The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Expert Picks: Domaine Faiveley and…Domaine Faiveley!

Two expert selections from Michael Adler

Michael Adler 5.29.15Based in Nuits-St.-Georges, the family-owned Domaine Faiveley has been making wine since 1825. Led by the charismatic Erwan Faiveley, the estate has been investing heavily in improving its quality in both the vineyard and cellar, and in the process, it has redefined itself in the eyes (and palates) of wine professionals and collectors. Erwan has committed the estate to a spare-no-expense campaign to increase the estate’s quality in every vintage, and he’s done quite a commendable job. It also helps that the estate has gone on a huge buying spree, picking up several additional acres of grand cru holdings and really strengthening the top end of its portfolio. It also used to be that Faiveley’s grand cru wines needed decades before true approachability, but that’s no longer the case.

It’s quite rare for one Burgundy estate to own the entirety of a classified vineyard and be the sole producer of wines from that site; when this happens, it’s known as a monopole. Domaine Faiveley is much more than your typical Burgundy house, and two of its monopoles, Clos des Myglands and Clos de Cortons Faiveley are outstanding. Today I’m pleased to introduce you to a pair of Faiveley monopoles that will knock your socks off—and do it in style.

Domaine Faiveley 2013 Mercurey 1er Cru Clos des Myglands $56.99

The Pinot Noirs of Mercurey are known for being somewhat denser and fuller bodied than the average red Burgundy, and this ‘13 Clos des Myglands is no exception. It shows lovely notes of raspberry, cherry and minerals, with hints of forest floor and a long, spicy finish, and it offers exceptional value for a premier cru monopole. Trust me when I tell you this ’13 Mercurey is an absolute steal under $60, and it’ll be quite versatile in terms of its drinking window.

Domaine Faiveley 2013 Corton Clos de Cortons Faiveley $299.00

Perhaps Faiveley’s most prized and sought-after wine is its Corton “Clos de Cortons Faiveley” Grand Cru, a powerful, tannic beast of a Pinot. Dark and intense with an alluring, ethereal perfume, this is a wine that will enjoy a very long life. The ’13 bottling of Clos des Cortons Faiveley is a textbook example of the “iron hand in a velvet glove” cliché, seamlessly balancing finesse and elegance with explosive power and energy. Spicy and woody notes abound on top of its gorgeous red fruit and subtle mineral notes, and this wine will easily live for 20 to 30+ years when cellared properly.

Expert Picks: Domaine Lamarche and…Domaine Lamarche!

Two expert selections from Garrett Kowalsky

Garrett_8.6.14_72dpiA couple of weeks ago, I wrote a little about Italian wine royalty and the house of Antinori. Today I wanted to take a peek at one of the revered estates of Burgundy and a family that traces its roots in the region back to the 1760’s. More than five generations later, the estate was purchased by François Lamarche, and since 1986 we have seen vintage after vintage of remarkable wines. François passed in 2013, and the property is now in the talented hands of his daughter Nicole and niece Nathalie. Located in the village of Vosne-Romanée, Lamarche maintains a handsome holding of 22 acres of vineyards. This is a remarkable amount of land when you consider the how properties and plots have been divided over the years, especially in vineyards as acclaimed as those in Vosne. Below are two ways to introduce yourself to both the simplicity and the majesty of Domaine Lamarche.

Domaine Lamarche 2011 Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits $37.99

When many people think of the first wine or introductory wine of a property, they usually do not expect something this good. To start, the average age of the vine is 30 years old. Most properties I know around the world would be using vines aged 5-10 years in their first wines, not ones of this maturity. Cool and expressive fruit splashes across the palate and the mid-weight structure is both attractive and welcoming. This is the perfect wine to take out with friends while indulging in some meats and cheeses. Drink now until 2020.

Domaine Lamarche 2012 La Grande Rue Grand Cru $109.99

La Grande Rue is a 4-acre monopole owned by the Lamarche family—it’s an almost unheard of amount of property, especially when you consider that it abuts the legendary Romanée-Conti vineyard. This wine is among the elite Pinot Noirs in the world, and it manages to display opulence and elegance, structure and seduction. To drink it now would only offer you the tiniest glimpse into the magic, but wait at least five years and you’ll have a memory making wine on your hands. Drink 2017 to 2030.

Expert Picks: Pousse d’Or and…Pousse d’Or!

Two expert selections from Crystal Edgar

Crystal 2014Although I love Italian wines, France was my first love. It started in Bordeaux and spread to Burgundy, where Pinot Noir and Chardonnay rule the roost. I can easily get lost in any of the villages in the Côte d’Or, but of late, I find myself often reaching to the Côte de Beaune for both white and red wines. They are not only great partners for the plethora of produce available this season but they are also phenomenal to sip on without food.

One of Burgundy’s storied estates, Domanie Pousse d’Or has some weight of history behind it. This domaine has seen name changes, various combining of estates, a series of legendary winemakers at the helm, and a roster of Burgundy all-stars. Pousse d’Or always impresses me. Its masterful winemaking and choice parcels of land represent some of the very best in Volnay, Pommard and Santennay, and the estate’s wines clearly standout in tastings as a result. Pousse d’Or’s forward thinking viniculture has been instrumental in the region as the domaine pioneers new techniques to enhance the wines and elevate overall quality levels.

Pouse d’Or’s Volnay and Pommard are my soft spots, but if I had to choose one, I would have to go with Volnay. Today I am highlighting two very special monopoles, the Clos d’Audignac and the Clos de la Bousse d’Or, both 1er Cru sites from the 2013 vintage.

Pousse d’Or Volnay 2013 Clos D’Audignac 1er Cru $99.99

This bottling exudes elegance and class; it ages incredibly gracefully and offers a silky texture to the contrasting rustic dark fruit and earth that I love in Volnay wines. There are many dimensions in the glass, and with or without food, the wine sings. This ’13 bottling is strangely approachable in its youth, but it’ll continue to take on layers of grace and elegance as it ages.

Pousse d’Or Volnay 2013 Clos de la Bousse d’Or $99.99

Bold, rich and luxurious, this special bottling boasts impressive depth and complexity and a long, lively finish. This bottling benefits with additional time in the cellar or decanter if you wish to approach early. I cannot speak highly enough of these special monopoles; year in and out they always impress.

Expert Picks: Comte Armand and…Comte Armand!

Two expert selections from Garrett Kowalsky

Garrett_8.6.14_72dpiThe last time you heard from me, I was letting you in on one of Burgundy’s great estates that you may not have heard of. Today I offer a different approach—I offer you one of the most heralded estates in all of the Côte de Beaune. Known by most as Comte Armand, this property is known by another name by Burgophiles: “Domaine des Epeneaux.” This name is owing to the fact that starting in 1828 the Clos des Epeneaux of Pommard vineyard was at the heart of the estate (and the only property it grew on). In fact, Comte Armand didn’t add its property holdings in Volnay and Auxey Duresses wasn’t until the mid 1990’s; still, all of this land still only equates to about 7.5 ha (about 18 acres), a tiny parcel considering the worldwide demand for this domaine’s exquisite offerings. I chose one bottling from Comte Armand’s original holding, as well as something a bit more “new.”

Comte Armand Auxey Duresses Rouge 1er Cru 2011 $66.00

This wine is actually blended from two separate 1er Cru vineyards, which is why it does not contain the title of either. With perfect southeast placement on the slopes, these grapes ripen well and ultimately produce a serious, powerful wine that forces the drinker to reconsider all preconceived notions that they held regarding Auxey Duresses. Drink now to 2025.

Comte Armand Pommard 1er Cru Clos des Epeneaux 2011 $189.99

Clos des Epeneaux is one of the ten largest monopoles in all of the Côte d’Or, meaning that only this estate has the right to produce wine from this coveted locale. The average age of the vines is 55 years; this age shows itself as mature fruit produces a deep and sensual wine. Like a professional middleweight boxer, this ’11 Epeneaux exhibits strength, yet it’s also incredibly balanced and finessed. Drink 2017-2030.