For many months I have been writing about the superb 2009 Beaujolais. Virtually everything has now arrived (still waiting for the Clos du Fief Prestige Cuvee which should be great) and these latest arrivals include some of the best wines of the vintage. Don’t miss them. If you have not purchased any 2009 Beaujolais, I strongly recommend that you do so before they disappear. All of the following Beaujolais are imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, California.
2009 Domaine Bernard Diochon Moulin-a-Vent Cuvee Vieilles Vignes. This is a small property with very old vines. It consistently produces one of the richest Beaujolais that is capable of aging for a very long time. This 2009 is one to lay away. Dark in color, the nose is perfumed with hints of cassis, plum, and blackberry with a touch of almond and spice. Rich and flavorful with great fruit hinting of cassis and blackberry with a spicy nuance, the wine is structured and a bit subdued. But, make no mistake, this will be superb — Outstanding Plus. $20.70 Best Buy
2009 Domaine de Brouilly Nicole Chanrion Cote-de-Brouilly.Nicole Chanrion took over her father’s wine growing property in the Cote-de-Brouilly and has produced a wonderful 2009. Dark in color with a deep perfume of black cherry with floral and spice tinges, this is a rich, supple Beaujolais. It has lots of black cherry fruit with spice and floral nuances and a long finish. The wine is exquisitely balanced and drinks beautifully now, but will keep for many years — Outstanding Plus. $17.95 Best Buy
2009 Jean Foillard Morgon Cote du Py. Jean Foillard is one of the famous gang of four in Morgon. He has some 25 acres of vines in Villie-Morgon including vines in the Cote du Py, one of the best vineyards in the region. This wine is consistently outstanding and this 2009 is superb. Dark in color, it is very perfumed with blackberry and spice and faint floral, herbal, and almond nuances. Very lush and fruity with hints of cherry and spice and a faint floral undertone, this wine is beautifully balanced and long on the finish. It can be consumed now or kept for many years – Extraordinary. $31.50 Best Buy
2009 Jean Foillard Morgon Cuvee Corcelette. This is yet another stunning Beaujolais from Jean Foillard. Dark in color, it has a great blackberry perfume with a floral nuance. On the palate there is an abundance of blackberry and cassis fruit. The wine is rich and supple with great balance and a long finish – Extraordinary. $31.50 Best Buy
2009 Marcel Lapierre Morgon. The late Marcel Lapierre was one of the gang of four in Morgon along with Jean-Paul Thevenet, Jean Foillard, and Guy Breton. They retrenched to more traditional Burgundian grapegrowing and winemaking methods to make small quantities of top quality Beaujolais. Sadly, Marcel Lapierre passed away earlier this year, but this wine and the Cuvee Lapierre are great legacies. Dark in color, this Beaujolais has a gorgeous perfume of cherry and raspberry with a floral and spice nuance. The wine is elegant and loaded with spice-tinged cherry and raspberry fruit. It is lush and just plain delicious – Outstanding Plus. $21.60 Best Buy
2009 Marcel Lapierre Morgon Cuvee Lapierre. This is a special cuvee made from grapes harvested from older vines. It is simply stunning and should age gracefully for some time. Dark in color, it has a great perfume of blackberry fruit with floral and spice tinges. There are similar flavors on the palate with lots of depth and intensity. The wine is rich and rounded, yet with good backbone and structure and has a long finish – Extraordinary. $37.80 Best Buy
2009 Chateau Thivin Brouilly. Chateau Thivin is part of a manor that has existed since the 14th century. In 1877, the current family purchased part of the estate. The grandson of the founder created the Cote de Brouilly appellation. Chateau Thivin continues under family ownership today. With a deep color, this Brouilly has a lovely floral, berry and spice-tinged perfume. It has lovely berry fruit with spicy, floral nuances and a nice finish – Highly Recommended. $20.70
2009 Chateau Thivin Cote de Brouilly. Dark in color with a deep blackberry, floral, and spice-tinged perfume, this Cote de Brouilly is loaded with fruit and has great structure. Delicious now, but it should age beautifully – Outstanding. $21.60 Best Buy
Below are notes on two late release Beaujolais from Jean Foillard. They are imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, California.
2007 Jean Foillard Fleurie. With a very nice color, this Fleurie has a lovely floral perfume with hints of cherry and spice. Elegant and finesseful, this is a silky Beaujolais with lovely fruit and floral, spice nuances – Highly Recommended. $42.30
2007 Jean Foillard Morgon Cuvee 3.14. This wine is made only in exceptional years and held back three years before release. It is made from grapes harvested from the oldest vines in Foillard’s Cote de Py vineyard. So can you guess the meaning of cuvee 3.14? How about 3.14=Pi=Py? Get it? No matter, this is a gorgeous supple Beaujolais that is delicious to drink now. With a deep color, it shows a lovely perfume with a myriad of berry fruit and a faintly smoky, spicy nuance. Rounded and lush with complex spice-tinged fruit and a long finish, this is terrific – Outstanding. $48.60
White Sancerre is one of my favorite wines. I buy White Sancerre every year and find it to be one of the most versatile of all white wines. It complements, rather than over powers, a wide variety of lighter food such as fish, chicken, pork, pasta, salads and mild cheeses. The wines reviewed here are some of my favorites.
Sancerre is located in the Loire Valley. It encompasses 14 communes (including the great villages of Chavignol, Bue, Verdigny, Amigny, and Menetreol). It is widely dispersed, covering about 7000 acres over vertiginous valleys at up to 350 meters above sea level with several different soil types.
While Sancerre is now generally thought of as a white wine, this is relatively new. For centuries the area of Sancerre was known for its red wines from the Pinot Noir grape. Then in the 20th century the Pinot Noir vines were virtually wiped out by Phylloxera. Most of the vineyards were then replanted in Sauvignon Blanc and in 1936 the Sancerre white wine was accorded AOC status, while reds were classified in 1959. Sancerres now come in white, red, and rose.
White Sancerre is mostly known for its crisp, clean character with vibrant acidity; one slight deviation from this style is the Sancerre from the Les Monts Damnes. This is considered to be Sancerre’s greatest vineyard, which is renowned for its great complexity and depth, resembling a white Burgundy. Les Monts Damnes lies in the small village of Chavignol where the soil resembles that of the Chablis Grand Cru Vineyards as well as parts of Champagne. Wines from Chavignol offer the greatest expression of terroir as the soil imparts much of the flavor and increases the ability to age, the Les Monts Damnes vineyard, with a large proportion of old vines, is incredibly steep, approximating a wall of vines. Chavignol is also famous for goat cheese. And, not surprisingly, Sancerre makes a perfect match for the goat cheese!
Other top vineyards include La Grand Cote, Le Cul de Beaujeu, Grand and Petit Chemarin and Chene Marchand.
Some of my favorite producers include Henri Bourgeois, Claude and Florence Thomas-Labaille, Hippolyte Reverdy, Pascal Cotat, Francois Cotat, Lucien Crochet, Domaine Vacheron, Pascal Jolivet, Gerard Boulay, and Edmond Vatan. However, there are many others as well. If you have not given Sancerre a try, you owe it to yourself to do so. I think you will soon have a new favorite white wine.
2009 Pascal Jolivet Sancerre. This estate was founded in 1987. Today it makes wines from 74 acres of vines in Sancerre and Pouilly Fume and supplements their production by 50% with purchased grapes. They make several different bottlings of White Sancerre and also Rose and Red Sancerre. Light yellow gold in color, this Sancerre has a lovely perfume of citrus and melon with a herbal, mineral tinge. Rounded and flavorful, with citrus and mineral nuances and a nice crisp finish, this is lovely – Highly Recommended. $17.95 Imported by Frederick Wildman and Sons New York, NY.
Claude and Florence Thomas-Labaille. Claude and Florence Thomas-Labaille produce Sancerre in the old style with minimal intervention in the wine- making and careful care of the vineyards. Their holdings are among the best in Chavignol, with a large proportion of old vines in the very steep vineyards. And their Sancerres are consistently some of the best produced. Louis/Dressner Selections Imported by LDM Wines Inc. New York, NY.
2009 Claude and Florence Thomas-Labaille Sancerre Chavignol Les Monts Damnes. This is a gorgeous Sancerre. Light yellow in color, it has a gorgeous perfume with hints of watermelon, citrus, and a faint mineral nuance. On the palate there is lovely fruit hinting of melon and citrus with a mineral-tinged nuance. The wine has great balance and a long, citrus-tinged finish – Outstanding Plus. $21.00 Best Buy
2009 Claude and Florence Thomas-Labaille Sancerre Chavignol Les Monts Damnes Cuvee Buster. This is a very special wine that is always fabulous. It is a cuvee made from a parcel of 75-year-old vines in the Les Monts Damnes. Production is very limited and I am told that only 50 case of this wine were shipped to the U.S. Cuvee Buster is the name created by the Dressner family who select and import the wine. Buster is an actual dog (part pit bull and part Welsh Cardigan Corgi) whose picture appears on all the cuvees selected by Louis/Dressner Selections as being exceptional. This 2009 Cuvee Buster Sancerre is one of the best ever. Light yellow in color, the wine has a stunning perfume of melon, peach, citrus, and mineral with a floral note. Superbly balanced and very pure, it is very complex with flavors of melon, peach, citrus, and coconut with an underlying floral and mineral note. This is simply a fantastic Sancerre – Extraordinary. $32 Best Buy
Cotat is one of the most revered names in Sancerre and they have been making some of the best wines for many years. Pascal and his cousin, François, carry on the works of their fathers, Francis and Paul. They make wines in a very traditional manner that are capable of aging for many years. The wines of Pascal Cotat and Francois Cotat are imported by Michael Skurnik Wines Syosset, NY.
2009 Pascal Cotat Sancerre Chavignol Les Monts Damnes. Light yellow in color, this Sancerre has a lovely perfume of melon with a touch of citrus and mineral and an intriguing faintly candied nuance. It has gorgeous fruit with melon and citrus flavors and a faint mineral nuance. Very pure with impeccable balance and a long finish, this is delicious – Outstanding Plus. $41.00
2009 Pascal Cotat Sancerre Chavignol La Grande Cote. This is yet another terrific Sancerre from Pascal Cotat. It is light yellow in color and has a lovely perfume with hints of melon and citrus and a mineral nuance. These flavors follow through on the palate with a long crisp finish – Outstanding. $41.00
2009 Pascal Cotat Rose Sancerre Chavignol. Interestingly, the word Rose does not appear on the label of this wine. It says “Vin de Table, Lot 2009”. Well to me it’s Rose and it is always a terrific one at that! This 2009 is delicious. It has a light reddish pink color with a golden amber hue and a gorgeous perfume with hints of raspberry, melon and citrus with a faint floral nuance. On the palate it is rounded with great fruit accented by a faint spice and citrus complexity followed by a long finish – Outstanding Plus. $35.00 Best Buy
2009 Francois Cotat Sancerre Chavignol Les Culs de Beaujeu. Light yellow in color, this Sancerre has a nice perfume of citrus and melon with a floral, pineapple tinge. It is rounded and lush on the palate with lovely melon, peach and citrus fruit and a citrus, mineral tinged finish – Outstanding. $41.00
Corsican Red Wine
2009 Domaine de Gioielli Vin de Pays Rouge de L’Ile De Beute. Earlier we had a review of the superb Rose from this Domaine. The Red wine is also terrific. Deep color with an amber edge, the wine has a gorgeous perfume with floral, cedar, and cherry nuances. It has great style, fruit, flavor, and finesse with a complex intermingling of spice, cedar, and cherry with a floral undertone. Here it is hard to draw a comparison with another type of wine, but maybe like a Pomerol with a delicate Burgundian touch, although it has nothing to do with the grapes grown in those areas. At any rate, Vin de Pays Rouge hardly does the wine justice. This is the best case that can be made for making this area an AOC! Outstanding. $30.60 Best Buy
Spanish White Wine
2009 Shaya Verdejo Old Vines. Some of the best white wine values in the world are from Spain. We have reviewed several this year from the 2009 vintage and here is another. This wine is light, fresh and crisp with a nice complexity. It would go really well with a wide variety of lighter foods. Light yellow in color it has a nice mineral driven perfume with citrus tinges and floral, herbal nuances. Very crisp with floral, citrus, mineral tinged flavors and a crisp finish, this is lovely – Highly Recommended $9.99 Imported by Henry Wine Group Benicia, California.