About Jeff Miller

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Jeff Miller has created 5 blog entries.
This Is A Custom Message You Can Customize In Your Admin!

Introducing the @grapexwine Spotify Channel!

By |2018-12-13T04:54:22+00:00December 12th, 2018|Trends|

All of us in the wine business spend our fair share of time in cars and planes, so it just makes sense that all of us in this fantastic industry owe the world some sweet playlists, right? Musical tastes here @grapexwine run the full gamut, from buttrock (RIP Neil Lindblad), to punk, to Mariachi and everything in between. This Winter we are all about Scandi-pop (aka Scandinavian indie hits, with a shout out to our favorite Scandinavian winemaker, Steffan Jorgensen @ Elqui Wines), so click the link on the upper right corner of our grapex.com homepage (or just click here), grab your favorite cans, and enjoy!

Frank Poot on Champagne – De Saint Gall and why you need it now

By |2018-11-26T06:38:54+00:00November 26th, 2018|Champagne, New Arrivals|

We’ve worked side by side with Frank Poot for 25 years now and he leads our sourcing activities in Europe. This Fall Frank and I connected to discuss Champagne De Saint Gall, which will arrive at our warehouse (gasp) this week!!!  

JM: As most of you know we’ve been particularly strong in bubbles over the years here at Grape Expectations, always with a deep Champagne book in particular… We now represent Champagne Moutard in much of the US market and we just love all the creative things Jean Benoit Hery is doing in the Côte des Bar. We represent Champagne Henriot now in both Washington and Oregon and those wines are spectacular these days. Frank, you’ve brought us De Saint Gall for all of the US which is so exciting. I wanted to touch base, have you brief us on your experience in Champagne, on where Champagne is at right now overall as a region, and explain how De Saint Gall fits into that.

FP: I started working with Champagne in the mid-seventies and I’ve always found the region very, very interesting because Champagne has things a lot of areas don’t have. In general people know very little about Champagne. To put this in perspective let’s take a step back for those who aren’t totally familiar with the unique structure of Champagne as an industry. Roughly speaking there are about 80,000 acres of vineyards spread out over a very large area that from North to South is probably close to 100 miles and from East to West is probably 50 miles. It’s a big area. The vineyards are just scattered around all over – They are in just over 300 villages and towns. And most of the vineyards, by far the most, are owned by growers and not by the big houses. Look at even a massive group like LVMH who is known to own more vineyard land than almost anyone, their total holdings only fill a sliver of their total production needs.

JM: The larger houses, the negotiants, are completely dependent on these growers. Right? Without the growers, they have nothing. The only exception I can think of would be Roederer who I think farms something like 600 acres.

FP: Exactly. Roederer is probably the only major “house” that is fairly independent. Few others get beyond 10 or 15 percent. Champagne’s 80,000 acres of vineyards are worked by 16,000 individual farmers/landowners. Essentially a massive swath of 5 acre family farms. Almost all Champagne, regardless of the size of the house “branding” it, comes from these very small family farms. We are talking about agricultural people. I would say most of them aren’t even really interested in the final product. They produce grapes, their business is growing grapes …

JM: And so now please break down for everyone how this back end of the business works as this makes Champagne (as a business) different than any other wine region in the world …

FP: Ok. Because the region is so big in terms of square mileage and you have all these little towns and villages, what happened was each town would usually have what Icall a press house or pressing station, and that would typically be legally organized as a cooperative, or “co-op.” A bunch of growers would put it together themselves. In the old days you couldn’t transport the grapes in in crates over long distances. It was complicated. So what they did, they pressed their grapes together locally and then the juice, the must, was shipped and sold to the large houses. That’s how it worked and that’s to a large extent how it still works.

JM: So you have just over 300 individual villages in the region, so there must be a ton of these press houses.

FP: Exactly. Now what happened over time, what started in the fifties, is that a lot of these villages got together and rather than just pressing grapes and selling juice they got together to say, “hey, you know, we can make some wine ourselves and we can then probably sell some wine ourselves, so lets try to do that..”

JM: And I’m sure that worked well, since then they had a value added material, a finished wine that could be stored, a finished wine which was a more profitable material than unfermented must in terms of what they could get by selling to the big houses, right?

FP: Yes. This worked quite well for farmers. What happened next was that we saw the creation of what you now call a “super co-op.” A “super co-op” was a larger co-op formed to bring a lot of these smaller coops together. They would take all the wine, all the juice from these small initial pressing stations and they would take it and bring it into one large facility to ferment it, make wine out of it, and do whatever they want to do, which, which to this day usually means selling most the finished wine to the large houses. But remember at this point you now had farmers, organized in large groups, starting to make wine themselves. Naturally they started to market wine themselves, although still very few of them have been noticeably successful. The best known “super co-op” probably is Centre Vinicole who produces the brand Nicolas Feuillatte.

JM: Totally. Feuillatte has to be by far the biggest of, let’s say the “co-op brands.”

FP: Yes and they are by far the biggest “super co-op” in terms of size – They are the sum of 80 smaller co-ops. There are some other super co-ops – You have one in Chateau Thierry, they produce the brand Pannier. There’s also Union Auboise, a super co-op based down South in the Aube who produces the brand Devaux. Then there’s Jacquart. Does that ring a bell?

JM: Yeah, absolutely. And this is where De Saint Gall comes in?

FP: Precisely. This leaves us with the super co-op of Union Champagne, better known as the brand De Saint Gall, they are larger than all of the aforementioned “super co-ops” with the exception of Center Vinicole Nicolas Feuilatte, but what is interesting about De Saint Gall is that they pretty much control the entire high end sector of the Champagne market.

JM: (laughter) And this is where the story gets crazy. Please elaborate for everyone …

FP: As you may know, Champagne is is classified not unlike say Bordeaux or Burgundy with Grand Cru, Premier Cru, and then “normal” appellation, and the Grand Crus are very, very premium products that everyone’s trying to get because the quality of Grand Crus really is a considerable step above even Premier Cru. Now De Saint Gall on its own handles 50 percent of all Grand Crus vineyard land in Côte des Blancs

JM: Amazing.

FP: It is absolutely amazing. There is nothing like it in Champagne and they have grower/members in all of the Grand Cru villages…I believe there are about twelve of them. They have dozens of vineyards and a dozens of members in each of those villages. If you take the most famous of the Grand Cru villages it is probably Mesnil, a place revered for its Chardonnay. I believe De Saint Gall owns and farms around 50 percent of the total appellation of Mesnil. That’s insane. It’s absolutely insane.

JM: As far as cooperatives go this would have to be the wealthiest example in the world. My notes are showing 615 hectares of Grand Cru vineyard land, 615 hectares of Premier Cru vineyard land, and 135 hectares of “mere mortal” unclassified vineyard land. You compare that to the only other large “super co-op,” Feuillatte, who has 2,500 hectares total, but there is hardly any Premier Cru in that and almost zero Grand Cru. It’s all unclassified. So yeah, I mean that’s just a staggering situation there …

FP: It is, especially when you know Champagne very well and then you realize this is monolithic. De Saint Gall is, they are really the kings of premium Champagne and in this US market which continues to trade up, this is an enviable position to be. So they are, I mean, all the houses are…Can I use obscene language? JM: Sure

FP: Most of the houses who are buying wine from, De Saint Gall, you know, their buyers would give their left testicle to and get more Premier Cru juice.

JM: (laughter) You’re talking about, you’re talking about these leading producers … you’re talking about many of the famous names ?

FP: Yes every one of them. If you want high end Champagne, if you want to make a super-premium Champagne, you cannot make it without Grand Cru. You cannot make it without Grand Cru Chardonnay. And who farms, ferments, and supplies the majority of that? It’s De Saint Gall.

JM: Nobody else has that control. I mean it’s all dependent on the prices De Saint Gall sets and who they choose to make wine available to …

FP: It is staggering and actually you mentioned price, they don’t even discuss price. It’s a little bit like OPEC. They set the price and for example, their Grand Crus are usually about 40 percent over market

JM: Wow.

FP: So they control the market with Premier Cru and dominate the market in Grand Cru, and over time they have invested in holding reserve wines. So, now, in itself that is pretty easy. In Champagne, with the high acidity present, it is easy to store wine if you have the right equipment, the right tanks. De Saint Gall has reserve wine for sale in tank going back to the 2002 vintage, and this is basically all Premier Cru and Grand Cru Cote des Blancs Chardonnay. So a house that is looking for some older Grand Cru Chardonnay for its blends will almost always be calling De Saint Gall. Because as I said, you need great base wines present in the blend of any super premium Champagne, you also need some of this base wine to have age. I would say De Saint Gall is sitting on easily a couple of million liters of reserve wines.

JM: Wow.

FP: Those wines are like gold because no one else has this sort of stock and it’s actually pretty amazing to see how they are stored. It’s really an amazing sight when you have rows and rows of polished seamless tanks all full of Grand Cru and Premier Cru chardonnay. So that is what they do at De Saint Gall and that’s what they’ve always done. They are the premier supplier of high end wines to the Champagne trade.

JM: All these houses. You’re talking all these, all these, you know, all the “luxury” cuvees that everybody knows in the market. A decent chunk of what’s in each of those bottles is coming out of this facility from these growers.

FP: It depends on the wine, but essentially yes. And the higher you go in terms of premium, the more you need De Saint Gall to provide you with it and the more this is the case. Because you couldn’t find enough. I mean, as I said, to make high level Champagne you need Grand Cru material from the Cotes de Blancs. Grand Cru Cotes de Blancs Chardonnay is a rare animal to begin with, you know, it is the rarest of the rare, and they have two thirds of all of it. So you know they’re sitting pretty and, obviously they know it.

JM: They must be killing it. Why then, at this moment, are they making a push to start promoting and selling their own wines?

FP: Well, you have to be honest here. The co-ops’ farmers are very good vineyard managers. Their winery facilities and winemakers are on par with all the elite names. But historically they have always been weak as far as marketing goes. They are rather new to it.

JM: This makes sense considering we have farmers electing the cooperatives leadership and marketing in an industry dominated by some of the most prolific marketers on the planet.

FP: (laughter) These guys don’t like suits. But as I said, this is now changing as the bigger coops, not just De Saint Gall but also the others, they are beginning to feel a little uneasy with the big houses because they’re worried that because of the marketing power of the big houses, that it may come to a situation whereby the cooperative becomes dependent on them. If that were to become the case the houses would become the dominating element in any price discussion. Are they right about this? Personally I think they should be careful not to kill the goose with the golden egg because of course they sell their wines and sometimes very good wines to these guys, to the houses. But the houses have contributed way more to the image and the fame of Champagne than anyone else. The image of Champagne is made by the houses it’s not made by the co-ops, yet …

JM: Yet …

FP: The identity of Champagne, I mean for the buyer, for the mainstream consumer is with the big names. Sure. They are a little antsy, thinking hey these guys are getting really, really powerful. You have to keep in mind that a group like LVMH, they control about 25 percent of the market. That’s a lot. LVMH – The group is so big that they probably couldn’t buy other houses because they’d end up creating an issue with the EU competition authorities. So they are very big. And so that’s why De Saint Gall is now starting to become more professional about their own business about their own sales because obviously, you know, they have the product and they are some of the few who have the money to do it because you know, producing champagne is a very capital intensive business. You pretty much work with the most expensive grapes in the world, which you have to pay for cash on the barrel head, and then you have to keep this stuff for three years before you can sell it. That’s pretty capital intensive. Um, so, for De Saint Gall anyway, for them that is not an issue. They have the product, they have the capital, logistically they have the people to do it, and they’ve now hired amazing people to handle the sales and marketing side of the business.

JM: Yes – Incredible people with gorgeous packaging to match. De Saint Gall is obviously a new brand for everyone and will take some work for sommeliers and retailers, but we know the market is there. The RM versus NM debate is essentially over (i.e. nowadays people simply want great wine regardless of whether or not it comes from a grower, a cooperative, or a house) and I’ve never seen the sort of ‘trading up’ with Champagne the way we are seeing it now. Wine lovers want to experience more and they’re happy to spend $60, $70, $100, even $150 on elite examples from the region.

FP: And more often than not this now means Blanc de Blancs Champagne specifically. We are beginning to see Blanc de Blancs Champagne everywhere now, it is moving off lists and shelves, and at high prices. A typical wellmade Blanc de Blancs Champagne has a lot of nuance and it generally contains grapes coming from many different areas rather than one singular plot. Of course the best grapes come from the Cotes de Blancs where you have, you know, villages like Mesnil, like Avize, like Cramant, like Oger. So we’re seeing a lot of good things happening there. And Blanc de Blancs has always been the favorite choice in Champagne itself. You ask a guy in Champagne what he drinks and chances are he’ll say Blanc de Blancs. It’s dry. It’s light. It can be dry to the point of austere. It’s not as easy to make as say an ordinary blend (nowhere to hide), but you can get stunning results with it. Farming techniques have come a long way in recent years and for the houses there’s a lot of good wine that you can purchase, and use, for Blanc de Blancs. Nowadays a lot of people are making a Blanc de Blancs as opposed to the past when they’d blend their Chardonnay with everything else. The rise of interest in Blanc de Blancs production and consumption is probably what I would say at the moment is the biggest thing happening in Champagne.

JM: And this is where De Saint Gall fits in with perfect timing as they own more Grand Cru vineyard land in the Cote des Blancs than everyone else combined, own a similar proportion of Premier Cru Cote des Blancs vineyard land, and specialize in classical, terroir-driven Premier Cru and Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs bottlings.

FP: Exactly. Everyone needs to taste this stuff. Compare it, compare what the price tag is, and with that people will inevitably load their stores, restaurant lists, and personal cellars. And beyond the obvious quality is really a very interesting story, completely unique to the industry. I find it all very exciting and it’s a tremendous opportunity for everyone involved.

INCOMING WINES – CHAMPAGNE DE SAINT GALL

NV Selection Brut | $40 SRP

NV Tradition 1er Cru Brut | $45 SRP

NV Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru Brut | $45 SRP

NV Rosé 1er Cru Brut | $57 SRP

NV Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Extra Brut | $57 SRP

2012 Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Millesime Brut | $65 SRP

2004 Orpale Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs | $125 SRP

The Wall Street Journal reviews Cava and our producers nearly swept the podium

By |2018-10-02T05:13:27+00:00October 1st, 2018|Cava, Press, Spain|

Lettie Teague recently wrote a terrific piece for The Wall Street Journal on Cava, a Spanish category we’ve long been known for here at Grape:

The Wall Street Journal – “Can Spanish Sparkling Compete with Champagne?” Click here for the full article (WSJ subscription required)

Ms. Teague made the point that Cava is the third largest sparkling wine type in the world in terms of production, second only to Prosecco and Champagne, but much less “called for” let alone understood.  She reminded us that Cava is unusual amongst sparkling wine categories as it is not tied to a geographic region – While most of it is made in the Northeastern region of Penedès, you can find fine examples from other locales such as Rioja, Valencia, and Navarre to name a few.  She also brought up a question we answer on the street all the time about varietal composition in Cava – That the most common grapes used in Cava are native Spanish varietals such as Xarel-lo, Macabeo, and Parellada but producers are free to use whatever varietals they like, with some adding Champagne grapes like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Our friend and colleague Ines Oro of Bohigas is interviewed in the article and advises she is keen on public education when it comes to getting newcomers on board with Cava – This approach has worked particularly well in the Boston market where the number of great Spanish restaurants has resulted in a heightened awareness and understanding of the category.

Did I mention how well our wines (Dibon and Bohigas) placed in their panel tasting? 

WSJ PANEL TASTING RESULTS // “5 BOTTLES THAT RAISE CAVA’S CRED”

#1  Dibon NV Brut Reserve Cava, $10

#2  Mas Vida NV Brut Cava, $11

#3  Bohigas NV Brut Reserva Cava, $12

#4  Juve y Camps NV Reserva de la Familia Brut Nature Cava, $17

#5  Gramona 2011 Imperial Brut Gran Reserva Cava, $30 

Get ready for what should be a nice “run” on Dibon and Bohigas out there….

Frank is gushing about 2017 Burgundies from barrel

By |2018-09-26T17:51:29+00:00September 26th, 2018|Burgundy, France, Travel Report|

Some of you have been lucky enough to meet our friend and colleague Frank Poot over the years.  Now 68 years young, Frank started his long and storied wine career in a somewhat atypical way, working as a young commercial truck driver transporting tulips from his native Holland to all corners of France.  Frank never considered a day complete without settling into whatever was the typical cuisine of the region he found himself in, and he invariably accompanied this food with a few glasses of regional wine.  Frank soon started taking his tulip truck on detours to stock up on wines he particularly enjoyed, and Frank’s contagious personality meant that he soon had forged friendships with winegrowers across France.

This activity quickly turned into selling wine to friends, which turned into Frank co-founding the Bordeaux negociant Vintex in the mid-1980’s (an iconic firm still thriving to this day and our top supplier in the region).  Frank’s efforts at Vintex led him and our late Founder Mike Temple to meet.  In time Frank sold his shares in Vintex, created Poot Agenturen (now one of Europe’s leading wine distributors), and he and Mike went on to share their travels, producer portfolios, and vacations over what was a pretty incredible thirty year friendship.  After Mike Temple’s untimely passing in 2015, Frank stepped in to formally become Grape Expectations’ eyes and ears in Europe. Frank’s radar for talent, culture, and value is second to none. Every morning I feel blessed that we have this opportunity to work with him.

Without further ado, below are Frank’s trip notes from what was a fast and furious junket!

Northern Chablis, 9/21/18

Interesting experience tonight.  I’m on my way to Fèvre et Fèvre and since they could only see me tomorrow morning I decided to leave early and spend the night in the area.  It so happened that Chablis was booked solid and I ended up in a small, rural village, called Ligny-le Châtel at the very North end of viticultural Chablis.  The establishment, Le Relais Saint Vincent (relais usually indicates a place where coaches changed horses and passengers ate and drank.  As it is along the old road from Troyes to Auxerre it seems to fit), is pretty old, but clean and comfortable.  It is run by a guy who got tired of his well paid job at the RATP ( Parisian public transportation system) and decided in 2008 to do something else.  He ended up with an old hotel-restaurant in the boonies (how deep can a man fall…).  The restaurant is actually pretty good with some of my old favorites like Jambon Persillé and Andouillette de Chablis.  The wines were remarkable (I’m getting there). They had a straight Chablis 2016 by the glass from Yvon Vocoret, a local grower and probably related to the Vocorets in Chablis (big time producers). Easy style, but very dry and typical.

For red I had Irancy 2015 from Richoux which they served by the glass at € 5,50 or a half bottle at € 22 ( which I had). Astonishing wine, dark, young, tight, full-bodied and more spice than I have ever seen in a PN.  Above all, very earthy.  For cheese I had Chaource and Soumaintrain ( ëpoisses like}, both local and showing very well (Isn’t September such great time of the year for cheese?!?).  The combination of the cheeses with the Irancy was astonishing, both the cheese and the wine have very earthy characters and seem to be made to go together.  So, are we then talking about terroir or earthiness, or both???

Domaine Nathalie and Gilles Fèvre (aka Fèvre Fèvre), 9/22/18

Nathalie and Gilles Fevre have some 120 acres total, mostly in Chablis and Fourchaume.  State-of-the-art winery.  Owned and run by Gilles and Nathalie along with daughter Julie.   Nathalie is the winemaker (she was La Chablisienne’s winemaker for twelve years).  Availability is very good, they still sell grapes/must to a handful of top echelon names, whom we will keep un-named!

Harvest 2018 just finished – It started early on Sept. 3 and ended Sept. 27.  Winter and spring were quite wet, perfect water table.  Growing conditions were just perfect, but also bizarre this year.   Summer very warm and very dry, it is raining a bit today as I write this, but they did not get much at all through the summer.  There was some drought stress, but less than what could be expected, so the ripening went well.  Diseases that plagued Southern France were all but absent in the North.  Production is very big and of very good quality, not unlike in Champagne.  I tasted some fermenting wines, they are very concentrated and rich, if the acidities hold up this could be a vintage like 1990 or 1982, the best in recent history.

The 2017’s showed very well. Overall the wines are balanced, round and complete with the typical Chablis salinity, minerality and tension. They will age well, but can easily be drunk young.  Chablis, fresh, round, more saline than mineral.

Fevre Fevre 2017 Chablis “Fourchaume,” tighter, finer, more mineral.
Fevre Fevre 2017 Chablis “Monts de Milieu” (1er Cru next to the Montée de Tonnerre), fuller, more concentration and acidity.
Fevre Fevre 2017 Chablis “Vaulorent” (1er Cru next to Les Preuses), 15% wood, some new. Abundant fruit, young still, elegant.
Fevre Fevre 2017 Chablis “Les Preuses,” this is in another league, 30% wood, some new. Young, tight, concentrated, crisp.

Very good delivery here at every level.  This vintage is clearly better and more typical than 2016, especially in Chablis and Fourchaume.  However, I tasted prior vintages of Fourchaume and Preuses (2016), and both were outstanding.  The following 2017’s are reserved for us – Chablis 3,000; Fourchaume 300, more possible; Monts de Milieu 120; Vaulorent 300; Preuses 2016  120.

Domaine Dauvissat-Camus, 9/24/18

Vincent Dauvissat is a very shy, serious and soft spoken person, and runs the estate with his son Ghislain.  We tasted 2017 vintages from barrel.  Most wines are tank-fermented and than put in barrel, mostly older.  Annually only a few new barrels are used for barrel fermentation.  All wines receive their aging in small wood barrels.  Everything is traditional here and I don’t have a clue what makes these wines so great.  Yields are somewhat lower than average, but generally not really low.  These wines are stunning, very pure and typical and true to their respective origins. They are sculpted thoroughbreds.

Domaine Dauvissat Camus 2017 Petit Chablis, concentrated for the ac, tight, but pleasant.
Domaine Dauvissat Camus 2017 Chablis, more complex and saline, tension.
Domaine Dauvissat Camus 2017 Chablis “Sechets,” dry and austere, nervous.
Domaine Dauvissat Camus 2017 Chablis “Vaillons,” more fruit and fat.
Domaine Dauvissat Camus 2017 Chablis “Forets,” shy, fresh, typical.
Domaine Dauvissat Camus 2017 Chablis “Preuses,” other dimension, powerful, complex, finesse and tension.
Domaine Dauvissat Camus 2017 Chablis “Clos,” fatter, but also drier, salinity, mineral.

They all have the typical minerality, salinity and tension of Chablis, but very balanced by the fruit.  2017 is a vintage that will be lovely young. I think it will age well.  I have rarely tasted a finer set of wines.  Veronique, the office manager, will do the allocations in December, or so. No idea how much we will get, but they are very loyal.  They have not taken on new customers for many years in order to maintain allocations for existing clients.  

Domaine Guy & Yvan Dufouleur, 9/23/18

2018 Harvested 9/3 -9/17 under ideal conditions.  They did not receive the two-day heat spike that Chablis got.  They also had more rain during the growing season.  Wines were too young to taste, but the winery smelled nice.  Some hail damage, up to 20% in some areas, but this was pretty much compensated elsewhere.

Domaine Guy & Yvan Dufouleur 2017 Aligoté, fresh, crisp, balanced, good acidity.
Domaine Guy & Yvan Dufouleur 2017 Hautes Cotes de Nuits “16th Gen,” fuller, more spice, long.
Domaine Guy & Yvan Dufouleur 2017 Hautes Cotes de Nuits “Huguettes,” sone new wood, classy.
Domaine Guy & Yvan Dufouleur 2017 SLB, finer, fuller, more new wood.

By October the above will all be bottled.

Domaine Guy & Yvan Dufouleur 2017 Hautes Cotes de Nuits Rouge “16th Gen,” a little closed, good fruit.
Domaine Guy & Yvan Dufouleur 2017 Hautes Cotes de Nuits Rouge “Hugettes,” more austere and tight.
Domaine Guy & Yvan Dufouleur 2017 Santenay Genets, elegant, new wood , flavor.
Domaine Guy & Yvan Dufouleur 2017 Volnay, lighter in color, finesse elegant, charm.
Domaine Guy & Yvan Dufouleur 2017 Pommard, similar, more powerful.
Domaine Guy & Yvan Dufouleur 2017 Nuits Saint Georges “Juliens,” light color, good fruit, structure.
Domaine Guy & Yvan Dufouleur 2017 Fixin “Chapitre,” extremely dark for PN, all about power, fat and tannin, a monster.
Domaine Guy & Yvan Dufouleur 2017 Nuits Saint Georges “Crots,” dark, fine.
Domaine Guy & Yvan Dufouleur 2017 Nuits Saint Georges “Poulettes,” fine again, longer.
Domaine Guy & Yvan Dufouleur 2017 Nuits Saint Georges “Perriere,” dark, powerful.

Virtually all these reds were somewhat reductive, which is normal at this stage. They will get a last racking before bottling later this year.  It makes tasting a little difficult, but I actually like it as it is a natural protection in the wine.  2017’s are rather soft and balanced and will be drinking beautifully young.  Very consumer friendly wines, white as well as red. It’s all there in this vintage, but it’s not 2010 or 2015, more a slightly lighter edition of 2009.  Dufouleur offers great value again!

Domaine R. Dubois & Fils, 9/25/18

Very interesting visit, a lot happening here.  Harvest situation similar to Dufouleur, obviously, as both have vineyards in the same areas.  Very happy with his 2018’s although he worried a little bit about low acidities. This could be the hallmark of the vintage, but it’s too early to tell.  Malic acid levels are low, so it will remain to be seen what’s left after the ML fermentation.  They started in 2017 with 30% whole-cluster fermentation for some wines, in 2018 they have done this with most of the premium wines and with 30-50% whole bunch. From what I saw in some of the 2017’s this is a beneficial method for the domaine.

Domaine R. Dubois & Fils 2017 Aligoté, rich an creamy, full and soft.
Domaine R. Dubois & Fils 2017 Coteaux Bourguigonnes (chardonnay), more complexity and flavor.
Domaine R. Dubois & Fils 2017 Hautes Cotes de Beaune Blanc very nice, some wood, a “little Meursault”. great value.
Domaine R. Dubois & Fils 2017 Hautes Cotes de Nuits Blanc, more fruit and finesse, quite different from the 
Domaine R. Dubois & Fils 2017 Cotes de Nuits Villages Blanc, rich and fat, more wood, good balance.
Domaine R. Dubois & Fils 2017 Nuits Saint Georges Blanc (new), even richer, ton of white fruit, very nice (it is actually from 1er Cru soil, but he finds the vines too young to call it that).

The above are a great set of rich, soft, charming wines that will drink very well young and a little older.

Domaine R. Dubois & Fils 2017 Bourgogne Rouge VV, quite stunning, good color, great Pinot fruit.
Domaine R. Dubois & Fils 2017 Hautes Cotes de Nuits Rouge, less color, more austere, needs some time.Domaine R. Dubois & Fils 2017 Savigny lès Beaune Rouge, lighter color, good flavor and long.
Domaine R. Dubois & Fils 2017 Beaune Rouge, good color, wood a bit dominant, needs time.
Domaine R. Dubois & Fils 2017 Volnay, good color and fruit, finesse.
Domaine R. Dubois & Fils 2017 Cotes de Nuits Villages Rouge, ample, fat, more masculin.
Domaine R. Dubois & Fils 2017 Chambolle, very reductif, but seems very good.
Domaine R. Dubois & Fils 2017 Vosne, top, good color, very long (vineyard just below Echezeaux)
Domaine R. Dubois & Fils 2017 Nuits Saint Georges Rouge, full, powerful.
Domaine R. Dubois & Fils 2017 Savigny les Beaune Rouge “Narbantons,” concentration, sweet.
Domaine R. Dubois & Fils 2017 Nuits Saint Georges Rouge “Argillières,” concentrated, sweet, soft.
Domaine R. Dubois & Fils 2017 Nuits Saint Georges Rouge “Pôrets,” more power, bigger wine
Domaine R. Dubois & Fils 2017 Clos Vougeot, big, brooding, dark, great wine

Good stuff overall.

Louis Picamelot 9/25/15

Eye opening visit with Proprietor Philippe Chautaurd.  Founded in 1926 by the grandfather of Chautard.  They have 40 acres all over Burgundy, but most wine/must is bought from contract growers.  Capacity 400K  bottles, in a brand new winery/cellar in Rully.  These Cremants are made like Burgundy wine, with Burgundy varietals, from small plots, fully authentic, consequently all vintage-dated.  To me this is absolutely unique, I don’t think there’s any other producer like it. “Crémant de Terroir”, if you will, a great sales pitch for Sommeliers to make on the floor to tables!    All wines are made by Champagne Method, very much like Champagne, bottled in March, long bottle ageing, at least 18 months.  Dosage is low, mostly 6.75 or lower.  All rather dry, fresh and crisp.

Picamelot 2014 Cremant de Bourgogne “Terroir” (which we carry), 40 Chard / 30 Pinot / 30 Aligote, dry, fresh, young. Very good indeed.
Picamelot 2015 Cremant de Bourgogne Rosé, 100% PN, aromatic, dry, noble.
Picamelot 2014 Cremant de Bourgogne “Bio,” 100% PN, aromatic again, dry, ripe.
Picamelot 2014 Cremant de Bourgogne “Blanc de Blancs,” Chardonnay/Aligote, a lot of flavor, long.
Picamelot 2014 Cremant de Bourgogne “Blanc de Blancs Reipes,” 100% Chardonnay from Saint Aubin, austere, fine, top.
Picamelot 2013 Cremant de Bourgogne (unnamed barrel aged cuvee), Chard/Aligote, a little ripe for me.

Back labels (EU) are very elaborate, they state vintage, bottling date, blend, disgorgment date, dosage.  We should expand our Picamelot offerings, if you agree let us know or just post a comment!

That is it for now – The next time around I’ll figure out the whole Android photo upload thing and integrate some photo material.

Best,

FP

You’re picky about the quality of the ingredients that go into your dishes. Then why aren’t you using real Sherry in your kitchen?

By |2018-10-02T05:04:04+00:00August 31st, 2018|Cooking|

Instead of using the bland, mass-produced California “sherry” that sits on the bottom shelf of your local grocer, you could be using high quality, delicious stuff from a Jerez icon.  Founded in 1821, Barbadillo is without question Sanlucar de Barrameda’s most iconic producer of Sherry.  The thing we appreciate most about Barbadillo is that they’ve remained staunchly committed to tradition in the face of continued growth – Base wines are all still fermented in house through the company’s network of sixteen historic bodegas and the variety and depth of their soleras is breathtaking.

Barbadillo NV Manzanilla – $10 SRP

Cook with it and drink with it at once with what many call the best food/wine combinations on the planet – Manzanilla sherry with garlic prawns.  This Sous Vide version from the genius minds over at Serious Eats is basically insane so just hit it now.  Sous vide shrimp with garlic, sherry, and smoked paprika recipe (Serious Eats) 

Barbadillo NV Fino – $10 SRP

Dry, light and elegant on the palate, with hints of almond due to the solera maturation in seasoned oak.  Clean, and crisp finish.  Marinated artichokes with prawns and fino sherry (Saveur)

Barbadillo NV Amontillado – $10 SRP

Classic Amontillado nuttiness here. Plenty of hazelnuts and a little caramel, there is definitely some sweetness here but is not cloying as some sweeter Sherries can be.  Imagine roasted chicken.  Heck, use it with your roasted chicken gravy!  Chicken with sherry, garlic, and peppers (Telegraph UK)

Barbadillo NV Oloroso – $10 SRP

Aromatic and flavorsome, this dry Oloroso Sherry from Barbadillo is the result of the very long maturing process in the traditional Solera System.  Brits love some oloroso, and is is a classic component for a proper cottage pie.  Cottage pie with shallots and sherry (Serious Eats)

Barbadillo NV Cream – $10 SRP

A full, sweet and aromatic sherry. Well rounded, with a dark, mahogany color. Smooth and very intense on the palate. It is a blend of old dry Olorosos and sweet Pedro Ximenez matured in the solera system for seven years.  It isn’t an obvious choice for cooking but actually can work very well – The community at Chowhound was bouncing ideas back and forth a while back, we tried the poppy seed cake angle and it worked well

Barbadillo NV Pedro Ximenez – $10 SRP

PX is a very special style of Sherry, made not from Palomino but from Pedro Ximénez grapes which are also partially dried so that in fact the wine is made from raisins, meaning it is dramatically dark, rich, thick in texture and filled with lusciously sweet flavors. From walnuts and orange to prunes and plump, liquidized raisins, it is fabulous stuff and a small amount goes a long way due to its decadence.  When vanilla ice cream meets booze, what could go wrong? (Washington Post)

Barbadillo NV Amontillado “Principe” – $40 SRP

Sometimes (hopefully in your case daily), life calls for a little luxury.  Why not go full throttle and cook lobster with a 12 year bone dry heirloom Amontillado?  Creamy lobster newburg (The Spruce Eats)