December Newsletter: Holiday Gift Shop, Ten New Arrivals, Vintage Bordeaux

The December Newsletter is now available.

Click here to download the pdf.

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…

HOLIDAY GIFT SHOP >

Something good for any wine drinker in your life (including you)!

Cozy Sampler >

by Jennifer Oakes

I am an Olympic-level lounger. When I work, I work hard and fast, taking only the breaks necessary to refuel, then it’s back to the grind. But when I’m done with all that, I’m really done, and it’s COZY TIME! I put as much planning into relaxation as I do into meaningful tasks, making lists of snuggle-inducing accoutrements: the latest music, shows/movies to watch, books to read; something soft and warm to wear; the perfect snacks, store-bought or homemade (see enclosed recipes for inspiration); and, of course, wine, wine, and wine.

Life is busy and hectic enough, made rougher in winter—why not give major relaxation a try? Grab some tasty nibbles, a comfy blanket, a pile of pillows, and (naturally) a lovely bottle of wine. We have all manner of suitable sippers in this sampler to smooth out the hard edges, either all for yourself or to share with your friends and loved ones. Fire up the remote, crack open that book, or flip on the stereo, whatever you need—we’ll go for the gold together!

2015 Vaucluse Blanc • Domaine de Durban

2015 Custoza • Corte Gardoni

2015 Savoie “Les Abymes” • A. & M. Quenard

2014 Muscadet • André-Michel Brégeon

NV Bugey-Cerdon Rosé “La Cueille” • Patrick Bottex

2013 Cahors • Clos La Coutale

2014 Barbera “Rosso Pietro” • Cantine Valpane

2014 “Lou Maset” Rouge • Domaine d’Aupilhac

2014 Chinon “Les Petites Roches” • Charles Joguet

2015 Beaujolais-Villages “Cuvée Marylou” • Guy Breton

2013 Côtes-du-Rhône “Cairanne” • Le Goeuil

2013 Chianti Classico • Castagnoli

Normally $233.85

SPECIAL SAMPLER PRICE $164

(a 30% discount)

 

Breton Vertical Sampler >

by Anthony Lynch

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Catherine and Pierre Breton boast decades of combined experience farming and vinifying the great appellations of the Loire. If there is one wine that embodies this lifelong commitment to excellence, it is undoubtedly their Bourgueil Les Perrières bottling. From one of Bourgueil’s historic sites, a slope of siliceous clay over tuffeau limestone, this majestic Cabernet Franc is consistently the Bretons’ most complex and age-worthy cuvée. Add old vines and long élevage in used wood to the equation, and you have a profound, concentrated red of striking finesse that can evolve for decades, thanks to its chalky backbone. In fact, we have never tasted a tired bottle! Some mature vintages of Les Perrières have just arrived directly from the Breton cellars in Restigné: 2007, 2004, 2003, 1999, 1993, and 1992. This is your chance to see the wonders of aged Cabernet Franc from some of the best in the business.

VERTICAL 6-BOTTLE SAMPLER PRICE $450

Young Vignerons Sampler >

THE NEXT GENERATION

by Anthony Lynch

We talk all too often about vine age, but what about vigneron age? My father has uncovered many talented, experienced winemakers throughout his career, but today a new generation has come of age, and we are eager to prove our worth. Many sons and daughters of Kermit’s vigneron pals have now taken the reins at their respective domaines, building off the work of past generations with a fresh perspective and an ambitious drive for improvement. This sampler of two whites and four reds will introduce you to some of our most promising youngsters. Constantly pushing the envelope, they are the future of fine wine.

Featuring wines from Arnaud and David Lavantureux (Domaine Roland Lavantureux), Simon Chotard (Daniel Chotard), Giacomo and Davide Tincani (La Basia),
Matthieu Baudry (Domaine Bernard Baudry), Vincent and Philippe Guillemot (Domaine Pierre Guillemot), and Camille-Anaïs Raoust (Domaine Maestracci)

Normally $150

SPECIAL 6-bottle SAMPLER PRICE $120

(a 20% discount)

TEN NEW ARRIVALS

A lot of wine just arrived. It’s hard to decide what to put in the newsletter each month, so here are ten new arrivals from across France and Italy that we are very excited to show off, as pitched by our staff.

2014 CHABLIS “LES TRUFFIÈRES”
DOMAINE COSTAL >

Limestoney, vibrant, and zesty, with a smoky, waxy lushness. This dynamic silky gem was born to be poured with oysters. Start shucking!
Bryant Vallejo

$30.00 per bottle $324.00 per case

2015 POUILLY FUMÉ “VIEILLES VIGNES”
RÉGIS MINET >

A refreshing, crisp Sauvignon Blanc that draws you into the glass with finesse and subtle aromas of grapefruit. —Steve Waters

$24.00 per bottle $259.20 per case

2014 RIESLING GRAND CRU “SOMMERBERG ECKBERG”
ALBERT BOXLER >

My favorite Riesling in the store (perhaps ever). Zesty, minerally, intensely aromatic, boundlessly deep—my Alsatian ancestry approves!
—Jennifer Oakes

$85.00 per bottle $918.00 per case

2015 FRIULI GRAVE FRIULANO “LA DULINE”
VIGNAI DA DULINE >

Duline makes some of the most exciting wines in Italy, and this Friulano is pure genius. It is generous on the palate with a stony, crisp finish.
—Michael Butler

$45.00 per bottle $486.00 per case

“ROSS DA TRAVAJ” VERMOUTH • BÈRTO >

Our first vermouth! Let this aromatic Piemontese vermouth spice up your holiday cocktail game, or sip it on the rocks with an orange peel garnish. —Clark Z. Terry

$18.00 per liter bottle $194.40 per case

2014 VACQUEYRAS ROUGE “CUVÉE DOUCINELLO”
SANG DES CAILLOUX >

Grenache dominates this spice-and-wild-herb-driven rouge. Think “Châteauneuf’s more rustic, outdoorsy little brother.” —Todd Maltbie

$34.00 per bottle $367.20 per case

2015 ROSSESE “VIGNETO ISASCO”
PUNTA CRENA >

Hailing from the Ligurian coast of Italy, Rossese is a delightfully light-bodied red that packs a ton of flavor with every sip. —Steve Waters

$27.00 per bottle $291.60 per case

2014 VIN DE FRANCE ROUGE “FAUSTINE”
DOMAINE COMTE ABBATUCCI >

This medium-bodied wine with maquis-laden wild fruit and soft tannin was my introduction to the exotic world of Corsican wine years ago. I’ve been mesmerized by Abbatucci’s Faustine rouge, and I hope you will be, too. —Will Meinberg

$37.00 per bottle $399.60 per case

2014 BLAGNY ROUGE 1ER CRU “LA GENELOTTE”
COMTESSE DE CHÉRISEY >

Cool, high-altitude terroir above Meursault, rarely planted to Pinot Noir • Vines planted 1934 • Bright, delicate, earthy • Drink/hold —Anthony Lynch

$65.00 per bottle $702.00 per case

2014 ROSSO DI MONTALCINO • COLLEONI >

If a wine could taste like how Vivaldi’s “L”Autunno” from Le Quattro Stagioni sounds, it would be Marino Colleoni’s rosso. —Dustin Soiseth

$46.00 per bottle $496.80 per case

VINTAGE BORDEAUX

by Anthony Lynch

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2008 LUSSAC ST.-ÉMILION
CHÂTEAU DE BELLEVUE >

No, we did not forget a digit when typing up the price of this wine, an eight-year-old Bordeaux straight from the cellar of an organic vigneron in the heart of the Right Bank. The magic of so-called “satellite appellations,” as we refer to Lussac in relation to neighboring Saint-Émilion, is that there is more variation in terroir within each AOC than between the two. A great Lussac can therefore outperform an average Saint-Émilion, but its price will never come close.

Bellevue sits on a plateau of pure chalk, which gives the wine a flavor as site-specific as can be. It manifests itself in its appetizing acidity, stony tannins, and lively fresh fruit that make this Lussac delicious now and for many years to come.

$26.00 per bottle $280.80 per case

1999 CANON FRONSAC
CHÂTEAU MOULIN PEY-LABRIE >

Natural wine in Bordeaux? It’s a rare thing. Bénédicte and Grégoire Hubau of Moulin Pey-Labrie are among the very few to have adopted this progressive philosophy in a region better known for its enological precision than for organic farming. The wine, however, does not taste radically “natural”—not funky, dirty, spritzy, or any of the other usual suspects. No, it tastes like perfectly mature, old-school Bordeaux—rife with forest floor, black fruit, game, and leathery tannins that beg for a chewy meat to cling to.

$60.00 per bottle $648.00 per case

2006 POMEROL • GOMBAUDE-GUILLOT >

The young Olivier Techer of Gombaude-Guillot is turning heads with each new release, and this 2006, made by his mother, will give you a good idea of what you can expect should you cellar some of his fine Pomerol. The nose offers everything you’d hope for in a mature Merlot from these esteemed soils—a potent whiff of dank, freshly turned earth, cocoa, plum, and black truffle. It makes a grandiose impression on the palate, rich and broad with sensuous depth and a long, luscious finish. I plan to serve it at my holiday table, and why not stock up for some rainy days to come?

$72.00 per bottle $777.60 per case

 

Farmers’ Markets

Room to Improve?

by Kermit Lynch

 

I brag to French friends about Berkeley’s farmers’ market: how great the quality is, what a large selection of organic produce it features, and that vendors here really are farmers—dear Annabelle Lenderink, for example. The growth of farmers’ markets in this country is amazing. For that luxury I give credit to the one and only Alice Waters, who also helped American wine drinkers learn to appreciate rosé, by the way.

Near Bandol, where I live when I’m in France, my village’s market has only one farmer, and he’s not organic. The other stands sell the same crap that you can buy in the supermarket, so the “farmers’ market” is almost a pretense.

 

 

However, as I learned last week in Sicily, we Berkeleyans can still improve. Sicilian cuisine is based on the fact that the island is surrounded—aren’t they all—by water. Tuna, swordfish, anchovies, sardines, and octopuses are ever present in restaurants and markets, along with an incredible variety of other sea critters—often for sale still kickin’! The difference between the taste of a cooked live shrimp versus a dead one, for example, is huge. Our Berkeley market boasts a single fish stand, with a very limited, pre-packaged selection.

 

 

At the market in Isola di Ortigia, I found a stand that serves only two things—the guy opens a raw oyster and also pours you a paper cup of sparkling white blah from liter bottles. Maybe I’m easy, but around 10:30 or 11:00 a.m., a cold raw oyster and a gulp of fizzy blah hits the spot. Across from him was a guy deep-frying fresh anchovies, salting and selling them by the paper-cone-ful. So cheap, so delicious—that’s my favorite way to eat anchovies. I’d like to import him, anchovies, paper cones, and all. Yes, anchovy cones in Berkeley, available daily! I could provide some tasty plonk with which to wash them down—if California law allows such deviant behavior. Oh, yes, and then I saw a stand that sells nothing but red peppers. Wow, a big pile on a wooden table is beautiful. And, if you are pressed for time, the stand has a funky portable barbecue so you can buy your red peppers already cooked and blackened. Simply peel and serve. Or, next to the red pepper stand, a snail stand—nothing but raw, lively snails for sale. Next to that, an old fellow selling nothing but sea urchins! Alive, too. And there were stands with pots full of boiling octopuses. Sicilians buy them simply boiled and then snack on them as they wander through the market.

 

 

See what I mean? We Americans are not doing our part in the search for happy shopping experiences. I know we can do better. Look how we’ve grown competitive in such a short time with our wines, olive oils, and cheeses. There are jobs here waiting for the unemployed—an ocean right offshore to fish, hungers to becalm, tasty pleasures to provide to your fellow citizens.

Meanwhile, if you go to Sicily, don’t spend all your time in the ruins or on the beach. You’ve got some serious snacking ahead of you, too.

Sampler de la Femme

by Jennifer Oakes

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Women have scored some exciting achievements lately in the political, sporting, and human rights realms, and why not? We make up 50 percent of the population, so it shouldn’t be surprising that a woman’s ingenuity, talent, and fortitude would produce social ripples or even full-throttle world change—although she may still have to get it done “backwards and in high heels,” as they say. With women winemakers, however, it’s more like up the slope and in rubber boots. Why is it that women winemakers still aren’t that common? Winemaking is hard work, but we know most women don’t lie around on chaise longues eating bonbons, so that’s not the issue. Still, whether through family inheritance, career change, or sheer determination to excel in a career normally practiced by men, our women winemakers are hitting their stride and making wines of which anyone would be proud.

When I started in the wine business, it didn’t occur to me that a wine made by a woman would be unusual. I just tasted and drank, learning the stories of the winemakers and how the wine was made. But I pay more attention now, and here’s your chance to do the same. We offer this assortment of delicious wines, all made by women, to accompany us as we tango backwards into the twenty-first century.

SAMPLER DE LA FEMME >

An assortment of amazing wines, all made by amazing women

November Newsletter: Annual Champagne Sale, Grand Cru Alsace, Brunello

The November Newsletter is now available.

Click here to download the pdf.

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…

CHAMPAGNE

A NEW ERA

by Anthony Lynch

cellar

Times are changing in the Champagne world. From its chalky fields to the cool, dim cellars below, producers are rethinking their approach to the storied bubbly, aided by advances in viticulture and winemaking, plus a climate that seems more conducive to ripening each year. Meanwhile, the world’s increasingly sophisticated consumers are drinking Champagne with a newfound zeal, sparking valuable debate about farming practices, dosage, and blending in relation to the all-important idea of terroir.

The rise in popularity of so-called “grower Champagnes”—Champagnes farmed, harvested, vinified, bottled, aged, and disgorged by the same people—has changed the way we look at the category as a whole. Should Champagne be a consistent product from year to year determined by each producer’s house style, or should it instead be a candid translation of the nuances of each vintage and vineyard site?

Artisans like Paul Bara and J. Lassalle—among the first, and certainly the longest-standing, of such “grower Champagnes” present in the United States—succeed in embodying both sides of this trenchant debate. In other words, their house styles are deeply rooted in terroir. Consider Bouzy’s sunny south-facing slopes, where Pinot Noir thrives, yielding Bara’s accordingly bold, ample, exuberant wines. Alternatively, a vigneron’s touch—or a vigneronne’s, in the case of the three generations of Lassalle women to manage the estate—can also help define a house style: one can point to their use of malolactic fermentations and careful blending of different climats and cépages as the key to their lush, creamy, sublimely refined Champagnes.

Our last, but not least, Champagne house, Veuve Fourny & Fils, offers a window into the changing nature of the Champagne world. Proud ambassadors of racy Côte des Blancs Chardonnay, the brothers in charge represent the cutting edge of experimentation, always seeking a purer and more transparent expression of terroir. They have questioned, and even eliminated, dosage in certain cuvées; they dabble with barrel aging; they even take the concept of site specificity to the extreme with their tête de cuvée, an old-vine Blanc de Blancs from the family’s treasured little clos.

The one thing we can say with certainty about today’s Champagnes is that they are better than ever before. It is only fitting that consumers have acquired a new appreciation for the wine, realizing its value goes far beyond the occasional celebration or holiday. Indeed, we should be drinking Champagne year-round, appreciating its virtues at table, and we should be cellaring more Champagne for the future. On that note, enjoy our yearly Champagne sale with discounted prices on the following offerings from Paul Bara, J. Lassalle, and Veuve Fourny.

Paul Bara • bouzy

bottle

case

15%

25%

regularly

discount

discount

NV Brut Réserve Grand Cru 100%

$57.00

$48.45

$513.00

NV Brut Rosé Grand Cru 100%

63.00

53.55

567.00

2007 Brut Grand Millésime
Grand Cru 100%

70.00

59.50

630.00

2005 Brut Grand Cru
100% “Special Club”

105.00

89.25

945.00

2005 Brut Grand Cru 100% “Comtesse
Marie de France”

148.00

125.80

1,332.00

2004 Brut Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru
100% “Annonciade”

200.00

170.00

1,800.00

J. Lassalle • Chignylesroses

bottle

case

15%

25%

regularly

discount

discount

NV Brut Rosé 1er Cru

$66.00

$56.10

$594.00

2009 Brut 1er Cru “Cuvée Angéline”

89.00

75.65

801.00

2006 Brut Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru

82.00

69.70

738.00

2005 Brut 1er Cru “Cuvée Spéciale”

89.00

75.65

801.00

Veuve Fourny • vertus

bottle

case

15%

25%

regularly

discount

discount

NV Brut Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru

$50.00

$42.50

$450.00

NV Brut 1er Cru “Grande Réserve”

47.00

39.95

423.00

NV Brut Rosé 1er Cru

57.00

48.45

513.00

NV Extra Dry 1er Cru

48.00

40.80

432.00

2011 Extra-Brut Rosé 1er Cru
“Vinothèque”

89.00

75.65

801.00

2009 Extra-Brut 1er Cru
“Monts de Vertus”

79.00

67.15

711.00

2006 Extra-Brut 1er Cru
“Clos Notre Dame”

176.00

149.60

1,584.00

Limited selection of tenths and magnums available.
Please call the store at (510)524-1524.

GRAND CRU ALSACE

by Dixon Brooke

2014 RIESLING GRAND CRU “MUENCHBERG”
DOMAINE OSTERTAG >

Muenchberg is a glorious hidden mountain in northern Alsace, off the beaten track, with a gentle slope and mystical air about it (they don’t call it Monk’s Mountain for nothing). Nobody has worked more tirelessly to make the terroir famous than André Ostertag. He consistently provides fireworks in the bottle and an aging potential that rivals any dry Riesling in Alsace. It is a sure buy every year. Certainly you shouldn’t miss the 2014, one of the greatest Alsatian Riesling vintages in memory. If you want to smell and taste terroir, start here.

$60.00 per bottle $648.00 per case

boxler-detail2012 PINOT GRIS GRAND CRU “SOMMERBERG WIPTAL”
ALBERT BOXLER >

Wiptal is the highest-altitude portion of the Sommerberg vineyard in Niedermorschwihr, a perfect amphitheater that clings to the very top of the vineyard’s steep granite slope. When Jean Boxler looks out his kitchen window in the morning, he sees the sun glinting off its trellises. The brilliance of this site is its ability to produce sumptuously rich and perfumed Pinot Gris that maintains a vibrant acidity and stony backbone. It is as grand as Pinot Gris gets.

$79.00 per bottle $853.20 per case

2014 RIESLING GRAND CRU “KAEFFERKOPF” MEYERFONNÉ >

I tell our sales staff to remember Kaefferkopf with the word “kaleidoscope.” Kaleidoscopic aroma, kaleidoscopic flavor. The soil is also a kaleidoscope of geology. It is no wonder that the wines from this site were listed simply as “Kaefferkopf” on the great French wine lists of the past century, without the necessity of naming the region or the grape variety. Félix Meyer’s 2014 Riesling from this storied terroir does not disappoint. Power, intensity, and complexity combine to bring us a Riesling for the ages.

$52.00 per bottle $561.60 per case

BRUNELLO

by Dixon Brooke

2011 BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO • SESTI >

Sesti’s new Brunello is seductive, tuned up, honed to perfection, and screaming out of the Brunellian gates. It can be enjoyed immediately or savored for many years (store it in a good cellar). There is nothing quite like a great bottle of Brunello when it is ripe for the picking.

Start with its deep, luscious nose. The wine is savory, thick, juicy, wonderfully saucy, almost truffly, with a sensation of freshly turned earth. In my notes taken while tasting it for the first time in April at the Castello di Argiano, Sesti’s hilltop estate, I compared it to a vinous ragù that has been cooked down for a long time with tomatoes and herbs. “Drink with pasta as if sauce,” I wrote. (You should probably still include the pasta sauce.) It also possesses a lovely tannin that is fine and thirst-enhancing with zero aggression.

There are so many Brunelli out there to choose from these days. We think this is one of the very best, and it never disappoints. Proprietor Giuseppe Sesti, an astronomer from Venice who has been deeply involved in his own blend of organic/biodynamic/cosmic viticulture ever since he purchased his estate in the seventies, explained the secret of his land to me recently: “The ancients talked of the aria buona di Argiano [good air of Argiano]. The castello is perched on a promontory surrounded by two valleys that channel cooling winds from the Mediterranean up to the vineyards, keeping the vines cool throughout the summer despite the sometimes scorching heat.” This is one of the most important keys to the perennial freshness of Sesti’s Brunello: with wine—as in real estate—location, location, location!

$85.00 per bottle $918.00 per case

Liguria

By Anthony Lynch

We love Liguria. The region’s joyous charm is evidenced by its lively wines, delicious creations that speak to an ancient history of grape-growing on steep slopes overlooking irresistible Mediterranean waters. This tradition lives on through the Ruffino family of Punta Crena: Tommaso makes the wine, his brother Paolo sells it, their combined dozen children help out wherever needed, and mamma oversees the whole thing with a gracious smile from her vegetable stand in the courtyard of the family home. The wines below paint a mouthwatering picture of Liguria and the Mediterranean through the eyes of a family that has lived off its land for hundreds of years.

2015 PETTIROSSO ALLEGRO
PUNTA CRENA>

The Pettirosso is a gently sparkling dry rosé made from the indigenous Rossese and Cruvin varieties. Light and bright on the palate with a delicate mouthfeel and crisp acidity, it recalls little red berries and blossoming flowers. Simply put, it is extremely fun to drink.

$19.95 per bottle $215.46 per case

2015 MATAÒSSU “VIGNETO REINÉ”
PUNTA CRENA>

According to Paolo,

The Reinè vineyard was planted with Mataòssu in 1930 by my grandfather Francescu, helped by his eldest sons Angelo and Guglielmo (my uncles). These were difficult times, between two world wars, but my grandfather was very courageous. He built terraces and prepared the earth by hand, without tractors, and established a masterpiece that we still admire and proudly cultivate to this day.

The eighty-six-year-old Mataòssu vines in Reinè represent some of the very last remaining plantings of this fascinating indigenous white grape. The 2015 evokes grapefruit, smoke, herbs, and sea mist, with fresh acidity slicing through its oily texture before a vibrant, saline finish.

$27.00 per bottle $291.60 per case

Domaine Comte Abbatucci

by Chris Santini

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When Jean-Charles Abbatucci returned home to the family farm in Corsica after a long leave of absence, he found something curious. Here he was, in the heart of Corsica, an island with a distinct language and culture, where just about everything is uniquely Corsican, as opposed to French. He stood overlooking his vineyards, where native wild herbs such as Immortelle de Corse, Népita, and Myrthe thrived, a sight unseen in any other part of the world. Yet in the middle of so much uniqueness lay what Jean-Charles called “the Foreign Legion”: row upon row of French vines, mainly Grenache, Cinsault, and Carignan. While there’s nothing wrong with those varieties, the curiosity was that next to the sprawling rows of French vines were just a couple of short, neglected rows of native, unique Corsican varieties—Carcajolu-Neru, Paga Debbiti, Morescola, and Montaneccia, to name a few.

dsc_0172Jean-Charles’s father had planted the French vines years ago, doing what was necessary to make a living, given that the French varietals were all there was a market for. For Jean-Charles, though, the mission was clear. His father had had the foresight and tenacity to maintain a few plants of all the indigenous varieties that had fallen out of vogue, so Jean-Charles set about sending the Foreign Legion home and replanting the native vines in their proper habitat.

The result was nearly instantaneous. The native fauna and flora immediately reconnected with the vines, each of which found its part to play in the complex ecosystem it was best suited for. Spraying harmful, foreign chemicals seemed counterproductive, so Jean-Charles converted to organic, then biodynamic, farming, applying the principle that if he couldn’t eat it, it wasn’t getting sprayed on his vines. He now uses local weeds and plants to make infusions for homeopathic vineyard treatments.

The Diplomate blanc, Général blanc, and Ministre rouge are from the original Corsican varietal holdouts that spawned the revolution. The Diplomate is rich, exotic, and appealing; the Général is taut and firm, herbal and aromatic; and the Ministre is powerful, smoky, and mineral at the same time. All are monuments to the grandeur of the forgotten Corsican varietals.

per bottle

per case

2014 Cuvée Collection Blanc
“Diplomate d’Empire” >

$96.00

$1,036.80

2014 Cuvée Collection Blanc
“Général de la Révolution” >

96.00

1,036.80

2014 Cuvée Collection Rouge
“Ministre Impérial” >

96.00

1,036.80

 

A Guide to the Jura Through the Wines of François Rousset-Martin


By Anthony Lynch

     The Jura wine world is a fascinating, mysterious, and at times confusing one. The region’s recent surge in popularity on American wine lists lies in stark contrast with how strange its wines come across to the uninitiated, with many of its indigenous production methods and quirky winemakers requiring more than an introduction for one to fully savor their virtues. We firmly believe, however, that the pleasure at stake is well worth a slight detour to study the wild world of Jura, so we’ve put together a quick crash course to the region’s wines with a focus on a single producer to guide the way.

     François Rousset-Martin, the newest Jura vigneron to join our team, crafts a number of cuvées covering a range of styles, from the more conventional to texturally baffling wines laced with exoticism. With a creative artistry, François honors the Jura’s traditions while exploring the full spectrum of possibilities provided by terroir, grape, and élevage. He organically farms primarily Chardonnay and Savagnin on grey marl from the family vineyards beneath the stunning cliff-top town of Château-Chalon, then brings the wines to any of his many scattered small cellars dug out of the limestone bedrock. Each cellar, he reveals, is in a sense its own terroir: with variability in temperature, humidity, and native microorganisms, it can cause an entirely unique evolution in identical wines.

     This evolution in barrel will be the main determinant of the resulting style of wine. Jura tradition calls for aging whites sous voile, or under a fine “veil” of yeast that grows over wine in barrel that has not been topped-off (non ouillé) to compensate for evaporation. The voile effectively slows the process of oxidation, while chemical reactions between these microorganisms and the wine below give rise to a highly distinctive and complex set of aromas. Often hinting at walnuts, beeswax, oriental spices, cheese rind, and brine, wines aged sous voile can come as a shock to the unhabituated palate. Their textural and aromatic singularity naturally sets them in a category of their own at table, perhaps the best setting in which to gain an appreciation for such wines. High in umami, they truly shine alongside the Jura’s rich local cuisine. Wild mushrooms, creamy chicken dishes, or smoked charcuterie can be a revelatory pairing; a slab of aged Comté may be the epiphany.

comte

     Many Jura producers also produce more conventional whites in an ouillé, or topped-off style, as is practiced in Burgundy—or for that matter, in essentially all the white wines we are accustomed to. This method preserves fresh fruit flavors without the rather rustic, often funky oxidative notes typical of wines aged sous voile. Rather than being limited to one style, François opts to have a foot in both camps: by manipulating the duration of sous voile aging and blending ouillé wines with non ouillé wines, he creates cuvées that combine attributes of both. Strangely enough, even some of his fully ouillé wines express what seem to be oxidative traits. “The voile yeast is so prolific in my cellar that it will often begin to grow on wines that have been topped off,” he explains. This uniquely Jurassic phenomenon endows his wines with a goût de terroir that no other combination of grape, soil, climate, and native microflora could achieve.

     With this guide in mind, explore the creations of Rousset-Martin for a mouth-watering adventure through the Jura’s wacky world of wine.

 

per bottle

2014 Côtes du Jura

“Mémée Marie” > 

$37.00

2014 Côtes du Jura Chardonnay

“Terres Blanches” > 

39.00

2014 Côtes du Jura Chardonnay

“La Chaux >

39.00

2013 Côtes du Jura Savagnin

“Veine Bleue de Bacchus–Clos Bacchus” >

44.00

2013 Côtes du Jura Savagnin

“Cuvée du Professeur–Sous-Roche” >

44.00

2014 Côtes du Jura Savagnin

“Clos de Trus” >

48.00

2008 Côtes du Jura Savagnin

“Clos Bacchus Sous-Voile 7 ans” >

74.00

2005 Côtes du Jura Savagnin

“Sous-Roch Sous-Voile 10 ans” >

89.00

September Newsletter: The Humble Artisan of Givry, Provençal Style, Albert Boxler, & more

The September Newsletter is now available.

Click here to download the pdf.

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…

Lumpp

THE HUMBLE ARTISAN OF GIVRY

by Dixon Brooke

François Lumpp (pronounced “lamp”) may not be on the list of Burgundy’s most recognized growers yet, but I expect this to change. Lumpp has been quietly toiling his vineyards in the southern Burgundian town of Givry for the past twenty-five years, knowing his moment on the world stage would come eventually. He realized that recognition in his métier would arrive only after a series of difficult but important long-term decisions were made in the name of quality. Virtually all of his vineyards were replanted using old budwood selections (massale), and now they are entering their prime period of production. Lumpp has been responsible for pushing this old-fashioned Côte Chalonnaise appellation forward with the type of approach you find more often farther north in the Côte de Beaune: extensive manual work in the vineyards, low yields, patient élevage. We are excited to add this talented and humble grower to the KLWM family of Burgundies.francois12-1024x683

2014 GIVRY BLANC “CLOS DES VIGNES RONDES” >

Though you may search far and wide, you won’t find another Givry blanc with this much class! From a stony, late-ripening hillside parcel 350 meters above sea level, this incredibly elegant and delicious Chardonnay expertly balances fat and minerality. The long, fine, saline finish is exquisitely refreshing and will keep you coming back until the bottle is empty.

$45.00 per bottle $486.00 per case

2014 GIVRY ROUGE 1ER CRU “LA BRÛLÉE” >

Remember Henri Jayer’s Vosne-Romanée Brûlées? Lumpp has his own Brûlée at Givry. This terroir is composed of the red clay that is very typical in Givry, with plenty of limestone underneath. A textbook example of velvety, finessed Pinot Noir, it glides and dances across the palate effortlessly. Take this one home and drink it tonight—it is as versatile at table as great cru Beaujolais but with the type of sophistication that only Burgundian Pinot Noir can be expected to deliver.

$50.00 per bottle $540.00 per case

2014 GIVRY ROUGE 1ER CRU “CLOS DU CRAS LONG” >

François has spent his career seeking out the top premier cru vineyards atop Givry’s gently rolling slopes, and the results speak for themselves. Clos du Cras Long takes a significant step up in structure from its little brother above. However, this wine is all about fruit and purity: pure pleasure, that is. This gorgeous Pinot Noir will seduce you initially, yet it has just the right bite on the finish to keep you from getting too complacent. Drink or hold.

$56.00 per bottle $604.80 per case

PROVENÇAL style

by Dixon Brooke

When we are talking Provençal, we are typically talking Bandol. Are these the best wines of Provence? They are our favorites, I’ll say that much. We find that the best examples capture the essence of Provence in the most complete way: its flavors, its flair, its joie de vivre, its style, and its character.

2015 BANDOL BLANC
DOMAINE DE TERREBRUNE >

Reynald Delille’s magical blanc does a lot of things well. Let’s start with the aroma: Imagine yourself strolling down a dirt path alongside one of his vineyards on a beautiful sunny day. Inhale deeply, and you might notice whispers of wild fennel, fresh pine, or salty sea air. It is all there in the bouquet of this charming wine, and if you pay close attention you’ll find even more. In its various shades of color, Terrebrune is first and foremost a wine of refreshment, and a wine of great elegance. The white is, of course, no exception.

Even better, if you lay it down for five to ten years, it will ripen until it smells of golden mirabelle plums, and the flavors of Triassic limestone will become ever more pronounced in its distinctive finish. The Clairette grape should get a lot more attention than it does. It brings freshness and acidity to southern blends, it drinks up its surroundings and imparts them with beautiful clarity, and its anti-oxidative qualities lend themselves to long life in bottle.

$34.00 per bottle $367.20 per case

2014 BANDOL ROUGE
DOMAINE DU GROS ’NORÉ >

Our friend and vigneron Alain Pascal produces a wine that is made to work wonders at table with the best of Provençal cooking: garlic, rosemary, thyme, ripe black olives, slow-roasted lamb shoulder, octopus daube, fennel-studded grilled fish, herb-roasted tomatoes, aïoli . . .

Full-flavored and full-throttle, loaded with warmth, joviality, and down-home familiarity, this juicy Bandol is like a big Provençal bear hug from Alain himself. You won’t find a more honest wine. The inky purple juice staining your tongue as you wash down a garlicky morsel of rosemary-studded lamb tastes not unlike it did shortly after the grapes were crushed and racked into Alain’s large oak casks. Gros ’Noré Bandol truly is the definition of Provence in a bottle. Serve it slightly chilled in the warm months to bring out its best.

$40.00 per bottle $432.00 per case

CORSICA

by Chris Santini

2014 PATRIMONIO BLANC “CARCO”
ANTOINE ARENA >

Antoine really needs no further introduction in these pages. He’s made his bones and then some, becoming by far the most celebrated and recognizable name in Corsican wine the world over. I find that his flagship, most consistently delicious, and enjoyable wine is his Carco blanc. It has plenty of the sea salt and minerality common in the best Corsican whites, with the added bonus of a rare Burgundy-like richness and complexity. You just can’t go wrong with this.

$45.00 per bottle $486.00 per case

2015 CORSE FIGARI ROSÉ
CLOS CANARELLI >

Speaking of not going wrong . . . Ever since we convinced Canarelli to let us introduce his wine to the United States, it’s been a runaway success. He actually makes a good amount of rosé compared to his other tiny micro-cuvées, yet we get so little of it! The rest is jealously guarded and consumed in Corsica. I have an image of Corsica as a man with an angry Heston-like glare, Canarelli rosé magnum raised above his head, declaring, “From my cold, dead hands!”

$36.00 per bottle $388.80 per case

2014 CORSE FIGARI ROUGE
CLOS CANARELLI >

A special dinner guest once told me that he liked his red wine so rich and thick you could put a fork in the glass and it would stand up. While he told me that, I discreetly pushed away the bottle of Lapierre Morgon I was planning to open. And then I wondered what on earth I could offer that would please this guy, as nothing in my cellar comes remotely close to this horrid category of richness. But I got his message: he likes his wine strong and powerful. Why not tune him into something dark and full bodied yet with plenty of finesse? Canarelli’s Figari rouge did the trick. There’s a wallop of fruit, chewy tannins, and that fresh, vibrant biodynamic thing going on in the background. We killed the bottle in record time and he asked for more. Figari may not hold a fork but hopefully has set a new standard.

$45.00 per bottle $486.00 per case

BOXLER

by Dixon Brooke

Boxler

2014 EDELZWICKER “RÉSERVE” >

Jean Boxler’s fanatical attention to detail and master blending prowess combine forces to produce this rigorously selected entry into the world of Boxler. Pinot Auxerrois, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Muscat, Riesling, and Gewurztraminer fuse into a sleek, exotic package with depth, complexity, a whole lot of aromatic interest, and a mighty high registe

ring on the deliciousness scale. Think of it as a snapshot of Alsace that includes most of its grape varieties and many of its terroirs.

$25.00 per bottle $270.00 per case

2014 RIESLING “RÉSERVE” >

You have to go back to the 2010 vintage to find a year as exciting for Riesling in Alsace, and even then you wouldn’t find the same style as 2014. These are powerful, focused Rieslings, drier and more transparent than 2010 even if a bit less flamboyant. Both will be fantastic agers. Boxler’s Riesling Réserve is a way to experience his grands crus at a fraction of their true worth. This year’s incarnation is sourced primarily from the Sommerberg vineyard, a steep granite amphitheater that you almost need a rope to climb. Drink now or hold for ten years.

$56.00 per bottle $604.80 per case

2014 PINOT BLANC “RÉSERVE” >

Here is ample proof that in the right terroir, Pinot Blanc is capable of producing grand cru wine in Alsace. Planted in the granite of the great Brand vineyard, this parcel is always bottled separately from the rest of the Boxler Pinot Blanc holdings. It produces a wine with the type of consistency from year to year that is a hallmark of grand cru sites: seasonal excesses are smoothed. The result is an intensely stony, dry, regal Pinot Blanc that can age and improve alongside the domaine’s Sylvaner, Muscat, Riesling, and Pinot Gris bottlings.

$40.00 per bottle $432.00 per case

The Arena Family of Patrimonio

   by Anthony Lynch

Antoine Arena, who some consider the historic godfather of Corsican terroir, is gradually passing the torch to his two sons. In a typically Corsican spirit of self-reliance, Antoine-Marie and Jean-Baptiste will carry on the Arena tradition through their very own domaines, having divvied up the family holdings so that each may tend to certain parcels independently. With these new arrivals, you’ll see how the two sons continue to push the envelope, ensuring that Antoine’s legacy lives on and the Arena name is forever associated with pioneering excellence in Corsican wine.

2013 Patrimonio Rouge Carco • Antoine Arena>

Antoine couldn’t bear to relinquish the storied Carco parcel, so he will continue to release the wine under his own label for the time being. This 100% Niellucciu is exactly what we love about the Arena reds: dense, chewy, driven, a bit rustic, and brimming with a wild energy that brings to mind the arid, craggy landscape of the Île de Beauté. From the hands of a Corsican legend, this beauty can be enjoyed young from an ice bucket alongside grilled fish just as it can be cellared for many years, patiently waiting to unleash its full spectrum of island flavors.

$45.00 per bottle $486.00 per case

2014 Vin de France Blanc “Hautes de Carco Macération” • Antoine-Marie Arena>

Hauts de Carco is perhaps the Arenas’ flagship vineyard. Sensing its potential, Antoine famously blasted away at the solid limestone and planted Vermentinu on this steep, fossil-laden plot upslope from Carco and just a stone’s throw from the sea. Today, his son Antoine-Marie explores this extreme terroir through a new lens. A one-month infusion of the juice on its skins unleashes another dimension of Malvasia, as the grape is known locally, while maintaining the salinity and herbaceous nuances typical of its terroir. Let the “Maceration” breathe and enjoy its qualities at table—Antoine-Marie served it with freshly caught, pan-seared calamari seasoned with garlic, Espelette pepper, and a dash of olive oil.

$39.00 per bottle $421.20 per case

2014 Muscat de Cap Corse “Grotte di Sole”
Jean-Baptiste Arena>

The Arena sons are as eager to think outside the box and execute novel ideas (see above) as they are to honor the local winemaking traditions that have come to define Corsica. One such tradition, Cap Corse’s celebrated dessert wine, represents one of the most fascinating and intriguing expressions of Muscat in the world. Talk about a sense of place: Muscat grown here seems to soak up the smells of its surroundings to give a uniquely Corsican perfume. It radiates Mediterranean sunshine, suggesting maquis wildflowers along with hints of wild mint and other herbs. Try splashing a dollop of the nectar over a seasonal fruit salad, then pour each of your guests a glass to accompany it—they are sure to be wowed.

$48.00 per bottle $518.40 per case

Introducing Davide Vignato, Domaine Pierre Guillemot, Mighty Alsace

The August Newsletter is now available.

Click here to download the pdf.

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…

INTRODUCING DAVIDE VIGNATO

by Dixon Brooke

vignatoI am so grateful for having discovered this obscure region, in the volcanic basalt hills east of Soave in northern Italy’s Veneto. I have always loved Venetian whites made from the Garganega grape, and here I came upon an entirely new expression. Gambellara is like Soave but less suave—the basalt and Davide’s biodynamic viticulture give a dry, nervy, stony, citrusy expression of Garganega that is incredibly thirst-quenching and invigorating.

2013 GAMBELLARA CLASSICO “EL GIAN” >

This delicious Italian white offers refreshment, with wholly original flavors. Lemon zest, star fruit, wet stone, and white flowers all coat the palate in a bone-dry, vitalizing, and immensely enjoyable wine. Picture yourself savoring a glass to stimulate your taste buds as you prepare a meal, perhaps with some antipasti, the way you’d enjoy Fontsainte’s Gris de Gris, for example.

$14.95 per bottle $161.46 per case

2010 METODO CLASSICO “CUVÉE DEi VIGNATO” >

On our quest to find you delicious, honestly made wines from well off the beaten track, this Champagne-method sparkler made from the indigenous Durella grape ought to fit the bill. You won’t believe the aromatics rising out of your glass with this one! It tastes like you have dipped a straw into the basalt terreno of the Gambellara hills and taken a big, fizzy sip. Uncommonly flinty and stony, Cuvée dei Vignato contains lovely pit fruit and a hint of acacia honey, thanks to the extended aging on the lees.

$27.00 per bottle $291.60 per case

DOMAINE PIERRE GUILLEMOT

BURGUNDIAN ELEGANCE SINCE 1947

by Julia Issleib

The members of the Guillemot family are without a doubt among the most generous people we work with. Tastings at the domaine always end with an old vintage from the ’70s, ’60s, or ’50s, and for very exceptional occasions from the 1947 vintage, the first that Pierre Guillemot bottled.

Pierre’s grandsons, Vincent and Philippe, are deeply rooted in their long family tradition but curious to learn something new, wanting to make sure to use all the tools at their disposal in order to create their assertively traditional, bright, brilliant wines.

2014 SAVIGNYLÈSBEAUNE BLANC “DESSUS LES GOLlARDES” >

If you’re lucky enough to taste at Domaine Guillemot, the tasting will invariably start with this white: current vintage first, then an unlabeled, dusty bottle covered in mold, freshly fetched from the depths of the cellar. The oldest one I’ve tasted was from 1975, and it was gorgeous—a toasted hazelnut nose, buttery richness on the palate, but still a lot of freshness. So you should buy enough to drink half now and forget the other half for a decade or more.

$40.00 per bottle $432.00 per case

2014 BOURGOGNE ROUGE >

This could be your weekly Burgundy. It’s fresh and thirst-quenching, thanks to its beautiful minerality and red fruit aromas. After a while, notes of leather, violets, and underbrush make the wine gain in complexity and allow it to accompany your entire meal.

$24.00 per bottle $259.20 per case

2014 SAVIGNY AUX SERPENTIÈRES PREMIER CRU >

The family’s flagship premier cru Serpentières vineyard stands out as a Savigny of great elegance, complexity, and profoundness. Blackberries, herbs, dark chocolate, juniper . . . all come together into a multilayered wine of beautiful balance that deserves to be aged for a few years.

$46.00 per bottle $496.80 per case

MIGHTY ALSACE >

by Dixon Brooke

2014 RIESLING “VIGNOBLE D’E”
domaine OSTERTAG >

André Ostertag’s classic Riesling bottling from his hometown of Epfig has to be one of the purest, most typical bottlings of the variety in the world. The Ostertag Ostertag-detaildomaine, founded in 1966, celebrated fifty years of history this year. André’s father handed him the keys to the family cellars when André was in his early twenties, and he taught himself how to make wine the old-fashioned way: over time, by doing. We are the beneficiaries of his patiently honed expertise.

$28.00 per bottle $302.40 per case

2012 PINOT GRIS “FRONHOLZ”
domaine OSTERTAG >

Fronholz is typically the raciest, stoniest of the Ostertag family of Pinot Gris. From the deliciously approachable and impeccably balanced 2012 vintage, this fine-grained, ethereal example is no exception. I have been singing the praises of great Alsatian Pinot Gris a lot lately, and I don’t intend to slow down. There are currently more white Burgundy lovers than dry Alsatian Pinot Gris lovers out there, and I aim to even the score!

$54.00 per bottle $583.20 per case

2012 MUSCAT • KUENTZBAS >

Dry Muscat is one of Alsace’s most undervalued and least-known treasures, and also one of my favorite apéritifs. Try it with a bowl of fresh strawberries––it sings! Kuentz-Bas-detailDon’t run the other way when you see the word Muscat, thinking you will be buying a dessert wine. In Alsace, they grow several variations of the grape, and they specialize in producing dry wines that have the added benefit of Muscat’s beautiful and complex aromatics. It is considered a noble grape in Alsace, and the grands crus from the best sites can be some of the region’s longest-lived wines. This beauty from Kuentz-Bas doesn’t need to age another day.

$24.00 per bottle $259.20 per case

2014 RIESLING GRAND CRU “EICHBERG”
TROIS CHÂTEAUX • KUENTZBAS >

This vintage will go down in the books as a historic one for Alsatian Riesling. It has the power and intensity of 2010, but with less residual sugar and therefore even more purity. Eichberg is one of two large grands crus located below the town of Husseren-les-Châteaux, which Kuentz-Bas calls home. The other is Pfersigberg. The latter’s wines are known for finesse, while Eichberg is all about power. These are big, masculine wines that you definitely do not need to be in a hurry to consume. Samuel Tottoli at Kuentz-Bas has made some of the greatest wines in his career with his range of 2014 Trois Châteaux Rieslings. I would hate for you to miss them.

$49.00 per bottle $529.20 per case

2014 EDELZWICKER • MEYERFONNÉ >

One of my preferred house wines (especially handy since it comes in a liter-sized bottle), Meyer’s “Edel,” as they call it locally, is wonderfully balanced between fruity and dry. A custom blend every year from all the various grape varieties and terroirs that Félix Meyer works, this delightfully tasty wine has a complexity-to-price ratio that is one of the highest in the KLWM portfolio.

$18.00 per liter bottle $194.40 per case

2013 RIESLING GRAND CRU “SCHOENENBOURG”
MEYERFONNÉ >

Powerhouse intensity, concentration, kaleidoscopic flavor, unique terroir: in short, one of the great Riesling terroirs in all of northern Europe, particularly when Meyer-Fonne-detailtranslated by the talented hand of Félix Meyer. Much like the weighty clay and marl terroir itself, Schoenenbourg is heavy stuff. Only ten cases are imported into the United States every year—well, nine and a half after I get my share. Compare its price to that of a top grower’s premier cru white Burgundy and then try to develop a list of reasons not to jump all over this opportunity delivered by the current imperfection of market forces.

$54.00 per bottle $583.20 per case