Posted: February 6, 2012 By Bruce Sanderson
I'm back in Burgundy to taste the 2010 whites and reds. Some have been recently bottled, others are assembled in tank, or still in barrel, waiting to be blended for the bottling. Today I tasted the 2010 lineup from Louis Jadot with winemakers Jacques Lardière and Frédéric Barnier. Here are my notes and ratings on the 2010 Chardonnays.
Posted: February 3, 2012 By Bruce Sanderson
I'm back in Burgundy, where winter weather has firmly set in, to taste the 2010 whites and reds. Some have been recently bottled, others are assembled in tank, or still in barrel, waiting to be blended for the bottling. I will cover mostly the Côte d'Or, with a side trip to Chablis and, for the first time, the Côte Chalonnaise. Today I tasted a lineup of 2010s from Tollot-Beaut.
Posted: December 31, 2011 By Bruce Sanderson
Posted: December 15, 2011 By Bruce Sanderson
Burgundy is a small, tightly knit world. Major transactions are rare, and people keep their own counsel. But my sources tell me that a significant deal is in the works.
I have been informed by reliable sources that Vincent Girardin, a highly esteemed grower and winemaker who has been building a small but important négociant arm, is selling his business. The price is rumored to be $52 million to $65 million (at today's rate of $1.30 to the euro).
This would be a major deal for the region, comprising approximately 113 acres of vines. Girardin personally owns roughly 54 acres in the Côte de Beaune, about half of that in Santenay. In addition, there are an additional 57 acres under a holding company, including vineyards in Chassagne-Montrachet premiers crus Morgeot and Les Caillerets, Puligny-Montrachet La Garenne, Les Pucelles and Les Referts and grand cru Corton-Charlemagne.
Posted: December 15, 2011 By Bruce Sanderson
Posted: December 13, 2011 By Bruce Sanderson
A tiny holographic image of Dom Pérignon chef de cave Richard Geoffroy flickered into view in a glass triangle illuminating a dark, cavernous warehouse space on the west side of Manhattan Dec. 7. About 30 or so journalists, retailers and critics had gathered to hear Geoffroy announce the vintage.
As we tasted the Dom Pérignon 2003, I couldn't help but think how the outsize personality of the young wine stood in stark contrast to the tiny image of its maker. But then, Geoffroy isn't one to use hyperbole to describe his wines. Rather, he speaks in more abstract images and feelings that Dom Pérignon evokes.
Posted: December 2, 2011 By Bruce Sanderson
On my third day of visits in Barolo, I saw Luciano Sandrone and Elio Grasso. Luciano Sandrone started is estate from scratch and Grasso, though his father and grandfather grew grapes and other crops, switched from a career in finance to work his family's land.
Sandrone came from a family of carpenters in La Morra. Rather than join the family business, he learned to make wine, first at the traditional Giacomo Borgogno, then at Marchesi di Barolo, where he became the cellar master. Sandrone purchased 2.5 acres in Cannubi Boschis in 1970, releasing his first Barolo from the 1978 vintage.
Elio Grasso began bottling under his own label in 1980. His grandfather bought vineyards in Ginestra in 1920, selling grapes and a little wine in barrel, a practice continued by Grasso's father until his death in 1979. His son Gianluca has been making the wines since 1995.
Posted: November 30, 2011 By Bruce Sanderson
Posted: November 29, 2011 By Bruce Sanderson
I visited two Piedmont wineries today, Azelia and Domenico Clerico. The style of wines at Azelia emphasizes fresh fruit with the underlying elements of terroir. For example, its Dolcetto is refined and elegant, while the Barolos, most from Serralunga, exhibit more structure, with the exception of the charming and graceful Bricco Fiasco. From Azelia it was on to the eponymous Domenico Clerico, a visit I was anticipating since we chose his Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra 2006 as the No. 8 wine in this year's Wine Spectator Top 100.
Posted: November 23, 2011 By Bruce Sanderson
Founded in 1881 by Mauro Mascarello’s great-grandfather, the estate of Giuseppe Mascarello & Figli today covers 44.5 acres in Castiglione Falletto and Monforte d’Alba, two towns in the storied Piedmont region of northwestern Italy. About two-thirds of the vineyards are dedicated to Nebbiolo, the region's most famous grape and the one used for the wine of Barolo and Barbaresco.
Mascarello’s grandfather Maurizio purchased vineyards in one of the zone’s most historic sites, Monprivato in Castiglione, in 1904, building a cellar there. He moved to a former ice-making factory in Monchiero in 1919, where the state-of-the-art building offered constant temperature year-round for the wines.
Traditional winemaking is the philosophy here, though Mascarello, who took over responsibility for the vineyards and wines in 1967 (after 15 years working alongside his father), has shortened fermentation time over the years from 60 to 30 days. He also began bottling each vineyard separately, beginning with Monprivato in 1970.
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