August Newsletter: On Vacation, Slake Your Thirst!, Loire Valley Values, 2009 Burgundy Classics

The August Newsletter is now available. Download the PDF here.




Highlights from this month’s newsletter…

The South

by Clark Z. Terry

2009 Coteaux du Languedoc “Tradition”
Château Saint Martin de la Garrigue

The label of the Cuvée Tradition will tell you this wine is made from Syrah and Carignan. The price will tell you that you’ll have enough change left over for a sandwich next door at Café Fanny. What the blend and price don’t tell you is how darn good this wine actually is. I thought I was starting to tire of talking about how many great values we import, but then the new vintage of the Cuvée Tradition crept into the store, stood up, and said, “I’m your new favorite wine for the summer! Drink me when you’re grilling up sausages and enjoying the twilight heat.” Don’t miss this wine—it will speak to you.

$12.95 per bottle $139.86 per case

2010 Côtes du Rhône Blanc
“Sunflower Cuvée”

Kermit’s collaboration with Louis Barruol now brings us our third vintage of the “Sunflower Cuvée.” Maybe one day I’ll join Kermit and Louis for a blending session of this wine. I wonder if things ever get heated, with intense debates over percentages of Marsanne versus Picpoul. But then, perhaps it is more like B. B. King playing tunes with Eric Clapton, where two distinct styles and backgrounds complement each other to create something fresh yet rootsy. Yes, fresh and rootsy—that is the “Sunflower Cuvée.”

$22.00 per bottle $237.60 per case

2009 Vacqueyras • Sang des Cailloux

Serge Férigoule is the epitome of the Rhône vigneron—there is nothing else in this world he was meant to do more than make wine from the plateau of Vacqueyras. As the owner of Sang des Cailloux, he spends nearly every waking moment in his winery and vineyards. He is animated and eccentric, yet focused and principled, pouring all his energy into the wine. He cares for one thing, producing wine that is the true essence of his galet-littered vineyards.

I cannot think of a wine that reflects the winemaker more than Serge and his Vacqueyras. Wine and maker are wild, with an edgy nature—dynamic, and filled with spirit and vigor. This wine will not be mistaken for anything else—it could only be the Vacqueyras of Serge Férigoule!

$33.00 per bottle $356.40 per case


by Chris Santini


Here’s a pure Grenache, in all senses of the word. Tapped from tank, unfined and unfiltered, to be downed starting now. The only cellaring this wine needs is about thirty minutes in the fridge to give it a slight chill. Here is almost pure fruit (it’s not a simple wine), pure pleasure, and a depth of intensity it has never shown before—not that I didn’t love it before, too.

$26.00 per bottle $280.80 per case


In the Rhône Valley, conventional wisdom (for conventional farmers, at least) says that old vines are to be ripped out or sold off. Yields are too low to make any money at the cooperative and the vines too gnarled and large to easily work and pass a tractor through. Gramenon keeps a keen eye out for neighbors who want to rid themselves of these plots, as what is one person’s pain is Gramenon’s pleasure. This parcel of Grenache was purchased three years ago and has since been pampered with the full biodynamic treatment with stunning results, which only get better with each passing vintage. L’Élémentaire has the purity of the Poignée de Raisins, but has a dark depth to it with hints of black olives, black fruit, and smoke.

$29.00 per bottle $313.20 per case


It’s rare to find a good 100% Syrah from the southern Rhône, perhaps because of the sun and heat of Provence. Gramenon, though, sits at the far northern tip of the southern Rhône, not much farther from Cornas than they are from Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This southern Syrah has the softness and spice, and does not suffer in comparison with its northern relatives. It also has the Gramenon magic touch.

$33.00 per bottle $356.40 per case

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