Roche Paradis Saint Joseph Bergerie 2018

Roche Paradis Saint Joseph

Syrah from hillside, granite-heavy soils above Chavanay (the tenderloin of Saint Joseph). Deep, spicy, rich, seductive red wine, full of black licorice, peppercorns, blue and blackberry, mole and espresso smells and flavors. Concentrated and robust yet smooth with medium acidity and rounded tannins, this is a young Northern Rhone Valley Syrah to either drink or […]

Cottebrune Faugères Blanc 2018

Cottebrune Faugeres White 18

The blend is 1/3rd each Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Vermentino. From Faugères, 60 miles west of the Rhone Valley. Elevation and rocky schist soils make for wines of concentration and dimension here. This wine is mighty fine. Honeysuckle, orange zest and lemon custard on the nose, then taste peach purée, ripe grapefuit and mango, wrapping […]

Cottebrune Faugères Rouge 2016

Cottebrune Faugeres Red 16

This Grenache/Syrah blend blend from the high quality yet relatively unknown Faugères appelation is a real gem. Growing in high density vineyards in the foothills of France’s Massif Central, Cottebrune Faugères “Les Moulins” is pure and pretty with loads of red plum, raspberry, strawberry and peppery spice pleasure. A subtle floral component-fresh violets and lavender-lurks […]

MARC HEBRART Champagne Cuvee de Reserve Brut

Marc Hebrart Champagne Brut

This is a very generous Champagne in its orchard (pear & apple) and citrus fruits, both nicely ripe giving impressions of sweetness. A smidge of breakfast pastry compliments the fruit. Think pear tart without the sugar. Creamy texture, a very “friendly” Champagne meaning all palates will like it. Not too dry, not too sweet. Just […]

La Taille aux Loups “Triple Zero” Brut

Taille aux Loups Triple Zero

There’s hip wine and then there’s really really good hip wine. Jacky Blot and his son “J.P.” grow Chenin Blanc in Montlouis, Loire Valley. 40+ year old vine fruit picked at perfect maturity. A “Pet Nat” or Petillant Naturel: single fermentation (in barrel), transferred to bottle to finish its single ferment. Triple Zero as in […]

GIMONNET Champagne “Gastronome” 2014

Pierre Gimonnet Champagne Gastronome

“Crunchy” Chardonnay grown in the chalky Cotes des Blancs, 3 years on its 2nd fermentation lees (“sur latte”) and low dosage. The result is damn good. Nothing terribly surprising, frankly, as Gimonnet makes solid if not spectacular Champagne every time. This vintage of “Gastronome” is very generous in its green heirloom apple, white flower, ripe […]

A MARGAINE Champagne “Cuvee Le Brut”

A Margaine Champagne

Dynamite fresh, juicy green apples, white peaches, mangoes and melon. Love the fruitiness and the fresh white flowers and rocky earthiness that complement that fruit. Fresh, tingly texture from the Chardonnay, low ML and short time on its lees (sur lattes). Roundness and depth from the terroir of Montagne de Reims. Has it all, and […]

GRANGE des ROUQUETTE Syrah Grenache 2018

Grange des Rouquette Syrah Grenache

Rhone Valley producer Vignobles Boudinaud ventures outside the Southern Rhone for Grange des Rouquette. This is 60% Syrah, 40% Grenache all tank fermented and briefly aged before bottling. This delicious “quaffer red” is full of dark red strawberries, black pepper, black licorice and fresh violet smells and flavors. Perfectly ripe – neither jammy nor green […]

YVES CUILLERON Syrah Rose “Sybel” 2018

Cuilleron Rose Syrah Sybel

The inimitable, prolific Yves Cuilleron makes a few thousand cases of this saignée Rosé, all Syrah from his hometown of Chavanay (which is the southern end of Condrieu in the Northern Rhone Valley.) The wine’s prettiness and relative delicacy doesn’t make me think saignée. Get the raspberries, strawberries and cherries along with a lime-y citrus […]

GROS NORE Bandol Rose 2018

Gros Nore Bandol Rose

Orange and peach skin color. Smells and tastes “Trés Provence Rosé,” i.e. as much dried citrus and stone fruit flavors as berries + rocky, peppery, dry herbal, floral flavors. (Sooo Provence) Fuller, almost creamy texture may make you think this is too much for rose, but it’s just right. The fuller body drifts off, leaving […]

Domaine VERRET Irancy 2017

Verret Irancy 2017

The Red Burgundy appellation Irancy is closer to Chablis than the Cote d’Or. One of high repute, then out of favor, and in the last 30-40 years on the comeback. The style, as you’d expect from Northern France Pinot Noir, is delicate and “bright.” The Verret is brilliant and bordering on transparent, smells of wild […]

GROS NORE Bandol 2016

Gros Nore Bandol

The “capital of Mourvedre,” Bandol lies on the French Mediterranean. The consistently very warm sun and hillside vineyards make Mourvedre ripe and the wines dark and rich. The 2016 Gros Nore is an outlier…it is dark, strong and rich as expected of Bandol. Its relative softness and accessibility (i.e. delicious now) is out of the […]

BOUDINAUD Cotes du Rhone La Boissiere 2016

Boudinaud la Boissiere

The estate vineyard and winery Boudinaud consistently brings big value to their wines. The red Cotes du Rhone “La Boissiere” is 55% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre then Cinsault and Counoise. Dark blackberry and strawberry fruit smells and flavors plus dry French herbs, cracked black peppercorns, dried lavender and musk. Ripeness, firm tannins and an […]

Fontsainte Gris de Gris 2018

Fontsainte Gris de Gris

Made from 90% Grenache Gris, 5% Mourvedre, 5% Carignan. Grapes destemmed, combined and later either drained off or lightly pressed. The wine sports a Bandol/Provence-like orange color and tastes less berry and more blood orange, orange zest, white pepper and dry herb in style. Bright citrus-heavy fruit, snap of acidity and satisfying finish of crushed […]

YVES CUILLERON Viognier Les Vignes d’a Cote 2018

Cuilleron Viognier Vignes d'a Cote

A delightful Viognier from Northern Rhone Valley stalwart Yves Cuilleron. Citrus blossom and honeysuckle aromas complement white peach, ripe lemon and tangerine. In the mouth the wine is fruity, dry, modestly perfumed and medium/light bodied with a smidge of oily texture on the finish. Fermented and aged in 2/3rd neutral-ish barrels…aged on its lees 7 […]

BOUDINAUD Blanc La Rousseline 18

Boudinaud Blanc Rousseline 18

40% Viognier, 40% Marsanne, 20% Roussanne from Boudinaud’s Estate vineyard. All steel tank fermented and aged. Big on the fresh citrus: lime juice & zest, orange slices, grapefruit, honeysuckle, Key lime, fresh pineapple. Medium-light bodied and a refreshing thread of acidity. At under $15/bottle this is definitely case purchase worthy. Imported and sold by Wine […]

Maison l’Envoye Moulin a Vent 16

Maison l'envoye Moulin a Vent

Deep red cherry and raspberry fruits with a peppercorn, dried thyme and orange rind gift wrap. Medium/light bodied on the red wine scale, full bodied on the Gamay scale, which is due to the 60 year old vines and the natural “bigness” of Moulin-a-Vent relative to the other Beaujolais crus. Showing intense berry fruits with […]

Department 66 Grenache “Others” 2015

Department 66 Others Grenache

Heady, rich, full-throttle red wine with no apologies for its big flavor. Fruits: ripe sweet blueberries, blackberries, chocolate covered strawberries. Black licorice and black pepper pop up as you savor and on the finish. So ripe and rich it’s almost sweet. Gentle tannins and not a lot of oak. This a real “bell ringer” of […]

Haut Plaisance Montagne Saint Emilion 2015

Haut Plaisance Saint Emilion

On the northeast flank of Saint-Émilion, the home of luxury wines like Ausone, Pavie and Valandraud, is Montagne Saint-Émilion. The soils, a mixture of clay, limestone and sand, are similar and the wines are too. Unbelievable values can be found in Montagne Saint Emilion, and here’s one that has earned my highest value status, a […]

MARDON Quincy “Tres Vieilles Vignes” 2017

Mardon Quincy

Look to Quincy for delicious, mineral-driven, Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc. And in Quincy, buy Domaine Mardon. Quincy is 50 miles west of Sancerre along the Cher River. 50-80 year old vines, growing in river sand and gravel, make high-toned, zippy, pure Sauvignon Blanc. Quick attack of green apple skins, grapefruit, lemon/lime and river rocks. Ripe, […]

Domaine Alain Cailbourdin Pouilly Fume “Les Cris” 2017

Cailbourdin Pouilly Fume Les Cris

Knowing this wine from multiple prior vintages, I pay the 2017 the best compliments I can give, which are classic and typical. You don’t want too much in an outstanding Loire Valley Sauv Blanc. Rather, you want brightness, intensity and the flavor of the rocky soils from which it comes. And here it is: citrus […]

LOUIS CHEZE Saint-Joseph “Ro Ree” 2016

Louis Cheze Saint Joseph Ro Ree

Textbook style of Northern Rhone Syrah here. Violets and lavender, bright red and blue berries, peppery spice and sun-dried tarragon & thyme. Has the intensity and a bit of wildness while keeping its appeal to a crowded room. It has easy-going tannins, medium high acidity and no oak flavor to speak of. It’s nicely surprising […]

Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rose

Lucien Albrecht Brut Rose

Highly regarded winery Lucien Albrecht was a pioneer in the production and sale of Cremant d’Alsace (which is methode traditionalle sparkling, or bubbles-made-in-bottle as I like to say), making it in 1976 when the French AOC for Cremant d’Alsace was established. Made from 100% Pinot Noir. Nicely on the very dry side of Brut, showing […]

JEAN DIOT Champagne Blanc de Blancs

Jean Diot Champagne 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 […]