The June Newsletter is now available.
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Highlights from this month’s newsletter…
by Dixon Brooke
Strikes at the port of Oakland—something we haven’t been accustomed to on this side of the pond—delayed our annual releases of freshly bottled rosé direct from mainland France and Corsica. We struggle to remember the last time we weren’t able to slake your thirst with a diverse selection like this in May. In this unusual year we hope not to repeat, we present them in time for the first days of summer.
Any wine from Château Thivin always has a bit of a serious side. For Beaujolais, this makes the property stand out a bit. The joy and deliciousness are still there, but those impressions are accompanied by such class and character in their red wines that you feel obligated to sit up a little straighter in your chair. With this absolutely carefree Gamay rosé, the Geoffray family has decided to give in completely to the concept of pure, unadulterated pleasure.
$18.95 per bottle $204.66 per case
Every year we have a tug-of-war with proprietor and vigneronne Anne Amalric for our supply of her delightfully pale, aromatic vin gris. How much must she absolutely keep on the island to satisfy her compatriots? Put it this way: you are much more likely to be able to enjoy this beauty here in the United States than as a tourist in Corsica—if you act quickly, that is.
$28.00 per bottle $302.40 per case
I love Lascaux’s rosé for its consistency. Every year their delicious southern blend of Cinsault, Syrah, and Grenache delivers on our high expectations for what southern French rosé should be, honed over time with Bandol as a reference point. With this charmer’s fresh aromas of stone fruit and garrigue, generously underlain by freshness and herbal complexity, Lascaux’s limestone terroir delivers yet again.
$17.00 per bottle $183.60 per case
VALUE OF THE MONTH
by Dixon Brooke
When estate owner Giacomo Tincani visited our Berkeley store earlier this year, he had a wonderful analogy to share with the retail sales team. He likened his Valtènesi to a combination of a mountain wine and a Mediterranean wine. Indeed, the vineyards on the western slopes of Lake Garda are planted in glacial deposits that were carried down from the Dolomites farther north. The warm breezes sweeping from the south across the lake encourage the growth of olive and fruit trees, not to mention vines. La Basia’s Valtènesi rosso, made principally from the native Groppello grape, possesses simultaneously the stony, mineral-driven freshness of a mountain wine and the soft, herb-scented plushness of a Mediterranean wine, all presented in a seamless and delicious experience. This is definitely a wonderful friend to have at table.
$16.00 per bottle $172.80 per case
2012 CHARLES JOGUET
by Anthony Lynch
The 2012 vintage in Chinon could be called a “vigneron’s vintage”: from a grower’s point of view, it proved quite challenging, requiring constant vigilance and hard work in the vines to overcome the hurdles thrown by Mother Nature. Such trying vintages are the ones that differentiate the best from the rest, and when tasting 2012s from Charles Joguet, there is no question as to which camp this historic domaine belongs.
Kevin Fontaine, who currently vinifies Joguet’s wines under the watchful eye of the retired Charles, has crafted a classic, timeless range of Chinons in 2012. The wines come in at a proper 12.5 percent alcohol, echoing a style of yesteryear, not driven by luscious fruit and ripeness but rather featuring freshness, definition, and balance as primary attributes. Flavors are not obvious: nuance reigns, with terroir-specific aromas emerging with time, expressed transparently through the lens of the Cabernet Franc grape. Today we offer the domaine’s top three cuvées—recommended to the amateur and the collector alike, these wines reflect the work of man in concert with the fortuity of Nature, with a wink to the past and plenty of promise for the future.
Premier cru pedigree for this tightly knit, limestone-born Chinon. The word finesse comes to mind. Subtle perfume waiting to blossom; lean and delicate with fine, elegant tannins providing backbone and focus.
Dioterie spotlights the domaine’s oldest vines, seventy to eighty years of age on a chalky slope. It is correspondingly deeper, denser, thicker, with significant extract—séveux, the French would say, as if the vine’s sap had flowed to the grapes to give extra concentration. Certainly a very long ager.
Another grand cru–worthy site, which gives a wine of serious cellaring potential. Black fruit, clove, and forest suggestions enveloped by rich, velvety tannins.
MIXED CASES OF THESE WINES
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