Inspired in part by the Tour de France making a comprehensive swing through the region for the first time in a long time, we are pulling a Beaujolais for tasting today from a newly available producer. After being unable to travel and explore during COVID restrictions, we are starting to see our favorite importers being able to get out and make new connections again. The Vieux Bourg estate has been a part of the Piron family for generations, but it wasn't until after current head of the family Dominique recently sold off the rights to the Maison Piron production company that the vineyards became the focus for making top quality wines. The estate is best known for their 'Clos' or walled vineyards at their property in Morgon, as well as some parcels in the Villages designated areas. This bottling in the '21 vintage overachieves as the winery added a healthy amount of declassified Morgon fruit, bringing substantial depth to a 'mere' Village bottling. Picture perfect aromas of tart dark cherry with a hint of wild game and herb that sweeten up a bit and get redder as it opens up, noticeably more so than a usual Village designate. Nicely juicy and polished on the palate, exactly as a Beaujolais should be and more, with more savory complexity under the fruit. This is a great chance to sample what the next level of Beaujolais can be without any uptick in price, or for those already big Beauj fans to stock up on a killer value.
With life returning to relative normalcy after the last few years of COVID, one of the great parts of the wine world that is making a comeback are the industry tasting events. These tastings give us the chance to sample wines side by side, usually with common themes, importers or origins, and often with wines we wouldn't usually get the chance to sample otherwise prior to bringing them into the store. They are immensely valuable to what we do, educational, and provide a great opportunity to connect with producers on a deeper level beyond the label on the bottle. Followers of our Instagram will have seen the owners of the store posting on some of their experiences from the German & Austrian Wine Trade tasting (aka 'The Titans of Teutonic Wines'). While there were more than a few brilliant wines from many great producers that will be making their way to the store over time, the greatness of these events is the chance to be wowed by the performance of a lesser or undervalued star, even surpassing some of the legends in the room.The wines of the Pfalz don't get the hype and scenic tourist eyes of the Mosel, but the quality can be its equal, and the multi-generational family run Pfeffingen Estate is one of the region's very best. This entry level bottling comes from several parcels of their mere 37 acres of vineyards, delivering one of the cleaner, driest yet still flavorful and refreshing expressions of Riesling you will find. Stoney peach and apricot notes on the nose with some crunchy green apple, and the slightest hint of petrol that often accompanies dry riesling that fades after a few minutes in the glass. Sometimes dry German Rieslings can be a bit jarring on the palate with the acidity and lean fruit character, but this lands the balance perfectly, polished and round feeling while still delivering the complex and bright white fruit and racy minerality underneath, analogous in many ways to the feel and sensation of a Sancerre. Beautiful multi-purpose food wine, worthy of pairing with loads of fish, pork and poultry dishes.
Verdicchio has long been the major white grape of note in the Marches region of Italy (the 'calf muscle' of the Italian boot), more known for bulk production over excellence. In recent decades there has been a lot more work done to improve the quality in both the vineyards (better clones, better yield control) and the winery to start developing distinctive, artisan quality white wines that garner the same praise as many of the best regions in Italy. Through all this there has developed two distinct regions for Vernaccia: Matelica in the warmer inland highlands, which makes a richer and rounder style, and Castelli di Jesi nearer the coastline, which makes a brisker and racier wine. This recently arrived producer makes one of the best values we have seen from the Jesi region, giving us visions of the seashell brininess and minerality of a Muscadet from France.The first aromas are all oyster shells and Meyer lemons that build to more Mediterranean citrus as it opens up, with a bright and round body on the palate that brings some extra fruit to the seawater-y notes on the finish. Another great wine to add to your table for seafood dishes, from fish fillets to shrimp scampi or linguini and clams.
Roussanne is one of the 'Big Two' white varieties in the Rhone, along with Viognier being the featured grape in the most famous and important wines of the region. While Viognier achieves most of its notoriety in the Northern Rhone with the wines from Condrieu, Roussanne is noted in both North and South with greatness found in Hermitage/St. Joseph, St. Peray and in many of the better Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blancs that are made.It isn't as prolific as Viognier and has issues fighting off certain weather related factors, so you don't find it experimented with often in other parts of the world or much in the way of inexpensive/everyday versions. When it does work, however, Roussanne can make some of the most distinctive, thought provoking wines anywhere, which is why wineries go through all the trouble to make them. Trignon is a producer in the Gigondas region, and their small parcel of terraced Roussanne vineyards sit at the edges of the Dentelles de Montmirail, providing what may be the best 'bang for your buck' you will find with this grape. First whiff is quintessential Roussanne; mixes of creamy white fruits, melon and citrus with exotic teas, flowers and vanilla. This alone is just about worth all the trouble growing it. The palate is much brighter and fresh than expected, showing nice mouthwatering acidity and citrus skin notes along with the round juicy palate, leaving with a nice drying skin tannin note to the finish. This is a wine you want to be able to spend some time with, enjoying the nuances, and feel welcome to throw you more exotic seafood, poultry or pork dishes at it, as it should be able to handle them in stride.
The Best of the Best.
We offering free tastings on these wines in the store every Thursday and Friday, and a 10% discount off the retail price through the duration of the day. Come on by and give them a try!