The easiest way to describe Domaine les Goubert’s Gigondas “Cuvée Florence” is as a would-be Châteauneuf-du-Pape — same grapes, same ageworthiness, same lush, mouthfilling southern Rhône charm. But it’s fairer to think of it as top notch Gigondas in its own right. Gigondas has long been a source of value in the Southern Rhône Valley, commanding neither the name recognition nor pricetag of its neighbor Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Chablis continues to be a haven of well-priced and excellent value Burgundy. After several scorching hot vintages in which the crisp, piercing soul of old-school Chablis seemed temporarily offstage, 2021 provided a return to tradition. A cooler, wetter, trickier growing season pushed harvest into late September, and the wines are effortlessly tasty in a vintage that was anything but.
The Boursot family has grown grapes in Chambolle-Musigny since 1515, but it’s almost easier to think of them as a newcomer. For most of the last five centuries they’ve sold their harvest to the local cooperative – then two generations ago they started domaine-bottling. The current winemakers – brothers Romaric and Remy Boursot – have begun to channel their family’s extraordinary terroir into truly impressive wine. Every vintage their wines gain polish, precision, and detail.
Chateauneuf-du-Pape isn’t in fashion these days. As the world’s taste has shifted toward lightweight textures and micro-terroirs, Châteauneuf’s bold, appellation-wide cuvées aren’t exactly filling up the lists in the hipster wine bars of Lyon. So – it’s a good thing nobody’s ever accused us of being trendy…
As we sit here squarely in the middle of tomato season, we find ourselves reaching for the small Italian corner of our cellar with some regularity. The natural acidity of summer tomatoes matches so well with our Nebbiolo and Sangiovese selections that sometimes it’s hard to drink anything else. We’re expanding our Piedmont offerings in next month’s September Futures issue, but in the mean time we’re well stocked on an old favorite Chianti Classico.
Much of the world’s syrah is rich, dark and opulent. But in the Northern Rhône Valley, syrah draws its strength from subtlety. Here delicate aromas of violets, perfume, smoke and stones combine with fresh mouthfeel and vibrant texture. Northern Rhône Syrah is a marriage of dark-fruited complexion with elegance and pep.
“Austrian wine” is almost synonymous with Grüner-Veltliner, and indeed 75% of the world’s Grüner is Austrian. The grape’s typical expression is uncomplicated and fresh, with low alcohol and blend of savory, herbal, and dry fruit notes. But at Salomon-Undhof, one of the country’s most historic and important domaines, the Salomon family expands what’s possible from the grape.
Vouvray is the king of the central Loire Valley. Made from pure Chenin Blanc, the wine is a chameleon, ranging from very sweet to bone dry and from sparkling to still. The most famous cuvées from top names will improve for decades, and are among the world’s longest lived wines.
Thomas Morey makes the most precise, elegant, understated white Burgundies in our cellar. His style is one of restraint and precision. We think of them as “minimalist” white wines — what’s not there (oak, butter, heaviness) is as important as what is there.
Sancerre is uncomplicated pleasure. A few top cuvées are meant to age and gain complexity, but most exist to provide simple, tasty, refreshment. Made from pure Sauvignon Blanc in soils laden with limestone and flint, Sancerre is usually unoaked and always crisp.
It’s hard to call anywhere in Burgundy’s Côte de Nuits “overlooked,” but Morey-Saint-Denis has always been a bit of an underdog. It’s a tiny place — about a mile from end to end, and home to fewer than 700 people — and sits between two larger and more famous neighbors. But it’s an impressive town in its own right, worthy of attention and respect.
Chablis is traditionally the purest, most stripped down form of Chardonnay from Burgundy. In recent decades winemakers have begun to experiment with oaking, particularly at the premier and grand cru levels – and the line between Chablis and Côte d’Or White Burgundies has blurred a bit. But today’s cuvée is unmistakable – classic, unoaked, old school premier cru Chablis.
Most franco-oenofiles know Cabernet Franc for the supporting role it plays in the great wines of Bordeaux. And indeed, there are more Cabernet Franc vines in Bordeaux than anywhere else in France. But it’s in the central Loire Valley, in towns like Chinon, Borgeuil, and Saumur-Champigny, where the grape shines in a solo role.
A tasty entry-level red Burgundy is among the most useful wines in the cellar. If the moment calls for quiet weeknight introspection, pour it into a large glass and watch it unwind over an hour – given time and space the best cuvées rival village-level wines for their complexity. If the setting is a boisterous family dinner replete with flavors and noise, serve it just a bit cool and watch the freshness and energy punch back against and impressive array of dishes.
In Burgundy, the concept of terroir is both essential and elusive. A host of other variables – winemaker, vintage, barrel type, bottle age, etc – often conspire to hide the power of terroir. The only way to experience this magical property fully in isolation, with all other variables held unchanged.