July Futures: Introduction

We are delighted in July Futures to offer exciting wines across a wide range of prices. For those in search of value, we have excellent options from Chablis, Beaujolais, Bordeaux, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. For those looking further up the price scale, July Futures includes exciting, age-worthy wines from Gevrey-Chambertin, Chassagne-Montrachet, and the slopes of Côte Rôtie. Whatever your budget or taste, we feel the quality is uniformly high, with expertly made wines from around the country.

Putting together this offering reminded us again that viticulture is also farming, subject to the same vagaries of weather that keep Iowa grain growers, Florida fruit growers, and Kenyan coffee growers up at night. In the Beaujolais we saw a vigneron whose entire 2016 crop from Chiroubles died in a single late frost. And he told us he considered himself lucky — no fewer than ten of his Beaujolais neighbors had shuttered their domaines permanently after last year. In Chablis we visited a town where 2016 frosts and hail took down yields by an average of 70%, with many producers losing their entire crop.

Other places have fared better. Though Burgundy, Bordeaux, and the Northern Rhône had their share of difficulties over the past few years, the three most recent vintages provided exceptional quality and reasonable quantities in all three regions. The 2014s and 2015s from all three have been of the highest caliber, and though we won’t be offering any 2016s until next year, our barrel tastings this spring confirmed their near-uniform praise.

Mother Nature is fickle, and winemakers everywhere live in constant worry of a late frost, a rogue hail storm, or an unexpected blight. We take our hats off to our vignerons, who make excellent wine year in and year out, and manage (most of the time) to do so with a smile.

From a wine buyer’s perspective, the situation is less uncertain. Modern techniques and market demands mean that these days the impact of such natural disasters falls principally on the producers, who maintain quality by rigorously eliminating unripe and compromised grapes. Still, the limited supply eventually shows up in higher prices and so we all bear some of the cost. We have been tinkering with the timing of our offerings this year in order to maximize the supply of your favorites, so you may see some producers twice in a twelve month span.

We hope you will be as excited by these wines as we are. If any of them are of interest, please let us know by the order deadline of July 16, 2017.