December 11, 2018
Guy Robin Chablis

GUY ROBIN Chablis “Montee de Tonnerre” 2016

I love the savory, earth-driven overtones that roll alongside the preserved lemon, apple butter and lemon custard smells and flavors. Satin texture, depth of fruit and  delicious, distinctive flavors of button mushrooms and gravel here. Not super-crisp, rather a Chablis with a strong core of acidity, earth and fruit. I think it’s just about perfect. And near perfection is hard to get for $43! More Information This is one of the hundreds of quality, well-priced wines (French & Italian) imported by North Berkeley Imports. “Our imports boast classic old-world character while always remembering the importance of fruit,” states Eddie Gilbert, Director […]
December 10, 2018
Jean Diot Champagne Blancs

JEAN DIOT Champagne Blanc de Blancs

Vallee de la Marne producer gets Chardonnay from the Cotes des Blancs for their Blanc de Blancs Champagne. I like Chardonnay’s crisp lemon/apple character and “zip” character, followed by a round, voluptuous mouth feel and lightly toasty flavor that comes from the lees aging in bottle. This has something for fans of all styles of Champagne. More Information Jean Diot is a family-run Champagne house started in the 1960s and going strong today. These are all very well-made Champagnes selling for very reasonable prices.
October 29, 2018
Dosnon Champagne Blanche

DOSNON Champagne Recolte Blanche

All Chardonnay from the Cote des Bar, southern end of Champagne. Unsweetened apple sauce, lemon zest and quince paste, classic for Blanc de Blancs Champagne, is here in spades. Less chalky than Blanc de Blancs from the Cotes des Blancs. The Henri Dosnon Champagne Blanche is rich, textured mouthfeel and a 25 second long soft, creamy finish. Here are all my Champagne reviews.
October 27, 2018
Goutorbe blanc de blancs Champagne

H GOUTORBE Blanc de Blancs Champagne

A total winner, especially for the price. All Chardonnay, all 2012 (a fantastic Champagne vintage). Went through full Malo, aged over 4 years on its lees before disgorgement. Super tasty, full of ripe lemon, green apple and crisp peach flavors. Great balance and delicious flavors start to finish. I want some Goutorbe Blanc de Blancs! Here are all my Champagne reviews.
October 27, 2018
Varnier Fanniere Champagne

VARNIER-FANNIERE Champagne Brut

Delicious Grand Cru, Cotes des Blancs Champagne. However, it’s delicious in a different way than you may expect. Instead of crisp, chalky and “racy,” this is more lush, round and what I call friendly. Could be the lower pressure of the wine, equating to less bubbly. Could be the vintages, 2014 and 2015, in this cuvée. In any event, you’ll like the ripe apple, citrus, pear, fig and peach flavors along with some tarragon, basil and sweet cream sensations in the Varnier Fanniere Champagne. Consider this to be more like a (still) Burgundy than the other Champagnes I recommend. Here […]
October 26, 2018
Pierre Callot Champagne

PIERRE CALLOT Champagne Brut, Grand Cru

95% of the Chardonnay comes from Callot’s Avize vineyards. 2014 base wine with 30% from a Solera-like reserve stash Callot started in 1985. This is more fruity, fleshy and easy-going than most Cotes des Blancs Champagnes I know. Orchard & stone fruits are more prevalent than lemony citrus (that said, the lemon is there).  The region’s rocky/lemon zest character peaks through on the 20 second finish. The Pierre Callot Champagne Brut Grand Cru is very enjoyable and a good one to pour for a group with a broad range of tastes. Here are all my Champagne reviews.
October 24, 2018
Pierre Gimonnet Champagne Extra Brut

Pierre Gimonnet Champagne Extra Brut

The Gimonnet Champagne Extra Brut is, like most of their wines, 100% Chardonnay from the chalky vineyards of the Cotes des Blancs. First time they’ve released an Extra Brut/lower dosage. Really good balance, particularly impressive to me for an Extra Brut. Ripe fruit, high acid and faint sweetness work as a team with no one part dominating. That’s a good thing. All the typical flavors of Cotes des Blancs are here. Dryness nibbles the palate on the finish as the fruit lingers. At $40 this is a fantastic value for Champagne. Here are all my Champagne reviews.
October 19, 2018
Frantz Chagnoleau Pouilly Fuisse

FRANTZ CHAGNOLEAU Pouilly-Fuisse “Madrigal” 2016

Single vineyard, rocky, higher altitude vineyard in the Vergisson commune of Pouilly-Fuisse. Very much on the racy and “fit” side of Chardonnay with its rocky/mineral-y and crisp citrus rind & blossom character. That said, I’m very critical of the “thin is in” style, finding most to be too much bones and not enough flesh. The Frantz Chagnoleau Pouilly Fuisse Madrigal 2016 gets my recommendation because there’s lots of goodness going on in this structured White Burgundy. Reductive start (smoke, roast nut skins, meat stock, dried sweat) quickly disappears, moving to preserved lemons, caramel, crunchy pears and crushed river rocks. It’s […]
July 28, 2018
Coutier Champagne Blancs

R.H. COUTIER Champagne Blanc de Blancs

A bit of an oddity as it is made from 100% Chardonnay in Ambonnay, a village in the Champagne region Montagne de Reims: definitive Pinot Noir country. (It’s Pinot country because the soils lend themselves to making great Pinot-based Champagne.) Get pear/apple, ripe citrus, stone fruits (apricot, peach), fresh tarragon and lemon balm. Burst of acidity, just what’s needed, in the mouth and going down. Since it’s a little “rounder” because where the grapes come from, it drinks great alone – better than most Blanc de Blancs Champagne. And the price! For $44 it demolishes the big Champagne houses and […]
July 25, 2018
Buisson Charles Meursault

BUISSON CHARLES Meursault 2015

Impressive how so much aroma and flavor is packed into the 750 ML bottle. Starts smoky and bright with roasted whole lemons, citrus blossoms, sliced white peaches and fresh from the oven biscuits. Taste lemon sorbet, caramel, buttered wheat toast, roast hazelnuts (naturally!) and apple butter. This is super-intense. If the same wine was a Premier or Grand Cru, and labeled as such, you would not doubt its provenance and think it a glorious bargain. Instead, it’s “just” a village Meursault.
April 22, 2018
Sarrazin Rully Sans Nom

SARRAZIN Rully “Sans Nom” 2015

Sarrazin’s “Sans Nom” comes from two estate vineyards that give different qualities to the wine. First impression is ripe and fleshy, too much for some tastes. Melons, citrus custard and pineapple with medium acidity. On the back palate and finish the wine “freshens up” with more fresh, tangy citrus, green applesauce and a mineral kick. A smooch of new oak smooths any sharp edges that may have been there. I can only think it comes from different vineyard aspects and soils. In the end, this is a delicious White Burgundy to drink anytime.   I so love Rully (from good […]
March 14, 2018
Vincent Dampt Chablis 2015

VINCENT DAMPT Chablis 2015

Pretty, aromatic nose of lemon blossoms, Meyer lemon, mango and lime precedes flavors of the same plus butter pastry, lemon tea and white chalky earth. Has lively acidity, fresh fruit all over the place and just enough “taste of the land” to make it interesting. Undeniably tasty and versatile: good drinking by itself and particularly tasty with meaty white fishes (like halibut) and straight-forward white meat preparations. Dampt grows this Chardonnay in a vineyard between two Premier Cru vineyards across town from Chablis’ Grand Cru sites. 40 year old vines on average. Steel tank fermented and aged. More Information Vincent […]
March 14, 2018
Vincent Dampt Chablis Lechet

VINCENT DAMPT Chablis “Cote de Lechet” 2015

I’ve quickly become a big fan of Vincent Dampt’s Chablis wines. His Cote de Lechet, from 55 year old vines growing in limestone and marl (Kimmeridgian soil) is classy, bright, perfectly ripe and earthy (especially on the finish). Get preserved lemons, apple butter, fresh sweat, chalk, lemon thyme and green tea. Round and tingly on the palate. 25 second finish of citrus fruits and chalky soil. Steel tank ferment and aged on its lees. Vincent Dampt grew up in a winegrower family in Chablis. He went to winegrower school at the ripe old age of 14. Before returning home, he […]
February 20, 2018
clos du chateau 15

Chateau Puligny Montrachet Clos du Chateau 2015

This Clos (enclosed vineyard) is in the village of Puligny-Montrachet, yet is “just” classified Bourgogne. For a true Burgundy “experience,” this is hard to beat for under $40/bottle. Tropical and stone fruits, crushed rocks, citrus blossoms and lemon custard smells and flavors, all elevated by a jolt of acidity just before you swallow. 2015 was a particularly warm year in Burgundy, resulting in a fruitier wine than usual. Drinking really well for a young White Burgundy, especially one from the Côte d’Or. The Domaine du Chateau de Puligny Montrachet was purchased by the de Montille family in 2012. Etienne de […]
February 4, 2018
Gimonnet Champagne Cuis

PIERRE GIMONNET Champagne “Cuvée Cuis”

Family-owned, run, made and grown, Gimonnet is one of the best, and best-known “Grower Champagne” producers sold in the U.S. Their Blanc de Blancs (= 100% Chardonnay) “Cuvée Cuis” (= Blend from the village of Cuis, a 1er Cru Champagne village) shows tell-tale smells & flavors of the Côtes des Blancs: ripe green apple, lemon custard and quince paste. Also typical of the region is its puckering acidity and soft “crunch” of crushed white rocks that speaks to concept of “terroir.” Now all that said, “Cuvée Cuis” balances its tang with a sweet & creamy component from lees-aging and dosage. […]
December 9, 2017
Garnier Chablis

GARNIER Chablis 2015

Can’t speak highly enough about this wine. The property and winery is run by two brothers of the Garnier family. Farmed organic, neutral barrel aged. The brothers fit the model of “caretakers” over “winemakers.” Their AC Chablis is full of lemon zest (and a little pulp), crisp green apples, citrus blossoms and that rocky Chablis “crunch.” Very good balance of fruit, bright acid and earth. If I had room to buy a case of this, I would. For now I happy settle for 2-3 bottles at a time.
October 26, 2017
Chavy Chouet Meursalt

CHAVY-CHOUET Meursault “Corvees de Citeau” 14

I’m a big fan of Chavy-Chouet’s White Burgundies. Expressive fruit, crystal-clear view of the terroir (“minerality”), fine rich textures. This Meursault is one for the cellar. Vineyard is in the heart of the village. A jolt of acidity on entry with smells and flavors of lemon zest, green banana, peach & apricot, lemon bitters, key lime. Gets darker in flavor on the youthful finish. Dark honey/caramel, roast hazelnuts, toasty pastry. A bargain for $65…we benefit from Premier Cru-quality White Burg is “just” village level.
September 25, 2017
Bernard Bonin Meursault

BERNARD-BONIN Meursault Tillets 15

Husband-wife owned & run, tiny, artisan Meursault house. “Les Tillets,” a village vineyard above the town, is worthy of Premier Cru status (as are many Meursault vineyards). Drink this and understand the power and persistence White Burgundy can offer. Get lemon zest, dried pineapple, apple butter, hard caramel candies and that mysterious, old world rocky/earthy flavor. Long and strong finish. Surprisingly good now for such a young White Burgundy. Will evolve and drink at its very best starting in 2022 I’m guessing.