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: Marquis d’Angerville and…Marquis d’Angerville!

Two expert selections from David Gwo

David Gwo 12.8.14In Burgundy, the Côte d’Or stands above all other regions. The site of the most renowned red and white Burgundies, the Côte d’Or is divided into a north, Côte de Nuits, and south, Côte de Beaune. The wines produced from these two regions are distinctly different in character, with the Côte de Beaune being famous for white Burgundy in particular. In general, the reds from the Cote de Nuits tend to be more structured and powerful, while the reds from the Côte de Beaune tend to be a bit more expressive in fruit character. This is, however, a generalization because in the world of Burgundy, there are always exceptions to the rules. There are plenty of red Burgundies from the Côte de Beaune that rival those from the Côte de Nuits in structure, power, and detail.

One of the most famous red Burgundy villages in the Côte de Beaune is Volnay; it’s where arguably the most desirable reds from the Côte de Beaune derive. While there are no grand cru vineyards within this appellation, the top premier cru vineyards yield wines that can go head-to-head against some of the best grand crus out there. Historically, the reds of Volnay were light and delicate, but the today’s Volnays come in a wide variety of styles.

My focus today is on one of the leading domaines in Volnay, Domaine Marquis d’Angerville. Any serious Volnay enthusiast, or Burgundy enthusiast in general, recognizes the name Marquis d’Angerville. Along with Henri Gouges and Armand Rousseau, the late Jacques d’Angerville was a pioneer of the Burgundy wine movement during the early 1900’s. Today, the estate’s philosophy revolves around minimalism, and Marquis d’Angerville relies on its biodynamic viticultural practices, amazing vineyard sites, and old vines to produce wines of profound character.

Marquis d’Angerville 2009 Meursault 1er Cru Santenots $99.00

While Marquis d’Angerville is known for its reds, the domaine also owns a small vineyard parcel in Santenots within the village of Meursault from which they produce an outstanding white Burgund. Meursault is one of the top white Burgundy appellations, and when a domaine like Marquis d’Angerville is involved, the results are undoubtedly terrific. The 2009 vintage was a great one for both red and white Burgundy, and this is an example of what producers achieved that year. Notes of peach, pear, and minerals carry through on the nose and palate, with a nice, rich mouth-feel that will please now and through the end of the decade.

Marquis d’Angerville 2010 Volnay Champans 1er Cru $134.99

2005 and 2010 were the two best vintages of the decade for red Burgundy, and the reds from the Champans vineyard are quintessentially Volnay. Marquis d’Angerville produces an example that is full-bodied, possessing notes of red-berry fruit, flowers, earth, and minerals. Given the strength of the vintage, this is a bottling that has significant power and complexity on the palate, and this wine will require time in the cellar in order to reward optimal drinking pleasure.

Expert Picks: Domaine Chevrot and…Domaine Chevrot!

Two expert selections from Justin Kowalsky

Justin_8.6.14_72dpiOver the past twenty years, the quality of Burgundy has risen dramatically at all levels and in all appellations. This rise in quality is a direct result of the younger generation of winemakers’ receiving formal study in oenology and applying that learning to what they gleaned from their elders. At the same time, average wine consumers have become more wine savvy and knowledgeable about what they want and expect. As a result, prices throughout Burgundy, as well as the world, have risen sharply

However, don’t fret! Even in the great Cote d’Or there exist tantalizing appellations that don’t break the bank. In fact, estates like IWM favorite Domaine Chevrot focus almost exclusively on two of the best places to find value in Cote de Beaune: Santenay and Maranges. Making wines that derive from some of the oldest vines in the Cote de Beaune, up to 125 years old, the Chevrot family produces bottlings that are profound on all levels.

If you are looking for wonderfully complex, delicious, and stylish wines then you have to look no further than the two selections I’ve chosen for today. The 2010 Chevrot Maranges 1er Cru Le Croix Moines and Santenay 1er Cru Clos des Rousseau are extraordinary examples of their appellations. Moreover, these are Burgundies that any serious buyer would gladly latch onto and usually have to pay double to find such satisfaction.

Domaine Chevrot 2010 1er Cru Le Croix Moines $58.99

From arguably the greatest vineyard in Maranges, this wines explodes from the glass with notes of freshly made kirsch, loads of briary fruits, hints of tea leaves and spice. Wonderful mineral notes combine with the fruit to bring forth a wine of stunning complexity that is tempting to drink now but will easily get better for a decade or more.

Domaine Chevrot 2010 1er Cru Clos des Rousseau $39.99

Compared to the red-fruited Maranges, this old-vine Santenay exhibits far more blue and black fruits, which makes it similar to Gevrey-Chambertin. Super old-vine fruits stain the palate and tease the nose with notes of warm berry compote, hints of anise, and Asian spices; this mélange shows why Santenay always has been known for its “wild side.” The finish on this behemoth of a wine goes on for a minute–this is Santenay at its best.

Expert Picks: Joseph Drouhin and…Joseph Drouhin!

Two expert selections from Garrett Kowalsky

Garrett_8.6.14_72dpiAt 183 acres, Joseph Drouhin is one of the largest estates in Burgundy. However large, the 180-year-old, family-owned estate shows an equally sizable commitment to showcasing the natural terroir of Burgundy and its appellations. Perhaps the best evidence to support that point is the fact that 60% of the wines that Drouhin produces are either Premier or Grand Cru, and if you remove its Chablis wines from the total, that percentage rises to 90%. Consider those percentages with the knowledge that only 1.6% of wines produced in Burgundy are Grand Cru, and Drouhin’s dedication to its craft becomes ever more clear.

Joseph Drouhin Cote de Beaune 2011 $39.99

Drouhin sources its Bourgogne from grapes that are meticulously selected from a dozen different appellations. The estate feels that this breadth of appellation makes a harmonious wine that truly gives you a broad view of Burgundy’s magnificence. Soft and approachable, this wine is one to drink now and for 3-5 years.

Joseph Drouhin Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2009 $229.99

Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru is located between Chambolle-Musigny and Vosne-Romanee, and Drouhin owns two different parcels in this iconic vineyard site. In fact, this Grand Cru might be considered the most famous of all Burgundy appellations. This wine has style in spades with ample raspberry and cherry flavors that coat the palate. 2009 was a bumper crop with warmer temperatures, so expect this bottle to please you a little sooner than in cooler years. Drink 2016-2026.

Expert Picks: Domaine des Heretiers Louis Jadot and Francois Gay

Two expert selections from Justin Kowalsky

Justin_1This is the time of year  when I really cherish the fact that I live upstate. From the all the stunning colors that line the Hudson River, to the crisp mornings, all the pop-up local markets with fresh autumn produce, to the wonderful game, from fowl to venison, that thrives in the Hudson Valley, I’m never happier to live in that region than in autumn.

When this season arrives, I find there is no better wine than Burgundy to accompany fall’s rich, elegant flavors that often come with a hint of sauvage. In fact, I feel that the wines of Burgundy’s Cote de Beaune are a perfect fit for many of the dishes. Two of my absolute favorite efforts are the cult Domaine des Heretiers Louis Jadot Pernand Verglesses Clos des Croix Pierre and Francois Gay’s extremely limited production Aloxe Corton Vielles Vignes—and the superb 2011 just arrived in our cellars this week.

Domaine des Heretiers Louis Jadot 2010 Pernand Verglesses Clos des Croix Pierre $36.99

The name Heretiers Louis Jadot indicates this wine derives from one of the original exclusively Cote de Beaune vineyards that Louis Jadot bought over a century ago because he felt they produced wines of exemplary quality. Located mid-slope facing east in Pernand, Clos is a tiny parcel with wonderful ripening capabilities that give its wine a distinct power; however, not being over ripened because the vineyard faces east, there is an inherent elegance to the rich and luscious character of Clos des Croix Pierre. The magnificent 2010 is laced with flavors and notes of  blueberries, black cherries, violets, with hints of spice.  This is a wine that easily rivals $60+ wines from Pommard and Volnay. A must have.

Francois Gay 2011 Aloxe Corton Vielles Vignes $57.99

Francois Gay was not blessed with a load of 1er and Grand Crus, but with what he has he uses to craft wines that make even the most finicky wine lovers—and even fellow vignerons—swoon! The absolutely velvety, rich, and titillating 2011 Aloxe Corton VV (just 300 cases made) has finally arrived. Deriving from a blend three of very old-vine vineyards in Aloxe-Corton, the 2011 Aloxe-Corton simply jumps from the glass with notes of lavender, kirsch, and warm plums. The palate is loaded with rich, luscious, palate-drenching flavors of black cherries, blueberries, and a wonderful background note of classic Aloxe mineral. The vibrant 2011 acidity brings verve and freshness. Although this wine is a beyond delicious out of the gate, it will only get better with 4-10 years in the cellar. This is one under $60 bottle that will make you think you are spending $100. Francois Gays offers yet another blockbuster lineup in 2011.

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