Celebrate November 20 With CRU Beaujolais

It’s here! It’s the third Thursday of November. Thanksgiving is ONE week away and today, at bistros and brasseries worldwide, the northern hemisphere’s very first wine from 2014 is being served. No matter where you stand on the issue of Nouveau Beaujolais, the undeniable fact of the matter is that it has become a tradition and something to celebrate, for the sake of celebration itself. It gives one the excuse to check into their local Franco-centric establishment and partake in festivity. The wines are light, fruity, and easy to drink. The advertising for the unveiling of these wines is plentiful, and even if you’ve never been to France, it’s difficult to not be taken in by the hype. So, if one is open to the simplicity of Nouveau, why not dig a bit deeper and have a look into the finest wines from this region: Cru Beaujolais!

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In the French wine world, “Cru” means “Growth.” You won’t see the fancy (and often expensive) names “Grand Cru” or “Premier Cru” in Beaujolais. There is a lot of wine that comes from Beaujolais, including Nouveau, but the BEST of these wines come from Beaujolais’ 10 Crus. Killing two birds with one stone here, the names of the 10 Crus were humorously listed today on Twitter, as “List of ten wines that go with turkey.” In no particular order:

Saint Amour
Juliénas
Régnié
Moulin à Vent
Fleurie
Morgon
Chiroubles
Chénas
Brouilly
Cote de Brouilly
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It is humorous for us wine industry folks, as we have been known to recommend Beaujolais tirelessly to customers seeking Turkey Day red wines. Thanksgiving is a special occasion, so if you’re looking to open something fancier, by all means do so! But taking the traditional T-Day spread into consideration, if you’re going the red route, something light on its feet, spicy, and fruit-driven is the way to go. Knee-jerk reaction? Bam! Beaujolais. Cru Beaujolais, that is.

It being November and all, we’ve received several inquiries about a sale that usually occurs around this time. Stay tuned, as we will unveil the Anniversary Sale with a bit of fanfare in the coming days. (Though some of you may want to surf around our website. You never know what you might find.) What if one of the wines on sale were a Cru Beaujolais? Read on.
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The 2011 Château de Raousset Chiroubles is the lightest of the bunch, with dazzling aromas of bright cherries, forest floor, and baking spices. It’s a great intro to the world of the Cru. Raousset’s Fleurie Grille-Midi is at its peak right now showing off the complexity, balance, and weight that earned that Médaille d’Or on the bottle. The Morgon Douby is the most structured of the trio; it’s got a dark middle and earthy mineral qualities to it. It’s still Gamay Noir, so it’s elegant and not at all tannic – best part is that it’s on sale! Our other Morgon is from Domaine Pierre Savoye. It hails from Morgon’s Côte du Py, the prime terroir of this famous Cru. Savoye’s version is brighter and fruitier, call it a little more slurpable.

Yes, today is the day that 2014 Nouveau Beaujolais hits the shops, brasseries, and tables across the globe. For the other 364 days of the year, if you’re talking about Beaujolais, head on over to the Cru section. For as simple and light-hearted as Nouveau is, Beaujolais’ Crus have so much complexity and elegance to offer. It’s as if Nouveau Beaujolais is made to drink while standing, while the Cru Beaujolais is something you may want to sip and discuss while sitting. Hey, a reason to celebrate is a reason to celebrate. Bon fête!

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Filed under Chiroubles, Fleurie, French Wine, Morgon, Peter Zavialoff

2012 Orgo Saperavi: Ancient Winemaking Comes Of Age

The 2012 Orgo Saperavi is a wine I knew existed in theory but had never tasted before until now. Winemaking in The Republic of Georgia dates back 8,000 years. I had read about the wonders of Georgian wine in literary novels. I had heard about how delicious Georgian wines were from my Georgian friends. I have drunk Georgian wines at home supplied by friends who traveled to Russia, as well as purchased locally from food emporiums catering to Russian speakers. I have even been to The Republic of Georgia back when it was part of the Soviet Union and drank wine there. However, these experiences were simply exercises in the exotic. I never tasted a Georgian wine that reaches the level of complexity and vibrancy as the 2012 Orgo Saperavi.

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Orgo, the winery, is located in the Kakheti region in eastern Georgia. Saperavi, the grape, can make full-bodied, long-aging wines. At Orgo, young winemaker Temuri Dakashvili, who is a fourth generation vigneron, ferments the wine in clay amphoras called kveri. Temuri studied winemaking in Germany but is part of a wave of young Georgian winemakers dedicated to preserving the ancient art of kveri winemaking. Temuri sources the fruit from a small 2.5 hectare vineyard he owns with his brother. The vineyard has vines aged from 50-80 years old that are deep rooted in intensely mineral river bank soils. Only native yeasts are used. Maceration with skins, seeds and stems lasts for 14-18 days in clay kveri. Then the heavy sediments and skins are removed and the wine continues to mature for another 6 months. No oak is used and neither is the wine fined or filtered. This description might lead you to think this is some crazy, strange, “natural” wine, but it is not. It is a wine of sophistication that will appeal to both wine geek and to those looking to try something new but not necessarily weird. Lovers of Bordeaux varietals – Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot – will find much to appreciate and enjoy here.

The flavors are tangy with plum and pomegranate flavors and lots of spice notes. It has soft, rounded tannins and a welcoming lightness given its full-bodied expression. An aromatic melange of fruit and spices rev up as the wine opens to air. An interesting fact of the Saperavi grape is that it is a teinturier grape which means its skin and flesh are red. Teinturier grapes are rarely used on their own, but are typically blended with other varietals for color. Saperavi is the exception. If anyone has ever had Georgian red wine before, it should probably be emphasized that the 2012 Orgo Saperavi is a dry wine labeled at 12.5% alcohol by volume.
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Along with its famous wines, Georgian hospitality and cuisine are also legendary. I can attest to this fact. Georgian Feasts, or supra, can last hours, often all day, with food overflowing on the table and are officiated by a tamada, or master of ceremonies, to keep the toasts rolling and the spirits high. Back when I visited Tbilisi in the late ’80′s, I was traveling with friends who had family living there. Despite the fact that stores stood empty, when dining at private homes meals were bountiful and complicated. As an honored guest, they would literally take the shirt off their back and give it to me if given the chance. One time I stood admiring a painting on a living room wall. The host noticed me, walked over to the painting, took it off the wall and presented it to me. I had no intention of absconding with their cherished painting nor did I want to insult their generosity, so luckily I managed to convince them that I had no way of transporting such a large picture back home with me. After that incident, I learned not to let my eye rest on anything for too long!
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It is nearly time for our greatest American feast, Thanksgiving, when eating and drinking all day long is also the tradition. If you are looking for a fuller red to serve at your table, the 2012 Orgo Saperavi, with its tannins in check, should marry nicely with the baking spices found in many classic Thanksgiving side dishes. Georgian cuisine uses many ingredients that one might find on a typical Thanksgiving table like walnuts, fruit sauces and even turkey, so I don’t think it is a stretch to suggest the 2012 Orgo Saperavi as a Thanksgiving wine. However, if you remain doubtful, do yourself a favor and cook up some lamb and then pop open a bottle of the Orgo. – Anya Balistreri

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Georgia, Kakheti, Saperavi

Just In Time: 2011 Opalie de Chateau Coutet

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It was like a splash of cold water in the face. Bam! World Series over and done, and all memory of summer with it. Throw in a rain shower, the time change, hoops and hockey on the TV, and all of sudden it’s, “What are you doing for Thanksgiving?” Sheesh! I saw it coming, but I sure didn’t feel it coming. My perception of Thanksgiving has changed in recent years, so I’m looking forward to it, but whoa, there’s a lot of stuff to do between here and there! Things that you’re all going to be hearing about soon, like the Anniversary Sale, Thanksgiving itself, and a dinner in January with Chateau Brane Cantenac, are all coming into view; full steam ahead! Since we still have more than a couple of weeks until the fourth Thursday in November, let me tell you about a very special wine that you may find ideal for this fall’s (and beyond) celebrations. Our final allocation of 2011 Opalie de Chateau Coutet is here and ready for you all to enjoy!

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This is one of my favorite wines and also one of my favorite stories. I’ve gone on more than once about how much I love White Bordeaux. It can be life-altering. Yes. I meant to say that. The dry white wines of Bordeaux are amazing reflections of terroir when both young and aged. It’s funny that this happened on the same day. I was up in the Medoc tasting red wines at various UGC tastings as well as stopping by a handful of esteemed chateaux to taste their wines. One of these well known, fancy chateaux had recently begun making a dry white wine, and though I liked it okay, my notes do include the word, “imposter.” That same evening I had the great pleasure of dining at Chateau Coutet with Philippe and Aline Baly. After dinner, Philippe brought a bottle to the table. It had no label. He poured a glass and Aline told me that Philippe wanted my impressions. Perfect word. I was impressed. It was rich and opulent, much like Coutet itself. The only difference was it was dry and crisp. It spoke of a place. I told them how much I liked it. They then regaled me with the story of Opalie de Coutet.

Seeking the advice of Philippe Dhalluin of Mouton Rothshild (et al.) fame, they chose a couple of rows of 40 year old vines planted in the thickest layers of clay and limestone in their Premier Cru vineyard to source the fruit for Opalie de Coutet. Blending 50% Sauvignon Blanc and 50% Semillon, it is fermented and aged in oak barrels, 45% of it new. To call it unique would be an understatement. It is truly a one of a kind wine. Production is only a precious 250 cases. We had a great amount of success with the inaugural 2010 vintage of Opalie, selling out our entire allocation in record time. For the 2011, we took our allocation in two lots. The first one came to us back in January. It sold out in February. Our second drop has now arrived, and when it’s gone there’ll be no more.
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I got to taste the 2011 Opalie de Coutet for the first time at Coutet along with several wine professionals including Commanderie members and writers, one of which happened to also be an MW. It was a fantastic experience to have a discussion about a young wine that broke down the language barrier from terroir to palate. The quintessential richness of Coutet’s terroir is ever-present in this fresh, zesty, expressive wine. I was and continue to be smitten by Opalie de Coutet.

Fastening my seatbelt here, it is indeed full speed ahead. You will be hearing about the Anniversary Sale soon, and a Bordeaux dinner soon afterwards. But for tonight, it’s all about the 2011 Opalie de Coutet! It’s actually perfect timing. November is a great month for this wine. Crab season is right around the corner, oysters are mighty tasty these days, and the 2011 Opalie de Coutet would be a sensational addition to any Thanksgiving table. Keeping that spirit alive, if the parties and holidays of December call for something special and unique, the Opalie will more than satisfy those criteria. And peeking a bit further into the future, as has been written here before, that Opalie de Coutet is the perfect Valentine’s Day wine. It’s here, for now, so come on by TWH and get yours today!
- Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about the 2011 Opalie de Coutet, our Anniversary Sale, our upcoming Bordeaux Dinner in January, and of course, footy: peter@wineSF.com

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Filed under 2011 Bordeaux, Peter Zavialoff

November 2014 Dirty Dozen

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And just like that, it’s November. It’s getting chilly out. It’s getting darker earlier and earlier. No need to fear, we’ve arrived at that time of year where people gather indoors and enjoy one another’s company. The Holidays are around the corner, beginning with the day of thanks. During times like these, it’s a good idea to have a stockpile of versatile wines ready to go, just in case. Case? Yes, case. 12 bottles, all different, for one low price!

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Reorder Special !!! 20% off 6 bottles or more of any one regularly priced Dirty Dozen wine! Or 10%/Net Wines – 5%/ Sale Wines

 

 

 

2013 Picpoul de Pinet, le Chevalier de Novato $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder

If you’ve never tried this delightful Languedoc white, boy, are you in for a treat! The name of the grape translated from the French means “stings the lip,” referencing the grape’s natural zippy acidity. On the label an illustration of an oyster hints at the perfect pairing for this wine, though any fresh bivalve will do. A charming aperitif to tickle the appetite!

2011 Moscato Giallo, Castel Sallegg $21.98 net price, $19.78 reorder

The intense, intoxicating aroma of this dry Moscato Giallo has notes of green apple, mango, orange blossom and tuberose. Grown along glacial valleys in the Italian Alps, Alto Adige is positioned just below Austria. Castel Sallegg has deep cellars where they ferment and age their wines 3 stories below ground. Try with Pad Thai or Singapore Noodles.

2010 Catarratto, Tola $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder

Catarratto is one of Sicily’s oldest native grapes. The Tola estate has vineyards that lie between Palermo and Trapani where the famous Scirocco sends in warm winds and light sea breezes. Simple, light with an abundance of green-tinged citrus notes and flavors, this Sicilian white would match well with flaky white-fleshed fish or grilled Octopus.

2013 Rose, Domaine de la Petite Cassagne $11.49, $9.19 reorder

When it comes to pairing wines with the array of plates one typically finds on the Thanksgiving Day table, Rose is among the most versatile. Its crisp profile, coupled with just the right amount of fruit works with just about anything. Its low price makes it a good one to stock up on. The Petite Cassagne Rose has been a favorite for a few consecutive vintages.

2011 Pinot Gris Im Berg, Domaine Ehrhart $19.99, $15.99 reorder

Speaking of Thanksgiving, here’s another autumnal wine. Straight away you can sense the earthy, mushroomy aromas behind the fresh orchard fruit and almond notes. On the palate the wine is sturdy with a bit of viscosity, apple-y fruit and earthiness meet head to head and take you to a long finish. If a ham shows up at the table, this is your wine.

2012 Gavi, Ernesto Picollo $10.99, $8.79 reorder

What’s the wine of choice along the Italian Riviera? That’s a rhetorical question in this context. Gavi is in Piemonte, the grape is Cortese, and the profile is dry, medium bodied with ample fruit, and crisp. There is a detectable mineral presence, both aromatically and on the palate. This will pair well with shellfish, rotisserie chicken, or of course, turkey.

2011 Chianti, Fattoria Petriolo $14.98 net price, $13.48 reorder

A textbook Chianti jam-packed with tangy Sangiovese fruit; a cheerful combination of red cherry and dusty red dirt. The inherent low tannin and high acid nature of Sangiovese makes it ideal for any tomato-based dish or long-simmered meat. Grandma’s short-rib stew or Nonna’s Sunday gravy over spaghetti is all you need to take away autumn’s chill.

2013 Pinot Noir, Underwood $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder

A perennial favorite, Oregon’s Underwood Pinot Noir is nearly unmatched for its quality/price ratio. How do they do it? Drawing from vineyard sites all across Oregon then blending to construct a light/medium-weighted cherry explosion, they seem to get better with each vintage! Elevate your leftover turkey sandwich with a glass the day after.

2007 Primitivo, Feudo di San Nicola $15.98 net price, $14.38 reorder

Primitivo is an Old World (Italian) relative of Zinfandel. It’s robust and earthy, with plummy notes tangling with fresh cracked black pepper. A little time spent in bottle have softened the tannins of this wine, so it’s good to go right now! When pairing, think marbled steak, Pimenton-spiced brisket, or rack of lamb – Va Bene!

2012 Mountainside Shiraz, The Winery of Good Hope $13.49, $10.79 reorder

Frenchman and TWH pal Edouard Labeye makes the wines for English ex-pat Alex Dale at his Winery of Good Hope. The concept is to keep costs down so the wines are great values to consumers; so no new barrel, no fancy packaging. Take this Shiraz out for a spin. Spicy red fruit, layers of brambly berries, and cracked black pepper; try it with ostrich.

2013 Malbec, Alberto Furque $14.99, $11.99 reorder

Malbec has taken Argentina by storm. Once upon a time, it was used as a blending grape in Bordeaux (where it still plays a minor role), but there is something about the terroir in Argentina that works for this variety. Here, Carolina Furque uses steel and concrete tank to make this plummy, med/full bodied number. A marinated skirt steak works very well here.

2011 Cotes-du-Rhone la Boissiere, Domaine Boudinaud $13.49, $10.79 reorder

What better way to round out this month’s DD than with a tasty Cotes-du-Rhone. Pound for pound, the red wines from this region continue to represent some of the wine world’s best deals. The 2011 la Boissiere is medium bodied, complex, and balanced. It’s a great all-purpose red, and would suit pizzas, calzones, pasta dishes, and burgers just fine.

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Peter Zavialoff, The Dirty Dozen

Arlaux Champagne? Yes, Yes, Yes!

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TWH staff had occasion to celebrate this week, so we did with a bottle of Arlaux’s Brut Rosé. Arlaux’s Brut Rosé is produced from the family’s 9 hectare vineyard which faces east/southeast along hillside slopes not far from Champagne’s epicenter, Reims. Produced independently since 1826, Arlaux makes only 5,000 cases a year, a minuscule amount for a Champagne house. That’s probably why Arlaux is not a household name, except for here at The Wine House.

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With over 10 years importing Arlaux under our belt, we’ve become pretty familiar with Arlaux’s signature style which showcases Champagne’s lesser known, but most widely planted variety, Pinot Meunier. Arlaux’s Brut Rosé is over 50% Pinot Meunier, therefore it has a fuller, fruitier expression than the more delicate Pinot Noir- or Chardonnay-based Rosés. A beautiful shade of salmon pink with edges of amber, the Arlaux Rosé strike a lovely balance between amplitude and delicacy. Yeasty aromas mingle with red raspberry fruit and give way to a creamy long finish.

The vine age at Arlaux ranges from 20-80 years old and are 100% classified Premier Cru. Their farming practices are “lutte raisonneé” which for Arlaux means that they are not using any pesticides in combination with careful vineyard management. Their stewardship of the land looks to a sustainable model.

One of our first customers this morning stopped by specifically to check on our Champagne selection. He knew that this is the time of year Champagne inventory at The Wine House expands. And then it dawned on me, holy cow it’s here, the time most closely associated with drinking Champagne – the holidays. Ready or not!

As I wrote above, The Wine House staff had occasion to celebrate this week. A local team we all like to root for in a sport we all enjoy following won an important series, so after spending the day analyzing the victory (& working), at the end of the business day, we selected something worthy with which to clink our glasses: Arlaux’s Brut Rosé. It had been some time since I last drank this Rosé. I always considered Arlaux’s Rosé to be the perfect bathtub wine; languishing in scented bath water, soaking away the stress and sipping something special and bubbly. I could sure use such a soak and a sip. A Friday Halloween sent droves of trick-or-treaters past my front door. Explain to me how it can be so exhausting handing out candy to little children? At any rate, next time you find yourself in need of something special and bubbly, whether it be for a soak in the tub, marking a win, or any type of holiday festivity, check out Arlaux’s Brut Rosé. It is a wise choice! – Anya Balistreri

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Champagne, Pinot Meunier

2011 Ca’Lojera Ravel & 2007 Pierazzuoli Millarium

Two Sweet Exclusives

THW does not shy away from sweet wines. Many have marveled at our comprehensive Sauternes selection. I don’t have the scientific data to back this up, but I surmise that TWH has one of the largest selections of Sauternes in the country. But as much as we love Sauternes, why stop there? Two of our direct-imports from Italy, Ca’ Lojera and Tenute Pierazzuoli, make superb passito-style sweet wines that are currently in stock at our store. In fact outside of Italy, we are the only place you can purchase these wines! (And I have the scientific data on that fact.) Yes, they are that special and we find them to be value-driven options when selecting something a little sweet for a special dinner or to serve as an aperitif when you want to shake things up.

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Ca’ Lojera’s passito-style wine is called Ravel. Ca’ Lojera settled on this name as a reference to the composer Ravel whose most famous composition, Boléro, can evoke warm, passionate feelings in the listener. Likewise Ca’ Lojera’s Ravel is a moving expression of their local Turbiana grape. A small amount of Malvasia is added in for aromatic lift and perfume, but it is the Turbiana that plays center stage. The grapes are hand-harvested, dried on wooden trays for an extended period of time and then pressed. The wine is then aged in barrel before bottling. The 2011 Ravel is light on its feet with a fresh finish, not at all unctuous. An exotic coconut flavor dominates with cheerful lemon undertones. A glowy citrus yellow color lights up the glass and the lush flavors settle nicely on the palate. The coconut flavors give a nice toasted note without being overly extracted or heavy-handed. Frankly, this wine is better suited for aged cheeses than for matching with a dessert. This wine is perfectly capable of being a stand-alone dessert, no sugary caloric confections needed. In an email providing us with some background notes on their latest releases, Ca’ Lojera’s Ambra Tiroboschi signed off with this charming sentiment, “this is briefly the history of our wines, that derive from our projects and reflect our dreams.”

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Pierazzuoli’s 2007 Millarium Vin Santo is a laborious endeavor. First the grapes are hand picked from vines that were deliberately left with only two bunches. The grapes were then hung up to dry in the rafters of their well-ventilated facility. The grapes dry for six months. The must is then fermented and aged incaratelli, very small barrels, for four years, during which time the wine is kept in an area directly under the roof in order to maximize temperature swings during the year. After bottling, the wine rests for another year before commercial release. Amazing isn’t it when you think about what it takes to make a wine like this especially given the usual turn-it-over fast, send-it-out-to-market-quick mentality? Making real Vin Santo is a commitment. Vin Santo, or “holy wine”, has many origin stories. The one proprietor Enrico Pierazzuoli shared with us is that the name is derived from the historical practice of pressing the wine during Easter. Actually what I found most interesting was Enrico’s description of his Vin Santo as being “an ideal wine for company and conversation, as an aperitif or at the end of a meal, it goes very well with sheep cheese served with green tomato marmalade or chestnut honey, or with liver pâté.” Please note that no mention is made of any type of cake, torte or sweet. Save that stuff for the espresso! The 2007 Millarium Vin Santo is dark amber in color with a lightly honeyed note, lots of freshness, a slight herbal component that gives a minty spark and finishes with decadent burnt sugar and lots of roasted hazelnuts. Beautifully balanced without any over-compensating sweetness. A perceived dryness permeates the palate giving the wine a youthful sheen. – Anya Balistreri

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Lugana, Tuscany

2010 Chateau Beauregard Ducasse And 2010 Chateau La Fleur De Jaugue


In the wine importation game, it sometimes seems nothing happens as quickly as we would like. There are things we can control, and there are things we can’t. I’ve been happily trading emails with Bordeaux negociants this week informing me that some of our wines have been picked up and will begin making their way here via refrigerated container soon. That’s great news as I am especially looking forward to a handful of fairly inexpensive Bordeaux wines I tasted this past spring during En Primeurs. Alas, those wines are several weeks away, sorry to say, so we must wait a little longer. On the other hand, what we don’t have to wait for are the six petits chateaux wines that arrived a month ago. We’ve introduced you to four of them already, and now, the other two, the 2010 Château Beauregard Ducasse, Graves and the 2010 Château La Fleur de Jaugue, St. Emilion Grand Cru.

Keep in mind the exercise here, out of 24 sample bottles provided by one of our suppliers in Bordeaux, we found six to our liking and sent the other 18 packing. Not that they were all bad, mind you. In fact, many of the wines we didn’t buy were also to our liking, but we just felt the six we chose represented the best values for the respective price points. Let’s start off with the 2010 Beauregard Ducasse. I don’t know about you all, but I’ve had a love affair with wines that say “Graves” on their label for many years. Named for the preponderance of gravelly soils throughout the region, it’s an easy appellation to grasp conceptually. If you’ve been lucky enough to taste an Haut Brion from 1985 or earlier, you would have seen “Graves” written on the label. But we’re not talking about Haut Brion here; this is a completely different animal. In 1987, several prestigious chateaux near the villages of Pessac and Léognan (and in between) broke off from the Graves AOC and formed the fancier Pessac-Léognan AOC, with Graves still representing the nebulous region further south all the way past Langon. And that’s where Château Beauregard Ducasse is, in the village of Mazères, about 25km due south of Langon in Bordeaux’s southern frontier.

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A little research reveals the property has been in the Jeanduduran family since 1850, with current administrator/grower Jacques Perromat taking over in 1981, after marrying into the family. The 32 hectare vineyard consists of clay and gravel upon limestone subsoil, and is planted to Merlot (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon (45%), and Cabernet Franc (5%). The wine is all tank-fermented, and 80% is aged in tank, with the other 20% aged in barrel. This is just another example of the success of the 2010 vintage. From a price to quality standpoint, this is a Grand Slam of a deal!!! AND …. it’s also available in half bottles!

2010 Château La Fleur de Jaugue,
St. Emilion Grand Cru
First things first. The words “Grand Cru” mean different things in different French regions. It can be a bit confusing. The folks at Berry Bros. in London have the St. Emilion classification explained very well here. As they state, the consumer would be better served if these wines were labeled “St. Emilion Supérieur.” Well, Château La Fleur de Jaugue is no run-of-the-mill St. Emilion Grand Cru!!! Looking back over several vintages of Robert Parker’s tasting notes, he regularly refers to Fleur de Jaugue as “a sleeper of the vintage, a reliable and impeccably run estate,” and “a shrewd insider’s wine.” Consistent high praise for a château that many of us are not very familiar with.

 

Their 2010 is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc from 50 year old vines. They employ techniques one normally sees at more upscale chateaux such as de-stemming and green harvesting. Fermented seperately in concrete vats, the wine is then blended and aged for 18 months in new and 1 year old barrel. The result is astonishing. It has great weight and balance, and again, for the price, is an absolute no-brainer.
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Oh yeah, then there’s this. A good friend of mine, with whom I’ve tasted a lot of Bordeaux wines over many years came in when these wines first arrived. I gave him a brief rundown on them, and he decided to try one bottle of each of them. I caught up with him a couple weeks later. The wine he couldn’t stop raving about? The 2010 Château La Fleur de Jaugue.

 

Another customer came in just yesterday, our write-ups printed out and in hand, he mixed up a case of these wines for himself. He pointed out how well the petits chateaux wines from 2009 and 2010 were showing, and acknowledged our efforts in weeding out the lesser performing wines and stocking great deals like these. He thanked us for “making this so easy” for him. It’s always good to hear, but that’s what we do here at TWH.
- Peter Zavialoff

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Filed under 2010 Bordeaux, Bordeaux, Graves, Half bottles, Peter Zavialoff, St. Emilion