Welcome to the first Guy du Vin Newsletter of 2013.
We realize that since changing the format of how we sell wine at Guy du Vin last year, some of you have been confused on how to order. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be working on finding ways to make the process easier for you, yet still operate within the context of the new structure of Guy du Vin.
In the meantime, we have a great line-up of selections on offer in this edition. Some selections are from well-known producers such as Antinori, but we are also offering a couple of highly acclaimed wines from appellations that you may not have run across. As always, we are here to answer any questions you may have regarding these wines. You can always reach us at email@example.com.
I find that I can’t let this opportunity go by without making a couple of comments regarding the wine scene over the past year.
Although I am as enthused as ever about the leaps in quality of so many of the wines being produced all over the world, I find myself increasingly disenchanted with the wine community (writers, bloggers, magazines, buyers, sommeliers, etc.). Unfortunately, the world seems doomed to suffer having every last half thought or twitch of an opinion on wine burned into its tweet weary soul by every doofus who ever drank half a glass of Mogen David. It is the rare writer indeed who helps us ask or answer the critical questions that aid us in understanding where we have come from regarding wine and where we are headed. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy the rants. (I am guilty of them frequently). Fun, yes. Helpful? Not really.
I don’t know about you, but I am weary with the way newspapers, magazines, and Facebook overflow with list after list of summaries of the year just passed: best-of lists; top ten lists; worst-of lists; etc. There is not a publication around that seems able to go for more than three days without publishing another meaningless “best of” tribute of cultural trivialization. Even more disappointing is the wine public’s voracious appetite for them.
Enlightening people on what wines to like while discounting what they have to say about their suggestions may not be how most sommeliers think of themselves, but it remains a common enough experience of the public. All too often, sommeliers and writers only suggest wines that are intellectually interesting to taste rather than wines that actually taste good. The wine world continues to be populated with pompous twits pushing pretentious wines.
But I remain optimistic. (After all, I used to love pushing those eclectic wines). There is still plenty of good wine out there, and there are still a few good writers (like Andrew Jefford, Robert Joseph, and of course Terry Theise) that provide valuable insight into this wonderful thing we call wine. It just gets more difficult to separate hype from reality. But that is true with nearly everything.
Here are our selections for January 2013. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to place your order.
Antoniolo Gattinara Le Castelle 2007
I don’t know that there are any Nebbiolo wines that I enjoy more than Gattinara from Antoniolo. Perfumed and fresh, there is a purity and delicacy to these wines that in many ways is unsurpassed. Yet the wines do not lack power or structure. Expressive red cherries, flowers, rosemary, mint, and minerals are all wound around a silky, totally satisfying finish. The Castelle becomes more and more irresistible and gorgeous as it sits in the glass, fills out, and gains weight and complexity. The oak is very nicely integrated. Nebbiolo just doesn’t get any better than this.
I find that Antoniolo Gattinara is unquestionably one of the most versatile and most satisfying wines to pair with food. It never disappoints.
Antoniolo was the first producer in the DOCG to bottle cru wines. They own over 14 hectares of vineyards in five plots. Aging requirements for Gattinara are the same as those for the Barolo (three years, at least two in wood). Nebbiolo is locally known as Spanna.
The Antoniolo family reestablished the farm and vineyards in 1945 after being abandoned in 1910 to due harsh economic conditions brought on by phylloxera. These wines are very traditional, and the expression of Nebbiolo in this region is elegant with fine tannins. Close proximity to the Alps creates a climate that is cooler with intermittent alpine rains; the wines are typically a full degree lower in alcohol than Barolo and Barbaresco.
We have a very limited supply of this wine. The wine is worth every penny. It has been extremely well received by the wine press. I cannot urge you enough to buy at least one bottle. It will only get better with age – at least until 2020.
$48.00 per bottle – extremely limited
Antinori Badia a Passignano Chianti Classico Riserva 2007
Badia a Passignano Riserva is produced exclusively from the finest grapes from the property of the same name, located in the Chianti Classico area of Tuscany. The Abbey of Passignano, where the vineyards are situated, is one of the loveliest fortified monasteries of the zone and has been renowned for the quality of its wine for over a thousand years.
The 2007 Chianti Classico Riserva is 100% Sangiovese. The aromas are complex with notes of red fruit, raspberries, blueberries, and ripe cherries, and a spicy, licorice finish. On the palate it is ripe and sweet, with a structure of sweet tannins and velvety texture. Long on the palate with vibrant acidity, it is an exceptional expression of the Sangiovese grape.
Antinori wines just seem to get better and better as time goes on. Their dedication to quality, no matter what the bottling, is always clearly evident.
$48.00 per bottle
Domaine Guillaume Chardonnay Vieilles Vignes Vin de Pays de Franche-Comté 2011
This is great chardonnay with a few years in bottle to integrate the oak and soften the fruit into the elegant wine it is becoming. It tastes like a great Burgundy, but you can’t quite figure out which village, because… it’s not from Burgundy. It is from northeastern France. Riper fruit in this old vine Chardonnay benefits from more time in oak which gives it a rich creaminess in the mouth and tremendous length. The concentration is superb and would put many more expensive white Burgundies to shame.
Domaine Guillaume is located in northeastern France, an area that used to be part of the Kingdom of Burgundy until it separated and became the Franche-Comté region or “Free Count” region. The count there had fought against the king for many years and eventually was given his independence. His duchy was renamed in his honor.
Even though this is definitely not a Burgundy, the vineyards are situated some kilometers to the northeast in Haut-Saone. Quality-wise however, the wines of Domaine Guillaume should be compared to the wines of Burgundy. The family owns one of the biggest vine nurseries in the world and holds clones from some very famous vineyards and domaines. About 50 years ago they built a winery and began working with these clones to produce their own wines. While these may only be wines of Vin de Pays status (and price), one taste and you will see why it is perfectly justifiable to compare them to the wines around Beaune.
$20.50 per bottle
Podere Sanguineto Rosso di Montepulciano Tuscany 2010
Dora Forsoni and Patrizia Castiglioni of Poderi Sanguineto make extraordinary Rosso and Vino Nobile di Montepulicano from estate-grown Prugnolo Gentile (Sangiovese Grosso) and smaller amounts of Mammolo and Canaiolo. Dora does 100% of the vineyard work herself – no one else is allowed to step foot in her 3.5 hectares of vines. All the wines are vinified in cement vats using yeasts from the immediate surrounding area and matured in large, old, tartrate-encrusted botti. Patrizia and Dora don’t consider their wine one of the currently in vogue “natural wines.” They just call it “wine.”
And this truly is an amazing wine. It is definitely one of the best examples of Rosso di Montepulciano I have tasted. There is nothing rustic about it – it shows quite a bit of elegance. Yet the wine clearly doesn’t taste like it has been worked over or manipulated to show this sort of polish. This is a wine that you should not miss. I am taking home a case for myself.
$21.50 per bottle
Domaine Côteaux d’ Engraviès Fount Cassat Vin de Pays d’Ariège 2009 and Roc des Maillois Vin de Pays d’Ariège 2009
Historically the Côteaux d’ Engraviès was an important wine producing region in France. It is a huge area of land around Pamiers, extending north almost to Toulouse, eastwards to Mirepoix, and includes some of the valleys reaching southwards into the foothills of the Pyrenees. In the 14th century, the kings of England and France sought out the grape varieties grown here for the production of good wine and consumed these wines at their tables.
Phylloxera began affecting the vines in 1882/1883, and within a few years all the vineyards in the Ariège were gone. These lands, which now grow maize, wheat, sunflowers, oilseed rape, clover, and millet, used to be laid out with unbroken stretches of vines.
In 1998 “An association for the revival of the Ariège” was formed. A group of four winemakers has revived the vineyards at different sites, creating four distinct areas linked by an Economic Interest Group. Coteaux d`Engraviès is bringing back some of the traditions that formerly made the Ariège famous. Owner/winemaker Philippe Babin is passionate about the growing and making of his wines. His vineyards are organic, and he has won numerous awards – most notably from the always accurate Le Guide Hachette des Vins.
“Fount Cassat” 2009
This wine is an outstanding value. It is a blend of Merlot (60%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (40%). It has an intense nose with sweet notes of ripe black fruit and chocolate married with a hint of toast. Well balanced, it is medium to full-bodied. You may make the mistake of assuming this is a rustic wine. But spend a few minutes with it, and you will be amazed at the elegance and complexity this little $18.00 wine provides. It is delicious now, but it will certainly improve over the next two to three years.
$18.00 per bottle
“Roc des Maillois” 2009
This wine is a blend of 60% Syrah, 20% Merlot, and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Roc des Maillois has an intense nose that is a mix of spice with red and black fruit. The first taste is smooth but then the wine gains weight and richness. It is elegantly structured but also generous and fruity. The wine finishes with ripe tannins and notes of licorice and vanilla. This is a very special wine that you can definitely hold for five years. Absolutely delicious.
$20.25 per bottle
All wines are available through Guy du Vin. You can place your order by emailing email@example.com. We can ship your wine as soon as it is ready, or we can hold your order until you’ve selected a full case. If we don’t have your credit card on file, we’ll give you a call.