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. 

40 Novembers

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 5:11 PM

We Just Turned 40!!!


In November 1977, The Wine House was founded by John Carpenter at 535 Bryant Street in San Francisco.  Two locations and 40 years later, here we are at 829 26th Street in the city's Dogpatch neighborhood.  To say thank you to our customers for your patronage, and to help you celebrate with us, we're slashing prices on much of our inventory!



Deals abound in all corners of the shop!  There are some in-house specials to be found around our store, just look for the gold tags!  Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhône, Sauternes, Italy, and more! 
     

To whet your appetite ...

Having been around for an Anniversary Sale or two over the years, experience tells me there is demand for "everyday Burgundy."  What is "everyday Burgundy?"  That is a subjective question to be sure, so I will share what "everyday Burgundy" means to me.



An American friend of mine who once lived in London for a short time returned a changed man.  He regaled me with tales of wine tasting and fraternizing with members of the staff of his local Nicolas wine shop.  One point he was abundantly clear on was the importance of "everday wines."  As in, one doesn't need to splurge on a bottle for their Thursday night dinner.  Again, what is "everyday" to one isn't to another; so let's use the budget of $20 per bottle and under here.  Well, anybody who knows anything about Burgundy knows it isn't cheap.  Red Burgundy wines below the $20 price tag, firstly, are nearly impossible to find.  Secondly, they practically beg for scrutiny.  Right? 

"Hey look!  It's red Burgundy for less than $20!!"

"What's wrong with it?" - would be the usual response.

Some of the nuances which can cause this kind of bias would be that a wine is perceived as being too light, or too rustic, or not having much fruit, or maybe having a nervy acidity level.  If one tastes through a line of sub $20 red Burgundies, it is likely that you will come across all of those descriptors.  But again, "too light?" "too rustic?" - that's all subjective.  To be a good "everyday wine," most importantly, a wine needs to be balanced.  So we'll lead off our 40th Anniversary Sale with an everyday red Burgundy that is elegant, honest, and balanced.  The 2014 Rully La Chaume from Claudie Jobard - regularly $25.79, on sale for $17.95!!



If you've followed us over the past 5 years or so, you've probably heard of 
Claudie Jobard.    Her mother, Laurence was head oenologist at Maison Joseph Drouhin for 30 years.  Apples.  Trees.  Actually, her Mom and her aunt co-own the Pommard domaine, Gabriel Billard.  Guess who they entrust to make the wines there?  If you said Claudie, you'd be correct.  The Billard wines are great in their own right, but today's email is about "everyday Burgundy."  The appellation of Rully lies south of Burgundy's famous Côte d'Or in what is known as Côte Chalonnaise.  There's been a lot of investment over the past decade in this region, as some of Burgundy's famous domaines have been purchasing land there.  This is a good time to be interested in wines from this region as the quality is going up, up, up, yet the price remains in check.   Claudie's 2014 Rully La Chaume has classic, brambly Pinot Noir aromas:  blackberry thicket, a hint of strawberry, herbs, and forest floor.  The palate is bright, elegant, honest, and in harmony.  Just the right amount of fruit, with the right amount of acidity, dancing together with a fresh, elegant finish.  I mentioned above that sub $20 red Burgundy was nearly impossible to find.  I don't think I've ever enjoyed a sub $20 red Burgundy as much as I enjoy this one!  The bottle's been open for 3 hours now, and the wine is singing!  - Peter Zavialoff

       

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

Domaine Parent’s Exquisite Pommard

Monday, May 8, 2017 1:29 PM

Anne Parent visited The Wine House at the end of January along with her sister Catherine and our dear friend and colleague, Jeanne-Marie de Champs. It’s not often we welcome three influential and prominent players from Burgundy at the same time, let alone three women. The dynamic in our tasting room was turned on its head. Most often, I am the only female in the room, but this time I was in the majority. As you can see from my expression in the photo below, I was overjoyed to be in their company.



Jeanne-Marie, Anne, Anya and Catherine


Anne and Catherine represent the twelfth generation at their family’s estate. Anne makes the wine while Catherine handles the commercial side of the winery. Domaine Parent itself was founded in 1803 in the heart of Pommard, but the family can trace its winemaking heritage back to the beginning of the 17th century. In fact, in 1787 Etienne Parent established a friendship and working partnership with Thomas Jefferson. Etienne assisted Jefferson in navigating Burgundy while he resided in France and then later partnered with Jefferson to import wine to the US when Jefferson returned to Monticello. This tidbit of history delights me – probably more than it would have prior to the invasion of Hamilton An American Musical into my home sphere courtesy of my obsessed daughter. Nevertheless, I am fascinated by wine’s influence on culture and history.



Getting ready for TWH staff


We tasted a couple of vintages and a number of different crus from Domaine Parent’s holdings. The wines are at once robust and not shy of tannin, yet remain finesseful and polished on the palate. We tasted mostly 2013 and 2014, but when we got to the 2011, Anne declared that “people will rediscover 2011”. As so often happens, classic vintages can get lost after hyped, exceptional vintages, in this case 2009 and 2010. 2011’s in Burgundy did have their fair share of challenges, but as Anne is widely quoted and said to us, “there are no bad vintages, only bad winemakers”. 2011 was one in which sorting grapes was of the upmost importance. At Domaine Parent, they sort in the vineyard where they only hand-pick the grapes, then again at the winery, first on a vibrating sorting table and after by hand. This thrice sorting method assures quality grapes. At the Domaine, they farm organically and practice many of the tenants of biodynamic farming.



What a line-up!


I was reflecting on how wine is marketed as the perfect gift for Father’s Day, but not so much for Mother’s Day. Maybe it’s the company I keep or my own personal preference, but I can’t think of too many women who wouldn’t love to receive a special, luxurious bottle of Pinot Noir, like the Parent 2011 Pommard 1er Cru Les Chaponnières. Les Chaponnières sits just below Rugiens and Parent’s vines are 60+ years old. The wine is aged in barrel, of which approximately 30% to 40% is new. Parent’s Pommard shows typicity by way of its fullness and sturdy backbone and yet, Anne coaxes out a suppleness and balance that creates a wine which is harmonious on the palate.



Les Cadeaux


I’ve written this many times, TWH customers are the best. Come on in and I’ll share some stories about the many kind and interesting people I’ve met working here. A case in point, today a couple, who coincidentally share a surname with this Domaine I’m writing about today, came in bearing gifts from a trip they recently took to France. This generous gesture touched my heart, put a smile on my face and reminded me how lucky I am to be a part of this thing called the wine business. I’m thinking the anchovies can be added into a marinade for lamb that in turn should be mighty tasty with a glass of 2011 Pommard Les Chaponnières, n’est ce pas?– Anya Balistreri

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

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

Wonderwall Pinot Noir: A Super Bargain

Monday, February 13, 2017 11:45 AM


I am a bargain shopper. I love the hunt. In my personal life, I like to search on-line classifieds, scour local thrift and consignments stores and frequent estate sales. For me, it’s a sport. This need of mine to find the best deal also applies to my professional life. Nothing satisfies like when I find a wine I can say is a super bargain. These days it is harder and harder to find one from California, but we try and we do, which leads me to my wine pick of the week: 2015 Wonderwall Pinot Noir.




Wonderwall is a secondary label for Field Recordings’ Andrew Jones. Jones is a vine nursery fieldman who moonlights as a winemaker. He claims to have stood in almost every vineyard in the Central Coast. The guy knows the area and he knows vineyards. With Wonderwall, Jones focuses on Pinot Noir from cool climate sites. For his 2015 Pinot Noir, two vineyards were sourced for fruit: Spanish Springs and Jespersen. Spanish Springs is only 1.2 miles from the Pacific Ocean, just northeast from the seaside town of Pismo Beach. The vineyard is at 900 ft elevation with temperatures rarely exceeding 80 degrees. The proximity to the ocean keeps the vineyard cool and free of disease and its favorable south-facing slope ensures long, ripening hang time. You might recall that Evening Land Vineyards used Spanish Springs for their single-vineyard program a few vintages back, receiving high praise and scores for it. Jespersen is also in the Edna Valley AVA. It is four miles from the ocean and, like Spanish Springs, enjoys a long, cool growing season.




Partially de-stemmed, the 2015 Wonderwall Pinot Noir was aged for 7 months in 100% French oak; only 15% of it new. I was struck by its joyous cherry fruit flavors and subtle notes of baking spice and brown sugar. The tannins are rather soft, so the structure suggests drinking this one in the near term. At $17.98 a bottle, the whole point is to drink and enjoy it right now! There is a similarly priced Pinot Noir out in the market that begins with “M” and ends in “i” that is wildly popular. This wine has a production of a quarter million cases. Now I’m not suggesting that wine can’t be any good, but consider the difference between making a few barrels of wine versus nearly a million cases! It’s like trying to make an intricate dish for 200 people instead of 4; something gets lost in the scaling up whether it is the execution, the ingredients or both.




I don’t normally comment on labels, but I have to this time. I think in some instances, customers have purchased a bottle of 2015 Wonderwall Pinot Noir solely for the label only to return a few days later because of its contents. The label has a famous photograph of the Surrealist painter Salvador Dalí holding his pet ocelot, Babou, on it. I admire Dalí’s work, I even have a signed lithograph of one his paintings hanging on my wall that I earned selling art back in high school – now that’s a whole other story! Overall, this is a delicious wine in a whimsical package made by a talented winemaker using excellent fruit for well under $20. A super bargain!– Anya Balistreri

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

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


Whew! It’s been quite a week. Returning to work after a two week break always comes with a readjustment period, but what happens when two days into that period, Jeanne-Marie de Champs from Domaines et Saveurs in Beaune comes to town? Burgundy. We open bottles of Burgundy. And other wines too. Each time Jeanne-Marie has visited us over the years, she fills us in on the goings on around Burgundy (and other French viticultural areas). We are always interested in her updates and introductions to the wines and the producers she represents. Then come the wines themselves. Usually, when David takes Jeanne-Marie out to visit wholesale accounts, he grabs 6 to 9 sample bottles to open and pour. Sometimes 6, sometimes 9.This year’s visit was different. There were over 20 sample bottles of Burgundy opened on Wednesday and Thursday, and they all made their way back to TWH for a staff tasting. I’ve never been to a La Paulée tasting, but I imagined that what we were doing was very much in line with the spirit of those fancy Burgundy tastings. You know, comparing the different Premier Cru Chassagne-Montrachets, or different vintages of Premier Cru Morey-Saint-Denis. This pretty much never happens, so we made the most of it, and tasted some mighty fine wines in the process!

 
Tasting flight #2 of 3 – Thursday, 6 October

 

We tasted several wines from producers such as Paul Pernot, Stéphane Magnien, Pernot-Belicard, Claudie Jobard, Sylvain Langoureau, and Château de la Maltroye. So if you have any questions about those producers and their new releases, please feel free to ask any of us! As we tasted through them, the wines went from strength to strength; at every price point. Yet before the exact prices were known to us, one red wine stood out for its aromatic expression, firm structure, and balance: The 2014 Bourgogne Pinot Noir from Château de la Maltroye.It held its own while being tasted with a group of Premier Crus, and we had a ballpark idea of what price range it was in, but when we looked up the exact price, we knew 20 cases wasn’t going to be enough.

 
Jeanne-Marie at the trade tasting
 
It was during flight #3 that we finally got around to tasting the Maltroye Bourgogne, so my palate had already gone back and forth between reds and whites a couple of times, yet I still prefer to taste red wines first if there are whites to be tasted also. So I got to it before my colleagues, and it had me at first whiff. Dark, brambly, red and black berry fruit, a hint of cola spice, and forest floor waft from the glass. “My kind of wine,” I thought. Then I tasted it. Very nice. The entry is bright and lively, the fruit enters and expands on the palate, the structure is medium bodied with healthy acidity and fine tannins. The finish is all in harmony and long lasting. It’s a Bourgogne that is long on character, and it’s less than $30 per bottle. Actually, by the case, it’s less than $23! I grabbed the bottle and held it up for the others, “This one right here; Wow!” That’s all I had to say. A few minutes later, Anya, Chris, and Christian tasted it as well, and we were all in agreement; we had a sub $30 red Burgundy that is underpriced. 20 cases is not going to be enough. You may want to act sooner than later on this one.
 
What a week, indeed! I awoke Monday morning, predawn, in a hotel in Ljubljana. Three flights later, I was back in San Francisco at 5:30PM PDT. My goal was to stay up until at least 9:00PM to get my body clock back in synch with Pacific Time. Mission accomplished. My trip to Slovenia was fantastic in so many ways. The natural beauty of the country and the outdoorsy spirit of its natives proved to be infectious. The wine culture is strong, vibrant, historic, and thriving. Each producer whom I visited, in addition to their main wines, had some kind of experimental project going on. Whether through extended skin contact, under water fermentation, or making a sparkling version of each of their still wines, they all displayed a bit of playfulness which brings me back to a quote uttered by a California winemaker during my first week on the job, “Don’t take wine too seriously. It’s for joy!” There’s a lot of joy to be had with the 2014 Bourgogne Pinot Noir from Château de la Maltroye.– Peter Zavialoff
 
Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about this week’s Burgundy tastings, Slovenia, Bordeaux, or English Football: peter@wineSF.com

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

True Extreme Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir – Fort Ross

Tuesday, September 6, 2016 8:09 PM

 
 
Fort Ross Vineyard & Winery
 
 
Back in the early years at TWH’s tenure on Carolina Street, a woman with long black curly hair walked in to our store, introduced herself and proceeded to ask a lot of questions about our business – who we were and what we did. Her South African accent beckoned John Carpenter out of his office, who before opening The Wine House had lived and taught for two years in Johannesberg during the early 70’s. They hit it off right away as this woman, Linda, was a whirlwind of energy with many interests. The upshot of the encounter was that Linda and her husband had planted a vineyard and were planning to make wine. She promised to come back to the store when they finally had it bottled.
 
all photos courtesy of the winery
 
This Linda that we met at The Wine House turned out to be Linda Schwartz of Fort Ross Vineyard and Winery, who with her husband Lester, purchased 976 acres of coastal land just north of where the Russian River meets the Pacific Ocean in 1988. Rather than hire people out to do the work, the Schwartz’s decided to become the experts themselves. Linda enrolled in viticulture courses and soon discovered yet another talent. In 1991 they began the first stages of their vineyard project by planting a test vineyard with an assortment of various trellis systems, varietals, clones and rootstocks, to learn what grew best in this extremely cool/high elevation climate. By 1994 they knew they needed to plant Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and then took the next 10 years to plant nearly 55 acres.
 
 
Though Linda and Lester are involved in all aspects of the winery, to help them with the arduous task of making wine from this challenging terrain, they hired a winemaker. In 2009 they met and hired renowned winemaker Jeff Pisoni. This collaboration has propelled the winery further towards excellence as the latest releases from Fort Ross are stunning and quite frankly, right up my alley as far as domestic Pinot Noir is concerned. For my taste, the fruit is present and deep, but notably restrained vis á vis most Sonoma Pinot Noirs and the structure is firm yet silky. It all comes down to the vineyard, and there is little doubt that the one the Lesters planted is quite exceptional. Fort Ross Vineyard lies at elevations between 1200 to 1700 feet and is said to be the closest to the Pacific Ocean; about a mile away as the crow flies. Anyone who has ever driven along Highway 1 in these parts knows how blustery and cold it can be even when temperatures are spiking 10 miles inland. The vineyard pops up above the fog line and is able to produce ripe grapes despite the coastal weather.
 
 
There are two wines from Fort Ross that we’re offering: 2013 Pinot Noir Sea Slopes and 2012 Pinot Noir Symposium. The Sea Slopes is blended for earlier release from various clonal selections and is aged in 100% French Oak of which only 10% is new. The grapes are hand-harvested at night before the pre-dawn light. A colleague of mine worked harvest at Fort Ross last year. He told me they picked in the dark with lights on their heads, just like a miner, from 2 to 9 am picking bunch by bunch…back breaking work! The Symposium is a darker, more brooding wine, with pronounced black fruit flavors and warm spice notes. The kicker here is the inclusion of 4% Pinotage. I don’t believe anyone could actually pull out flavors of Pinotage from the wine, but clearly it adds something to it.
 
 

The long Holiday weekend will find me enjoying family time not too far away from Fort Ross Vineyard & Winery up at the family dacha. September is my favorite time of year at the beach on the River; the riff raff is mostly gone and the sun’s rays are more golden and gently warming. The Redwoods have begun to drop their needles and our heritage pear tree is ready to ripen all at once. According to my Instagram feed, grape harvest is in full swing all over California. Fort Ross is probably getting close, but out along the coast, harvest comes mid to late September. There is a lot of excitement out there as winemakers are thankful for August’s cooler than usual yet sunny days. Here’s to their good and successful labor!– Anya Balistreri

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

Back In Stock – 2012 Pinot Noir From The Ehrharts

Saturday, March 26, 2016 7:11 PM


2012 Domaine St. Rémy Rosenberg Pinot Noir

Every now and then we receive inquiries from customers regarding our stocks of particular wines. Most customers that do ask us about quantities ask because they like a particular wine and don’t want it to sell out before securing a few bottles/cases for their own consumption. So when the answer to the quantity question is greater than 10 cases, most customers feel relieved andassume that the wine will still be in stock the next time they visit us. As with all rules, there have been exceptions that have made us scratch our heads.
 
 
Back in the summer of 2010, as we rolled out the 2009 Bordeaux futures, a customer came into the shopinquiring about an inexpensive Haut-Médoc wine that was one of those great bargains from a super vintage. When we told him that we had 130 bottles left,he left promising to return the following week and put together a futures order. That very same day, we received a phone call from another customer asking about futures. One can never predict what might occur, we told him about a few of our favorites, and he listened attentively, and said that he would call back before the end of the day with an order after doing a little further research. He called back and, get this, ordered 120 bottles of said Haut-Médoc wine! Wow. When the first customer returned the following week, he was disappointed that he couldn’t get a solid case, but he did buy the rest. We learned a valuable lesson. If we want a wine for ourselves and it’s here, buy it now or else that could happen to us.
 
 
So last summer, our friends Corinne and Philippe Ehrhart began exporting their Rosenberg Pinot Noir. It is everything non-Burgundian French Pinot Noir should be.Expressive aromas of berries and herbs with a good mineral representation. On the palate, it’s medium bodied, and shows off its layers of sensation in an elegant fashion. It’s a delectable wine that you can drink on its own, but its real home run potential is at the table. Mmmmm. I can imagine a fine rotisserie chicken with Herbs de Provençe and a glass of the 2012 Domaine St. Rémy Pinot Noir. That’ll transport you to France in a heartbeat! We were swooning over this wine last year, Anya even penned a great email praising the Ehrharts and their Rosenberg Pinot Noir. We beganrecommending it to customers whom we knew would appreciate it. “We just got it, so it should be around for a while,” was the foolish answer I gave to a couple of customers who liked it enough to inquire about quantities. Little did I know that there was a big fish out there and it was thirsty for Alsatian Pinot Noir, the 2012 St. Rémy Rosenberg Pinot Noir that is. The big fish was a big event for thousands of people andthey would need it all. Like a whole pallet of it. So, poof! Just like that, no more St. Rémy Pinot Noir. Those customers whom I assured the wine would still be in stock when they returned were disappointed, but luckily weren’t cross with me. No one saw the big fish coming. Moral of the story is that every time going forward that someone asks me about current inventory, they are regaled with these two stories.
 
 
The good news is that the 2012 Domaine St. Rémy (formerly known as Domaine Ehrhart) Rosenberg Pinot Noir is back in stock and drinking beautifully.This is great for all of us as it out-drinks its price point by several degrees. It’s a great one to bring to friends’ houses – one taste and they think you’ve splurged, when you know that it was only a modest sum that was spent. There are a few rows of stacked boxes of the Rosenberg Pinot Noir now in our warehouse, and it should stay in stock for much of the spring season, but, but, but; well, you know. – Peter Zavialoff
Passetoutgrain is a regional appellation in Burgundy. It covers a large area, nearly 2000 acres, and the wine must be at least 30% Pinot Noir and have a minimum of 15% Gamay. So, how come so few know about or drink Passetoutgrain? For the most part, Passetoutgrain has lost favor, particularly in villages that command high dollars. In these places most producers have replanted Gamay with Pinot Noir. This makes economic sense, but as a result some of the cultural history of Burgundy is lost.Passetoutgrain occupies a useful category as it provides an affordable option for locals to drink and it can be poured at domaines while their age-worthy wines are being cellared. You won’t find anyone mistaking Passetoutgrain for Grand Cru, but if you are looking to rub shoulders with Burgundy without mortgaging your home, Passetoutgrain is a viable way to go.
 
 
All this background is to emphasize my delight when I discovered bottles of Domaine Françoise Lamarche’s 2013 Bourgogne Passetoutgrain in our wood box stacks. I didn’t even know Lamarche made a Passetoutgrain, let alone that TWH was carrying it! Chock it up to working here part-time. At any rate, I couldn’t wait to taste it! It’s a delicious blend of 50/50 Pinot Noir and Gamay that spends some time in neutral barrel. The production is tiny and comes, according to The Queen of Burgundy, Jeanne Marie de Champs, from a vineyard “on the low part of Vosne Romanée”. It’s pretty polished for this type of wine withloads of cranberry, tart cherry and flavorful spice notes. Put in the context of Pinot Noir from anywhere, I’d sayLamarche’s Passetoutgrain will appeal to those who prefer old-world Pinot Noir. It is light and delicate but with enough fruit to keep one’s interest.
 
Burghound’s Allen Meadows wrote this about Lamarche’s 2013 Passetoutgrain:
“The exuberant nose of very fresh red berry fruit aromas displays notes of spice and pepper. There is a surprisingly silky mouth feel for a PTG and while there is a touch of rusticity on the finish the overall impression is unusually refined.”
 
 
The history of Domaine François Lamarche reads like a novel. The family has been making wine for several generations and can trace their roots in the village of Vosne-Romanée back to 1740. Their vineyard holdings are impressive and include the Grand Cru, La Grande Rue,which is sandwiched between La Tâche on one side and La Romanée and Romanée-Conti on the other. Today, Nicole Lamarche is making the wines, having taken over from her father in 2006. With Nicole at the helm, vineyard practices have changed to biodynamic cultivation, new barrel regiments have been employed using less new oak and the winery has been updated to modern standards. Drinking a glass of Lamarche’s Passetoutgrain gives me that chic hi-lo vibe, like wearing a designer gown under a leather motorcycle jacket. It’s not a Cru, but it is incredibly enjoyable nonetheless – I am drinking Burgundy and spent less than $25 – what a deal!
 
 
 
Basketball, basketball, basketball. From NCAA to the Warriors to the last game of my daughter’s CYO league,March has been mostly about Basketball…and Burgundy! My daughter has never played on an organized sports team before this season. It was entirely her choice to play basketball and though not a “sporty” girl, she loved the whole experience! Her team made it to the first round of play-offs. It was a tough battle. She played in the 2nd quarter, caught a rebound, turned to shoot and was fouled.Her first trip to the free throw line and she made it in! Her first score of the season! Her team lost the game, there were tears for a hard fought game, but my daughter….well she ran off the court with the biggest smile imaginable, shouting “Did you see it? Did you see it?” I sure did and it was great! – 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

2013 Marsannay From Domaine Bart

Tuesday, February 9, 2016 1:57 PM


Burgundy Bonanza!!!
Domaine Bart
 

Martin Bart and his nephew Pierre have made truly inspired 2013s. They take a back seat to no recent vintage. Bart makes nine, count ’em, nine, different Marsannays. Normally I buy two or three of my favorites, feeling that there’s no reason to confuse everyone. In 2013 I bought eight of the nine. They’re all fabulous, in their own way, and if you value terroir in your Burgundy,you’ll be thrilled by any of them.

They’re all slightly different, each parcel with varying degrees of calcaire, clay, marl, and each with slightly different expositions, varying degrees of stems retained in the wine, very small variations in the amount of new oak (none have more than a third, most less than that), but all are farmed in the same manner, all are fermented using only natural yeasts, and all are bottled without fining or filtration. Several are micro cuvées – the Les Saint Jacques, for instance, was three barrels – 75 cases for the world. The Clos du Roy, just two.

Below are my tasting notes from my visit at Domaine Bart in November 2014, just before the wines were to be bottled. First, the Marsannays:



13ouzeloyOuzeloy – significantly more concentrated than Finottes, lots of black cherry, deep sandy soil, 15% new oak. This sure bodes well for the group. *
longeroies13

 

 

Longeroies – calcaire, marl, gently sloping parcel; intense fragrance, delicious, structured, very nice sweetness *+

 

13montagneMontagne – more rocky soil, nearly south facing slope, similar profile to Longerois, with maybe just a touch more plump middle. *+

13echezots

 

 

Echezots – more limestone on this parcel; good acidity, a bit closed down at first, but with air it sings. Both red and black fruits, very complex already. *(*)

 

13stjacquesSt. Jacques – 3 barrels; 1 new. Bigger scaled than all the others before it; needs time, but all the parts are there. This is serious wine. *(*)

13grvignes

 

 

Grandes Vignes – 20% whole clusters. Yes, it is “grand.” very concentrated, structured, deep, long, lots of black fruit and spice.**

 

13closroyClos du Roy – 50+ year old vines. same soil composition as Bonnes Mares – mainly calcaire 50% whole clusters. A step up, even from the St. Jacques and Grandes Vignes. This reminds me of 1er Cru Gevrey Chambertin; would love to sneak this into a Gevrey tasting.**

13salomon

 

Champs Salomon – Also 50+ yrs old. This has even more grip. That’s why he poured it after the Clos du Roy. Again, layers of dark fruit, with plenty of structure. The richest wine of the group. *(*)

These have the structure along the lines of 2005 or 2010. An incredibly impressive lineup.

 

Then, we have the glorious Grand Crus. These two vineyards came to Domaine Bart, as did much of their Marsannay, from the dissolution of the once-venerable Clair-Daü estate in the 1980’s. We get miniscule quantities of these, and they are worth seeking out!

13closbezeChambertin Clos du Bèze –5 barrels made from 1/2 ha. 40% stems, but impossible to tell. Incredible perfume – violets, black fruits, spice, and it’s plush and seamless on the palate. I could just smell this all day. Dense, but with no rough edges. Oh la la! ***

13bonnemares

Bonnes Mares – 10 barrels. Bart’s parcels are next to those of Comte de Vogüe. Bigger structure than the Clos de Bèze, quite a powerful wine. Gorgeous fruit quality that lasts and lasts, with a stony/mineral note; long, intense, so expressive. Wow. ***

These two wines will age effortlessly for two decades. Both are absolutely worth the price, and really, they’re bargains when compared with similar Grand Crus from other producers. Both are extremely limited. – David Netzer

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