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

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Two major forces converged on TWH this past week: a fresh

container from France and négociante, Jeanne-Marie de Champs. The timing was grand because more than a handful of wines from said container were shipped by Jeanne-Marie and her company, Domaines et Saveurs. She spent a couple of days here in the Bay Area visiting clients, and at the end of one of those days,she returned to our HQ here in southern Dogpatch to pour a fine array of recent arrivals for our staff. We were all pretty impressed with how each wine was showing (there was one of those fancy, hyphenated Montrachet types in there), but at that momentwe were all taken by … get this … the 2013 Paul Pernot Bourgogne Blanc!

 

 
Yes, the 2013 version of Paul Pernot’s Bourgogne is here! It’s always a bargain, and it always sells out.We’ve been importing this wine and enthusiastically writing about it for decades, as it is true white Burgundy crafted by one of the region’s most reputable longtime producers. Seasoned TWH customers certainly need no introduction to Pernot’s Bourgogne, as each year it’s on the short list of best bargains from Burgundy. It’s a regular spring occurrence with some customers to pop in and “pick up my case of the Pernot Bourgogne.” We see it time and time again. Collectively, our entire staff enjoys this wine in every vintage, but there was something special about tasting the 2013 last Monday with Jeanne-Marie in the room.
 
The old adage is “you had to have been there,” and that’s pretty much true for everything you read about wine tasting experiences. That’s also true with any story which is recanted lacking its spontaneous, in the moment experience. When tasting a wine for the very first time, one usually has expectations, but with no first hand experience, surprises may arise. We’ve tasted many vintages of Paul Pernot’s Bourgogne, and even with our expectation levels, are usually impressed. This time our impressions were elevated. Rich, ripe, fleshy yellow and white fruit permeate the aromas. There is more than a hint of stony mineral, and it is all wrapped up with a spicy, toasty frame.It tasted much more fancy than its sub $30 price tag warrants.
 
When asked about the oak treatment, Jeanne-Marie informed us that usually for his Bourgogne, Pernot uses all neutral

barrels. His overall 2013 production was less than expected (and far less than average), so there were a few extra new barrels available, and Pernot vinified 15% of the 2013 Bourgogne in them! Perhaps that’s where some of the fancy aromas and texture come from. But it’s far more than that. In order for a wine to exhibit character like this, it must have rich fruit, layers of complexity, a tame alcohol level (12.5%), and harmonizing acidity. This wine has no, as in zero, rough edges. It is seamless in its harmony. There wasn’t much up for grabs at the end of the tasting, but let’s just say that more than one of us (read: all of us) wanted what was left to take home.
 
So yeah, you had to have been there, but the good news is that the 2013 Paul Pernot Bourgogne Blanc is here, in stock! Put two hours of refrigerated chill on a bottle, pop the cork, pour out a couple of glasses, and you will be there too! – Peter Zavialoff
 
*Photos by Anya Balistreri
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A TASTE OF BURGUNDY AUGUST 2014

Thursday, August 14, 2014 7:18 PM

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

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

Basic Facts for those of you who are new to the program: Every two months we select two Burgundies, one red and one white. We include write-ups detailing the background of the grower, the vineyard source, and the wine. Finally we knock a significant percentage off the prices of the wines, making the Sampler price $89.98. If you would like us to add you to the Sampler Club and receive the wines regularly, please specify “store pickup” or “ship it” in the comments field, and we will charge your card accordingly. If you would like us to ship faster than the standard ground service, please specify this as well.

2011 Beaune Premier Cru Pertuisots Domaine Pernot Belicard
According to Decanter magazine contributor, Jeannie Cho Lee MW, the 2011 white Burgundy wines, “Have wonderful purity, expressiveness and aromatic appeal. Most of the wines have found balance in their slimness and have masses of drinking appeal.” Much like the 2007 vintage, the wines are sleek, yet already revealing their charm. Philippe Pernot, grandson of Puligny-Montrachet’s Paul Pernot, runs the show here tending to vineyards acquired through his marriage to the daughter of vineyard owners in Puligny and Meursault. It must run in the family, as Philippe’s wines are every bit as terroir driven as those of his famous grandfather. The Premier Cru Pertuisots vineyard sits on the slope just southwest of Burgundy’s big city, Beaune, nearby the famous Clos des Mouches. Philippe’s 2011 Pertuisots is a wine of distinction, showing off plenty of fruit, yes, but at its core is a profound minerality. Stony and chalky, one could build the argument that this resembles a fine Grand Cru Corton Charlemagne. Drink now-2021.

2011 Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru Les Faconnières Domaine Stephane Magnien
The domaine dates back to the late 19th century, and youthful Stephane Magnien represents the fourth generation at the helm of this small production estate, a role he assumed in 2008. Morey-Saint-Denis is a small village in the Côtes de Nuits. Not very much wine is made here and demand snaps up supply with regularity. 2011 was another successful red Burgundy vintage, causing Clive Coates MW to comment, “Nature is smiling on the Burgundy lover.” He may appear rather youthful, but Stephane’s wines are old-school in charm. Finesse and purity are the name of the game chez Magnien, his wines are loaded with character and complexity. Just a stone’s throw from the pedigreed Grand Cru, Clos de la Roche, the 2011 Les Faconnières is layered with aromatic complexity. On the palate, it is medium in body, has plenty of nerve, and finishes elegant and long. Medium term cellaring is advised, drink from 2018-2028. Be forewarned, the last vintage of Les Faconnières offered in the TOB sold out in a flash. – Peter Zavialoff

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