Bringing Tasty Back: Aloxe Corton From Domaine Rapet

Tuesday, October 4, 2016 8:22 PM

 
2010 Aloxe Corton from Rapet
 
Vincent Rapet’s family has a long connection to winemaking in Burgundy’s Côte de Beaune. Domaine Rapet dates back to 1765. In Anthony Hanson’s book, Burgundy, he writes, “I remember the late Robert Rapet pulling out his massive family tastevin (inscribed L. Rapet D. Pernand 1792), clapping it between his hands, saying it was built to withstand the pressures of heated conversation.” We could all use a tastevin like that, couldn’t we? Vincent is Robert’s grandson and is continuing the family tradition of making wine. The domaine has 20 hectares of vines, making both red and white. The cave is in the picturesque and quaint village of Pernand Vergelesses. Among their offerings is a village Aloxe Corton red that captures the best of that appellation.
 
2010 Aloxe Corton from Rapet
 
Aloxe Corton is a sturdy, robust red. The elegant, ethereal Pinot Noir of the Côte de Nuits and its famed Grand Crus are what may at first come to mind when thinking about red Burgundy, but really as a whole, Burgundy offers drinkers a far greater range of styles. A fine Aloxe Corton harkens back to a more grippy, meaty wine that in my circle is often referred to as “farmer wine”. Not meant to be derogatory, this term illustrates the more rustic nature of some Burgundy. Imagine stopping at a small roadside restaurant where the conversation is animated and strictly in French. The daily lunch special is Coq au Vin. You want a good bottle of Burgundy to go with your order. Let’s face it, you aren’t going to buy a bottle of Richebourg, but a well-aged Aloxe Corton, now that’s the way to go. TWH has a few cases of 2010 Aloxe Corton and that’s the kind of wine you are going to want to serve with all manner of braised dishes or hearty stews.
 
Vincent and his father, Roland Rapet
 
Rapet’s Aloxe Corton comes from three sites: Les Boutières, Les Citernes, and Les Combes. As with all their reds, the wine is aged in oak of which about 20% is new. 2010 was a vintage that produced low yields but of excellent quality. Vincent is quite pleased with his 2010’s.At a staff tasting, we revisited the 2010 Aloxe Corton and were happy to see that is has begun to soften up its tannins. Aloxe Corton is expected to be a bit stern in its youth, but with patience and cellaring, it can develop into a wine with depth. Rapet’s 2010 Aloxe Corton is in the beginning stages of its optimal drinking window. Chewy red raspberry fruit, firm structure and prominent acidity bundle up together to make a formidable red wine. I wanted desperately to write about this wine at the beginning of summer when we tasted it, but I conceded that it was more suitable to serving during cooler months. This wine will show off its attributes best with either a rib-sticking meal or with an after-dinner cheese course.
 
Domaine Rapet
 
I’ve been hankering to make a classic beef stew with root vegetables. The chilly mornings have signaled to me that fall has arrived, that and regular-season NFL games. Isn’t football only played on Sundays – when did that all change? I’ve been paging through my copy of Patricia Well’s Bistro Cooking looking for inspiration. I love her brief descriptions of the characters behind the dishes. As a home cook, I appreciate the simplicity of the recipes knowing that with quality ingredients I too can make something tasty. Rapet’s 2010 Aloxe Corton is a wine I’ll happily reach for when I finally get around to making that beef stew. The hominess of the dish will beautifully embrace the lusty purity of the wine. – Anya Balistreri
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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!

 

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A Taste of Burgundy – February 2015

Saturday, February 14, 2015 9:51 PM

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

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

2012 Beaune 1er Cru Les Vignes Franches Domaine Michel Bouzereau

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

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beauneMAN, OH MAN! It’s on! Yes, we are moving. Yes, there are some fantastic, once in a lifetime deals out there.  Like Anya said last week, I’ve been on about the “never to be seen again” prices. All this is complete madness! As I said to a customer yesterday, if I seem level-headed and professional, I’m doing a very good job, because on the inside, it’s bedlam! My to-do list has more than one page. My “things I should have finished last week” list has more than one page! The football gods were cruel to me this morning and scheduled today’s match later than usual, and there is NO WAY that I could have justified coming to work 2 hours late because of a football match. So yeah, bedlam.  People have been kidding Anya and I for allegedly trading personalities; my last two write-ups were about White Burgundy and hers’, Sauternes. Well, we didn’t. Don’t worry, I’ll have plenty to say about Bordeaux and Sauternes in the coming weeks, the annual En Primeurs trip coming up and all. As for the subject of tonight’s email, I’m going to stick with Burgundy. Red Burgundy.
 

 

Okay sure, there’s plenty of Red Burgundy on sale. Plenty of top-quality, fancy Red Burgundy. Some of the sale prices are incredible. Should I say, prices never to be seen again? Well, on the opposite side of the spectrum, there is a Moving Sale price on a vin de table. vin de table from Burgundy, that is!!!

It’s funny, I have a buddy who moved to London for a couple of years a while back. When he returned, one of the first things he did was call me up explaining how he had a local Nicolas branch, with staff members recommending various wines from all over France. Sure, he liked the fancy stuff, who doesn’t? His point was, that there was a ton of perfectly quaffable, interesting wine coming from France that was inexpensive enough to open a second bottle of, if only to pour out one more glass. He asked me for a little guidance, and off we went to various wine shops around the Bay Area stocking his cellar. Of course, this task eventually became very rewarding for me. I got to taste a panoply of wines from all over France, and combined with my fancy of all things Bordelais, that experience landed me in this very seat where I type. Ever the intellectual, my buddy proved to be a great dinner guest, his ability to articulate his observations while tasting various wines led to some fascinating conversations. He once lamented that low prices on rustic, vin de table style Red Burgundy were a thing of the past. There was a time when he could pick up a few bottles for less than $15 each, and enjoy them with quiet weeknight dinners at home. Those days were over. And, this was around 8 years ago, no less. Well Chief, this wine’s for you!

When the 2010 Domaine Sylvain Langoureau Bourgogne-Hautes-Côtes-de-Beaune Clos Marc first arrived, it had a limited fan base. The wine was rustic in nature, and its acidity outpaced its fruit by several strides. Now that it has gained some bottle age, the acidity has been tamed, and though still rustic in style, it reveals some interesting complexity. I tasted one last night. It still had fresh acidity, but the fruit was more prevalent, and there were some fascinating herbal complexities like tarragon and pine floating among the aromas. This is exactly what my friend was looking for! And it’s 10 bucks per bottle; so you can open a second bottle if only to just pour one more glass! Often on Saturdays, customers in the shop will ask, “What’s tonight’s write-up about?” We usually divulge this information, and today was no exception. I put this wine into several hands today with this: “Keep your expectations at the $10 price level. It’s a Tuesday night wine. A Tuesday night wine … from Burgundy!!!”


vigneronBedlam. And I fear more mayhem will ensue as we grow closer to our moving date. I’m feeling it, no doubt, but part of me is still in denial about it. Just in case that’s not enough, there are still some loose ends in planning this year’s Bordeaux trip. *Deep breath* So, I’ve got that going for me as well. Outside of not being able to watch it this morning, the football went well. I’ve got a fancy Bordeaux tasting dinner tonight, so I am just going to chill tomorrow and cook up a big pot of something tasty. One of these 2010 Domaine Sylvain Langoureau Bourgogne-Hautes-Côtes-de-Beaune Clos Marc will do just fine! – Peter Zavialoff
 

 

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about our Moving Sale, whether or not Anya and I have changed personalities, Burgundy, Bordeaux, or English Football: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

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Whew – Things have gotten really crazy around here … I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Mine was two-pronged, but I made good on both of my vinous promises.  I shared a bottle of Sauternes with my sister during our traditional LOBSauTERnes Thanksgiving lunch (it was actually from Barsac, you could probably guess the Château). Then, I literally walked in to a dining room and took the last open place at the table surrounded by 10 hungry musicians and friends, magnum of 2011 Fleurie in tow! I basically watched them have their Thanksgiving meal (I did manage to nosh on some brussel sprouts), helping pass various plates and platters around the table, and of course, pouring the wine. Back here in the shop, it’s pandemonium! Our 36th Anniversary Sale is on, and there are values everywhere! Nowhere are the savings better than in our Burgundy department! With so much to choose from, it’s hard to nail down just one wine, but if I were to choose a sale Red Burgundy for my cellar, it would have to be the 2009 Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru “La Boudriotte” Rouge from Château de la Maltroye. It’s got everything going for it: winemaker, vintage, terroir, and now, price!

 

We’ve been importing the wines, both red and white, made by Jean-Pierre Cornut for 15+ years. Jean-Pierre took over from his father in 1993-94, and he continues to push the envelope for quality for his swath of bottlings. Formerly an aeronautical engineer, Cornut’s inherent meticulous ways have paid off big time as evidenced by the quality of his wines. For his Pinot Noir, he de-stems his entire crop, and the purity of fruit strikes the taster from the moment the aromas hit through the finish. Jean-Pierre got all he wanted (and then some) from the 2009 growing season, each phase of development was greeted by ideal weather conditions. In general, the wines were precocious and expressive upon release, and are currently filling out nicely. They have the structure to go the long haul, and the expressive fruit destined to stay on the front-end of that for a long time. The Premier Cru “La Boudriotte” vineyard sits to the south of the village of Chassagne adjacent to the “Morgeot Vigne Blanche” vineyard. Cornut’s Pinot Noir vines in “La Boudriotte” comprise just half a hectare, so production is extremely limited, but Jean-Pierre feels the terroir particularly distinct and bottles what he can. The aromatics are dominated by dark, lush berries, earth, and incense. There is a savory quality on the palate that binds with the spicy dark berry fruit and intensifies with a zippy lift. The finish is long and balanced, the wine a mere child in its life. You may remember that last year, one of Cornut’s less expensive bottlings wowed the Thursday Tasting Group and won a 2009 Red Burgundy tasting (which included an Echezeaux, no less). The 2009 Boudriotte is a little more of a serious wine with a longer life expectancy, AND as part of our Anniversary Sale, you can have it in your cellar for less than the price of a village wine!

 

So yes, our Anniversary Sale is on! The 2009 Boudriotte is just the tip of the iceberg! We’ll be sending out lists of wines that are on sale, so keep an eye on your inboxes. Meanwhile here at TWH, we’re all here ready to take your phone call, process your online order, or answer your email. Whichever way you would like to place your order, we’re ready. December is here and we’ll be running the sale throughout the month … but don’t wait too long, many of the bottles on sale are in very limited quantities and will sell out sooner than later!

 

Yes it is December, it’s a busy month for all of us, what with the sale and all. It’s a busy sports month for my favorite team overseas, with 9 crucial matches in 31 days. All I know is that we will know much more about the fate of the Blues once the December dust settles. Hey, I’ll take 3rd place on December 1; let’s see what they can do tomorrow. See you at the Mad Dog In The Fog! – Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about Our Anniversary Sale, LOBSauTERnes, Bordeaux, or English Football: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

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