Friday, July 29, 2016

Domaine de la Pinte (Arbois, Jura) -- Recent releases

The estate that originally was established in the 19th century, but there was a pause after the phylloxera devastation until 1959, when Roger Martin, a geologist and native of Arbois, resuscitated the estate. The tradition is carried on now by Roger’s son Pierre. Domaine de la Pinte possesses 32 ha of vines, but because of recent replanting, only 23 ha are currently producing. The estate is certified organic and biodynamic and uses a minimum of sulfur in winemaking. (Continue reading here.)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Miscellaneous Northern Rhônes V: Allemand, Accoles/Leriche, Entrefaux/Tardy, Faury, Ferme des Sept Lunes/Delobre, and Gonon

At their best, 2012, 2013, and 2014 are strong vintages, but there is inconsistency and one has to be careful in selecting, even from some of the best names. 2014 has gotten a bad reputation because there was some rain; it may make the wines a little less powerful than those of the other two vintages, but the best of them make up for it with remarkable precision.

Earlier reviews of Northern Rhônes are found here herehere, and here

All wines below are red, except as otherwise indicated. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Domaine Benoît Badoz (Poligny, Jura)

I don’t have much background with this estate located in Poligny, but I was favorably impressed by the red wines; the still whites left me somewhat nonplussed.

After having worked around the world in Australia, California, Bordeaux, and Burgundy, Benoît returned home in 2003 to take over direction of the estate, although his father continues to work with him. The estate consists of 10 ha and is worked according to lutte raisonnée (organic, except where all other means fail). Native yeasts are used and the levels of SO2 are minimal. (Continue reading here.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Miscellaneous Loire Reds: Chidaine, Marionnet, Lemasson, Pothiers/Paire, Tessier, Venner

From good producers, there are good wines to be had, and largely still at attractive prices. But of recent vintages, only 2015 has in any way been satisfactory for volume, and 2016 looks like a complete disaster due to the spring frosts. Support your Loire producers where you get the chance! (Continue reading here.) 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Domaine Gramenon/Maxime François Laurent (Montbrison-sur-Lez, Southern Rhône) -- Early Release 2015s

I’m not an especial Grenache fan, so I’m particular about Southern Rhône producers. Gramenon is one that I have been unreservedly enthusiastic about over the years. These wines aren’t especially complex, but they are very satisfying.  

The estate is organic and biodynamic. (Continue reading here.)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Domaine Plageoles (Cahuzac Sur Vère, Southwest France)

Plageoles has long been the great domaine in the region of Gaillac and has been responsible for the revived interest in indigenous grapes in the region. The generational change from father Robert to son Bernard has caused no disruption. The estate is certified organic.

These wines are worth your full effort to seek out -- they won't match Romanée-Conti, but they will give you all you could desire in soul. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Three Reds from the Jura -- Pélican/d'Angerville, Hughes Béguet, and Pignier

Most people probably think of the Jura for white wine, but it is also the source of delicious red wines. The big three grapes are Pinot Noir, Trousseau, and Poulsard (sometimes spelled Ploussard) -- either separately or in combination. But as you can see below with the Pignier wine, there are small amounts of other red wine grapes and they can be fascinating, too, on their own or in combination. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Domaine Rijckaert (Les Planches, Jura) -- Current Releases

As best I can recall, the first Jura wine I ever encountered was from Rijckert, more than fifteen years ago. It was a Chardonnay, and immediately, I could recognize that there was a difference here from any other Chardonnay that I had previously encountered — the difference that is Jura.

Jean Rijckaert, originally from Belgium, worked at first with his countryman, Jean-Marie Guffens, based in the Mâconnais, and they originally were partners in the Verget négociant operation. (If you’ve had unimpressive experiences with Verget wines, I encourage you nevertheless to read on.) Rijckaert eventually established his own operation in 1998 in the Mâconnais and the Jura, and it is for the wines from the latter region that I am concerned here.

As time went on, Rijckaert needed to find a successor, and he did in Florent Rouve. Since 2013, Rouve has been taking over the operation with advice from Rijckaert as he goes along.

The estate in the Jura consists of six hectares (there’s an additional four hectares owned in the Mâconnais), and there are also négociant wines. The négociant wines are indicated by the green printing on the labels. Only white wines are produced.

What I’ve tasted does not put these wines at the very top of my Jura hierarchy, but they are good wines that reflect the terroir and at a fair price, and so are well worth your trying to experience the individuality of Jura wines, especially as they have good distribution in certain areas. (Jura wines are hard to come by; it is the smallest wine-producing region in France, and only a relative few have access to the very top, such as Ganevat, Pignier, and Château d’Arlay.) (Continue reading here.)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Château d'Arlay (Arlay, Jura) -- Current Release Wines

Demand is high for the wines of Château d’Arlay, so I encounter them far less than I’d like, but I’ve always been impressed, and this recent exposure was no different from the past ones. 

Vineyard practices are organic for part of the estate and lutte raisonnée (organic, except as a last resort) for the rest. Many of the vines date back to the early 1950s.

The red wines are destemmed and raised in foudres (large barrels) that are at least four years old. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Camille Giroud (Beaune) -- 2013s Tasted from Bottle

David Croix has done an excellent job here since the beginning of the millennium. It has just been announced that in 2016, he will perform vinifications with Carel Voorhuis, who previously has been in charge of Domaine d’Ardhuy. Voorhuis will take over fully at Camille Giroud in future vintages. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, July 2, 2016

2014 Ansgar Clüsserath (Trittenheim, Mosel) -- 2014s

Eva Clüsserath said that she was surprised that the vintage in the Mosel was even more than in the Rheinhessen (where her husband, Philipp Wittmann’s estate is located). Harvesting began on 12 October and lasted about ten days. It was necessary to inspect each bunch of grapes to sort out unhealthy grapes. There were no edelsüss wines (Auslese and sweeter). She characterized the vintage as in the end a good year, but very stressful. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, July 1, 2016

Domaine Denis Mortet (Gevrey-Chambertin) -- 2013s Tasted from Bottle

Background on vintage conditions and reviews of these and other Mortet 2013s from barrel are located here

The wines are of outstanding quality. Those that don’t know modern Mortet wines should know that the days of excessive extraction are long behind and these wines are elegant and pure in the way that Burgundy, in my opinion, should be. (Continue reading here.)