crab experience will be enhanced. With all of the recent Burgundy tasting with Jeanne-Marie and my colleagues, I remember one particular facet which occurred after everyone went home for the day and Chris and I were left with some 12-15 open bottles of Burgundy. They were all close to being empty, but there was still enough in each of them to be able to get a decent sized taste. With Jeanne-Marie and the others gone, and punk rock radio blasting in our warehouse, we took a less studious approach to our tasting. I’m a firm believer in the concept that discovery often occurs when not searching. I wasn’t looking for it, but there it was. Delicious white Burgundy from an unassuming appellation; relatively inexpensive, but what sent me over the top was that I prefered it to the next wine I tasted, which was a Meursault. The Meursault was fine, don’t get me wrong, but the previous wine at half the price was the better wine; to me anyway. What was it? The 2014 Rully La Folie from Claudie Jobard.
 
 
We’ve already touched upon how good the 2014 vintage was for white Burgundy. In a word, it was great. We’ve also already mentioned Claudie Jobard and her winemaking prowess over the past few years. Having a mother as famous as Laurence Jobard must have put a little pressure on Claudie as she began making wine. She has already landed a wine in our annual Top Ten twice!Did I say that I liked her 2014 Rully blanc better than a Meursault? Yes, I did. What does a wine like this cost? $27.99. With case discount? $23.79. Crab season here I come! – Peter Zavialoff


Decanter Magazine’s Stephen Brook’s note from January 2016: “Firm nutty nose, toasty and assertive. Rich, full-bodied, and concentrated, with spiciness and fine acidity, a gutsy Rully, with swagger, pungent and long.”

 

 

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about crab season, Burgundy, Bordeaux, or The Special One’s return to Stamford Bridge tomorrow: peter@wineSF.com

A Taste Of Burgundy – October 2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 8:30 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.

“pulignysign
 
 

 

2014 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos de la Chateâu, Château de la Maltroye

The 2014 vintage for Burgundy’s white wines is already receiving praise for perhaps being the finest white vintage since 2008 (If not better!). The ingredients were all there; a mild winter and the right amount of rainfall in early March got things going. The remainder of spring stayed dry. A cool, damp summer gave the fruit healthy acidity levels, an Indian summer finished things off, balancing the acidity with fine ripeness. Former aeronautical engineer-turned-winemaker, Jean-Pierre Cornut has already enjoyed a fine reputation over the past decade, but it was Burghound’s Allen Meadows who had this to say after tasting his bottled 2014’s, “I would observe that Cornut continues to push his wine quality even higher, and these 2014’s are definitely worthy of your attention.” We agree wholeheartedly. This signature Clos du Château blanc has fine aromas of citrus and stone fruit, mineral, and spice. The palate feel is bright, with layers of balancing fruit and a clean finish. Give this a little time to let it shine: Drink from 2018-2028.

2014 Marsannay Les Champs Salomon, Domaine Bart

According to Clive Coates MW, in September 2014, “The sun has shone almost without exception throughout the month.” This was especially important for the Pinot Noir that had endured the cool summer. When the month began, the fruit needed to ripen and as Coates puts it, “It is sunshine rather than heat which ripens fruit.” He went on to say, “We have not had such splendid harvest weather for many years. This will ensure high quality across the board.” Pierre Bart feels that his 2014’s are ripe and structured, with a tender, round texture suggesting they will be approachable young. There’s plenty to like about the 2014 Bart Marsannay Les Champs Salomon. The aromas are fresh and complex: dark berry fruit, herbs, minerals, and allspice. On the palate, the wine is silky with good mineral definition framing the complex, medium-bodied fruit. The finish is a well balanced display of fruit, mineral and spice, with the fresh acidity keeping it interesting. It’s enjoyable now, but little cellar time will benefit this wine. We suggest drinking from 2018-2029. – Peter Zavialoff


Every once in a while,a customer will ask us how we resist temptation, working in a place surrounded by bottles of wine from all over the world. The answer is:we don’t resist it; we like wine, so we drink it. Okay, we spend far more time here in the shop than any customer would, so from a time spent in shop per bottle purchased ratio, it may appear that we do resist temptation … most of the time.While stocking our sales floor this morning,it wasn’t a surprise to find several empty bins that needed refilling. Apart from their emptiness, the other thing these bins had in common were theorange sale signs; there are a solid dozen or so wines around the shop that I would consider outright steals now that they have been marked down. On the short list of the finest of these wines is theNV Pascal Doquet Grand Cru Le Mesnil Sur Oger Blanc de Blancs Champagne.

 

 
 
For me, Champagne is one of those wines that I unfortunately don’t get to drink as often as I would like, but before the orchestra of the world’s smallest violins starts up, I will say that I do make a point to do so from time to time. For celebrations, it’s a given. To pair with fried chicken, it’s a must. To share a meal and some time with someone special, a toast with real Champagne makes it complete. Several years ago, I wrote about summer and Champagne, and heeding my own advice, I’m not going to let summer go by without continuing the tradition.
 
We’re all fans of quality Grower Champagnes in general, though we’re even bigger fans of the wines produced by Pascal and Laure Doquet! The wines have layers of complexity which have garnered the attention of esteemed critics and TWH customers who love Champagne. This non-vintage, 100% Chardonnay Grand Cru Champagne has expressive aromas of citrus blossoms, apricots, pears, and a sleek, stony mineral nerve. On the palate, one gets a hint of brioche in addition to the fresh fruit, mineral, and a hint of hazelnut. The finish is high-toned and perfectly balanced. It’s a stunning wine at a very fair price. Champagne isn’t cheap, but the sale price on this one makes it one sweet deal!
 
 
We’re one week shy of Labor Day Weekend, which for some of us comes with an extra celebration. Another TWH tradition worth mentioning is that birthdays for staff members are celebrated with something sparkling at the end of the day. I think we now know what I’ll have a hankering for next week: The NV Pascal Doquet Grand Cru Sur Oger Blanc de Blancs Champagne. What temptation? – Peter Zavialoff
 
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments regarding sale wines, Champagne in summer, Bordeaux, or English Football: peter@wineSF.com

A Taste of Burgundy – August 2016

Tuesday, August 23, 2016 6:19 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.

 
 

 

2013 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Perrières,Domaine Pernot-Belicard

Despite the challenges presented during the growing season, the bottled 2013 white Burgundies have proven to be of fine quality. Much like 2007, it’s a great vintage for those who enjoy sleek, crisp, snappy wines with balance and freshness. TOB regulars need no introduction to Philippe Pernot, grandson of Puligny legend, Paul Pernot. Marrying into a family of winegrowers with holdings in both Puligny-Montrachet and Meursault, Philippe and his wife farm over 6 hectares of them. In Puligny-Montrachet, you can find Premier Cru Les Perrières along the same slope as neighboring Clavoillon. Continuing in a southwesterly direction, Les Pucelles comes next, followed by Bâtard-Montrachet. That is one special slope! The 2013 Pernot-Belicard Puligny Perrières is a racy, mineral-driven Puligny with fine lemon peel, wet stone, and spicy vanilla aromas. The palate is crisp and complex as the fleshy apple pie fruit stays in balance with the zesty freshness leading to that snappy finish. Drinking window: Now – 2023.

2013 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru La Boudriotte,Château de la Maltroye

Jean-Pierre Cornut couldn’t help mentioning his good fortune as his holdings were spared from the hailstorms that hit the northern part of the Côte de Beaune in 2013. And believe it or not, despite the overall reports of diminished yields from the vintage, Jean-Pierre’s reds came in as expected with very little sorting required! “The quality of the 2013’s was a huge surprise as I honestly didn’t expect it,” Cornut added. He also mentioned that he felt that the transparency of the terroir was more significant in 2013 than any recent vintage, including 2010. His Premier Cru La Boudriotte vineyard in Chassagne-Montrachet produced an outstanding wine in 2013. The nose is alive with fresh red berry fruit, earthy minerals, herbs and spice. The brambly fruit and earthy tones are concentrated mid-palate, with the zippy freshness holding the structure all together. There is rich complexity on the finish, suggesting the wine can be enjoyed in its youth, though we recommend you drink it from 2018 through 2029. – Peter Zavialoff

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

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


2013 Sylvain Langoureau Saint-Aubin
1er Cru En Remilly

Have you ever gone to the dry cleaners and picked up your items only to find them hanging on wire hangers with a paper cover that says, “We ♥ our customers?” Now, everyone’s relationship with their dry cleaner is unique, but it’s difficult to imagine engaging dry cleaning staff in passionate discussions about cleaning methods and products. And we’re guessing that the dry cleaning staff, as much as they appreciate their customers, probably don’t want to regale them with tales of new discoveries and experiences in the dry cleaning world. Retail wine merchants appreciate their customers as well,though taking into consideration the conversations and interactions that we have with our customers, we can honestly say that we do indeed love our customers! We have passionate discussions quite often with many of you who walk through our doors, and we werereminded of this just the other day when a long-time good friend of TWH sauntered in looking for a gift for his significant other.
 
 
Franck, whose tasting spectrum is wide and diverse, was on a mission. He needed white Burgundy. He seemed particularly fixated on Meursault. Well, from one wine enthusiast to another, no one was going to blame him for wanting Meursault. We love Meursault. He then added that he would like to keep the cost below $40. That’s where it gets a little tricky. At the time, we didn’t have any Meursault below $40. I pointed here and there at some that were a little higher than that, and then some Premier Crus which were much higher, until bang, a flash of recollection had me saying, “Well, Franck, it’s not Meursault, but we’ve got a white Burgundy that is all class, and contrary to the usual cliché, it very well might make you forget about Meursault!”Having been a regular customer for years with countless positive experiences, he was all ears when I showed him a bottle of 2013 Sylvain Langoureau’s Saint-Aubin Premier Cru En Remilly. I got the map out and showed him the vineyard. A very, very small piece of the En Remillyvineyard is actually in Chassagne-Montrachet and it borders the Grand Cru Chevalier-Montrachet vineyard. In fact, the entirety of En Remilly is just around the corner from the cluster of white Burgundy’s Grands Crus vineyards. THAT is prime real estate!
 
 
So we knew then we were dealing with some prime terroir, but what about the winemaker? Sylvain Langoureau has been at the helm of the domaine since 1989and now farms organically. We’ve been working with Langoureau’s wines since the 2008 vintage, and we’re not alone in praising them. Burghound’s Allen Meadows added this about Langoureau, “As the scores and commentaries suggest this domaine should be added to those of Lamy, Prudhon, Bachelet and Marc Colinfor high quality domaines based in or near St. Aubin. If you don’t know the wines I strongly suggest you check out an example.” Though the 2013 vintage presented its challenges, and production was much lower than average, the surviving fruit was of such quality that Sylvain called it, “Completely classic with great energy and transparency.” I further commented on the transparency and precision of the wine to Franck adding that sub $40 white Burgundy doesn’t get any better than this. We walked it up to the counter, put it in a bag, wished Franck well, and asked him to report back when he could.
 
Usually we have to wait for weeks, sometimesmonths, before a customer returns to report on their previous visit’s purchases. Not this time. Franck was back the very next day! Gobsmacked! His significant other was over the moon about the wine. He went on to tell us that she told him that she had never tasted such an amazing white Burgundy before, and that’s saying something! He was full of praise for the wine, noting its class and pedigree, its precision, its expression, and chuckled to himself about the price, as if he was in on a little secret. He bought more. He came back a week later and bought more again. So if you want to betransfixed by a sub $40 white Burgundy so high in quality that you may forget about Meursault (temporarily), you may want to reserve a couple before Franck returns to buy more!
 
Imagine,over the course of 38+ years here at TWH, customer experiences such as Franck’s continue to occur with regularity. That just makes all of us brim with pride asthat is our aim.That is our responsibility.Yes, I saidresponsibility because for us, it doesn’t end when a sale is made. It ends when you pop the cork, pour the wine, and enjoy it. Many merchants copy and paste tasting notes and scores to their shelves and websites, and once you pony up your cash, it’s out you go until next time.That’s not the way it works at TWH.We♥ our customers!

 


And just like that,thanks to the folks at Air France, it’sback to San Francisco and here I am at the keyboard with another ramble.The Bordeaux En Primeurs trip to taste barrel samples of the 2015 (among other wines) was a great success! The Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux did something new this year, and though I heard differing opinions about it, it certainly made my schedule easier to handle. On Monday, April 4, a day that is usually spent at chateaux appointments, they helda grand tasting at the new Stade Matmut Atlantique at which all 8 UGC appellations poured their wines. It was there that I was able to taste from 3 of these, and that freed up my schedule for the following three days to taste a whole lot of other wines.I’ve got a lot to say about the trip and the wines I tasted, and I plan to do so very soon, but tonight I’ll try to keep it light and general.

 

 
 
The 2015 Bordeaux vintage is a very good one for red wines. There, I said it. Was it the vintage of the century? No. Was it the vintage of the decade? No. Was it a great vintage? No. Were there some great barrel samples with the potential to become great wines? Yes. Were there disappointments? Yes. What appellations’ samples showed the best? Pomerol, Pessac-Léognan, and Margaux in general terms. Will there be some great, affordable, high-quality petits chateaux wines? Yes, but here we must be very selective. It was a challenging vintage for those kind of wines.
 
 
After compiling my schedule prior to departure, I already knew that I would probably taste more wine this year that I ever had on the annual Bordeaux trip. After I returned last Monday, I put off going back through my notes and actually counting how many wines I tasted. Earlier today, I counted them. The tally: 599 wines in all;439 barrel samples from 2015, 136 bottled wines from recent vintages, and 24 bottles that I actually got to drink from. Funny, it should have been 600, but there was one sample that earned this note in my tasting book, “Something’s wrong here; I’m not tasting this.” I am occasionally askedhow I can possibly taste so many wines without suffering from palate fatigue. I can’t. I get palate fatigue all the time. When all of the sensations, acidity, and tannins begin to run into each other, I just take a time out.Sometimes I can recover by just smelling my notebook,sometimes I carry around a piece of bread and smell it from time to time to keep the olfactory fresh. Other times, I’ll take a full time out and eat some bread and cheese and drink some water. I am aware that there are others who taste way more wine than I do and I can only imagine their techniques to get back in the saddle and finish their respective jobs. Hats off to them.
 
 
So here I was, it was my last appointment on my last working day. Tasting wine at this particular appointment is a challenge to say the least, as they are all usually very modern, fully extracted barrel samples with loads of concentration and tannins. So I approached it expecting to suffer from lack of refreshment. Upon my arrival, I waded through the various rooms and salons of this complex that was not only showing off 2015 barrel samples, but finished wines from other parts of France. It was a bit maze-like, and I went through, then doubled back, and then through again when something caught my eye – MEURSAULT! Do you want to put a smile on the face of someone who has tasted a boatload of tannic, acidic barrel samples and who is bracing himself for one final purple assault? Offer them Meursault. That will do the trick. Every time.
 
Meursault has quite a following. It enjoys a fine reputation of being one of the “Big Three” white Burgundy appellations, and its Premier Crus are famous enough to cause Pavlovian salivation from its fans at the mere mention of its hallowed name, Meursault. We’ve been importing the wines from Paul Pernot’s grandson Philippe for several vintages now, and we continue to be happy with his wines which sport the Pernot-Belicard label. His 2013 Meursault Vieilles Vignes is an amazing wine with superb fruit definition, the classic Meursault soft mid-palate, and a fresh, crisp finish showcasing its complexity harmoniously. In a word, it is refreshing. Thinking of all of the pairing ideas that come with a wine like this is enough to make my head spin. Thevines are in excess of 70 years old, and the complexity that you get from vines like this is impressive. The 2010 was stunning enough to get Anya to pen this write-up a couple of years ago. The 2013 is every bit as good with lively freshness. The sub $40 per bottle case price is as good a white Burgundy deal as we’re likely to find.
 
I am happy to report that the Bordeaux trip went very well. I met with several good friends, made some new friends, and was even handed a guitar in a restaurant at one point and played a song. Part of the exercise was to look out for some “under the radar” wines that are long on character and short on price. I found more than a handful of these kind of wines that I’m anxious to see here on our sales floor sometime later this year. They will be coming. The 2015 barrel samples? There were many successes; and they will be coming too. They’re just going to take a little longer. What to drink now? MEURSAULT! – Peter Zavialoff

2012 Bodkin Dry Creek Valley Chardonnay

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 10:36 PM


Bodkin Chardonnay – The Fearless
Just like with people, you often know whether you like a wine or not in the first 10 seconds. The aromas and flavors of Bodkin’s 2014 Chardonnay drew me in immediately and before the wine rep could screw back on the cap and put the bottle away in his wine tote, I placed an order. I don’t usually pull the trigger this quick. I like to mull over my decisions. Does this wine have an audience? Is it distinctive? Is there value for our customers?These questions were easily answered “yes” with one sip.
 
 
I had heard the buzz on Bodkin wines. New on the scene,Bodkin specializes in Sauvignon Blanc and has received much praise for producing the first ever sparkling wine made from this varietal in California! I have to admit, I initially thought this concept a bit gimmicky. The wine business is challenging enough…why complicate things further by making something for which there is no existing market? But then I met winemaker/proprietor Chris Christenson at a trade tasting and it all began to make sense to me. I mean this as a compliment, Chris is a geek, a nerd, who has particular interests and passions and follows them. Chris did not strike me as someone who follows the crowd. The whole concept of Bodkin wines is a clear reflection of Chris’s interests – from Medieval history and literature to making wine his way.
 
 
The 2014 Chardonnay is dubbed The Fearless in honor of the 15th century French ruler, John the Fearless, who was Duke of Burgundy. This goes to show, Chris doesn’t take the easy marketing path by naming his wines after family members or pets. The Fearless is also so named, I think, because this Chardonnay is made slightly atypical compared to most California Chardonnay. First of all, it comes in at 13.4% abv which is low especially for Dry Creek Valley fruit. The wine spent time in French oak, but only a small portion of it new, did not go through malolactic fermentation and sat on its lees with no stirring. Finally, it was bottled unfiltered. All acceptable winemaking choices but not the norm in this part of the world. The resulting wine I find exciting and delicious.The aromatics hint at sweet tangy Meyer lemon and on the palate the zippy citrusy fruit is buoyed by the roundnessimparted from the time in barrel sur-lie. The acidity is spiky and refreshing. The fruit couples with the acidity like the flavors of a Gravenstein apple that is green, has a few stripes of red on its skin but absolutely no hint of yellow!Snappy, succulent and irresistible!
 
 
I paired Bodkin’s 2014 Chardonnay with salmon croquettes. It was a great match since the salmon demanded a wine with body but the lightness of the dish needed acidity. I did a little dance around the kitchen after sampling the first croquette and washing it down with a sip of The Fearless.
 
 
After weeks of anticipation and preparations, Pete has flown to Bordeaux to taste the 2015 vintage out of barreland to, hopefully, find new bottled treasures to import and stock up at the store. As our Bordeaux Scout, Pete has a full agenda and we wish him well on his quest to find those great Bordeaux values you expect to find at TWH. He’s even posted a picture on The Wine House’s Facebook page.Check it out and if you “like” it, perhaps he’ll be encouraged to post some more! – Anya Balistreri

A Taste Of Burgundy – February 2016

Thursday, February 18, 2016 6:38 PM

pulignysign1
 
 
2014 Puligny-Montrachet
1er Cru Chalumaux
Domaine Paul Pernot et ses Fils

2014 White Burgundy. In a word, the wines are sensational! The vintage had its challenges, there was millerandage, and some hail hit the Côtes de Beaune, yet the harvested fruit was superb. In general terms, the wines are pure, lively, elegant, and harmonious. TOB subscribers need little introduction to Paul Pernot. He continues to crank out the quality from his various Puligny-Montrachet vineyards. His vines in Premier Cru Chalumaux are 61 years old, and the complexity derived from such old vines is evident. The aromas are fresh and pure: apples, lemon custard, and vanilla with an underlying stony mineral core. The palate is zippy and fresh with a sleek, mineral-driven mouth feel. Its finish is complex and persistent. Similar to Pernot’s Premier Cru Champ Canet, the Chalumaux exhibits all the charm, albeit with a tad more nerve. All in all, it’s a great wine from a great vintage made by a great producer. That’s a win-win-win! It can be drunk in the near term (decanting recommended), or should hit its peak from 2018-2028.

 
2013 Auxey-Duresses
1er Cru Les Duresses
Domaine Lafouge

The father and son team of Jean and Gilles Lafouge represent the 4th and 5th generations to run this 9 ha domaine which can trace its roots back to 1850. They farm sustainably and neither fine nor filter their red wines. The 2013 vintage for red Burgundy started out a bit rough with cold and damp conditions. There was hail in places, so again production was lower than the norm. Conditions greatly improved in July and August trimming one week from the projected three week delay to harvest. After some serious sorting, what was left was of fine quality. There just wasn’t much wine. For their Premier Cru Les Duresses, the Lafouges only made 7 barrels in 2013, two being new. That’s 175 cases for the world. It is impressive. Made from 100% de-stemmed fruit, its nose is full of berry fruit with a hint of earth and Old World charm. The palate has a degree of intensity with structure and length. The finish is balanced and complex with the soft tannins gently caressing the palate. Charming now, this will be best from 2019-2030. –Peter Zavialoff

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