Tag Archives: burgundy wine

Burgundy in South Africa? You Know It!

Searching the world for pinot noir like great Burgundy I am usually disappointed. Not with Hamilton Russell in South Africa, though. I know you’re surprised. Ask Parker, Spectator, Enthusiast, and me, we all agree: Hamilton Russell is unbelievably sophisticated and flat-out exceptional. It may be news: the winery is 40 years old. It’s been a dozen years since my last visit and the hits keep coming. Key is the vineyards are as far south as South Africa gets, almost in the ocean, with strong maritime influences, the soils of clay and shale. The pinot has bursting, bright red fruit with the silky elegance of Burgundy; tannins are soft, yet the minerality and acidity give structure and balance. Every Burgundy lover (and anyone curious if South Africa makes world-class wine) has to try this wine. It’ll make a believer out of you, and make you add Hemel-en-Aarde to your list of great pinot appellations… and great buys.

 

2010 Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir

…a ripe bouquet of redcurrant, strawberry and Morello that shows no signs of under-ripeness… The palate is medium-bodied with ripe fleshy redcurrant and cranberry fruit that is underpinned by extremely fine tannins….

Macon Meets Puligny – Stunning Peronne

What an agile, supple wine the Ferret family have created. Their 17th century domaine houses acres of 50 to 70 year old Chardonnay vines. Winemaker Anne Ramonet learned heaps about crafting elegant and precise wines while married to Burgundy superstar, Jean-Claude Ramonet. Yep, that guy. The limestone soils, crusted with fossilized shells, impart wet stones and hints of sea to the nose and that bracing liveliness not found further south in Macon. There is something special about this single vineyard Macon-Peronne. Could be the quality alone, or the unbelievably great value, you decide. What I know for certain is that you’re going to love this wine for all its beauty, grace and exciting taste.

 

2010 Domaine De La Tour Penet
Vieilles Vignes

What an agile, supple wine the Ferret family have created. …limestone soils, crusted with fossilized shells, impart wet stones and hints of sea to the nose… beauty, grace and exciting taste.

2010 Jadot Burgundies Are Here!

Ahhh… Burgundy. No place on the planet is more terroir-focused than the diabolically diverse soils of the Cote d’Or. This diversity is why we “Burghounds” (thanks, Allen) go nuts for the good stuff. No house in the Cote d’Or has the of the house of Louis Jadot and its magically methodical winemaker, Jacques Lardière, who recently retired after 42 years at the helm. He took over as head winemaker in 1970 and Jadot thrived ever since and now owns over 150 hectares of vines and works with hundreds of growers to make sure fruit is pure and wines are precise. Jacques never talks up his wines, his humble manner belying his mastery, instead he allows the label of Jadot and the skill of its growers tell the story, vintage after vintage. A gentleman like Jacques is always missed, but I have many memories of him in my cellar.

2010 Louis Jadot Burgundies

Now in stock and on ESAVE!

Expires Monday, May 13, 2013.

Maltroye Madness: 2011 Presale

A particular bright spot among January’s grey skies during our Burgundy visit was our time with Jean-Pierre Cournut at Ch. de la Maltroye. His father had first greeted me there in 1990. The following year’s visit, dad was furious with me. I had bought up a third of the production of his 1989 Chassagne-Montrachet “La Romanee.” Some of you just might remember that wine, so you know why he was upset! Forgiven. I still show up at the door each year. And this year Jean-Pierre’s ease was palpable and the wines were fresh and bright and completely charming. While 2011 was to our palates a red wine vintage, Jean-Pierre made the best whites of the visit. The Santenay 1er La Comme was high level, precise and distinctive, La Romanee immense and brilliant – these whites owing it seems to the new regime of no batonnage or stirring. The reds were brimming with red fruits, minerality and vivacity. An elegant vintage treading on freshness and supple textures, a great combination. This is a compelling argument for buying Burgundy, textbook wines.

 

2011 Maltroye
Bourgogne Rouge

Fresh, vivid pinot noir with great balance. Excellent effort by Jean-Pierre.

 

2011 Maltroye
Chassagne-Montrachet Blanc

Solid village wine that exceeds that of just about every neighbor.

 

 
2011 Maltroye Chassagne-
Montrachet Clos Saint Jean 1er Cru

Very long, vivid, fresh with more drive than Jean-Pierre’s other reds. The clay here comes through adding body and balance…

 

 
2011 Maltroye Chassagne-
Montrachet Rouge

Cranberry freshness in the Chassagne. Good terrior expression. Taut, berry fresh, and vivid.

 

 
2011 Maltroye Santenay
La Comme Blanc 1er Cru

Remarkable Santenay blanc. Been tasting this wine for 20+ years and this may be the best effort. Dense, rich, ripeness and full. Stunning effort for the vintage.

 

 
2011 Maltroye Chassagne-
Montrachet “La Romanee” 1er Cru

One of the great wines of Burgundy, La Romanee is in the league of Corton Charlemagne and Meursault Pierriere. Great memories of the 1989…

 

Droin Rides Again in 2011!

Chablis! Mais oui. I found the most consistent success of the vintage in Chablis, a hour and a half north of Beaune and decidedly colder (a few degrees centigrade adds up!). Beyond Dijon, and almost to Champagne. The clay and old calcareous shells in the Kimmeridgian soils give chardonnay a flinty edge I like. Especially with oysters… and looking at the old fossils in the soil, the oysters were here first. I’ve had 2011s from Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne, Meursault and the surrounding villages, but bottle for bottle Chablis is the spot of the vintage. The people are Jean-Paul and Benoit Droin of a family that has eight 1er cru vineyards, five grand cru sites and has been at it since 1620. 2011 was challenging with some sites, but the Droins have once again out performed their neighbors. Oysters? You can’t get Gillardeau oysters here in the states but rest easy, you can drink these Chablis with the best oysters you can find. I have also assembled a “Gillardeau” sampler so you can experiment and taste the differences between each of the wines.

 

2011 Droin Chablis
Vaillons 1er Cru

The 2011 Chablis Vaillons takes hold of the palate and never lets up. It boasts gorgeous persistence in an understated style that is hugely appealing…. more subdued than 2010, but it is very pretty…

 

2011 Droin Chablis
Montmains 1er Cru

Minerality takes a backseat in the 2011 Chablis Montmains… Citrus, mint and slate are layered into the soft, enveloping finish. Ultimately, the Montmains is about expression of fruit above all else….

 

 
2011 Droin Chablis
Montee de Tonnerre 1er Cru

The 2011 Chablis Montee de Tonnerre is voluptuous, especially for this site. Grapefruit, ash, slate, cured meats and licorice are some of the many notes that take shape… terrific showing…

 

 
2011 Droin Chablis
Valmur Grand Cru

…the 2011 Chablis Valmur is rich, opulent and totally seamless from start to finish. It boasts stunning depth and integrity to match a full-bodied, voluptuous personality for Chablis. …soft, textured finish…

 

 
2011 Droin Chablis
Les Clos Grand Cru

…seduces the palate and intellect with endless layers of salt, crushed rocks, apricots, nectarines and ash. The finish is long, intense and utterly impeccable. This is a hugely promising 2011….

 

 
2011 Droin Chablis
Gillardeau Six-Bottle Sampler

Contains two of the following Droin wines:
2011 Montmains 1er Cru 90-92WA

2011 Vaillons 1er Cru 91-93WA

2011 Montee de Tonnerre 1er Cru 91-93WA

Perrusset: His Macon Farges Does It Again!

We all love this special cuvee from Henri Perrusset. Vibrant, fruit driven, mineral laced and long, a terrific white Burgundy for $20! You bought me out of the 2010 twice and might recall that Henri was kind to us with an additional allocation (pays off to drop by each year). So welcome now the 2011. This wine is from a single plot of old vines in their 50s, an hour south of the Cote d’Or with the same rocky hillsides chock with fossils and marly limestone. All those soils and old vines needed was the brains and commitment of a guy like Henri Perrusset. Put them together and you have pure Macon intensity and excitement.

 

2011 Henri Perrusset Macon Farges
Selection Vieilles Vignes

…Vibrant, fruit driven, mineral laced and long, a terrific white Burgundy… rocky hillsides chock with fossils and marly limestone…. pure Macon intensity and excitement.

Burgundy in South Africa? You Know It’s True!

Searching the world for pinot noir like great Burgundy I am usually disappointed. Not with Hamilton Russell in South Africa, though. I know you’re surprised. Ask Parker, Spectator, Enthusiast, and me, we all agree: Hamilton Russell is unbelievably sophisticated and flat-out exceptional. It may be news: the winery is 40 years old. It’s been a dozen years since my last visit and the hits keep coming. Key is the vineyards are as far south as South Africa gets, almost in the ocean, with strong maritime influences, the soils of clay and shale. The pinot has bursting, bright red fruit with the silky elegance of Burgundy; tannins are soft, yet the minerality and acidity give structure and balance. Every Burgundy lover (and anyone curious if South Africa makes world-class wine) has to try this wine. It’ll make a believer out of you, and make you add Hemel-en-Aarde to your list of great pinot appellations… and great buys.

 

2010 Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir

…a ripe bouquet of redcurrant, strawberry and Morello that shows no signs of under-ripeness… The palate is medium-bodied with ripe fleshy redcurrant and cranberry fruit that is underpinned by extremely fine tannins..

Macon Meets Puligny: Stunning Peronne

What an agile, supple wine the Ferret family have created. Their 17th century domaine houses acres of 50 to 70 year old Chardonnay vines. Winemaker Anne Ramonet learned heaps about crafting elegant and precise wines while married to Burgundy superstar, Jean-Claude Ramonet. Yep, that guy. The limestone soils, crusted with fossilized shells, impart wet stones and hints of sea to the nose and that bracing liveliness not found further south in Macon. There is something special about this single vineyard Macon-Peronne. Could be the quality alone, or the unbelievably great value, you decide. What I know for certain is that you’re going to love this wine for all its beauty, grace and exciting taste.

2010 Domaine De La Tour Penet
Vieilles Vignes

What an agile, supple wine… The limestone soils, crusted with fossilized shells, impart wet stones and hints of sea to the nose… There is something special about this… beauty, grace and exciting taste.

Burgundy in South Africa? You Better Believe It!

Searching the world for pinot noir like great Burgundy I am usually disappointed. Not with Hamilton Russell in South Africa, though. I know you’re surprised. Ask Parker, Spectator, Enthusiast, and me, we all agree: Hamilton Russell is unbelievably sophisticated and flat-out exceptional. It may be news: the winery is 40 years old. It’s been a dozen years since my last visit and the hits keep coming. Key is the vineyards are as far south as South Africa gets, almost in the ocean, with strong maritime influences, the soils of clay and shale. The pinot has bursting, bright red fruit with the silky elegance of Burgundy; tannins are soft, yet the minerality and acidity give structure and balance. Every Burgundy lover (and anyone curious if South Africa makes world-class wine) has to try this wine. It’ll make a believer out of you, and make you add Hemel-en-Aarde to your list of great pinot appellations… and great buys.

 

2010 Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir

…ripe bouquet of redcurrant, strawberry and Morello …palate is medium-bodied with ripe fleshy redcurrant and cranberry fruit that is underpinned by extremely fine tannins… the finish is exuberant, almost feisty!…

Great Value: 2010 Francois Carillon Bourgogne Blanc

My May visit to Burgundy took me to some impressive addresses in Puligny-Montrachet. Carillon is certainly one, the family producing wine in Puligny-Monrtrachet since 1632. In 2009, Francois and his brother Jacques decided to split the domaine. Francois Carillon has a masterful touch in the cellar, that is clear. He had been the domaine’s vineyard manager, so the 2010s were most telling of his cellar talents. I have lined up on the Francois side, after all you gotta get it right in the vineyard to get it right in the cellar. Of all Francois’ wines tasted, the most remarkable to me was this little Bourgogne Blanc, so I had to press him. Sure the 1er Cru were impressive, but Francois seemed to be most proud of the Bourgogne, telling me that it is from three parcels within the Puligny-Montrachet appellation with vine ages of 45, 54, and 58! In fact, I preferred it to the village Puligny Montrachet. The richness of old vines is not to be missed. This is a stunning value and I urge you to give it a swirl.

 

2010 Carillon Bourgogne Blanc

Sophisticated nose; old vine pedigree. Rich and unctuous on the palate, although it does not have the terroir based acid drive that, say, a 1er cru would reward… A real crowd-pleaser.

The Ramonet of Macon: Stunning Peronne

What an agile, supple wine the Ferret family have created. Their 17th century domaine houses acres of 50 to 70 year old Chardonnay vines. Winemaker Anne Ramonet learned heaps about crafting elegant and precise wines while married to Burgundy superstar, Jean-Claude Ramonet. Yep, that guy. The limestone soils, crusted with fossilized shells, impart wet stones and hints of sea to the nose and that bracing liveliness not found further south in Macon. There is something special about this single vineyard Macon-Peronne. Could be the quality alone, or the unbelievably great value, you decide. What I know for certain is that you’re going to love this wine for all its beauty, grace and exciting taste.

 

2010 Domaine De La Tour Penet
Vieilles Vignes

What an agile, supple wine… The limestone soils, crusted with fossilized shells, impart wet stones and hints of sea to the nose… There is something special about this… beauty, grace and exciting taste.

2010 Clos de Tart Now In Stock!

Last time I saw Sylvain Pitiot was in the cellar at Clos de Tart. He invited me to taste the components of the 2010 vintage before he made the final blend. Wow, he had beautiful stuff to work with, deep dark fruit from a cool, complex year. Crop was down 25 percent, but what’s left is gorgeous. The clos is a famous monople, but it’s not a monolith. Pitiot divided the small grand cru vineyard into seven separate microclimates and has always fermented each on its own. He comes by that precision and patience naturally, cartography is his first trade. The ultimate wine is his decision and a brilliant one according to those who’ve tasted since my visit (I’ve attached the full report from Clos de Tart below). From a year of little berries and small clusters, Pitiot squeezed out perfect ripeness, big perfume and exotic fruit. Rich and intense, yet production is small, so small that the second wine, Forge de Tart, was not produced in 2010. This is a Clos de Tart vintage Burgundy lovers will have to have, with Parker and Tanzer giving big scores. Make sure to get you some!

Vintage Report from director of Clos de Tart

 

2010 Clos de Tart

…Layers of deep, dark fruit nearly jump from the glass… Crushed flowers, violets and spices develop over time… The tannins are very firm, but there appears to be more than enough fruit to provide balance…

Hail Comte de Vogue: The Nobility of ’10 Musigny

When I was in these vineyards during September’s late harvest high above Musigny and Morey St. Denis below, I had the feeling I always get that this is hallowed ground. This could be the finest place for Pinot Noir in the world. Grand Cru and 1er Cru everywhere you look, and it’s been so for centuries. The same holds true for the family of Comte Georges de Vogue. They’ve been here for 500 some odd years, and are now in the 20th generation (and I think the B-21 family has a long family history!). What I like most about Comte de Vogue is that they are not stodgy or stuck on any specific regimen, they treat every year as precious and adjust for each vintage as it is. According to the domaine’s director, Jean-Luc Pepin, the 2010 crop may be one of the most special yet.

 

2010 Comte Georges de Vogue
Chambolle-Musigny
…fantastic. It boasts incredible aromatic complexity, gorgeous textural finesse and seemingly endless layers of fruit. Suave yet firm tannins support the fruit through to the highly attractive, delineated finish….
2010 Comte Georges de Vogue
Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru
…opens with an explosive bouquet laced with dark red fruit, mint, flowers and graphite. Cool, mineral notes are woven throughout… A final blast of plums and black cherries informs the powerful, structured finish….
2010 Comte Georges de Vogue
Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru
…captivating from the very first taste. Black cherries, plums, smoke, graphite, licorice, menthol and tar burst from the glass… stunning richness allied to powerful tannins in a full-bodied style… simply dazzling….
2010 Comte Georges de Vogue
Musigny Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru

…incredibly long and silky on the palate. Saline notes add urgency and vibrancy to the expressive red fruit… Today the 2010 is all about textural finesse, and there is no shortage of that in the glass….

 

Clos des Lambrays 2010:

Not Quite a Monopole, but Astounding!

Since a serious invigoration initiated in the late ’80s, the star of Domaine des Lambrays’ has been on the rise. Owning nearly the entire 22 acre Grand Cru site of Clos des Lambrays, the Domaine is almost a monopole except for the tiny plot of less than an acre owned by Taupenot-Merme. Slightly uphill from the village of Morey St.-Denis, Lambarys produces a masculine Pinot of Burgundian brawn, with bright backbone and lucid minerality and all the mystery of great Grand Cru Burgundy. In 2010, the fruit was perfect and, due to spring flowering issues, yields were down, concentration super, this perfumed Pinot will last decades. Tasting in Burgundy I found it staggering, complete with cherries, wild berries, perhaps even huckleberry, lovely and ethereal whiffs of forest floor… Lambrays!

 

2010 Domaine des Lambrays
Clos des Lambrays

…striking. Dark cherries, plums, wild berries, spices and licorice are woven together beautifully in this highly expressive, singular wine. …There is a beguiling, mysterious quality to the finish I find highly attractive….