The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Expert Picks: Bachey-Legros and Château de la Maltroye

Two expert selections from Michael Adler

Michael Adler 5.29.15It’s the season of Burgundy pre-release offers, and the 2014 vintage offers us a lot of excitement. However that’s no reason to neglect all the lovely 2013s that have recently arrived in our cellar. I’m especially fond of the ’13 whites, particularly those from Chassagne-Montrachet. Every 2013 Chassagne I’ve tasted thus far has impressed me greatly; the wines show excellent concentration, depth and complexity, and they’re blessed with a gorgeous lush texture and a luxurious mouth-feel. Today I’m pleased to feature two outstanding Chassagne-Montrachet bottlings from 2013, from two producers who should absolutely be on your radar if they aren’t already, Domaine Bachey-Legros and Château de la Maltroye.

Bachey-Legros 2013 Chassagne-Montrachet Blanc $39.99

Several years ago we were extremely fortunate to find Bachey-Legros, a tiny Chassagne Montrachet estate that offered some of the greatest values in the Côte de Beaune, yet had no U.S. importer; several vintages later, the wines of Bachey-Legros are a staple here at IWM and consistently sell out fast! The 2013s are beautifully balanced—linear and focused yet round and lush—and they’re incredible now (or later). Christiane Bachey owns and operates this 40-acre estate, which practices non-interventionist agriculture in its Santenay and Chassagne-Montrachet vineyards. This Chassagne-Montrachet bursts from the glass with bright and intense aromas of orchard fruits and spring blossoms, with hints of citrus and loads of minerality. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better value in Chassagne.

Château de la Maltroye 2013 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru La Romanée $109.99

Chateau de la Maltroye is a leading producer based in Chassagne-Montrachet, and I love its wines for their balance between power and elegance. Maltroye’s 2013 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru La Romanee is an exquisite testament to how delicious Chassagne can be. Highly aromatic, intensely muscular, and supremely balanced, this ‘13 La Romanée is one seriously amazing bottle of wine, approachable when young but capable of extended aging in the proper conditions. Notes of apple, pear and citrus lead the charge, supported by layers of mineral-inflected nuance that unfold in mesmerizing harmony. Strikingly intense and concentrated and with just the slightest touch of toast, this is a Chassagne for the ages.

Expert Picks: Jean-Philippe Fichet and…Jean-Philippe Fichet!

Two expert selections from Crystal Edgar

Crystal 2014“Love at first sip” is how I describe the magnificent whites of Jean-Philippe Fichet. In the early nineteenth century, Meursault was esteemed above all other Burgundy villages for its white wines, a respect rooted in the incomparable diversity of its soils. But later in the same century, the rise of Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet and Corton-Charlemagne pushed Meursault from the limelight. Today, Meursault is back on top, but more specifically, Fichet is on top!

Jean-Philippe Fichet is one of the leaders of French winemakers to keep an eye one. His influence, passion and dedication points the way to the region’s future, and more producers are following in his footsteps. Fichet’s methods reflect his philosophy: he is notoriously detailed and absolutely loathes taking shortcuts. To put it succinctly, the wines Fichet creates today have few rivals for their class in Burgundy, and I have yet to be so impressed by a set of wines for their precision, depth of character and flavor and overall expressiveness. I find no better wine to welcome this early spring weather that is now upon us.

Jean-Philippe Fichet 2013 Bourgogne Blanc Vieilles Vignes $41.99

This Bourgogne Blanc is anything but ordinary! This old-vine bottling is made from declassified premier cru fruit on the Fichet property. The nose offers bright aromas of citrus, acacia and hints of honey blossom, and the wine slides across the palate leaving a trail of citrus, stone fruit and minerals behind. You will be hard pressed to find another Bourgogne Blanc this good.

Jean-Philippe Fichet 2013 Meursault Tesson $117.99

Fichet’s main event, his Tesson easily beats other great grand cru white Burgundy for its sheer finesse, elegance and complexity. Deriving from vines planted as early as 1949, this concentrated Meursault offers layers of zesty citrus, white tea, stone fruit, white flowers and minerals. I decant this white before drinking as it releases additional layers of magic with added air-time. Get ready to have your socks knocked off with this beauty!

Expert Picks: Louis Jadot and Henri Boillot

Two expert selections from Garrett Kowalsky

Garrett_8.6.14_72dpiCorton-Charlemagne is the source of some of the most heralded and sought-after wines on the entire planet. The name derives from a previous owner, the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne, and legend has it that it’s planted only to one white grape, Chardonnay, because the emperor’s wife preferred white wine because it wouldn’t stain the emperors white beard. Whether this is a sweet fairytale or total hogwash, the wine world is in agreement that we appreciate this gorgeous chunk of hill north of the village of Beaune. There’s no question that Corton-Charlemagne produces world-class whites, and here are two favorites of mine that are in stock.

Domaine des Heritiers Louis Jadot 2012 Corton-Charlemagne $199.00

Once again I will stand on my soapbox and scream out to the masses how much I adore Louis Jadot’s wines. For four decades, Jacques Lardiére led this estate to greatness, and he recently had a seamless handoff to its current steward, Frédéric Barnier. There is no end in sight to Louis Jadot’s prowess. This Corton is ripe with fruit but it finds balance with just enough toast (wood) on the nose and palate. It is explosive, and the finish is loooooong. Drink 2017-2030.

Domaine Henri Boillot 2012 Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru $219.00

This is a serious, serious wine. It is no secret to Burghounds that Henri Boillot produces some of the finest white wine—period. A fifth-generation producer, he currently farms 12 acres of vineyards, just under half of it white, and Henri is fanatical about the process from farming to bottling. His passion shines in his wines, and this Corton possesses an underlying intensity that reflects that Henri’s devotion. All the descriptors you would use for a Corton—broad shouldered, complex, rich, decadent, and persistent—all apply here. Drink 2017-2030.

Expert Picks: San Giovanni della Sala and Bachey-Legros

Two expert selections from Garrett Kowalsky

Garrett_8.6.14_72dpiSpring is near! Yes, the calendar just flipped to March, but despite the chilly temperatures we’re really not far from warmer temperatures and the vitality that spring brings. At least, that’s how I keep myself going every time I get blasted in the face by wind. With that in mind, I wanted to suggest two vivacious bottles that are sure to liven the spirit and quench your thirst for the months ahead.

San Giovanni della Sala 2014 Orvieto Classico Superiore $24.99

Chances are you’ve never had a blend quite like this below. This spry bottle is composed of 50% Grechetto, 25% Procanico, 25% Pinot Blanc and Viognier. This ’14 Orvieto is another offering from Antinori’s impressive portfolio, and I have clients who seek me out for this wine every single year—even priced at $25 people still clamor for it! Brilliant in color and chock full of citrus fruit that drenches the palate, this is a winner to have on hand at all times. Drink until 2018.

Bachey-Legros 2013 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot $59.99

Chistiane Bachey has guided this estate that her great-grandparents founded since 1993, but her two sons Lenaic and Samuel recently have assumed control. Bachey-Legros might be the best Chassagne estate you’ve never heard of, and this bottling in particular is a star here at IWM and for five years running. In addition to the love and care lavished on the vines, what makes the difference is their age of at least 50 years old. This is a wine of concentration, complexity and purity. Drink 2017 to 2024.

Expert Picks: Michel Niellon and…Michel Niellon!

Two expert selections from Crystal Edgar

Crystal 2014Here in New York we have been on a weather rollercoaster with very warm days and freezing cold days. I have been juggling Amarone with crisp whites and rosé as I pretend spring is at our doorstep. Today, I’m reaching for white Burgundy. Many wine collectors consider the best white wines of the world to be the Chardonnay of Burgundy produced in the three communes in the south part of Côte d’Or—Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet.

While Meursault boasts no grand cru sites, the very best premier cru wines are outstanding, balancing richness with fresh acidity while throwing some white flowers and stone fruit into the mix. Continuing south, we arrive at Puligny Montrachet, which some consider the finest area in the world for white wines. The wines here give you structure, racy acidity and incredible elegance and precision. Chassagne Montrachet is our final destination on this road trip, and the area where today’s wines derive. Stylistically you could say Chassagne falls somewhere between both Meursault and Puligny, offering richness with gorgeous mineral character and laser-beam acidity.

Today I focus on two delicious 2012 offerings from the talents of Michel Niellon. Along with Ramonet, Niellon represents the pinnacle of Chassange. He has just under 15 acres of vines, which include small holdings in Chevalier and Bâtard-Montrachet. Seductive and authoritative, these Chassagne-Montrachets exemplify the legendary reputation it has.

Michel Niellon 2012 Chassagne-Montrachet Clos St-Jean 1er Cru $79.99

This premier cru offers bright floral aromas with tangy citrus and green apples. The finish on this wine is delicious, trailing with mineral notes and hints of white peach.

Michel Niellon 2012 Chassagne-Montrachet Les Vergers 1er Cru 2012 $79.99

A bit richer in style than the Clos St Jean, this 2012 Vergers offers concentrated citrus on the palate with toasted sesame notes. If you drink the Clos St Jean as an aperitif or with antipasti, this Vergers is perfect for the fish course.

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