Notes on the 4.12.13 Burgundy Tasting

Thanks to everyone who attended the tasting last Thursday. It was generally agreed that it was a good day to taste through Burgundies (I’m of the opinion that some days are good tasting days/some bad- subject for a later post).

The whites were great (the Lamy St Aubin was drinking beautifully) but the reds was where the excitement of the room was. The focus was 2010 Burgundy, don’t ask why one 2009 made the list but it was a nice reference point for the two vintages. In general, 2010 is a sensational vintage. The balance of acidity to tannin is consistent. The wine has fruit but there is plenty of mineral, funk and the million other flavors that get people excited about Burgundy. The vintage is a stark contrast to 2009 which is fruity, fleshy, but not as structured. A very good vintage but if you like the more classic, acidic structured Burgundies then 2010 is more your speed.

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Pictured Dave Larson of Fine Vines getting ready for the event.

 

A few short notes on individual wines, complete list below.

Bruno Clair makes great wine. No revolutionary statement there. We had Clair’s Chambolle Musigny ‘Les Veroilles’ and Gevery Chambertian 1cr ‘Les Cazatiers’ on the table and it was a great example of difference of the two famous areas. The Chambolle was softer and more famine with a some black pepper quality and delicate red fruit. The Gevery was not huge but had more tannic structure, a lower tone and earthy flavors.

Benjamin Leroux was a standout and the most popular red as far as purchases go. Leroux is a young winemaker who cut his teeth at Comte Armand. I’ve tasted a number of his wines from various vintages and the wines are polished, precise, expressive and exciting. A very exciting young wine maker.

Domaine des Croix is a Beaune estate that was reestablished in 2005 (formerly the site of Domaine Duchet) with David Croix at the helm. I’ve tasted the wines and, like many Burgundies, there have been highs and lows. The wine we showed was a Premier Cru (I learned that the Beaune is ‘over- premier Cru’ed’ so supposedly it doesn’t mean as much) called Les Bressandes. The wine was wild and a great representation of the Beaune among mostly Cotes de Nuits wine. The wine was all earth and herbs with a racy acidity and great pallet presence.

The Lingier-Michelot Morey St Denis was beautiful. The wine was subtle and delicate. Very understated, very classic. Wonderful fruit that hit every point on the palate from beginning to end. A very well made wine.

Whites

2010 THIBERT MACON FUISSE

2010 HERITIERS COMTE LAFON MACON MILLY LAMARTINE

2010 LAMY ST AUBIN 1C MURGERS DENTS DE CHIEN

Reds

2010 DIGIOIA-ROYER BOURGOGNE ROUGE

2009 CAMILLE GIROUD BOURGOGNE HAUTES COTES DE BEAUNE AU CRETOT

2010 BENJAMIN LEROUX VOLNAY

2010 CROIX BEAUNE 1C LES BRESSANDES

2010 MUGNERET VOSNE ROMANEE ‘ALLIANCE DES TERROIRS’

2010 BRUNO CLAIRCHAMBOLLE MUSIGNY ‘LES VEROILLES’

2010 LIGNIER-MICHELOT MOREY ST DENIS VV

2010 BRUNO CLAIR GEVREY CHAMBERTIN 1C LES CAZATIERS

 

 

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April 11th Burgundy Tasting

Greetings and Happy Easter Weekend,

Please join us Thursday, April 11th 5:30-8PM for a snapshot of 2010 Burgundies. We’ll have about 12 wines open, should be fun. Email acuteanglewines@gmail.com to RSVP and I will provide the address (in the city but its a ‘secret’ location).

Good news- I’m tasting through a selection of Kermit Lynch’s Languedoc portfolio this weekend. I’m excited because the Languedoc has got it going on and I can’t wait to see the KL point of view on the area. The goto Easter dinner wine is La Ferme du Mont Cotes du Rhone ‘Le Ponnant’. Its 2007 which are drinking great. The wine is Grenache heavy but very structured and should work well with roasted lamb.

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Bad news- I just realized I forgot to order Champagne for Easter dinner. I was planning on something delicious from the Theise portfolio but will have to call an audible. Maybe Philipponnat.. my go to middle house champagne.

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Gobelsburg Zweigelt 2010

Zweigelt is the most widely planted Austrian red grape. It is a cross between 2 indigenous Austrian varietals- Blaufrankisch and St Laurent (both thought to be relatives of Pinot Noir). The grape was created by a guy named… you guessed it, Fritz Zweigelt.

Generally I tend to drink more Blaufranksich. I think this is one of the most exciting grapes out there. There’s good reason that Zweigelt created Zweiglet though, Blaufrankisch is very fickle. It only really works well in the Panonian climate of the Burgenland (warmer and more mild compared to the rest of Austria).

The Gobelsburger Zweigelt is a wonderful example of colder climate Austrian Red. The wine is very light in body and color. It has lovely acidity that carries through the wine and sweet, delicate red fruit (the wine is most definitely dry though). Schloss Gobelsburg is located in the Kamptal (approx 1 hour northwest of Vienna) along the Danube River. They, and the area, are best known for dry whites (Gruner Veltliner and Reisling) but this wine, along with their sparkling wine and desert wines, shows their talent as a winery.

I highly suggest this wine and at $166 a case or $13.83 a bottle it is a steal. Email if interested- acuteanglewines@gmail.com

FF_gob_zweigelt_sm

 

 

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November 15th Wine Tasting and Ravines Wine Dinner

Save the date, one Month from today, November 15th 5:30-8:30,  Acute Angle Wines will be hosting a tasting in the city (near North). We will announce the location via email, if you’re on the email list you will get the official invite. If you’re not on the list email us at acuteanglewines@gmail.com. All wines will be Thanksgiving friendly, mainly from France and Italy (I know, big surprise!). We hope to see you there.

Our friends at Ravines Winery in New York just emailed us and said we could pass along this invitation. On Oct 24th Morten and Lisa Hallgren owners and wine makers of Ravines will be hosting a Wine Dinner at the City Winery (click here for info and tickets).

If you’ve never heard of Ravines or tasted wine from the Fingers Lakes region in New York I highly suggest this event. The Acute Angle Team (my wife and I) visited the Fingers Lakes while driving across country two years ago. We ended up spending an extra day there because we were so impressed with what we found. We were fortunate enough to find Ravines and we’ve been enjoying the wines ever since.

For more info on the Finger Lakes and Ravines check out this article from Eric Asimov of the NYT.

From the Finger Lakes, seriously good wine NYT 10/11/11

 

 

 

 

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Unexpected Openings- 1966 Haut-Brion

My wine professional experience has gone as follows: retail associate at a fine wine store, sales rep for a distributor, supplier rep for an importer, and manager of a distributor, and now, occasional blogger/retailer. I’ve always enjoyed my role as merchant and being a ‘collector’ has never been a priority.

While having dinner at a friend’s house the other day we had a wine experience that served as reminder to why people buy and hold wine. Our friend Peter loves wine and we love him as a customer because his orders go something like this, ‘Just buy me something good!’ When Peter pointed me to his very small collection of bottles I was not expecting to find- 1982 Pierre Bouchy Vosne- Romanee (a producer I’m not familiar with but the word Romanee gets me excited), 1982 Cavallotto Barolo, and 1966 Chateau Haut-Brion, just to name a few.

As it turns out Peter’s dads gave him the wine during a move and Peter said… “pick one.” Before long we were battling a soft cork and a low shouldered 66′ Haut-Brion. It didn’t look good but that didn’t matter, it was just fun opening something so rare.

 

Once open, the wine wasn’t bad but it was definitely disjointed. It had wierd high-toned acidity but it had hope. We sat down and ate (enjoyed a 2009 Piaugier Sablet with braised pork shoulder and sweet potato mash… go Courtney!). After dinner, out came the 1966. It was sensational. After breathing for an hour and half  it had come to life. The front palate displayed all of the iron and mineralerality typical of an old Bordeaux. I kept thinking blood sausage, where iron meets sweetnees. The secondary flavors were all earth and the aroma of musty cellar… so inviting.

The wine was amazing but the real fun was sitting around drinking a wine from a decade all of us know of but none had experienced. Peter put on Bob Dylan’s Live 1966 album and reminded us that 1966 was controversial year where Dylan went electric. Dylan wanted to change, and thank goodness he did. Well this merchant might need a change too, time to lay down a few bottles.

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Seth Allen

Last Monday I received a call, “Hey Ben, it’s Seth. I’ve got a new business.” This was news that I knew would send a little ripple throughout the Chicago wine community. Seth founded Vin Divino in 1991. After a few years Vin Divino had been called Importer of the Year by Food and Wine magazine and Seth was labeled a wine hero by Robert Parker. Vin Divino helped to create, or created, the buzz around Austrian wine and was the first importer to offer a comprehensive selection of highest quality.

I met up with Seth to taste some of his new wines and hear about the company. It’s called Simple Farmer Wines. The title is an homage to Seth’s good friend, Austrian sweet wine maker Alois Kracher, who proclaimed himself  ‘just a simple farmer.’ As expected the wines are great. All honest expressions of the regions in Italy that they’re from. I will do a more focused tasting and offer a selection when the wines are available (hopefully last week of September). Until then, make some room for some wonderful Italian wines.

 

 

 

 

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Burgundy Closeout List!

If you meet a wine buyer who doesn’t get excited about a Burgundy close out list you should check their pulse. Burgundy has had a string of great vintages and the result is some distributors getting over inventoried. Here is a list of sensational Burgundy’s that are priced to move. Everything is subject to availability and quantities are very limited.

Prices are listed by the bottle. Pick up available in Winnetka, shipping possible depending on the state. All inquires email acuteanglewines@gmail.com. Happy hunting!


Producer Was Now
ST MARTIN CHAMBERTIN CLOS DE BEZE GRAND CRU 2004 $98 $65
ST MARTIN BONNES MARES GRAND CRU 2006 $142 $98
ST MARTIN CHAMBERTIN CLOS DE BEZE GRAND CRU 2006 $156 $111
ST MARTIN BONNES MARES GRAND CRU 2007 $130 $91
GROS FRERE ET SOEUR CLOS VOUGEOT MUSIGNI GRAND CRU 2004 $101 $65
GROS FRERE ET SOEUR GRANDS ECHEZEAUX GRAND CRU 2004 $163 $104
GROS FRERE ET SOEUR RICHEBOURG GRAND CRU 2004 $260 $176
GROS FRERE ET SOEUR GRANDS ECHEZEAUX GRAND CRU 2006 $260 $182
GROS FRERE ET SOEUR RICHEBOURG GRAND CRU 2006 $371 $260
LAMARCHE GRANDS ECHEZEAUX GRAND CRU 2004 $137 $91
LAMARCHE LA GRANDE RUE GRAND CRU MONOPOLE 2004 $182 $120
LAMARCHE VOSNE ROMANEE 1C LA CROIX RAMEAU 2008 $111 $78
LAMARCHE ECHEZEAUX GRAND CRU 2008 $121 $85
LAMARCHE CLOS VOUGEOT GRAND CRU 2008 $124 $85
HARMAND GEOFFROY GEVREY CHAMBERTIN CLOS PRIEUR 2005 $72 $46
HARMAND GEOFFROY GEVREY CHAMBERTIN 1C LA PERRIERE 2005 $95 $52
HARMAND GEOFFROY GEVREY CHAMBERTIN 1C LES CHAMPEAUX 2005 $95 $59
HARMAND GEOFFROY MAZIS CHAMBERTIN GRAND CRU 2005 $150 $130
HUBERT LIGNIER CHAMBOLLE MUSIGNY LES BUSSIERES 2007 $78 $59
DUGAT-PY GEVREY CHAMBERTIN LES EVOCELLES 2006 $186 $130
DUGAT-PY GEVREY CHAMBERTIN VIEILLES VIGNES COEUR DU ROY 2006 $186 $130
DUGAT-PY POMMARD LA LEVRIERE 2006 $186 $130
DUGAT-PY VOSNE ROMANEE VIEILLES VIGNES 2006 $202 $140
DUGAT-PY GEVREY CHAMBERTIN 1ER CRU 2006 $254 $176
DUGAT-PY GEVREY CHAMBERTIN 1C PETITE CHAPELLE 2006 $278 $195
DUGAT-PY GEVREY CHAMBERTIN 1C LES CHAMPEAUX 2006 $308 $228
DUGAT-PY MAZOYERES CHAMBERTIN GRAND CRU 2006 $520 $358
DUGAT-PY MAZIS CHAMBERTIN GRAND CRU 2006 $650 $488
DUGAT-PY CHARMES CHAMBERTIN GRAND CRU 2006 $488 $358
BOILLOT GEVREY CHAMBERTIN 2006 $61 $39
BOILLOT GEVREY CHAMBERTIN 1C LES CORBEAUX 2006 $88 $52
LIGNIER-MICHELOT CLOS DE LA ROCHE GRAND CRU 2006 $150 $111

 

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Terry Theise German Tasting

I recently attended the Terry Theise German/Austrian tasting. Terry is one of the finest importers around given the quality of his portfolio and his sense of focus. It’s easy to get distracted when importing wine. There is so much good wine in the world- Why limit yourself to one country? The answer- do what you do and do it better than anyone else.

Terry doesn’t import from one country, he imports from 3. He imports the best selection of German Wines, the best selection of grower Champagnes, and one of the best assortments of Austrian wine. By most importers standards this is a very narrow scope and one that I appreciate.

 

I didn’t get to spend enough time at the tasting but I came away with a few thoughts.

1) I need to drink more German Wine

2) 2011 is a terrific vintage in Germany. The wines are consistent, approachable, and lovely.

3) 2010 was a weird vintage, high acid and high sugar. Some producers thrived others faltered.

4) Riesling Tattoos are awesome!

 

2 Producers I loved-

1) von Winning, Pfalz – This was my first time tasting through these wines and I was thoroughly impressed. The wines are balanced and focused, grown up wines not for the casual drinker. These were the wines I kept thinking about and want to drink and spend time with, not just taste.

2)  Selbach-Oster, Mosel- This would be my go to German winery. I’ve always enjoyed and appreciated their wines both entry level and terrior driven.  Johannes Selbach was one of a few producers at the tasting sporting a Riesling tattoo (definitely the oldest). Now that’s dedication!

Again, this is just a snapshot of German from a wine person who is not an expert on German wine. There was tons of great stuff at the tasting not covered here. If you want to read more about German wine check out Terry Theise’s catalog.

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Picpoul De Pinet

When the temp consitently reads over 100 F, as it did here in Chicago last week, and I’m spending time outside, I drink cheap white wine. Europe is loaded with wonderfully inexpensive yet delightful dry white wines and here is one you should know.

Grape: Picpoul (can be both white and red- like Grenache only here the White is the more common- I’m talking about the white)

Area (AOC): Picpoul De Pinet

 

Here is a rare French Wine where the grape and the place are titeled almost the same. The main region is the Languedoc, the AOC Picpoul De Pinet is on the east side of the Languedoc near the town of Montpellier. I’ve had a few Picpouls and generally I characterize the good versions as having a zippy acidity, minerality with an aroma of tropical fruit.  Like most Mediteranian whites- seafood/shellfish are a natural pairing but this wine is easy to work with food wise.

Here are 2 suggestions if you’re intersted in trying a Picpoul. Buy whatever vintage is freshest- should be 2010 or 2011:

Cave de Pomerols- I’ve tried this many times and its great. This version has more minerality and structure than others I’ve tried. Sometimes these wines can fall flat on the pallete where you get a little zip of acidity and it disappears as soon as it came. This one holds up.

 

La Chapelle de la Bastide- This wine had a lovely aroma of melon. The wine was very pleasant on the palatte but suffered from the disappearing acidity I mentioned before. Again, not for a serious sit down tasting but for $7-$8  a bottle… you can’t go wrong.

 

 

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Maranges, Cote d’Or, Burgundy

If you love European wine you will eventually fall in love with, if not obsess over, Burgundy. I avoid making sweeping generalizations  but this one is true. The area makes some of the worldest greatest red and white wine and the modern concept terrior orriginates here, enough said. I am by no means  an expert on Burgundy. Everytime I feel that I know something about this region, I learn something new and I am reminded of how little I know. Humbling.. yes, discouraging..never.

It was my pleasure to be humbled yet again this week. I tasted a number of wines from the Fine Vines portfolio. One was from a Burgundy producer that I’ve always appreciated, Bachey-Legros. They are a family owned estate in Santenay, the southern most town in the Cote de Beaune. Generally for Burgundy the excitement of red wine is in the North and whites in the South. In Santenay the excitement turns back to the reds where you find a handful of Premier Crus for the reds. I’ve always enjoyed the reds from this area. I find them to be of good value and more consistent, relative to Reds of the Beaune (Pommard, Volnay, etc).

I opened the bottle of Bachey-Legros labeled ‘Maranges.’ Maybe I should be embarassed to say, but this area just didn’t register with me. Where is the Maranges? The name sounded familiar but I just couldn’t place it. I opened one Burgundy map and it was nowhere to be found. After some research I found that it borders Santenay just to the south. I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable on Burgundy and here is this little AOC that I couldn’t even place. Humbling… yes.

 

The wine was terrific. A value by Burgundy standards at $20 a bottle. The wine had great balance and good sense of tension, which to me is what makes old world wines and Burdgundy exciting. The wine had notes of black pepper in aroma, something I find throughout Santenay reds, and that good Burgundy ‘funk’. I highly recomend this wine and other wines from this producer. I will be be hunting down more wines from the Maranges so stay tuned.

 

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