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As this Futures offering goes out it’s a quiet time of year for French vignerons. Historically, visitors to Burgundy could see la taille, the annual practice of cutting away and burning last year’s vegetation and preparing the fruiting canes and spurs for the coming growing season. The universal equipment was what looked like a makeshift wheelbarrow, with a steel barrel sliced in half and wheeled up and down the rows as cuttings burned and sent smoke billowing above. The taille still happens of course, but the timing varies more than it used to, as many vignerons choose to push it later in the hope of delaying budbreak beyond the early spring frosts. 

Careful observers can follow other subtle changes in vineyard management as the vines produce their new crop, such as canopy height and shape adjustments to protect grapes from more sun and heat. Producers seem to be learning to deal with our warmer world, and while the vagaries of weather and occasional disasters will always be with them, a consecutive healthy vintages have brightened the outlook and restored confidence in the future. 

At Ansonia Wines, January Futures always includes the happy task of collecting the latest exceptional Chianti from Piero Lanza’s Fattoria Poggerino. In France, we get our first look at the 2022 Côte d’Or white Burgundy and an opportunity to restock Crémant de Bourgogne. There is a new producer of Sauvignon blanc from the Loire valley and one of reds from the Côte Chalonnaise. From the Southern Rhône, we offer a selection of always popular wines from appellations around Gigondas. Finally, there’s a selection of well-priced Bordeaux.

We hope there will be something for everyone here.  If anything is of interest, don’t forget to place your orders in case or half-case lots by the Order Deadline of January 28, 2020. We’ll be placing the orders in France immediately thereafter. 

Ragot *NEW*
Chollet *NEW*

Gérard Thomas

St-Aubin, Burgundy

We discovered the Domaine Gerard Thomas a quarter century ago during our sabbatical year in France. We were having the Sunday mid-day meal (a French national sport) along the Saone at  a modest riverfront brasserie in Macon with simple but superbly prepared fare. Wine lists at such places are usually reliable, and we picked a St. Aubin from the premier cru vineyard charmingly named “Murgers des Dents de Chien” (walls of dogs’ teeth). The wine was delightful, and eventually we found our way to the Domaine Gerard Thomas and then to the vineyard in search of those canine teeth. There we learned that the vineyard name is at best approximate, but that the wine is an excellent value. We’ve been buying there ever since. St. Aubin used to be a sommelier’s secret, lying not in the heart of the golden slope but tucked away on the western edge in a side valley. That cat is long since out of the bag, and St. Aubin’s wines deserve their place on the list of the best places to find white Burgundy. 

Gerard Thomas’s 2022 Bourgogne Chardonnay is now in the bottle, and as usual it represents an excellent value. Such wine is the antithesis of mass market oaky chardonnays – its goal is a balance between fruit and oak in which neither eclipses the other. The 2022 does that well, showing attractive lemony fruit with a dollop of oak. Those of you enjoying the 2021 vintage will readily recognize a difference: the 2022 is missing the brisk acidity of 2021 that has softened steadily since it arrived about this time last year. No patience is needed for the 2022; it’s exceptionally drinkable right now, and this year will likely be the best time to enjoy it. 

The 2022 St. Aubin 1er cru “Murgers des Dents de Chien” is particularly good this year, a clear step up from the regional and village level wines. It has excellent concentration, plenty of complexity and very good persistence on the palate. Look for mineral elements (see above photo) mingling with the ripe lemon fruit. Like the Bourgogne 2022 it will be easy to enjoy this year, but Murgers 2022 should continue to evolve and should drink well over the next three to five years. 

The Thomas family owns a parcel of Puligny-Montrachet premier cru in La Garenne, an upslope vineyard that lies just to the east of Murgers. La Garenne is excellent in 2022, with fine intensity and exceptional persistence on the palate. The mix of fruit and stony elements is just right, as is the amount of oak showing up along the way. As we often remind you, Puligny needs a bit of time before it begins to show its excellence, and we’ll probably wait until late in the year before pulling a cork. But this is a well-priced premier cru that should evolve nicely in the coming years, and so could grace your table for quite a while. 

(case prices)

Bourgogne blanc 2022: $295
St-Aubin 1er cru “Murgers des Dents de Chiens” 2022: $495
Puligny-Montrachet 1er “La Garenne” 2022: $695

Domaine Ragot

Givry, Burgundy

Climate change has thrown a series of pesky hurdles at the winemakers of Burgundy, most notably in the form of increased frost risk in the spring. But the news isn’t all bad, and in some corners of the region vignerons will (somewhat sheepishly) admit that a warming world has improved their wines. Nowhere is this more apparent than the Côte Chalonnaise, where grapes once on the margins of ripeness are now basking in abundant sun and heat. 

We’re pleased to introduce Nicolas Ragot, our newest Côte Chalonnaise source. Ragot is in Givry, the same town as our longtime source Gautier Desvignes; as Gautier Desvignes’ well-earned superstar reputation continues its ascent, to keep up with the demand we decided to add  offering from the town. Ragot’s wines are generally fuller and denser than Gautier’s with terrific richness and plump tannins. He makes ample use of amphoras, which give his wines an appealing patina and exquisite freshness. William Kelley calls his reds “supple and flavorful,” Jancis Robinson writes of their “purity” and “classiness,” and Neal Martin of Vinous finds them “caressing,” “fleshy,” and “excellent.”

We’re delighted to arrive chez Ragot for the terrific 2022 vintage. We’ve tasted the 2020s and 2021s in visits over the last few years, and are excited about the potential at this address. And as usual these come with Côte Chalonnaise pricing – all three selections are under $40/bot.

First up is Ragot’s village-level 2022 Givry Vieilles Vignes, a small plot with an average vine age of 50 years. Ragot uses 20% whole clusters, and the density of the old vine fruit is apparent. This is a beautiful introduction to the Ragot style: a deeply perfumed and spiced nose, with perfectly coated tannins and excellent freshness. This will drink beautifully on its own, or with grilled chicken as the spring arrives.

Ragot’s next two wines are at the premier cru level, one from Grand Berge (familiar to fans of the Desvignes lineup) and one from Clos Jus, one of Givry’s better known vineyards. Nicolas told us he harvested Grand Berge on August 19th in 2022, a date more commonly associated in France with shuttered shops and out of office replies. “I’ve never regretted harvesting early, and have often regretted harvesting late,” Ragot told us. Whatever his motivation or backstory, he called this one right – the 2022 Grand Berge is terrific, with exquisite, refined tannins and a dusty, beautiful fruit profile. The nose is more serious than the village level Givry, and the jump to premier cru is apparent in the length and refinement. This is serious, very classy red Burgundy, and a remarkable value – we expect it to age well for 5+ years.

Finally the Givry 1er cru “Clos Jus,” a vineyard at the northern end of the town with red clay and naturally high yields. This is riper and more powerful than the Grand Berge, with more substance and a longer finish. The nose shows violet and cassis, the mouth bursts with fleshy red cherry fruit and a bit of cracked pepper. We think it’d hold its own against a village-level Gevrey-Chambertin, and certainly wouldn’t be the weaker of the two. It requires no patience and we expect will prove a loyal companion to steak-frites at our house this summer.

(case prices)

Givry Vieilles Vignes 2022: $325
Givry 1er cru “Grand Berge” 2022: $425
Givry 1er cru “Clos Jus” 2022: $425

Maison Picamelot

Rully, Burgundy

Champagne isn’t the only place in France to find fine sparkling wine. (If it’s your preference we can certainly help – we now have an excellent group of producers in different sections of that storied appellation). There are fewer producers of sparkling wine in Burgundy than in Champagne, but Philippe Chautard’s Maison Louis Picamelot produces excellent bottles. The Wine Advocate’s William Kelley writes that Picamelot “produces some of the best sparkling wines in Burgundy,” and “makes a persuasive case for taking the genre more seriously.”

It is fun to visit there. Philippe Chautard, the grandson of the founder, bought an old quarry along the edge of town, covered it over with three feet of earth, and created a huge space with excellent conditions for producing and raising Crémant. The space lets him keep the wine resting on its lees for several years, developing complexity and sophistication. All of his wines offer excellent price to quality relationship, and we have three to suggest in this offering. 

Picamelot Les Terroirs Blanc Brut is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Aligote, disgorged after two years on the lees. There are fresh-sliced green apples in the nose, and it is creamy and round in the mouth with a surprisingly luxurious mouthfeel. Its fine bubbles produce a light and gentle mousse that matches it nicely. It makes an excellent aperitif, and if you are a fan of Kir Royale (an aperitif of Creme de Cassis in Champagne), give this a try for the effervescent part.

Les Chazot Extra Brut is a more serious wine. It’s 100% Pinot Noir, and the current offering, from the 2019 harvest, has spent 4 years on the lees. This wine is Extra Brut (with less residual sugar than Brut), and so it is more precise and chiseled than Les Terroirs. Paired with oysters on the half shell, it can give the classic matchup of Chablis and oysters a run for its money. But there’s no need to confine cremant to the opening course, and a sparkling wine like Chazot will match up beautifully with cod from the broiler or sole meuniere.

The blanc de blancs Crémant Jean-Baptiste Chautard, named for the Founder, is the Maison Picamelot’s flagship wine.  The current offering is from the 2016 harvest and a part spends time in oak barrels. With seven years on the lees it has developed plenty of complexity. The fruit recalls pear and apricot, and there are notes of brioche and oak alongside. We cellar some of this wine in the bottle and recently have opened strikingly good bottles from the harvests of 2012 and 2015. During warehouse tastings last fall we put the 2015 up against some true Champagne – the Chautard more than acquitted itself (at half the price) and to some tasters won outright. If you’ve got a taste for bubbles this is an exceptional value.

(case prices)

Crémant “Terroirs” Brut NV: $250
Crémant “Chazot” Extra Brut NV: $295
Crémant “JB Chautard” Brut 2016: $350

Domaine les Goubert

Gigondas, Rhône Valley

In one of the last reviews before his death, Vinous’s Josh Raynolds wrote a lengthy piece in praise of Gigondas, a neighbor of Chateauneuf du Pape whose wines “continue to be among the best values in high-quality, small-production, domaine-bottled wines in all of France.” He praised the town for its “distinct elegance, even complexity on the young side,” and he thought the average quality in the application “remarkable.” Raynolds identified the Domaine Les Goubert (in the Cartier family since 1636) as “one of the appellation’s most venerable domaines.” He said the Goubert “wines today show a good deal of polish, in a positive way, with just the right degree of earthiness and grip to remind of their origins.” Winemaking at the domaine is in sure hands these days as Florence Cartier has progressively taken over from her father as principal winemaker. Her tweaks to the winemaking in recent years have added to already fine quality. 

One of the things we like about Les Goubert is the wide range of choices between entry level and the top of la gamme (the lineup). The domaine has wine at a price to fit just about any budget, and that has made Les Goubert one of our most widely purchased producers. For this Futures offering we have picked four wines — their entry level Côtes du Rhône and their luxury cuvée, along with two in between that we think are particularly compelling. The two in the middle  — the Sablet rouge and the Gigondas — are from the 2020 vintage. Each of them seemed exceptional after they first arrived just over a year ago, and so we asked Florence to hold more of each for this offering.

There’s a sea of Côtes du Rhône out there, some good, some bad, and much indifferent. But Côtes du Rhône can also be a marker of winemaking quality. Skills that produce exceptional Gigondas also tend to elevate Côtes du Rhône. That is the case at the Domaine les Goubert. Their 2022 Côtes du Rhône is pleasant and instantly approachable, but it also shows a surprising amount of character. The grapes include Syrah and Grenache, of course, but there is also Carignan and Brun Argenté (a/k/a Vaccarese) to add interest. The fruit is nicely ripe, almost sweet, and a bit darker than you often see in such wine. There’s much more body and more persistence than usual at this level, and it will be a ready choice for drinking all year round, by itself or with dinner.  Indeed, the 2022 vintage may be the best Côtes du Rhône we have seen from the Domaine. 

The Domaine’s Sablet rouge 2020 continues to drink beautifully. In this wine Mourvedre joins Grenache and Syrah, adding a meaty element to the ripe dark fruit. The tannins are smooth and well-integrated, and the wine offers more intensity and complexity (and the potential for a longer life) than the Côtes du Rhône. Look for some provençal spice alongside the fruit. We were thrilled to see this still available, as we dramatically underbought the first time.

The Gigondas 2020 is a classic, showing just how good Gigondas can be. Raynolds awarded 93 points, and we communicate his enthusiasm by repeating his full description here: 

Dark Magenta. Vibrant black raspberry and floral aromas are complemented by hints of garrigue and baking spices. Juicy, palate-staining red/blue fruit, fresh bay and candied lavender flavors deftly blend power and delicacy and show fine definition. This shows an impressively long, floral- and spice-driven finish that’s framed by smooth, slowly building tannins.

That’s a mouthful, but then so is the wine. And as Raynolds put it, “Gigondas wines can be enjoyed soon after release but have the depth and balance to mature with ease.” Put some of this wine in your cellar and you can expect years of pleasure from it.

The Domaine’s luxury cuvée is Gigondas “Cuvée Florence,” created soon after thirty-something winemaker Florence’s birth. It’s a blend of equal parts Grenache and Syrah, chosen from the best patches of vines. With it the Cartiers indulged their fondness for red Burgundy by raising the wine in small oak barrels, half of them new, for two years. This makes a big wine that generally needs time to knit together, but the results are complex and ageworthy. As Raynolds said: “After release, the wine shows a decidedly modern style for a while, but patience is rewarded in spades. Both the 2018 and 2019 versions, the current releases, are superb and in the upper tier of bottlings from those vintages.” Sadly, Raynolds was never able to taste the 2020 vintage offered here, but it is of a piece with its predecessors.

(case prices)

Cotes-du-Rhône 2022: $195
Sablet 2020: $235
Gigondas 2020: $295
Gigondas “Florence” 2020: $495

Domaine Chollet

Pouilly-Fumé, Loire Valley

Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most popular varietals in the world, grown everywhere from New York to New Zealand to New Mexico. But its origin is in France’s Loire Valley, where it’s the star of Sancerre and its neighbor Pouilly-Fumé. Nestled in limestone- and flint-rich soils on either side of the upper Loire River, these two towns produce Sauvignon Blanc with unmatched purity and refinement. Our two sources here – Garenne in Sancerre and Michot in Pouilly-Fumé – produce some of the most popular wines we import.

So we’re delighted to add another to the friendly crowd: the Gilles and Séverin Chollet are father and son vignerons in Pouilly-Fumé crafting approachable, tasty, well-priced Sauvignon blancs. The Chollet style is subtler and less punchy than Michot’s, with more refinement and a lighter touch. These low alcohol cuvées (both 13.0%) should arrive just in time for springtime enjoyment, and with price tags under $25 should offer frequent pleasure.

Chollet’s Pouilly-Fumé Tradition cuvée is fresh and delightful. It’s pure Sauvignon Blanc from 35 year old vines grown on a mix of marl, sand and limestone. The nose is clean and expressive, with no oak, and more complexity and subtlety than Michot’s – look for notes of dry grapefruit, white flowers and citrus zest. The mouth is fresh and light, with nice minerality and a lightweight refreshing texture. The 2024 Guide Hachette, our favorite French-language wine review, singled this wine out with a star, finding it “supple and fine” with “delicate acidity” and “elegant dress.” When the weather turns warm again this summer, a cool glass of this will be just about perfection.

Chollet’s single-parcel Pouilly-Fumé “Caillottes” is more serious but no less delicious. Grown on exclusively limestone soils, there’s more concentration and stoniness here, with notes of citrus and oyster shell. There’s excellent density of fruit, and while the palate is packed with flavor, it’s never heavy or overdone. A pleasant dollop of sucrocité joins the notes of gardenia, roses, and lime. This is less explosive than Garenne and Michot, seeking refinement and subtlety rather than a burst of freshness.

We think both Chollet wines will find many friends this spring and summer, particularly for those with a taste for seafood and shellfish.

(case prices)

Pouilly-Fumé 2022: $250
Pouilly-Fumé “Caillottes” 2022: $295

Left-Bank Bordeaux

Haut-Médoc & Margaux

In this section we reprise our popular Futures section of grab-bag Bordeaux. As we mentioned in November, Bordeaux operates through a vast network of negociant resellers, many of whom offer back vintages and great pricing. If you’re patient and picky, there are hidden gems to be found. This issue we include three: an Haut-Médoc Cru Bourgeois for everyday enjoyment, and two other more serious Margaux.

The Chateau Bel Air Gloria comes from the owners of Chateau Gloria in St-Julien. The blend is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23 Merlot, and 2 Cabernet Franc, grown on gravel ridges with clay subsoils on the outskirts of St-Julien. We tasted and loved a sample of the 2018, an accessible, delicious wine with a tasty finish and a friendly price tag. The nose is deep and lovely with notes of violets and tobacco; the mouth is punchy and delicious with classy tannins that avoid the 2018 trap of overripeness. Neal Martin of Vinous writes, “Not amazingly complex, but it will slip down the throat easily.” (To us, this is sometimes just what the moment calls for.) Serve this bistro Bordeaux with a simple weeknight stew or burgers from the grill.


Next is another 2018, the Château du Courneau from Margaux. We offered this wine a few years ago, and are excited to have another chance to stock up. It’s a blend of about 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. The 2018 vintage was among the hottest on record, and the resulting wines are packed with ripe juicy fruit. Courneau spends a year in oak, which over the last few years in bottle has melted seamlessly into the fruit. Perfume is always the watchword in Margaux, and this wine delivers beautifully. We found the nose exquisitely balanced, with the oak already well integrated over notes of plums and stones. The palate shows notes of raspberry jam, wild dark cherries, and violets; the mouth has beautifully fine tannins with a long, very elegant finish.

Across town we revisit Chateau Larrieu-Terrefort, offering their 2019 Margaux. This is 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot, and offers a more refined take on the terroir. The difference in vintage is apparent, and the 2019’s elegant, perfectly structured tannins are exquisite in this wine. The nose is sophisticated and pretty with notes of sweet spice and oak; the mouth is fine and long with a delicate balance and very long finish. This will benefit from some time in the bottle, but we expect it to be exceptional in a few years. In 2026 when you open this you’ll be astonished it only cost you $32 way back in 2024.

(case prices)

Chateau Bel Air Gloria Haut-Médoc 2018:  $235
Chateau Courneau Margaux 2018:  $325
Chateau Larrieu-Terrefort Margaux 2019:  $395

Fattoria Poggerino

Radda-in-Chianti, Tuscany, Italy

The rolling hills of Chianti may well be the most picturesque corner of Tuscany, and their beauty has attracted visitors from around the world for centuries.  The beauty of Chianti’s best wines is a more recent phenomenon. Older buyers in our group probably began with an image of Chianti that included a red-checkered tablecloth and a traditional fiasco bottle encased in a reed covering. Chianti’s grape, Sangiovese, is notoriously difficult to ripen, a condition that used to be addressed by blending in white wine to tame the ferociously raspy tannins of under-ripe grapes. 

Piero Lanza, descended from an ancient Florentine family, was among the earliest growers to believe in the superb quality of wine made from fully ripe Sangiovese, and he has devoted a career to coaxing ever-increasing quality and character from his vines. These days it is hard to see how they could get much better, and the critics now understand just how good his Chianti can be. Antonio Galloni, the founder and lead reviewer of Vinous, introduced Poggerino’s latest wines as follows: 

These new releases from Poggerino are terrific. Piero Lanza makes wines of notable character that capture all the finesse of Radda. Over the last decade or so, quality has grown in dramatic fashion, driven by much gentler winemaking than in the past. The Chianti Classicos are vinified in cement and aged in either cask or cement. I find a purity in these wines that is incredibly distinctive.  

If you read last Sunday’s opening offer for the 2021 Chianti Classico, you know that Galloni gave it 93 points and found it “exceptional,” “racy and layered.” The wine was vinified 20% in cement with the rest in large (20-25 hectoliter) casks of Slavonian oak, making “a serious wine that will benefit from cellaring.”  Not to be outdone, Jancis Robinson’s reviewer called it “fantastic,” particularly praising its “polished tannins that never dominate the fruit.”  If any doubts remain at all, have a look at the Futures price. 

Many would be content to make a single wine that can garner praise like this, but Piero’s Chianti Classico “Riserva Bugialla” 2020 has even greater aging potential. Galloni called it a “potent, brooding wine” and gave “93+” points. He found that “macerated dark cherry, licorice, leather, tobacco and smoke all flesh out over time.”  The wine spent nearly two months on the skins, followed by malolactic in cement and two years in large oak casks. Galloni thought that “this young, potent Riserva has a bright future.” If, like us, you see this vintage as a superb opportunity to buy some Riserva for laying down, note that it is available in magnums as well as regular bottles. Large bottles age wine more slowly, and they often hold their fruit particularly well as the other elements of the wine integrate and round out. Over Christmas we opened a few magnums of Riserva Bugialla from the 2014 vintage and it was striking how much youthful freshness and fruit persisted in the delightfully mature wine.

(case prices)

Chianti Classico 2021: $250
Chianti Classico Riserva “Bugialla” 2020: $395
Chianti Classico Riserva “Bugialla” 2020 (6x 1.5L): $395


We expect these wines in March/April 2024

If you have any trouble submitting the new order form, you can always email us your order. Or give us a call with questions: 617-249-3657, or

The deadline to place orders for this issue is: SUNDAY, JANUARY 28.

Questions? Need advice? Call us: (617) 249-3657.

Pick-up in Massachusetts. We store our inventory at our new warehouse in Newton: 12 Hawthorn St, Newton MA 02458. Futures customers can pick up their orders here during Saturday open hours, or by appointment.

Pick-up near Philadelphia. We’re pleased to restart our PA pickup option. Wines ordered for PA pickup will be available in March/April 2024, depending on temperatures. Email us for more details.

Shipping elsewhere. In most states we can arrange for shipping at an additional cost that varies by location ($3.50 per bottle to the addresses west of Chicago; $2.50 per bottle east of Chicago). If shipping interests you, let us know the state and we will figure out if it can be done.