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It’s been a hot summer over in France. At the end of June the country experienced the hottest day in its recorded history — 113 degrees Fahrenheit in parts of Provence — eclipsing even the highs of the deadly 2003 European heatwave. It’s hard to believe it was only two months ago that winemakers were in their vines all night warding off frost with candles and smoke.

Hotter summers and earlier harvests have changed the winemaking landscape across France — Michel Gros recently told us that the average harvest date had moved three weeks in his 40 years of winemaking. “Années solaires” are more frequent, and it has been fascinating and humbling to watch winemakers adapt to their new reality.

Our July Futures ordering window overlaps with warm summer weather here in the US, but we expect the wines to arrive in early fall. With that in mind we’re featuring wines we think will drink well as summer makes its exit.

In Burgundy we’ve returned to Roger Belland for his 2017 vintage, exceptional and approachable in both white and red. We’re excited to introduce yet another Côte de Beaune source we discovered back in April — the Domaine Bohrmann is turning out exquisite wines from Meursault, Pommard, St-Aubin, and others. We were delighted with these wines during our visit this year, and look forward to getting them into your cellars.

Farther south we return to our two Beaujolais producers — Laurent Perrachon and Jean-Marc Monnet. Both make delicious, affordable Juliénas in very different styles. Both will be perfect for late summer and early fall. On the other side of Lyon, we visit our Cornas producer Dumien-Serrette, who this year added two exciting new cuvées to our allocation.

In the south we’re suggesting the remarkably affordable Châteauneuf-du-Papes of Christophe Mestre — his 2016 and 2017 were both so good we couldn’t decide and have passed the choice on to you. We return to the Languedoc’s coolest corner for the excellent everyday wines of the Clos Bagatelle in St-Chinian, and then to Bordeaux for two excellent left bank 2017 cuvées.

Finally we’re revisiting the Jura, where Hervé Ligier makes fascinating old-school whites and reds from a region stuck in time. In our new “Encores” section we head back to Picamelot for our favorite non-Champagne bubbles, and to Bordeaux for a nine-year-old Cru Bourgeois under $20.

We hope that there will be something of interest to everyone. If there is, remember to submit your requests in case or half-case lots by the order deadline of Sunday, July 21, 2019.

Roger Belland

Santenay, Burgundy

The Belland winery is in Santenay, but like many Burgundy families, their properties stretch across consecutive appellations. There is Maranges to the south and Chassagne-Montrachet to the north, along with small plots from appellations even farther afield. At Belland this brings a particularly nice combination of reds and whites, some of which drink well early and others that show their best after some time in the bottle. For 2017, early pleasure is the watchword. There’s still a range of timelines, but they will be compressed toward the early end. Everything seems more open and attractive at the outset than usual — every cuvée during our April tasting was a candidate to bring home for lunch.

Santenay lies on a small curving hillside toward the southern end of the Côte de Beaune. It’s not much of a turn, but it is enough to enhance exposure to the sun, making the wines riper and rounder than the others from that part of the Côte. This applies to whites as well as reds. Our first suggestion, the Santenay 1er cu “Beauregard” blanc is very rich (much rounder in the mouth than the 2016, for those of you who have been enjoying its considerable charms). This is a wine for those who like their Chardonnay to fill the mouth and stand on its own. The nose shows tropical fruits like apricot and meyer lemon; the mouth is rich and full, with a thickness that reminded us of Chassagne.

Just across the border in Chassagne-Montrachet, the higher acidity of the 2017 Clos Pitois blanc creates more tension, making wine with a particularly harmonious balance. It’s easy to see why Chassagne is famous for its whites: excellent length and a long finish layered over plenty of gras (fat), which produces wine that consistently turns heads. Burghound called it “exceptionally rich and enveloping,” and we found notes of baked lemon rind, hazelnut, and golden apples. The increased complexity and intensity means this will age better than the Santenay, but we think it will drink just as well early.

We usually rank Belland’s Chassagne ahead of his Puligny, but in 2017 the Puligny-Montrachet 1er cru “Champs Gain” is just beautiful, and we’ve added it to the lineup. This wine is a fugue of fruit, oak, and minerals. Minerality distinguishes Puligny from Chassagne and often demands some patience while the wine rounds out; but in 2017 the minerals come wrapped in silk. No waiting required for this Puligny, which finishes with extraordinary length and can be relied upon to bring a sigh of satisfaction from guests at your dinner table. It was perhaps the wine of the tasting at Belland this year.

Finally, there is the Grand Cru white. The Bellands own a large plot in Criots-Bâtard Montrachet, one of the satellite Grand Crus that surround the greatest white wine vineyard of all. Take the gorgeous mouthfeel of Clos Pitois and the minerals of Champ Gain and stretch them even further, and you have the difference between the premier crus and the Grand Cru. Here is intensity, depth and length wound together. Allen Meadows (“Burghound”) found impressive the “intense, detailed and large scaled flavors” and the “excellent depth and persistence on the balanced and palate coating finish.” Of course, the world has only one Montrachet constellation, so you can expect to pay handsomely to add this wine to your cellar. Burghound gave 93 points, and concluded “This is a very good Criots that should amply repay extended cellaring”

The reds follow a similar pattern. The 2017 Santenay 1er cru “Beauregard” rouge offers ripe dark cherry fruit, and the nose is open and expressive for the wine at this stage. The tannins are well integrated into the structure already, so the wine should drink well from the start. Burghound praised its “highly seductive texture.” Right now we’d give it half an hour in a carafe, but that should be all you need to begin enjoying it. For fine red Burgundy under $35/bot, this is as impressive and approachable as it gets.

The Chassagne-Montrachet 1er cru “Clos Pitois” rouge is particularly nice this year. It offers a toastier nose, with fruit that’s a bit more focused and less prominent than the Santenay. Think black currants vs. dark cherries. A pleasant minerality mingles with the fruit. We’d likely wait six months or so before trying a bottle, but we expect the wine to be a classic Côte de Beaune red before long.

Finally, the Bellands offer Volnay 1er cru from a plot in Santenots. The 2017 is lovely, showing Volnay’s signature elegance and more ethereal aspect. Burghound found an “overtly floral” nose with “violet nuances” and “hints of rose petal and lavender to add depth to the markedly spicy and fresh nose.” Like the Clos Pitois, its tannins are very fine and so should support aging very well. For reference, Belland’s 2014 Volnay is beautiful today, and the 2017 should drink well even faster.

(case prices)
Santenay 1er Beauregard blanc 2017: $395
Chassagne-Montrachet 1er “Clos Pitois” blanc 2017: $750
Puligny-Montrachet 1er “Champs Gains” 2017: $895
Criots-Batard Montrachet Grand Cru 2017: $2,995
Santenay 1er Beauregard rouge 2017: $395
Chassagne-Montrachet 1er “Clos Pitois” rouge 2017: $550
Volnay 1er “Santenots” 2017: $685

Domaine Bohrmann

Meursault, Burgundy

As you know if you read the recent article in Forbes, we find new producers in a variety of ways, among them wines discovered at restaurants in the region where they are made. This year we came across the Domaine Bohrmann that way, and not with a single wine. No fewer than three well-made bottles we had in restaurants sent us scurrying off to seek an audience at the Domaine Borhmann, a name we didn’t know but think will be much better known as others make the same discoveries.

Bohrmann doesn’t sound very French, and it isn’t — Sofie Borhmann is from Belgium, and she began making wine in Burgundy in 2002 with just 1.5 hectares of vines. Her winemaker joined her in 2004, and over the past decade she has expanded her holdings to 13 hectares. She clearly has an eye for quality (and good financial backing), as she has assembled a portfolio of very high quality in a remarkably short amount of time. We tasted with her impressive young cellar master Dimitri Blanc; and their wines in the cellar lived up to our high expectations from the dinners. The whites were thick and full of a rippling intensity, combining perfectly ripe golden fruit with structure and minerality. The reds were similarly gorgeous; full of spice, dark red berries, and an organic earthiness. We’re excited to get to know these wines better, and are confident the few we tasted will find fans among our readers.

St. Romain sits at the top of the valley that runs west from the Côte d’Or through Auxey-Duresses. There are terrific views from the hilltop village and a well-known tonnellerie, and its wines are popular, particularly the whites. The Domaine Bohrmann has acquired a one-acre monopole there, the Clos Sous le Chateau. The Clos has a particularly favorable exposure to the south east, which promotes ripening. We thought the wine’s balance was excellent. There’s plenty of the freshness one expects at the higher elevations, but there is also good weight on the palate and a very nice finish. The nose was floral with low oak and nice depth; the mouth was gorgeous and clean. This is pretty rather than enormous, and we think will make a delightful glass of white Burgundy.

Bohrmann’s St-Aubin 1er cru comes from “En Remilly,” one of the town’s best known vineyards. Tucked just up the valley from the Montrachet hillside, En Remilly is a south-facing premier cru that combines ripe fruit with classic minerality. Bohrmann’s 2017 is lively and generous at the same time. It’s far richer and bolder than the St-Romain, but not at the expense of elegance. There’s precision capable of enhancing your most refined dishes — sole meuniere, for example. The winemaker told us he tries not to confuse minerality with acidity; his goal is the former, and he achieves it well. The use of oak is perfect: support for the minerals and fruit, but without too much spice or toast.

Bohrmann’s domaine is located in Meursault, and they have several plots across the village. We’re beginning with a village-level cuvée from the “Vireuils” vineyard, up the slope from the town. Meursault from higher up the hill is more mineral that that from the flat, and Bohrmann’s Vireuils strikes a terrific balance: the rich intensity of classic Meursault from a ripe vintage combined with a linear tension that carries and elevates the form. The nose is soft and rich, with expressive golden fruit and white flowers. The mouth is at once bright and full — there’s the roundness of Meursault with gorgeous, elegant minerality. And, as with all Bohrmann wines, careful and deft use of oak.

In red wine, we found a lot to like in the Bourgogne, which is right across the border from Pommard. It seemed very Pommard to us, with plenty of body supporting its attractive ripe fruit. The reds at Bohrmann were more delicate than the whites: they use 70% whole clusters (even for the Bourgogne), giving the wines excellent definition and cut. The nose shows dusty red cherries over an ethereal earthiness. This is elegant rather than bold, showing impressive subtlety for a Bourgogne-level red. We think the wine has an excellent relationship of price to value, and look forward to serving it in a variety of settings from the time it gets here.

Finally, the Domaine produces a lovely Pommard 1er cru, with all the elements one looks for in a fine Pommard — power, complexity, and depth. There’s good richness in the mouth and ripe dark fruit intermingled with a pleasant earthiness. The organic viticulture and whole cluster brightness come through on the nose again, and while there’s more apparent toastiness from the barrels, it’s perfectly knitted in. We expect this wine to evolve nicely over the next three to five years, and to drink well for a decade or more.

(case prices)
St-Romain “Clos Sous le Chateau” 2017: $395
St-Aubin 1er “En Remilly” 2017: $450
Meursault “Les Vireuils” 2017: $550
Bourgogne rouge 2017: $295
Pommard 1er “Chanière” 2017: $825

Monnet & Perrachon

Juliénas, Beaujolais

In the Beaujolais we are now working with two of the region’s very best producers. The well-known Perrachon family produces wine from six different Cru appellations as well as Beaujolais Villages. Jean-Marc Monnet’s domaine is on a much smaller scale, producing from just two Cru appellations. But each produces among the very finest wine made in their respective styles, and by working with both of them we are able to offer you an extraordinary selection of the best of the Beaujolais. This offering has three wines from each.

Jean-Marc Monnet has quietly made his wine in every vintage since 1981 (that’s 37 years). When you discuss technique you hear the voice of experience: the time to end the cuvaison depends on taste, not the calendar; he pulls leaves in years when the vines need more sun, but not when they don’t. All of his wines are raised traditionally, in foudres, and bottled “when they’re ready.” There’s no flash and no marketing, just really good wine year in and year out. In 2019 recognition finally came: the prestigious Guide Hachette named him Winemaker of the Year.

Monnet makes two wines from the Cru Julienas: a regular cuvée from vines between thirty-five and fifty years old, and an old-vine cuvée from a parcel whose vines are older than 60 years. Both are delicious. The 2018 growing season was unusually hot, producing wine of extraordinary richness. The word “juicy” always comes to mind when we taste Jean-Marc’s wines — the fruit is lovely and ripe and plentiful; and so it is in 2018. But this vintage is remarkably concentrated, with the regular cuvée Juliénas showing deep, dark fruit with a floral note that reminds Monnet of peonies. The 2018 old vine cuvée is even more concentrated, more intense. There the fermentation went on for more than a month, making a wine structured more like a Chateauneuf du Pape than a Beaujolais. Both wines will drink beautifully before long (with the Vieilles Vignes needing a bit more time); and if you serve them blind a whole lot of guests won’t come up with Beaujolais as the region.

Monnet’s third wine is Chiroubles, typically the most elegant of the Crus. In 2018, it too sports remarkable density and juiciness. The 75 year old vines have produced a lovely nose of blueberry fruit, which the extra layer of body supports nicely. This wine will drink well from day one, and like the other wines of the vintage can be held for quite a while.

From the Domaine Perrachon we offer three ideas. The 2017 Fleurie is raised in foudres like Monnet’s wines. In the glass, it is easy to see where the village name came from. The nose is open and expressive, with a bouquet of violets lining up alongside the ripe fruit. The structure is very smooth . One doesn’t usually use the words “sophisticated” or “subtle” to describe Beaujolais, but both fit this wine well. It’s also delightful and pleasant.

We have two ideas for barrel-raised Beaujolais from Perrachon. First, the Julienas “Clos des Chers” 2017, raised in demi-muids (barrels with twice the volume of Burgundian barriques). These grapes are 70% destemmed, yielding a structure that is smooth on the open and will soften more after six months or so. It’s a lovely glass of dark fruit with just a touch of oak influence, and much like a Pinot Noir from the Côte d’Or, it can be expected to improve over the next couple of years and drink well for a considerable time thereafter.

Perrachon’s Julienas “Vignes Centenaires” 2017 is from hundred year old vines. After three months in foudres, it is moved to traditional Burgundy small barrels for the remainder of its elevage, where it acquires some notes of oak. The centenarian-produced wine has enough concentration to stand up to the oak, and the result is a harmonious and age-worthy Cru unlike few others from the region.

Both of Perrachon’s Juliénas cuvées are remarkable — Laurent and his son Maxime are expanding what’s possible from the Gamay grape. For complexity, depth, and ageworthiness, we’d put these next to nearly any Bourgogne rouge from the Côte d’Or.

We expect these wines to arrive in September, perfect for autumn enjoyment.

(case prices)
Monnet Chrioubles 2018 : $175
Monnet Juliénas 2018 : $175
Monnet Juliénas Vieilles Vignes 2018: $185
Perrachon Fleurie 2017 : $175
Perrachon Juliénas “Clos des Chers” 2017 : $195
Perrachon Juliénas “Vignes Centenaires” 2017 : $195

Domaine Dumien-Serrette

Cornas, Northern Rhône

We are delighted to have found two producers in Cornas, the tiny appellation at the southern end of the Northern Rhône. Like the rest of the Northern Rhône, the grape is Syrah; and the name, from the Celtic for burnt earth, signals its distinguishing feature: remarkable intensity. Cornas is inky, long-lived wine that nonetheless offers great complexity and refinement.

As we reported in last weekend’s opening post, Dumien-Serrette’s 2017 Cornas “Patou” is magnificent — a combination of inky black flavors with unusually refined floral finesse. The nose is deep and rich, showing cherries, cocoa, anise, and pepper. On the palate it’s very fine and silky, with intense mouthfeel and notes of cherry jam, violets, and olive. The Wine Advocate awarded 93 points, finding it “intense, with an attractive dusty texture of chalk dust, charcoal and crushed stone.”

Since 2013, the domaine also makes a few hundred bottles of the cuvée Cornas “Henri,” in homage to the winemaker’s grandfather. The grapes for it come from the oldest vines in the Patou vineyard. They are 100% destemmed and the wine spends 20 months in barrel (versus 14 to 16 for the Patou). It is enormous wine, and from barrel the nose was explosive: intense, long and beautiful. It is a true vin de garde. This was the wine of our tasting in April, so much so that Monsieur Serrette was silent for a moment after we all smelled it — the nose explodes with cassis, licorice, raspberries, black pepper, and plums. We’ve discussed timing for the domaine’s Cornas with the winemakers and they have shared some older bottles with us. We’re guessing the sweet spot for the wines from this domaine will be in a range from five to ten or twelve years, though they clearly have the potential to live much longer.

This year the domaine is introducing a Vin de France. The grapes comes from a four-year old plot of Syrah that is in the town of Cornas but outside the boundaries of the Cornas appellation. We found this “Moulin” just lovely, with delicate freshness and beautiful intensity. The wine was raised in 12 year-old barrels, so there are no notes of oak; the Syrah fruit is clean and pure. It’s a good way to get a look at the flavor of Cornas without a long wait or a hefty price tag.

(case prices)
Cornas “Patou” 2017 : $495
Cornas “Henri” 2017 : $695
Moulin VDF 2018: $295

Christophe Mestre

Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhône

Christophe Mestre continues to turn out delicious Châteauneuf du Pape at unusually good prices. The 2017 vintage was the third nice one in a row, and permits us to offer you a choice of style in this offering. As many of you already know, the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is beautifully supple, dominated by the fruit of perfectly ripened Grenache. Since we last offered it, the wine press has weighed in favorably — the Wine Advocate awarded it 91 points, finding it “full-bodied, creamy and soft, with a touch of warmth evident on the chocolaty finish.”

While 2016 was an exceptional year for grenache, yielding a wine with that grape at 65%, 2017 was a banner year for Syrah, the other principal grape in Mestre’s Châteauneuf. It was also a difficult year for Grenache. Therefore the 2017 Châteauneuf-du-Pape has equal parts Syrah and Grenache (30%), with the balance made up of 25% Mourvedre and 15% Cinsault. The 2017 vintage offers a gorgeous floral nose, with Syrah’s violets front and center. The Syrah contributes structure as well, which means that this wine will need a bit of time to round out. When it does it will make for fine drinking — there’s really good complexity and a touch of tar and earth to go with the deep, dark fruit. Those who leave it on the side while they drink their 2016s will be glad to have it. In fact, Christophe considers all three of the latest vintages “beaux millésimes de garde,” and we too think they will keep very well.

And on that note we’re excited to offer a very limited number of 3L bottles (called jeroboams, or double-magnums) of the Châteauneuf 2017. There’s four bottles worth in each jero, and they’re about four times as impressive to look at. These will be here in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas — if it’s your year to host, serve one of these and you family won’t forget it for a while.

(case prices)
Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2016 (case of 12): $325
Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2017 (case of 12): $325
Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2017 (1x 3L): $150

Clos Bagatelle

Saint-Chinian, Languedoc

The Languedoc is a vast plain that produces oceans of not very good wine, much of it hot and flat. Around its northern edges, though, the land rises toward the massif centrale, making for a cooler climate and rocky soils — terroir that can produce very interesting wine. We work with two producers from this favored borderland, the Mas Foulaquier in PIc St. Loup and Clos Bagatelle in St. Chinian.

Clos Bagatelle takes advantage of its terroir, producing very well-priced, easy-drinking wines that nonetheless offer something worth talking about. The more straightforward offering is A l’Origine 2018, a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Carignan and Mourvedre. The fruit is jammy ripe plums, and the wine is round and mouth filling, but with enough freshness to provide a bit of lift. It’s a great choice to wash down hamburgers and hot dogs from the grill, or to go with a mid-week plate of pasta.

Bagatelle’s Au Fil de Soi 2017 (formerly named Veillée d’Automne) is a more serious wine that spends some time in oak barrels, adding complexity and some notes of oak. There’s more structure, but while present, the tannins are fine-grained. The wine will develop over the course of a year in the cellar, but should be drinkable from the outset with a bit of time in a carafe. We often open bottles of this wine that have five or more years under their belt, and still find them eminently drinkable.

(case prices)
St-Chinian “à l’Origine” 2018: $135
St-Chinian “Au Fil du Soi” 2017 : $225

Fleuron de Liot

Saint-Estèphe, Bordeaux

Ansonia père cut his teeth on Bordeaux back in the sixties, when top growths could be had for a few dollars a bottle, and one who liked French wine could try any number of well-known wines without breaking the bank. Fifty years has made quite a difference. A combination of demand and commercialization have pushed pricing beyond the reach of mere mortals for many of the marquee names. But Bordeaux produces ten times the wine of Burgundy, and quality doesn’t fall off a cliff when you get past the wines in the Classification of 1855.

In recent years we have made a project of hunting around for lesser known wines from top terroir, and we now have a healthy list of delicious Bordeaux at affordable prices. One of our best finds is the tiny Fleuron de Liot in St. Estèphe, home to the legendary Chateaux Cos d’Estournel and Montrose. St. Estephe is the northernmost of the four communes that make up the heart of the Haut Medoc on Bordeaux’s Left Bank. Its soils have more clay than those of Pauillac to the south, which makes for particularly full-bodied wines with long lives. Hugh Johnson’s description of the commune’s wines is on the mark: he calls them “sturdy clarets which can become venerable without losing vigor.”

We’re not kidding when we say Fleuron de Liot is tiny — the wine comes from a plot of just one and a half acres. It’s equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The wine is inky and dark, with plum and dark cherries in the nose. The mouth is dense and full, with solid ripe tannins and low oak, notes of cedar and licorice, and a long, velvety texture. The 2017 is particularly silky, and we think it will drink very well in the near term.

It took us a while to focus on the other wine from the producer of Fleuron de Liot — Chateau Moulin de Blanchon, a Cru Bourgeois that lies just across the northern border of St. Estèphe. From equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, it’s an excellent choice for those who love Cabernet Sauvignon based wines and like to serve them often. The price does not yet reflect its growing visibility. This classic steak-on-the-grill wine, and you will likely be looking for more sooner than you might think.

(case prices)
Moulin de Blanchon Cru Bourgeois 2017: $195
Fleuron de Liot Saint-Estèphe 2017 : $250

Domaine Ligier

Arbois, Jura

France’s Jura region sits only 50 miles east of Burgundy, but in winemaking it’s a world away. The Jura is best known for its lightweight reds and idiosyncratic whites. We’re offering three wines from a small winemaker in Arbois named Hervé Ligier — they’re not like anything else in our cellar, but they’re classic, old-school examples from this fascinating region.

Ligier’s red is made from the “Trousseau” grape (known as “Bastardo” in Portugal). Trousseau is darker than rosé, but not by much — there’s low tannin and pleasant wild cherry fruit. If the Jura is Burgundy’s wilder, rugged cousin, then Trousseau perfectly represents its region: similarly delicate, but less sophisticated, more rugged, and a bit wilder. We found this an utterly pleasant (and quite affordable) glass of lightweight red — enjoy it outside, slightly cooled, as the summer turns to fall.

Vin Jaune is the Jura’s iconic white. Made from the Savagnin grape, Vin Jaune is an intentionally oxidized wine that resembles a fino sherry. (The Jura was under Spanish control in the 16th century, and there’s a theory the oxidative technique arrived about then.) Rather than topping up the barrels to prevent exposure to oxygen, Jura winemakers allow a “voile” (veil) of yeast to form on the wine’s surface. The wine rests in barrel under veil for a remarkable six years, over which time one third of the volume evaporates. Once in bottle, Vin Jaune is said to age for decades with ease.

So what does this peculiar wine taste like? As you might expect, it’s hard to describe. We sampled Ligier’s 2011 Vin Jaune (the current release) in April, and found butter, apricot, coffee, chocolate, and walnuts; the mouth is thick and very dry, with mouthcoating texture and notes of almonds, apple, and dried apricot. And what to match with this wine? In one word, Comté. Served with Vin Jaune, the famous nutty cheese (which also hails from the Jura) produces one of the great food-wine pairings of France. Vin Jaune isn’t likely to become your house wine, but no serious French oenophile’s cellar is complete without it. (We’re lowering our Futures limit to 3 bottles to encourage experimentation.)

And finally, for dessert, Ligier makes a delicious Vin de Paille (“straw wine”). After harvest grapes are left out to dry: their sugar level (and potential alcohol) increases, and the final product ends up with some residual sugar. Ligier uses this ancient technique with mixture of three grapes: Chardonnay, Savagnin, and a local red varietal called Poulsard, which gives it a pink/orange hue. The oxidized Savagnin resembles the Vin Jaune in the nose just a bit, but the mouth is off-dry, with pleasant golden fruit and notes of raisins and nuts. Serve this at the end of a dinner party, and your guests can choose whether to pair it with cheese or dessert.

(case prices)
Trousseau 2016: $195
Vin de Paille 2014: $425
Vin Jaune 2011: $525


We recently restocked the three primary crémants from Maison Picamelot: their Terroirs Brut (blend), Les Reipes (blanc de blancs) and Les Chazot (blanc de noirs). Our favorite wine from Picamelot wasn’t released in time for March Futures, and so we’re excited to include it here: the Cuvée JB Chautard.

Named for winemaker Philippe Chautard’s grandfather, the cuvée JB Chautard is as close to Champagne as we’ve had outside the region. It’s an 80/20 blend of chardonnay and aligoté, fermented in barrels then left on the lees for a remarkable five years. The Wine Advocate’s resident Champagne expert calls the 2013 JB Chautard cuvée “a persuasive case for taking [Crémant de Bourgogne] more seriously.” He awarded 90 points, finding “an elegantly fine mousse, good cut and texture and a sapid, complex finish.” The nose shows brioche, nuts, and buttered bread. The mouth is fine, delicate, and very long.

At under $25/bot this is a phenomenal value — more complexity and intrigue than a base Champagne from a big house, at a fraction of the cost. Fans of bubbles, or fans of just good wine, should take note.

We first visited the Chateau Ramafort eight years ago; their wines were delicious but fit wasn’t right. Now a few years removed and a few business models later, we’re excited to have found a spot for them.

Ramafort has a remarkable underground storage facility and an impressive collection of back vintages. They sent us several samples, and we found their 2010 lovely. It’s 50/50 Merlot and Cabernet Franc — the nose is full of dry fruits and pretty secondary aromas. The mouth is smooth but not soft, with velvety tannins and a clean finish.

This is perfectly mature wine with delicate notes and a delicious mouthfeel. It won’t be the most complex Bordeaux in your cellar, and we wouldn’t suggest cellaring it much longer. But for fans of Bordeaux, this provides extraordinary value for under $20.

(case prices)
Picamelot Crémant “JB Chautard” 2013: $295
Ramafort Cru Bourgeois Haut Médoc 2010: $235

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Pick-up in Massachusetts. We store our inventory in a basement in Newton (437 Newtonville Ave), and open it up to the public on Saturday afternoons. Futures customers can pick up their orders here during Saturday open hours, or by appointment.

Pick-up in Delaware. Many of those who aren’t near Boston will choose to collect their wine in Delaware. For such people, we set times for pickup at a temporary storage location and the owners pick their wine up there over the course of the two or three weeks after it arrives.

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.