Châteauneuf-du-Pape is one of the most recognizable brands in wine. Made famous by French popes in the 14th century, and then again by Robert Parker in the 1980s, the appellation’s place on the winemaking map is well established. And well deserved — the wines can be extraordinary, though they often come at a “special occasion” price point for most wine enthusiasts.
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As Francophiles we get excited about many expressions of French terroir — wine, of course, but also cheese, butter, chickens, oysters, truffles, mustard. And so, just in time for Fall, we’re thrilled to release our newest French products: cider and poiré from Normandy.
Vincent Boyer is one of Meursault’s young superstar winemakers. His golden white Burgundies from Meursault and Puligny are among the finest in our cellar. Vinous calls his wines “superb” and “very impressive;” Jasper Morris MW writes “Boyer seems to make better wines year after year.”
In the dozen years since he took over his family’s domaine, Romain Collet has elevated its reputation as fast as any new generation we’ve witnessed. We’ve noticed it ourselves, but we’re not alone — writers from Vinous, Burghound and Robert Parker have noted a “higher level of refinement” and a “significant upsurge in quality.” Jasper Morris MW writes that Romain Collet “is moving towards joining the pantheon” in Chablis.
Several years ago a winemaker summed up his thoughts to us on barrel aging wines: “oak is fine, but wine is better.” As oaking maxims go, we find this a pretty good one. Oak can be a necessary supporting element, but when it’s the loudest voice in a cuvée it’s rarely a recipe for success.
By Burgundy standards, Gevrey-Chambertin is enormous. It covers a thousand acres, including a whopping 135 acres of Grand Cru vines. Its wines are of a similar scale — rich, meaty, bold Pinot Noir balancing delicacy and depth.
Thomas Morey makes some of the most delicate white Burgundies we know. Far from the rich, opulent style of the past decades, Morey’s Chassagnes are refined, subtle, and sophisticated. Burgundy expert Jasper Morris MW calls them “very pure, precise and elegant,” as well as “excellent.”
Everyone needs a pantry wine — something to open without too much consideration or care. Thirsty guests looking for something to wet their whistle? Pantry wine. Back home after a long weekend away, with no energy for anything but takeout pizza? Pantry wine. Football game go into overtime and you need just one more glass of something simple? You guessed it.
For years, Gigondas was a savvy wine collector’s secret: near-Châteauneuf-level complexity and richness, at a substantial discount. But even as its name has spread and prices have crept up, the price-value ratio in Gigondas remains unusually good. As Vinous’s Josh Raynolds put it after tasting several hundred cuvées recently, “in the context of the world’s best wines, almost every Gigondas delivers solid and even remarkable value.”
In a Beaune restaurant two years ago spring we stumbled upon that most elusive of wine merchant targets: an unknown Burgundy domaine. Formed in 2002 with just 1.5 hectares of vines, the Domaine Bohrmann has no other importers, zero critical reviews, and a (very) hard-to-reach winemaker.
Value is subjective when it comes to wine. A $50 bottle of Burgundy might seem a steal to some, an extravagance to others. But nearly everyone agrees that Muscadet is just about the best bargain going.
Some wines just hit a sweet spot between price and quality. All the way back to our brick and mortar days in Dupont Circle in Washington DC, the Goubert Sablet has been among the best sellers in our lineup. When we left it off our order last year, we had half a dozen customers write in to express concern.
The town of Morey-St-Denis exemplifies the small scale of Burgundian winemaking. Wedged between two more famous neighbors, this village of 680 people has a vineyard surface of under 4 tenths of a square mile. It’s delicate, delicious, classic red Burgundy — there just isn’t much of it to go around.
We often say that the only thing wrong with Thomas Morey’s wines is how little of them there are. Morey is based in Chassagne-Montrachet, a Burgundian neighborhood that has seen a catastrophic series of spring frosts in recent years, and his wine is perennially in short supply. Some of the cuvées in our allocation (Batard-Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet) we sell through every year in Futures. His delicious village-level 2019 Chassagne-Montrachet made it to inventory this year, but sold out after just a week.
Like other Old World winemaking cultures, Burgundians mix a healthy dose of superstition and wisdom in with their more modern winemaking practice. One oft-heard saying is that the best vintages end in “9” — and while there’s little statistical basis behind this, the last century has produced a nearly unbroken series of “années neuves.”