January Newsletter: Serious Fun, Self-Assured Wines, Monks & Mountains

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

LOIRE

by Dixon Brooke

2011 MUSCADET SÈVRE ET MAINE SUR LIE
DOMAINE BRÉGEON

Michel Brégeon unofficially retired after the 2010 vintage, but all that really means is that he found someone younger with better knees to watch over his grapes, harvest them, and bring them to his cellar where he could continue to oversee the winemaking process. Michel’s unique terroir, his practice of keeping yields low, and his insistence on continuing to be one of the last in the region to hand harvest (that’s right, folks) probably set him more apart than anything he does in the cellar, but any visit to the domaine will show you that this is no typical winery. Michel is the mad scientist, cranking out the most hauntingly exciting and typical (by ancient standards) Muscadet in the entire region. Nobody is more consistent in achieving greatness with Melon de Bourgogne.

$16.95 per bottle $183.06 per case

2011 REUILLY “LES PIERRES PLATES”
DENIS JAMAIN

This is one of those wines that everyone at KLWM knows is destined for allocation status. It’s just too good. New Yorkers can usually find it on the list at Balthazar, where it makes itself right at home. The production is relatively small, for Sauvignon Blanc country, as this wine comes from Jamain’s prized vineyard that is composed of Kimmeridgian limestone fossils. Think Sauvignon Blanc from Chablis-like soil. So it has a racy, flinty, aromatic, bone-dry style that works particularly well after you return home from a traffic jam or with oysters—shuckers love it! And it remains a great value, due to the fact that many of you have probably never heard of Reuilly.

$19.95 per bottle $215.46 per case

2010 BOURGUEIL “CLOS SÉNÉCHAL”
C. & P. BRETON

This beauty makes an interesting Cabernet Franc comparison with the last wine. The vines are organically grown in white tuffeau, the wine is aged for two years in older barrels in a tuffeau cellar on the banks of the Loire River without any additives or manipulation, and the resulting purplish black juice is bottled unfiltered for one of the most unadulterated Cab Franc experiences on the planet. If I had my first choice, I would drink it with a woodcock, served with its organs made into a paté on the side, and black truffles. However, a cut of beef, lamb, pork, chicken, duck, goose, antelope—you get the idea—will work just fine.

$30.00 per bottle $324.00 per case

2009 SANCERRE ROUGE
“LE CHANT DE L’ARCHER” • DOMAINE CHOTARD

This “archer’s song” is a delightfully smooth and complex Pinot Noir from Daniel Chotard and his son Simon, who is starting to make his mark on this small family property in Reigny. The Chotards age some of their best Pinot parcels in secondhand barrels from Burgundy, giving their typically bright-fruited red some welcome wood smoke and meatiness. This is a great pinch hitter for the earthy, masculine Pinots of the Côtes de Nuits.

$35.00 per bottle $378.00 per case

orn2

Seasonal Sampler

by Mark Congero

On a cold winter night, is there anything more satisfying, more comforting, than a big, beautiful bowl of soup? Add a chunk of crusty bread and a glass of wine and life is good. One of the best things about soup is making it, as there are hundreds of options. It’s easy, fun, and if you start off with high-quality ingredients it’s hard to make a bad soup.

At first thought, wine and soup might sound like an odd pairing, perhaps even redundant, with soup fulfilling our need for both liquid and solid. However, not only is it necessary, it is delicious! Potato and leek soup with lardons, paired with a beautiful dry Alsatian wine: yes, please. Pot-au-feu with a nice chilled cru Beaujolais, most definitely. Bouillabaisse with any wine from Bandol—I think you catch my drift.

We put our heads together and assembled a nice box of food- and soup-friendly wines for you this month. For some added pleasure I will include a few of my favorite soup recipes in the carton and, what the heck, we’ll take 25% off to help ease the holiday pain.

Bon appétit.

per bottle

NV Clairette de Die • Achard-Vincent

 $25.00

2010 Pinot Blanc • Kuentz-Bas

 16.95

2011 Pinot Grigio • La Viarte

 16.00

2011 Vin de Savoie “Les Abymes” • A. et M. Quenard

 16.50

2010 Languedoc Blanc • Château La Roque

 17.50

2011 Gigondas Rosé • Domaine Les Pallières

 22.00

2011 L’O de Joncier • Domaine du Joncier

 13.95

2011 Vin de Pays d’Oc Rouge • Château Fontanès

 13.95

2007 Lussac Saint Emilion “Les Griottes” • Château de Bellevue

 19.95

2010 Côte de Brouilly • Nicole Chanrion

 22.00

2010 Bourgogne Pinot Noir • Bruno Colin

 22.00

2010 Chinon “Les Petites Roches” • Charles Joguet

 23.00

Normally $228.80

Special Sampler Price $172

(a 25% discount)

White Wine For Aging? It Is Time To Look To Alsace

In the soon-to-be-released January newsletter, Kermit takes up his pencil to highlight new arrivals from our longest-standing producer from Alsace—Domaine André Ostertag. Kermit first tasted with and began importing André’s wines in the early 1990s and as we approach nearly twenty-five years of working with him, never has André’s artistic precision and sophistication in the craft of winemaking been more apparent.

Vine-Art

Sketches of vines in the Ostertag tasting room

Kermit discusses the new vintages of 2010 and 2011 but we snuck a few cases of some very special older bottlings on the same boat for the lucky few that discover them when browsing the racks of our retail shop. It is not every day that you can walk into a wine shop and find vintage Alsatian whites that spent their lifetime aging in the same cellar in which they were bottled.

Here is some insider advice: Many people purchase and age white Burgundy, and with good reason, because the pleasure of a perfectly aged Meursault is a stunning experience. What most enthusiasts overlook is the importance of having the wines of Alsace in their cellar as well. Top vineyard specific Riesling and Pinot Gris from Alsace have more aging potential as most white Burgundy, often at half the price of their Burgundian counterparts.

Here is a rare opportunity. André did the hard work—he could have sold these wines years ago but resisted, knowing the potential they held. The value here goes beyond not having to wait to enjoy finely aged Riesling and Pinot Gris, but also learning what you gain were you to age some yourself.

Quantities are painfully small and priced well below auction levels.

2007 Pinot Gris “Zellberg” $60.00
2007 Riesling “Heissenberg” 34.00
2004 Riesling “Fronholz” 59.00
2002 Pinot Gris “Fronholz” 67.00
2000 Riesling “Heissenberg” 60.00
1999 Pinot Gris “Zellberg” 78.00
1996 Riesling “Muenchberg” Grand Cru 109.00


panorama-muenchberg-web

A panorama of the grand cru Muenchberg vineyard

 

December Newsletter: Gifting Made Easy, Pre-Arrival 2010 Clape

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

 

NOT TO MISS FROM
THE SOUTH OF FRANCE

by Anthony Lynch

2011 JURANÇON SEC • DOMAINE BRU-BACHÉ

When I first tasted this white from the foothills of the Pyrenees, my eyes immediately lit up. Zesty citrus notes burst across my palate as if I had just squeezed a fresh lemon into my mouth. The attack of crispy mineral and fruit flavors soon gave way to richer notes of ripe citrus. I swallowed, refreshed and in awe, left only with an almondy finish, like the bittersweet smell of an ex-lover’s perfume. The next thing I knew, I was underwater collecting sea creatures for a platter of fruits de mer. A second glass of Jurançon washed away all thoughts of my ex. In other words, this dry white can fire up one’s imagination.

$17.95 per bottle $193.86 per case

2011 BANDOL BLANC
DOMAINE DE LA TOUR DU BON

Bandol is not known for its whites. However, I believe all colors are created equal, and La Tour du Bon’s white is Exhibit A. Clairette and Ugni blanc are joined by the same Rolle (a.k.a. Vermentino) that creates such fresh whites in Corsica and coastal Italy. The result? A rich, opulent dry white—reflective of the sun-drenched Southern climate—that is balanced by a refreshing core that keeps the wine interesting sip after sip, swallow after swallow.

$32.00 per bottle $345.60 per case

2011 LE PIGEOULET ROUGE
VIGNOBLES BRUNIER

For fans of southern Rhône reds, Daniel Brunier is practically a household name. His majestic Châteauneufs from Vieux Télégraphe and his collaboration with my father to make Les Pallières’ noble Gigondas make him a legend for lovers of Grenache, Syrah, and the other usual suspects. Finally, we have a Brunier wine that is at its very best before ten, twenty, even thirty years of aging. You’ll appreciate that Le Pigeoulet tastes like a more expensive wine and is a perfect candidate to be your latest everyday red.

$18.95 per bottle $204.66 per case

2011 VIN DE PAYS DE L’ÎLE DE BEAUTÉ ROUGE
DOMAINE DE GIOIELLI

KLWM has become the specialist for Corsican wines over the decades, and this red from the northern cap of the island illustrates the reason why. Fermented in stainless-steel tanks to ensure a supple mouthfeel, this red from Michel Angeli is a true reflection of its place of origin. The nose is saturated with wild berries and, of course, the ever-present maquis. It is the perfect companion to cuisine featuring Mediterranean herbs, but just being thirsty will suffice. The staff agrees: it’s a knockout!

$36.00 per bottle $388.80 per case

2010 GIGONDAS • DOMAINE DE DURBAN

Who says Gigondas needs to age years and years before it can be drunk? Who says it needs to cost over a hundred dollars? Well, I don’t know about you, but I want to drink Gigondas now, and spend no more than . . . twenty-seven dollars. Top that! And you’ll revel in those typical dense tannins, dark fruits, and earthy spices that make Gigondas one of the southern Rhône’s top crus. Durban’s 2010 is perfectly balanced, and it will reward you right now as much as it will in the long run.

$27.00 per bottle $291.60 per case

SAVOIE’S UNIQUE WHITES

by Anthony Lynch

Gazing up at the Quenards’ vineyards above Chignin, one wonders how they manage to cultivate vines there—or cultivate anything, for that matter. “Soil” is not the appropriate word to describe the steeply inclined mountain rocks into which the vines’ roots must penetrate in search of nutrients. This is pure limestone, and the vineyards are planted in places where landslides have left rocky debris scattered about the precipitous slopes. The Quenards, a three-generation team made up of André, Michel, and the youngest, Guillaume, farm sixty acres in Chignin, situated equidistant from Lyon to the west and Mont Blanc to the east. While they produce a variety of wines—white and red, still and sparkling, simple and complex—the common point with all is the presence of delicate aromatics and a beautiful minerality: the product of hard work and old vines in an exceptional terroir.

2011 CHIGNIN “VIEILLES VIGNES”

Imagine lying down in a meadow high in the Alps on a sunny day. A fresh breeze blows over your head, carrying with it the delicate scents of white and yellow wildflowers. The joyous sound of birds singing is complemented by the comforting trickle of a crystal-clear alpine creek. It may be impossible to reproduce the feeling, but a glass of Chignin works pretty well. In this special cuvée, seventy-year-old Jacquère vines bring depth and minerality to what is rarely more than a simple thirst quencher. Drink it with a baked filet of fish, or pour it by itself to enjoy the subtle aromas of pit fruits and to be invigorated by its refreshing acidity.

$19.95 per bottle $215.46 per case

2011 CHIGNIN-BERGERON

Bergeron may be the same grape as what most people know as Roussanne, but the Bergeron of Savoie bears very little resemblance to the Roussanne of the Rhône. For starters, Roussanne is never referred to as an “aromatic” varietal. One whiff of this beauty, however, will be enough to convince you otherwise. The Quenards’ Bergeron is a masterpiece featuring ripe peach, apricot, and white flowers, packaged in the most elegant format conceivable. The deliciousness lingers until you reach for your glass and take another sip.

$26.00 per bottle $280.80 per case

November Newsletter: Wine at Table, 2012 Beaujolais Nouveau, Champagne Extravaganza

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

2009 GRANGE DES PÈRES

by Chris Santini

Grange des Pères is a rare bird. I don’t mean that only in the cult-wine, nearly-impossible-to-find-a-bottle kind of rare, but also in the boundaries this wine transgresses. Here’s a wine that has made wine critics sing the highest of praises, yet still makes the “natural wine” enthusiast bristle with excitement when given a chance to taste. Have a look at the wine lists throughout the world that carry the wine, and you’ll see it on the ultra-select high-end lists that have nothing but the big and fancy names, and you’ll also see it on the lists at the opposite end of the spectrum that feature the esoteric and artisanal approach. Grange des Pères rouge is dark and rich, with deep tannins, full of licorice and myrtle, yet incredibly balanced and nuanced at the same time. It’s got the brambly, animal side of its native Languedoc, as well as the high-toned finesse of Cabernet Sauvignon. You can drink it young or age it as long as you please. There aren’t many wines in our increasingly polarized wine world that can make all generations and all types of palates sit around the same table and nod in agreement. Laurent Vaillé, the man behind Grange des Pères, isn’t one to make stands and statements; he’s never set out to convince anyone of anything, really. The insights he provides in the rare interviews he accords never extend beyond a shy yes or no response to any given question. He is, however, always smiling, always kind, and a true modest soul. He quietly creates what we all can agree is simply Greatness.

2009 GRANGE DES PÈRES ROUGE
$87.00 per bottle

Pre-arrival terms: Half-payment due with order;
balance due upon arrival.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS

BE THE FIRST ON YOUR BLOCK

Be the first on your block to taste this year’s sensational, ultra-natural 2012 Domaine Dupeuble Beaujolais Nouveau, a once-a-year treat. Visit the webpage below for a list of all California retailers carrying the wine starting Thursday, November 15.

kermitlynch.com/nouveau

Eric Asimov Book Signing
Thursday, November 15

Join us for a special reading and book signing with the New York Times’s chief wine critic, Eric Asimov. He’ll read passages from his new book, How to Love Wine: A Memoir and Manifesto, answer questions, and sign books.

5:30  Meet the author at Bartavelle Coffee & Wine Bar
6:00  Reading and Book Signing inside Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant
RSVP Required: Please call 510.524.1524
1605 San Pablo Avenue at Cedar Street,
Berkeley, California

Then and Now – Domaine Tempier

The winery that is most closely associated with our history is undoubtedly Domaine Tempier. Bandol is Kermit’s second home and he was drawn there by the incredible land and seascapes, the vignerons and their families, and Richard Olney. It is a rite of passage for a KLWM employee to visit Kermit near Bandol, stay at his home, and taste with him at the domaines in Provence that we import.

Kermit was introduced to Domaine Tempier by his close friend, Richard Olney. Richard first discovered Tempier at a tasting in Paris in 1955 when he tasted the 1953 vintage. Not more than a few years later he settled near Bandol, close to Domaine Tempier, and quickly became lifelong friends with the owners—La Famille Peyraud. In 1984, Richard contributed a piece about Domaine Tempier to our monthly brochure:

“Domaine Tempier is a wine—it is also a family; exuberance and finesse are the traits common to both. The Peyrauds are Lucien (who pretends to be retired), Lulu (née Lucie Tempier), the two sons, François (who cares for the vines) and Jean-Marie (whose eagle eye controls the vinification, the cellars, and the paperwork), four married daughters, none of them who live far away, and Laurence, the Parisian of the family…and, of course,…a gaggle of grandchildren.”(Inspiring Thirst, pp 118)

When Kermit began importing the wines of Domaine Tempier in the mid-seventies, Lucien was beginning his retirement and the sons were taking over. A few years later, Kermit wrote that “In my personal cellar I own more bottles of Domaine Tempier’s bold-tasting, soulful red than any other single wine.”  Nowadays this fact is probably still true, with Domaine Les Pallières being a close second.

The Peyrauds still run the domaine and the matriarch, Lulu, at 94, happily receives guests. The brothers have retired from their vineyard and cellar work, but work closely with Daniel Ravier, the current winemaker who has honored the Tempier traditions and style as if he were a Peyraud.

A visit to Tempier will exceed your expectations. Modernizations are few and the traditional style of winemaking that the family has always practiced is evident—the cellar is filled with foudres of varying sizes and shapes. You are received by a member of the family (a few years ago, I tasted with Jean-Marie) and treated casually—as if you’d been there before and were always welcome. A trip to the library holdings is hardly different than it was ten, twenty, or thirty years ago—bottles are stacked in cement cubbies, dust covers everything, and you taste the old wines there, shoulder to shoulder with the lucky few who join you. There are no leather couches, varnished oak tables, or chandeliers like the famous châteaux of Bordeaux or “reserve” cellars of Napa. This is Provence, where pretense doesn’t exist and family roots are held to the highest esteem. You can’t help but feel at ease in this homey atmosphere.

It is not hard to see and feel why Kermit chose to live in Provence, near enough to Domaine Tempier so he could fill the trunk of his car as needed. The stories of epic lunches and dinners lasting until all hours are not just things of the past. Kermit has helped preserve the wines and traditions of France by providing a market for the wines in the US, but he also continues the history of hospitality that welcomed him to the region.

If you are in the area, make an appointment to visit. Tell them you buy from Kermit, and you’ll be well received.

Tasting at Tempier, 1983
(L to R) Jean-Marie, Lucien, François, Richard
© Gail Skoff

Then and Now – Clos Sainte Magdeleine

One of Kermit’s favorite themes to explore when writing for the newsletter is to remind his clientele (and employees) that his job as a wine importer is not one big vacation. Yes, he lives in Provence part of the year but what happens when he has to visit a producer? It’s a long commute to Châteauneuf, Bourgueil, or Chablis.

“Yesterday, for example, I had to spend practically the entire day at Cassis. It is not like I can just taste the wine, agree on a price, and go home. No, I had to drive down to the harbor with the winemaker, jump from the pier onto his bobbing boat, and motor out onto the Mediterranean, scene of countless shipwrecks. The sun’s heat was blazing. I tried not to think of ozone depletion, sunburn, skin cancer… We had no choice but to jump into the cooling sea. Luckily I happened to be wearing a bathing suit. Just as I was about to dive in, I noticed a school of inch-long jellyfish floating by. Their sting can momentarily paralyze you and leave you in pain for days. I wondered, is this really worth it? We motored out to safer waters and, finally, almost faint from heat prostration, I plunged into the cool blue water, a blue so beautiful I could barely stand it.”(pp 319, 320, Inspiring Thirst)

The man who puts Kermit through this torture happens to be the proprietor of Clos Sainte Magdeleine—François Sack. François has been a good pal of Kermit’s since the beginning. When Kermit is in France, they travel, dine, and hang out together, and if the timing works out, they do a little business. Though François has delegated a number of duties at the domaine to his son Jonathan, what sets him apart from other long-standing producers is his consistent presence through the last thirty-plus years. Like Kermit and Aubert de Villaine, you could say that Kermit and François grew up together in the wine business.

No one here at work actually believes Kermit’s forty years of business has been one long vacation. Some of us have traveled to France, done tasting trips, and gotten a glimpse at what it is like to drive, taste, talk, and eat twelve or more hours a day. Most believe that it is hard work. But we have also been to Cassis and met François, seen the Cap Canaille, looked out across the painfully blue water and thought, “la vie est belle!

Kermit and four-fifths of the staff from our French office at work at Domaine du Gros ‘Noré.
The other fifth, Chris Santini, was stuck in Beaune becoming a father for the first time.
(Front to back: Emily, Jane, Julia, Delia, and Kermit)
© Gail Skoff

Then and Now – Château d’Epiré

Our early history with the Savennières producer Château d’Epiré (our longest standing relationship from the Loire) is one that became all too familiar to Kermit over the years—in 1985, the patriarch of the family, Monsieur Bizard passed away:

“The family was crushed. I was emotional. Tears flowed. And there were problems, they said, because Monsieur Bizard’s regular customers stopped buying once he was gone. Meanwhile, I noticed three new stainless-steel tanks standing on skinny, angular legs in a part of the winery where some of the old oak casks once resided.” (pp 52, Adventures on the Wine Route)

Bizard had supported his winery with a more profitable charcuterie business and his son and daughter could no longer continue to craft the wine by hand—it was too labor intensive and they could not keep their price competitive with their neighbors. The family would now start making their wine in a modern style—stainless steel tanks, laboratory yeasts, filtering etc…

The appearance of stainless-steel tanks in a cellar became the symbol that foreshadowed more than just a change in winemaking style at a winery. Most often, this storyline ends with no conversation, no compromise, and no wine. Kermit would ask that they vinify a small amount in the traditional way for him, but he would hear that that was impossible, more work than before, and the price would be unreasonable. Thankfully, in the case of Château d’Epiré, after a comparative tasting of the modern and traditional wines, the family agreed that they preferred the traditional style and would continue to make wine for Kermit in the way that he and our clients had grown attached—vinified in casks, bottled unfiltered, and labeled as the “Cuvée Spéciale.”

For nearly three decades we Americans have had the good fortune to enjoy some of the finest Savennières made and the wine is still produced in the style of Monsieur Bizard. I say “we Americans” because in fact, the wine we import is not sold in France; it is made exclusively for the refined palates and traditional sensibilities of the American public.

A visit to Château d’Epiré is always a stunning experience. The Château was built in the 16th century and the wine is made in a lovely 12th century chapel.


 

My Dad’s CD

Today’s guest blogger is Marley Lynch, Kermit’s daughter. Marley lives in Brooklyn, NY. She is the music editor for Foam magazine and a music writer at Time Out NY, where she also contributes regularly to the food & drink section. Follow Marley on twitter: @marleyasinbob

I doubt that my dad’s dedication to terroir is a secret to anyone who reads this brochure. It leads him to select bottles that proudly display where and how they were made. If you can taste the minerality or the climate from where the grape came from, if the natural wine leaves sediment in your glass—well, bring it on.

His predilection for products that embody their origin has led to a practically patented eccentricity. Picture him savoring the cheese course during a recent outdoor summer dinner: “Wow,” he commented after a particularly pungent bite. “You can taste exactly what the goat ate in this one.”

These rootsy sensibilities extend beyond wine, or cheese for that matter, into my dad’s musical catalog. The Lynch albums, from the down-home country on Man’s Temptation and the R&B leanings in the vein of Robert Cray on Quicksand to the covers-and-originals blend on the forthcoming Donuts & Coffee, are as flavorful as they are complete, offering rootsy Americana as seen through the lens of a well-rounded music lover who grew up on gospel, ‘50s pop and country-soul—before losing himself in the Bay Area ‘60s rock scene.

My dad frequently remarks on the difficulty a music shop would meet in slotting his discs in the appropriate bin; indeed, on Donuts, blues, reggae and blue-eyed soul all find a home. Fortunately, with the iTunes age upon us, it’s unlikely he’ll ever have to riddle this release to a record store clerk (even the term sounds archaic, doesn’t it?). I’m pretty sure my pop’s shuffle tendencies hark back quite some time; I remember him diligently making me mix tapes—yep, actual cassettes—when I was but a child, where Elvis Presley segued into Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, which then played into Bob Marley.

Eclectic yet unusually versatile, Donuts is a similar exercise in what I’ll call cohesive diversity. With the help of Nashville session players as honed in their craft as any longtime winemaker, original tracks and covers reference musical greats across the genres, from Burt Bacharach to Muddy Waters; the latter is represented in the rollicking ballad “Honey Bee,” which smoothly opens the album. Standards get infused with the welcome sparkle of an enterprising viewpoint: Check out the dubbed-out take on Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” which is sure to incense a country classicist for every listener it intrigues. The LP closes with a Lynch original, “Sunset Avenue,” a rousing rock & roll cut sprinkled with Delta blues and Stonesy swagger.

Like selling a bottle containing a telltale smudge of deposit or producing a wine with a pétille of CO2, taking a new look at these old-school styles tells a story, too. And it doesn’t end here: Just wait until you hear the hellacious New Orleans funeral-march–meets–gospel track on the album he just recorded… But now, I’ve said too much.

 

Then and Now – Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe

During this anniversary month, we’ll look back in KLWM history, focusing on domaines we have imported for more than three decades. A lot can change during that time, but the one thing that keeps us coming back each year remains—the wine.

It is difficult to discuss who our most important producer is, though when this conversation comes up among the staff, we usually consider lists of domaines. Unequivocally, Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe makes the top-five of any of our rankings.

Kermit began working with Henri Brunier and his Vieux Télégraphe in the late 1970s. In Adventures on the Wine Route, Kermit discussed the now famous La Crau vineyard that comprises the Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf bottling:

The source of his [Henri Brunier’s] wine’s quality…is his stony terrain, situated upon the slope of the highest ridge in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation. … In Brunier’s vineyard it is hard to walk because the stones slip and slide underfoot. An unreal landscape, it sticks in the mind like the volcanic Kona coast of Hawaii or the surface of the moon (pp 133, 134).

The 1972 Vieux Télégraphe was one of the first wines we imported from the Bruniers. At the time, Kermit described the wine as “splendidly full-bodied, reflecting the sunny climate and stony terrain of Châteauneuf.”

After a recent tasting of the 2010, Kermit wrote, “By the time your voyage ends… you are in a completely different place—deep in the heart of Vieux Télégraphe territory—which is to say big gorgeous tannins and a glorious stoniness.”

Is it a coincidence that the descriptions of wines made thirty-eight years apart are nearly interchangeable? Clearly they do not taste exactly same, but perhaps what these two excerpts (we could find a few more from our archives as well) speak to is the most consistent thing that connects the bottlings—La Crau.

Much has changed at Vieux Télégraphe since the 1970s that could influence the wine—Henri Brunier’s sons, Daniel and Frédéric have run the domaine for years, the business has grown, the cellar is more sophisticated, the earth is indisputably warmer, but the vineyard stays the same. Thirty-eight years might seem like a long time to human beings, but to the stones of Châteauneuf it is but a footnote in geological history. Is wine La Crau’s raison d’être? Unlikely. What is certain is the wine that is produced from this vineyard is not only exceptional, but distinct from any other.

 Henri Brunier

October Newsletter: Here’s to You! – KLWM Celebrates Its 40th

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

THE WILD LANGUEDOC

by Michael Butler

2010 Collioure “La Pinède”
Domaine La Tour Vieille

What a beauty of a wine this is. It comes from the Catalan region of France, very close to the Spanish border. The blend is predominately Grenache with a bit of Carignan. The grapes derive depth and complexity from very steep terraced vineyards in a rocky schist soil.

This full-bodied red is delicious now, but you can also age it for another two or three years. Though rich and dark, it is still light on its feet, owing to its bright acidity and perfect balance.

$24.00 per bottle $259.20 per case

2010 Pic SAINT Loup • ChÂteau La Roque

The Pic Saint Loup region is one of the most picturesque and lovely areas in all of France. At the cooler, northernmost part of the Languedoc appellation, the vineyards are grown at a fairly high elevation (around 1200 feet) in a clay and limestone soil—all the components to make a deep, elegant, and complex red. Our clients and the critics loved the 2009 for its plump richness; the 2010 adds refreshing buoyancy to the mix.

This wine drinks beautifully now, to heck with waiting . . . but if you choose, you can age it for eight to ten more years. (Kermit claims that the 1990 and 1991 are at their peak.) Pair it with roast pork sprinkled with Provençal herbs, or any other hearty Mediterranean dish.

$16.95 per bottle $183.06 per case

2010 Bronzinelle
ChÂteau SAINT Martin de la Garrigue

Here is a wine you could age for ten more years . . . if you could keep your hands off it. What an aroma! The Bronzinelle has it all: perfectly ripe black cherry fruit, black olives, and Provençal herbs. They all combine to create a wine not unlike a classic Gigondas, and at this price you can have it both ways—buy a case to drink now and a case to lay down. Enjoy this delicious red with a beef daube or your favorite burger, for example.

$18.95 per bottle $204.66 per case

2010 ANTOINE JOBARD

by Dixon Brooke

The only problem here is the severe lack of wine, thanks to a poor flowering in Burgundy that drastically reduced the potential harvest. With its high quality and very limited supply, vintage 2010 will become a reference vintage for serious white Burgundy buyers, and you do not want to miss the boat with one of the hottest wines in all of Burgundy today. Yes, Jobard is making some of Burgundy’s best wines, and yes, they are that good. They possess every quality that makes Meursault exciting, the qualities that set this village apart from all others in white Burgundy country. Rich, powerful, stony, earthy, and deep, these wines are forceful proof of what Chardonnay is capable of in these limestone soils. The Jobards are also guardians of the old tradition in Meursault, making wines that aren’t usually confused with Puligny or Chassagne, wines that are inimitably Meursault. The Jobards are winegrowers first and foremost, and this is exactly why they achieve greatness.

 per bottle

2010 Meursault “Les Tillets”

  $62.00

2010 Meursault Poruzots 1er Cru

  91.00

2010 Meursault Genevrières 1er Cru

  96.00

2010 Meursault Charmes 1er Cru

  96.00

Pre-arrival terms: Half-payment due with order;
balance due upon arrival.