TWO NEW LIMITED RELEASE LOUIS/DRESSNER SELECTIONS FROM LONG TIME FAVORITE PRODUCERS
I first met Joe Dressner in the early 1990s. He had formed his company Louis/Dressner Selections in 1988 with his wife Denyse Louis. Specializing in wines from France and Italy, Joe imported wines that were made in a traditional way, and he spent a lot of time with his growers. Sadly, Joe passed away in September, 2011. But, Joe, or “Joey D” as he was know to his friends, will always be remembered as a man with great integrity, character, knowledge, and taste. Today the company continues on with the same traditions that have guided it from the beginning.
Over the years, I have tasted, cellared, and consumed many of the wines selected by Louis/Dressner selections. These include such wines as the Beaujolais’s from Clos de Roilette and Clos du Fief and the Sancerre’s from Claude & Florence Thomas-Labaille. These wines have been consistently superb and have given me great pleasure. Here are notes on two recent arrivals. These are limited production wines, but they are wines to buy if you see them! And, if you miss these vintages, be sure to look for the upcoming vintages as they are wines you can buy with confidence each year.
2011 Claude and Florence Thomas-Labaille Sancerre Chavignol Les Monts Damnes CuvéeBuster.The latest release of this wine is again gorgeous. It is amazingly consistent from year to year. Production is very limited and I am told that there are only about 50 cases of this wine imported by Louis/Dressner Selections each year. Cuvée Buster is the name created by the Dressner family who select and import the special wines bearing this name and image. Buster is an actual dog (part pit bull and part Welsh Cardigan Corgi) whose picture appears on all the cuvées selected by Louis/Dressner Selections as being exceptional.
Light yellow gold in color, this 2011 Cuvée Buster Sancerre has a lovely perfume with floral peach and citrus nuances. It also has very pure peach and citrus, tinged fruit accented by a subtle floral, herbal undertone, and is beautifully balanced. This is a wine of finesse and style with a lovely finish that has a nice crispiness. It is a gorgeous Sancerre – Outstanding Plus. $32 Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections LDM Wines, Inc., New York, NY
2010 Coudert Pére et Fils Clos de la Roilette Fleurie Griffe du Marquis.
The first vintage for this wine was 2009. It is made from the same two parcels of 80 year old vines that go into the Cuvée Tardive. The only difference is that this wine spends some time in old Burgundy barrels instead of the foudre that the Cuvée Tardive is briefly aged in. With a deep color, this wine has a stunning cherry and blackberry perfume with a floral undertone and just a tinge of spice. It is loaded with layers of very pure cherry berry fruit showing a faint floral undertone. Very supple and rounded with a nice underlying crispness, this is a Beaujolais that should age beautifully for 10 or more years – Outstanding Plus. $32 Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections LDM Wines, Inc., New York, NY
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WINES THAT ARE FOOD FRIENDLY, BALANCED, AND CAPABLE OF AGING FOR AN EXTENDED TIME
Given the consistent high quality of these wines over the years, I think it is again interesting to note what accounts for this remarkable achievement. Taken from the Louis/Dressner website, please take a look at the techniques and principles behind the selection of the wines Louis/Dressner chooses to import:
“The following techniques and guiding principles are what we believe is winemaking with integrity and respect for the traditions of the native region. This is fine winemaking at its purest, most fundamental level.
All wines are made with the natural yeasts on the grapes, in the vineyards and in the cellars. Cultured yeasts to rush fermentation or add “enhancing” aromas and flavors are unacceptable. We look for wines that express their terroir. No enzymes, no hormones.
Growers harvest by hand, not machine. We want the ripest fruit to be brought carefully and lovingly into the winery.
The growers want low yields for greater concentration. We look for growers with holdings in old vines.
We encourage growers to plow their vineyards to keep the soil an active eco-system, and to use natural methods in tending their vines.
No or Minimal Chaptalization:
We do not want an artificially high degree of alcohol produced by adding sugar to the must. Non- or slightly chaptalized wines are more enjoyable and healthier to drink.
Wines are either not filtered or minimally filtered. We also encourage low levels of SO2.
We prefer a harmony, not an imposed style —wines should showcase their place of origin and varietal character. We are not looking for oak flavor, particular fruits or overly done aromatics. Minimal use of S02 is encouraged.
Lastly, our most important “principle.” Because, the overblown world of overdone wines is fundamentally tiresome. We’re not looking for tasting specimens, but for wines that are great fun, and a great pleasure to drink.
We aren’t big fans of wines that are…
The over-handling of wine is one of the fundamental caveats in winemaking. Repeatedly pumping wine from one vat to another and moving wine or grape must by truck affects the freshness and flavors of the wine. Of course, chemical adjustments can be made to cover up any faults….and Velveeta is delicious!
In almost all parts of the world it’s common practice to use cultured yeasts and extra grape sugars to enrich the flavors of the grape juice during fermentation. Not to mention the foolish winemaker that keeps a shelf of flavor extracts on a shelf directly above the vat…WHOOPS!
Did you know it was common practice in most areas of the world to do “acid adjustments” by adding citric acid, tartaric acid and, less frequently, malic acid to adjust the acidity levels of a wine?
Restricting the number of grape bunches on a vine is the simplest, most basic technique for achieving greater concentration and flavor. The majority of wine-grape growers harvest at levels high above the norm to increase the number of bottles that may be sold…the simplest, most basic formula for increasing profits.
Sterile filtration is a method of forcing wine through microscopic screens that basically strip the wine of particles which may include materials that give wine a unique flavor. It is commonly used throughout the winemaking world.
While oak can be a good and interesting thing, there are excesses. The overuse of new oak is a departure from traditional winemaking techniques that, apart from being prohibitively expensive and greatly accelerating the deforestation of France, has created a new consumer demand for oak-flavored wines. So much so, that some disreputable wineries in certain parts of the world go so far as to add oak chips and oak extract flavors to wine!
Let’s not kid ourselves, folks! The great majority of the wine press throughout the world, with notable exceptions, is wholly influenced by advertising and perceived glamour.
We’ve even found ourselves incredulous at some of the stellar ratings our own wines have received!
Any number of the above-mentioned factors and others (such as fancy bottles, postage stamp labels, etc) can put a wine over-the-top. There are also wines that burst out of the bottle due to added flavors and overextraction and are the “blockbusters wines” of the press and tastings, but inevitably can’t hold up to aging or are completely incompatible with food.”
These are the things that the Underground has advocated for over 30 years. They are things to look for in wines that are balanced and food friendly that will age gracefully for an extended period of time.
In Vino Veritas,