September Newsletter: Consider the Glass, 2011 Maume P-A, New Quintarelli, Southwestern Gems

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

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…

2012 BEAUJOLAIS

LIMITED QUANTITY ALERT

by Katya Karagadayeva

Despite the challenges that 2012 posed in Beaujolais—there was frost, there was hail, and there was rain—the talent of our producers and a late ripening season blessed us with another spectacular, elegant vintage. One problem—there is very little of it to go around!

2012 JULIÉNAS “BEAUVERNAY” • DOMAINE CHIGNARD

We are excited to introduce a new wine from our beloved Fleurie producer, Domaine Chignard, and to add another grand cru to our Beaujolais collection. Juliénas, located in the far north of the region, is known for wines with backbone, and the Beauvernay is no exception. It comes from a granite hillside vineyard with sixty-year-old vines and exhibits a beautiful aroma and finesse—a true Chignard classic. Fans of Chignard’s Fleurie must not miss this new arrival.

$24.00 per bottle $259.20 per case

CHRISTOPHE BUISSON

RISING STAR OF SAINT-ROMAIN

by Steve Waters

If ever there was an up-and-coming producer everyone should check out, Christophe Buisson has earned my vote. He is a perfectionist who makes Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with purity and finesse, mining the stony, limestone slopes of Saint-Romain. Kermit told me that he noticed the potential of Saint-Romain back in the late seventies. He recalls urging Jean-François Coche to acquire some vines there.

If you haven’t tasted Christophe’s pleasure-filled wines, these new arrivals are going to convince you: he’s a producer worth following and his prices are more than reasonable . . . for the moment.

2011 SAINT-ROMAIN BLANC “SOUS LE CHÂTEAU”

This is a single-vineyard Chardonnay that would probably be classified as a premier cru over the hill in Meursault or Chassagne-Montrachet. Freshness and a distinct minerality draw your nose into the glass, and the broad flavors and rich texture will linger in your mouth for minutes. I clocked it!

$40.00 per bottle $432.00 per case

2011 SAINT-ROMAIN ROUGE “SOUS LE CHÂTEAU”

From the same vineyard as above but an opportunity to see how Pinot Noir tastes from the limestone and clay soils of Sous le Château. Brimming with expressive fruit, here is a great example of what Christophe can create in a young red. I once overheard Aubert de Villaine call a Pinot Noir sexy, so I’ll do the same for this lovely beast.

$39.00 per bottle $421.20 per case

The Resurgence of the Languedoc

 In our retail shop, any salesperson will be quick to point to the Languedoc section for some of the best values in the store. Having long been the source of the vast majority of France’s bulk wine, the Languedoc nonetheless produces wines of quality that are consequently undervalued. We are not ones to complain: nothing makes us happier than a juicy, sunny, southern blend at a great price.

However, this abundance of well-priced, everyday wines means that the Languedoc’s true potential as a producer of serious wines is often overlooked. Recently, the region has experienced a revival in which some of the area’s best terroirs are being recognized by ambitious young winemakers. Indeed, the Languedoc—an enormous region encompassing a range of diverse terrains—is home to an array of very favorable grape-growing areas, from the limestone slopes around Pic Saint Loup through the schist hillsides of Faugères, all the way south to the rugged landscape of Corbières and Fitou.

The negativity that still plagues the Languedoc’s reputation revolves around the densely planted vineyards in the flatlands, generally located closer to the Mediterranean. With irrigation and copious use of fertilizers and other chemical products, yields can easily double or triple those from the poorer soils in the hills farther from the coast, permitting co-ops to churn out colossal quantities of characterless bulk wine. However, the hillsides farther inland are home to some highly desirable terroirs for the production of vibrant, structured wines, and they are not going unnoticed by the keen eyes of certain winemakers. In fact, some old vineyards—having been abandoned by their former owners in search of easier sites to work—are being re-purchased with the intent of fully realizing the potential of the land.

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Terrasses du Larzac                                          © Anthony Lynch

The Terrasses du Larzac is a prime example of this new trend. A vast area to the north of Clermont l’Hérault, this relatively new sub-AOC of the Coteaux du Languedoc benefits from the cooler temperatures of the steep schist slopes of the Cévennes mountains. Grapes here ripen slower and retain more acidity than in the hotter plains to the south, giving the wines a distinct, lively freshness. Jean-Baptiste Granier, founder of Les Vignes Oubliées, was quick to note this: realizing the potential of some of these higher-altitude terroirs, he purchased several parcels to vinify himself rather than allowing this exceptional fruit to be mixed into the local co-op’s blend. At just 29 years old, Jean-Baptiste has now produced several vintages under his own label and the results speak for themselves, putting to evidence the Languedoc’s potential for serious, age-worthy wines.

Farther south, Maxime Magnon has been pursuing a similar project in the steep slopes of the Hautes-Corbières. A native Burgundian, Maxime ambitiously scoured France for good vineyards to purchase before coming across several abandoned parcels of old vines in these scraggly, garrigue-infested hills. “Nobody wanted to work these parcels,” Maxime explains, “so I bought them.” In vineyards too steep for tractors, it takes true dedication to set out everyday and put in hours of labor by hand. Maxime’s wines perfectly reflect his hard work, with his unique approach creating wines that are filled with luscious fruit while backed with a firm mineral structure.

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Maxime Magnon’s vineyards                        © Anthony Lynch

Jean-Baptiste and Maxime are just two examples of many new growers who are revolutionizing wine in France’s most productive region. This new wave of enthusiasm has resulted in an array of fascinating examples that put the Languedoc’s diversity of terroirs in the spotlight. What’s best is that these wines rival some of the greats from other regions in quality, but come nowhere near in price. For the moment, it seems there’s nothing to do but sit back with a full glass of Languedoc wine and enjoy it, before the rest of the world catches on.

To experience the best of what the Languedoc has to offer, mention this blog and

receive 15% off on these six bottles:

2011 COTEAUX DU LANGUEDOC BLANC “SAINT AGNÈS”

ERMITAGE DU PIC SAINT LOUP      $23.00

2011 COTEAUX DU LANGUEDOC BLANC “LES COCALIÈRES”

DOMAINE D’AUPILHAC      $35.00

2011 TERRASSES DU LARZAC ROUGE • LES VIGNES OUBLIÉES      $32.00

2011 CORBIÈRES ROUGE “ROZETA” • MAXIME MAGNON      $29.00

2007 PIC SAINT LOUP ROUGE “GUILHEM GAUCELM”

ERMITAGE DU PIC SAINT LOUP      $48.00

2006 VIN DE PAYS D’OC ROUGE “LES SERROTTES”

LA GRANGE DE QUATRE SOUS      $24.00

Offer valid through September 14,  2013.

 

August Newsletter: Introducing: Albert Boxler & André Perret, 2011 Antoine Jobard Pre-Arrival, Tour de Loire

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

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…

SOUTHERN FOR THE SUMMER

by Chris Santini

2012 VIN DE FRANCE GRIS IMPÉRIAL ROSÉ
COMTE ABBATUCCI

In August on Corsica, the only people out and about under the crushing heat of the sun in the afternoons are the tourists. True Corsicans find shade and a cold Sciaccarellu rosé. Whether on a terrace beneath the chestnut trees, or in a stone casetta in the maquis once used to shelter shepherds and bandits, an August afternoon is meant for rest and refreshment, two things Corsicans excel at. This is all rock and stone meets tangy fruit and crisp deliciousness. Its low alcohol won’t leave your head spinning in the heat.

$26.00 per bottle $280.80 per case

The vineyards of Jean-Charles Abbatucci     © Gail Skoff

TOUR DE LOIRE 

by Julia Issleib

With its rather cool climate, the Loire may not be the first region on one’s mind when looking for a wine for the hot summer months. Yet it should be! I believe that most wines are at their best when enjoyed in a climate exactly opposite to that of their region of origin.

The wines of the Loire Valley, like the scenery on the river’s banks, offer remarkable diversity. With so many different terroirs, styles, and grape varieties, there is something for everyone. After all, with quality wines in all “four colors”—red, rosé, white, and sparkling—at affordable prices, how can you not love the Loire?

2012 POUILLY FUMÉ • RÉGIS MINET

Régis Minet does it again: his 2012 is the quintessence of a quaffable Sauvignon Blanc, as pleasant and balanced as they come. Just the right amount of delicate white peach, citrus, and white flowers combined with a beautiful lip-smacking minerality that leaves you wanting more. Actually, I’ve already used too many words on this wine—it needs to be downed, not discussed. Instead of wondering if the nose shows hints of linden tree or verbena, you’ll be reaching for a second glass.

$23.00 per bottle $248.40 per case

2012 CHINON ROSÉ • DOMAINE CHARLES JOGUET

What is it with rosé and girls? We just can’t help it, it’s our color! I’m not sure if it reminds us of the pink dresses, shoes, and hairclips of our childhood, or of the first salmon-colored lipstick, nail polish, and bikini of adolescence. That said, this Chinon rosé is not just a pretty face: it has a strong personality and things to say. Its iodine, peppery character stands up to spicy food, marinated grilled meat, and tasty cheese without a problem. And just like any strong personality, you should give it some time to open up and show the more delicate notes of roses, yellow raspberry, and orange peel that will win you over for good.

$20.00 per bottle $216.00 per case

How to Chill Wine: A Professional’s Guide to Cooling Fermented Grape Beverages

Thirst is an affliction that can strike at any moment. The desire to satisfy this vicious desire can be overwhelming, especially in the summertime when the sun’s rays tempt us beyond reason to sit down and enjoy a cool glass of wine. Consequently, I have compiled a list of proven methods to properly chill your wine in virtually any situation. It is not an all-inclusive list; however, I hope it will inspire you to be creative and resourceful so that you may make the most of every bottle, even in the most unlikely of places.

In the mountains

Nothing compares to taking a whiff of fresh mountain air. Pair this with a glass of fresh mountain wine, and you are in heaven. André and Michel Quenard’s Chignin epitomizes the idea of Alpine refreshment. Its crystalline purity parallels that of fluffy white snow, and its delicate aromas will prompt you to slow down to take in the surrounding beauty.

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From Savoie to the Sierras  (Lake Tahoe)      © Anthony Lynch

In a fountain

Provence is known for its old roman fountains as well as its fresh rosé, and the two happen to go quite well together.

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Try at your closest fountain (Aix-en-Provence)      © Gail Skoff

At the beach

The ocean provides countless opportunities to bring your wine to the ideal temperature. Marcel Lapierre’s Raisins Gaulois tastes great at the beach, as it is light-bodied with a fruity deliciousness that pairs perfectly with a day of relaxation in the sun.

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Gone for a swim (Ocean Beach, SF)                       © Sam Imel

In…a sink

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Desperate times call for desperate measures     © Anthony Lynch

July Newsletter: Staff Selections, Pique-Nique Packs, 2011 Domaine Tempier P-A

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

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…

 STAFF SELECTIONS

by Steve Waters, Retail Manager

It’s so refreshing when clients come into our store describing an experience with another vendor and state unequivocally, “You just don’t get the same high level of customer service that you get here.” Can I get an Amen, please!?! We’re old-school at the retail shop and pride ourselves on providing you with a personalized, hands-on shopping experience. When we ask, “Can we help you find anything?” we really mean it.

Our staff is an eclectic mix of wine biz and restaurant veterans, foodies, a former bookseller, a stock market broker, an Armenian refugee, musicians, and a chip off ol’ Kermit’s block. We’re united in the passionate pursuit of good food and wine and are more than happy to share our knowledge with you. So come into the wine shop or call us on the phone, seek out a salesperson, and make them your own. Perhaps these staff selections will help make it easier for you to see what makes us tick.

 

Left to right: Anthony Lynch, Jennifer Oakes, Nile Mitchell, Mark Congero, 
Bryant Vallejo, Michael Butler, Steve Waters, Molly Surbridge

 

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PIQUE-NIQUE PACKS 

by Jennifer Oakes

Insects and foul weather can threaten to spoil a picnic, but with the right liquid fortification, even those annoyances fall by the wayside. Whether your picnic day out is beside the oyster shack, grilling something meaty at the park, or merely spent lounging in the backyard, we’ve put together a versatile assortment to cover your summertime al fresco needs.

Try something sparkly to get the party started, Beaujolais for easy-drinking comfort, Chablis or Muscadet for those day trips to the beach, and of course a summertime rosé. You’ll also need a smoky red to go with your grill’s bounty, and why not throw in a fantastic Fié Gris, the ultimate fish taco wine, or an Edelzwicker, because it’s a full liter! We’ve got two sampler options, one for absolutely everybody who shows up and one for people you like just a little bit more. The only guests you won’t need to please are the ants.

CASUAL PICNIC

per bottle

2012 Bardolino “Chiaretto” • Corte Gardoni

$12.95

2012 Edelzwicker • Meyer-Fonné

18.00

Clairette de Die • Achard-Vincent

25.00

2011 Beaujolais • Domaine Dupeuble

14.95

2011 Muscadet • Domanie Michel Brégeon

16.95

2010 Bronzinelle • Chateau Saint Martin de la Garrigue

18.95

Normally $106.80

Special Sampler Price $80

(a 25% discount)

FORMAL PICNIC

per bottle

2012 Bandol Rosé • Domaine du Gros ’Noré

$30.00

2011 Chablis • Roland Lavantureux

24.00

2010 Fié Gris • Éric Chevalier

24.95

NV Grande Réserve Brut 1er Cru • Veuve Fourny & Fils

47.00

2011 Île de Beauté Rouge • Domaine de Gioielli

36.00

2011 Morgon “Vieilles Vignes” • Jean-Paul Thévenet

32.00

Normally $193.95

Special Sampler Price $145

(a 25% discount)

June Newsletter: Rosé Time!, Exploring the Store, P-A Les Pallières, P-A Brunello

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

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…

DON’T POSSESS A HUNDRED RUBLES

by Katya Karagadayeva

I recently came across an interview in which Kermit talks about comparing wines to old friends. Makes sense, right? Just like people, each wine has his or her different personality, and for every situation in life there is a perfect match. In Russia we have a saying that goes something like “Don’t possess a hundred rubles, but possess a hundred friends.” I would like to introduce you to six friends of mine.

VINO ROSATO “GRANGIA” • TINTERO

If Grangia is already your go-to white, you will love her sister. Pretty in raspberry-pink, easygoing, pleasant. Her upbeat personality gets your attention at a first interaction and has you coming back for more. Don’t call her if you want to discuss politics over a steak, but enjoy her unpretentious company in any other situation.

$9.95 per bottle  $107.46 per case

2012 TAVEL ROSÉ • CHÂTEAU DE TRINQUEVEDEL

Everyone needs a powerful friend, a friend with connections. A true aristocrat: his predecessors rubbed shoulders with French kings and were admired by Ernest Hemingway. He is a man of grand stature, his manners are perfect, but his fiery spirit shines through. And he is one of those lucky few who only benefit from aging.

$18.00 per bottle  $194.40 per case

2012 BANDOL ROSÉ • DOMAINE DU GROS ’NORÉ

His shirt might be a delicate salmon hue, but there is a true strength underneath. A former boxer with thick, soil-encrusted hands, he is well built and resilient. There is so much generosity, flavor, soulfulness—but also true finesse. Have you seen photos of Alain Pascal, the winemaker of Domaine du Gros ’Noré? Look him up—you’ll know immediately what I mean.

$30.00 per bottle  $324.00 per case

SEASONAL SAMPLER

by Mark Congero

Recent events have got me thinking about my childhood—living with my mom on Long Island. Summer was the best season for food, and two annual excursions signaled that summer was upon us.

First, we would take a drive upstate with the goal to hit as many roadside stands and farms as we could. I remember on more than one occasion getting a tummy ache after eating way too much on the way home: fresh string beans with their crisp, off-the-plant snap, sweet corn ready to peel and eat, beefsteak tomatoes, beautiful plump cherries and blueberries. If I had been a good helper and co-pilot, on the way home we would stop at my favorite Chinese restaurant and I’d order lobster Cantonese, the delicious end to a perfect day.

Later in the summer we would drive out to Montauk to go fishing. There was never a time that I didn’t catch my fill of delicious fluke or flounder. My mom would panfry the fish with butter and lemon and serve coleslaw on the side. I’ve never really thought about it much, but those are important memories I will cherish forever. Summer is family time and fun time, hopefully.

We have a lovely mix of summer wines for you to enjoy. I will also add a few favorite summer recipes to the box. Remember, it’s only June, so you may want to buy a couple samplers to get you through the summer, and at 30% off there is no reason not to!

per bottle

2011 Langhe Arneis • Tintero

 $12.95

2011 Chardonnay • Éric Chevalier

 13.95

2011 Coteaux du Loir Blanc • Pascal Janvier

 16.95

2011 Gentil d’Alsace • Meyer-Fonné

 17.95

2011 E Prove Blanc • Domaine Maestracci

 18.95

2012 Languedoc Rosé • Château de Lascaux

 17.00

2011 Bardolino “Pràdicà” • Corte Gardoni

 17.50

2009 Montagne-Saint-Émilion • Château Tour Bayard

 22.00

2009 Languedoc Rouge “Podio Alto” • Domaine du Poujol

 22.00

2011 Bourgueil “Cuvée Trinch!” • C. & P. Breton

 22.00

2010 Moulin-à-Vent • Domaine Diochon

 24.00

2011 Côtes du Rhône “Il Fait Soif” • Maxime Laurent

 27.00

Normally $232.25

Special Sampler Price $163

A 30% discount

Pique-Nique Wines

Everybody loves a picnic, especially now that summer is around the corner. It is time to plan a day at the beach, lake, river, pond, park, or even in your own backyard, where you can decompress in the sun with good friends, food, and maybe a bottle of wine or two. Okay, definitely a bottle of wine or two.

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© Molly Surbridge

The choice of wine, however, is crucial! At this intersection of the outdoors and picnic food, the wine you pick must match the free-spirited contentment of sitting on a patch of cool, green grass with your close ones. When selecting a bottle to bring on a picnic, I value wines that are above all fun, fresh, and delicious. Secondary factors are versatility and chill-ability. Before you load up the cooler, consider my top picks—I speak from experience:

2011 SAUVIGNON BLANC “UNIQUE” • DOMAINE DU SALVARD
Bright and zesty, keep it as cold as possible for maximum refreshment.
$14.95 per bottle

2011 PETTIROSSO ALLEGRO • PUNTA CRENA
Pink, bubbly, full of life, what more could you ask! Sure to put a smile on your face and get you feeling vivace.
$18.00 per bottle

2012 LANGUEDOC ROSÉ • DOMAINE DU POUJOL
Try it with some cold cuts and cheese or just pour it on its own. On a picnic, you might appreciate its screw cap.
$16.00 per bottle

2011 RAISINS GAULOIS • M. LAPIERRE
Light, juicy faux-Morgon…a classic. Chill it and drink it! Roll over in the grass laughing when you consider what you paid for it.
$12.95 per bottle

2011 BOURGUEIL “TRINCH!” • C. & P. BRETON
Fruit-driven Cabernet Franc that goes great with roast chicken, a chicken sandwich, or whatever you decide to eat.
$22.00 per bottle

2011 CORVINA VERONESE “BECCO ROSSO” • CORTE GARDONI
In the event you find yourself in the vicinity of a grill and happen to come across some raw meat during your picnic, you’re in luck! The Becco Rosso has your back in such situations.
$18.00 per bottle

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 © Melanie Yee

The (Im)possible Pairing: On A Mission

I am proud to present the first edition of what will be an ongoing segment of the KLWM blog: The (Im)possible Pairing. Here’s the idea: we enjoy eating all sorts of food types, and we think that every meal should be accompanied by a good glass of wine. Some foods, however, are more problematic than others when it comes to wine pairing. The best match may be unexpected or take trial and error to discover. In this blog, we challenge ourselves and our readers to find the most appropriate wines to accompany these atypical foods, in a quest to come up with…the (im)possible pairing.

Our first episode will revolve around pairing wine with Chinese food. Alright, not just any Chinese food: a good friend of mission chinesemine has a new job cooking the boldly flavored Szechuan-influenced cuisine of Mission Chinese, in San Francisco’s Mission District. Three of us KLWM salespeople and our guests set out to prove that fine wine has its place on any table, even one where the amount of hot chili fumes in the air can cause spontaneous coughing fits. Much discussion preceded this epic meal, and each of us had our own ideas as to what would shine alongside Mission Chinese’s intense umami flavors that are often topped with a mix of Szechuan peppercorn and sizzling-hot chilis.

We decided on three wines that we hoped would quench our thirst, quell the spice, and stand up to the food.Our first wine was a 2011 Cassis Rosé from Clos Ste. Magdeleine. Sipping it while waiting for our first wave of food to arrive only increased the sense of anticipation brewing in us. Soon thereafter, the feast began, and the wine was put to the test. Provençal rosé was a no-brainer when deciding what to bring, as its combination of full body, fresh fruity flavor, and crisp acidity makes it perfect for almost all types of food. It delivered once again, and before we knew it the bottle was empty. Our next wine, the Champalou’s “Cuvée Fondraux,” is an off-dry Vouvray that we suspected would balance out the spicy flavors in the food. The wine worked exceptionally well, and not just with the spiciness. The sensually tender Tiki Pork Belly struck a chord with the Vouvray, with the wine’s slight residual sugar and fresh acidity perfectly complementing the sweet, fatty bites of braised pork. The “Fondraux” also enhanced the Spicy Octopus and Lamb Tongue’s Salad, each component of the dish bringing out different qualities in the wine.

After this second bottle was rapidly drained, the time came for main courses. To stand up to the savory overload we were about to dive into, we opened a bottle of Abbatucci’s “Rouge Frais Impérial.” Rice cakes and fermented black beans are not traditional staples of Corsican cuisine, but if the island’s Sciaccarellu-based refreshment could dictate this, we’d be seeing these ingredients alongside figatelli and boar stew on the Corsican dinner table. The Rouge Frais’ light body allowed the food to express itself, while the wild fruit and herbs came around strongly with each swallow. We finally finished our meal, our palates buzzing from the potent spice and our heads buzzing from the delicious wine. It came as a surprise that all three of our wines worked so well with such peculiarly bold, flavorful food, especially in an establishment where the norm is to have a cold beer on hand to gulp down when the heat kicks in. We left Mission Chinese that night wondering what other bottles would pair so well with this cuisine, a cuisine that is not known for being especially wine-friendly. But in fact, the opposite turned out to be true, as the intense Szechuan flavors had us constantly reaching for our glasses. We had only one regret as we walked off into the night, remarkably full-bellied: that we did not bring enough wine—something that could easily be rectified on our next visit!

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2011 Cassis Rosé • Clos Ste. Magdeleine
$32.00 per bottle    $345.60 per case

2011 Vouvray “La Cuvée des Fondraux” • Champalou
$22.00 per bottle    $237.60 per case

2011 Rouge Frais Impérial • Comte Abbatucci
$25.00 per bottle    $270.00 per case

Mission Chinese Food
2234 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA 94110

May Newsletter: Pure Grenache; Producers, Not Vintages; Fresh Favas, Butter and Salt

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

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…

MEDITERRANEAN WHITES

by Dixon Brooke

2011 ÎLE DE BEAUTÉ BLANC • YVES LECCIA

I chose these three wines for their freshness and elegance, qualities I value highly in southern, sun-ripened white wines. Leading the charge is this Vermentino-based beauty from the Leccias in northern Corsica. Salty and lemony, bright and maritime, it’s a great way to awaken the palate before a meal, to cut through cured sardines, or to enliven and complement fresh seafood.

$26.00 per bottle   $280.80 per case

2011 LANGUEDOC BLANC “SAINTE AGNÈS”
ERMITAGE DU PIC SAINT LOUP

The Ravaille family’s blanc keeps getting better every year, to the point that to my taste it has become one of the reference points for all of southern France. Precision, freshness, and finesse are the first three adjectives that come to mind. There are many secrets to this achievement, most importantly terroir. The backbone of the wine comes from Roussanne grown in a pocket of dolomite high on the Pic Saint Loup (the only location like this in the entire appellation). Combine that with ninety-year-old Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, and Clairette vines, harvesting before the grapes get too ripe, raising the wine in small Alsatian-style foudres and demi-muids, and the mystery begins to reveal itself. What impresses me the most is the touch on the palate—it is a textural masterpiece. The sensuality of Botticelli’s Venus and the backbone of Michelangelo’s David rolled into one. This suggestion is so much more banal than the Italian Renaissance, but I can’t help imagining a melon and prosciutto appetizer as an ideal pairing.

$23.00 per bottle   $248.40 per case

2011 BANDOL BLANC • DOMAINE DE TERREBRUNE

Reynald Delille’s Bandols are in a league of their own. All three colors! Reynald values finesse above all, and his soil of Trias limestone, his vines gazing down upon the Mediterranean—they help him execute his vision. When I visit, he regularly uncorks ancient whites from his amazing cellars that display mind-bending complexity and the freshness of youth. His rosé and rouge get most of the attention, but his blanc is truly a gem, too. La Revue du Vin de France recently called it one of the four best whites of southern France. I might be tempted to go farther. Buy a case and drink six bottles this year—put the other six in your cellar to witness the magic unfold over the next ten years. You won’t believe how it blossoms and deepens.

$32.00 per bottle   $345.60 per case

Fishing the Med’                                 © Gail Skoff

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NORTH AND SOUTH

by Steve Waters

Unlike the regional differences that plunged the United States into civil war one hundred fifty years ago, this North/South rivalry has battled over a more thirst-inspiring objective—great wine! Let’s take a trip together and explore a few wines from one of the most distinctive wine-growing regions in all of France, the Rhône Valley.

Philippe and Lionel Faury                   © Domaine Faury

2011 SYRAH “L’ART ZÉLÉ” • DOMAINE FAURY

Talk about a great opportunity to get yourself in on the ground floor. This KLWM first-ever release, a young-vine Syrah, is from the celebrated northern slope of Côte Rôtie: Côte Brune. I’ve always thought Faury makes the prettiest Syrah—so redolent of lilacs, but also with trademark aromas of bacon fat and slate that make all the great Côte Rôties distinctive. This is no exception. The uniqueness of this wine is that because of the young vines it is very drinkable now. Oh, and by the way, at this exact moment in time, this is Anthony Lynch’s favorite wine!

$32.00 per bottle   $345.60 per case

2010 LIRAC “LE CLASSIQUE” • DOMAINE DU JONCIER

Okay, I’m not going to hesitate in saying this—Marine Roussel, proprietress of Domaine du Joncier, is an extremely talented winemaker. The release of her wines is eagerly anticipated vintage after vintage. She’s also a helluva nice person who is deeply committed to the art of her craft. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, and Carignan (all grown among the galets roulés, the rounded stone–littered landscape of the southern Rhône) are the core ingredients that give this wine its terroir and typicity. By the time you finish your first bottle, you’ll be hankering for more, because this is also one of the best southern Rhône values we have to offer.

$24.00 per bottle   $259.20 per case

An Update from André

Once or twice a year, André Ostertag takes pen to paper to keep us up-to-date on how the current vintage in Alsace is progressing and to provide us with his most recent philosophical musings. Winter is typically a quiet time in the winery and vineyards—monitoring fermentations and pruning vines only take so much time—and André takes full advantage of this freedom to write.

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The first of the two pieces he sent is called: 8 Arguments to Wring the Neck of 8 Common Preconceptions About Alsace Wines, And Turn Them Into As Many New Ideas!

Below are the eight preconceptions that André dispels and click here to download the English version (translated by André himself)—a must read for any Alsace skeptics.

1. Alsace wines are too complicated!

2. Alsace wines are has-been!

3. Alsace wines give you headaches!

4. Alsace wines are sweet!

5. Alsace wines smell after petroleum!

6. Alsace wines do not cellar!

7. Alsace wines drink with Choucroute!

8. Alsace is freezing cold!

The second piece is: 2012: Great Dry Whites and Other Digressions

Here’s an excerpt:

“Today, in Alsace, our main challenge is to make great dry whites from ripe grapes.

And “ripe grapes” it is, not harvested too early and/or chaptalized! To me, grapes are ripe when their pips—or reproductive organs—are ready for offspring, since this is the very job of fruit in nature. And fruit will not be ready to be cut off from their foster shoots until they reach their full reproductive capacity. Indeed, once reached, most fruit will fall off. Grapes will then be ripe when berries come off easily and pips are brown in color and lignified and taste of sweet almond, so nothing to do with the ripeness governed by pure oenological prerequisites. It is true, however, that grapes harvested too early are not a fermentation issue, and lead to a lower alcohol content than ripe ones!”

Download André’s entire text on the 2012 vintage here.