Journal of a Harvester

by Sarah Hernan

Since the 2014 harvest is complete in France and Italy, you may have read reports from the different producers giving their first impressions about the new vintage. Yet we rarely consider what harvest is like from a grape picker’s point of view.

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Harvest 2014 at Domaine du Salvard, Loire

As wine tourism becomes more popular year after year, certain vineyards offer their customers a chance to participate in the harvest: one or several days working as a grape picker, experiencing the life of a vigneron. This sounds pretty exciting and the formula is generally very successful.

But harvest is not always as enjoyable as the wine tourism publicity makes it out to be.

Anybody who has been a harvester at least one time in his life—and I don’t mean just for one or two days, but during a whole harvesting season—will agree with me when I say that the exercise is no pleasure cruise.

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Harvest 2014 at Domaine d’Aupilhac, Languedoc

In France, harvest jobs are often carried out by people who work in the vineyard all year long, but most of the time students, backpackers, or temporary workers make up the crew.

During the harvest season, the weather is unpredictable. Mother Nature likes to give the vignerons and their staff a hard time. The harvester has to wear the perfect equipment to overcome either blazing heat, or torrents of water. In a single day you can experience the four seasons, crawling in the mud in the morning and then baking like a steak on the grill in the afternoon.

In addition to the weather, the vineyard’s topography could be a nightmare. Steep slopes and huge stones turn a simple walk into an obstacle course. In the northern Rhône Valley, for example, some plots are so steep that the harvesters are hired based on their climbing skills as they have to pick the grapes while tied to a rope.

However, this description is not complete, as it misses the most important element of harvest: the human aspect. The atmosphere during harvest is one of my best memories. In spite of the hard work, joy and good humor are always there. Songs, jokes, and laughter are the perfect fuel to keep going day after day. Depending on where you are working, you might even have the chance to be fed by the producer’s family and enjoy a delicious and generous meal.

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Catherine Breton during harvest 2014, Loire

While the grapes are fermenting in the cellars, post-harvest feasts can begin. They are unforgettable experiences, totally worth the tiresome weeks of picking. Post-harvest feasts also mark the beginning of the long wait to taste the new vintage and enjoy the fruit of your hard labor.

If, like me, patience is not your middle name, I invite you to try the new wines that have arrived in the shop. I am sure these delightful treats will be very helpful to make your waiting much more bearable.

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Harvest 2014 at Manni Nössing, Alto Adige

A Morning with Peter Dipoli

Peter Dipoli represents one of the most recent additions to our portfolio, and what an honor it is to work with these singular wines from such an unbelievably beautiful place. Just south of Bolzano in northern Italy’s Alto Adige, Peter’s vineyards blend right in to the breathtaking landscape of the Dolomites. A native of the region, he studied the land intensely in a search for great vineyards, ultimately settling on high-altitude sites flanking the Adige Valley to craft his one-of-a-kind wines. A recent visit with Peter shed some light on this fascinating terroir and the making of some of Northern Italy’s most compelling bottlings.

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Alto Adige possesses a unique climate, with influences from both the Mediterranean to the south and the Alps to the north. It is probably the only place in the world where one can observe cypresses, olive trees, palm trees, and snowy peaks in the same frame.

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High above the valley floor, Peter’s vines benefit from cool nights and a long ripening season. “Iugum” is produced from Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon vines in clay and limestone soils, in one of the region’s warmer subzones.

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The “Voglar” bottling is made from these Sauvignon Blanc vines, planted on steep limestone slopes at an spectacular 600 meters elevation.

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Peter’s white, “Voglar”, is aged for eight months in these large acacia botti.

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Cabernet Sauvignon for 2014 Iugum completing fermentation.

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“Iugum” is aged for one year in small- and medium-sized barrels and an additional year in bottle before release.

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Peter Dipoli (left)  with Dixon Brooke of KLWM.

 

2010 Voglar | Available online >

2009 Iugum | Available online >

December Newsletter: Legendary Quintarelli, Sweet Temptation, Big Bottles, Holiday Gift Selections

The December newsletter is now available.
Click here to download the pdf.

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…

SPECIAL HOLIDAY HOURS

Open Sunday, December 21 &

Monday, December 22

11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

**Yes! We’ll be open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve.**

CHAMPAGNE, EVERY DAY

by Katya Karagadayeva

Grilled broccoli romanesco and Belgian endive salad. Boudin blanc and fingerling potatoes, escarole, and apples. Oven-roasted king trumpet mushrooms . . . In short, I recently had dinner at one of my favorite East Bay restaurants, Camino. The food is outstanding and the atmosphere delightfully laid-back. Since I like to try as many items on their menu as possible, I brought friends, plus a bottle of Cachet Or—after all, the holidays are just around the corner, and this juicy, accessible Champagne goes with everything.

The Cachet Or has a beautiful, firm texture, just the right amount of richness, a delicious fruitiness (apricot, peach, a hint of anise), and a touch of minerality. The magic of this brut is that it stood on its own and complemented every single dish—from radicchio salad to persimmon pudding. I am grateful to the ladies of J. Lassalle for Champagne that can be enjoyed with anything on any given day.

NV Brut “Cachet Or” 1er Cru

J. Lassalle

$39.00 per bottle $421.20 per case

CELLAR SELECTIONS 

by Dixon Brooke

2012 BOURGUEIL “CUVÉE BEAUVAIS”

DOMAINE DE LA CHANTELEUSERIE

Thierry Boucard created this incredible Cabernet Franc from old vines planted in the prime tuffeau slopes of Bourgueil. Thierry’s father, Moïse, was also legendary in the region for his Bourgueils, the proof of which still rests in moldy bottles in the tuffeau cellars beneath the Boucard vineyards. Thick, grippy tannin gives way to great complexity with extended bottle age. Age a case yourself, rather than relying on our rare cellar releases. Recently tasted examples of great Boucard Beauvais: 1990, 1989, 1986, 1983, 1976.

$18.00 per bottle $194.40 per case

2012 AUXEY-DURESSES BLANC “LES HAUTÉS”

JEAN-MARC VINCENT

What a white Burgundy this is, a sleeper that runs under most folks’ radar. Les Hautés sits on the hillside behind Meursault, as the slope turns east toward the village of Auxey-Duresses. It is the extension of the Vireuils lieu-dit of Meursault, where white limestone is abundant. The line demarcating the boundary between Meursault and Auxey-Duresses sits between these two vineyards. Jean-Marc Vincent works his parcel like a grand cru, and the results speak for themselves. This beauty is easily capable of aging and improving for ten years.

$52.00 per bottle $561.60 per case

2008 BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO • POGGIO DI SOTTO

Piero Palmucci’s project at Poggio di Sotto was nothing short of remarkable. He proved definitively, in the relatively short span of twenty years, that Montalcino is capable of making some of the greatest red wines in the world. He wasn’t the first, but for me his work most significantly highlighted the importance of, and the difference between, the subzones of Montalcino. The steep, calcareous marl slopes of Castelnuovo dell’Abate can produce wines with the finesse and longevity of great Burgundy, and no vintage more excitingly showcases this possibility over the last ten years than this one. No cellar is complete without it.

$175.00 per bottle $1,890.00 per case

ROSATO FROM SOMMARIVA

by Anthony Lynch

Prosecco rosé? Technically speaking, no, but that captures the spirit of this frizzante rosato. Sommariva—the family-run estate in the foothills around Conegliano, in the heart of the Prosecco zone—has created this masterful blend of the seductively colored local Raboso with an ever-so-subtle touch of Pinot Nero. The inaugural shipment of this brand-new wine, from one of KLWM’s most consistent and reliable growers, has much in common with the estate’s standard Prosecco: liveliness, grace, charm, and real class. What differentiates it is its enchanting perfume of candied little berries and tart, mouth-watering finish accented by the most delicate sparkle. Stock up for the holidays and beyond!

2013 SPUMANTE EXTRA DRY “IL ROSA” • SOMMARIVA

$14.95 per bottle $161.46 per case

November Newsletter: Jules Chauvet Revisited, New Arrivals from Benevelli, Alsatian Riesling, Champagne Sale!

The November newsletter is now available.
Click here to download the pdf.

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…

2014 BEAUJOLAIS NOUVEAU

NOUVEAU IN BERKELEY

What is it that gets us excited each year for the arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau? Is it foggy memories of Nouveau celebrations from the past? NO! It is the yearly update we receive from our winemakers, whose enthusiasm is nearly overwhelming. Here’s what we heard this year from Domaine Dupeuble:

The small quantity of grapes and a good concentration in the berries gave the wine its lovely deep red color, aromas of blackberries and currants, lifted by subtle spicy notes with silky tannins. We can’t wait to have you taste it!

The wine arrives in the shop on Thursday, November 20. We’ll sell it by the bottle and the case. If you’d like a glass, head next door to Bartavelle Coffee and Wine Bar. Give us a call anytime this month to secure some Nouveau for yourself and we’ll have it ready to be picked up or shipped on the 20th.

NOUVEAU AROUND THE NATION

Not in Berkeley? That’s okay because our Nouveau is sold in many states. Visit the webpage below for a list of retailers around the nation who will carry the wine starting Thursday, November 20.

kermitlynch.com/nouveau

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BENEVELLI PIERO

by Julia Issleib

Earlier this year, during my first trip across the Alps in a decade, my conversational skills in Italian were quite limited. So I stuck to nodding, smiling, and the occasional “Sì, sì,” “Esattamente,” “Benissimo,” “Delizioso.” I kept “È veramente buonissimo!” for special occasions.

My visit to Benevelli in cold and foggy Monforte d’Alba with winemaker Massimo Benevelli was one of those. After a rather shy welcome from under his woolen hat, pulled down to his eyebrows, he quickly opened up while showing me around the vineyards and the cellar. He is as passionate as he is humble. More approachable than some Piedmont reds you may have encountered, his wines are delicate and elegant, yet deeply rooted in the terroir and full of character.

2013 DOLCETTO D’ALBA “LA COSTA”

Dolcetto—the little sweet one—is a reference to the low acidity of this variety. And yet the crunchy tannins equally typical of the grape guarantee structure and freshness. Thanks to the absence of wood in the winemaking, this Dolcetto keeps its red fruit character and will be perfect to start a meal alongside fresh antipasti, beef carpaccio, or vitello tonnato.

$17.00 per bottle $183.60 per case

2013 LANGHE NEBBIOLO

What Bourgogne Pinot Noir is to great red crus of Burgundy, Langhe Nebbiolo is to Barolo—you should buy a case while you wait for the Baroli in your cellar to be ready to drink. Benevelli’s version is floral and supple. As Massimo explains, given its strong tannic structure, Nebbiolo shows the best results in cooler years. In hot years, tannins might overpower the soft nature of the grape. Guess what? Esattamente—2013 was a cool year!

$22.00 per bottle $237.60 per case

2010 BAROLO “RAVERA”

Beautifully balanced, with an intense nose, this 2010 is quite approachable for a young Barolo. Nonetheless, by the time this exquisite creature will fully express itself, my Italian will have vastly improved. Even then, I will probably simply utter, “Veramente buonissimo!

$49.00 per bottle $529.20 per case

A French Woman in the Bay Area

by Sarah Hernan

I know this title sounds quite common around here—you must be thinking yet another French person! And I couldn’t blame you as I have never been in a foreign country with such a huge French community. Every time I walk around San Francisco or Berkeley, I almost feel like home—hearing my native language on every street corner. And here starts the hide-and-seek game, trying to hide my French accent from my compatriots. There are two types of ex-pats, the ones who look for people from their home country and the others who try desperately to hide from them.

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Exploring the Bay Area

I am a part of the latter. Of course I miss France, my family and friends. It’s never easy to start a new life in a new place, with new people, new language, and new customs. I understand that it is simpler and more comforting to hang out with fellow countrymen, especially when you first hit the shore of a new country. But then the real adventure has to begin—overcoming fear, trusting yourself, and moving forward. Total immersion is necessary to soak up another culture and language. Time flies and before you realize it, you are back home experiencing what we call “reverse culture shock.”

After almost three months spent in the Bay Area and many weekend trips, I can say without any hesitation that I could definitely live here for a while—it is terrifically different from France but so similar at the same time. French food culture is present everywhere. So far I almost haven’t missed anything. A Bay Area native is probably used to the cultural diversity but for the provincial French person that I am, this is very unusual and surprises me every day. Culture, art, nature, food, and wine from all over the world—there is something for everyone. The Bay Area fully deserves its rank among the top places to live in the world, even with its unpredictable fog. I consider the Bay Area, as the French say, ma région de coeur—loosely translated as “my second home.”

But even then, I could never disown my birthplace, Alsace.

Alsace is a charming French region next door to Germany, well-known for its rich gastronomy and unpronounceable village names like Niedermorschwihr, the home town of our famous producer Albert Boxler. But once you move past these clichés and take time to explore Alsace, all the hidden treasures you’ll find would amaze you. Between plains and mountains, your eyes would be spoiled by the gorgeous landscapes. Have a walk in one of these countless picturesque villages, venture through narrow, curvy streets weaving around the colorful, half-timbered houses—you could never get bored with them.

Alsace_landscapeAlsace in the fall

That’s where I was born, and even though I grew up in a Spanish family, I consider Alsace my home—a special place that I return to year after year.

If you go to Alsace during harvest time and drive along the wine road from Mulhouse to Strasbourg, you would most certainly enjoy the continuing ballet of tractors carrying tons of grapes to the old cellars located in almost every centenarian downtown house.

During Christmas time the region turns into a fairy tale, with bright lights, festive markets, and children behaving perfectly, in a fear of a visit from Père Fouettard who accompanies St Nicholas in his rounds on St Nicholas Day (December 6), distributing lumps of coal and floggings to the naughty children, while St. Nicholas gives out mandarins, chocolate, and Mannele, little fluffy brioche men, to the well-behaved. Père Fouettard gave my brother and I our worst nightmares and my parents can thank him for having such nice children during one month every year.

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Christmas in Strasbourg        © Sarah Hernan

Of course you can’t leave Alsace without trying a glass of schnaps, a local eaux de vie, made from grain or fruit. The most popular are Mirabelle and Quetsch, a plum variety. I can’t remember any family feast without homemade schnaps. Unfortunately, because of new regulation and as old people who knew the process have passed, this traditional beverage is about to disappear. Fortunately, the winemaking traditions are still very strong, preserved by many talented, passionate producers. Some people say that winemakers are like historians, trying to pass to you a piece of their region’s history. Sharing culture and history all over the world is an honorable quest.

During last week’s staff tasting, we tasted a few Alsatian wines from Meyer-Fonné and Domaine Ostertag. Les Vieilles Vignes de Sylvaner from Ostertag was stunning, a perfect harmony between freshness and white fruit aromas with a long, crisp finish. Sylvaner is not one of the four Noble grapes used in Alsace: Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, and Muscat. This rustic and high yield grape was neglected but has recently enjoyed a revival and is now even accepted on the Zotzenberg Grand Cru. Through André Ostertag’s talent and his passion to express the terroir, the Sylvaner grape is back to its former glory and transports you to the small village of Epfig.

Thanks to Kermit Lynch’s wide range of superb wines from Alsace, I barely feel homesick. I can enjoy the pleasures of the Bay Area while keeping a taste of home.

2013 Gentil d’Alsace • Meyer-Fonné $18.00

2013 Pinot Blanc “Vieilles Vignes” • Meyer-Fonné $19.95

2013 Sylvaner “Vieilles Vignes” • Domaine Ostertag $25.00

2013 Pinot Blanc “Barriques” • Domaine Ostertag $26.00

October Newsletter: 2012 August Clape Pre-Arrival, Peter Dipoli: A Pioneer from Alto Adige, Atypical Alsatian Selections

The October newsletter is now available.
Click here to download the pdf.

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…

PIEDMONT

TWO FROM FANTINO

by Dixon Brooke

I’m itching with excitement to introduce these two, from opposite ends of the wide spectrum of vinous wonders emanating from the Fantino vines and cellars in Monforte d’Alba. A starter and a finisher, if you will.

2013 ROSSO DEI DARDI

ALESSANDRO E GIAN NATALE FANTINO

A pure Nebbiolo from younger vines in an eastern-facing portion of the Dardi subsection of Bussia in Barolo, this has to be tasted to be believed! Aromatically, you have the feminine side of Barolo, all flowers and perfume. The wine is just firm enough, with mouthwatering acidity and explosively fresh and energetic fruit. It may be the most delicious Nebbiolo you’ve ever tasted. And you can afford to do so by the case.

$19.00 per bottle $205.20 per case

1999 NEPAS • ALESSANDRO E GIAN NATALE FANTINO

Ne + pas is short for Nebbiolo Passito. This style of wine is an increasingly lost art, and here is an example made by its surviving master. Think Amarone meets Barolo. It is decidedly old school, with all the secondary glory you might expect from a fifteen-year-old wine. Almost dry, with only three grams of residual sugar, it displays a wide range of flavors, including nuts, spices, herbs, dried fruit, and smoked meat. The grapes are harvested two to three weeks before the Barolos and then dried until Christmas, after which they are pressed. You will not find another wine like it anywhere in the world (including Piedmont). Open it with good friends toward the end of a meal.

$60.00 per bottle $648.00 per case

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CORSICAN WHITES

by Anthony Lynch

2013 CORSE CALVI BLANC “E PROVE”

DOMAINE MAESTRACCI

The nose of this Vermentinu is beautifully expressive, reminiscent of white flowers and sea mist. Crisp, vibrant, and bright, it carries some flesh on the palate along with a tangy salinity. Yum!!!

$19.95 per bottle $215.46 per case

2012 ILE DE BEAUTÉ BLANC • YVES LECCIA

With suggestions of seashells and fleshy white fruit, here is a white that is best enjoyed outdoors. It worked quite well for me on a camping trip to California’s Lost Coast, where it paired to perfection with Pacific sea breezes coming off the rolling waves. This blend of Vermentinu with Biancu Gentile refreshes and stimulates, though I guess it could do that in the comfort of your home, too. Wherever you may be, this is a white you will appreciate most by way of big sips.

$26.00 per bottle $280.80 per case

2012 PATRIMONIO BLANC “HAUT DE CARCO”

ANTOINE ARENA

If Patrimonio is the greatest terroir for Vermentino, this might be the greatest terroir in Patrimonio. A steep slope littered with hunks of chalky limestone, Haut de Carco gives Vermentino’s grandest expression: a generous perfume of honeysuckle and ripe pear, richness of flavor kept in check by a nervy mineral lift, and a sustained finish accented by Mediterranean brine. The depth and complexity here leave no question that this is grand cru material.

$45.00 per bottle $486.00 per case

Corsican charcuterie           © Gail Skoff

Another working day at Domaine d’Aupilhac

Sarah Hernan, our French intern for the summer and fall joins us as our guest blogger today.

You have probably already heard or read about the Domaine d’Aupilhac. In the middle of Languedoc close to the Terrasses du Larzac, Sylvain Fadat and his wife Désirée built a wine cellar next to the family house right in the heart of the village of Montpeyroux.

Two years ago I worked for them as an intern for about six months. Now two years later, currently another interning with KLWM, on the other side of the wine business and also on another continent, I felt that this was a good time to share with you the domaine’s secrets.

Montpeyroux_CastleMontpeyroux Castle      © Sarah Hernan

I could tell you many anecdotes but then I would need more than one blog post, and because nobody asked me to write a book (fortunately), I am going to tell you about one specific day.

Toutes caves ouvertes, which means literally “all wineries opened,” is an annual one-day event during April that awakens this little picturesque village.

After several weeks of preparing to welcome hundreds of people, everything was finally ready. But on this Sunday morning the atmosphere was charged, like before a major competition, a combination of excitement and anxiousness. The weather was not helpful—a dark sky accompanied by an icy wind threatened the celebration day.

We had designed an itinerary guiding our guests across the cellar from the private entrance of the family house through the chai to the wine tasting cellar. All along the path people could taste the domaine’s wines, beginning with whites and ending with a few old vintages.

In spite of the terrible weather, much more appropriate for a winter day than a spring one, the village streets filled up slowly with guests, musicians, and a cluster of farm animals. By noon the cellar was crowded, making it difficult to follow our itinerary.

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Aupilhac family house  © Sarah Hernan

Cadenced with tastings, history lessons, laughs, shouts, songs, and brotherhood enthronements, I remember this day as symphonic. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to be enthroned by the world famous brotherhood named “Les Grapillettes”—a rare honor, which celebrates you as an ambassador of the Montpeyroux wines. Sylvain is one of the few lucky honorees.

All the Fadat’s family and friends were there to help, many of their old vintages were opened, among them an incredible Montpeyroux 1999. Deep and complex, with a breathtaking freshness and flavors of garrigue—a magical cuvée I will never forget that made me fall in love with wine all over again.

I picked this day because it embodies the essence of Domaine d’Aupilhac, its philosophy and its wines: authenticity, a hint of craziness, and a lot of generosity and character. I truly believe that passion for wine comes from this kind of setting which makes life a wonderful adventure!

To finish my story, I would like to do a brief etymology lesson. The name Fadat has several meanings. In the colloquial French it means insane, and everyone who knows Sylvain would agree that this translation is perfect for him. I suppose a man needs at least a tiny part of insanity to terrace the terrific, rocky, but exceptional Cocalières vineyard as he did a decade ago. In Occitan, a language spoken in southern France and in a few places in Italy and Spain, Fadat means Touché par la baguette des fées—“Touched with the fairies’wand.” Perhaps, the Aupilhac’s terroir has been blessed by the fairies, but I will let you make your own judgment after you taste one of Fadat’s enchanted wines.

Sylvain a CocaliereSylvain Fadat attending to the Cocalières vineyards  © Sarah Hernan

 

September Newsletter: New Arrivals from Liguria & Valle d’Aosta, Burgundy Traditionalists, Late Summer Sampler

The September newsletter is now available.
Click here to download the pdf.

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…

 Late Summer Sampler

by Mark Congero

Is there a better way to celebrate the bounty of the season than with a late summer pizza party? Well, that is exactly what a handful of my KLWM colleagues and I did. The obvious reason to have the party at my house is the wood-burning oven my wife and I built last summer.

With the fire in the oven burning bright and hot, friends arrived with arms full of delicious food and wine. Here is just a small list of what our pizzaioli had to play with: eggplant, cherry tomatoes, summer squash, fresh eggs, fresh herbs, sweet and spicy peppers, pepperoni, sausage, prosciutto, and fresh squid. Perfect Napolitano pizzas were flying out of the 800-degree oven as well as roasted squid and prosciutto-wrapped fontina cheese. By night’s end the pizza count was at thirty-two and there were A LOT of empty bottles!

Of course, not everyone has a wood-burning oven in the backyard, but with a pizza stone and a Weber you can make some darn good pizza. Relax with a glass of rosé, soak up the last bit of late summer warmth, and enjoy all the amazing treats the season has to offer.

We have a great six-bottle mix of wines and a few fun recipes you might enjoy. That, combined with a great discount, makes this the perfect end-of-summer selection of wine. Remember, two six-packs make a case!

Bon appétit!

per bottle

2011 Riesling • Kuentz-Bas

$16.95

Vouvray Brut “La Dilettante” • C. & P. Breton

24.00

2013 Bandol Rosé • Domaine du Gros ’Noré

32.00

2011 Languedoc Rouge “Podio Alto” • Domaine du Poujol

24.00

2012 Monteleccio • Sesti

25.00

2013 Juliénas “Beauvernay” • Domaine Chignard

25.00

Normally $146.95

Special Sampler Price $125

(a 15% discount)

 VALLE D’AOSTA 

ChÂteau Feuillet

by Dixon Brooke

2013 Valle d’Aosta “Petite Arvine”

Outside of Switzerland, the grape variety “Petite Arvine” is nearly unique to this tiny mountainous slice of Italy. It thrives on the steep, rocky slopes of the Valle d’Aosta that, given their striking exposure, are surprisingly sun-baked and warm during the growing season. The flora here makes its debut at the same time as it does in southern Italy. Grower/winemaker Maurizio Fiorano likes his Petite Arvine racy and vibrant, with a core of luminous fruit. The aroma transports you to a lost Sound-of-Music-esque alpine meadow, and the finish is packed with a stony crunchiness that lingers and slakes thirst.

$32.00 per bottle $345.60 per case

2013 Valle d’Aosta “TorRette”

This gorgeous mountain red is a blend of Petit Rouge and Mayolet, so welcome again to some rarely encountered grape varieties. They are grown high on the slopes of the Italian Alps, near the renowned little ski town of Courmayeur, on the Italian side of Monte Bianco. Take a moment to notice this wine’s balance and harmony. A light-bodied red, it stops just short of being too light, which makes it so diverse for food. The aromas and flavors are particular to the Valle d’Aosta, with smokiness, meatiness, and sweet spices along with mountain flowers, wild berries, and a juicy acidity.

$25.00 per bottle $270.00 per case

August Newsletter: 2012 Antoine Jobard P-A, Three Generations of Quenards, For the Cellar

The August newsletter is now available.
Click here to download the pdf.

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…

DOMAINE ROBERT-DENOGENT

by Dixon Brooke

For some reason, extended élevage is much more common in the Mâconnais than in the Côte d’Or, with many producers exceeding as a matter of course the farther north’s average of eighteen months in barrel. The small supply compared with the enormous demand has surely been a contributing factor in the Côte d’Or, with exceptions limited to the occasional wine that individually demands more time. Surely the growers in the Mâconnais have also been driven to experiment more in order to compete with their northern brethren. For the first time, Jean-Jacques and Nicolas Robert decided to leave two of their 2011s in barrel for thirty months to see how the wine developed. Wanting to hold some 2011 back to sell along with the small 2012 and 2013 harvests, they figured it might as well stay in barrel rather than going into bottle. You will be excited by the results.

2011 POUILLY-FUISSÉ “LA CROIX”

CUVÉE MISE DE 30 MOIS

Classic La Croix blue schist character is heightened in this most racy and linear of all Denogent cuvées, with the extended aging bringing more structure and rounding out all the sharp edges. Beautiful to enjoy now, it can also be cellared for five-plus years.

$42.00 per bottle $453.60 per case

2011 POUILLY-FUISSÉ “LES REISSES”

CUVÉE MISE DE 30 MOIS

The heavy clay and limestone soil of Les Reisses resembles that of the Côte d’Or much more than most of the Roberts’ other vineyards. The expression here is of deep composure and solidity, a golden Chardonnay with reserved yet slowly soaring aromas, a full-bodied and persistent palate, and a vein of chalk holding things together with just the right touch.

$45.00 per bottle $486.00 per case

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 A TYPICAL SAMPLER 

by Clark Z. Terry

Typical” has such a pedestrian connotation in English—after “nice,” it is the next worse way to describe something. But in terms of wine, typique is meant to convey much more than being simply normal or standard. If someone says, “Ce vin est typique,” this is a declaration that the wine displays the terroir and traditional style of a region or village. The best English equivalent would be to say that a wine is “classic.” For the vignerons who have looked to previous generations for inspiration, few compliments are better than to affirm that a wine is perfectly typical.

A sampler of wines showing typicité could have many variations, but here we’ve focused on French reds. The villages are no doubt recognizable, and the wines represent benchmarks of quality and typicité.

per bottle

2011 Chinon “Clos du Chêne Vert” • Charles Joguet

$52.00

2011 Gevrey-Chambertin • Domaine Maume

65.00

2011 Côte Rôtie “Nève” • Blended by Kermit Lynch

74.00

2010 Gigondas “Terrasse du Diable” • Les Pallières

49.00

2011 Bandol • Domaine de la Tour du Bon

36.00

2008 Pomerol • Château Gombaude-Guillot

69.00

Normally $345.00

Special Sampler Price

$276

(a 20% discount)

July Newsletter: Staff Selections, Domaine Tempier P-A, New Arrivals from Corsica

The July newsletter is now available. Click here to download the pdf. Highlights from this month’s newsletter…

PRE-ARRIVAL OFFER 

2012 DOMAINE TEMPIER

by Kermit Lynch

Domaine-Tempier-labelToday was my first visit of the year to Domaine Tempier. Down in the cellar, Daniel Ravier pulled tastes of the 2012 from their foudres, because they are not yet in bottle. Meeting the 2012s was like meeting an old friend—their 1979, to be specific, which made good drinking from the start. I recall the 1979 served cool in carafes for a bouillabaisse feast during the wine’s first summer. It was good right after the bottling, too, and at least in magnums, it is still good today at thirty-five years old. Not bad! Our 2012 is also a medium-bodied vintage, generously flavored, a real charmer. Even Cabassaou, which can be pretty tough and square-edged when young, is easy on the palate.

Then at 11:30 I met Lulu Peyraud for an apéritif—Lulu, who at ninety-six claims that she doesn’t drink water. At all. Never. She says she prefers red wine. I asked if she didn’t keep some Vittel or Evian hidden around the house to take a swig or two, you know, when no one is looking. And I wondered aloud, “Why, Lulu, why never a glass of water?”

“I don’t want to get rusty,” she said.

And as for the three 2012 cuvées spéciales, I’ll wait a few years before attacking them, but I’ll have several classiques for drinking cool during summer 2015.

per case

2012 Bandol “Classique”

$456.00

2012 Bandol “La Migoua”

660.00

2012 Bandol “La Tourtine”

660.00

2012 Bandol “Cabassaou”

984.00

 

 2013 BANDOL ROSÉ IS HERE!

by Anthony Lynch

DOMAINE DE LA TOUR DU BON

First, you’ll notice the beautiful color of Agnès Henry’s 2013: it conveys the depth of flavor to be found in this excellent dry rosé. Very elegant, with subtle accents of garrigue, it is also our most affordable Bandol rosé at this time.

$30.00 per bottle $324.00 per case

DOMAINE DU GROS ‘NORÉ

Alain Pascal’s rosé seems to inevitably top last year’s version. While he is best known for his big, rustic, macho reds, his wines—in all colors—have recently begun to show an increased sense of finesse. In fact, his rosé in 2013 is notably delicate, quite the opposite of what one might expect given the wild, beastly reds he has produced in vintages past. It is lively and fresh, expressing not bananas but all those Provençal flavors that drive us bananas.

$32.00 per bottle $345.60 per case

DOMAINE TEMPIER

They say great wine is evocative of place. With Tempier rosé, all it takes is one sniff to be carried back to Provence, conceiving a dreamy fantasy of sunshine and ice-cold pink wine. Suddenly we are in the shade of a massive umbrella pine tree at Domaine Tempier, refreshed by a soothing breeze and generous sips of rosé. The cigales chirp buzzingly in the background, while the sound of laughter complements their constant hum. Your glass of Bandol, evocative of rosemary, ripe peaches, and citrus, is the perfect elixir to wash down the assortment of snacks that has spontaneously materialized: garlic-rubbed toasts with cured anchovies, olives marinated in herb-infused oil, and slices of salty saucisson. This is what Tempier rosé is all about—celebration, gaiety, and delicious simplicity.

$40.00 per bottle $432.00 per case

The Mediterranean at Cassis      © Gail Skoff