July 25, 2018
Santa Duc Quatre Terres

SANTA DUC Cotes du Rhone Les Quatre Terres 2015

Domaine Santa Duc Quatre Terres is a blend of 70% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre and 5% combined of Cinsault, Carignane and Clairette. Grapes grow in four distinct plots owned and farmed by Santa Duc. (See below for more on this.) The wine marries ripe wild strawberries and plums with new leather, veal stock and black pepper character. It’s a straightforward red that delivers the goods for those looking for a good, honest Cotes du Rhone. More Information Santa Duc calls this Cotes du Rhone “Les Quatre Terres” because the fruit comes from four estate vineyards, one each in the […]
April 22, 2018
Pibarnon Bandol 2014

PIBARNON Bandol 2014

90% Mourvedre, 10% Grenache from Pibarnon’s Estate vineyard looking down on The Mediterranean. Deep, dark fruits go hand in hand with dark chocolate, smoked game and meat locker. Very structured and built to last – as good as it is now, I suspect this will shed its primary fruit and add layers of complexity in the future. 2025-2030 best drinking time, I’m guessing. Pibarnon is one of the great producers of Bandol, and this 2014 shows off their stellar reputation. 30-50 year old vines. Cement tank ferment, aged in large French oak barrels, small % new.
April 22, 2018
Guillaume Durdilly Chenas 16

Guillaume Durdilly Chenas Grands Rouvres 16

Pretty, bright red raspberries and wild cherries laced with red and pink roses, pink peppercorns and coriander. Ample, friendly, bright berry and dark citrus flavors, dances on the tongue, fine tannins along the gums. Overall this is super-friendly Beaujolais with character and good guts. For around $20, this is just about perfect for what it is. Chenas: one of the Beaujolais Crus but not often seen in the U.S. Durdilly farms a small plot of 60 year old Gamay vines in granite, schist and clay. Tank and neutral huge barrel aged.
April 22, 2018
Dureuil Janthial Rully Guesnes

DUREUIL-JANTHIAL Rully “En Guesnes” 15

Deep, rich Burgundy-red color. Smell and taste kirsch & framboise, fresh violets, warm buttered toast, pomegranate juice. Texturally, this is powerful, offering structure, fine tannins, delicious fruit and underpinnings of soil and Burgundy spice. This is a winner. Can’t wait to try some of his 1er Cru Red Burgs. More Information Rully appellation, Cote Chalonnaise, lies a mile from the Cote d’Or.  Vincent Dureuil Janthial is here, growing grapes and making out-of-sight white and red Burgundies. The 2015 “En Guesnes,” a village-level vineyard, is my introduction to this winery and winemaker who has not yet reached 40 years of age. […]
April 22, 2018
Gavignet Hautes Cotes

GAVIGNET Hautes Cotes de Nuits “Dames Huguettes” 2015

A deep red, wild cherry nose with freshly-turned earth, allspice berries and black tea moves to a strong red berry/cherry flavor with savory spice and soil support. Good structure, fine and firm tannins, bright/bold fruit and a definitive character of Burgundy make this a screaming-good value in this category. Buy this while you can and enjoy it as your weekend-at-home Red Burg over the next 5 years. Gavignet is a winery/winemaker in Nuits Saint Georges making a handful of Premier Cru and Villages level NSGs. This Hautes Cotes de Nuits comes from a vineyard overlooking the village. Mature vines (20 […]
April 22, 2018
Betton Crozes Caprice

BETTON Crozes Hermitage “Caprice” 2016

Perfumed, energetic aromas of blueberries, wild strawberries, new leather, lavender, black pepper and black olive (real Northern Rhone Syrah classic smells). The taste leads with the fruit with the spice and soil coming in strong from behind. I really like the balance of ripe, friendly fruit and Northern Rhone Syrah pronounced spice. Fleshy, structured and rather surprisingly ready to drink now (for a 2016).   Christelle Betton started running the family property in 2003 (3rd generation), and then launched the winery. Very small producer – 15 acres under vine. There’s a pleasing marriage of old and new world style winemaking […]
April 22, 2018
Paquet Burgundy

AGNES PAQUET Bourgogne/Pinot Noir 2016

A juicy red cherry and plum nose with a smidge of fresh red rose and talc. The taste is all reds with thumbs-up acidity for Bourgogne and a veil of tannins on the gums at the end. 2016 is a good Red Burgundy vintage overall, especially for “lowly” Bourgogne Rouge. Ripe, but not too much so. I’ve had a lot of classic, honest Burgundies from Agnes Paquet, including a delicious Crèmant. Located in the Cote de Beaune, so I’m assuming the fruit for this Bourgogne comes from here. That’s not too terribly important – what is important is the quality […]
March 28, 2018
Sarrazin Maranges 15

SARRAZIN Maranges 2015

Dark yet bright red cherries and berries, dried violets and red rose petals, pomegranate, sandalwood, dry-aged beef and wheat toast smells and flavors play nicely together in this classic, delicious Red Burgundy. I like its ripeness without suggestions of over-ripe (a possibility for 2015 Red Burgs). Showing intensity, tension, a fine grip of acid & tannins and generosity of flavor. This is a wonderful value and a great buy for Burgundy fans.   The Maranges appellation,  the southern tip of Burgundy’s Cote d’Or, is a great source for value-driven Red Burgundies. I find the really good ones, like this, have […]
March 28, 2018
Gryphees Moulin a Vent

GRYPHEES Moulin A Vent 2016

Deep ruby, brilliant color prepares you for the rich, juicy and (relatively) powerful wine that is to come. Smell and taste ripe, dark red cherries and blueberries, violets, white pepper and black tea. A whisper of rocky-earth gives notice on the 20 second finish, along with more fruit. Medium acidity and tannins. Structured and, while so tasty now, is built to last. “Nice bigness” my notes say. This is an outstanding wine from a excellent vintage for Beaujolais. And a very fair price to boot! Domaine Les Gryphees own and farm hillside, 20-50 year old Gamay vines growing in granite, […]
March 14, 2018
l'enchatoir saumur puy notre dame

l’ENCHANTOIR Saumur Puy Notre Dame 2015

100% Cabernet Franc growing in chalk and limestone. Organic farming (certified organic as of 2016). This is the real deal in Loire Valley Cabernet Franc. Smell and taste red currants, pomegranate, ruby red grapefruit, white pepper, blueberry, sage and Oolong tea. Has a healthy core of flavor to support the natural high acidity and firm, fine tannins. The newer appellation Saumur Puy Notre Dame, when grown well, made well and in a very good vintage (check check & check) offers fantastic value. From Importer Skurnik Wines: “Domaine de l’Enchanoir work a remarkable site of largely ancient limestone. 150 meters altitude, […]
March 3, 2018
Lassagne Julienas

LASSAGNE Julienas 2014

An earth-driven, savory Cru Beaujolais. Not an unusual style in Beaujolais, but not what the casual wine drinker expects from here or from the Gamay grape in general. Think earthy Pinot Noir right off the bat and you’ll be ready for this delicious, intriguing wine. Smell and taste hard cherry candies, dry herbs, black tea, soil, red plums and figs. Medium body (full bodied for Gamay) and texture-ific. These “old vines” are in their 50s. Ferment and aging is cement tank and neutral oak.
February 21, 2018
Aspras Provence Trois Freres

ASPRAS Côtes de Provence Trois Frères 2015

The warm Provence, Southern France region and a particularly warm 2015 vintage make for a lush, deep, spicy red wine that combines crowd-friendly deliciousness and a definitive taste of the French Mediterranean. It’s mostly Grenache with Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon supporting. Get deep, dark raspberry and blueberry fruits along with black pepper, black olive, smoked meats and berry liqueur yumminess. This wine is perfect for open fire pit cooking (braises and stews work like a charm, too).  
February 20, 2018

Chateau Montmirail Vacqueyras Deux Freres 15

Vacqueyras: Southern Rhone Valley appellation. 65% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre. Older vines at around 50 years old. Montmirail is a “traditional producer” in the best sense. Their wines are pin-point expressions of their land, see no oak, and are made with great care. Destemmed grapes, long fermentation, bottled for America unfined/uniltered. This Rhone red takes an abnormally long time for a $22 wine to open up. It starts with smells and flavors of sasafrass, raw meat, black pepper, black licorice and muted flavors of dark strawberry and blueberry. Over time (2-3 hour of good breathing) the fruit blossoms and […]
February 20, 2018
Sylvain Langoureau Hautes Cotes

SYLVAIN LANGOUREAU Hautes Côtes de Beaune 2015

Tiny, family run winery outside of Puligny-Montrachet owns and farms over 20 acres in the Cote de Beaune. Their Haute-Cotes is a pure, concise, honest expression of quality Red Burgundy that’s ready to enjoy anytime. Get sweet juicy plums, wild red cherries, pink rose petals, freshly-turned soil. Ideal wine for a Burgundy “experience” on the cheap.
February 20, 2018
mourre de tendre plan dieu

Mourre du Tendre Plan de Dieu 2015

Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsaut blend. Plan de Dieu (“God’s Plain”) received Cotes du Rhone Villages status in 2005. Located a few miles northeast of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and next to Vacqueyras, Plan de Dieu wines often have a similar concentration and fruity core as their better known neighbors. This red from Mourre de Tendre is a winner. Get dark strawberry jam, cracked black peppercorns, licorice and marasca cherries. It’s a mouthful while maintaining balance and dimension. Compares favorably to Chateauneufs that cost twice the price.
February 20, 2018
Noblaie Chinon Rouge

Noblaie Chinon Rouge Chiens 15

Fans of light, bright, crisp, green-tinged red Chinon (Cabernet Franc, Loire Valley) will adore this wine oddly named “Dogs-Dogs” in French. Red plums, ripe cranberries and ruby grapefruit merge with dried green peppecorns and cucumbers. For me, this is the perfect wine to drink at a French country bistro with roast chicken or steak hache frites.
February 20, 2018
Andezon Cotes Rhone

Domaine d’ANDEZON Côtes du Rhône 2016

Over 90% Syrah then Grenache from a single vineyard near Avignon. Minimal handling (“natural winemaking”) and tank aged. Dark strawberry and blueberry smells and flavors here with a few twists of the peppermill and crushed thyme. A clear, concise note of acidity gives brightness. Definitely young at the time of this tasting, I’ve put on my calendar to re-review this wine this summer (if it’s still on the market).
February 20, 2018
Paquet Auxey Duresses

AGNES PAQUET Auxey-Duresses 2015

Floral, bright red fruits from nose to finish distinguish this exceptional under $40 Cote de Beaune Bed Burgundy. The ripe 2015 vintage in Burgundy greatly benefits regions like Auxey-Duresses (which is above Meursault, up against the hill), which can struggle to ripen Pinot Noir perfectly. Medium body, a fine intensity and wonderfully aromatic, this slender but not gaunt beauty is very good now with ideal drinking starting in 2019 I’m guessing.
February 20, 2018
Lariveau Canon Fronsac

LARIVEAU Canon Fronsac 2012

100% Merlot from one of Bordeaux’s most consistently good “satellite appellations.” Deep red/ruby color. Smell clay and gravel-heavy earth, cinnamon stick and red & black currants. The taste is a marriage of fruit and soil. Bittersweet chocolate, cigar wrapper and black truffle take precedent, but don’t dominate, the dark berry and currant. Savory, earth-driven finish with firm tannins. This is definitive quality French Merlot at its best.
December 4, 2017

ARBALEST Bordeaux 15

Napa Valley winemaker Benoit Touquette, a protege of winemaking stars Michel Rolland and Andy Erickson, flew over the pond to make this Merlot-based Red Bordeaux that provides immediate satisfaction. Dark berry/cherry fruits are supported by sweet Indian spices, black truffle, cigar wrapper and vanilla. Medium/full body, juicy, soft tannins and an impressive 15 second finish make this a very satisfying house red wine. As a wine merchant, I placed this wine in both the New World and Old World sections of the store because of it’s modern winemaking style and packaging. It sold well in both areas, as it should. […]
September 30, 2017

Domaine GOUFFIER Rully 15

Tiny Red Burgundy producer from the Côte Chalonnaise, south of the Côte d’Or. Seek and you shall find delicious, classic Red Burgundies for reasonable prices. If you know where to seek! Here you’ll get dark cranberries, roasted herbs de Provence, Indian spices, wild cherries. Medium acidity, excellent concentration for Chalonnaise Red Burg (2015 is a ripe vintage in Burgundy – good for drinking young). Enjoy this any time you’d like.
September 30, 2017

CLOS du PRIEUR Terrasses du Larzac 15

75% Syrah, 25% Grenache, 5% Cinsault from the heart of the Languedoc, 30 miles from the Mediterranean & 50 miles from The Rhone Valley. Syrah’s lavender, dark raspberry and black peppercorn personality jumps out at first. With ample air, more fruit, texture and savory qualities arrive. Kalamata olive, blueberry sauce, dark strawberry, rosemary. At $22 (or less), Rhone/Rhone-style fans should load up on this.
September 25, 2017

BOISSEAU Bourgogne Terres de Chazeux 15

Newer (since 2012) small producer in the Maconnais, southern Burgundy. Farms biodynamic, non-intervention winemaking. This is super-pretty…loaded with wild red fruits, flowers and earth-driven spice. Has a sweet core of fruit to balance its naturally high acidity. Excellent Red Burgundy on a budget.
September 21, 2017
Taupenot Merme Saint Romain

TAUPENOT MERME Saint Romain 15

This Cote de Beaune village/appellation lies above Meursault. Whites are generally better…generally. This Taupenot Merme Saint Romain delight. Get wild red cherries, dried herbs, a little Pinot spice and taste of the land. Nicely balanced and drinks well in its youth. Looks, smells and tastes like good red Burgundy – as good a compliment as one can make for Burg at this very fair price. More Information Check out all Red Burgundies reviewed on Dan Dawson’s Wine Advisor here. Learn more about Burgundy here.