Posted: January 9, 2012 By James Laube
Posted: January 3, 2012 By Dana Nigro
Posted: December 27, 2011 By Dana Nigro
Posted: December 19, 2011 By James Molesworth
Who'd have thought the most interesting white wine I'd tasted all year would come from Bordeaux?
It would have been no surprise if some new white from the Rhône or the Loire, or a Riesling from Germany or the Finger Lakes, lit my fire this past year. Even something off the radar from the Jura would have been more predictably surprising than a white Bordeaux.
Yet there I was earlier this month, working in Bordeaux, blind tasting through 600 wines, focusing on the recently bottled 2009 reds. I started with a small flight of white, a mix of 2009s and '10s, when suddenly something electric hit my palate.
Posted: December 13, 2011 By James Molesworth
A youthful-looking 62, Denis Dubourdieu has a swoosh of dark, wavy hair that shows just a few hints of gray. With his reading glasses hanging around his neck, he has a well-cultivated professorial look, fitting for a man who could easily be called the professor of Bordeaux. Since the 1970s, Dubourdieu has taught at the University of Bordeaux, and during his career, his influential research on white wine vinification and aging helped revolutionize how white Bordeaux is made today. Dubourdieu is also a vigneron in his own right, heading up Denis Dubourdieu Domaines, a family company based at his home property of Château Reynon in the Côtes de Bordeaux town of Beguey and headlined by his flagship estate of Château Doisy-Daëne in Barsac.
Posted: November 30, 2011 By Kim Marcus
Posted: November 28, 2011 By James Molesworth
When I arrived in the Rhône almost two weeks ago, it was just before the Toussaint, a major religious holiday in France that fell on a Tuesday this year, giving France a long weekend through the Monday before. That meant more than a few vignerons weren't available for visits. So after working in the outer-lying appellations for the past few days, I circled back today, finishing up in Châteauneuf-du-Pape at two major estates, Domaine de Beaurenard and Domaine St.-Préfert.
Posted: November 21, 2011 By James Molesworth
Viticulturally speaking, the Rolets' property at La Verrière is the equivalent of the dark side of the moon. Located on the back side of the Dentelles de Montmirail, its vineyards face north. That, combined with 500 meters and more of elevation, makes it one of the coolest, windiest spots for vines in the Southern Rhône. Here, crop yields are naturally low, and exuberant ripeness plays second fiddle to racy acidity.
Despite its proximity to Gigondas (the property's vines border that appellation, as well as the appellations of Séguret and Beaumes de Venise), the Chêne Bleu wines only earn a modest Vin de Pays de Vaucluse designation, but don't let that fool you.
This was my first visit to this remote property, perched on a knife's-edge hill behind the town of Le Crestet. My trusty GPS did its job-as did the final words of caution from Nicole Rolet, the estate's owner, when she gave me directions.
Posted: November 18, 2011
Posted: November 17, 2011 By Alison Napjus
Posted: November 17, 2011
Posted: November 17, 2011 By James Molesworth
Today was a day not to lose faith in the GPS. Sometimes it took me on some squirrelly back roads, cutting through a vineyard on a narrow dirt path, even when there's a main road running parallel just a few hundred yards away.
But to find Domaine Gramenon, located up in the hills in the small hamlet of Montbrison, I knew I would need to keep the faith and stay on target. My GPS has taken me on the scenic route before, but it's always gotten me there.
Of course, I blew past the domaine once before turning around and seeing it as I backtracked. I should've known after all this time, that I was looking for a modest house with blink-and-you'll-miss-it signage. Set amidst vines that have already dropped their leaves when most others are still hanging on to theirs, and with browning weeds just as high running amok in the vine rows, Domaine Gramenon doesn't look like much at first glance. But the wines made here are distinctive, sometimes nebulous or awkward, but never anything less than provoking for their display of unadulterated minerality, smoky, garrigue-infused fruit and long, earth- and ash-laced finishes.
Posted: November 16, 2011
Posted: November 16, 2011 By MaryAnn Worobiec
Posted: November 14, 2011
Posted: November 11, 2011 By James Molesworth
After five days of tasting 2010 Châteauneuf-du-Papes at some of the Southern Rhônes top domaines, I ventured to Costières de Nîmes for something new. I visited Michel Gassier at Château de Nages and tasted through a selection of Philippe Cambie's Halos de Jupiter line. Here are my notes.
Posted: November 9, 2011 By James Molesworth
Upon my arrival in France's Rhône Valley last week, I immediately had to cope with my newest rental car, then visited Domaine Tour St.-Michel to taste the 2010 Châteauneuf-du-Papes. On my second day I visited Domaine de Boursan, Domaine Charvin and Jean-Paul Daumen at Domaine de la Vielle Julienne. Then it was off to Clos des Papes, Domaine Giraud, Clos St.-Jean and Château de la Font du Loup. Yesterday I visited Château Mont-Redon for the first time, then Beaucastel and Famille Perrin, Domaine de la Janasse and Christophe Sabon and, finally, Vieux Télégraphe and Daniel Brunier. Today, Domaine des Bosquets, St.-Cosme and Domaine Le Sang des Cailloux.
Posted: November 7, 2011 By James Molesworth
Upon my arrival in France's Rhône Valley lastweek, I immediately had to cope with my newest rental car, then visited Domaine Tour St.-Michel to taste the 2010 Châteauneuf-du-Papes. On my second day I visited Domaine de Boursan, Domaine Charvin and Jean-Paul Daumen at Domaine de la Vielle Julienne. Then it was off to Clos des Papes, Domaine Giraud, Clos St.-Jean and Château de la Font du Loup. Today I visited Château Mont-Redon for the first time, then Beaucastel and Famille Perrin, Domaine de la Janasses and Christophe Sabon and, finally, Vieux Télégraphe and Daniel Brunier.
Posted: November 4, 2011 By James Molesworth
Upon my arrival in France's Rhône Valley this week, I immediately had to cope with my newest rental car, then visited Domaine Tour St.-Michel to taste the 2010 Châteauneuf-du-Papes. On my second day I visited Domaine de Boursan, Domaine Charvin and Jean-Paul Daumen at Domaine de la Vielle Julienne. Today I tasted at Clos des Papes, Domaine Giraud, Clos St.-Jean and Château de la Font du Loup. Here are my tasting notes.
Posted: November 1, 2011 By James Molesworth
Time to roll up the sleeves and get busy. I was able to partially shake the jet lag, thanks to the adrenaline of a busy day's schedule in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, starting with a quirky rental car and a visit to Tour St.-Michel. Today's program included stops at three vignerons with staunchly traditional winemaking methods in their own right, who each rely on different areas of the appellation and different key varieties to craft their unique styles.
Today I tasted the the 2010 Châteauneuf-du-Papes at Domaine Bois de Boursan, Domaine Charvin and Domaine de la Vielle Julienne.
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