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Domaine des Buissonnes’ Sancerre is precisely why Sancerre is so beloved and has such far reaching popularity; the flavors are refreshing, crisp and persistent. Grower and winemakerDominique Naudet is a meticulous farmer. His Sancerre is always lush on the aromatics without compromising that charged Sauvignon Blanc attack. The 2013 is particularly compelling with its focused and precise flavors; compact and clean. You will immediately be greeted by aromas of gooseberry and passionfruit. On the palate it’s got citrus and cut grass freshness, but by no means is it “grassy”.
 
 
At the end of April, Jeanne-Marie de Champs, who represents many of the producers The Wine House imports, and comes to SF bi-annually to visit us,held court in our new conference room sharing with TWH staff a line-up of newly arrived winesoff of our last container. Though Jeanne-Marie works from Beaune in the heart of Burgundy, she is originally from Loire. When Jeanne-Marie is in town, I try to take these opportunities to ask as many questions as possible about each domaine, especially ones like Buissonnes that leaves no marketing or social media footprint. It is as if they don’t exist, other than the fact that our clients clamor for it as if it were the only Sancerre on the market.
 
Jeanne-Marie showing Peter the line-up
 
Jeanne-Marie explained that typical of the region,Domaine des Buissonnes owns several parcels around Sancerre, not just one contiguous vineyard. This is by design as the region is often devastated by hail, and owning vines in various places helps to insure a crop. Dominique Naudet owns about 20 hectares of vines and the winery itself is in Sury-en-Vaux just north of the town of Sancerre. Vinification occurs in stainless steelhowever to draw out aromatics and give a rounded mouthfeel, the wine sits long on the lees.
 
JM Holding Court
 
In an article about Sancerre’s popularity, a wine director for a high profile New York restaurant confessed that he won’t offer Sancerre by the glass because if he did it would make it nearlyimpossible to sell another white by the glass, thus destroying his by-the-glass program. Just some food for thought. Despite the popularity, I would caution that not all Sancerre is made equally.The family-run estate of Domaine des Buissonnes can only survive if it delivers quality, which is does vintage after vintage.
 
At a small town farmer’s market this past week I purchased some sweet, young Spring onions that would be perfect to grill, drizzle with a light vinaigrette and then crumbled over with fresh goat cheese – you know where I am going with this?– to serve with a chilled glass of 2013 Domaine des Buissonnes Sancerre. Now, doesn’t that sound lovely?
 

2011 Domaine Michel Bouzereau Bourgogne Blanc: The Secret

Saturday, October 12, 2013 12:22 AM

Fresh off the heels of a visit by negociante Jeanne-Marie De Champs, TWH staff is abuzz with recent memories of tasting Burgundy. That’s right, Burgundy. Red and white. We get excited about stuff like this because Jeanne-Marie doesn’t visit often. Make that often enough. At the end of the day, when we divvy up the samples, it’s always refreshing knowing that even if one doesn’t have the first or second pick, there will still be Burgundy on the dinner table that night. Yesterday was one of those rare days when all of us were here in the shop (maybe we were all secretly thinking that there would be more Burgundy to taste) and the post-Burgundy banter was constant. Stefan came up with an idea to feature a six bottle sampler, or one staff pick from each of us. As this idea was in its infancy, Chris immediately seized the opportunity to exclaim, “Bourgogne Blanc from Bouzereau. That’s my pick.” Truth be told, that is everyone’s pick. The generic moniker “Bourgogne” says little about what is inside a bottle of 2011 Domaine Michel Bouzereau et Fils Bourgogne Blanc! 

 

 

It has been reported here a few times that Domaine Michel Bouzereau et Fils is located in Meursault. David had been tasting (now) winemaker Jean-Baptiste Bouzereau’s wines for several vintages before finally pulling the trigger on the entire line from the 2008 vintage. No doubt, Jean-Baptiste’s Premier Crus and village wines are special treats, but it’s his Bourgogne that has been consistently turning the heads and wagging the tails of our staff. The 2009 version was included in our Top Ten Wines of 2011! Every year it delivers and delivers, yet doesn’t take and take from your wallet. Chris declared it his staff pick most likely because he thought if he didn’t speak up at that moment, someone else would attach their name to the 2011 Bourgogne Blanc. I once overheard a well seasoned wine professional say to another that Chris’ palate “is on par with the upper half of San Francisco somms.” Ultimately, because it is everyone’s pick, nobody got to put their name on it, and the inspiration for this write-up was born.

 

So here we were; the work day was nearing an end, and there was Jeanne-Marie and 10 or so open bottles. While tasting through the range, Jeanne-Marie regaled us with information about the producers, the vineyards, and vintages. In regard to the Bouzereau Bourgogne Blanc, Jeanne-Marie informed us that the fruit came from vineyards in and around Meursault. This caused Anya to speak up. “When I taste this wine, I feel like I’m tasting a secret. Seriously, it says ‘Bourgogne’, but it tastes like something more fancy. Dare I say like Meursault?” To reiterate, for a Bourgogne, this IS fancy. It shows dazzling aromas of citrus blossom, mineral, and just a hint of spice. The palate is fresh and vibrant, with lively acidity propping up the complex flavor profile. All this is delivered home with a long, crisp finish; citrus, minerals, and spice.

Allen Meadows of Burghound had this to say, “An exceptionally fresh and pretty nose features notes of fennel, white flowers and citrus. There is a fine sense of energy and detail to the delicious middle weight flavors that possess good cut and fine drive on the saline-infused finish. This is an excellent example of the appellation that could be enjoyed now or aged for a few years to good effect. One to buy by the case.”

So it was Burgundy that was in the air this week here at TWH. We haven’t forgotten about our petits chateau or “value Bordeaux” selections. In fact, a little birdie tells me you will be hearing about another one soon. In the mean time, if you love Chardonnay, yet find Village White Burgundy too pricey, you owe it to yourself to give the 2011 Bourgogne Blanc from Domaine Michel Bouzereau a shot. What, with crab season on the horizon, this wine is a no brainer. We bought a good chunk of it from 2011, so it’s not going to sell out this week, but don’t wait too long, because it will. It always does. – Peter Zavialoff

* Above photo of Jeanne-Marie and Jean Baptiste from University Wines (uwineseattle.com)

2011 Michel-Andreotti Montagny “Les Guignottes”

Tuesday, September 18, 2012 6:50 PM



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September has been an exciting month here at TWH! A jam-packed container from France (seriously jam-packed) landed recently, and it was loaded with some great wines. You will be hearing all about these wines in the coming weeks, as there are so many top quality bottlings to choose from. I mentioned one of mySuper Sleeper, Budget-Friendly Bordeaux Discoveries earlier this week; if you haven’t taken advantage of the great deal on 2009 Château Clauzet, you should sooner than later. I have it mind to unveil yet another S.S.B.F.B.D. next week, and it is every bit as good a deal as the Clauzet. Ah, but that’s next week. For tonight’s email, I’m resorting to plucking off the low hanging fruit once again. In the Clauzet write-up I mentioned that we received a new vintage of a White Burgundy that sold out in what seemed like a week this past spring. I don’t know how long we’ll have it in stock, but as of right now, the 2011 Michel-Andreotti Montagny les Guignottes is available!


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In January 2011, David was in Burgundy tasting with negociante Jeanne-Marie De Champs. As is always the case, he tastes the new vintage from the many producers that we here at TWH have been importing for years. But that’s just part of the job. Since we are direct importers, it’s important to keep an eye out for new producers too, as the deals to be found can be a boon to all involved … especially for you, the consumers! One wine that made him do a double-take last year was the 2010 Michel-Andreotti Montagny les Guignottes. It wowed all of us and so many of you that it sold out in a week … actually it was three weeks, but it sure seemed like one. The 2011 version was just released and we put our order in earlybecause we know the demand for sub $20 White Burgundy is a force strong enough to separate a Grizzly Bear from a steak sandwich. Putting that order in early sure paid off, because it was on the new container too!


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After the container’s arrival, we waited until the day when all of us were here in the shop to taste some of the new wines. The first wine on everybody’s list? The 2011 Montagny, of course. I popped a bottle in the cold box at around 3:30pm, figuring that it would have the proper chill right around closing time … when the spitting rule changes from mandatory to optional. Usually when a workday ends, someone takes the ball and runs the end of day reports, just to get a head start on the journey home. Not this day. Not with the 2011 Michel-Andreotti Montagny on the tasting table. We were a sight to behold – a bunch of wine geeks silently swirling and taking in the aromatics of the new wine. Ding! Ding! Another winner! The aromas are fresh and clean, fleshy pear-like fruit, citrus blossoms, stony minerals, and a hint of spice. Then we all took a sip; the palate is crisp and lively, the acidity seamlessly holds hands with the luscious fruit. The harmony persists throughout a perfectly balanced finish. For the price it doesn’t get much better than this. A check of the spit buckets, and as expected, no need to dump them. A look around the tasting table? Nothing but smiles. So there you have it, the 2011 vintage is another winner for the Michel-Andreotti Montagny les Guignottdes

 

As I was typing this, I overheard Anya proclaim, “Oh wow! It’s already the 15th! How’d that happen?” Tom then reminded us that we’ve got one week of summer left. Oh well, that’s how it goes. Footy season is back, and the Champions’ League starts back up on Tuesday (Wednesday for the reigning European Champions). We’ve got two Wilco shows coming up next weekend, and the odds are good that there will be post-season baseball in the Bay Area this October (touch wood). The change of season is coming, could crab season be far behind? Well, when it arrives, I don’t know about you, but I’m going to want to pour some White Burgundy along side it. Taking the aforementioned entertainment expenses into consideration, the 2011 Michel-Andreotti Montagny les Guignottes is the ticket! Taking no chances, I’m stocking up now. – Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about the new container, S.S.B.F.B.D.’s, White Burgundy, or the reigning European Champions: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

Dinner At RN74 With Jeanne-Marie de Champs

Monday, October 11, 2010 1:49 PM

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Greetings. Exciting news! From Domaines et Saveurs in Beaune, negociante Jeanne-Marie de Champs will be in town Monday, October 11 for a special dinner at restaurant RN74! 

The litany of different wines that we have imported over the years that are sourced by Jeanne-Marie is so numerous that we don’t have time nor space to list them individually. However, just so you know, here are a handful or so: Chateau Couronneau, the Burgundies from Paul Pernot, Sancerre from Philippe Raimbault, the White and Red Burgundies from Chateau de la Maltroye, and our new discovery, the Cru Beaujolais from Chateau de Raousset.

 

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In conjunction with San Francisco’s celebrated restaurant RN74, we will be having a dinner with Jeanne-Marie next Monday, October 11. You are all invited to join us, as it will surely be a memorable occasion! On the docket, the Arlaux BrutChampagne will be poured, along with the dry Vouvray “Silex” from Domaine d’Orfeuilles, then a fine Meursault fromDomaine Michel Bouzereau, and topping it off with the 2007 Echezeaux (I just love typing that word!) from Domaine Lamarche! 

Talk about an impressive lineup! Keep in mind, there may be some other selections available, however, at the time of this writing, we have no idea if and what there will be. What we do know is RN74 is a happening restaurant with impeccable food, service, and ambiance. It will be our pleasure to see you all there next Monday!

Here’s how to get in on the action: RN74 is quarterbacking the whole event. Please contact the restaurant directly to make reservations. Their phone number is: 415.543.7474. You may also reserve your space using Open Table. VERY IMPORTANT!!! When making your reservation, either way, please BE SURE TO INFORM THEM that you want to be part of the “Monday Winemaker Dinner”. THAT IS THE ONLY WAY TO BE INCLUDED! They begin serving at 5:30 PM, you are welcome to make your reservation for whichever time may be convenient for you. You will be free to order the prix fixe dinner or anything a la carte from their menu. You will also be free to order any of the wines presented for the dinner, either individually, or as a flight, as well as anything else that the restaurant is offering. The cost of the event? It all depends on what you order. Please refer to RN74’s menu for hints as to what it may cost.

 

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This is our first winemaker dinner with RN74! We’re looking forward to it, BIG TIME! Come join us, it promises to be one special evening.

PS:  Look for a future “Winemaker Dinner” at RN74 sometime in 2011, with Aline Baly and her wines from Chateau Coutet!

Please direct any inquiries to RN74: 415.543.7474. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have as well. Please feel free to contact me at 415.355.9463 or at: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net. – Peter Zavialoff

Sylvain Langoureau: 2008 Hautes Cotes de Beaune Rouge

Monday, September 13, 2010 9:33 PM

Okay, this is really unusual. It’s Saturday afternoon. It’s 82 degrees in San Francisco. One of the very few walk-in customers we’ve had today said something about going to the beach. As I type, the San Francisco Giants are tied for first place. The Chelsea Blues actually conceded a goal for the first time this season. My foremost Bordeaux tasting buddy came in today asking about a red Burgundy; and two of my dearest friends, just back from a cycling trip through Burgundy, have invited me for dinner tonight … provided I bring over some red Burgundy. So, as much as I like to drink and write about Bordeaux, it looks like all signs are pointing to Burgundy these days. But Burgundy’s expensive, right? Not today, Pete.

 

It happens a lot. Customers come in looking for Pinot Noir. Wanting to try something Old Worldly, often they inquire about Burgundy. Then comes the infamous question, “Do you have any red Burgundy under twenty dollars?”Usually, the answer is no. Usually, the answer is not even close. But usually seems to be out this week. Hats off to David for uncovering yet another gem from a tasting trip through France earlier this year! Another gem indeed; and this one comes in under twenty!

 Stopping off at the offices of negociante Jeanne-Marie de Champs several months ago (more on her later), our illustrious leader tasted some head turning wines from several producers new to us here at TWH. We’ll tell you about some of the others soon enough, but we’ve got to let you in on the biggest secretin red Burgundy to come this way in a long while now! The 2008 Bourgogne-Hautes-Cotes-de-Beaune Clos Marc from Domaine Sylvain Langoureau will turn heads. It is aromatically rich, exhibiting delicate, pretty, berry-like Pinot Noir fruit, a pinch of undergrowth, forest floor, and sliced truffle. Definitively Old World, the mouth feel is lightweight, with vibrant acidity. The flavors are restrained yet numerous; one word best describes the experience: elegant. A slow fade of berries and autumn leaves latch on to the zippiness, sending your taste buds into that wonderful place where only red Burgundy can take them!

So yeah, seventeen dollar red Burgundy is in the house! For how long, we don’t know. Just so you know, I dropped a sample bottle off at my favorite restaurant in Marin as a prospective “by the glass” candidate; so it may fly out of here soon. If you want to try it, I suggest you do so quickly; before the fog returns, before temps dip back to the 50’s, before the Giants revert to their tortuous ways, and before I have another glass of Sauternes. Oh well, the Giants are now in second place (I must have jinxed them, nothing unusual about that … but I guess that’s just the exception to the rule).Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments regarding Red Burgundy, Unusual Occurrences, or The Pride of London: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

SAVE THE DATE!

Negociante Jeanne-Marie de Champs will be in town Monday, October 11. A dinner with Jeanne-Marie and some of her wines will be held in conjunction with restaurant RN74. We will fill you all in on the details when they become available to us. Mark your calendars!

Photo from sergetheconcierge.com

Paul Pernot Bourgogne Blanc

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 4:09 PM

2007 Domaine Paul Pernot Bourgogne Blanc

White Wine; Chardonnay; Burgundy;
$22.99
  Add to Cart

Only $19.54 per bottle with full case/mix and match purchase. Discount will be applied when we process your order and discounted price will be reflected back in a fulfillment email.

 

Selecting Paul Pernot’s 2007 Bourgogne blanc as my “staff pick of the week” iskinda cheating. After all, it is no great secret that Paul Pernot’s Bourgogne blanc is one of the great values in white Burgundy. I am not the first to write at length about this simple fact. The dedicated following for this wine borders on the fanatical. It is not uncommon for a collector to purchase a bottle or two of Pernot’s Grand and Premier Crus and then turn around and buy a case of the Bourgogne blanc.What else are you going to drink Sunday thru Thursday? Put into the simplest terms possible, Pernot’s Bourgogne blanc offers a glimpse into the pleasures of Chardonnay grown in the Cotes D’Or.

Much fanfare has been made of Monsieur Paul Pernot’s “retirement”. His sons are supposedly running the domaine; but as far as I can tell, if you happen to be passing through Puligny Montrachet, chances are you’ll see him hanging around the winery. I guess when you are born Burgundian and live, work, breathe wine, you never really retire. I had the pleasure of visiting and meeting Monsieur Pernot in 2000. It was late January, unbelievably cold and the wines were still going through malolactic fermentation. Not my favorite stage of wine tasting. My French is not fluent enough to carry out a conversation. Instead I watched Monsieur Pernot as he conversed with Jeanne-Marie de Champs, his agent and someone who works closely with The Wine House. With his arms crossed and his head slightly tilted, you could tell he was catching up with news and local gossip. I was so enthralled by the experience-there I was, tasting Grand Cru Chardonnay out of barrel with the great Paul Pernot! The deep lines on his face and simple manners made vivid that vignerons like him are farmers, not landed gentry. I looked around at what amounts to a garage and made note of the absence of t-shirts, prepared mustards and crafty coasters for sale.

 

The grapes for the Bourgogne blanc come from Puligny Montrachet vines grown on the Meursault border. I believe this wine gives a quick snapshot into a vintage. For instance, the ’06 was big, tropical and ripe. Alternatively, the 2007 Bourgogne blanc is jam-packed with crackly, crunchy fruit flavors and possesses a crisp, refreshing finish. There is plenty of expressive notes of citrus and orchard fruit. On the nose I get delicate floral aromas. Just this morning, Pete and I were having a conversation along the lines that variety is the spice of life and that maybe even if you taste a wine you absolutely love, you might get tired of drinking it over and over with a customer who was purchasing a Dirty Dozen. Then I remembered I was about to write this email and I quickly added I wouldn’t get tired of drinking Pernot’s Bourgogne blanc over and over. Pete concurred. I’ve got some prawns in my freezer I was thinking about tossing in a pan for a few minutes with some citrus zest and butter. I love Chardonnay and crustaceans!!! Anybody going to SF Open Studios this weekend? If so, please come check out artist Vera Tchikovani; my mentor, other mother and spiritual advisor! Hope to see you there!-Anya Balistreri
 
2007 Domaine Paul Pernot Bourgogne Blanc

White Wine; Chardonnay; Burgundy;

6 Item(s)