The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Expert Picks: Arnoux-Lachaux and…Arnoux-Lachaux!

Two expert selections from Crystal Edgar

Crystal 2014As 2014 Burgundy rests at our doorstep, I recall some favorites from the barrel tasting a few weeks back featuring some of Burgundy’s biggest and brightest stars. Some of the standouts for me were the gems from Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux in Vosne-Romanée. Covering 15 appellations in the region, this special estate sports a long history with five generations of Arnoux have been making wine in the Côte de Nuits. The family’s approach is to keep things the way nature intended and using organic and biodynamic practices. The wines are concentrated, polished and highly sought-after!

I’m focusing on the 2012 vintage while I wait for the 2014s to be bottled. 2012 was a real page-turner vintage. The first half of the year could not have been worse, but in the end, quality-wise, the resulting wines turned out really excellent! Nuits-St-Georges and neighboring areas fared the best, and these two offerings are sensational. The only bad news is that the given challenges among the vines yielded a tiny crop, so not much to go around here.

Arnoux-Lachaux 2012 Chambolle-Musigny $79.99

Chambolle-Musigny is responsible for some of the most elegant and sexy Pinots from the region, and this 2012 offers complexity and rich red fruit character while showing off silky tannins and a finish that does not let you forget the seductive notes and nuances. Really gorgeous overall, and from a producer like Lachaux, every Burgundy lover needs a bottle or twelve.

Arnoux-Lachaux 2012 Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Procès 1er Cru $104.99

Slightly more mysterious than the Chambolle, this single-site Nuits-Saint-Georges gives you a bit of everything: red fruit, savory notes of earth and game with more power and strength leading to a bold finish. Great concentration and complexity here with superb balance—this 2012 is a fantastic showing from Arnoux-Lachaux.

Expert Picks: Domaine Gallois and…Domaine Gallois!

Two expert selections from Garrett Kowalsky

Garrett_8.6.14_72dpiToday I want to take a quick moment to share with you an estate that means so much to me and I hope that you’ll give it a shot, maybe it will mean as much to you. Domaine Gallois, just 8.5 acres, is among the tiniest yet most revered estates IWM has ever carried on a regular basis. Over the past decade, I have e found that the extraordinary quality at Gallois is easily matched by the fervor that its wines inspire in those wine-lovers in the know. And this fervor is fed not just by the superior quality but also by the estate’s miniscule output, just 170-250 cases per label. Take a peek at two of Dominique’s stellar offerings and please, dive right in.

Domaine Gallois 2013 Bourgogne Rouge $29.99

When people look to the great wines of Burgundy they of course first fawn over the grand crus and 1er crus, but are those appellations really the true measure of a domaine? I would argue that the finest terroir with a little help will always produce a great wine. But what of the entry-level wines, the Bourgognes? How winemakers treat this offering is indicative of the respect they have for themselves and their own estate. Gallois’ is among the best. Drink this one now and for the next few years.

Domaine Gallois 2013 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru La Combe aux Moines $89.99

More than any other village, Gevrey-Chambertin is famous for its array of prized vineyard sites. In addition to having more grand cru vineyardss than any other village in the region, its 1er Cru vineyards turn out some of the most lauded wines in all of Burgundy. A personal favorite of mine is Combe aux Moines; the aromatics are bewitching and the mouth-feel is plush and sexy. It’s voluptuous and enticing, and it reminds you why you loved Burgundy in the first place. Gallois’ Combe aux Moines is second to none. Drink 2016 to 2024.

Expert Picks: Château de la Maltroye and…Château de la Maltroye!

Two expert selections from Michael Adler

Michael Adler 5.29.15I’m a hopeless nerd when it comes to my wines. One of my favorite tasting experiments is to select two Burgundies from the same producer and village that offer two distinct terroirs, and compare them side by side to see if I can pick out the subtle differences in aroma and texture. It can be a fascinating experience, and I urge you to try it. Another fun experiment, and quite the opposite of the first, is to select both a red and a white from the same appellation and see if I can discern the similarities. There are only a very few Burgundy appellations that produce both red and white wines, and Chassagne-Montrachet is my favorite of these special zones.

Château de la Maltroye is a leading producer based in Chassagne-Montrachet, and I love this estate’s wines for their impeccable balance of power and elegance. The estate covers 37 acres across ten premier cru sites, predominantly in Chassagne-Montrachet with some small holdings in Santenay. Today I selected two of Maltroye’s wines, the 2010 Chassange-Montrachet 1er cru Clos du Chateau Rouge and the 2012 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Dent de Chien. These two bottles are incredible on their own, but to enjoy them both with the same meal makes for a fascinating study of both winemaking and terroir.

Maltroye 2010 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos Château Rouge $59.99

Now entering an excellent drinking window, the 2010 Maltroye Clos du Chateau Rouge is a textbook study in classic Burgundian Pinot Noir. Rich, sappy Pinot Noir fruit is underlain by subtle notes of minerals and underbrush, all conveyed on a nearly weightless body. Incredibly pretty in the glass and an absolute pleasure to drink, this wine will continue to deliver the goods for another 5-7 years.

Maltroye 2012 Chassagne 1er Cru Dent de Chien $179.99

One of the estate’s two signature whites, the 2012 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Dent de Chien, meaning “dog’s tooth,” is a very mineral-driven wine. Round and lush in texture, this Chardonnay is packed full of bright, mouth-watering acidity and flavors of slightly baked apple and pear. The Dent de Chien sees some time in oak; however, it is not ‘toasty’ oak—it adds structure, depth and complexity, but it doesn’t dominate the flavor profile. Structured and weighty, this ‘12 is fit for mid to long-term cellaring and will offer an outstanding drinking experience through 2030.

Inside Dominique Gallois’ Natural Wines

A look at one of IWM’s favorite vignerons

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 4.56.59 PMPeople often say that the winemakers and chateaux in Bordeaux are very formal and businesslike. In Burgundy, though, the vignerons aren’t businessmen as much as they are farmers; they’re folks who love their land and share a deep connection with it, and who are much more comfortable working with a shovel than with a spreadsheet. Perhaps none personify these qualities more than Dominique Gallois, a stringent traditionalist who makes gorgeous wines of stunning depth, elegance, typicity, and purity using wholly non-interventionist techniques at his domaine in Gevrey-Chambertin.

I was lucky enough to spend a full day with Dominique back in February when he presented his wines to sommeliers in some of NYC’s top restaurants. Their response to his classically styled, understated wines was overwhelmingly positive. As today’s American wine market is oversaturated with hefty wines of great power and concentration, Dominique’s wines are a breath of fresh air for those of us who appreciate elegance, subtlety and a distinct sense of place.

When you speak to Dominique, he makes it immediately clear that his vines and their terroir that hold the primary responsibility for the outstanding quality of his wines. He told me that after harvest and pressing, the only thing he does to the juice is once daily batonnage, or a brief stirring of the juice in barrel to circulate the lees (his miming of this motion is hilarious, by the way). Everything else is left to nature, and after tasting Dominique’s wines, you’d have a very hard time arguing with his process.

Dominique’s sleek and aromatic Bourgogne Rouge is an absolute steal priced under $30, while his old-vine Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles VignesGevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Petite Cazetiers, and Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru are textbook representations of their illustrious terroirs, thrillingly complex yet subtle. However, his most sought-after wine is the prized Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Combe Aux Moins, a collector staple that is a fixture on several top NYC restaurant wine lists.

The 2013s are on the boat from France at this very moment and will be here very soon. When I tasted through Dominique’s 2013 barrel samples back in February, the wines were quite friendly and open-knit in their youth. I got a bevy of floral and herbal aromas on top of layers of gorgeous red fruits, with that telltale Gevrey sauvage persistent throughout the lineup. The Bourgogne Rouge should be enjoyed over the next 3-4 years; the Gevrey’s will be approachable when young; however, they will reward patience in the cellar and will continue to evolve over the next decade.

If you share my passion for beautiful, classically-styled Burgundy Pinot Noir, I urge you to try a few bottles and enjoy them knowing that you’re supporting a humble farmer and his family, and not an investment group’s bottom line.

Expert Picks: François Gay and…François Gay!

Two expert selections from Garrett Kowalsky

Garrett_8.6.14_72dpiSeveral years ago, IWM introduced the iconic vigneron François Gay to you. It’s not hyperbole to say that Gay’s wines are among the most difficult to procure in Beaune. He’s a guy who sells 90-95% of his wine from his front door to the greatest restaurants in France and to a few friends, and he only makes 3000 cases to begin with. Quick math will tell you that just 150-200 cases are left for the rest of the world to enjoy.

The 2013 vintage is quite special. Although it was one of the most difficult years, the final product ended up being truly magnificent for the best producers. The grapes developed amazing phenolic ripeness, yet they were able to retain their acidity. The ’13s are wines that will appeal to every Burgundy lover, and it’s tragic that there is so little to go around. Here are two of Gay’s ’13 wines that I think you will adore.

François Gay 2013 Ladoix $44.99

Sitting at the foot of the hill of the same name, Ladoix is the northern most village in the Côtes de Beaune. Over the past 150 years, this region received little love from wine experts, though those in the know will now tell you that some of the happiest surprises have been coming out of Ladoix. This offering from Gay is smooth and silky with vivacious fruit; it’ll pair beautifully with the best roast chicken and potatoes you can muster. Drink now to 2025.

François Gay 2013 Corton-Renardes Grand Cru $109.99

Grand cru Burgundy represents 1-3% production of the entire region, but despite the rarity of these wines, you can still find a steal. Okay, you won’t be able to find any Clos de Bèze for a bargain, but look to the slopes of Corton in particular for your affordable grand cru bottlings. The wines of Francois Gay are remarkably well priced, and you will find serenity in their Corton Renardes. I have often seen this wine outshine bottles sold at 60-100% higher prices. Drink 2017 to 2028.

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