The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Expert Picks: François Gay and…François Gay!

Two expert selections from Michael Adler

Michael Adler 5.29.15In honor of today’s offer of François Gay’s newly arrived 2014 Aloxe-Corton, I wanted to take a moment to shine a light on two more outstanding wines from this cult-inspiring estate. It’s not hyperbole to say that François Gay’s wines are among the most difficult to procure in all of Burgundy. The estate sells most of its wine directly to the greatest restaurants in France as well as a few friends, and he makes fewer than 3,500 cases in each vintage. Quick math will tell you that just 150-200 cases are left for the entire rest of the world; IWM has been lucky enough to forge a close relationship with the estate that allows us not only the country’s best pricing, but also first dibs on some of Gay’s most sought-after bottlings.

Gay’s wines are balanced and fresh, both approachable in the near term and capable of spending more than a decade in the cellar. François Gay’s philosophy is to let his terroir speak, and his wines are all about detail, complexity, and a luxurious, delicate mouth-feel. Every wine from François Gay is unbelievable: his Chorey has the complexity of a Chambolle; his Ladoix sings like a Gevrey; his Aloxe-Corton rivals the complexity of Vosne-Romanée; and his Corton-Renardes Vieilles Vignes will hold its own against the greatest grand cru Pinots on the market. Try these wines for yourself, and you’ll immediately understand how special they are.

François Gay 2014 Chorey-Les-Beaune $34.99

Bright, fresh, aromatic and pure, Gay’s ‘14 Chorey Les Beaune is a soft, pretty and elegant expression of this subzone of the Côte de Beaune. Bright red berries and cherries mingle with fresh-cut roses and violets, minerals, and a hint of spice in this sprightly, energetic Pinot. Delicious and food-friendly right upon release, it will continue to provide exquisite drinking pleasure over the next 6-8 years.

François Gay 2013 Corton-Renardes $104.99

If Gay’s village-level wines sing like an angelic choir, the estate’s old-vine Corton-Renardes Grand Cru roars like an operatic symphony. This is a big, powerful Pinot, and it’s not afraid to show you its flare. While muscular and somewhat tight upon release, it opens beautifully with some decanting to show layers of enchanting red and blue fruits, crushed flowers, a savory component reminiscent of cured olives, and a mineral core that holds it all together. Silky smooth tannins caress the palate as it builds to a long yet delicate and nuanced finish. Drink through 2030.

Expert Picks: Francois Gay and Paul Pernot

Two expert selections from Justin Kowalsky

Justin_8.6.14_72dpiI know many of you are always seeing offers where a wine description says, “Drink in ten years” or “Lay down for a few years.” Or it’s called a “cellar release,” where the wine was being held back a few years from the retailer and costs more than it did upon release. But what do you do when you want a wine to drink right now? You want a ripe, delicious, juicy and not-tannic bottle that is so delicious you could find yourself opening a second bottle and not event notice! So what to drink?

After tasting through a few little gems from our inventory recently I was immediately able to find two standouts that even I was surprised at just how perfect they were at the moment; in fact, they were among the wines of the evening. I actually bought a case of each for family.

Francois Gay 2011 Chorey les Beaune Rouge $34.99

Always a favorite among our Burgundy crowd, the tiny but highly revered Francois Gay estate produces some of the most profound wines from a select group of lesser known appellations and Francois does it better than anyone else. From its beautiful medium ruby color to its nose of wild berry and red cherry fruits that jumps from the glass, this is one ’11 that screams purity, ripeness, and detail.  Rich and silky red berried fruits envelop the palate and deliver a wonderful mid-palate sweetness often lacking in wines in this price range and a complete finish that ends on and beautiful note you can taste seconds later.

Paul Pernot 2012 Puligny Montrachet A.C. $49.99

Few other estates in the famed village of Puligny are more widely known for their consistency and amazing value than Paul Pernot. Now owned and operated by Paul’s grandson Michael, it is still a family decision at this tiny domaine. No wine is finished until the family agrees that it is ready and exactly what they want.With Pernot’s judicious use of oak, a wine like the 2012 Puligny Village is truly an examples of its terroir. The ’12 Pernot Puligny is loaded with wonderful ripe notes of peach, apples, and white flowers, all wrapped in a core of flinty mineral that gives this wine its vibrant, clean and pure finish. You will easily not find a more pure, classic, pleasurable Puligny Montrachet A.C. for anywhere near the price of Pernot’s.

Expert Picks: Francois Gay and Domaine Latour Giraud

Two expert selections from Robin Kelley O’Connor

robinToday I have two picks that will light up your holiday season. The wine world is having a love affair with white and red Burgundy. The consequences are acute in that the supplies, availability and choice selections are very limited. Most Burgundian producers make precious little of any one type of wine; allocations are strict and we buy what is offered to us. Another dilemma of this current global thirst for Burgundy is the prices have skyrocketed. There is at the moment a little silver lining. Lesser-known Burgundian appellations are receiving quite a bit of attention among professional wine buyers and the cognoscenti alike. The reason is quite simple, the lesser know regions have always been producing good wines from the top domains, but haven’t gotten the deserved recognition and have been flying under the radar. One such wine is Domaine François Gay’s Chorey-Lès-Beaune. The village and appellation of Chorey-Lès-Beaune sits just to the north of the city of Beaune next to the appellations of Savigny-Lès-Beaune, Aloxe-Corton, and Ladoix-Serrigny near the northern limit of the Côte de Beaune and very close to the Grand Cru vineyards of Corton.

The other selection for today is well known: Domaine Latour Giraud Meursault Genevrières 1er Cru 2011. It’s masterpiece of a white wine, clearly Chardonnay at its finest. This is the wine for that special holiday meal or to bring in the New Year.

Francois Gay Chorey Les Beaune 2010 $34.99

This joyful François Gay Chorey-Lès-Beaune is guaranteed to lift the holiday spirits. The 2010 vintage was a classic, producing some of the best wines in the past decade.  It has a lovely bright ruby color. The nose is full of red berry aromas including scents of red cherry, raspberry, lavender, violets, and an earthy note with hints of truffle and mocha. On the palate the texture is silky with savory flavors. The red fruit flavors are strong and prevalent with hints of spice. The wonderful 2010s are soon to be no more as we have already received our allocation of 2011s. Do not miss out on this wonderfully balanced and harmonious beauty.

Domaine Latour Giraud Meursault Genevrières 1er Cru 2011  $119.99

The Domaine Latour Giraud estate has been in the village of Meursault for many generations. Eighty per cent of their production is Meursault, which, through years of laborious work and honing their viti/vini skills, easily qualifies them for having the specialty and knowhow for producing great wines. This exceptional Meursault Genevrières 1er Cru 2011 is a monumental wine—clearly at the top of the class thanks to the perfectionist winemaking of Jean-Pierre Latour. Jean-Pierre practices organic agricultural practices in the vineyards and non-interventionist winemaking in the cellar. All his wines are fined but not filtered and bottled by hand, all in the service of crafting classic White Burgundy. The color is bright pale straw with glimmers of yellow green. The nose is multi-dimensional with a great purity of expression, exhibiting aromas of pear, lemon, orange, stone fruits of peach and apricot, a touch of hazelnut with a lovely spiciness. This delicious wine has wonderful concentration, stone fruit and soft citrus flavors, medium-full body in weight, a pleasant minerality, great structure, smooth and rich. The finish is persistent with outstanding length.

Expert Picks: Francois Gay and Le Pergole Torte

Two expert selections from Francesco Vigorito

Francesco_1“Value” Burgundy is a topic that comes up quite often in our line of work. Many people think it doesn’t exist, but I can assure that it does, and I’ve chosen one of my favorites from Francois Gay. I’m pairing this value wine with a rare vintage gem from my favorite winery inside the Chianti Classico hills, Le Pergole Torte’s Montevertine

Francois Gay Chorey Les Beaune 2009 $34.99

This artisanal producer was not blessed with any vineyards within the famous and iconic areas of Gevrey, Chambolle, or Vosne-Romanee, so he had to make the best out of the plots that he was gifted in Chorey les Beaune. For $35, this wine is absolutely stunning.  Its soft structure, ripe fruit and precocious personality make it a dream to drink. This is a Pinot Noir that everybody should taste. Only 600 out of 3,4000 cases of his wine make it to the States, so it’s a rare opportunity to see Gay’s wines in an American wine shop.

Montevertine Le Pergole Torte 1997 $249.00

Sangiovese is the name of the game at Montevertine. Located in Radda in Chianti, Le Pergole Torte turns out the most elegant wines from the rustic and hearty Sangiovese grape. 1997 was one of the estate’s finest vintages to date (due to their higher clime warmer vintages are ideal for them), so this vintage is a must have for any Sangiovese lover. The 1997 is a wine that  “floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee”; it has the best of both worlds: power and elegance. The ’97 Montevertine is a wine that is nearly impossible to find, so this is a very lucky opportunity to snag one of the best wines Italy can produce.