Domaine Pascal Bonhomme Viré-Clessé Vieilles Vignes 2014 - SUSTAINABLY GROWN
Country: FRANCE / Region: BURGUNDY / Appellation: VIRÉ-CLESSÉ AOC / Varietal(s): CHARDONNAY --- Situated in the north of the Mâconnais between Tournus and Mâcon, Viré-Clessé is one of Burgundy's newest appellations. The chardonnay of Viré-Clessé is distinctly different from the appellations further to the south such as Pouilly-Fuissé and Saint-Véran, in part due to a greater percentage of limestone in the soil. An old school winemaker in the classic Burgundian style, Pascal Bonhomme has some of the best-situated sites in Viré-Clessé on his 2.5 hectare estate. Entirely hand harvested, 1/5 of the cuvée is vinified in older barrels, adding to the overall effect of complexity and subtlety. The average ages of the vines for this delightful cuvée is 60-65 years. The results are stunning: an aromatic, sophisticated nose of clean apple and spice evolves into luscious baked apple flavors on the palate, offset by subtle touches of oak. A winner with cod poached in coconut milk with leek and fennel.
Franck Balthazar Selections Côtes-du-Rhône AOC 2015 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: FRANCE / Region: RHÔNE VALLEY / Appellation: CÔTES-DU-RHÔNE AOC / Varietal(s): SYRAH+GRENACHE --- Franck Balthazar possesses two distinct advantages in making outstanding wines: the patient demeanor essential to pursuit of perfection in producing flawless cuvées, and the opportunity to put that to use working a nearly 100 year old parcel formerly owned by Noël Verset, retired Cornas icon. The Balthazar domaine was founded by Franck’s grandfather, Casmir Balthazar, in 1931, and then run by his father, René, until 2002. Keeping to a strictly traditional philosophy in the vineyard and cellar, in homage to the great Cornas producers who preceded him, Franck is a purist and traditionalist: he works his vineyards with draft horses, and hand ferments each parcel separately including a portion of the stems, in order to better able express the character of his lands. His wines are proof his approach works: luxurious, graceful, and expressive, with a distinct sense of place. Deep red in color, this elegant Côtes-du-Rhône from a neighbor's parcel delights with a nose of sweet fleshy black fruit, including prune and cassis, and hints of savory leather. Plush, with restrained tannins, it finishes with voluptuous touches of violet and tobacco. Enjoy with French onion soup or cassoulet.
Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco DOCG 2013
Country: ITALY / Region: PIEDMONT / Appellation: BARBARESCO DOCG / Varietal(s): NEBBIOLO--- Prior to 1894, nebbiolo grapes were sold to make Barolo or just labeled as Nebbiolo di Barbaresco. However, in 1894, Domizio Cavazza, headmaster of the Royal Enological School of Alba and a Barbaresco resident, created the first cooperative, the Cantine Sociali, by gathering together nine Barbaresco vineyard owners to make wine in the local castle that he owned. His purpose was to highlight the differences between wine made from nebbiolo in Barolo and that of Barbaresco (an early nod to the concept we now call "terroir.") Although fascist economic rules closed the Cantine Sociali in the 1930s, in 1958 the village priest of Barbaresco, realizing that the only way small estates could survive was by joining together, gathered 19 small growers and founded the Produttori del Barbaresco. The first three vintages were made in the church basement, then in the winery built across the square where the Produttori is still located. United once again, the small growers continued the work started by Domizio Cavazza, and the results today are delicious! This Barbaresco is a classic: aromas of black cherries, pepper, and violets yield to a powerful, firm, and elegant presence on the palate. Red cherry, pomegranate, and bright acidity meld beautifully with notes of tobacco, licorice, herbs, and leather. Impeccably balanced and subtle, this pairs wonderfully with pastas adorned with braised meat, olives, or mushrooms. This 2013 vintage is accessible to drink now, but also a classic candidate for aging over the next decade and beyond.