“No more wind turbines in Chablis. Both winegrowers and the people have had enough!”
This was the subject line of an email that crossed my desk recently. I’m no stranger to wind turbines — the structures are a common sight across Midwestern farmland — so the email caught my eye and I ended up in touch with Julien Brocard, vice president of the association Vents Contre Air and Chablis vigneron at Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard.
Brocard and his associates at Vents Contre Air oppose the proposed installation of seven new 150-meter-tall (nearly 500 feet) turbines in the village of Prehy, a stone’s throw from Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard. “The main objection is the visual intrusion, but we don’t know the impact on the frost, hail, etc.,” says Brocard.
“The turbines are a risk for wildlife,” says Brocard. “There …
I have a new piece on Forbes that I loved researching. An exciting renovation includes tales of forgotten wine, Thomas Jefferson visits and sheep in the vineyards. Read it all here.
The 2018 harvest marked the next phase of life for Burgundy landmark Clos de la Commaraine. Located in the esteemed Côte-d’Or, the property includes 3.75 hectares of Pommard 1er Cru vines which are fixed in a monopole, now operated by an American couple with plans produce biodynamic wines. The last wine made under the single estate Commaraine name was in 2002 — since then the grapes have been sold to Maison Louis Jadot and produced under …
The title of this post needs no elaboration, but I’ll inform you that prices range from $7.50 to $20. It’s a diverse group of wines. Seven from France; 6 California; 5 Italy; 2 each Argentina, Australia, Chile and Oregon; 1 each Bulgaria, Germany, Portugal and South Africa. (Welcome, Bulgaria!) By genre or hue: 1 sparkling wine; 3 rosé; 10 red and 16 white. As a matter of fact, the 30 wines on this roster would make a great restaurant wine list. So, enjoy! In moderation, of course.
With one exception, these wines were samples for review.
Albert Bichot Bourgogne Aligoté 2015, Burgundy, France. Excellent. About $16.
Amalaya Malbec 2016, Salta, Mendoza, Argentina. With 10 percent tannat, 5 petit verdot. Excellent. About $16.
A relative lull in my consumption of wine, I wonder if it might be a secular rather than a seasonal change. . . I feel curiously more inclined to read or walk or lift embarrassingly modest weights. . .
I’ve been reading about the beginners mind but try as I might, I can’t seem to approach this bottle without preconceived ideas, I think it’s the last of my clutch of 05 Confuron-Cotetidots, mostly they’ve given only modest pleasure.
Mr Sheen and corduroy. . . spice and earth, beets and dark red fruit, middle in age. . . a biggish frame, quite deep and firm, muscled tannins. . . bold and faintly medicinal, quite convincing, but never beautiful. 91-92.
What a wonderful tasting in honor of the Hospices de Beaune 2018!
The people at Bouchard Aine & Fils cleverly arranged the tasting to focus on the history of this winery, and also to concentrate on the way the different Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines pair so well with cuisine.
Guests take (almost) a literal walk through history, descending down into the cave and stopping at various tables to taste a particular wine.
It is a fun and educational event that I look forward to each year.
It is true that the world can not get enough fine Beaune wine!
This year there was very heated bidding for the wines on offer, with a new record for a single barrel being the Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru that sold for over $150,000.
Some talk at the auction revealed that the high prices were a result about the successful 2018 vintage
Before the auction, there was a lunch for journalists with incredible cuisine and also Hospices de Beaune wines.
Before the lunch, was an excellent press conference discussing the vintage with officials including Ludivine Griveau, winemaker and vineyard manager for Domaine des Hospices de Beaune. Ludivine is most impressive as a communicator as well as winemaker.
Following the press conference was a reception with wines specifically chosen by the BIVB, and producers on hand to discuss them.
Other tastings included a Friday morning preview and a Saturday afternoon tasting of the …
One of my favorite activities in Burgundy for the Hospices de Beaune auction weekend is the traditional “La Paulee de Meursault.” It first manifested in 1923, when Jules Lafon of Burgundy’s Domaine Lafon invited 35 of his vigneron friends into his vat-room to share in a post-harvest feast.
MDV & Dominique LaFon
The original participants of that small event would be surprised to see how it has grown over the years. Today, the event is under the direction of Philippe Ballot, President of La Paulée de Meursault and an owner of Domaine Ballot Millot, as well as Séverine, Secrétaire de la Paulée.
Each year, the lunch pays homage to famous writers and scientists each year. This year, author Irene Train won the “laureate du prix” for La Paulee 2018 for her work with women’s rights.
The tradition for La Paulee is for guests to arrive at …
MDV with organizer Fabienne Nicot of Histoires des vins
One of the many highlights of visiting Burgundy during the Hospices de Beaune is the annual tasting of Gevrey-Chambertin wines. This year the invited group tasted the 2017 from all the Grand cru, 1st cru, and village plots.
It was fun to see many old friends and vignerons at the tastings, and that the 2017 vintage is full of promise.
Talk was that the 2017 is very much like the 1959, with a cold winter, several weeks of frost in January, and an early flowering. The hot June allowed the grapes to form a harder skin. This harder skin allowed the berries to endure the storms that occurred in the second half of June and July. Harvest began on September 6.
The wines were young but did have elegance and excellent balance. It is hard to name a favorite, but Faiveley …
Visiting Burgundy Wine Producers During Hospices De Beaune 2018
One of the joys of visiting during the Hospices De Beaune auction is the opportunity to visit new and familiar wine producers with Jeanne-Marie de Champs, owner of Domaines et Saveurs Collection. For the past five or so years it has been a real adventure to leave the fast-paced Manhattan “city life” behind and travel back in time.
Over the years I have walked deep into 12th century cellars, tasted wine from barrel that will one day fetch hundreds of dollars a bottle, and shook the hands of dozens of winemakers who make the regions very best wines.
Below is a directory of sorts of my adventures and visits.
I have been lucky to meet Jean-Baptiste Bouzereau (son of Michel) a few times over the years, and with his sophisticated manner and blondish hair he appears as structured and elegant as the family’s style of wines.
The office where he receives visitors for tastings is also remarkable, with the oversized windows, glass tables, and light color scheme one does not usually find in Burgundy. These observations are interesting because there is quite a connection between the style of the wines and the men who created them.
During the tasting, we tried different vineyards in Meursault, with Jean-Baptiste pointing out the subtle differences in flavor with the help of a vineyard map. Some of the climats had very different terroir (clay vs. limestone) and the 1st cru wines we tried were striking in terms of their power, concentration, and length. I liked the 1st cru of Les Genevrieres very much.
It was our first trip to Bourgogne, I think, that turned me on to crémant and really got me thinking about this bubbly wine from France. Our little inn situated in a hamlet outside Beane was near Veuve Ambal and the sight of the words Crémant de Bourgogne on the big tank-like shape of the building were so eye-catching, so declarative.
I remember driving past and considering the implications, the meaning of sparkling wine in this category—I thought that people unfamiliar with the term would likely be confused by it, English speakers at least, inclined to think of some other product, not necessarily wine.
And I do think it’s true, that unless one is French or a regular drinker of French wine, crémant escapes many people. Readers of this blog, no doubt, dig crémant and get it. But think of your extended family gathered around the …
Humble Maranges gets spell checked to manages. . . not entirely incorrect. I had the odd idea that my home cooked moussaka might be a match for a Musigny. Mouss and Moose. . . Sadly no redundant, sacrificial bottles of Musigny in my cellar. . . based on this wine, I think the pairing might work – though in my dish I used an eggy Bechamel sauce which might distract from a more profound bottle.
Tasting note – like it’s sibling – a pretty nose – sap, spice, musk and florals. Mid weight and fast. It seems to evoke something shiny, small and new. . . rhubarb tartness. Unresolved.
I recently had the opportunity to cover the Hospices de Beaune wine auction, which occurs every November in one of my favorite wine towns in Bourgogne (Burgundy) France.
The Hospices de Beaune estate (most of it Grand Cru and Premier Cru) and its prestigious wines produced by 22 hand-chosen winemakers are utterly famous. The wines are sold annually at auction on the third Saturday of November in an event conducted by Christie’s auction house. The proceeds of the sale are still used in a non-profit fashion for the conservation of the historic Hôtel Dieu. There is also a charity lot, the Pièce des Présidents, proceeds from which are generally the highest in the auction and are donated to a very small number of select organizations each year.
One Block ‘The Quarry’ 2014. Gruyere, Yarra Valley, Victoria. 13%. a peach and apricot nose, lush, sunny. . . worked, butterscotch and flint, curry leaf. As I sniff I wonder – will it be fat or skinny? Broad to open, but a terrific spine of acid; it’s rich, creamy, indulgent. A modern hourglass with an appealing tension between acid and flesh.
Domaine Guillot-Broux Mâcon-Villages 2014. Mâcon, France. 12.5%. Much quieter to begin, stone and white pepper, a palette of grey. . . much later grapefruit, but it remains reserved. Pebbles in the mouth, then a sting of acid. . . quite different in shape and colour – pale, oxidised edges, the acids more citric and lingering. Again terrific texture – an impression of weight and apparent sweetness. By a small margin but many eventual glasses, my preferred wine of the pair.
In transition. . . deep, rust like, but entirely taint free. . . mature and rounded. . . changeable and evolving. Tobacco leaf and nori. . . roasted, cured leaves. . . an iodine edge perhaps. Fine and soft, loose and comfortable. It’s warm and familiar; curved edges and perfectly weighted. Modest and self contained – Yes.
Hill towns capture the imagination and inspire travel, and Provençal villages situated around the Dentelles de Montmirail are no exception. These villages anchor gem wine regions of France’s Southern Rhône Valley, distinct cru defined by their own names: Beaumes-de-Venise, Cairanne, Gigondas and Vacqueyras.
Offering the natural, rugged side of the south of France, the Dentelles de Montmirail are a lacy, jagged skyline caused by prehistoric geological upset to Jurassic limestone. Ancient villages cling to the mountains and vineyards are planted along the terraced slopes and the hem …
With its Gothic equilateral arches it reminds me of Darth Vader. . . inside the liquid is Burgundy, but not as I know it. . . a blend of pinot noir, gamay and chardonnay – it’s fast, slippery, sappy and absolutely delicious. Red fruited, musk and spice; a Morgon nose. Floral and beautiful, pixie like – small and delicate but intense. Sour and edgy, terrific acids, just the right side of jagged. #Yes.
An excellent wine and an excellent Chablis. Evocative, layered, stinging in the right places. . . beautiful texture and poise. Pure and typical. Flint and white pepper; citrus oil to open, but later it seems more pear like. Essence and terpines – white flowers, petrichor, zest. Mineral in the mouth, the sensation of smooth pebbles. . . fatty with no sugar, unrepentantly dry, thick and textured; but stinging acids, a hint of nuttiness and bitter pith to conclude. A+