After a few years’ absence, the Fattoria Poggerino re-introduced the “Labirinto” cuvée this year. Made from the youngest vines on the estate, the Labirinto cuvée offers easy, uncomplicated pleasure. It’s Sangiovese with no rough edges – middle-weight, unoaked, unserious, and wonderfully easy to drink.
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Champagne has a reputation as refined, elegant, and delicate. While this reputation fits much of the wine from the heart of the Champagne region, today’s wine is another story. Domaine Jacques Robin is a small grower producer in the Côtes des Bar, a satellite sub-region of Champagne an hour to the south.
Poggerino is often cited as a reference point for Chianti Classico. Vinous writes of their Poggerino’s “remarkable purity and nuance,” and Rajat Parr calls their wines “excellent” and “some of the purest expressions of the grape in Italy.” Their organic vines from Radda-in-Chianti produced exquisitely balanced wines, full of depth and richness but also tension and lift.
Sauvignon Blanc is among the world’s most popular white grapes, planted everywhere from New Zealand to California to Chile. But the original source for Sauvignon Blanc is France’s Loire Valley, in particular the twin villages of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé.
The 2015 vintage was just about perfect from top to bottom – warm but not scorching conditions, dry but no drought, good quantity and outstanding quality. It was also a vintage that was excellent at every level, from regional Bourgognes all the way up to Grand Cru.
Nicolas Paget is a creative, organic winemaker working in the heart of the Central Loire Valley. His pure, expressive cuvées have been wildly popular among our readers since we discovered him a few years ago – most notably his crisp, dry, unoaked Chenin Blanc cuvée called Melodie. The 2021 of this wine has just arrived and it’s as good as ever.
It doesn’t take an expert to notice that Guillaume Goujon and Sebastien Dupré are farming organically. Their vines, located in the Côte de Brouilly, share the earth with an impressive array of herbs, flowers, grasses, and wildlife – all in the name of fostering biodiversity and soil health. In the cellar Dupré and Goujon have a similarly light touch – their cuvées are made with whole clusters, ambient yeasts, limited oak and almost no sulfites.
Sebastien Giroux is a terrific young winemaker farming just six hectares of vines in and around Pouilly-Fuissé. Giroux’s disciplined organic winemaking results in extraordinary wines – William Kelley describes them as “supple, pure and charming.”
Beaujolais is one of the most dynamic winemaking regions in France today. Affordable land and a vibrant community of biodynamic viticulture have brought some of the top new winemaking talent to the region. Our two new producers here, Dupré-Goujon and Frederic Berne, perfectly embody the Beaujolais’s jubilant spirit and low-intervention ethos – and their wines happen to be delicious as well.
In Burgundy as in real estate, location is everything. Today’s wine comes from a vineyard in Gevrey-Chambertin called “Combottes.” It’s classified Premier Cru but surrounded on all sides by five famous Grand Crus, including Charmes, Latricières, Mazoyères, and Clos de la Roche.
The Domaine Ravaut is the ultimate local wine source. For over a century the family has cultivated a loyal clientele of friends and locals — our tasting visits are frequently interrupted by neighbors stopping by to stock up their cellars.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape is one of the world’s great wine brands – at its best, the wines can rival Burgundy or Bordeaux for complexity and nuance. But our favorite value in in the Southern Rhône is Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s neighbor Gigondas. Our source here for several decades is the Domaine les Goubert.
In a few short years Gautier Desvignes has transformed his family’s sleepy, humble domaine into one of the stars of the region. Burgundy’s Côte Chalonnaise sub-region is a dynamic place these days – warmer summers, technological advances, and surging demand have combined to make it a source for terrific wine with excellent pricing.
Bordeaux is best known for its Grands Vins, the famous chateaux whose pricey wines improve for decades. But the varied terroirs of Bordeaux also produce some terrific “petit vins,” which share the same soils and grapes, but are more accessible for both the palate and the pocket.
Chardonnay in Burgundy is capable of extraordinary complexity and regal sophistication – at its best white Burgundy can outshine reds of a similar caliber. But the region also produces humble, delicious expressions of the grape; more tasty than tremendous.