Sometimes, you just want some comfort wine ...

Saturday, December 15, 2018 12:10 PM

Sometimes, you just want some comfort wine ...
The Gates At Domaine St. Remy

Sometimes, you just want some comfort wine ...

It's true that some pretty fancy, special wines are gifted and consumed during the holidays. I have helped many customers find some special bottles for gifts and for themselves. I probably don't need to mention that I am one of those customers! I've been lucky enough to receive some special wines as gifts as well, and for that, I am very grateful.

As a friend of mine regularly says, "There are traditions, but there are no rules." For me, when it comes to special wines, fancy or not, there is one rule:  It must be shared. This is a must. As independent as I tend to be, I do not waver from this rule. I have a handful of wine loving friends with which I share the fancy stuff, but you won't ever see me reach into one of my boxes here and take home a Leoville Las Cases to enjoy with some takeout on a Tuesday. Of course, these friends also have been very generous with me.

There are a couple of occasions on the horizon for which I have an inkling to bring something special, but when the madness of December at TWH simmers at the end of a weekday, I just want to get home and relax, cook up some dinner and have a glass of wine or two. A wine that really does the trick for me is the 2016 Domaine St. Rémy Rosenberg Pinot Noir. It's a special wine in its own right. It's complex, delicious, doesn't cost a lot, and it's pretty versatile.

Coming in just under $20 (mixed case price), I don't feel like I need to share the experience each time I have a glass of it, but hey, I'm in the industry and like to drink complex, delicious wines ... even if I'm going home alone on a Wednesday night. The aromatics are proper - red berries, strawberries even, crushed autumn leaves, forest floor, and a hint of the sauvage. The palate is lightweight and lively, the fruit expressive and the complexity abundant. And though the fruit is a ripe, signature Pinot Noir fruit, there is something unmistakably Old World about this wine. It's dry, there is no perceptible sweetness to it at all. Its versatility is where it really hits home. Though it wouldn't be my first choice with a rib-eye, it is my first choice with a Neapolitan Pizza. In fact, it will work with almost all red sauce based Mediterranean cuisine. It goes great with burgers and pork chops, heck one can even enjoy it with salmon!
Founded in 1725, Domaine St. Rémy is in the Alsatian town of Wettolsheim, just southwest of the region's picturesque showpiece, Colmar. Corinne and Philippe Ehrhart have several holdings in the vicinity, including Grand Crus Brand, Hengst, Schlossberg, and Goldert. Certified organic in 2010, they are now farming biodynamically, and have been certified since 2012. They produce Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Pinot Auxerrois, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Muscat, and they make a sparkling Crémant using Chardonnay. We've been working with the Ehrharts for over 15 years and are happy to be their California importer.

Okay, T minus 10 days until Christmas! For this occasion, we will be open the next two Sundays from 12 noon until 4:00 pm. The weather looks a bit gloomy outside with rain expected tomorrow. I'll be in the shop tomorrow, but after that, it will be back home for dinner and a glass of that delicious, complex, comfort wine:  the 2016 Domaine St. Rémy Rosenberg Pinot Noir! - Peter Zavialoff

Twins Bob and Jim Varner Grow and Make Some Of California's Most Compelling Pinot Noir
three-bottles-and-a-glass-Varner

Singular Pinot Noir...

Twin brothers, Jim and Bob Varner are responsible for planting, growing and making some of California's most compelling Pinot Noir. They had been growing Chardonnay on Spring Ridge Vineyard since the 80's, but in 1995 they embarked on planting Pinot Noir. Their approach was similar to planting Pinot Noir as it was to Chardonnay, in small block parcels. The Spring Ridge Vineyard is a unique site. It is situated next to an open space preserve and sits on a property that spans elevations from 500 ft to 1800 ft. in the Santa Cruz Mountains. One ridge away from the Pacific Ocean only 10 miles away as the crow flies. This protected area experiences typical Bay Area maritime weather but at the altitude which the vineyard sits, the nights are even cooler and daytime highs are less sizzling, making it ideal for grape growing. The Varners make three single-block Pinot Noirs: Picnic, Hidden, and Upper Picnic. The blocks are small; combined, they total 6.5 acres. 

Bob-Varner
Bob-opening-wine
Earlier in the month, not long after ten o'clock when we unlock our front door and begin the business day, in walked a man who apologetically asked if we were open. If I am sitting at my work station and look towards the door, people entering the store are back lit, so recognizing someone can be a challenge at first glance. I stood up and quickly knew who it was. Bob Varner. Well, that's not entirely true. Bob and his twin brother, Jim, look awfully alike, so it was considerate of him to stretch out his hand and greet us with "Bob Varner". At TWH, we've been lucky to have these unexpected visits from the Varner brothers. Sometimes it is Jim and sometimes it is Bob. Their visits are always a highlight to working here, but this last visit was particularly meaningful and memorable. The last couple years have found the Varners facing many challenges, not the least of which, they will no longer be making wine from Spring Ridge Vineyard. The 2014 vintage is their last. 



Bob lead me through the newly released 2014 Pinot Noirs. He started with a refresher course about the site, how the sedimentary rock is a combination of clay and loam and is almost sponge-like, explaining that when it rains, the water drains away in minutes. He went on to tell me that they dry farm, use no fertilizers and grow natural cover crops. The first wine we tasted was the 2014 Hidden Block. It was very open-armed and generous right out of the bottle. Hidden Block is planted to a clone of Pinot Noir called Dijon 115 and is north-facing. Bright, red cherry fruit rushes out of glass and lingers on the palate. Aged in French barrel, about 20-30% new (as do the other blocks), it is remarkable how well integrated the wood is with the fruit. A seamless structure. Next came the 2014 Picnic Block. It is the lowest vineyard, sitting at 600 feet and has the shallowest soil. A darker fruit profile than the Hidden Block, the acid perception is also more intense. The wine has real energy. They chose to go with an "elegant" barrel, one that has no heavy char. Next up was the 2014 Upper Picnic. Here, the Pinot Noir was grafted on to Gewurztraminer that was originally planted in 1981. Bob described the energy of the plants as old-vine. Upper Picnic is separated by only ten feet from the Picnic Block, but it has a bit more soil. It is always the last block to be harvested. The flavors are denser with red cherries galore, but the wine remains elegant throughout. One vineyard, three blocks of Pinot Noir: all three subtly different, but all three amazing. 
Close-Up-Bob-Varner-Bottle
Varner wines are the result of thirty-five years of hard work. Self-financed, they sold grapes long before making it commercially. They took on a long cycle of planting, as they didn't want to make any mistakes. Bob explained to me that "over time, site will dominate". All their decisions, all their attention to detail in the winery (i.e. they designed their own tanks) was an effort to take all that they learned along the way to carefully choreograph the outcome. Bob told me that his passion for making wine rests in the interplay of Science and Art. After Bob left the store, I was overwhelmed by emotion. I was thankful for this industry that gives me an opportunity to meet people like Bob (and his brother). Making wine is not a vanity project but a way of life for the Varners. Great people, great wine. Do not miss out on the 2014 Pinot Noirs from Varner. Just don't. 

- Anya Balistreri
2014-Varner-Hidden-Block

"The 2014 Pinot Noir Hidden Block is the most immediate and dense of the four Pinots in the Varner range. A core of sweet red cherry and plum fruit fills out the wine's mid-weight frame effortlessly. Round, pliant and totally seductive, the 2014 has a lot to offer, including tons of near and medium-term appeal."

93 points from Galloni for Vinous.

"The 2014 Pinot Noir Picnic Block is bold, powerful and beautifully resonant on the palate. Succulent red cherry and plum fruit is nicely pushed forward, with pretty floral and savory notes that add striking aromatic complexity. There is lovely depth and texture to this pungent, racy Pinot Noir from Bob and Jim Varner. Beams of tannin underpin the subtle yet persistent, structured finish."

93 points from Galloni for Vinous.



2014-Varner-Upper-Picnic
"The 2014 Pinot Noir Upper Picnic is all class. Silky tannins and expressive, perfumed aromatics give the wine unreal finesse. Just as compelling on the palate, the 2014 is absolutely exquisite in its understated, nuanced expression of the Santa Cruz Mountains. What a gorgeous wine it is. The Upper Picnic is the most elegant of these four Pinots."

95 points from Galloni for Vinous.


Domaine Michel Bouzereau: Burgundy For Grown Ups

Tuesday, October 18, 2011 4:45 PM

 

 

 

Tasting with Jean-Baptiste Bouzereau in January of this year I was overwhelmed by the absolute “deliciousness” of his 2009’s. I have never tasted a vintage of white Burgundy that was just so perfect at such an early age. This doesn’t mean the wines won’t age; I think they’ll be beautiful for several years, but they are just so enjoyable already that you just won’t be able to keep your hands off them. You may have heard this quote before, but the source lay here, as Jean-Baptiste said during our tasting, “If the pleasure is there for the taking, why resist it?”

The Bourgogne Blanc, which has been in stock before, just continues to impress. It’s as close as you can get to good Meursault without paying the price for good Meursault. Speaking of which, the Meursault Les Tessons is simply screamin’ great right now – a beautiful blend of fruit and minerality with that ‘come-hither’ look that is pretty alluring! The Premier Cru offerings are a step up, and while also quite tempting and scrumptious now, will reward after just a little cellar time. – David Netzer

Burghound‘s Allen Meadows’ reviews listed below:

2009 Domaine Michel Bouzereau Bourgogne Blanc

A very fresh and appealingly bright nose of white flower, straw and nut nuances leads to round and fleshy flavors that are quite forward, indeed to the point that this could easily be drunk and enjoyed now. There is a slight touch of warmth on the vibrant finish but overall, this is quite pretty for what it is.

2009 Domaine Michel Bouzereau Meursault Les Tessons

A subtle hint of SO2 and reductive notes presently dominate the nose though hints of ripe pear and flowers can also be discerned. There is good density and richness to the solidly voluminous flavors that possess fine dry extract that buffers the firm acidity and discreet minerality of the racy and dry finish. This is a bit awkward today but the underlying material is such that this should be an extremely good villages in time.

2009 Domaine Michel Bouzereau Meursault Les Charmes

A pure and very Meursault nose of hazelnut, pear and soft floral notes that gives way to rich, intense and utterly delicious flavors that possess an abundance of dry extract that confers a seductive texture upon the mouth coating and impressively complex finish. This lovely effort exudes energy and it should age well over the medium-term.

2009 Domaine Michel Bouzereau Meursault Les Genevrieres

A classic Genevrières nose features spice and slightly exotic fruit aromas that complement the equally spicy, pure, intense and fleshy flavors that deliver superb length on the balanced, mineral-inflected and mouth coating finish. Like the Charmes, there is an abundance of dry extract that should ensure excellent aging potential.

 







2009 Domaine
Michel Bouzereau Puligny Montrachet Champs Gains

Here the sulfur* is no longer subtle and I would strongly suggest decanting this if you’re going to try one young. There is good richness to the overtly ripe yet detailed flavors that possess plenty of dry extract yet the finish is distinctly hard. I suspect that it’s the sulfur that is causing the hardness as the ’09 vintage is not given to this sort of aggressiveness nor is Champ Gains typically like this either. A bit of patience as the SO2 is absorbed will see things righted.

*TWH Note: Mr. Meadows’ notes first appeared in the February 1, 2011 issue of Burghound. We’ve opened a couple of bottles ourselves recently, and the wine is showing spectacularly! The SO2 has blown off, allowing for the soft mineral, snappy pear-like fruit, and lively finish to shine.

Jean-Baptiste makes Red Burgundy as well. When negociante Jeanne-Marie de Champs last visited us, we were all treated to a taste of this fantastic Volnay, and you should have seen the dogfight over who got to take the remainder home! Elegant aromas of brambly red berries, incense, cola, and earth reveal the precision and purity of this signature Volnay. Easy entry on the palate, it is marked by harmonious balance, great weight and elegance. It is Red Burgundy for grown ups. The finish is lengthy and complex with all nuance fading slowly and evenly. This is delicious juice!Peter Zavialoff

New Domestic Arrivals: Spotlight on Bedrock Wine Company

Thursday, September 1, 2011 5:26 PM

Bedrock Wine Company is no longer some little known, up and coming winery.  Quite the contrary, winemaker Morgan Twain-Peterson is clearly a leading force in the making of California’s most intriguing wines from unique, often historical vineyards along the North Coast.  Only a few hundred cases made of this and a few of that, so nothing stays on the shelf for long.  Any self-describing Zinfandel lover must try the Bedrock and the Lorenzo’s… You owe it to yourself! – Anya Balistreri

*Notes from Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, May/June 2011:

2010 Sonoma Coast Syrah

2009 Sonoma County Cuvée Caritas90 POINTS
(A 55/45 blend of semillon and sauvignon blanc): Bright yellow-gold. High-pitched aromas of grapefruit rind, green apple and white flowers, with musky lees and smoky nuances adding complexity. Concentrated and tactile, with very good cut to its intense citrus and floral flavors. Has a firm backbone and closes with very good, chewy persistence.

2009 Old Lakeville Vineyard Syrah92 POINTS
(vinified with 40% whole clusters): Bright violet. Intense scents of blackberry, cherry-cola and candied violet, with strong mineral and spicecake accents. Shows energetic, peppery, very pure flavors of dark berries and candied flowers. Picks up a wild herb note on the back, finishing sweet and impressively long, with lingering suggestions of tangy minerals and allspice.

2010 The Bedrock Heirloom Vineyard, Sonoma Valley

2009 Lorenzo’s Heirloom, Dry Creek Valley90 POINTS
(A blend based on 50% zinfandel and 25% carignane): Opaque purple. Powerful, ripe cherry and blackcurrant aromas are deepened by strong mineral and violet tones. A rich, rather brooding style, with chewy texture and deep, liqueur-like dark fruit flavors. Finishes ripe and very long, with powerful tannins; this could use some time to loosen up.

2009 Kick Ranch Syrah92 POINTS
Inky purple. Rich, pungent aromas of singed plum, blackberry, cherry compote and espresso, plus a hint of licorice. Full and weighty but lively as well, with strong cherry and plum flavors accented by dark chocolate, espresso and candied violet. Finishes with pliant, harmonious tannins and excellent persistence. This decidedly rich, powerful wine would work well with grilled meats or strong cheeses. There’s 5% viognier in here and all of the grapes were destemmed; it’s carrying 15.1% alcohol but I get no heat.

2009 Rebecca’s Vineyard Pinot Noir90 POINTS
Bright red. Vibrant redcurrant and cherry aromas are enlivened by fresh rose, Indian spices and zesty minerality. Bright red berry and bitter cherry flavors are framed by silky tannins and given lift by a hint of tangy blood orange. Puts on weight with air and picks up a darker blackberry note, finishing with very good clarity and nervy cut.

2010 Monte Rosso Vineyard Zinfandel

Pinot Noir for Now

Monday, July 28, 2008 2:17 PM

Let’s talk about weddings … again. This Saturday I will be officiating my friends’ wedding. I’ve never done it before, but I’ve been practicing quite a lot. I feel prepared, and I’m looking forward to it. Wine figures into the ceremony, so we’re going to use some 2007 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir that we made (still making, really) in their basement. The winemaking has been a group effort that their family and friends have been a part of, so it is appropriate in a symbolic way.



Since the wine isn’t actually done (it’s slowly and I mean slowly trudging through malolactic fermentation), or legal to sell for that matter, I can’t offer it here. It tastes pretty good though, so if anyone wants to meet me in a dark alley with an envelope of cash, I can offer you a small allocation on futures. In the meantime, I’ll pay tribute to the upcoming nuptials with this delightful Pinot Noir that recently landed in our warehouse. You may say it’s odd to honor such an event with e-commerce, but I’m complicated like that, that’s the way I roll, et cetera, etc. I am truly excited for them, they’re a terrific couple as well as great friends. It’s going to be both beautiful and a lot of fun.

Now, how about some analogical fun comparing this wine to the ideals of marriage? Yay! My favorite. In marriage we seek purity and honesty; we want to be true to ourselves, and it’s nice if we provide happiness along the way. We want the same from Pinot Noir. While some varieties such as Chardonnay take well to the morphing and molding of the winemaker, Pinot Noir must remain true to itself if it is to be successful. It also has to taste good. It’s time to stop drinking Pinot Noir just because it is Pinot Noir. That’s why we buy less and less in the $10-$15 range for our store. It’s no fun to make excuses for a wine whose only virtue is its price point. Luckily Chauvenet-Chopin is making Bourgogne. Peter wrote about the 2005, which was great, and now I’m charmed by the classic 2006. This is pure and honest Pinot Noir, true to itself and its lineage in Burgundy. It wins me with its lovely aromas, supple texture, and a light-on-its-feet quality. These are the tendencies of Pinot Noir, and this wine succeeds because it embraces them. While the 2005 needed some time to really strut, and many of you are probably holding some of it for a few years, the 2006 is ready to go. It is Pinot Noir for now.

When customers come asking to see our selection of Burgundy Pinot Noir under $25, sometimes I wish I had a little puppet that I could pop out laughing hysterically. If I, a human, started pointing and laughing at someone, it might be considered rude. But for some reason a puppet can get away with more. These ideas aside, I’m generally polite when I inform people they are dreaming the impossible dream. This time I don’t have to be a jerk, and I don’t have find a nice way to say ‘no’. I can say, “Right over here. This is true, this is good, and this is the fabled under $25 Burgundy … and you will like it.” Lest you think I forgot about the wedding angle, I had an epiphany while writing this: Wouldn’t my friends’ love it if a puppet pronounced them husband and wife? – Ben Jordan

2006 Domaine Chauvenet Chopin Bourgogne

Red Wine; Pinot Noir; Burgundy;
$24.99

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$21.24 per bottle with case discount.

 

Tasting Notes

People talk about the delicate nature of Pinot Noir, but that’s hard to believe when you taste some of the dark, high octane, chewy versions that we sometimes find in our glasses. This Bourgogne is a case study in Pinot Noir the way the grape wants to be. The aromas are lively, juicy almost, with all that cherry and strawberry jumping around with red flowers and orange peel. The juiciness continues on the palate. It’s a lively wine not meant for tastings and points, but rather for tables and the meals that rest on them.

A TASTE OF BURGUNDY MAY/JUNE 2008

Wednesday, May 28, 2008 2:11 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 purchase the sampler.

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.



2005 Beaune 1er Cru “Aigrots,” Albert Morot

The Domaine Albert Morot has a long, well-documented history dating back to 1820. What had started out as a negociant business in Beaune turned into a long-standing family winery. After 16 years of running the business on her own, Françoise Choppin turned the reigns over to Geoffrey Chopin de Janvy, her nephew, in 2000. Since then, Geoffrey has taken the winery into the spotlight by crafting wines that have garnered attention from critics, collectors and Burgundy lovers alike. The vineyard of Beaune Aigrots is situated between Clos des Mouches and Champs Pimonts. This classy, concentrated chardonnay has lovely notes of buttered toast and green, apple fruit. The palate-feel of the wine is broad and expansive. The flavors linger to reveal rich, ripe fruit uplifted and carried by bright acidity. Not flabby in any way, this wine is open and ready to drink.

2003 Gevrey Chambertin “Vieilles Vignes”, Philippe Naddef

Philippe Naddef goes back decades with The Wine House, all the way to his very first vintage in 1983. This long relationship has given us a unique insight into the evolution of his full-bodied, sturdy wines. Naddef’s reds typically begin their young life tight and firm. With age, they turn graceful and exceedingly aromatic. As a vintage, 2003 red burgundies were either softer, fleshier and approachable in style or assertively tannic. The former vintage characteristic coupled with Naddef’s big pinots produced a 2003 Gevrey Chambertin Vieilles Vignes that is at once drinkable and big-scaled. The wine is produced from grapes that come from 4 different parcels. The average age of the vines is 45 five years old. These cherished old vines produce naturally concentrated, small berries. The wine is aged in 60% new barrel and 40% in one year old barrels with no racking. Notes of cinnamon and beeswax give way to ripe red cherry fruit that finish in silky, round tannins. Naddef’s wines have a flavor all their own. In our fast-food culture where conformity is all too often equated with quality, it is soul-soothing to taste the magical union of winemaker and grape in Naddef’s wines.

A TASTE OF BURGUNDY SAMPLER
$89.98

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2005 Domaine Xavier Monnot Maranges 1er Cru Clos De La Fussiere

Red Wine; Pinot Noir; Burgundy;
$32.99

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$28.04 per bottle with case discount.

 

The second chance.

What’s so wonderful about this wine? For one thing, from my point of view, I get a second shot at it. I had planned on cellaring this because I enjoyed it out of barrel, and who passes up 2005 1er Cru red Burgundy at around $30? Not me. I stalk wines like this. Six bottles were as good as in my cellar except for the fact that a wholesale account swooped in when my back was turned and took our entire inventory. I remember the day well. I walked past the loading dock and saw a pile of wine. “What’s all the Monnot Maranges doing on the loading dock?” I inquired gently, yet firmly. “We sold it all to *name omitted to protect the semi-innocent*,” was the answer. My jaw dropped. I shook my fist. I howled. But there was nothing to be done. Or was there? Turned out there was still a bit more in France. It arrived in our warehouse last week.



The Xavier Monnot wines are relatively new to us, but we’ve already taken a shine to their verve and intricacy. Monnot’s 2005 red 1er Crus from Beaune and Volnay are notable for their depth and concentration. This is coupled with subtle tannin extraction that avoids any overwrought character brought on by carelessness in vintages of high dry extract. This Maranges is in the same mold except for the fact that it is a 1er Cru monopole for $28.04 with the case discount. Let’s look at that previous sentence. Less than $30 for a 1er Cru? True the Clos de la Fuissiere isn’t Richebourg, but the wine in this bottle is definitely high quality red Burgundy. You folks that were asking for vineyard designate Burgundy under $30 and I kept saying it doesn’t exist, well, I’m happy I’m wrong. For a few days anyway.

This is one of those wines that will slake our thirst for the reds from this vintage in 5 years. It will be hitting its stride when those broad shouldered $70 and up bottles are just beginning to peak out from their structure. It is technically drinkable now in terms of the tannin profile, in that it doesn’t tear the roof of your mouth off, but the wine is more shy now than it was 6 months ago, signaling it is heading off to sleep with the rest of the 05 reds. When we opened it one morning (yes, morning, we’re professionals and therefore allowed to open wine in the morning, it makes our palates stronger) it was reticent, but by the evening when I took it home, the aromatics had arrived, and the palate was just beginning to emerge. The next evening it started to hum, and now I have a nice stash of it in my cellar. So, if you are curious, be patient after you open it, but the best strategy is to be truly patient and wait till the two thousand teens. Besides Burgundy wants bottle bouquet, and the only way to get some of that is to age the wine in bottle.

Maranges is basically an extension of Santenay and the Clos de la Fuissiere is in the sweet spot of the appellation, half way up the hill. Though in normal vintages the wines are more delicate than the Cotes de Nuits powerhouses, 2005 finds it right where you want Burgundy: with concentration and finesse. Kind of like Chambolle Musigny at half the price. The mantra of ‘buy little wines in big vintages’ has never been so appropriate as the relatively obscure Maranges shows well ahead of it’s classification. Who knew that our best value 1er Cru from this vintage would come at the end of the campaign, but I think it is a perfect way to book end a years worth of wines from this outstanding vintage. – Ben Jordan

2005 Domaine Xavier Monnot Maranges 1er Cru Clos De La Fussiere

Red Wine; Pinot Noir; Burgundy;
$32.99

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$28.04 per bottle with case discount.

 



Tasting Notes

As I said before, the wine was shy when we opened it, but the nose opened nicely with a few hours of coaxing. One trick I employ to get a sneak peak at the aromatics to come is to let the wine sit covered in the glass (we use the base pieces from broken stemware) for a while. When I come back to it, I don’t worry about swirling, just put it to my nose, and I find all sorts of perfume that was hidden by the wine’s youth. This practice brought my first shiver of excitement for this Maranges. Upon later inspection this wine was effusing the aromas without the aid of my trickery, and not to pour another glass for a drunk horse, but I love the magic of aromatics.



‘Cracked cherry’ is a tasting note term I would like to coin. In the same way cracking pepper releases the essence and flavor of the peppercorn, this wine has a snappy, essence of cherry character to it. There is also a ‘fleeting spice-rack’ aspect to the attack. It comes at you when you’re not looking and then runs off in the other direction before you have a chance to really detail it. When that happens to me I write things like ‘sandalwood’ because I don’t know what sandalwood tastes like, and I have a sneaking suspicion that no one else does either. On another level, the finish reminds me of Bordeaux. This may sound odd, but it has that lovely earthen character that sets Bordeaux apart from New World cousins. It is what I think we meant when we used to describe wines as “dry”, not in a sugar sense or in terms of the tannic interaction with the palate, but in terms of the flavor as the fruit finishes. It is both attractive and distinct. This is a sensation that always translates itself into class and poise in my notes. And that’s really what we should say about this wine. Lots of class, and lots of poise.

Anthill Farms Returns: 2006s

Sunday, April 20, 2008 11:36 AM

Anthill Farms 6 Bottle Sampler – $12 savings
$234.98

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One bottle each of five Pinot Noirs and one Syrah. See individual listings below.
Anthill Farms 12 Bottle Sampler – $45 savings
$449.98

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Two bottles each of five Pinot Noirs and one Syrah. See individual listings below.

 

Last year, we debuted these wines without really knowing what kind of response to expect. I knew I liked them (a lot), but I had to wait until people got the wines in their glasses. We sold the carp out of them, like they were Varner or Carlisle with big points. A month or so later Alan Meadows at Burghound came out with high praise and high scores, and all of a sudden these guys were no longer a secret. Almost a year later, our customers are still asking for more. Which makes the release of the 2006s a welcome occasion.

We were lucky to get in with these wines when we did, which I proclaim a triumph of peskiness. Now we’re on the list, and the Anthill guys were nice enough to maintain our allocation. Which we appreciate, because restaurants are already starting to devour this stuff. When I went up to taste the 2006s from bottle, a buyer from a local wine bar ordered 20 cases of the Comptche for his by-the-glass program. When case production is in the low hundreds, 20 here and 20 there means sold out soon.

I tasted the 2006s from barrel and bottle, and it was a pleasure to remind myself of what initially drew me in. They are wines of refined succulence, seductive length, and intricate aromatics. They fold into food and quilt (quilt, the verb) across the palate. To call Anthill pioneers of California Pinot Noir might sound odd, but these guys are definitely in new territory, and their’s is a path worth following.

If you missed the wines last year, and you’re wondering what the deuce I’m going on about, Anthill Farms is a partnership of three winemakers/viticulturists who met in the cellar at Williams Seylem. Their approach is not complicated: The California wine industry is, for the most part, divided between growers and winemakers, and the result is that the two are not always working toward the same objectives. This can compromise fruit quality in the name of business. Anthill’s solution is to cultivate genuine partnerships with smaller vineyards. They end up doing some or all of the viticulture, and they coax the fruit to ripeness right alongside their growers. To paraphrase Webster Marquez, they are significantly (really, a whole lot) more involved in the day to day of their vineyards than most “estate” vineyards. The result is boutique, and in some cases micro-vineyards that produce wines the likes of which we don’t often see coming from California.

There is a tendency for us to call Pinot Noirs that we like (like these) Burgundian. I say that’s a simplification. What I love about these wines is that they succeed aromatically, texturally, and in the nuance and persistence of the flavors; they succeed as Pinot Noir. The Syrah succeeds as Syrah, in case you were wondering. They remind me that I like good Burgundy not simply because it is Burgundy, but because it is Pinot Noir from an excellent site. The best Burgundies succeed as Pinot Noir, and since Burgundy came first, we call successful California Pinot ‘Burgundian’. Which is strange because when we eat a nice chicken we don’t compare it to an egg. Yes, I’m saying the egg came first. Try and stop me. Let’s forget that terminology. These wines operate in many of the same ways fine Burgundy operates, but they are not insecure, trying to be Burgundy. Rather they know they are Pinot Noir, and they are Californian as a starting point. They build upon this and paradoxically become wines to cure California fatigue. They reveal their place as well as any wine from this state. They are distinct and exciting to have in your glass. The Anthill wines are Pinot Noir as Pinot Noir should be. And that’s why (the deuce) I keep going on about them.

We have two samplers again this year, a six pack and a full case, both with 5 Pinots and the outstanding-value Syrah. Both offer significant discounts off the normal retail and give you the chance to taste across the Anthill portfolio. I’ve included my notes on each wine below. – Ben Jordan

Anthill Farms 6 Bottle Sampler – $12 savings
$234.98

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One bottle each of five Pinot Noirs and one Syrah.
Anthill Farms 12 Bottle Sampler – $45 savings
$449.98

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Two bottles each of five Pinot Noirs and one Syrah.

 

Tasting Notes

Many times I won’t do formal tasting notes, but since none of the critics have published yet (they’ve tasted and liked a lot), I figured I should try to translate my chicken scratch into something helpful.

2006 Anthill Farms Pinot Noir Anderson Valley

Red Wine; Pinot Noir; North Coast;
$34.98

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This is the first year for this appellation wine. It’s basically Demuth with a little Abbey Harris. This was the first wine they poured, and it jumped out immediately with the aromatics. Snappy and vigorous and with these black tea back notes that seem be an aromatic calling card for these wines. The palate is spicy and well fruited, and it’s already showing well, though this wine will really start to sing after a few more months in bottle.

2006 Anthill Farms Pinot Noir Comptche Ridge Vineyard Mendocino County

Red Wine; Pinot Noir; Other California;
$44.98

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One of the great examples of extreme ‘vineyarding’. Evidently you have to drive out to Mendocino and then back inland to get to this site. The nose is very perfumed, a perfect example of why people are excited about these wines. In the mouth it is cool fruit and spice, and finishes with cream and vanilla bean. It wants time, but it sure is delicious already.

2006 Anthill Farms Pinot Noir Demuth Vineyard Anderson Valley

Red Wine; Pinot Noir; Other California;
$44.98

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Probably showing the best in the lineup the day I tasted, its aromatics are quite refined and focused for a wine this young. The palate brings berries, herbs, tea and an expansive midpalate. A lot of length here, and the wood is well integrated for such a young California wine. Last year, this was one of the more muscular wines in the lineup, but this year it seems to revel in its subtlety.

2006 Anthill Farms Pinot Noir Peters Vineyard Sonoma Coast

Red Wine; Pinot Noir; Sonoma;
$44.98

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The shy subtlety of last year is replaced with more amplitude and denser fruit. There’s all sorts of clove and anise, making this a wine to stick with for as long as you can. I used to always ooh and ah over the Hirsch vineyard wines, but this is bringing more value while keeping with the high quality that you would expect from a well situated/farmed Sonoma Coast vineyard.

2006 Anthill Farms Pinot Noir Tina Marie Vineyard Russian River Valley

Red Wine; Pinot Noir; Sonoma;
$48.98

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While the Peter’s and Demuth seemed to flip flop in power from last year, the Tina Marie continues with its more flamboyant Russian River personality. While it is tame compared to some of the Syrah-like versions from the appellation, it is certainly the exotic selection of the bunch showing powerful, earthy aromatics along with a ripe extended palate.

2006 Anthill Farms Syrah Windsor Oaks Vineyard Russian River Valley

Red Wine; Syrah/Shiraz; Sonoma;
$27.98

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These guys are making their name with Pinot Noir, but they always try to make a wine that their “friends can afford to drink.” This Syrah was born of this goal, and after last year, I’d say they have a lot more friends. This wine wasn’t around long last year, so only a few of you got to try it before you came back and bought us out of it, so the rest of you couldn’t try it. It is all the things you love about California without anything you don’t. The nose is beautifully minty and meaty, and this carries into the creamy palate. As California wine goes, it remains one of the best deals going.



Want to hear more? Really? Email me at ben.winehouse@sbcglobal.net.

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2005 Staff Secret: Red Burgundy

Tuesday, April 15, 2008 3:24 PM

2005 Domaine Chauvenet Chopin Bourgogne

Red Wine; Pinot Noir; Burgundy;
$22.99

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$19.54 per bottle with case discount. Website does not calculate discount, but we will apply it when we process your card.

 

Save Me From Myself!!!

You know, once upon a time, I was walking into Tower Records on Bay and Columbus, and as I grabbed the door, out came Carlos Santana. He was as cool as ever and we greeted each other and that was that. I did happen to notice that he must have had around 12-15 CD’s in a bag. I thought, “Wow! Wouldn’t it have been cool to have been here a couple of minutes earlier to see what Carlos buys for himself!” Well, perhaps it’s a lofty analogy comparing my interpretations of wine with Carlos’ of music, but I do taste a lot of wine. It may be a slight breach of etiquette, but I thought I would share a little secret with y’all, and let you know what I’ve been bringing home for myself.



Having been on the customer side for many years, I must admit that I have multiple personalities when it comes to buying wine for my own personal consumption. Sometimes I want to just keep quiet and take a shot on something I don’t know anything about (That’s usually my approach when it comes to films or books, because there is something alluring about that element of surprise, but oh, I’m off the subject, sorry). Sometimes I need to know the skinny on what I’m drinking and make educated selections, and sometimes I solicit advice from someone who has actually tasted the wines (Best way to go). That being said, I have observed these personality types and more in our customers, so I don’t feel so bad. Chances are, if you’ve come in as the “I’ll just ask him what he thinks is good and buy that” type of customer, and you were looking for a satisfying, drinkable 2005 red Burgundy, I would have probably made a squinchy face, bit my lip, and reluctantly led you to the 2005 Bourgogne rouge from Chauvenet-Chopin. You see, for some time now, these have been my little babies. My associates here are aware of this, but nothing is spoken about it. You see, we all have our little pet wines, and it’s rude to dip into a co-worker’s personal stash. That being said, I, of sound mind (I think), am asking you all to save me from myself and try my go-to, pet red Burgundy! Talk about solid old-world Pinot Noir for the right price! I’ve been casually grabbing a bottle here, a bottle there, because they’re sooooo good and they pair so well with a wide variety of food. The downside is, my invoices here are stacking up, and I’m supposed to be trying different wines anyway.

I’ve been called a creature of habit, as I tend to stick to something if it works. Like this wine. Problem is, it’s affecting my job performance! I need to sample the new Santa Duc Gigondas, the new D’or et de Gueles Rouge Select, and the recently released Mure grand crus from Alsace, just to name a few. I’m getting really backed up on what I need to taste, because it’s just so easy to grab one of these instead. We don’t have all that much of it left, so my please accept my apologies if it sells out early. But that’s my goal here. I need help removing the temptation so I can get on with my work. This falls into the it’s good for everybody category. So, fully knowing that I will not get to enjoy this lovely wine any more, I am letting you all in on my little secret. Just so you know, I have a bottle on my dining room table as I write this, and I will definitely bring two more bottles with me when I leave the shop today. But that’s it, scout’s honor!. – Peter Zavialoff

2005 Domaine Chauvenet Chopin Bourgogne

Red Wine; Pinot Noir; Burgundy;
$22.99

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$19.54 per bottle with case discount. Website does not calculate discount, but we will apply it when we process your card.

 



Tasting Notes

As with any young red wine, this will improve dramatically over the course of a couple of hours once some air gets to it. I don’t decant it, I prefer to notice the changes in the glass. Once poured, I am immediately captivated by the color. It’s a bright looking combo of crimson meets (dare I say) burgundy. This suggests vibrant fruit made in a leaner style than something we might find on this side of the pond. On the nose, imagine vibrant medium red berry fruit seductively flowing in and around a cigar box. On the palate, the spiciness braces that zippy fruit laying the foundation for the nuances to come. Hints of pencil shavings, rasberries, cherries, and a little flint come to mind. The finish is zippy and fresh and the wine’s components softly fade in harmony. All in all, this has provided me with so much pleasure, it’s impossible to keep mum about it!I would love to hear any thoughts or questions you may have on this wine, on Burgundy, on my recent trip to Bordeaux to taste 2007 out of barrel, and especially any insight as to what Carlos Santana listens to. Write me: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

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South Continent Pinot Noir: The Instant Glow

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 2:59 PM

2006 Azul Profundo Pinot Noir Bio Bio Valley

Red Wine; Pinot Noir; Chile;
$19.98

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Every once in a while something special drops in your lap. You can search through price books, go to tastings, visit wine countries, and find nothing. Yet some guy walks in and pours a glass, and you’re looking at him thinking “Where did you come from?” From the Bio Bio Valley in Chile (further south and cooler than the famous regions of Maipo and Casablanca) comes one of the most exciting sub $20 Pinot Noirs I’ve tasted in a long time. Where I’m normally looking for price points that are acceptable under $20 with this grape variety, this wine is impressive-delicious and more suited to the company of $30 dollar wines. You can imagine that winemakers, both Californian and Burgundian, would be happy buying this wine bottled but unlabeled. They could slap their label on it, give it a healthy markup and walk away with a profit, having done very little work. Of course, this won’t be $19.98 forever. They make 600 cases total and with the rising costs of everything, soon this pricing won’t make sense. Please take advantage if you’re into high quality/high value Pinot Noir. We have an allocation for this email, but after that, no guarantee.This wine came to us via the winemaker who is also an importer and wholesaler. He and his wife run the businesses together (she’s a winemaker too), and they had just picked up a label I had been buying direct. He asked if he could come by and pour the new vintage, and the Azul Profundo tagged along. I help a woman find wines for her club, and she was tasting with us. With one look we agreed we were both buying this wine. Beautiful pure fruit, deft oak use (you have to be looking to notice any at all), and a style that speaks to many palates. After watching my wife and mother-in-law fawn over it on Thursday, I started writing. When a wine lights up my wife’s face like that, I go back for more. I’m a Beverage Industry Professional (BIP) so I can get an “It’s good, I like it,” out of her most of the time, but to get that instant glow is difficult and therefore my constant challenge. This is instant glow wine.



I really enjoy this grape when it is done well, and most of the time it is not, so I end up being very picky. I think I’ve written about two non Burgundy Pinot producers total: Cima Collina and Anthill Farms (2006s coming soon!), and this made the cut to be number three. I love what this wine is doing under $20, and everybody who tries it seems to agree. Delicious, quality Pinot Noir with a retro price. There’s not a lot more to say than that.

SCD Dinner Report: Peter and I had two very successful dinners with SubCulture Dining last weekend. 9 courses, eight wines, and too many chocolates to count. There was an abundance of creative, delicious food, and the communal dining environment was a blast. If you were on the fence about attending, and you’re wondering whether you missed out: Yep. I wasn’t exactly sure what Peter and I were getting into, but now I’m looking forward to the next one. If you’re adventurous, you like to eat well, and you enjoy meeting foodies from all walks of life, we recommend checking it out. – Ben Jordan

2006 Azul Profundo Pinot Noir Bio Bio Valley

Red Wine; Pinot Noir; Chile;
$19.98

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Tasting Notes (For the Pinot Noir, not the 9 course meal)

You know me, if the wine does’t smell good, it’s not going home with me. I was skeptical (as I should be) about a Pinot Noir with a price this low, but when I put my nose on it that changed. And then there’s the palate. There’s a wonderful mouthfeel that you can only achieve with this variety. But to really describe this wine we have to talk about the fruit. The way it charms you, the way it carries richness, and the way it harmonizes the experience of the wine as whole. When I’m recommending wine, I feel the need to describe it in terms of its components and how extreme or subtle they are. I do this because everyone has different tastes, and I want them to understand where on their taste spectrum these pieces-parts sit. You really need to do that so you don’t send someone home with exactly the kind of wine they despise. I don’t feel the need to do that here. This speaks the language of all palates.

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2005 Red Burgundy: Morot Bressandes

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 6:08 PM

2005 Domaine Albert Morot Beaune Bressandes

Red Wine; Pinot Noir; Burgundy;
$69.99

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$59.49 per bottle with mix/match case discount.

 

I’ve been asked to give last call on our Subculture Dining events next week. See Below.In last week’s email, I wrote about how I prefer to forego new clothes in order to stock my wine cellar. And wouldn’t you know it, on Wednesday a concerned customer gave me a sweater when he picked up his wine. I don’t think it was a new sweater, but he said he washed it, so that was very nice of him. This week I would like to point out that I have been foregoing those delicious ham and cheese croissants from Tartine in order to buy Burgundy. Man, those things are good. I think there’s a stick of butter in each croissant. Man, I love butter. And Ham. And cheese.One of the wines contributing to my lack of Tartine croissants is the 2005 Albert Morot Beaune 1er Cru Bressandes. I own this wine in 375ml, 750ml, and 1.5L, and I would probably buy 187’s or 3L’s if we had them available. Wouldn’t that be cool? 187’s of the great vintages, so we could sample them? I bet a winemaker would slap my face for saying that. This is officially a late arrival, and there was a short time when we thought we weren’t going to get the 750ml’s at all. But we raised a ruckus, as it didn’t seem right for us to miss one of the top vineyards of this appellation in this great vintage from a producer that we’ve carried for such a long time. Plus the Beaune Bressandes is a favorite of a number of us Wine Housers, we buy it every year for our cellars, and we weren’t willing to have a hole in our verticals. Personally, I love the wine, and I think it matches many of the Gevreys and Vosnes from the Côtes du Nuits in terms of depth and ageability, yet it costs anywhere from 20%-40% less for comparable 1er Cru quality. Even in less proclaimed vintages like 1997, the Morot Bressandes is a contemplative wine of smoke, forest floor, licorice and succulent length. In 2005, it aspires to Grand Cru, and it will outlast some wines labeled as such. Far from a snappy, red-fruited, early to medium term Beaune, this is darker, deeper vin de garde. Not that I’m old enough to call it like this, but I think it will be one of the masterpiece wines for this domaine, and it will be a benchmark for judging Beaune Bressandes. In some vintages I lack the financial wherewithal or enthusiasm to buy all over the Burgundy map, but this is the first wine I buy every year. I guess I should put that into context. I don’t chase micro-quantities of Grand Crus or the domaine names of the hour. I’m looking for high quality at a price that is reasonable. However, I think if I had unlimited means and a cellar full of Musigny and Griottes, I would still buy this wine.This will be one of the last 2005 red Burgundies I’ll write about, with one or two more on the horizon (hopefully) that are basically reorders of wines we sold out of immediately. I wouldn’t have been able to write about this had it not arrived later than everything else. It would have been long sold. As it is we have about 6 cases and a half case of splits, so it won’t be around for long, but I am glad I got to write about it, as I do love it so. – Ben Jordan

2005 Domaine Albert Morot Beaune Bressandes

Red Wine; Pinot Noir; Burgundy;
$69.99

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$59.49 per bottle with mix/match case discount.

2005 Domaine Albert Morot Beaune Bressandes (half bottle)

Red Wine; Pinot Noir; Burgundy;
$36.99

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$31.44 per bottle with mix/match case discount. Two half bottles equal one full bottle for discounting purposes.

 



Tasting Notes

I’ve had this three times, twice at the domaine and once from 375ml in my apartment, and each time I’ve been impressed with the sheer amplitude of the material. Not amplitude in a Barossa Shiraz way, but in the way the flavor seems to replicate and expand across the palate. Even in such a young wine, there are layers and complexities that make it an exciting, convincing Burgundy. That said, you would be doing yourself a disservice to drink too much of this now. It is a wine for 2015 (2012 at least) and beyond, and that’s when we’re really going to say something about it. If you must taste it, I suggest snagging one of the half bottles. The wine is dense and structured, but endowed with that silken cream mouthfeel that I’ve noticed in the vintage, from Gallois’ Gevreys to Lamarche’s Grand Rue. For more detailed notes, I’ve included David S’s notes from the Wine Advocate below.



Wine Advocate Notes

From David Schildknecht in Wine Advocate Issue #171:“The Morot 2005 Beaune Bressandes displays scents of game, blackberry, wood smoke and sea breeze. Darkly-fruited on the palate, with hints of fruit skin bitterness, this is at the same time rich and marrowy, savory and juicy, as well as possessed of invigorating salinity. The tannins here are very refined and a creaminess of texture is already emerging. This has about it the aura of one of the Morot Beaunes of yesteryear – I think of the 1972 – that might become something really special. It would be most interesting and worthwhile to cellar. (Don’t be misled by my apparently conservative score: I can only rate what’s here today, and Morot wines in a vintage like this simply aren’t about being youthfully flattering and giving of themselves.) 91 Points.

Subculture Dining Event

Last call for reservations. Next weekend (March 14th and 15th), Peter and I will be dining and presenting wine at an “underground” evening with the Dissident Chef and Subculture Dining. In addition to dinner and wine, the folks at Recchiuti will be on hand to discuss and present their chocolate and confections. Peter and I are getting excited, so if you are too, we’ll see you there. Note: We are appearing on a volunteer basis, and all donations given will go to Subculture Dining.

SubCulture Dining WebSite

To order tickets/make reservations.

Questions/Comments? Email me at ben.winehouse@sbcglobal.net. For orders, please use our main email: winehouse@sbcglbal.net.

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2005 Burgundy Value: Richard Maniere

Tuesday, January 29, 2008 10:10 PM

Last week’s Potensac offer confirmed that demand is still strong for the 2005 French reds. Especially the serious, ageworthy wines with reasonable prices. Though we will continue to see the arrival of the ultra-premium wines from this vintage, the values are beginning to move on to new vintages. I’ll feature a few more down the road, but I would predict in a few months we’ll see the end of these supplies. On that note, 2005 red Burgundy value. There is a lot to be said for truth in advertising. When you can look into, smell, taste a glass of Pinot Noir and say, “That’s Pinot Noir.” There are times when this is one of the most satisfying things that can happen in a day. Every thing else was drudge, or worse it was stress, or worse it was downright sad. But a glass of wine says to you, rather gently, “I’m Pinot Noir.” And that loosens you and soothes you. I almost burnt dinner (bachelor chicken) when I ran to the computer to write the above paragraph. And, yes, though I am married, I still make something called ‘bachelor chicken’. And my wife likes it. We had it twice last week. Which was too much. At this point in time I do not feel comfortable going into the ingredients or recipe for bachelor chicken.


In Burgundy, they have a phrase for certain wines: ‘Tres Pinot’. Very Pinot Noir, or as I understand it: the wine is firing on the levels that, for a Burgundian, define Pinot Noir. When a group of people has a saying that comes from over 1000 years of experience, I tend to think that’s a good saying. In contrast, sometimes they gently disparage a wine for being ‘hard to find the Pinot’. If you press them as to what they mean, they’ll generally respond those wines are overwrought in some way. This Manière is far from overworked with oak or extraction, and it is Tres Pinot by the above definition. I think it may be my favorite 2005 Bourgogne we’ve brought in, and the $18.69 price tag by the case is a great price for Pinot Noir from anywhere.

By now, many of you have sampled some of the Bourgogne wines from this vintage and you realize there is a huge range of quality and style. From the vague $12 wines (that we don’t sell) to the deliciously fruited almost Gamay-like wines, to the more serious ones with more serious prices to the deep, dark wines that are so formidable they make you wonder. Bourgogne is such a weird classification, because it mostly means ‘from Burgundy’, and after that those guys can do whatever they want with it. If I had to guess how the creation of this wine went down, I’d say: Richard Manière went to harvest and found his vineyard full of fruit that he was extremely happy with, and probably said something like, “I am extremely happy with this fruit that is going into my Bourgogne.” He realized he could get good color and flavors without too much extraction, so he was careful. Everything went well, and the wine came out clean and delicious. He put some or all of it into barrel (neutral, no new wood) and let it sit until bottling. At many points along the way he tasted it and remarked, “I am very happy with this Bourgogne.” Obviously there were some other steps in there, and I’m making educated guesses, but my point is that this tastes like pure, unadulterated Pinot Noir that the winemaker was very happy with. That’s the kind of Bourgogne we have here.

Those who jumped on our pre-arrival offer of this wine were very wise, in my opinion. For the rest of us (yes, I waited too), we get one last chance. And this is one of our final chances at value-priced red Burgundy from this vintage. We’ll see the 2006 Bourgognes soon, and that’ll be that.

Those who want to know if this is an $18 bottle that you can lay away, ‘yes’ is my answer. It would prefer another year in bottle at least, but it’s not like the Potensac that really doesn’t want to be opened for at least 5. I think an ideal way to drink a case would be to open 2 to 3 bottles a year over the next 4 to 6 years. If you find it hitting a sweet spot, then take advantage, but this has the makings of a wine that will see happy evolution and doesn’t have the overbearing structure to keep you from enjoying it now. I imagine there quite a few people out there looking for something along these lines. – Ben Jordan

Tasting Notes

Strawberries, cream are both valid here, but this doesn’t actually describe the wine as a whole. It smells like strawberry (somewhat, there’s cherry as well) and it has that nice 2005 creamy texture. So I can honestly say that it has both components in the overall profile without tasting like strawberries and cream. As I mentioned above there is a purity to the Pinot Noir here. And there is definite harmony. I can talk about cherries, spice, mushrooms, whatever, but the best tasting note I can give is that this is Tres Pinot.

ben.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

A Taste of Burgundy Sampler November – December 2007

Saturday, November 24, 2007 4:23 PM

The Taste of Burgundy Sampler $89.98
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!


2005 Meursault “Le Limozin,” Xavier Monnot
Established in 1723, Xavier Monnot has had nine generations of ancestry toil in the family vineyards before him. In 1994, fresh out of oenology school, he took up with his grandfather, René and began to replant all of the lower quality yielding parcels. In addition to this upgrade, he also sought to modernize the winemaking facilities. His efforts have paid off, as the Monnot wines of this generation show off a delicate balance of racy acidity, fleshy fruit, and terroir-driven minerality. The Monnot vineyards stretch from one end of the Côtes du Beaune to the other, yet the domaine has been in the heart of Meursault since its founding. The Limozin vineyard is located just south of the village bordered by the famous premier cru vineyards of: Les Poruzots, Les Charmes, and Les Genevrières. Monnot is known for his careful usage of new oak, which give his wines a mellow mouth feel. It is very drinkable now, but will develop further complexity with short to medium term cellaring.


2005 Gevrey-Chambertin, Dominique Gallois
In 1989, the son of a pastry chef, and a former pastry chef himself, Dominique Gallois tossed his chapeau in the ring with all of the celebrity vignerons of Gevrey-Chambertin, and has being achieving success ever since. Known for deep, dark, Pinot Noir, Gallois’ wines are braced by the earthiness specifically reflecting the terroir of the grapes’ origins. Better known as a winemaker that lets the wine do the talking for him, Gallois has this to say regarding the 2005 vintage, “(A) superb vintage, indeed I would go so far as to say that it was truly a dream vintage. It was essentially perfect from start to finish and while it was dry, the vines got rain exactly when they needed it and the crop was healthy, clean, ripe and with good if not really abundant yields”. Also, “Really, I can’t say enough good things about 2005 and to my mind, it’s a great vintage that we’ll be drinking 30 years from now”. A statement like that from the likes of Gallois is impressive to say the least. We feel this wine is a great representative of vineyard, vintage, and producer. It will definitely benefit the patient ones who lay it down for a long slumber. If you absolutely must serve it in its youth, we recommend the wine be decanted for at least sixty minutes. - Peter Zavialoff

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