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

A Taste Of Burgundy – June 2015

Thursday, June 18, 2015 12:30 AM

  A Taste Of Burgundy


June 2015

For those seeking savings on two bottles of Burgundy; whether you’re a beginner, and want to learn more about the region, or if you know a little and wish to learn more, or even if you’re an established Burg lover, our bi-monthly Taste of Burgundy club is for you! Sign up today.

Basic 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.


2012 Meursault Les Chevalières Domaine Xavier Monnot

Xavier Monnot continues the winemaking tradition for his family that has been producing wine in the Côte de Beaune since 1723. He took over his grandfather’s Domaine René Monnier in 1994 and continues to produce top quality, terroir-driven Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. His domaine is located in the village of Meursault, and the vineyards there are the core of his production. The Les Chevalières vineyard lies just west of the village, and has the reputation of yielding crisp, mineral-driven Chardonnay. 2012 was a challenging vintage all over Burgundy. Production was way down below average, but 10 generations of family know-how aided Monnot, and what little wine he made is of top quality. Made from vines whose average age is 45 years, Xavier’s 2012 Meursault Les Chevalières is alive with white stone fruit, citrus, and blossomy aromas. The palate is fresh and crisp with wonderful interplay between the white fruit, zippy acid, and mineral framework. It’s a wine that can be enjoyed now, or it can be cellared through 2022.

2012 Pommard Les Vaumuriens Domaine Gabriel Billard

Domaine Gabriel Billard. You don’t hear much about this domaine, and we have been told that they have never submitted samples to any well-known publication or critic. What we do know is that it belongs to the family of former longtime Drouhin oenologist Laurence Jobard who runs the domaine along with her sister Mireille, and their production is absurdly low. As previously reported, despite the tiny production, there are some who believe the quality of 2012 red Burgundy has the potential to outshine famous vintages such as 2010, 2009, or 2005. Pommard’s Les Vaumuriensvineyard lays just west of the village bodering Volnay on one side and Pommard’s most famous Cru, Les Rugiens, on the other. Laurence’s daughter, Claudie Jobard is the winemaker now and she produced just 2 barrels of 2012 Pommard Les Vaumuriens! That’s just 50 cases … for the world! It’s a high-toned Pinot Noir with excellent balance and structure. Considering its scarcity and quality, this off-the-beaten-path domaine should be on the radar of Burgundy lovers everywhere. Drink from 2018-2029. –Peter Zavialoff

Reg. $129.98

On Sale $89.98

A Taste Of Burgundy – October 2014

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 9:24 PM


Basic 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.


2012 Meursault Les Grands Charrons Domaine Michel Bouzereau

It is Michel Bouzereau’s son, Jean-Baptiste who now makes the wine at this prestigious domaine in Meursault. The Les Grands Charrons vineyard is a lieu-dit along the same ridge just further north of the esteemed Les Charmes and Les Genèvrieres vineyards just to name a couple. 2012 was a tricky vintage in Burgundy for both the red and the white wines. Cold, wet conditions were the norm all spring, causing problems in the vineyards and delaying flowering. Alas, what little fruit there was benefited from a perfect July, August, and September. As the harvest approached, the evenings grew quite cool, preserving the acidity levels of the fruit. Outside of the reduced quantity of the 2012 vintage, Jean-Baptiste is quite pleased by the quality of his wines.Burghound’s Allen Meadows had this to say about Bouzereau’s 2012 Les Grands Charrons, “There is good precision and punch to the slightly bigger and richer middle weight flavors that terminate in a saline-inflected and agreeably dry finish.” We recommend drinking this from 2015-2025.

2012 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos du Château de la Maltroye

Château de la Maltroye’s Jean-Pierre Cornut calls 2012, “excellent, but tiny.” He says his wines are exceptionally fresh and well-balanced plus the terroir definition is superb. The Clos du Château vineyard is nestled up to the southern part of the village of Chassagne, with the château just above it. Burgundy authority, Clive Coates MW reports there are some who consider the potential of the 2012 reds to be superior to anything recent. That includes 2010, 2009, and 2005! It is just going to be a difficult task finding the wines, considering the tiny production. The normally conservative Allen Meadows gushed with praise of this wine, “There is a lovely sense of underlying tension to the detailed yet impressively rich medium weight flavors that possess plenty of tannin-buffering dry extract before culminating in a dusty and seriously complex finish. The balance is impeccable and there is so much mid-palate concentration that this will be approachable young, yet should amply reward up to a decade of cellaring.” Drink 2017-2027. – Peter Zavialoff


Thursday, October 3, 2013 7:03 PM

A great way to learn about Burgundy and its wines, and(even better) the perfect way to get a discount on two high quality bottles. Sign up now!


Click here to receive the Taste of Burgundy Sampler automatically every other month.


Basic 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 specify “store pickup” or “ship it” 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. 


2011 Meursault Les Grands Charrons Domaine Michel Bouzereau 
Now run by Michel’s son Jean-Baptiste, Domaine Michel Bouzereau has garnered the praise of Clive Coates MW, one of the world’s foremost authorities on Burgundy. Coates called it “The best of the Bouzereau cellars” (there are several), and declared it “A domaine to watch.” As evidenced by our direct importation of said wines, we agree wholeheartedly! The growing season began early, and ultimately Jean-Baptiste began the harvest in late August, assuring that the fruit was not overripe and had the proper acidity. He calls 2011 “A very pretty vintage that should age well.” The Grands Charrons vineyard is a large one, just west of the village. This wine has excellent aromas of citrus blossoms and minerals. Allen Meadows of Burghound said, “There is fine volume to the sappy and utterly delicious medium-bodied flavors that also possess good cut on the balanced finish.” If you’re planning on opening it soon, we suggest you decant, otherwise enjoy from 2015 on.


2010 Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Aux Champs-Perdrix
 Domaine Alain Michelot 

The tiny Premier Cru Champs-Perdrix vineyard is roughly .75 of a hectare! Domaine Alain Michelot’s vines comprise half of it, planted in 1937. The vineyard sits above the Premier Cru Chaignots on the Vosne-Romanée side of the village. Alain’s daughter Élodie has been in charge of the day to day operation of the domaine for several vintages now, and what fortunate timing for her to be at the helm for the two blockbuster vintages of 2009 and 2010. Just like her father Alain, she makes wine in the old school style with minimal racking and deft use of new barrel. Taking the family style into consideration, Élodie’s 2010 is a mere infant, made without compromise, suggesting a long life with proper cellaring. The wine possesses generous expressions of concentrated fruit, violets, and earthy minerals with a firm structure. Patience is the key here. This wine is best to be cellared and checked upon, maybe, in a decade. For the impatient: We suggest you decant it for at least 3 hours. – Peter Zavialoff

Pernot Belicard: 2010 Meursault

Monday, January 7, 2013 8:41 PM



The 2010 Meursault from Pernot Belicard is textbook Meursault, in my opinion. It has ripe peach fruit, a lemon citrus kick and a note of hazelnut on the finish that parlays into a super long honey aftertaste. Village-level Meursault is often faulted for being fat and anonymous, this Meursault from Pernot Belicard is quite the contrary. It has acidity and brightness tangled in with the fruit and it is big on personality. In our effort to scout out a broader selection of affordable quality Burgundy, Pernot Belicard became an obvious choice for TWH to import – which happened in short order soon after David visited them in the early part of 2012. The wines come with impeccable pedigree; winemaker Philippe Pernot is the grandson of our beloved Paul Pernot of Puligny Montrachet.


Philippe has worked for his grandfather for several harvests, but has now branched out on his own having the further good fortune of marrying into the Belicard family, a family of wine growers. Philippe has 5 hectares of vines in 9 different climats. The grapes for his village Meursault come from a single parcel of 65-70 year old vines in the lieu dit, or named vineyard, of Les Pelles Dessus. In the cellar, Philippe likes to use 4 different barrel coopers, finding favor in the variety of flavors that they bring to his wines. His barrels are all low toast. I point this out, well, because David had written this down in his tasting notes and it explains the light touch of oak present in his wines, especially the 2010 Meursault.


Much has been mentioned of my declaration that if I could, I would drink white Burgundy everyday. I am not distancing myself from that statement but let’s face it, I’m not in a position (yet) to afford it.The idea of white Burgundy evokes a luxuriousness for me that equates with fine dining in elegant surroundings. At $49.99 per bottle ($42.49 by the case) – with the 2010 Meursault from Pernot Belicard, affordable luxury can be attainable. The other night, my Italian-American mother-in-law reminisced about the Feast of the Seven Fishes in her youth. Most of her relatives were fisherman and at Christmas Eve the table was laden with crab, prawns, calamari, etc. Growing up in my Russian-American household, Christmas Eve dinner was also meatless, but the entrée was fish kotleti, aka fishburgers, with a mushroom sauce. What I wouldn’t do for a glass of nutty golden-hued Meursault to wash down those kotleti!

The other day I asked my daughter if she considered her behavior in general as Naughty or Nice, and whether she thought Santa Claus would be bringing her presents this year. Without hesitation she told me that she was fairly certain she had been better behaved this year than last and since Santa Claus did come last year, she’s pretty sure he’ll show up this year too. Now how can you argue with logic like that?!! To all of you, my sincerest wishes for a peaceful, laughter-filled and joyous Holiday Season, preferably all served up with a tasty glass of wine!Anya Balistreri

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