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This Gewurztraminer is technically from the Grand Cru Steinert vineyard, but Pierre simply didn't want to present this wine as a Grand Cru, so he calls it "Steiner." To me, it's a perfect Gewurz; a little sweet (22g residual sugar), fresh, floral and clean, with a touch of mint and herbs. I had a bottle that lasted for about a week, and I really enjoyed tasting it every day. I consider this a classic Gewruztraminer, and a great introduction to the grape and it's characteristics. Eben Lillie
Bergweingarten is a vineyard of brown limestone, with South-East exposition in the middle of a hill. Pierre says there's a touch of sandstone influence, which dons a type of crystalline freshness and structure to the wines from this site. There's some stone fruit here, and a nice level of ripeness, with hints of mandarin orange, almond, and spice. Aged on the lees for 11 months in large 100 year old barrels, with 19g S02 total. I wouldn't call this a completely dry Sylvaner - even though the residual sugar is only 1.4g, it's ripe and flavorful and has some lingering fruit in the finish. A very tasty wine, and quite versatile with a variety of foods. Eben Lillie
Hollerin has larger terraces, with loam and Gfoehler gneiss; Leo Jr. calls the wines from this vineyard "charming" with good fruit and structure, a contrast from the more intense mineral cut on the wines from the Höhereck vineyard just on the other side of the hill. Delicate aromas of white strawberries and flowers on the nose, the palate boasts great texture and lift with notes of peach candy, green strawberry tops, and white grapefruit. Cari Bernard
Riesling vines for the Smaragd bottling grow in meager soils in a high altitude, amphitheater-shaped vineyard where most of the sun-exposure ends at around 3 in the afternoon, making for a cooler microclimate in contrast to some of the other south-facing sites on the Loibenberg, where a more Pannonian (warmer) climate prevails. The cooling influence is reflected in the high minerality in balance with a creaminess and clarity of fruit--peach blossom and stone on the nose gives way to stone fruit and just-ripe mango with a spicy intensity and long, saline stony finish on the palate. Cari Bernard
The Riesling from Alzinger's Steinertal parcel sells the moment it arrives from Austria; the steep, higher reaches of the vineyard have a sparse layer of soil over the primary rock of Gfoehler gneiss which lends itself well to growing Riesling with intense minerality and power. The vineyard is located at the end of two valleys, where cool air intensifies in the autumn, providing ideal diurnal range to preserve acidity, ripeness, and aromas in the grapes. Interestingly enough, Grüner can also thrive here, although further down the slope, but still above Mühlpoint at the bottom, and as one can imagine, the Grüners from Steinertal have a great amount of acidity and age-worthiness. The melon note from Mühlpoint is here on the nose, but much more angular; on the palate is a truly interesting intensity of rich mouthfeel and stone fruitiness coupled with salinity and savory dark minerality. Needs some time to fall into place, but if you can wait, this wine will reward your patience! Cari Bernard
100% Roter Veltliner planted in 1979 near the top of Gaisberg (Zöbing side). Known more for being a top site for growing Riesling than Roter Veltliner, Martin and Anna Arndorfer purchased this vineyard in 2010 (after being warned not to do so by relatives). The primary rock up there (300+ meters, south facing) is predominately Gfohler Gneiss along with Mica-Schist. Both 2012 and 2013 had very similar vinifications: few hours of maceration, aged in a mix of oak and stainless steel, with ten months on the lees and no fining. We are very lucky to have two different vintages to choose from, ultimately showcasing the influence of the vintage. Reflecting some similar development on the nose as the 2012 (salted toffee/brown butter), there is also a brighter note of Seville orange zest, and the palate reveals a higher acidity, with tangy orange/lemon oil, and brighter vegetal tones alongside the pear and apple fruit. Not austere by any means, but the 2013 does come off as stonier and edgier than the 2012. Cari Bernard
Schenkenbichl is a terraced vineyard on chalk, amphibolite, gneiss with richer top soil, 330 meters above sea level, where exposure to the sun balanced by the cooling and drying effect of ceaseless winds from the west make for longer hang time and therefore more phenolic development. Spontaneous fermentation is followed by aging in large, neutral wood casks for around 9 months. Incredibly concentrated with notes of white pepper, pineapple core, white cherry, apricot, and Fuji apple, firm minerality and shimmering acidity. Cari Bernard
The 'Graf' Sauvignon Blanc (~30 y/o vines) is grown on steep, south-facing slopes, with clay, silt, and limestone soils. The grapes are de-stemmed and ferment in large, wooden casks before being transferred to smaller wooden barrels (all neutral), and the wine is bottled without the addition of sulfur. Reductive at first opening, the palate is pure Muster Sauvignon Blanc: electric acidity, green gooseberries, grass, and lemon-lime zest all grated over stone. Cari Bernard
Unmistakable on the nose--that floral perfume mixed with SweetTarts candy scent--this can only be Gelber Muskateller (Yellow Muscat). A fresh and delightfully fruity wine, still floral on the palate, balanced with flavors of crisp apple, peach, mango, and lime candy. A great bottle for apéro! Cari Bernard
Twenty-five year old vines on loess soils grown on the rim of the valley in the Wagram, of Ott's Grand Cru vineyards, Spiegel is a perennial favorite. Delicately mineral on the nose, this Grüner is dynamic on the palate: notes of Meyer lemon, lime zest, green apple candy, mango, white cherry, pineapple, peach skin with vibrant acidity and a lingering finish. Very young and powerful, yet balanced, this wine will age beautifully! Cari Bernard
Riesling grown at a higher elevation near the Rosenberg. Freshest peach, white flower petals, salted green mango on the nose, the wine is bright and intense and not overly fruity; notes of green apple skin, nectarine, pineapple are tart and crystalline. Cari Bernard
Claus Preisinger's first vintage was in in early 2000s, after stints working in California as well as with Hans and Anita Nittnaus in Burgenland, where his vineyards are also located. His 19 hectares of vineyards have been certified Biodynamic (Respekt) since 2008. This vintage of the Kalkundkiesel is Weißburgunder, Grüner Veltliner, Muskat, and Welschriesling selected from a variety of vineyard sites, with soils containing limestone and pebbles. Maceration is for four days and the wine ages in a mix of used, wooden vessels before being bottled without any added sulfur. Elegantly textured with layers of ripe apricot, lees, salted yellow apple, quince, soft floral tones and savory clay: a stunning wine! Cari Bernard
If you've read the Hirsch Heiligenstein note, you have a bit of a primer on how complex the soils can get here. Gobelsburg's Heiligenstein vineyard is home to some of the oldest Riesling vines of the estate, growing on a mix of silt, sandstone, feldspar, with rich sediments. Bright and powerful notes of lime flower, green mango, apricot, and a brisk stony minerality make for a wine with fantastic aging potential.
Vogelsang is one of two single-vineyard parcels that Michael bottles separately. The vineyard is further south along the Ruster hill-chain, here mica schist and gneiss soils are punctuated with grey quartz, which Michael says gives the wine a cooler and tighter minerality. When tasted against the Garden of Eden vineyard (pink quartz), one can't help but concur. As Furmint is a late-ripening grape, bunches in the Vogelsang and Eden vineyards will often stay on the vine until late September, more than three weeks after the other grape varieties are harvested. For the Vogelsang, there is a touch of skin-contact before pressing (less than the Eden), and the wine ages in 500L used French oak barrels. An incredible balance of luxurious density and cool minerality, evoking comparisons with age-worthy Loire Chenin Blanc, concentrated Pouilly-Fuissé, and even characteristics of heady Jura whites. Like Chenin, Furmint lends itself well to a wide variety of wine styles, from dry and linear to the most elegant of dessert wines (Ausbruch). Vogelsang is dry with a concentration of fruity and aromatic quince, yellow apple skin, tangerine oil, white blossom, and honeyed young ginger, with a stony minerality keeping things from getting too lush. Enjoy now paired with seared scallops over creamy polenta, roasted chicken with fennel, potatoes au gratin, or put down for at least 5-8 years. Cari Bernard
From 80 year-old vines in "Saint-Joseph" and "Grand Cras"on sandy granite soils, farmed organically. Vinification is a two - three week carbonic maceration with wild yeasts, with minimal SO2 added only at bottling, without fining or filtration. Breton makes among the most elegant of Beaujolais and the 2016 Morgon VV shows lovely tart cherry and raspberry aromas with rose, citrus and spice. Pretty high-toned red fruits continue on the palate that is also quite spicy and floral. This will improve with aeration or a few years in the bottle - lovely wine.
Guy Breton's Regnié is from 35 year-old and 100 year-old vines on shallow sandy soils over decomposed granit.The 2016 is exuberantly floral on the nose, redolent of violets and cherry blossoms, with notes of wild strawberry, mustard seed, and spice. The palate is supple and racy, with ripe red and black fruits, black tea, and granitic spice on a bright, high-toned finish. While this is charming now, there's a nice midterm upside for those who prefer a little age on their Beaujolais. John McIlwain
The Chignard Fleurie "Les Moriers" is from a parcel of 60 year-old vines, wedged into Moulin-a-Vent, with granite soils rich in manganese. The 2016 is an outstanding wine, quite dense and well-structured, showing black cherry and blackberry aromas with violet, citrus and spice.The palate is firm with deep black fruits and mineral flavors with terrific length and balance. This is a beautiful Fleurie, more of a Moulin-a-Vent, actually, that should be decanted or opened well in advance if drinking now. This will accompany grilled meats and coq au vin, and will cellar well, perhaps best 2021 - 2028. David Lillie
This is a lovely Beaujolais from the Chignard family, better known for their Fleurie "Les Moriers." Possessing the bright fruit and balance of the 2016 vintage in Beaujolais, the Julienas "Beauvernay" shows a pretty red/black color, with elegant aromas of red currant and tart black cherry with violet, blood orange, earth and stone. It's ripe and sapid but with lively acidity and perfectly proportioned at 12.5% alcohol. Tart cherry, plum and red currant fruit with saline minerals, earth and spice coat the palate and continue in the earthy finish. Quite lovely now, this should soften and gain complexity with three to five years of aging, drink till 2025-2028. DL
Damien Coquelet, working in the same stlye as his step-father Georges Descombes, has created some beautifully old-fashioned Beaujolais in 2016. The Morgon Cote de Py shows lovely aromas of raspberry, strawberry, citrus and rose, very pretty and bright. The palate shows a bit more stucture and darker fruit than the Damien's Chiroubles, with sappy strawberry fruit, a bit of citrus and a more earthy character. The finish is refreshing and long with juicy berry fruit and firm acidity. Serve quite cool with chicken and white meats, grilled foods and charcuterie. Lovely wine.
Alain Coudert, who took over from his father in the late 80s, produces some of the finest wines in Fleurie. Originally classified as Moulin-a-Vent, the Clos de la Roilette vines produce a somewhat more structured wine with more black fruit aromas than a "normal" Fleurie. The 2015s here, as in much of Beaujolais were high in alcohol and extremely ripe, a bit awkward in their youth and needing a few years to calm down. The 2016 Clos de la Roilette has returned to form showing a bright red/garnet color and aromas of crushed raspberry, violette and brown spice with hints of blackberry, citrus and earth. The palate retains the floral character with creamy raspberry fruit and hints of spice, leather and greens, with nice sappy length. Delicious now and quite easy to drink, although it will benefit from decanting. Serve with charcuterie, roast chicken, pork dishes and mild cheeses. As always the Coudert Clos de la Roilette will benefit from 3 to 5 years or more in the bottle as well.
The Vieilles Vignes bottlings from Georges Descombes are among the very finest Beaujolais produced, and despite the added ripeness in 2015, the wines are oustanding both for current drinking and for aging 10 to 15 years. The 2015 Chiroubles Vieilles Vignes shows ripe black raspberry and blackberry aromas with spice, violet, rose, earth and citrus, quite deep and complex. The palate has a deep, supple, grainy texure and lush black raspberry liqueur that coats the palate. The finish is long with elegant fruit liqueur and firm acidity. Enjoy with a grilled steak this summer, but put some away for future enjoyment as well. David Lillie
The Descombes Morgon Vieilles Vignes is made from 60 to 100 year-old vines from numerous sites on granite soils; semi-carbonic fermentation then aging 6 - 8 months in Burgundy barrels and one year in bottle before release. Dense and dark, this wine has formidable concentration. Some nice floral notes on the nose, with some vegetable ash and herbal characteristics wrapped around the dense dark fruit core. Deep and intense blackberry compote character on the palate is supported by inky tannin. This is a full-blooded Beaujolais that will benefit from a decade in the cellar, though right now its incredibly concentrated dark fruit and raw power should be enticing to those who love their wine with youthful strength. An excellent companion to sweet and sour pork, peking duck, or veal marsala. Andrew Farquhar
Georges Descombes has once again made a light and lovely Morgon in 2016 that will be a joyful drink this summer and over the next few years. The wine shows a bright garnet color with aromas of strawberry, raspberry and rose with a bit of citrus peel and spice. The palate is light but nicely sapid and ripe with supple red fruits with hints of citrus, earth and spice. The finish is ripe and refreshing with juicy acidity. Serve cool and enjoy, this very pretty wine is highly recommended! David Lillie
From a small hillside parcel of 50-plus year-old vines in Brouilly, certified organic. Carbonic maceration with no addition of SO2, followed by foot-pressing, gravity fed into large barrels or foudres for aging. Light Garnet/black color. The 2016, at 12.5% alcohol, is back to the style of the lovey 2014, showing pretty aromas of raspberry and red currant with bright citrus notes and smells of earth and stone. The palate is light but intense with bright raspberry and tart cherry flavors over firm acidity with citrus and earth. The finish is refreshing with lingering citrus and mineral flavors. Serve with charcuterie, fish in sauce, chicken and pork dishes or hold for 5 to 8 years as this should be a very pretty mature wine. David Lillie
From vines averaging 70 years of age in the lieu-dit "La Croix des Rameaux" on a steep south-west facing slope with various degradations of granite. 90% of fruit was destemmed with a 21 to 24 day cuvaison. The free run and pressed wines were assembled just before final fermentation of sugars. Approximately two weeks later, the wine was transferred into neutral barrels (average age of 10 years) for elevage of 10 months. No added sulfur during vinification, 10mg/Liter SO2 added before bottling, no filtration. The 2015 La Croix des Rameaux shows a bright red-black color, with meaty aromas of ripe blackberry and earth with a bit of violet and black cherry. The palate is dense and a bit closed, showing deep black fruits with hints of citrus, earth and bitter chocolate, very textured and long. Certainly an impressive wine and better balanced than most 2015s at 13% alcohol. Decant in advance if drinking now, best served cool with a steak or grilled pork. This should be very interesting when mature, best perhaps 2022 to 2030.
The 2016 Lapalu "Eau Forte" is a selection of old-vine juice from Brouilly and Côte de Brouilly. Organic farming; the whole clusters are pressed in a traditional basket press and fermentation is with wild yeasts in concrete vats (not carbonic). There is a gentle maceration to extract color but with no pigeage or remontage to minimize extraction of tannins. Two-thirds of the wine is moved to older, neutral barrels to complete fermentation while one-third remains in concrete. The wine then stays in barrel or vat for five months before final assemblage and is not fined or filtered before bottling, with only 10mg/Liter of SO2. This wine is not meant to be a vin de garde like the Lapalu Brouilly Croix des Rameaux or Côte de Brouilly - it's a beautiful natural wine showing aromas of blackberry and violet with tart plum orange peel and spice, bright and pretty. The palate has a light feel but is quite intense with dense black raspberry fruit framed in very firm acidity with hints of mint, earth and citrus. This is serious "glou-glou," quite unique and delicious - get some saussisons or grill some pork and enjoy! David Lillie
We were lucky enough to taste this at La Dive Bouteille last winter - the wine showed beautiful floral raspberry aromas with a refreshing light and lovely palate showing subtle raspberry and cherry fruit. Very long and elegant with a sapid, refreshing finish. A little bit of Volnay in Saint-Amour!
A Margaux like no other, more akin to a 19th century claret than to a modern Bordeaux.The 2004 from Jean-Pierre Boyer shows a lovely deep garnet color and smoky red-currant aromas with earth, violet, licorice, spice and citrus peel. The palate is dense and mineral with firm structure, but showing velvety blackberry, cassis and red currant with earth and mineral flavors and a bit of bitter licorice. The finish is long and firm. Suspend your ideas of Bordeaux and enjoy this complex and Burgundian Margaux. Carafe four hours in advance or cellar ten to twenty years.(On day 2 the wine has deepened and softened into a lovely Burgundian Bordeaux)
The 2009 BAMA shows bright deep red/black color with lovely high-toned red fruit liqueur - strawberry, black-currant and cassis, with violet and earth. The palate is dense and ripe with bright acidity - not at all heavy, but with intense black and red fruits backed by flavors of mineral and earth. On day two the bright deep fruits have become more focused and linger on the palate in the long and very mineral finish. This is quite enjoyable as a young wine, especially after a day open, unencumbered by over-extraction and new oak - but beware, this style is for those who like some earth in their Bordeaux! Best to cellar for a very long time...
The 2010 Bel Air Marquis d'Aligre is from very old vines and also from approximately 50 year-old vines planted by M. Boyer at 10,000 plants per hectare. One of the two parcels abuts Chateau Margaux. There is a long fermentation without extraction, the juice remains in cuve until spring, then spends 6 months in old barrels followed by two to three years in cement vat. These are wines made in the lighter "claret" style of the 19th century, although the 2010 shows an incredible density of flavor, given the less-extracted style. Upon opening the wine shows subtle aromas of earth, red currant and cherry fruit with licorice and brown spice. The palate is deep and quite expressive with black cherry, strawberry, earth, licorice and mineral flavors, quite Burgundian in texture. The finish is very long with lingering tart cherry, sous-bois and mineral flavors. After two days open (re-corked) the aromas have broadened with prune, ripe cherry, tobacco, spice and rose and the palate is intense with red and black fruit liqueur, spice box and earth and ending with lingering red fruits and firm acidity. Delicious now with a long decant, this will be an extraordinary mature wine, best perhaps 2035 - 2050. David Lillie
The 2013 Maison Blanche is a superb blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc from at least 45-year-old vines on clay. With low yields, use of native yeast, a combination of old and new oak, and little addition of sulfur at bottling, this wine has an elegant structure with bright acidity, great minerality, and supple tannins. The wine is elegantly complex with a gorgeous bouquet of cassis and plums, dark chocolate, tobacco, cedar box, earthy and purple floral notes. On the palate, the wine is luscious with a long and beautiful finish showcasing its finesse. This is a delicious wine that can be cellared for several years (8+ years). Pair it with beef stew, braised beef, spare ribs or lamb. Caroline Coursant
This delectable, organic Bordeaux from the Fédieu family is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. On the nose, the wine displays notes of dark berries, cassis, menthol, dried rose petals, violets, yellow tobacco, young leather and oriental spices. On the palate, the balance between acidity, tannin and oak is beautiful; with great minerality coming from the gravelly sandy soils, the wine shows some weight with a bright freshness. Complex without being too much, this lively wine strikes the right balance between a table wine and a wine for more special occasions. Drink with meat recipes such as steak au poivre, ragouts, lamb kebabs, or braised pork. Caroline Coursant
Dark red color, cassis and plummy nose, lots of sweet fruit, good tannin, nice maturing Bordeaux. About 60% Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot & Petit Verdot. La Lagune has always fermented using the indigenous yeasts from the vineyard. It is always one of the very best of the Haut Medoc and is very, very long lived.
The Peybonhomme-les-Tours "Energies" is a selection of the best grapes, vinified with wild yeasts and aged for 12 months in terra cotta amphorae, 60% Merlot, 30% Malbec, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine shows a dense red/black color with ripe blackberry and cassis aromas with stone and earth. The palate is supple, sapid and ripe with blackberry liqueur, red currant, bitter chocolate and stone. The finish is long with saline mineral flavors and firm acidity. The "Energies" is an elegant glass of Bordeaux that is lovely now with grilled meats, stews and full-flavored cheeses. Or cellar for ten years as this should age beautifully. Congratulations to the Huberts for this beautiful natural wine!
(From half-bottle.) Though not considered a legendary vintage for Yquem, the 1981 has plenty of verve and class to recommend it. The nose shows apricot, orange marmalade, honey and brunt sugar and notes of vanilla. The palate is rich though, perhaps not as unctuous as more lauded vintages, offering flavors of burnt orange, crème brulée, pineapple, and honey. This is mature yet still has plenty of energy and freshness provided by the still lively acidity which carries through on the long and pleasingly bitter finish. John McIlwain
A rarity we see all too infrequently. We recommend decanting ahead for maximum enjoyment.
A rarity we see all too infrequently. We recommend decanting ahead for maximum enjoyment.
Sea spray, green apple, white flowers, fine stony detail on palate; cool lifted, slightly herbal finish. Plenty of flint in the tank still. Drink and hold. John McIlwain
The Montmains vineyard lies on the left bank of the Serein River a bit south of Vaillons. The 2015 has a ripe nose redolent of white flowers, orchard fruit, and citrus oil. The palate offers ripe golden apple, and Meyer lemon flavors underlain with subtle notes of sea spray and dusty minerality on a persistent finish. John McIlwain
Located on the right bank of the Serein, Montée de Tonnerre is one of the more structured premier crus, distinctly mineral and long-lived. The 2015 Duplessis Montée de Tonnerre is a classic expression from the site. Crushed herbs, lime zest, flint, and sea spray on the effusive nose. The palate shows incisive minerality with pungently saline character offset by cool-toned apple and citus notes. this is deeply stony with driving energy on an impressively long and palate-staining finish. Excellent now with a quick decant, better still in 3-5 years. John McIlwain
Located on the left bank of the Serein, the name Vaugiraut derives from “Vaul Girault,” which means Girault's valley, likely the name of a local owner. Aged entirely in cuve (stainless steel tank), Duplessis' 2015 Vaugiraut offers pretty aromas of white flowers, honeysuckle, white peach, and crushed herbs. The palate displays flavors of white peach, citrus, and salt with hints of green tea and quinine on the stony, precise finish. John McIlwain
The Jobard Rully "En Villerange" is from a 2 hectare parcel facng south-south-east with old vines in clay/limestone soils. This is an elegant and well-priced white Burgundy showing aromas of ripe pear, lemon confit, lime-flower and almond framed in a bit of oak. The palate is supple and ripe with white fruit, herbal and mineral flavors framed in firm acidity and nicely rounded by the fermentation and elevage in barrel. Quite ripe and nicely balanced, it's delicious now and over the next 5 to 8 years.
"Les Boutonniers" is contiguous with Meursault "Meix Chavaux" on shallow soils of clay, high in iron, over the limestone bedrock, usually giving a somewhat lean and very "mineral" white Burgundy. The 2015 shows very floral aromas with pear, citrus and stone. The palate is crystalline and dense with subtle white fruits leading to a long finish with citrus peel, spice and mineral flavors. This is a lovely, very refreshing Burgundy to enjoy with grilled fish, roast chicken and goat cheeses. It's delicious now and will cellar nicely for eight to ten years. DL
From a north-facing parcel fairly high on the slope next to Meursault Les Vireuils. Subtle, rather delicate aromas of lime-flower and citrus, with white fruits, stone and honeysuckle. The palate is fresh and bright with mineral flavors predominating, with pear, lemon peel and herbal notes, quite pure and refreshing. The opposite of an oaky fruit-bomb, this is a light and lovely Chardonnay of terroir that will accompany shellfish, sole, flounder, cod and young goat cheeses.
Beaune 1er Cru "Les Coucherias" is high on the slope on the site of an old quarry and much of the sub-soil is limestone tailings, permitting root penetration and drainage, with a topsoil of mixed clay and limestone "marnes blanches." In biodynamic agriculture since 1979, the vineyard is a south-facing semi-circle—a very warm spot giving a full, ripe wine. The 2016 "Coucherias" is an extraordinary wine showing elegant aromas of almond, lemon confit and pear with subtle spice and mineral notes. The palate is deep and concentrated but beautifully balanced by firm acidity, very sapid and pure with a perfect finish of stone, pear, lemon and herbal flavors. This is a beautiful white Burgundy that is superb now but will be even better after a few years in the cellar, probably best 2021 - 2030. Highly recommended. David Lillie
From vines dating from the 1920s and 1940s. Organically farmed, and vinified in used oak barrels. The 2014 is a beautiful expression of Pouilly-Fuissé fusing the bright minerality of the old vines with the sunny richness of the appellation. The robe is a green gold hue. The nose is redolent of stone fruit and citrus peel. The palate is racy on the attack, with a pungent stony character giving way to a supple ripeness building on a long, lingering finish. This is lovely and a great candidate for cellaring in the mid-term, say 8-10 years, though one could certainly tuck into a bottle earlier. John McIlwain
The 2015 Cos Varambon is a beautiful Pouilly-Fuissé to drink over the next five to eight years. The aromas show lovely pear, peach, honeyed lime-flower and citrus. The palate is round and ripe with dense pear and citrus fruit, very calcaire and supported by firm acidity despite the ripeness of the vintage. Serve with fish in sauce, white meats and mild cheeses or sip happily by itself, delicious wine!
The Pouilly-Fuissé cuvée Pierrefolle is made from the only vineyard situated outside the Clos at Rontets: this plot is set only 500 meters south and is warmer because of its plain East exposure and the sheltered position from the North wind. This climat has older geological origins, preceding the Jurassic era: it sits on a granitic bedrock and its soil has no clay or limestone. This is why at the beginning of the 1970s it was planted using the Riparia rootstock, which has low vigor and guarantees limited yields and very good quality grapes. All these characteristics produce wines with lower acid, compared to those produced within our Clos. Although larger and somehow more generous, Pierrefolle is always sustained by a precise mineral expression and citrus aromatic note. In the warm 2015 vintage, the Pierrefolle shows ripe aomas of white and exotic fruits with a bit of spice and earth. The palate, however, remains very mineral with firm saline acidity underlying the pear and citrus fruit. The finish is long with mineral flavors lingering on the palate. This is a beautiful Burgundy and a great food pairing - drinking well now, but five to ten years of aging will be very interesting. Highly recommended. David Lillie
This beautiful Pouily-Fuissé is from old vines in the Clos on hard limestone with very thin silty clay topsoil. Certified organic farming, long slow fermentations with wild yeasts and aging in large oak barrels, none new. The wine shows bright aromas of pear, lemon confit, herbs and stone. The palate shows creamy white fruits and citrus flavors with firm very chalky acidity and a hint of oak. The wine is beautifully balanced and refreshing, drinking wonderfully now, but it will improve with 5 to 8 years of aging. This is a lovely White Burgundy, comparing favorable at the price with wines from the Cote d'Or.
This is a superb, subtle and very mineral Chardonnay from a replanted parcel at the very top of the Clos, abandoned since 1896, with thin clay soils rich in iron over limestone. A great terroir, never chemically treated and worked in biodynamic farming by Alain and Julien Guillot. The 2015 "les Chassagnes" is a beautiful wine, a bit fuller than the 2014 but still quite racy and stony with hints of white fruits, spice and honey. The palate is silky and crystalline - all minerals with subtle citrus and white fruits, very long and elegant. Highly recommended! David Lillie
Sourced from a small plot within La Fosse, planted in 1959, Venus is named after the draft horse that plowed the vines. The soils are exceptionally chalky relative to the soils of other parts of Avize which have more clay, per Peter Liem. Aged under cork rather than crown cap and bottled without dosage, Venus is profoundly mineral and a study in chalk, with the old vines' deep roots preserving that sense of terroir even in warmer or 'off' vintages. John McIlwain
Mineral is a vintage-dated blend of Chardonnay from two particularly chalky lieux dits within the grand cru villages of Cramant and Avize, with the grapes from Bionnes (Cramant) vinified in demi-muid and Le Champ Bouton (Avize) vinified in tank and blended in equal parts.Sea spray, peach skin, grapefruit peel on the nose. Bright and fresh on the palate with good cut, incisively mineral with pungent chalk notes on the long driving finish. Delicious now, perhaps better still with a few years to allow the structural elements knit. John McIlwain
Towards the end of the tasting my notes became minimal, but this wine rated an enthusiastic "Superb!" Forget your prejudice against demi-sec Champagnes, this wine is fantastically complex and delicious. The French wine publication “Le Rouge et le Blanc,” in their review of André Beaufort, offers an explanation of how dosage seems to help the wines develop: “the aromas, timid in their youth, finish by exploding with age and the sugar becomes like a support to the aromas.” Only a few bottles available – we urge you to try it! (Notes from Jan 2017: "Super, rich, no flaws, Nearly sweet, wonderful, rich, complex nose. Totally fresh, or at least not old or even aging...") (new inventory disgorged June 2017)
(NOTE: This refers to a 2014 disgorgement - this wine, from the same lot, was disgorged in 2017.) The 1998 Ambonnay Brut has long been a staff favorite and this disgorgement does not disappoint. Brillliant, golden yellow in color and showing a finely-beaded mousse, this offers one of the two most expressive aromatic profiles of this current Beaufort lineup. Aromas of Mirabelle plums, toasted hazelnuts, and crème brüléee transition to notes of Jonagold apples, cinnamon, and wild flowers. The palate is generous and expansive and carries tones of brazil nuts, greengages, and irises that crescendo to a fine, zippy finish. This is complex and delicious Champagne! David Salinas
2002 is a "magnificent vintage for Champagne" says Jancis Robinson and the 2002 Beaufort Policy Demi-Sec (disgorged in June 2017) is a beautiful example. The aromas are a lovely melange of honeyed citrus, pear and exotic fruits and floral notes with chalk, caramel and anise. The palate is a treat of sweet white fruits and citrus backed by earth and stone flavors with just enough acidity. The finish has a nice mineral balance and terrific length. Superb now, this will be very interesting in ten years or more, as after fourteen years on the lees it seems youthful and firm. (last of stock) David Lillie
The 2006 Ambonnay Brut Grand Cru shows subtle mature aromas of pear, almond, marzipan and citrus, very earthy with hints of exotic fruit and spice and wet stone. Give this some time to open up. The palate shows a delicate, creamy mousse with complex earthy white fruits, herbal notes and mineral flavors with nice acidity in the finish. A lovely wine of contemplation. (Disgorged June 2017)
"Really superb, subtle, long. Quiet nose. Winy. Seems like old school white Burgundy. Very serious..." Anonymous notes from Beaufort dinner, Jan 2017 (Disgorged April, 2017)
For those of a classical bent who prefer not to shop at the big Champagne houses, André Beaufort is a wonderful alternative. Longtime organic farming and extended lees-aging produce rich wines of uncommon detail and complexity. The 2010 Ambonnay offers aromas of white flowers, orange peel, bergamot, and chalk on the nose. Bright acid, salted plum, citrus oil, and fine line of sapid minerality on the supple and rich palate.This shows a fine interplay between power, tension, and suave, supple finish. This is one heck of an Ambonnay and a fine bottle of Beaufort! (Disgorged June 2017) John McIlwain
André Beaufort 2010 Polisy Blanc de Noirs Brut Nature, disgorged in June, 2017. This is a youthful and brilliant Blanc de Noirs from Amaury Beaufort and family that is sensationally vinous and complex, reflecting the decades of organic farming and low yields at this extraordinary estate. The wine shows aromas of raspberry, peach, lime-flower, citrus, hazelnut and stone. The palate is ripe and firmly structured with citrusy acids enveloping red fruits, thistle and creamy lemon with stone, white fruit, floral and mineral flavors in the long finish. This is a young and beautiful wine that will accompany a meal such as fish in sauce or chicken with morels, and of course delicious as an aperitif. Rich, but quite age-worthy, perhaps best 2020 to 2030. DL
A blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier from the Montagne de Reims, partially destemmed, fermented in barrel, and bottled without fining or filtration. The 2014 Bérêche Coteaux Champenois offers aromas of wild cherry, black raspberry, brambles and roasted nuts. The palate shows good density with dark fruits, crushed herbs, an underlying iodine-like soil note, and a fairly packed and somewhat dense lingering finish. This is a bit inscrutable at the moment and will benefit with a couple of hours of air or some time in the cellar. All the elements are here for further development: a serious Coteaux worthy of mid-term cellaring. John McIlwain
Based on a perpetual cuvée dating from the 1980's, the wine combines the vivid, nervy fruit of a recent vintage with the burnished, textural and aromatic complexity of the aged wines which make up the 'solera.' The secondary fermentation under cork rather than crown cap adds an additional layer of finesse with a delicate bead and soft mousse. Reflets is 2/3 reserve wine and 1/3 from the 2012 vintage. The current release has a golden yellow robe and a super fine bead. The nose features aromas of shortbread, ripe apple, orange zest and baking spice. The palate is round and broad with an underlying mineral tension and a cool, vibrant, rising finish. Better served in a white wine glass to allow the aromas to develop. A fine pairing with richer seafood dishes, roast poultry, or enjoy with a fine Comté. John McIlwain
100% Pinot Meunier from the single parcel La Ruedes Noyers, farmed biodynamically, fermented in barrel. The 2013 Coteaux Blanc from Benoît Déhu has a lovely nose combining aromas of fresh stone fruit, sea spray, salted plum, and spice. The palate is racy and ripe with good richness (for a Coteaux Champenois). Flavors of fresh apricot, Rainier cherry and citrus peel vie with mineral notes for attention on a long sapid finish. This is a lovely Coteaux with just the right tension between the bright fruit notes and savory character. Delicious! John McIlwain
Filaine is one of our favorite Champagne houses. And the singular Fabrice Gass is one of our favorite Champagne characters. His wines are made up of Pinot Noir/Chardonnay/Pinot Meunier from the south-facing village of Damery on the slope of the Montagne de Reims over looking the Marne. The wines are made in the manner of 100 years ago. Fabrice farms the without chemicals, ferments in wood, and due to the age of his barrels, avoids malolactic fermentation. This disgorgement is based on the 2012 and 2013 vintages and balances nicely the classic richness of Damery with undertones of minerality. Aromatically the wines offer up aromas of baked apple, spices, and soil notes. On the palate flavors of ripe red fruit and a pervasive sense of chalkiness vie with with a creamy texture on the broad, rich finish. This is a perfect wine for the table with its balance of generous fruit and earthy structure. John McIlwain
Benoît Marguet has long been one of our favorite vignerons. Not only is he passionate about biodynamics and terroir, but one can't overlook the fact that his wines are positively delicious. Imagine our delight when he opened a bottle of his Coteaux Champenois for us in Ambonnay last year! Dark ruby robe. Effusively aromatic displaying aromas of violets, Morello cherry, and Pinot spice. The palate offers waves of bright cherry and red plum fruit, with notes of black tea and spice, deftly framed by ripe tannins and fresh acidity. This shows great poise and balance between gorgeous ripe fruit and a pungent, nearly saline sense of minerality. Wonderful now, but this should really blossom with 5-7 years in the cellar. John McIlwain
A blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier offering aromas of wild strawberry, wild cherries, a supple red-fruited palate, and delicate, fine-grained minerality. A lovely wine for cheeses or a fine apéritif with a light chill. Pretty and graceful, rather than powerful. John McIlwain
An organically-farmed Blanc de Noirs from the eponymous lieu-dit in the premier cru village of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ. The wine is a notable expression of this terroir, as Fabrice Pouillon reveals by vinifying with only the natural sugars from perfectly ripe Pinot Noir, in addition to only utilizing the indigenous yeasts present in the must. He accomplishes this by chilling unsulfured grape must in tank to a temperature low enough to prevent spoilage or fermentation. This must is then used for the secondary fermentation, as well as the dosage after disgorgement, rather than cane sugars or MCR. The resulting wine is layered and supple with a fine bead, displaying red fruits, blood orange peel, and spices, expressing the vinous character of Pinot Noir grown in the clays of the Grande Vallee de la Marne. John McIlwain
Côte de Béchalin, formerly known as La Parcelle when part of the Inflorescence lineup, comes from a meticulously farmed .73 hectare parcel in Celles-sur-Ource. Where previously Bouchard sold wines made by the former owner, then vinified the wines in those cellars, 2007 was the first vintage where the wines were made completely in Bouchard's cellars. While these champagnes have seemed to have a broader palate with more exotic fruit, they maintain poise with pinpoint acidity. One can certainly enjoy this now, but some time in the cellar to further knit the elements of structure and fruit should pay off handsomely. -John McIlwain
Les Ursules is a Blanc de Noirs from a single parcel of less than a hectare of the same name in the Côtes des Bars. As always Cédric Bouchard’s aesthetic is vineyard expression above all. This single vineyard, single vintage Pinot Noir is raised in stainless steel, to avoid any influence of wood that would mask the character of the terroir. The long, slow secondary fermentation and bottling without dosage produces a vinous, savory champagne that benefits from decanting and serving in a wine glass rather than a flute to better appreciate the concentrated, earthy character of the Pinot Noir grown in this vineyard. John McIlwain
Aurelien Suenen is one of the bright young stars of the Côte des Blancs, whose Champagnes seem to improve with every new release. His 2014 based Oiry Blanc de Blancs is a beauty. Wines from the village are typically sold under the Cramant designation (we haven't been able to find another Champagne with this single village designation, as yet), so this is a fine opportunity to taste Oiry's distinctive, chalky terroir. Aurelien's parcels contain some very old Chardonnay vines which make for some pungently mineral, stony wines. The vins clairs are fermented partially in barrel, spend nine months on the lees, and are bottled with 1 g/l dosage. The 2014 is brisk, briny, and fresh on the nose with aromas of yuzu, Meyer lemon, quinine, and chalk dominating. The palate is chiseled, taut and very dry with racy acidity and an energetic driving finish. Suenen continues to grow with each vintage and this new line up of village designated Champagnes are particularly exciting. The 2014 will make a fine aperitif and shiny brightly with crudo or sashimi. John McIlwain
The Simon Bize 2015 Savigny Les Bourgeots is higher-toned and more tightly wound than the Bourgogne Perrières. The nose is in a cool register: vine smoke, black cherry skin, wild blackberry cassis, mint, and a hint of brambly wet bark. The palate is tightly wound and nervy, but offers a fine tension between cool ripe fruit and a pungent, sapid mineral character. This needs plenty of air to come together, but the purity of fruit and energy that's implied within the structure is intriguing. Decant now or cellar for 3-5 years to allow the elements to integrate. Should be interesting to follow over the next 7-10 years. Quite enjoyable with pasta and a sausage and mushroom ragu, and should work beautifully with pork in a mustard sauce, or with crispy duck confit and a salad of bitter greens. John McIlwain
Aux Grands Liards is located beneath the Les Lavières premier cru. Its soils are comprised of limestone, ferrous clay, and gravel. Per the Domaine, the vines were planted in 1939, 1950, and 1979. The 2015 Aux Grands Liards is a bit more backwards than Les Bourgeots on opening. With air, the nose expands to reveal pure wild cherry, black currant, pomegranate, and an array of baking spice aromas, with just enough earthy notes to remind you that this is Savigny. The palate—equally circumspect on opening—also gains expressiveness and complexity with air. Lovely flavors of red and black cherry, hedge fruits, and game are counterbalanced by savory mineral and spice notes on a vibrant and velvety finish, with a sneakily racy acidity, and ripe tannins framing the whole affair. You could certainly enjoy this young, but there is fantastic potential here for aging into something special. One heck of a Savigny-Les-Beaune for those with patience! John McIlwain
From .38 HA biodynamically farmed vines averaging over 40 years old, high on the hillside of Corton. Traditionally the most powerful and stern of the stable of red Corton lieu-dits at Chandon de Briailles. 80% whole cluster fermentation. There’s a fair bit of reduction to this initially, but with a long decant this recedes to reveal aromas plummy black fruit, animale funk, black tea, and fresh-turned earth. In the mouth ripe red/black fruit flavors mingle with pungent minerality on the vibrant mid-weight palate. There is good sap and firm, but ripe tannins supporting the fruit on the long, substantial finish. This has real class and should be sensational after 10-15 years in the cellar. John McIlwain
Certified organic and farmed with biodynamic methods, Domaine Chevrot is one of the gems of Maranges. The lieu-dit Sur le Chêne is a south-facing plot on gravelly limestone on the eastern side of the appellation. The fruit from the 50-60 year old vines is hand-harvested, fermentation is 50% whole cluster, and the wine aged for 11 months in 15% new oak. The 2014 has aromas of red fruits, black tea, and orange peel with hints of smoke and spice. The medium weight palate balances red cherry and raspberry flavors with earthy notes and medium-grained tannins on a medium long finish. This offers a nice balance of fruit and Maranges minerality at an affordable price point. Decant now before serving or cellar for 5-9 years. -John McIlwain
Generous black cherry, boysenberry, notes of cherry pit and anise on nose. Ripe mid-weight palate, ripe black fruits, hints of iodine and iron and other soil beneath supple structure. Succulent acidity and savory mineral notes offset the ripeness and lend energy and drive on a rich, palate-coating finish. This has good punch, even if it's more generous than I associate with very young Rateau. The purity of fruit and earth notes are finely balanced and this is an excellent Burgundy for the mid-term. A fine pairing with braised chicken thighs with mustard, tarragon, and shallots. A great value from the pioneer of biodynamic Burgundy! John McIlwain
From a .41 HA parcel of old vines next to Chaboeufs on the north side of Vaucrains. The soils are brown, "fat clays make it hard to work the earth" according to vigneron Christophe Drag, with large oolithic stones are the top of the slope. Always the sternest and most majestic of Chauvenet's crus, the 2013 is aromatically dense with layered dark-fruit, game, and spice aromas giving way to pungent soil notes. The palate is similarly complex with pure black cherry, plum, and earthy flavors underlain with distinctively savory, verging on pungent mineral component on a muscular, driving, persistent finish. There are substantial acidity and ripe tannins girding this masculine, but not coarse Vaucrains, which will benefit with time in the cellar. Decant now, better still in 7-10 years when this should sing. A beautiful Vaucrains! John McIlwain
From a .41 hectare parcel planted in 1940 and 1984. Les Vaucrains is situated upslope of the premier crus Les St. Georges and Les Cailles in the middle portion of Nuits St. Georges. The soils are a blend of brown clay, limestone, sand, and rock producing vigorous, powerful, and elegant wines of great ageablity. Vigneron Christoph Drag says of the climat, “the fat clays make it hard to work the earth.” Domaine Chauvenet’s 2014 Vaucrains has a darker robe than Les Perrières. The nose is effusive, offering a kaleidoscopic mélange of black fruit aromas, cassis, brown spices, game and iron; over time notes of crushed blackberry, grilled meat, and wet stone emerge. On the palate the wine is medium-bodied and supple, offering flavors of ripe blackberry, Italian plum, iodine, game, and wood smoke on a long, layered, and mouth-watering finish. There is plenty of power and intensity here, without a sense of weight; deft acidity offers a sense of lift and freshness. This is a beautiful and complex Vaucrains and exciting wine in the making, with a sensational interplay of pure, ripe fruit and savory minerality. While one could enjoy this now, it has the structure and balance to age harmoniously for years. John McIlwain
From 90 year-old vines in the village portion of Combe d'Orveau. The 2014 is a classic expression of Chambolle-Musigny with pretty high-toned aromas of red fruit, rose petals, and spice. The mid-weight palate is silken and flavors of ripe red cherry, wild raspberry, and chalk dance on a long, fresh, precise finish. This is lovely and a fine value in Chambolle. John McIlwain
The vines are in the lieu-dit "Queue de Hareng" below an old quarry at the top of the slope in Brochon, next to Fixin 1er Cru "la Perrière," on shallow red/brown soils of mountain silt and limestone pebbles over the limestone bedrock. Organic farming, wild-yeast fermentations with minimal SO2. The 2015 Jane et Sylvain Côte de Nuits-Villages is a superb and unusual Burgundy showing intense aromas of ripe strawberry and cherry with rose leaf, brown spice and herbal notes as well as dusty stone and mineral smells which are typical of this vineyard. With aeration the aromas become more pure and fruit-driven and the palate shows lovely black cherry, strawberry and red currant fruit, quite dense and ripe, with a finish that's extraodiarily long and pure. Decant 4 to 6 hours in advance if drinking now or cellar for 3 to five years and drink till 2027. Highly recommended for those who enjoy some minerals in their Burgundy!
This lovely Gevrey by our organic friends, Jane et Sylvain, is 45 to 60 year-old vines, certified organic, mostly in En Pallud (below 1er Cru les Corbeaux). The 2015 shows very pretty high-toned ripe strawberry and raspberry fruit with violet, soil, graphite and citrus peel. The palate is dense and balanced, with a mineral aspect missing in most modern Burgundies, with supple ripe cherry and strawberry fruit with citrus and herbal notes. The finish is very long with red fruits, spice, citrus and saline minerals. This is a lovely old-fashioned Burgundy that is delicious now and should age nicely, best perhaps 2022 - 2030.
From low-yielding vines located in Comblanchien (probably more famous for its quarries and eponymous limestone than viticulture), planted in the 1960s by Antoine Lienhardt's grandfather. Les Essards is a short distance from another of Antoine's lieux dits, Les Plantes Aux Bois. There is a thin layer of rocky clay topsoil over Comblanchien limestone and the vine rows run from east to west. A bit circumspect upon opening, decanting reveals red plum and ripe cherry aromas with hints of mustard seed and black tea on the nose. The palate is nervy with bright flavors of brambly red fruit, vibrant acidity, and a pungent, verging on saline minerality on a persistent, and detailed finish. Great lift and purity with wonderful interplay between the pure red fruit and distinctly stony elements. Decant if planning to drink now or cellar for 3-7 years to allow the elements to integrate. John McIlwain
Les Faconnières, planted in 1948, is located beneath Clos St. Denis. 50% whole cluster. This is always the most stylish of Virgile Lignier's premier crus. More floral and denser on the palate than Les Chenevery, with a good deal of the class of the grand crus. The 2015 is effusively perfumed with heady aromas of black and red hedge fruits, wild cherry, and spice. The palate is distinctly mineral, framing lush flavors of sweetly ripe cherry and blackberry, with notes of game and mustard seed on a tense, vibrant finish. As with others of Lignier-Michelot's 2015s, the effusive ripeness in underlain by good structure and bodes well for long-term cellaring. John McIlwain
Les Faconnières, planted in 1948, is located beneath Clos St. Denis. 50% whole cluster. This is always the most stylish of Virgile Lignier's premier crus. More floral and denser on the palate than Les Chenevery, with a good deal of the class of the grand crus. The 2015 is effusively perfumed with heady aromas of black and red hedge fruits, wild cherry, and spice. The palate is distinctly mineral, framing lush flavors of sweetly ripe cherry and blackberry, with notes of game and mustard seed on a tense, vibrant finish. As with others of Lignier-Michelot's 2015s, the effusive ripeness is underlain by good structure and bodes well for long-term cellaring. John McIlwain
Like the rest of the 2015 Lignier-Michelot lineup, the Clos de la Roche combines beautiful soaring aromatics with beautiful pure fruit, and a savory sense of earthiness. The nose is explosively perfumed with beguiling aromas of ripe black cherry, red plum, violets, exotic spices, and roasted game. Supple palate shows impressive concentration, with dark fruit flavors, and layers of minerality on a long, driving finish. This has a all the elements to age effortlessly and should reward 10-15 years in the cellar and beyond. John McIlwain
This a wonderful expression of Les Sentiers, aromatically expressive and layered. There are bright aromas of black cherry, raspberry, violets, woody herbs, and game on the nose. The mid-weight palate initially shows brambly black fruits, and pungent soil flavors. With time in the glass notes of dark cherry and cherry pit appear along with a savory ferrous minerality and spice notes. The tension between fruit and earthiness is compelling and will gain in complexity with time in the cellar. More expressive on the second day. If enjoying now, decant for several hours or revisit in 7-10 years and enjoy for the decade following. John McIlwain
Situated just above Clos de la Roche, the Magnien's 2014 1er Cru Mont-Luisants shares the grand cru's "inherent lushness" (Clive Coates) in this lovely vintage for Burgundy. The wine shows a deep red-black color with lush aromas of blackberry, plum and ripe strawberry with earth, graphite and citrus. Dense ripe blackberry and black cherry fruit coats the palate with hints of bitter chocolate and soil. Surprisingly round but with nice chalky acidity and a long finish of citrus and pretty berry fruits. Quite delicious now, this lovely wine will offer superb drinking with a little time in the cellar, perhaps best 2020 - 2035. David Lillie
The young and very talented Stéphane Magnien is producing delicious, old fashioned Burgundies from his beautifully tended vineyards in and around Morey-Saint-Denis. The estate has never used herbicides and uses a plowing regimen designed to force the roots deeper into the limestone bedrock. The "village" wine is always one of my favorite recommendations in Burgundy due to its elegance, balance, lovely fruit and great value. The 2015 is particularly beautiful, showing a bit more depth and ripeness than the excellent 2014, with aromas of blackberry and strawberry liqueur, violet, brown spice, orange peel, smoke and earth. The palate is dense, but not over-ripe, with earthy black fruits, bitter chocolate, citrus and spice with a core of firm acidity and mineral flavors. Quite delicious as a young wine, this ripe and elegant Morey-Saint-Denis will be at its best from approximately to 2022 to 2030. Those looking for value in a 2015 red Burgundy should consider buying a case of this lovely wine. David Lillie
From a parcel of old vines grown in Les Faconnières, one of the best situated climats in Morey-Saint-Denis, located beneath Clos de la Roche and between the Millandes and Charrières premier crus. The 2015 Faconnières was the star of the premier crus tasted at the estate last January, with lovely aromas of black fruits and violets. The palate was dense, elegant, and chalky with black fruits, earth and mineral flavors that continued in the very long finish. 20% new oak. Hold for 5 to 6 years minimum, said Stéphane, best at 7 to 15 years. Fabulous wine! David Lillie
Organic since 2001, Taupenot-Merme, located in Morey St. Denis (with substantial holdings in St. Romain) produces classically styled Burgundies. The 2015 Bourgogne Rouge was fermented in tank and raised in older barrels. The nose is effusive and dark fruited, with aromas of black cherry, cherry stone , and violets, with notes of game and earth. The mid-weight palate similarly displays flavors of bing cherry, damson plum, underbrush and spice with good drive and life on a persistent, bright finish. Enjoy with roasted pork, or braised chicken, and strong cheeses. John McIlwain
Certified biodynamic Zweigelt, grown on lime-rich clay (marl) soils, fermented and aged for ten months in used wood barrel. Black plum skin and juicy black raspberries mingle with a touch of black pepper and a tannic structure that calls for charcuterie and pork dishes as well as roasted vegetables. Cari Bernard
Fahrlay is a south-facing, terraced parcel located between two rock outcroppings on the Marienburg, with predominately blue slate. Vines here are ungrafted and single-post trained: a time-consuming method preferred by Clemens and Rita Busch for their older vines. Clover, rose, and orange oil on the nose, the palate is both weighty and stony, with notes of greengage plum, nectarine pit, and a salty minerality. Cari Bernard
Organically farmed, spontaneously-fermented Mosel Riesling for under $15. Just off-dry enough, Mosel St. is a go-to bottle for folks looking for fresh and easy Riesling to pair with food and friends. Perfect for everyday drinking, the wine is spritzig upon opening, medium-bodied, with good minerality and fruitiness. Notes of white peach and cherry, lemon juice, tart apricot, come forth with vibrant acidity to balance the residual sweetness and bring you back for another sip. Cari Bernard
A light ruby with rose rim; bright and linear, with a piquant nose of red flowers, paprika, tangy red currants. On the palate this Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) is fresh, tart and willowy, reminiscent of a Rosso di Valtellina, with crunchy red fruits--wild strawberries, sour cherries, red currants, cranberries, raspberry seeds; the wine snaps to a slightly drying structure with a whisper of pink roses and cloves on the finish. Cari Bernard
This gloriously elegant magnum will bring loads of energy to even the weightiest Thanksgiving table. The nose is c lassic Saar riesling with citrus, freshly mown lawn, and a hint of white petals. Niedermennig riesling always impresses me with its extraordinarily pure petrol tones. The palate impresses with its balance of opulence and linearity. The light sweetness is balanced by extraordinary energy. This wine will go head to head with the tartest cranberry sauce, pair fantastically with turkey or rich pork dishes, and complement richer sides like butternut squash mash or stuffing. Make sure to save some for the pumpkin pie. AP#11. Andrew Farquhar
Gernot's parcel of the Ellergrub is 2.2 hectares of ungrafted vines, over 80 years old. Farming is organic, fermentation is spontaneous, and the wine ages in a neutral oak barrels. In a shocking twist, the 2016 Ellergrub is slightly off-dry! The wine boasts a floral elegance and herbal freshness on the nose, yet is still quite dense and rich, with notes of yellow apricot, roses, and white peach skin giving way to a touch of citrus zest and strawberries on the finish. Cari Bernard
Koehler-Ruprecht farms a southeast-facing parcel that lies within the boundaries of the original Saumagen vineyard area; a storied, grand cru site with calcareous limestone soils. True alchemy in the glass, weighty and concentrated yet totally luminous! The intense flavors of mango, peach, and cinnamon linger and one can't help but see this as a mini-R bottling--very age-worthy. Cari Bernard
Fass 15, Stirn (forehead), comes from near the top of the Ayler Kupp where the hill curves around; the cooler climate and wind at this altitude makes for a site that is often harvested last. We haven't had a chance to try a bottle yet but will report back as soon as we do! Cari Bernard
Covered in eroded gray slate, Unterstenberg is the site on the Ayler Kupp that has some of the most water retention due to its location at the foot of the hillside. Notes of peach, orange zest, apple compote, and red grapefruit on the nose open up to a rich and fruit-forward palate boasting ripe apricot, yellow apple skin, and pineapple. Spicy and bold! Pair with grilled Thai curry squid, crab cakes over a citrus salad. Cari Bernard
Lauer ‘Senior’ is Florian’s nod to making a style of wine his grandfather (Peter Lauer Sr.) would enjoy. His aim is to make a feinherb, weeknight wine from 70-year-old, ungrafted vines on the Kupp. With each passing vintage, Senior always seems to over deliver--for the price, the level of complexity is outstanding. The nose is less fruit-forward than the palate, with notes of oatmeal and stone, herbs, and Fuji apple. The wine is vibrant and just slightly off-dry with a deft balance between fresh green and bold tropical flavors--green fig, underripe peach, and tart green plum with pineapple and white blossom. Cari Bernard
A delicate nose of apricot blossom and grapefruit zest, the Fass 8 Kabinett drinks fairly lean in style, with fantastic balance and elegant integration of the residual sugar. Cooler notes of green strawberries mingle on the finish with fresh nectarine, yuzu, and crisp apple. Cari Bernard
Florian's 'Extry Dry' offering, sourced from the Ayler Kupp. Aromas of melon, apple skin, and tea--all green. A touch tight, but more giving than 2015, the palate is more yellow-fruited, with notes of pear, apple, stone, savory earth, and smoke on the long finish. Cari Bernard
Kern is a parcel on the west-facing side of the Ayler Kupp, extending from the top to the bottom of the slope, a cross-section of slate at multiple levels of erosion, warmed by the afternoon sun. A tropical nose of kiwi and passion fruit, the wine has a sharp, juicy attack of white grapefruit zest and kumquat, balanced by notes of green herbs, salinity, and wet stone minerality on the finish. Cari Bernard
Lauer's portion of Neuenberg is located on the flank of the Kupp closer to the base of the slope. Piquant, with vibrant red grapefruit, tangerine, and apricot notes that continue onto the palate followed by ripe mango, peach candy, yuzu and orange zest with ginger spice on the lengthy finish. Complex and fruity with great tension! Cari Bernard
Lambertskirch is a parcel (not too far from Schonfels) that during its long history has gone from vines to fruit trees and forest overgrowth. The Lauer family rented vines on the hillside until the 1990s, when the owners chose to pull up the vines. Florian purchased the plot in 2010, cleared and replanted the 0.2 hectares in 2012 with old-vine cuttings from five different vineyards. 2016 marks the third vintage (second as Kabinett) from this predominately southeast-facing site where large pieces of gray slate litter the ground between the vines. Wisps of honeycrisp apple, key lime zest, nectarine, kiwi, and tiny white blossoms fill the nose, the palate is young and fresh, with cool minerality balancing the silky lime and kumquat oils, juicy tangerine, bitter pollen and green apple candy on the finish. Cari Bernard
Thorsten Melsheimer has been farming organically in the Mosel since 1995 (certified ECOVIN) and became Demeter (biodynamic) certified in 2013. Sparkling wine accounts for 20 percent of Thorsten's production; he's been making serious, elegant Sekt since the early eighties. We are very excited to offer his Pet-Nat 'Rurale': made from biodynamically-grown Riesling and Johanniter, with no added sulfur. The wine has a lively, creamy mousse with notes of golden and green apple, ginger, orange zest, peach skin and yellow apricot with a lengthy finish. Pair with a fried oyster po' boy or crab cake sandwich with fries. Cari Bernard
What to serve with all sorts of warming, rich, spiced desserts? Gewürztraminer Eiswein! Grown on loamy soils with limestone and clay in the Haardter Herrenletten, left to freeze in the winter and harvested with an intense level of sugars and acidity. We were lucky to grab some of these from a private cellar, but haven't been able to try them yet! However, all signs point to this bottle being an awesome pairing for the sweeter end of your holiday table! Cari Bernard
The AP numbers chosen by the Schaefer family reflect a style rather than a specific vineyard plot, with the #10 often having a bit less concentration than #5 and a bit more lift and minerality. This year's #10 boasts ginger spice with a touch of white flowers on the nose, the wine is both juicy and mineral, with linear flavors of green mango and apple--a bit tight to open now, this bottle should age wonderfully!! Cari Bernard
Ungrafted Sylvaner planted in 1934 on a mixture of red sandstone and limestone soils. Evoking thoughts of Chablis with its linear and stony intensity; the palate is bright with tart lemon juice, underripe nectarine, and a chalky minerality. Beautifully nuanced and fresh. Cari Bernard
Let's be honest here: this is basically a Beerenauslese, with 140 g/L of residual sugar and 12.5 grams of acidity! 100% botrytis-affected grapes, this wine can (and should) age for quite some time. The nose hints at peach candy, cinnamon, and button mushroom, on the palate the wine shows both intensity and density, rich with honeyed peaches, orange oil, and apricot preserves. A fantastic bottle for those who wait! Cari Bernard
A consistently excellent wine — we've been lucky to get to taste this several times in the last few years. It needs a lot of time to breathe, and then it provides a classic example of fully mature Nebbiolo. Jamie Wolff
Ferdinando Principiano is part of the next generation in Barolo who are guaranteeing that our kids and grandkids are ensured a supply of brilliant wines (some of the others on my short list are the Brovia family, Mario Fontana, Giacomo Fenocchio, Elio Sandri, Fabio Alessandria at Burlotto, Gianni Canonica – not kids, but experienced wine makers in their prime). I’ve told the story before about how around 2008 Ferdinando completely changed course from making full-on modern style wine to full-on traditional wines, which is a courageous move under any circumstance, and one which is yielding beautiful wines. And beautiful vines: his vineyards are also gorgeous.The Barolo is a blend of fruit from Boscaretto, Baudana, and Leirano – all Serralunga vineyards. It’s very good indeed, harmonious and balanced, with lovely fruit, fine tannin, and surprisingly accessible (when tasted in May 2017). Jamie Wolff
Allowing for the fact that wine is a very subjective experience, I like to think that I call it as I see it. So I believe I’d know if it was a disaster, but otherwise I’m irrational and unreliable on the subject of G. Rinaldi. When I’m there, I wander around in a kind of stupor of infatuation with the wines. My penetrating notes (for 2013 Tre Tine, for example) say things like “super-great” [full stop]. I suppose if I have to have a wine crush, it might as well be on one of the best wineries in the world. Jamie WolffPS: Please don’t shoot the messenger. We don’t make the prices (neither, so far as I can tell, do the Rinaldis, because the wines leave the cellar at very reasonable prices). We’re well into the world of luxury goods here, and all I can do is sigh and make puppy dog eyes at the bottles while they’re in the shop. I do think it’s an objective fact that these are great wines and even if it’s a gratuitous comparison, they are the superior of many far more expensive wines.
From very old vines (replanted in 2015), this is very much in the same mold as the Chianti – and was vinified identically – but is considerably deeper and rounder without any additional wood, alcohol, or extract – just a direct expression of the old vines. I think this is remarkable – it strikes a fascinating balance between palate-enveloping darker fruit and finesse. Really a super wine. Jamie Wolff
Sa’etta is a cuvee dedicated to the best terroir of the Monte Bernardi estate: the oldest vines planted 45 years ago in the distinct compact sandstone of the area known as Pietraforte. The wine made from the best bunches of Sangiovese which are fermented on skins for 4 weeks and aged in used Slavonian and Austrian Botti for at least 2 years. The nose is intense and forward with a deep earthy tone layered with notes of tobacco, thyme, and rosemary followed by black cherry fruit. Full with grippy tannins and plenty of acidity, the palate is quite structured without being heavy or over-extracted leading into a intensely mineral finish. An assertive wine that is all the better without the presence of new oak or other “prestigious” flourishes. Perfect for the cellar, I would recommend decanting if drinking now and pairing with any full-flavored foods. For me it will always be the perfect match for a roasted leg of lamb. Andy Paynter
Timorasso is a golden-colored grape from Piedmont's Colli Tortonese. Aside from Gavi and Moscato, Piedmont is not well known for white wines, and Timorasso has a bit more richness and weight compared to most white wine grapes. There's a bit of spice and an almost nutty character that complements marmalade and orange fruit tones. This wine is very interesting to try as an example of an heirloom variety that almost went extinct, and it is extremely capable at the dinner table for anything from seafood, Middle Eastern food, or rich pastas. John Rankin
The 2014 Sant’Erasmo Bianco is a striking wine grown on the island of San Erasmo within the lagoon of Venice. Premised on Malvasia Istriana but comprised of a number of other local cultivars all planted on its own root stock, the wine is deeply colored in the glass, with a nose reminiscent of ripe golden apples and honeysuckle undercut by a salty tone. The palate is bold, with an initial attack of juicy orchard fruit and rich texture, followed by a honeyed note giving way to a long savory finish. More than anything else, the Orto shows a stern backbone of minerality bracing its mellow acidity and weight on the palate. I served it with shrimp cooked with their own stock and butter, but this wine would pair beautifully with anything out of the sea, soft cheese, or rich vegetable dishes. Open early and serve slightly chilled. Andy Paynter
Anjou last year, Vin de France this year (the mystery of the Appellation board!), this is Chenin Blanc from Anjou, whether or not it's on the label. Dense, and crystalline, witn mint flower and and cooked apples on the nose, a touch of honeysuckle and vanilla on the palate. Stones, herbs, and a touch of refreshing salinity in the super long finish. This is truly a young wine, and a big expression of Chenin. A fascinating bottle to have over several days. One really gets the sense that this young Thomas Batardiere is getting very comfortable and connected with his vineyards.Drink now with a proper decant or put it away for a while! Eben Lillie
Le Clos Guillot is a beautiful south-east facing vineyard, just east of the town of Chinon, above the Clos de l'Olive and adjacent to Le Chêne Vert. The upper slope of the parcel is clay over limestone (the lower part has sand and gravel over the rock, which permits a tiny production from franc de pied vines) and the vines are young, planted from 1993 to 2000. Fermentation in wooden cuves, 12 months of aging in two to five year-old barrels, 9 additional months in unlined cement vats. We have been buying this wine since it's first production in 2000 – it's one of the most elegant and Burgundian of Chinons. The 2015 Le Clos Guillot is absolutely beautiful, showing elegant aromas of blackberry liqueur, violets, stone and roast meat, a bit darker than Les Grézeaux, lovely and ethereal. The palate is dense and silky with blackberry and black raspberry fruit, ripe and sapid, perfectly balanced and bright with a firm mineral core. The finish is long and pure. While this is beautiful now, cellaring of seven to ten years should reveal a profound mature wine, then drink until 2035+ David Lillie
From 60 year-old Cabernet Franc vines on a gravel soil over sandy clay and limestone at the bottom of the hill of Sonnay in Cravant. Aged 12 months in 3 to 5 year-old barrels. Dark black/purple color with quite floral blackberry and strawberry aromas, with a bit of earth, spice and citrus. Very silky and supple on the palate ("We don't extract anymore" said Matthieu) with stony black fruits, meaty, chalky and long. Good acidity in the finish with graphite and velvety black fruits, quite elegant and closer to the 2014 in style than the other cuvées. This is a lovely "Les Grézeaux" and is highly recommended for early drinking or ten to fifteen years of cellaring. David Lillie
From 30 to 45 year-old vines on beautiful clay/limestone terroir in Saint-Louans, on slopes above the Vienne. The 2011 Saint-Louans received 30 months of aging in used barrels. This is an elegant wine, very marked by the limestone and rounded nicely by the extended aging. The aromas are complex and lovely with slightly spicy red fruit and earth tones. The palate is balanced with delicacy and power, indicating long aging potential. Carafe if drinking now, best perhaps 2025 - ?
The Clos Sénéchal is a south-facing mid-slope vineyard, with soils of clay and limestone over the Turonian limestone bedrock. The vines are 35 to 50 years old, replaced slowly by massale selection. The grapes are hand-harvested into 20 kilo crates, there is a three-week alcoholic fermentation with wild yeasts, no added SO2. Two year elevage in Grenier foudres with minimal SO2 added before bottling. The 2014 is a superb example of Clos Sénéchal showing a deep red/black color and aromas of ripe blackberry and cassis with earth, violet, pepper, spiced citrus and animal notes. The palate is deep and ripe with fantastic density of fruit but perfectly balanced with firm acidity at only 12.5% alcohol. There is a fine-grained, intense texture with pure black fruits, earth, graphite and dark chocolate that continue in the long, focused finish. This is a wine of earth and elegance that is enjoyable in its youth, decanting advised - or hold for 5 to 8 years, perhaps best 2025 to 2040 and beyond. Save your money on C*** R******* and put some Clos Sénéchal in your cellar!
This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
Stéphanie, Emmanuel and Pierre Caslot are the current proprietors of this 400 year-old estate in Bourgueil. With excellent parcels on all the varied terroirs of Bourgueil they produce delicious old-school wines with great organic farming and natural vinifications with low sulfur. "Grand Mont" is one of the greatest sites in Bourgueil - a south facing slope on turonian limestone with shallow sandy clay soils, rich in mica. Though not considered a great vintage, the 2011s from the best sites in Bourgueil are turning out beautifully, such as the Breton "Les Perrieres" and the Chevalerie "Grand Mont." Denser and more opulently fruited than the 2012, the 2011 "Grand Mont' shows a deeper, darker color and ripe aromas of blackberry, black plum, violet, earth, game, and blood orange. The palate is round and supple with quite earthy red and black fruits with a lovely finish of dense red fruits, earth and citrusy acids. I would drink this sooner than the 2012 - delicious now with a long decant, best perhaps 2023 - 2030. Beautiful wine. David Lillie
The 2015 Clos du Papillon has just arrived in NY - it promises to be a great vintage for this wonderful Savennières, certainly one of the top wines of the appellation. We will post a tasting note ASAP, meanwhile here is information from the domain's website: "The Clos du papillon is a small valley at mid slope, beautifully exposed southwest to the light of the Loire. There are schist, rhyolite but also quartz. The topsoil layer is very shallow (60 cm) which provides excellent drainage for rainwater. The vine growing conditions are difficult, forcing it to develop its roots deep in the rock cracks to draw nutrients. The climate in that parcel allows for a level of highly advanced maturity. With grapes that concentrate aromas under the action of Botrytis. The Clos du papillon is harvested in two selections : The first selection during the « Fresh Fruit aroma » period and the second one later with some botrytis during the « cooked fruit, quince and smoked aromas » period. Both selections are put in barrels and assembled 16 months later. The wine then remains a few months in vats. This assemblage of the two styles of grapes results in a full bodied wine, with a citrus finish on very first attack, followed by sensations of ripe and exotic fruit with a very distinguished touch of bitterness or toasted almonds on the finish. The long aging on the lees gives it a nice smoothness. The « brandy » nose is characterized by aromas of evolution. The body and the very long finish make the Clos du Papillon a gastronomic wine to accompany lobster, scallops, smoked fish, Turbots, Saint Peter. It is also interesting with delicate white meats such as veal or capon, along with truffles or mushrooms. Classic mountain cheeses like old Salers, or 5 to 6 years old Comté are equally delicious with this great Savennières."
2015 is a beautiful vintage for the superb Savennières of Domaine du Closel. La Jalousie shows subtle, complex aromas of citrus peel, pear, almond, stone , lime-flower and honeysuckle which follow through on the perfectly balanced palate. The fruit is lush and ripe but there is great acidity and minerality as well - the wine is elegant and very delicious in its youth, - serve with fish in sauce, scallops, monkfish, chicken in sauce and mild cheeses. Lovely wine! DL
Beautiful dense and long expression of Chenin Blanc from around the Anjou appellation. Eben Lillie
If you have a sweet tooth, this Chenin is for you! Bonnezeaux is one of a few sweet wine appellations in the Loire Valley, where grapes are required to be over-ripe, and are sometimes affected by noble rot. "Le Malabé" has about 130 grams of residual sugar, but I honestly thought it was about 80g when I first tasted this wine, thanks to the high acidity and the ample minerality that the schiste soils provide. Just bringing the wine to the nose, one is greeted with honey, quince and with some subtle sweet spice aromas that tickle the senses. On the palate, it's dense, ripe and absolutely delicious. Francois from Grandes Vignes mentioned to me that 2013 was OK for reds in the Loire, very good for their dry Chenin Blanc, and exceptional for the sweet wines. Case in point! Drink now if you're craving sometime sweet, or age for decades. Eben Lillie
A great vintage for Huet's sweet wines — lacking the high sugars of 1997 but ripe enough and with perfect acidity which will carry them a long way. The Le Mont 1er Trie is just beginning to open up and would be great fun to drink now, but better yet, put it away for another 20 years and find a reason for living! 67 gr/l RS, 5.9 gr/l acid, 12.5 % alc. ("de très longue garde" says the Huet website!)
Forward and open which is unusual for Constance. Beautifully knit palate and very long with exceptional purity and at least 75 years ahead of it. DL
85 grams/liter RS, 12.8 % Alc 50% Passerillage, 50% Botrytis. A lovely, balanced Moelleux that will age nicely, peak drinking probably 10 to 30 years away. Yummy now if you can't wait, a great wine.
*This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.Le Haut-Lieu—The original Huët vineyard is nearly 9 hectares. It has the richest soils of the domaine’s three crus—a deep limestone-clay—and the wines are generally the estate’s most approachable. In some vintages, small quantities from nearby estate parcels may be added to Le Haut-Lieu." 2015 Le Haut Lieu: 13% alcohol, 6 grams/liter RS, 5.6 gr/l acidity.
From a superb hillside vineyard on orthogneiss with clay and quartz stones. A great vintage for Jo's Fief du Breil! Yes, the aromatics are a bit more pronounced than in more austere vintages, and there is more presence of citrus and white fruits on the palate, but the wine retains a superb mineral character and the finish is brisk and very long. Simply a great Muscadet — drinking this alongside the Pepiere Clos des Briords would be a great lesson in the terroirs of the Pays Nantais! Tasted in February 2016, the wine is still youthful although the aromas are opening a bit, with intense minerality on the palate and fabulous length. Delicious now, this will be fabulous in 2025! Brisk enough for oysters and clams, perfect with cod, sole and flounder, complex enough for monkfish and swordfish - hurry down to Blue Moon Fish at the Greenmarket this Saturday!
Vera Cruz is a new cuvée from Luneau-Papin, from 40 year-old vines on a terroir of schistes and gneiss "a deux micas" in Vallet, farmed with organic and biodynamic methods. A wine of terroir rather than fruit, even in the ripe 2015 vintage, the wine shows elegant aromas of pear, grilled almond, stone and citrus. The palate is dense and very mineral, showing more flavor of earth than fruit, with a lovely finish of stone, minerals and white fruit that coats the palate. Perfect now with fine oysters, grilled dorade, sole, cod and scallops with lemon. Or cellar - this wine should be very interesting in 5 to 15 years. Label inspired by Mondrian and the varied terroirs of Muscadet. DL
Agnes and Rene Mosse have made another lovely Chenin Blanc in 2016, despite losing much of their crop from frost. The 2016 Chenin shows elegant aromas of ripe pear, quince and exotic fruit with lime flower, stone and honey. There is bright fruit on the palate with firm mineral and earth flavors with tart lemon and pear fruit. The finish is bright and long with bright acidity - serve with fish or chicken in sauce, goat cheeses and Asian foods. DL
For those who want a dryer style wine on Thanksgiving, this lovely Muscadet is opening up nicely and has the right weight and density to match the turkey and sides. (And the superb new 2015 Luneau-Papin "Vera Cruz" would be lovely as well) The Domaine de la Pépière Château Thébaud "Clos des Morines" comes from old vines on a beautiful vineyard sloping down towards the river. The granite here is fissured and permeable by the vine roots which have access to water during dry spells and absorb micro-nutrients along the way. 2009 and 2010 here were among the best of the vintage in Muscadet and the 2012 is outstnding as well from this somewhat difficult low-yielding vintage. More austere than the previous vintages, the 2012 shows subtle aromas of dried pear, herbs, citrus, almond and stone, quite subtle and elegant. The palate has excellent weight and concentration with firm acidity, without the forward fruit of the 2009 - very tight and mineral in style with terrific length. Fabulous served now with oysters, ceviche of cod, flounder and sole, and grilled fish, This should age beautifully for 20 years and more. Highly recommended. Tasted again in December of 2016, this beautiful Muscadet is beginning to open up a bit, with lovely fruit appearing in the aromas and palate, really drinking well, though obviously a wine that will benefit from another five years of aging, best perhaps 2022 - 2030.
Beginning in 2005, Domaine de la Pépière has produced this cuvée from a small parcel of 50 to 110 year-old vines within the Pepiere vineyard. Originally called "Granite de Clisson" after the unique bedrock in the vineyard, Marc has changed the name to "Clisson" to agree with the new INAO Cru Communal classification. The granite is covered with gravel and clay with large stones, ensuring good drainage and deep penetration by the roots into the fissures in the bedrock, bringing the mineral elements indispensable to this wine.Tasted in France in January 2018, the wine showed a pale gold color with lovely aromas of dried pear, quince, almond, lemon-confit and stone, ripe but quite fresh. The palate was quite dense, showing firm acidity and mineral flavors supporting white fruits, citrus, anise and almond, with terrific length. This is an excellent "Clisson" with attractive forward fruit for early drinking as well as firm structure for aging of fifteen to twenty years or more. David Lillie
Domaine de la Pépière has produced this superb Cru Communal, in the new appellation Muscadet Monnières-Saint Fiacre from old vines on gneiss terroir with topsoils of sand and gravel, formerly part of the Cuvée Eden and Gras Moutons. Slow two month fermentation followed by 24 months of aging on the lees. Similar in style, but a bit softer and more aromatic than the lovely 2015 Clisson, the Monnières-Saint Fiacre shows a bit more fruit in the lovely aromas of pear, citrus, herbs and stone. The palate is round and ripe with pretty white fruits, citrus, stone and herbal flavors, and the finish is round and supple with white fruits and minerals. This is a gorgeous Muscadet to drink over the next ten years with everything from oysters to sole, cod and monkfish, even with lobster.
(First produced in 2008, this great Muscadet is made from a three hectare parcel of old massale-selection vines on a slope above the Maine. The bedrock is Granite de Château Thébaud, a fissured rock that allows the vines to penetrate deeply, with ideal thin topsoils of clay, with sand and gravel allowing good drainage.) In 2016 and 2017, vineyards in the Loire Valley were hit with devastating frosts causing losses of 50% to 90% in some areas. Muscadet was particularly badly hit in 2016 - our old friends at Domaine de la Pépière lost 85% of their crop but salvaged enough fruit to make three cuvées - "la Pépie," "les Gras Moutons" and a small amount of the classic "Clos des Briords." Despite the frost damage in the region, quality has been very good for the wines produced - lacking the consistency of 2014 and 2015 perhaps but with some oustanding wines featuring vibrant fruit and bright acidities. At Pépiére, the cuvée "La Pépie" benefitted from the inclusion of much of the estate's old vine fruit, and the "Clos des Briords" is excellent, with good ripeness and firm acidity, perhaps similar to a vintage like 2005. The aromas show more white fruits than usual with hints of citrus and lime flower, backed with the saline and mineral notes always present in the aromatics of Briords. The palate is quite ripe and supple with round white fruits, fresh herbs, lemon confit, almond and white pepper - quite elegant with silky density and structured enough for medium-term aging. The finish is long with lingering citrusy fruits and a nice kick of bitter mineral flavors at the end. Congratulations to Marc, Rémi and Gwenaëlle for producing such a lovely wine in such a difficult vintage. Find some Glidden Point oysters, sole or cod and enjoy now, or hold for 10 to 15 years and serve with crab, langoustines and fish in sauce. David Lillie
100% Chenin Blanc. Pinon's only still, white, demi-sec wine in this very difficult and short vintage in which the estate lost 75% of its harvest. The "Le 2016" replaces the usual Trois Argiles, Silex Noir and Les Deronnières bottlings, with fruit from a range of those and other parcels. The vines average 40 years in age, are certified-organic and were hand-harvested from October 10-18. Fermentation took place spontaneously with natural yeasts and lasted 2-3 months in wood vats. The wine was aged 4-5 months on its fine lees in old tonneaux (large oak barrels) and gently filtered before bottling in April 2017 with 22.4 grams/liter of residual sugar (with pH 3.07). Total production of Le 2016 was 1600 cases (a yield of only 11 hl/ha). The wine shows lovely aromas of lime-flower, honeyed citrus, dried white fruis and earth. Firm lemony acidity and mineral flavors underlie ripe white fruits and lemon confit. The finish is very long with citrus,honey, pear and stone . Technically a Demi-Sec, the wine is balanced by the bright citrusy acids and will pair well with charcuterie, fish in sauce and white meats. Cellar for twenty to thirty years to create a fabulous mature Vouvray. David Lillie
From a plot of very old Chenin Blanc vines, François' Brut NV is kept on the lees for 18 months before bottling. It has pretty apple, pear, floral and toasty flavors with good acidity balancing the fruit. The current cuvée is from 2014 and it's one of their best ever - a bit riper than usual with round but well defined fruit—a great alternative to Champagne, it's delicious as an apéritif before the meal or afterwards with apple pie. This is a great choice during the holidays - a real crowd-pleaser at a great price, before, after or during the meal!
This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
Les Picasses is one of the greatest vineyards in Chinon - a south-facing slope of clay over porous limestone that retains water and nutrients, nourishing the vines. While the wine is amply fruited and enjoyable young, it has firm acidity and structure for long-term aging, up to 30 years and more depending on the vintage. 2012 was a quite successful vintage for Loire reds, which generally showed vibrant fruit, fresh acidity and moderate alcohol. Not a "big" vintage but one of very pretty, well-balanced wines. The 2012 Raffault "Les Picasses" is a surprisingly full-bodied wine, showing ripe strawberry, blackberry, and cooked prune with a fabulous earthy core of stone and mineral flavors. The palate is dense with blackberry, prune, citrus, earth, licorice and cocoa with a long fresh finish. Ripe and forward enough to drink now with anything from roast chicken to steak, the 2012 should age beautifully, perhaps best 2020 to 2030 and beyond...? David Lillie
Warning This bears no resemblance to "modern" Sancerre! Sauvignon Blanc from fifty year-old vines on Kimmeridgian limestone, late harvest, 20 hl/ha yields, aged sur lie for two years in old barrels, no added SO2. The 2013 "Sauletas" was harvested very late, with botrytis and ripe skins - the color is gold/bronze, that will darken with aeration. The aromas show very ripe peach and apple with floral, orange zest, spice and caramel notes. The palate shows spiced pear with citrus peel, fruit compote and mineral flavors that continue in the long finish with firm acidity. This is a complex and fascinating natural wine that might be paired with a full-flavored ceviche, monkfish in sauce or strong cheeses. David Lillie
From thirty-five year-old vines on clay over Portlandian limestone, with two years aging sur lie, 10mg SO2 before bottling. Sebastien Riffault makes Sancerres that compare with wines made fifty years ago. Organic farming, hand harvesting, wild-yeast fermentations, minimal sulfur and harvesting late, when ripe with two years aging in old barrels. The 2014 "Quarterons" shows a bright pale-gold color and floral peach, pear, citrus and caramel aromas. There is some botrytis here and hints of oxidation. Ripe peach and pear flavors continue on the palate, with stone, orange zest, brown spice and earthy flavors backed by firm acidity. This is a unique and delicious Sancerre, similar to the late-harvested wines of many years ago. This will please lovers of natural wines and will accompany full-flavored fish and chicken dishes, Asian foods and goat cheeses. David Lillie
This beautiful Saumur-Champigny is from a walled vineyard of old vines in Varrains, certified organic and worked with biodynamic methods as well. The wine shows a deep black/red color and ripe aromas of red currant and blackberry with earth, roast meat and citrus framed in a bit of oak, quite lovely. The palate shows lush, textured blackberry and black cherry fruit with earth and bitter chocolate backed by firm acidity that continues in the long finish. Delicious now served with a coq au vin, grilled steak or pork stew, this will age gracefully over the next ten to fifteen years.
This is a lovely Chenin Blanc from our organic friends at La Source du Ruault. Ripe but subtle aromas of pear, apple, citrus, lime-flower, hay and earth lead to the palate which is very mineral, with ripe lemony white fruits, almond, stone and herbal flavors and a very long intense chalky finish. A beautiful and very young Chenin that is scintillating and delicious now, best after a few days open or ten years in the cellar. Highly recommended! David Lillie
From 65 to 80 year-old Menu-Pineau vines on clay with silex, sand and gravel; aged in large and small used barrels. Always a distinctive wine, the 2015 Brin de Chevre shows sharp herbal and citrus aromas with powdered stone and honey. Dense citrus, dried pear, almond and stone flavors on the palate with briar, honey, anise and saline minerals with very firm acidity. Unique and delicious! Drink now or cellar five to ten years, or more?
Thierry and Jean-Marie Puzelat make this outstanding Sauvignon Blanc from a one hectare parcel in Pouillé, with sand and gravel over limestone, giving very low yields. An intense and beautiful wine in 2015, with aromas of lemon peel, pear, dried herbs, lime flower and pine resin. The palate is dense and ripe with dried white fruits, lemon oil and earth backed by firm acidity. Beautifully structured and very long, this is an outstanding and unusual Sauvignon Blanc to serve with fish or chicken in sauce and full-flavored goat cheeses. Delicious now, the wine should be very interesting with 5 to 10 years of cellaring. Highly recommended. (The name literally translated is "squalid bush" but we hope it refers rather to the limestone of Pouillé...?)
The place called "Tue-Boeuf" was known in the middle-ages, as was the Puzelat family, land-owners there since the 15th century. Jean-Marie and Thierry Puzelat took over the vines in 1990 and were certified organic in 1996. The 100% Gamay "la Butte" is from a one-hectare parcel of old vines on clay/flint soils. The wine shows deep blackberry fruit aromas with rose, citrus, earth and musk. The palate is balanced and bright with ripe berry fruits backed by intense saline minerals and firm acidity. Serve cool, decanted well in advance if possible, with pork dishes, charcuterie and full-flavored cheeses. This will benefit from 3 to 5 years of aging and should drink well through 2025
The 2016 Côtes Chalonnaise "les Claveaux" is a lovely new cuvée from Alain and Isabelle Hasard at Les Champs de l'Abbaye. Made from young vines of Pinot Fin, with 10% Chardonnay, the wine is delicate and delicious and should be served a bit cool. The aromas are vivid and very pretty - tart cherry, raspberry, citrus and violet. The palate is light and refreshing with cherry and berry fruits and hints of citrus and earth. Serve with chicken and white meats and save some for grilled foods this summer...
Certified organic, from a limestone terroir rich in seashells, with iron-rich soil, just below the 1er Cru Clos des Miglands. Very low yields, 80% de-stemmed, wild-yeast fermentation, one-year aging in 40% new fine-grained barrels, bottled by gravity, no fining or filtration. The 2016 Marcoeurs shows subtle aromas of black cherry with plum skin, earth, graphite and hints of violet and citrus. The palate is very mineral and saline with flavors of earth and tart black cherry that are intense and long, finishing with firm acidity. This shows the intensity of the 2016 Burgundies and is delicious now with a long decant, or cellar for five years and enjoy until 2030. David Lillie
From the biodynamically farmed high altitude Les Sous Roches lieu-dit on the northwest slope in Monthélie composed of thin stony clay soils over limestone. 2016 is a great vintage for the Monthelie "Les Sous Roches" from Alain and Isabelle Hasard showing the classic structure and density of this excellent vintage. The wine shows vibrant aromas of fraise des bois and cherry liqueur with earth, mint and citrus. The palate is dense and sapid with bright blackberry and black cherry fruit, spice, earth and firm acidity. Impressive length with sappy balck fruits, mineral flavors and refreshing acidity. Delicious now if a bit intense - perhaps open the night before and re-cork - best to cellar 5 years and drink until 2030+. Serve with mushroom pappardelle, roast veal, grilled meats. David Lillie
This special cuvée is a commemoration of eleven hundred years of winemaking, the vineyards in the Clos des Vignes du Maynes having been planted around AD 900 and wine first produced for the Abbey of Cluny around 910. This "medieval" wine is a field blend of Chardonnay, Gamay and Pinot Noir, including the old varieties Gamay Petit Grain and Pinot Fin. The grapes were transported in carts pulled by Charolais bulls, then pressed by foot, vinified and aged without sulfur and bottled by hand in the spring. ... Back to put a smile on your face, the 2016 Cuvee 910 is lively, wild on the nose, and delivers the bright funky fruit that made it such a favorite here at Chambers Street. From my extended experience consuming bottles of 910, I would recommend letting this one sit for a while. It just arrived (12/1/17) and I think it would benefit from a month or two of RE-harmonizing in the bottle before the drinking begins. Not that you won't enjoy it if you open a bottle tonight (or a mag with your holiday feast), but I feel it will show better with some time. Eben Lillie
Made from Gamay Petit Grains planted in 1953, grown on a limestone parcel high in magnesium, in the Clos des Vignes du Maynes in Cruzille, organic since 900 AD, now certified biodynamic. The energetic Julien Guillot vinifies his reds without sulfur or additives of any kind, producing complex, mineral, elegant wines that transcend their appellation. The 2015s here are extraordinary, showing the elegance, purity and balance typical of the estate with the wonderful ripeness of the vintage. The wine shows gorgeous red and black fruit aromas with cranberry, earth, stone and musk and hints of mint, chocolate and spice. The palate is bright and intense with balckberry, citrus, stone and earthy flavors, that continue on the very long mineral finish. Always one of the greatest Gamays produced anywhere, the 2015 Manganite is a young wine that will benefit from decanting or five to fifteen years in the cellar. Highly recommended! DL
Gogita's Tsitska is made in a village called Terjola in western Georgia. The 2016 is a traditional qvevri wine made with minimal skin-contact - a style that produces lighter wines with paler hues common in western Georgia. The bright aromas of lemon, salty melon and pear offer a cheerful, warm weather vibe. Supple flavors of peach skins and orchard fruits are braced by lemon zest and delicate saline minerals on the finish. Try this at your next fish fry with trout and garnish with citrus and pomegranate sauce for a Georgian-inspired supra! Amanda Bowman
Located on the steep, rocky slopes in the shadow of Mont Blanc, high above the village of Freterive, lies Domaine des Ardoisières 17-hectare estate. With a winemaking history dating back to the Romans, the estate had fallen into disrepair becoming overgrown with forests and remained that way until the late-1990s when the vineyard sites were cleared and ancient terraces rebuilt. The estate is now being overseen by Brice Omont - a Champagne native who took over the estate in 2005 - with biodynamic principles having been employed from the start and native yeasts carrying out all fermentations resulting in truly stunning wines. This cuvee is a blend of Chardonnay, Jacquère, and Mondeuse Blanche which sees elévage in 2/3 stainless steel tank and 1/3 neutral barrique which gives it nuance and balance while maintaining a lifted freshness. Tropical and salty with pear skin and almond notes and giving way to stern minerals and more orchard fruit on the palate, it is an exciting wine for lovers of Savoie whites. Tim Gagnon
'Mont Blanc' is named for the snow-capped mountain 30km away from Dominique's winery. This cuvée is built to age but that requires personal discipline. 100% Gringet from vines planted at 450m elevation, the 2014 was aged for three years on the lees before disgorgement. The delicate nose offers elegant floral aromas and comes across as quite austere at first. By the time you slice the soppressata and collect the Comté from the fridge, the nose will have blossomed with honeysuckle, orange zest, nuts and orchard fruits. The palate has exquisite cut with powerful minerals driving fresh pear and apple flavors. An excellent vintage that should shine in 2-3 years. Amanda Bowman
All things being relative, this cuvée made me reconsider every wine that I have previously described as balanced. "Le Feu" comes Dominique's oldest, low-yielding Gringet vines planted on steep, iron-rich slopes at 450m above sea level. Incredibly well-knit acidity adds energy and freshness to wild herbal flavors that form a continuous loop across the palate. This wine is luminous. Amanda Bowman
"Les Alpes" is a blend of two parcels - one close to Dominique's home on marl soils and the other rich in limestone. The wine is fermented and aged in concrete eggs before it's blended in tank and bottled with minimal sulfur. The 2016 is a lovely wine that shows pretty white flowers, tangy pineapple and orange blossom. Salty minerals and tart acidity give this a wonderful texture that is evocative of a briny Albariño from Northwestern Spain. Amanda Bowman
This Mondeuse comes from a tiny parcel on Dominique Belluard's estate. Usually this wine is made entirely in amphora but the 2016 was made using concrete eggs, 70% de-stemmed, and the rest whole cluster with a five-week maceration. The finished wine has an elegant silky texture with mouth-coating tannins. Aromas of smoky peppercorn and jasmine compliment supple flavors of juicy black raspberry, thyme, and black cherry. For best results, serve at cellar temperature and allow the wine to breathe for an hour before serving. Amanda Bowman
Les Perles du Mont Blanc is made from biodynamically farmed Gringet and spends two years on the lees before disgorgement. Fermentation for the base wine is done with indigenous yeast; the second with Champagne yeast and there is no dosage added, making for an exquisitely dry wine with fascinating complexity. This bottling is richer than in years past, but still intensely mineral with heady aromas of pine forest, baking spice, and toasted walnuts. The palate is decadent, with creamy flavors of pear, wildflower honey, nutmeg and bright lemon curd. The invigorating acidity makes this a versatile, food-friendly wine to pair with roasted chicken, oysters, charcuterie, or cheese. Amanda Bowman
Jean-Baptiste Menigoz, a former school teacher, started his domaine with 2.4ha of vines in Abergement-le-Petit, west of Arbois, in 2012. Focusing on the classic varietals of the Jura, he makes honest, natural wines in the traditional ways of the region. His Chardonnay is always my personal favorite. Fermented and aged in neutral 600L demi-muid, it showcases the honey-tinged, tropical fruit and citrus that is a hallmark of this wine year after year. On the palate it is a touch nutty with salty, tangy pineapple, and an electric acidity anchored by a piercing mineral core. Perhaps a touch more ripe than past vintages, it maintains focus and precision. Tim Gagnon
Clos Ste. Magdeleine is located on the slopes of the dramatic Cap Canaille just east of Cassis, where vineyards date back to the ancient Greeks, and the vines grow on stony limestone soils. The current estate was founded in the late 19th century and has been in the same family since 1920 - the estate is certified organic. The Cassis Blanc is made up of 40% Marsanne, 30% Ugni blanc, 25% Clairette and 5% Bourboulenc. The 2015 shows lovely aromas of dried pear, almond and stone with floral and herbal hints, with a bit of candied citrus and exotic fruit. The palate is round and supple and quite elegant with ripe pear, apricot and almond, citrus peel and marzipan. The finish is long and balanced with firm acidity and mineral flavors. (This would be a great option for Thanksgiving dinner, being elegant and dry but with enough weight and fruit to pair well with turkey and all the sides. A crowd pleasing choice...)
A beautiful, pure expression of Malbec by Julien Libert at Combel-la-Serre, this comes from a limestone parcel with 35 year-old vines. 20% of the fruit is whole cluster and the wine is aged in cement.The 2016 Pur Fruit du Causse is just that, beautiful supple pure fruit - the color is quite dark and coats the glass, showing deep aromas of blackberry liqueur, quite bright and fresh, with hints of stone and earth. The palate is lush with blackberry and black cherry liqueur, lifted by cool acidity, really delicious! The finish is bright and refreshing making this a great match for charcuterie and grilled meats, chicken and mild cheeses - and lovely to slurp by itself, served quite cool! Bravo to Julien Libert for this juicy, fresh and delightful wine!
100% Malbec (aka Auxerrois in local parlance). Au Cerisier comes from a single 1.2-hectare plot at 350 m. altitude, next door to a cherry orchard for which the Ilberts named this bottling. The certified-organic vines average 40 years old and are planted on red and yellow clay soils over limestone bedrock. This is a quite serious Cahors showing beautiful black fruit aromas, bright and ripe. The palate is tight and dense, quite full-bodied and really showing the clay/limestone terroir. Drink now with a long decant with a steak or stew, best to cellar five to ten years. Lovely wine.
Thomas and Jean-Daniel are the team at Domaine Ozil. Brothers with a shared interest in producing honest, drinkable Ardèche wines, they have hit quite a stride in recent years. The "Gourmandise" is a perfect example. Primarily Grenache, with 30% Syrah and 5% Viognier, this is a joyful, tingly "glou-glou" wine. No sulfites added, it's clean, and ridiculously chug-able. Some may note a touch of volatile acidity as the wine opens up, but from my experience with many bottles, this blows off quickly. It may even help lift the spicy, brambly, crushed raspberry aromas. All in all, it's fun in a bottle, at a very reasonable price. Drink with a slight chill! Eben Lillie