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


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

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



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

Paul Pernot’s 2010 Bourgogne Blanc

Monday, January 9, 2012 8:03 PM

Happy 2012! I hope everyone had a happy, safe holiday season, creating more great memories with loved ones. Mine have gone well, I spent some quality time with family and friends and tasted some pretty interesting wines in the process. After living vicariously through many of you, I’ve finally rung in crab season … with vigor! I’ve had this conversation with many a customer, because I’m not alone here, but it just seems logical that one would drink more red wine (room temperature) in the winter than chilled white wine. For me, again, it’s just the opposite. Though I enjoy seafood all year, it seems I eat more of it in the winter time. That’s going to pop the cork on a few bottles of white wine right there. So if crab season has just recently begun, I look forward to enjoying more of those delectable crustaceans for months to come. What to drink? Among staff here at TWH, the answer is simple. White Burgundy. I’ve heard Anya say it more than once, “If I were rich, I’d drink White Burgundy EVERY Day.” So would I. Grand Cru and Premier Cru White Burgundy is expensive. It’s delicious, but expensive. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a way. What if I told you we have a Bourgogne Blanc made by a famous producer of Puligny-Montrachet that is made from fruit sourced from in and around Puligny near the Meursault border, and it sells for $20.82 by the case? Imagine. White Burgundy.

Chances are, if you’ve read our emails with any regularity, you would be familiar with the name Paul Pernot. Sure, we like to write about Pernot and his wines. They’re that special. His following is huge. White Burgundy lovers clamor over his Grand Cru and Premier Cru Puligny-Montrachets year after year. We get small allocations, but the wines are snapped up quickly every year. All of the wines. Pernot’s Bourgogne Blanc is quite the popular low $20’s quaffer ’round these parts, as it sells out the quickest. All that yummy Chardonnay goodness, crunchy orchard fruit, citrus blossom, a kiss of deftly used oak spice, and lively acidity. In 2010, the wine is rich, yet crisp and lively. There is mineral woven into the fruit profile, and the finish is long and harmonious. It walks like Puligny-Montrachet. It talks like Puligny-Montrachet. It says Bourgogne Chardonnay on the label. We don’t care, as long as that keeps the price nice. There’s plenty of crab season to go; but mind you, Pernot’s Bourgogne goes well with so much more. It shines with any crustacean you toss at it. It pairs great with chicken, especially a rotisserie chicken with fresh thyme. Halibut, sea bass, trout, and it makes a great partner with a slow roasted pork roast. $20.82 per bottle by the case.We apologize in advance if the wine sells out again. It will.

So off we go, headstrong into 2012. I’m optimistic, though my football club has hit a rough patch. It is a year of transition, as much will change soon. But I’m optimistic. I see plenty of good things coming down the pipeline already. I’ll be in LA tasting the 2009 Bordeaux vintage out of bottle in less than a fortnight. A virtual swath of concerts featuring many old favorites and a couple of new acts await my attendance in the next month and a half. And I will make good on a few resolutions:

#1 Taste more wine from places outside France. (This will be tough, knowing what my friends have in their cellars.)

#2 Open more bottles at the bar at Picco on Monday nights. (If I can get in, they’ve been getting slammed lately.)

#3 Blog more. (Er, okay, just blog.)

#4 Visit Mom more often. (Though Sis and I did well in 2011!)

#5 Allow for the serendipitous. (How will the gods find you if you don’t let them?)

#6 Brevity. (I could go on and on.)

Happy 2012! – Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments on 2012, White Burgundy, or English Football:

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