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 […]

FRANCOISE BEDEL Champagne “Dis. Vin Secret”

Francois Bedel Champagne Dis Vin Secret

Friendly, perfumed, intense and bold aromas of peaches, dried apricots and pears, roasted almonds and marzipan. And it keeps on going straight through its 25 second finish – fresh and dried orchard fruits, toasted pastries, wild red cherry peaking through now & then. Aged 5+ years en tirage. Mostly Pinot Meunier with a small amount […]

FRANCOISE BEDEL Champagne Origin’elle

Francoise Bedel Champagne Origin'elle

Friendly aromas of ripe peach & apple plus cooked cream and pie crust. The taste is more crisp and dry than the nose suggests. Get red plums, citrus and quince. Then on the finish it gets rich again! Round texture, wheat toast, dry herbs come to mind. I like how this $50 Champagne is an […]

H GOUTORBE Champagne Special Club 2006

H Goutorbe Champagne Special Club 2006

One of my top picks for special drinking Champagne for a great, under $100/bottle price. Facts are this: 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, all Grand Cru fruit, has gone through full malo, aged over 7 years on its lees. Get dried orchard fruits, both fresh and dried citrus zest, Gravenstein apples, sweet cream, etc. I […]

H GOUTORBE Blanc de Blancs Champagne

Dan Dawson's Wine Advisor

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! […]

DUC de ROMET Champagne Cuvee Prestige

Dan Dawson's Wine Advisor

We all need as much high quality, under $40 Champagne as we can possible get, right? Duc de Romet is made by Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy of R. Geoffroy. It’s Blanc de Noirs: ¾ Pinot Meunier, ¼ Pinot Noir, 70% from 2013, a good vintage for the area, and the rest “reserve wine” from earlier vintages. 4 […]

R GEOFFROY Champagne Cuvee Volupte

Dan Dawson's Wine Advisor

Mark this down as a special Champagne to drink, which means for under $100 it really is an excellent value. It is 69% Chardonnay, 31% Pinot Noir from what Geoffroy considers their best plots in Cumieres, Vallee de la Marne. No malo…8 years on the lees before disgorgement. Solid vintage 2009: “Plump and approachable,” writes […]

VARNIER-FANNIERE Champagne Brut

Varnier Fanniere Champagne

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 […]

JEAN LALLEMENT Champagne Brut Grand Cru

Jean Lallement Champagne

Always one of my favorite richer, rounder Champagnes, the Jean Lallement Champagne Brut is 80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay from their multiple holdings on the Montagne de Reims. This is mostly 2014 vintage with 2013 making up the rest. Steel tank ferment and aged, full malo, 36 months on its lees after 2nd fermentation. The […]

H BILLIOT Champagne Brut Reserve

H Billiot Champagne Brut

All from Billiot’s Grand Cru vineyards in Ambonnay. 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay. While the wine wants to be rich, Billiot keeps the rich character in check with tank ferment and aging, no malo and more current vintages in the cuvee (this is 2013, 14 and 15). The H Billiot Champagne Brut Reserve comes out […]

Aubry Champagne Brut

Aubry Champ Brut

A front-row recommendation for sub-$50, grower Champagne, this “entry level” wine from Aubry is full of pleasure. For the location (Montagne de Reims) and cuvée (55% Pinot Meunier, 25% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir) you’d expect a darker, denser style of bubbles. Actually, what you get is crisp, cool Granny Smith apples, myriad citrus flavors, a […]

GASTON CHIQUET Champagne Tradition

Chiquet Champagne Tradition

Always one of the best sub $50 non-vintage Champagnes on the market, the current release of Gaston Chiquet Champagne Tradition is as good as ever. It’s made from 40% Pinot Meunier, 35% Chardonnay and 25% Pinot Noir from Chiquet’s vineyards in the Vallee de la Marne. With tank ferment and aging, going through malo then at […]

MOUSSE Champagne L’Or d’Eugene

Mousse Champagne L'or d'Eugene

If you don’t already, get to know the wines of Moussé from the Vallée de la Marne. The Mousse Champagne “L’Or de Eugene” (The gold of Eugene) is 95% Pinot Meunier and 5% Pinot Noir. Primary fermentation and aging is in steel tank. This release is half 2015 vintage and half a reserve cuvée of […]

PIERRE CALLOT Champagne Brut, Grand Cru

Pierre Callot Champagne

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 […]

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 […]

VILMART Champagne Cuvee Rubis

Vilmart Champagne Rubis

This is a Rose Champagne to pay attention to. Smell and taste wild cherry, plums, grapefruit, Meyer lemon, rose petals, touch of peppery spice. A jolt of acidity is quickly followed by fresh raspberries and pie crust. More mouth-watering acidity than you may expect at first, but then fruit and richness make the Vilmart Cuvee […]

MARC HEBRART Champagne Brut

Marc Hebrart Champagne

85% Pinot Noir, 15% Chardonnay from Champagne’s Vallee de la Marne. 2012 through 2015 vintages in this cuvee. Spent 2 years on its lees prior to disgorgement. Showing more austerity and earthiness at my tasting. The soil qualities will always be the star I suspect, but the citrus and orchard fruits, part dried/part fresh, will […]

GASTON CHIQUET Champagne Cuvee de Reserve

Gaston Chiquet Champagne Reserve

40% Pinot Meunier, 35% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir. Base wine is 2010. Aged 7 years on its lees. The Gaston Chiquet Cuvee de Reserve elicious Champagne, combining a friendliness of fruit and a creamy, doughy side from the longer aging. Easy to understand and totally enjoy while still being definitively Champagne. Here are all my […]

SOTER Brut Rose “Mineral Springs” 2014

Soter Brut Rose

Unquestionably one of the best American sparkling wines made. This is 91% Pinot Noir, 9% Chardonnay from their Estate vineyard in Willamette’s Eola-Amity Hills sub-AVA. Barrel fermented and aged 8 months before 2nd fermentation in bottle. 2 years on its lees before disgorgement in spring 2017. The Soter Brut Rose comes out of the gate […]

FERDINAND Albarino 2016

Ferdinand Albarino 2016

The Spanish grape Albariño has found if not a home then a vacation getaway in California. Napa producer Ferdinand acquires Albariño from Lodi’s “Vista Luna Vineyard” to make this crisp, aromatic, texturally pleasing white. I love its fresh floral, citrus basket and Granny Smith apple smells and flavors plus the crunchy-ness and mouth-watering acidity. Still, […]

BESSON Givry “Petit Pretans” 16

Besson Givry Petit Pretan

I really like the delineation of flavors and richness of the Besson Givry Petit Pretans 2016. From a 30+ year old, Premier Cru vineyard in the Cote Chalonnaise, south of the Cote d’Or, in clay/limestone soil. Sports a deep, dark red, faint liqueur and plum sauce smell and flavor plus tarragon, truffle and black tea. […]

FRANTZ CHAGNOLEAU Pouilly-Fuisse “Madrigal” 2016

Frantz Chagnoleau Pouilly Fuisse

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 […]

VICTORINE de CHASTENAY Cremant du Bourgogne

Victorine de Chastenay Cremant de Bourgogne

This bottle of bubbles from the Hautes Cotes of the Cote d’Or really delivers for the price. The blend is 75% Pinot Noir, 10% Gamay, 10% Aligote and 5% Chardonnay. Steel tank ferment and aged before 2nd fermentation in bottle for 20 months. Get smoky fresh green apples, melon, fresh pie crust and lemon yogurt. […]

The Withers In Hand Red Wine 2016

The Withers In Hand

69% Mourvedre, 31% Syrah, from El Dorado County vineyards in the Sierra Foothills (1800-2800 feet elevation, granite & volcanic-heavy soils.) This has a fruity, ripe, juicy berry character, complemented by the two grapes’ natural spicy/earthy character. The spice: black pepper, anise, cinnamon stick. Earth comes across as black olive and forest floor. Medium bodied, soft tannins, […]