The January newsletter is now available.
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Highlights from this month’s newsletter…
by Jane Berg
Among the things I love most about living in France is what the French call the apéritif dînatoire. A proper translation doesn’t exist, though the concept is straightforward enough: A gathering of friends over an abundance of wine, charcuterie, and fromage. The ambiance is casual and spirited, and the wines—nicknamed les vins de soif—are those meant to be drunk with a healthy thirst and zero pretension. The king of wines for such occasions is without contest Lapierre’s classic Morgon. Veteran Beaujolais drinkers know what I mean, while newcomers will catch on immediately upon draining their first glass. A word to the wise: You won’t want to run out! For the real experience, pair with a slab of pork rillettes, slices of plump saucisson, and spoonfuls of soft Saint-Marcellin. À votre santé!
$32.00 per bottle $345.60 per case
Camille and Mathieu Lapierre © Romain Renoux
A TRIO OF GRANDs VINs BLANCS
by Dixon Brooke
The Champalous produce this wine from a walled-in clos around their home on the limestone plateau above the town of Vouvray. It is a dry Chenin Blanc fermented and aged in oak (rare in Vouvray these days!) for 12 to 18 months and then aged in bottle for another year or more before being released. Portail is a tale of two characters: smooth, opulent fruit cascades across the palate in layers, while a chalky streak tightens up the finish and leaves you refreshed and coming back for more. Its versatility with cuisine is one of its most exciting qualities, and it is a great cellar candidate as well.
$38.00 per bottle $410.40 per case
I learned during my last visit that Michel’s father André still insists on pruning the vines on these terraces perched on the steep slopes all by himself. Nobody else is allowed to take sécateur to vine on this hallowed ground. André is now in his eighties. These terraces are home to some of the Quenards’ most prized Roussanne vines. These vines, firmly rooted in mountain limestone, produce an intriguing, delicious, and noble white that ingeniously marries the honeyed, apricot richness of Roussanne with alpine freshness.
$33.00 per bottle $356.40 per case
Boxler’s Riesling Brand is an imposing presence—bone-dry, serious, grandiose. I just tasted the recently bottled 2013 with Jean Boxler at the winery and it, too, is cut from the same cloth (or stone). The grand cru Brand is composed of granite, and Boxler’s parcel is in the center of the rather steep slope, the historic center. The style is masculine and powerful, with a very direct personality. It is both fine-grained and big-boned. I expect it to flesh out over time, so those who are willing to be patient with it will be rewarded handsomely.
$79.00 per bottle $853.20 per case