Insights

Domaine Hubert Lignier’s 2014 Releases

Over the ages, through marriages, births, deaths, retirements, leases, and purchases, stewardship of the finely-rendered grid of hallowed terroir that is the Côte d’Or shifts constantly. It is the roving lens by which we have come to know these vineyards over many hundreds of years–the ever-moving human counterpoint to the relative permanency and fixedness of […]

New 2013 Releases from the Cote d’Or

It has been our custom in recent years to let many noteworthy releases arrive at our NY warehouse without any fanfare. Within any given year, there are a throng of important and extremely limited wines that we are compelled to offer and allocate to our clients. We often call your attention to wines that are […]

Introducing Château La Fleur Garderose

Over the last few years, we have witnessed a small revolution among the vignerons in this historic region. Rising from the ashes of over-oaked, over-marketed, and often uninspiring wines, we find a group of thoughtful and talented individuals who are determined to bring terroir to a region that has almost entirely obliterated this ideal over […]

La Torre 2012 Brunello di Montalcino

93+ pts La Torre 2012 Brunello di Montalcino Montalcino, Tuscany Red wine from Italy Drinking window: 2023 – 2032 Bright red-ruby. Nicely ripe aromas of raspberry, red cherry syrup, minerals and rose petal are concentrated but fresh. Then juicy, intense and sharply delineated, with lovely lift to the very pure flavors of redberries, minerals and […]

New Arrivals from Domaine Henri Prudhon: Tradition, Harmony, and Value

Those who decry the lack of access to fine Burgundy need look no further than Domaine Henri Prudhon in Saint-Aubin. While it is undeniably true that the prices of many wines from the most battled-after growers have reached the level of pure commodity, there are still areas of this hallowed region where one can find […]

Switzerland’s Liquid Assets: Wines of the Valais

Wine & Spirits Decades of high tariffs kept the country’s wine producers from exporting abroad. But at long last, Swiss bottles are popping up on menus and merchants’ shelves. By Anthony Giglio on February 07, 2017 Any adventurous skier who has the temerity to take four cable cars from the Swiss resort village of Verbier […]

La Manarine 2016 Rosé

This afternoon we enjoyed the delicious 2016 Cotes du Rhone Rosé with the always friendly Gilles Gasq.  He describes the 2016 vintage as powerful with great balance and finesse.  Compared to the equally strong 2015 vintage, the 16’s for him have a greater balancing acidity which delivers a dynamic freshness. The 2016 Rose is 50% […]

Chateau Pradeaux 2016 Rosé Report

Our visit on the last day of the trip with Etienne Portalis—the 14th successive generation at Chateau Pradeaux in Bandol—was uplifting and encouraging. Etienne is a smart, humorous young guy who clearly understands the uniquely old-school position Pradeaux holds within an appellation that has been modernizing and softening itself up over the past decade or […]

Chateau Simone Rosé Wrap-up

As befits such a singular estate, Chateau Simone’s Palette Rosé transcends the category itself. Whereas, nearly every other rosé entering the market this upcoming season is from the just-harvested 2016 growing season, we will be premiering Simone’s 2015. And those who know the wine know that it can age and improve effortlessly for a decade […]

Chateau Peyrassol 2016 Rosé Report

There was no better end to our rosé tour than a visit to the bucolic hills of Provence to visit with our most significant provider of rose, Chateau Peyrassol. Our relationship started in 1981, when Neal first visited Francoise Rigord and purchased the first rosé in the Rosenthal Wine Merchant portfolio. Peyrassol has evolved over […]

Great Wines to Discover

88 Ermes Pavese – Valle d’Aosta Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle 2014 $30 Apple, straw and lemon flavors mark this juicy white, which features a chalky underpinning, finishing with a touch of grip. Prié Blanc. Drink now. 7253 bottles imported. – B.S. (Bruce Sanderson)

Domaine du Bagnol 2016 Cassis Rosé

We had an amazing afternoon by the sea in the stunning village of Cassis to taste the 2016 vintage rosé and grab a quick lunch with the Genovesi family. It was the perfect setting to take our first look at the Domaine du Bagnol 2016 Cassis Rosé.  Jean-Louis describes the 2016 vintage to be very […]

Bastide du Claux Rosé Wrap-up

In 2002, then-28 year old Sylvain Morey branched out from his native Chassagne-Montrachet to found Bastide du Claux–in (of all places) the Luberon, in the rugged hills of northern Provence. Sylvain has an intimate understanding of the terroirs of his place of origin (as the wines from his newly founded Domaine Sylvain Morey in Chassagne-Montrachet […]

Domaine du Gour de Chaulé Rosé Wrap-up

One would never expect such a racy, nuanced, vibrant rosé to come from such a warm and rugged appellation as Gigondas–then again, Domaine du Gour de Chaulé is not your average Southern Rhône estate. Run today by the searching, intelligent Stephanie Fumoso, Gour de Chaulé produces a Gigondas Rouge almost shocking in its spicy complexity […]

Chateau Valcombe 2016 Rosé

We just finished up a phenomenal tasting with Luc Guenard of Chateau Valcombe and we’re heading south to the Luberon.  Luc is doing incredible work at the domaine, making wines with great personality and energy — without a doubt some of the best values in our portfolio. The 2016 Chateau Valcombe Rosé “Epicure” is outstanding.  […]

Fenouillet Ventoux Rosé

Happy Valentine’s Day from Beaumes de Venise–a fitting day to bring you news of the first of four rosés we will be tasting today. Wearing a pale salmon color, the Domaine de Fenouillet 2016 Ventoux Rosé is vibrant and balanced compared to the richer rosés you often find in the Southern Rhone.  It is a […]

Mas Jullien Rosé Wrap-up

Olivier Jullien‘s rosé, from the craggy high-altitude vineyards of the Terrasses du Larzac, sits alongside Chateau Pradeaux and Chateau Simone in that very slim category of rosés that improve and develop with a few years of bottle age. Whereas, saignée rosés sometimes suffer from heaviness and unnecessary fruit weight, Olivier’s offers the same fresh, lifted […]

2016 Mas Cal Demoura Rosé

2016 looks to be a promising vintage for Mas Cal Demoura.   The dry weather during July and August stressed the vines so as to produce low yields (22 HL per hectare) but, as a result of relatively cold nights in July and the strength of the vines due to the hard work of Isabelle and […]

Domaine Faillenc Sainte Marie rosé

On this cold, rainy day in Douzens, we  enjoyed the 2016 Faillenc Sainte Marie Rosé des Glacières, partially thanks to the fire that the Gibert family had going to keep things warm. This rose is always 100% Syrah, made in the saignée method, from a 2-hectare parcel that is always picked early (in this instance […]

Dolcetto: Italy’s Overshadowed, Underestimated Wine

Dolcetto has long been in the shadow of Piedmont’s much more famous Nebbiolo grape. But for wine lovers, that’s good news: Top Dolcettos are among the best bargains around By LETTIE TEAGUE Updated Feb. 8, 2017 SOME GRAPES, through no fault of their own, are the perennial plus-one, the second banana, the vinous add-on. That’s […]

La Rame rosé wrap-up

Although Chateau La Rame is most renowned for its impeccable botrytized sweet wines (arguably the greatest producer in the appellation of Sainte-Croix-du-Mont), they produce dry wines of terrific balance and outstanding value. Their 2016 Bordeaux Rosé is a trace lighter in color than previous vintages–more a shimmering silvery salmon than a bright pink. Produced from […]

Chateau de l’Eperonnière rosé wrap-up

Mathieu Tijou’s Chateau de l’Eperonnière Rosé de Loire this vintage is–well–PINK… Not salmon, not copper, not silvery, but the pure Platonic ideal of pink. Mathieu explained to us that he presses the grapes under a blanket of inert gas in order to prevent any trace of oxidation and to preserve that electric hue. Primarily Cabernet […]

BOURGUEIL 2016 ROSÉ

The  Bourgueil Rosé, as always, is 100% Cabernet Franc, produced via equal parts direct press and saignée.  In 2016, James Petit suffered shocking losses due to the severe April frost.  Production is down about 85%, but fortunately he was able to reserve roughly the same amount of rosé for us that we typically receive (the […]

Chateau Soucherie Rosé Wrap-up

The first thing that struck us about Chateau Soucherie’s 2016 Rosé de Loire was its color: incredibly delicate and pale, hinting at a wine of total lightness and elegance. Indeed, Soucherie typically produces one of our most racy, evanescent rosés, and 2016 is no exception. Made from 90% Cabernet Franc and 10% Gamay from a […]

Philippe Gilbert, Menetou-Salon – a nice start to the journey today

We left our afternoon visit with Philippe Gilbert marveling at how far he has come as a vigneron. In the late 1990s, Philippe left a promising career as a dramaturge to take over his father’s estate when he was on the brink of retirement. Philippe  gradually converted to biodynamic viticulture (certified in 2013), eschewed the […]

Crochet rosé wrap-up

We started the day bright and early in Crochet‘s teeth-chatteringly frigid cellar, but the dense, electric 2016 Sancerre Rosé quickly snapped us to attention. Long a standout in our stable of classic rosés, this 2016 is shaping up to be among the finest vintages we’ve yet encountered. Gilles produces this wine from younger Pinot Noir […]

Dinner chez Crochet

Some photos at the dining table of Gilles, Laurence and Esther Crochet. Pot au feu, root vegetables, goat cheeses of different ages and lots of Sancerre Rouge 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2012 Prestige, 2009 Prestige, 1997 Prestige. NIR

Guy Larmandier

Today, in Vertus on the Cote des Blancs, we visited with Francois Larmandier of Champagne Guy Larmandier. The current release of his Vertus Brut Rose 1er Cru is from the 2013 harvest with a dosage of 6 grams for the USA, essentially the same cuvée as the Vertus Brut but with the addition of 10% […]

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Champagne Roger Coulon

As a preliminary to the field reports on the 2016 Roses which are now in the process of being bottled , we are sending along comments on the duet of Roses produced by our two Champagne growers. Here is the newest cuvée of “Roselie” from Champagne Roger Coulon with the next generation of the family, […]

Cornalin Les Bernunes 2014

To all:  We drank the Cornalin “Les Bernunes” 2014 from Caloz this evening with total satisfaction.  This red gained strength and depth throughout the course of the meal.  Beautiful color; racy, alpine aromas that move to smoky, meaty, Syrah-like (northern Rhone locale); long finish, very fresh with spice and licorice components; starts simple, clean but […]

Jean-Marc Pillot: The Brilliant 2014 Vintage

None of our cellar visits in Burgundy last June were as bittersweet as our tasting with Jean-Marc Pillot. Even while experiencing the greatest set of wines we have tasted in his cellar over our 15-year relationship, we were confronted with news of his catastrophic losses to the April 26th frost that devastated much of Burgundy. […]

Gravner’s Spellbinding 2008 Vintage

When telling the story of Josko Gravner, it’s tempting to fixate on his use of extended skin-contact and his employment of buried terra-cotta amphorae—after all, he was among the very first growers in Italy to revive these ancient techniques, and he is justly celebrated today as a pioneer and a living legend. A less-emphasized—but no […]

Domaine Rollin: The Elegant and Classic 2014 Vintage

2017 marks the 35th year of our partnership with the Rollin family in Pernand-Vergelesses. Over the years, first with Maurice and his son Remi, and today with Remi and his son Simon, this remarkable domaine has provided us with wines of finesse, character, and startling purity—and at prices that put to rest the notion there […]

Regis Forey: The 2014 Vintage

On February 6th, we will receive the impressive 2014 vintage wines from Regis Forey. Our visit to his cellar this past September unveiled one of the best lineups we have experienced, perhaps since the great ’89/’90 vintages.  Both the 2014 and 2015 vintages show enormous potential, though we were particularly captivated with the purity and […]

The 2015 Red Burgundies: You Are So Going To Want Them

BY STEPHEN TANZER | JANUARY 26, 2017 Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur François Bitouzet described 2015 as “a very silky, balanced year for Volnays” despite the challenging conditions. “It was a very dry year with strong oidium pressures, even worse than the last bad oidium year, 2004,” he told me in mid-November. “We had to treat the vines […]

Simone Blanc and Rouge

First, experience shows that the “oiliness” that is so typical of top quality Simone Blanc develops slowly and intensifies as the wine ages; texturally the mineral drive one divines in the youthful stages and which makes for a more linear sensation recedes as the density of the wine increases, a development which, in turn, yields […]

Can Northern Rhône Syrah Survive the Spotlight?

Both Côte-Rôtie and Cornas have entered the spotlight after decades in the shadows. Jon Bonné considers how the rush of fame has affected these regions, and what it signals for the future of northern Rhône syrah. JANUARY 19, 2017  story: JON BONNÉ As I walk along the muted streets of Ampuis, one July afternoon, it’s […]

Harmand-Geoffroy Gevrey Chambertin Vieilles Vignes 2011

Drank the above-captioned wine last night at dinner with immense satisfaction. Anyone should be comfortable recommending this bottling to someone looking for classic, compelling Cote de Nuits at the village level.  Still with a touch of youthful edginess but scintillating bouquet, deep robe, dense texture, deeply dark-fruited with excellent length … head and shoulders above […]

Renowned Château Simone: January 2017 New Arrivals

In a just world, Chateau Simone would be as renowned and coveted by Americans as the greatest Bordeaux and Burgundy are. As it stands, the wines from this singular estate in Provence remain something of an insider’s secret in the United States—hugely respected and beloved by those in the know, but known by far too […]

2011 Conti Boca: wow…

Hey gang, I had a very impressive half-dozen wines in my bag yesterday, but one in particular really reached out and throttled me… I’m sure you’ve all had similar experiences as I have with young Conti Boca being somewhat reticent and closed-in on itself–a beautifully muscled runner that still needs to warm up before she […]

Cappellano: the first and greatest Barolo Chinato…

The tiny Cappellano estate in Serralunga d’Alba is beloved worldwide for its steadfastly traditional, charming, and profound Barolo, Barbera, and Dolcetto. But did you know the family invented the sublime elixir known as Barolo Chinato? That’s right: Dr. Giuseppe Cappellano, a pharmacist by trade, developed this uncanny mixture of vintage Barolo with herbs and spices steeped in […]

a dialogue on Arboreus, Michel and Pradeaux

Clarke, Beautifully said … bravo! I am an ardent admirer of the 2009 Arobreus which, I believe, is Bea’s best effort to date of this particular wine.  There is a persistence to its attack and finish that is subtle but remarkable.  I, for one, am not at all surprised by its tenacity over a four-day […]

A revelatory moment with 2009 Arboreus

Neal I’ve been on a skin-contact kick lately. I think that beginning our relationship with Gravner and diving into those wines in a serious way triggered a perspective shift in my brain. While I had always enjoyed “orange wines” and found them interesting, I was never able to “see into” them the way I felt […]

Domaine de la Petite Mairie, Bourgueil “Butte de Tyron” 2014

There are few more immediately reassuring sights in an Old World wine cellar than a wall of large, weathered wooden casks. Besides being beautiful to behold, they imply a continuity of tradition—an unbroken resistance to the sleek, technical winemaking practices that have stripped so many modern wines of their souls. The way of the foudre […]

New Arrivals from the Cote d’Or!

Mid-November ushers in a group of noteworthy new arrivals from the Cote d’Or from the 2013 and 2014 vintages.  We are incredibly fortunate to work with vignerons who understand the importance of time.  So much wine today is rushed into the marketplace for the sole purpose of a quicker return on the investment of its […]

2014 Poulsard Pêcheur

Drinking this exquisite version of Poulsard (2014) from Pêcheur tonight. Elegant, clean, so very ALIVE and a perfect companion to so many different types of cuisines. What a joy! NIR Neal: I, too, have been taken with this wine having had the opportunity to taste it now stateside.  Every bit as you describe:  star-bright; autumn […]

Ca’ du Leria 2013 Clerico

Married this wine tonight to a grilled magret duck breast. The wine is brilliant, showing a vibrant ruby color, evocative nose of fresh crushed wild berries and a spicy, fresh finish. Surprisingly complex for its price, it bristles with a lovely acidity. I would say that we should give the Ca’ du Leria 2013 a […]

Arbin Mondeuse (Magnin) 2011

Drinking with exquisite pleasure this classic Mondeuse from Louis Magnin. When we first brought this wine into the States last spring, it was tight as a drum with its high acid tension. To my surprise,  this wine has turned the corner much more quickly than I had thought it would. It is wonderfully aromatic with […]

Clerico Spanna 2012

Drinking this wine tonight. At a beautiful spot right now. Structured, perfectly balanced , savory with spice, lithe and long on the palate. A near-perfect example of Alto Piedmontese Nebbiolo. Confirms for me, once again, that Clerico is right behind (perhaps equal to) Rovellotti as the best of our producers from that region. Highly recommended! […]

2016 Vintage Report After A Vineyard Visit: Burgundy, The Jura, Alsace

A winegrower’s job is never easy, and every vintage presents its own unique challenges. Be it excessive rain, some new pest, severe drought, heat, or mildew, environmental obstacles necessitate constant diligence and creativity on the part of the vigneron. Having heard reports of a widespread and devastating spring frost in France, we headed into our […]

An Exploration of St. Romain

Generational shifts in Burgundy can be fraught with anxiety for both winegrower and consumer. The younger generation of vigneron attempts to balance a sense of duty toward tradition and history with a desire to execute a personal vision and philosophy. And the consumer waits with bated breath to see if wines she’s cherished in the […]

2013 Gilles “Les Peyrouses”

I had quite a few wines open in Philadelphia this past week as part of a portfolio tasting we did with our distributor there. I’ll send more detailed notes on some of the other wines under separate cover, but I wanted to take a minute to spotlight a wine that was an absolute show-stopper: the […]

Jaugaret

Drinking 2012 Jaugaret tonight. A perfect wine in the purity of its expression of its terroir. Every wine should be this “correct”. In the background there is an enchanting herbal, weedy, tobacco rich flavor and bouquet, the tannins are bright yet with a pleasant grip; only 12.5% alcohol which is when Bordeaux from Cabernet is […]

Drink Rosé All Day

The south of France produces fantastic rosé. The Cotes de Provence west of St. Tropez is a great place to try both innovative versions (at Chateau Léoube) and ultra classic ones (at Commanderie de Peyrassol and Domaines Ott). There are other sublime experiences at these properties, too-from laid-back beach cafés to contemporary art set along […]

1980 Haut Segottes

1980 Haut Segottes

We are drinking the last bottle in the cellar of 1980 Haut Segottes. It is magic!  This wine stretches the bounds of believability: 36 years since the harvest in a vintage that is considered one of the least ripe in memory; yet, this wine is fine, elegant, still fresh with a silky texture, savory, actually […]

Chassagne Rouge ’85 Prudhon

Drank this wine tonight with pleasure. At 30 years plus a modest village burgundy is still alive and bright with its typical grainy tannins. Color deepened with aeration. Might it have been even better 5 or 10 years ago? Probably but this wine is a “gamer”, a sturdy little fellow. Last bottle in the cellar!

St Aubin Murgers Dents de Chien ’13

Drinking the subject wine tonight with sautéed shrimp and a risotto made with a sample of a carnaroli rice from the Novara region of Piedmont. Classic white Burgundy, Meyer-lemon like acidity, beautifully dense with a long, clean, lively finish. The Prudhons are a class act and are cranking out truly superb wine. We also drank […]

The full range with the Rougiers

I had the good fortune to taste the full range with the Rougiers in Chicago in November (including from my cellar, 2000, 1999, 1969 and 1961 white and 2000 and 1961 red). Recall what the Rougiers said, that for the first five years in bottle their wines are on the fruit; for the next five […]

Tellus Vinea

The Tellus Vinea recently made a full three-vintage jump from 2011 to 2014.  The Pueyos did not make the wine in 2012 or 2013 due to an exciting array of climatic phenomena, and ultimately were forced to look for a new source for this wine.  The site on the border with Lalande-de-Pomerol was no longer […]

Chateau Simone Blanc 2009

Enjoying this wine immensely this evening. Best when opened an hour in advance. Ultimately drinks “suave” … oily, sensuous texture, pine – quinine – chamomile flavors, great length, so very sophisticated, perhaps the finest white wine from the south of France. NIR

Bois De Boursan Felix ’11

Drank this beauty tonight with dinner. This vintage, somewhat suspect in the general perception, is showing brilliantly. The ripe and spicy Grenache takes center stage with a touch of tannic kick from Mourvèdre. A wine that is shedding its quietude and finding a classic expression of Chateauneuf – with stems!  NIR

Loire Valley Wines

Kerry and I continually assess our wines by putting each to the ultimate test: drinking wine with our meals.  Over the most recent weekend, we explored, with much satisfaction, several wines from the Loire Valley that do not appear regularly at our home table. On New Year’s Eve, our quiet celebration was toasted with the […]

Etienne Becheras Saint Joseph Blanc 2011

Drinking the above captioned wine tonight. We have a small allocation of this wine every year which is, by and large, ignored once it arrives. That is a shame. The wine is rich, speaks with a booming voice and is blessed with a joyous perfume full of exotic flora. This wine should fine a home […]

Auney L’Hermitage Cana Rouge ’12

Drinking this wine tonight. Delicious. One of the best values in the portfolio. Perfect balance, dignified, an adult wine of class and breed. Photo will follow.  By the way, the proprietors are two of the most intelligent and charming vignerons in our universe. NIR

Lionnet Cornas 2012

Drinking this wine tonight (see photos). Classic Cornas. May be the best Cornas in stock right now. Powerful, dramatic, severe, every element of the appellation is on display … The granite soils, the non-destemmed grapes, the raw ferocity of Syrah in the northern Rhone.  So good right now but with a brilliant future of 10 […]

Dolcetto d’Alba ’14 DeForville

Once again our friends, the Anfosso family of Barbaresco, have produced one of the singular great values in our portfolio of wines. We are drinking tonight the 2014 Dolcetto d’Alba which is simply delicious, actually thirst-quenching, vibrant, fresh, so very much alive! One wonders sometimes how it is possible to produce a wine of this […]

NOAH Coste della Sesia Croatina 2011

a brief note about one of our newest wines… To our delight, this wine from young Andrea Mosca’s cellars in Brusnengo in the Alto Piemonte is developing nicely and shows, with a considerably higher degree than I anticipated, a true sense of terroir. In fact, this wine from Croatina is much more fine than it […]

2000 J Dauvissat

Drinking this wine drawn from the cellar tonight. Rather astonishing for its freshness  (15 years old, village wine!). Classic Chablis – aromatically and gustatorily true to its Kimmeridgian origins. My only quibble is that it shows just a touch too “warm” on the palate despite its declared 12% alcohol. Lovely density … As we used […]

Barbera d’Asti “Ca’ del Buc” 2013 from DeForville

On a beautiful spring evening in Shekomeko‎, we are enjoying a favorite wine of ours: the Barbera d’Asti 2013 produced by the Anfosso family from their “Ca’ del Buc” vineyard in Costigliole d’Asti. Although the family is based in Barbaresco, they have owned this special site for many years, using it to produce this formidable […]

Aging Dolcetto – An Example

Having tasted through the series of older Dolcetto Dogliani (an appellation with a certain deserved renown for producing age-worthy Dolcetto) recently, it was a revelation to drink a bottle of Dolcetto d’Alba “Vignavillej” 1998 from Brovia, a wine drawn from our private collection. It is an astonishing wine – deep in color, robust, still fresh […]

A Bordeaux Moment – Pauillac front and center

Just finished drinking a bottle of Chateau Chantecler, Pauillac, 2010 (while listening to the Brad Mehldau Trio) which experience drove our memories to the earliest days of our career in wine when we had the pleasure of indulging in another Pauillac by the name of Château Latour in vintages like ’61, ’62 and ’64, wines of […]

Several Visits to the Cellar

The nicest aspect of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend is that it gives us a bit of “down-time” to explore the cellar and dig up a few wines to drink at our leisure. So, here is a brief report on a few wonders that have been hanging out underground for awhile … We had the pleasure […]

Working the high mountain passes of the Valle d’Aosta

It’s thrilling to work the high passes of the Valle d’Aosta searching for wines in places that are home to the chamois and mountain goat as much as they prove to be fertile ground for a fascinating array of local grape varieties.  Our love affair with this area started 35 years ago in January 1980 when we first […]

A Grand Cru Experience

We sat at the dinner table tonight and drank, over a simple dinner (leftover pork tenderloin, roast potatoes, endive and blue cheese salad), a bottle of Mazis-Chambertin produced by our grower Harmand-Geoffroy in the 2006 vintage. This bottle offered vivid testimony of its breed and answers the question: do certain vineyard locations truly provide a […]

Saint Emilion

On November 23, 2013 Neal wrote: “Just wrapped up a lovely morning in Saint Emilion and am now on the train from Libourne to Bordeaux (to catch a connection to Montpellier this afternoon). I was delighted by what I tasted at both Haut Segottes and Belregard Figeac. First of all, I am happy to report […]

A Morning in Vouvray

        “Wednesday (20 Nov 2013) morning was dedicated to Vouvray with stops at Peter Hahn’s Clos de la Meslerie and Philippe Foreau’s Clos Naudin. 2013 was not kind to the appellation: a devastating hailstorm in summer and a rainy late season and cold spring reduced yields and made the growers struggle mightily […]

Neal’s Report from the Eastern Loire

“The afternoon of Tuesday, Nov 19 2013 was spent in the Eastern Loire visiting with Marc Deschamps, Gilles Crochet and Philippe Gilbert. In Pouilly-sur-Loire, Marc Deschamps reported favorably on the results of the current harvest, better results than might have been anticipated considering the up-and-down conditions during the growing season. He predicts a wine with […]

Report on Dauvissat and Defaix

Last week Neal traveled from Champagne to Chablis before making his way to the Loire.  Here are his notes from domaines Dauvissat and Defaix. “I visited with Sebastien Dauvissat early in the morning of Tuesday November 19 – a hint of snow was in the air. Our stocks of the Dauvissat wines are dwindling rapidly […]

Notes from Champagne

On Sunday, Neal departed for his final grower visits of the season.  He continues to chronicle them here on the blog. 11/21/13 “I am on the train departing from Nantes destination Bordeaux – finally a free moment to pen a few words about my current visits with our growers. On Monday of this week, I […]

Visit to the Valais

After a couple of days in the Alto Piemonte and the Canavese, Neal crossed over the mountains via the Gran San Bernardo pass to visit our growers in the Valais in Switzerland … herewith his initial comments: “We arrived in the Valais on Tuesday evening, I introduced our newest colleague, Ross Mattis, to the traditions […]

The Report from Ferrando

A day in Carema, October 2013: “Our visit with Luigi, Roberto and Andrea Ferrando was spent mostly in discussion of the “crisis of quantity” in Carema and whether there is some way to increase access to, and control the production of, grapes within the appellation. There is no easy answer to this conundrum but, at […]

Neal’s Visit to the Alto Piemonte (Oct 2013) continued

Neal’s visits in Alto Piemonte continued with a trip to Castello Conti: “Tuesday morning Oct 22 we visited with Elena and Paola Conti. Four wines were the subjects for the day.  The wines had just been bottled 10 days prior. The Nebbiolo Colline Novaresi 2012 was the most affected by the bottling, showing the dryness […]

Updates from Alto Piemonte

We will continue posting Neal’s dispatches from his producer visits.  Over the next few days he will be in Italy and Switzerland.  Here is the first update from Italy. “A quick “wrap” of yesterday’s activity in the Alto Piemonte, 10/21/13 … Monsecco: Greeted by Giorgio and Fabio, as usual. This duo presents a charming and […]

A Day in the Jura

Sunday, Sept 22, 2013 Neal spent the day visiting our producers in the Jura.  Here are his notes: “I spent last Sunday (September 22) visiting each of our four producers. The first issue to discuss is “reduction” in certain wines from our producers in the Jura. Of course, we had this problem raise its ugly […]

Northern Rhone Part I

Late last week, Neal spent time visiting producers in the Northern Rhone. Here is his report on Guillaume Gilles: September 20, 2013 “On Friday Sept 20, I visited with each of our five producers in the northern Rhone. I am pleased to report that the wines from both the 2011 and 2012 vintages are exceptionally […]

Northern Rhone Part II

Neal’s update on our Northern Rhone producers continues with Domaine Lionnett and Etienne Becheras: September 20, 2013 “The Domaine Lionnet is really coming into its own. Ludovic is finding his stride. My notes are replete with praise. There is no doubt that 2012 will be a top vintage here and, interestingly and somewhat in contrast […]

Northern Rhone Part III

This is Neal’s final dispatch from the Northern Rhone: September 20, 2013 “To wrap up the Northern Rhone…I had a pleasant encounter with Yves Cuilleron. Yves continues to expand his holdings. There are now 55+ hectares that he exploits as owner and sharecropper. There is now a nice Crozes Hermitage Rouge being produced. The Levets […]

Chateau Haut Segottes – A History Lesson

As you can see from the attached photo, we drank a bottle of 1980 Chateau Haut Segottes (Saturday Aug 31, 2013), one of the few older vintages that remain in stock from the collection that we purchased from Mme Meunier, the proprietor, several years ago.  Of course, this vintage was left behind in our stock while […]

A Mountain Red

The exuberant reds from our growers in the Valais scream out their mountain heritage. Drinking the 2011 Cornalin from Romain Papilloud tonight makes the point brilliantly. A wine of vibrant, deep color, its bouquet brings the Alpine atmosphere directly to the table like a fresh, cool breeze rustling through the low bushes of berry and […]

Old Originals

This week [June 2 – 8 2013] we raided the cellar again.  Without planning it, we drank two wines that share an interesting history: the 1983 Cote Rotie from Bernard Levet and the 1982 Brunello di Montalcino from Luigi Anania’s La Torre estate.  Two distinct wines with one dramatic similarity: both wines were the first […]

Brunello “La Torre” 1982 + Chet Baker !

People always talk about food and wine matches but not so often of the marriage of wine and music. Tonight [June 6, 2013] we experienced the ideal: listening to Chet Baker (singing + playing trumpet) while drinking Brunello “La Torre” 1982. Both are the ultimate in sophistication, elegance and class.  

Badebec – Our Newest Addition to the Portfolio

Standing in the kitchen as we prepare dinner and taste the first bottle of “Badebec”, a Rosso from the Vallé d’Aosta, to come to the States.  It’s always exciting to test these recent arrivals once they are Stateside.  We do all of our selecting overseas in the cellars so that initial bottle opened at home […]

Exploring the cellar (again) – a perspective on Hubert Lignier and wines with a bit of age …

It seems that, more often than not when contemplating a new blog post, I am drawn to comment on the joys of exploring wines that we had tucked away in our private cellar many, many moons ago.  I do this, I think, because there appear to be so few opportunities now for those who are […]

Beaujolais: An Essential Part of Burgundy

We have argued for many moons that some of, if not the, best values in red wine can be found in Beaujolais.  Certainly, when one cruises the “cru” vineyards of this region, the grapes of which have been cared for and transformed into wine by the serious and quite traditional growers, the notion that Beaujolais […]

Chianti Classico, Sangiovese, Castelnuovo Berardenga

We recently indulged ourselves with a trip into our past as experienced through several older vintages of Chianti Classico Riservas from Castell’in Villa, one of our first sources of superb Italian wine (and no longer part of our portfolio for a complex of reasons).  Most specifically, we drank on separate occasions the 1988 and 1985 […]

DeForville Barbaresco

Tonight (August 23 2012) we drank a bottle of Barbaresco “Vigneto Loreto” 1997 from De Forville.  This estate, with which we have been working for the past 33 years, has always flown a bit under the radar … in  a commercial sense.  Perhaps this is because the Anfosso family, the owners of De Forville, are […]

What We Have Been Drinking …

A brief note about some of the wines we have consumed over the past few days … Coteaux Champenois Blanc (Coulon) 2008: the “deposit” or “veil” that was present when we first released this wine seems to have disappeared; the wine is scintillatingly replete with the terroir of Champagne – stony to its core with […]

Villa Sant’Anna Chianti Colli Senesi 2005 and Thoughts on Assembling a Cellar

We stumbled across a bottle of Chianti Colli Senesi 2005 from Villa Sant’Anna the other day while cruising our personal cellar; so, we drank it that evening.  A simple but satisfying wine this modest Chianti from the hills just north of Montepulciano with a rustic, earthy bouquet, lots of presence on the palate and tannins […]

EXPANDING OUR ITALIAN PORTFOLIO: ALTO PIEMONTE AND CALABRIA:A QUARTET OF GROWERS

For years we have longed to expand our footprint in Italy,  most specifically in Piedmont but also with an eye to southern Italy which heretofore was completely absent from our coverage.  With much good fortune, beginning with a casual encounter last December in Rome and continuing through an intense four day exploration we conducted in […]

ABISSI 2009

When Piero “Bisson” Lugano told me about his fantastical plan to submerge his nascent Spumante deep beneath the waters of the bay of Portofino where it would undergo its second fermentation, I thought he was kidding.  Then, when he actually did make the arrangements, I tossed it off as nothing more than a brilliant publicity […]

The Meursaults of Bitouzet-Prieur

Tonight, on the spur of the moment, Kerry descended into the cellar and brought up a bottle of Meursault 1er Cru “Charmes” 1990 from Bitouzet-Prieur to enjoy with our dinner (a couple of steamed lobsters). It is a remarkable experience to enjoy a fine white Burgundy at the age of 22 years, one that is […]

La Torre: A rare release of Brunello Riserva

In several weeks, we will be releasing the Brunello di Montalcino RISERVA 2006 from Luigi Anania’s estate “La Torre”. Luigi produces a small amount of Riserva from time-to-time depending on the quality of a particular vintage. Even then, he severely restricts the amount of Riserva that he makes so that he does not affect in […]

Our Foray into Lessona

Yesterday, March 19, we arrived in Milan and headed directly to the northeastern sector of Piemonte to prospect for growers in the appellations of Lessona, Ghemme and Gattinara. In the small town of Lessona, which is the smallest in size of the subject appellations, we met with Massimo Clerico. He is the third “largest” producer […]

Drinking Montbourgeau and Listening to Billy Holliday

We are in the midst of a special moment, a quiet dinner at home on the evening before we leave to prospect in the Piedmont and Calabria. The atmosphere is cool, calm and crystalline – listening to Billy Holliday sing and drinking the L’Etoile Cuvee Speciale 2006 from Nicole Deriaux’s Domaine de Montbourgeau, a brief […]

The 2006 Vintage from Bea

The first shipment of the wines of the 2006 vintage from Paolo Bea arrived last week. Yes, five plus years after the harvest the wines have been released. Contrary to the generally high quality wines produced in 2006 from the neighboring zone of Tuscany, the ’06 vintage in Umbria was problematic with grapes struggling to […]

Domaine du Gour de Chaulé

thoughts about Gigondas

It was rewarding to discover the favorable comments in Eric Asimov’s reflections on Gigondas in this week’s NY Times “Dining” section.  The notes about our Domaine du Gour de Chaulé highlight our taste profile, that is our preference for wines of balance, grace and complexity over the mere show of force that often is the […]

Jaugaret 2007

Jaugaret 2007

Tonight (1 Feb 2012) we are drinking a bottle of Domaine du Jaugaret 2007, a wine from a weak vintage (or so it is said). Satisfying – a true wine of Saint Julien, as clear an expression of this particular terroir as exists in today’s world of Bordeaux. Yet, this splendid wine may be the […]

La Torre’s Brunello 2003

I walked into the kitchen tonight after a session working on revisions to our new website to find a just-opened wine in a glass waiting for my attention. The bottle was hidden – a test for my aging palate, I suppose. One taste and an immediate expression of “Wow”! It was an immense wine, thick […]

Saint Aubin Rouge 1er Cru “Sur le Sentier du Clou – Vieilles Vignes” 2007 by Prudhon

Proved to myself once again tonight that this is my favorite red from the Prudhon family. It has the most “grip” and those tannins, rustic for sure, are compelling and in perfect balance. The vintage 2007 lends a lot of grace to this wine and makes the argument for elevating this vintage in ranking amongst […]

Cornu and the 2004 Vintage

The 2004 vintage in Burgundy has revealed, over time, a series of wines that are compelling for rendering the purity and truth of the region. Cornu’s top wines are beautiful examples. Tonight (Dec 25) we drank the Aloxe 1er Cru “Moutottes” from the ’04 vintage. I expected a lovely wine because the Moutottes always has […]

Bourgueil “Les Galluches” 2009 from La Petite Mairie

It has been awhile since we drank a Bourgueil from James Petit so tonight’s experience was delightful for a number of reasons. First, the ’09 “Galluches” is showing brilliantly. Our previous encounters with this wine revealed a wine that was reticent, still youthful and timid. Now, the wine is in bloom. It has a brilliant […]

Barbaresco (DeForville) 2008

Opened our first bottle of the just-released 2008 Barbaresco “Normale” from De Forville. A stark contrast to the ’07 which was generous, open-knit, seductive and almost sweet. The ’08, in my opinion, is a more “important” wine with a discipline to its structure that is only present in the greatest of wines. This Barbaresco is […]

Drinking Bordeaux

So, over the past several evenings, we have drunk Haut Segottes ’06 and Jaugaret ’04, an experience that stimulates a few thoughts about the two wines specifically and our Bordeaux selection in general. First, it becomes obvious after consuming these two wines that our work in Bordeaux is every bit as profound and important as […]

Thevenet

Pierreclos: Margots @ 60 ans d’age; Chateau @ 20 ans – age moyenne: 40 ans. Macon Milly-La Martine 2010 – 9 mois en fut, mis en blle Sept ’11 (vieux fut de 5 ans) – assez vif, plus elegant que Pierreclos, dernieres vignes de vendanger, assez minerale, tres discret, “la Montagne” 18 ares, 30 hl-ha, […]

a moment at Jaugaret

Passed a lovely moment with Jean-Francois Fillastre at Domaine Jaugaret this morning. He was in good spirits despite the fact that both his ’08 and ’09 have been rejected by the tasting panel that gives the OK to have the appellation Saint Jullien for the wine. The wine was putatively rejected due to an excess […]

Chezeaux

So, we drank a bottle of Vosne 1er Cru “Les Chaumes” 2006 tonight from our modest, but nevertheless brilliant, Jerome Chezeaux. There are others in our Burgundy portfolio that are more famous but none who are producing more consistently outstanding wine in a style that is simple yet strikingly classic. The “Chaumes” ’06 is still […]

Wrap Up

A week spent in the Cote d’Or, the Jura and Alsace …. There is plenty of good news to share about the wine scene in Burgundy. We are about to tackle three very strong vintages in Burgundy: ’08, ’09 and ’10. The first and last are marked by vibrant, fresh, pure wines with clear expression […]

At Gahier’s

The wine of the afternoon! NIR  

Dinner with the Ligniers

Here we are at the Lignier’s table with Hubert and Francoise and Laurent and a few other family members having a simple dinner accompanied by: Chambolle Les Baudes 2002, Charmes Chambertin 2000 and Clos de la Roche 1988. Wish you were all here! NIR    

A Triumph

I just left the cellars of Domaine Forey having tasted through the 2010 and 2009 vintages with Regis Forey. For years I have been begging Regis to take his foot from the lever and not be afraid to show the tender side of Burgundy. Regis is a good friend and sensitive vigneron who appreciates our […]

Meix Foulot

Tasted through 3 vintages of Mercurey today with Agnes de Launay: ’10, ’09, 08 … all four cuvees: 1er Cru (Les Montaigus, Les Byots), Les Saumonts, Les Veleys, Clos du Chateau de Montaigu. Agnes is finding her form. There is a beautiful purity to her wines now and they are less “timid”. Of course, the […]

Jacques Carillon

So, a new era begins! After 30 consecutive vintages working with Louis Carillon and his two sons, the domaine has been divided between Jacques and Francois. The 2010 vintage will be the first for us working with Jacques solely (and exclusively for the USA). Today, Jacques and I tasted through the entire range** of his […]

thoughts on ’06 red burgundy

While drinking an ’06 Aloxe “Moutottes” from Cornu last night, I concluded that this vintage offers a large palette of styles, more so perhaps than any recent vintage. The wines of the Cote de Nuits appear to have achieved greater ripeness than those of the Cote de Beaune but wines from both appellations remain somewhat […]

Nebbiolo d’Alba “San Rocco”

Once again we drank a bottle of the Nebbiolo d’Alba “San Rocco” 2009 from De Forville. I have been tracking the development of this wine since I was convinced from the outset of its exceptional quality and value. It’s tannins are beginning to relax which reveals the excellent balance of this wine and the classic […]

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