LAST TASTING OF 2017 - TIME FOR CHAMPAGNE!
José Dhondt Champagne AOC Blanc de Blancs Brut NV
Country: FRANCE / Region: CHAMPAGNE / Appellation: CHAMPAGNE AOC / Varietal(s): CHARDONNAY --- José Dhondt produced his first cuvée in 1974, although he had many years of experience as a grower before that. The Dhondt family’s 6 hectares are split over several parcels, equally divided between the Côte des Blancs and the Sézannes regions. The vines average 25 years of age, and Dhondt avoids chemicals as much as possible, practicing what the French call “culture raisonnée.” He keeps yields low with a severe debudding and sorts grapes mercilessly before they go into the press. Pressing is done in a traditional vertical wood press, and vinification is in small temperature controlled stainless steel vats with individual lots kept separate. Pure chardonnay from the Grand Cru village of Oger, this blanc de blancs perfectly embodies the joys of single estate Champagne! Understated and suave in style, it's delicate and precise, with bright lemon, pear, and white peach aromas buttressed by chalky minerals. Lithe on the palate, grapefruit and white stone fruits mingle with a creamy texture before finishing gracefully. A great choice for toasting, as well as serving with oysters, triple cream cheese, or fried chicken!
Christophe Mignon Brut Nature Champagne AOC NV - BIODYNAMICALLY GROWN
Country: FRANCE / Region: CHAMPAGNE / Appellation: CHAMPAGNE AOC / Varietal(s): PINOT MEUNIER --- Christophe Mignon's specialty is pinot meunier, and this fabulous sparkler may be among the most distinctive wines made in Champagne today. A superb producer in the village of Festigny, Christophe Mignon comes from a long line of farmers in the hamlet of Le-Mesnil-le-Huttier, 13 miles west of Epernay. His 6.3 hectares of vines were planted by his great-grandparents, and the estate is dedicated to biodynamic viticulture, with all fruit harvested by hand, and bottled by lunar cycle. 100% pinot meunier, this blanc de noirs is sourced from parcels planted in 1976. A stunner, it displays expressive aromas of red fruits and delicate flowers. This especially weighty expression of pinot meunier is resonant and rich in the mouth, creamy in texture with balanced acidity and razor-precise minerality. More red fruit, dried pear, smoke, and hazelnut notes unfurl in the glass, adding to the overall mystery and nuance of this delightful wine before its long, impressively complex finish wraps things up with bright acidity and palate-cleansing grip. Delightful with goat cheese and mushroom tart.
Rémi Jeanniard Morey-Saint-Denis AOC Vieilles Vignes 2014 - SUSTAINABLY GROWN
Country: FRANCE / Region: BURGUNDY / Appellation: MOREY-SAINT-DENIS AOC / Varietal(s): PINOT NOIR --- From the microscopic commune of Morey-Saint-Denis (only 3 square miles and a population of 667), we find Domaine Rémi Jeanniard. In 2003, when his father retired from a career of winemaking, Rémi inherited six hectares of vineyards spread among three different communes in the heart of Burgundy's Côte de Nuits, with Morey-Saint-Denis being the home of the cellars. For Rémi, the winemaking starts in the vineyards, where he employs sustainable farming techniques, hand harvests, and refrains from using chemical fertilizers. After harvest, the grapes get a cold soak to extract color and flavor before beginning indigenous yeast fermentation. After fermentation is complete, the wine spends a year in 20% new oak barrels where it rests for 12 months before being bottled unfiltered. An effusive perfume of wild cherry, ripe strawberry reveals a lovely depth of gamey and earthy tones. Still young and tense with a nervy streak of acid to accent its rounded texture, let this bottle and some hearty stew (we recommend pot-au-feu or cassoulet) help guide you to the light at the end of the winter tunnel.
Rubinelli Vajol Valpolicella Ripasso DOC Classico Superiore 2013 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: ITALY / Region: VENETO / Appellation: VALPOLICELLA RIPASSO DOC / Varietal(s): CORVINA+CORVINONE+RONDINELLA+MOLINARA+OSELETA --- For those looking to venture into new territory for full-bodied reds with robust fruit and spice character, look no further than this Valpolicella Ripasso from Rubinelli Vajol. To achieve those rich, spiced dried fruit notes, the wine goes through a second fermentation while in contact with the pressed grapes and lees from Amarone (a dry red wine made from dried grapes). This process, known as ripasso, imparts a distinct dried fig and raisin qualities, as well as notes of dark chocolate and baking spices, to the wine. While the winemaking process is important to note, Rubinelli Vajol's vineyard holdings also sit in a terroir -- rich in limestone -- ideal for controlling the vigor of the vines. The vineyards are farmed organically, fertilized with green manure and planted with various cover crops to increase biodiversity. The luscious texture and indulgent fruit character of the wine will make great company with roasted lamb, braised beef, or barbecue pork shoulder.