There are few cities in the world where you can eat and drink as well as you can in Bordeaux. When I travel, I always set out to discover the soulof a place through its food and wine. Here are some of my favorites in the city of Bordeaux.
As we do each vintage, we recently tasted dozens of examples of Brunello's 2012 vintage. City Wine Merchant always strives to discover great wines that over-deliver at their price. But this category prompted us to ask the question: Can you still find value in Brunello?
Piedmont lost a great one this week! I read about Elvio Cogno's passing this morning and took a little time to reflect on how important this man was to Piedmont. He certainly had an impact on me.
here is no question that 2015 is the strongest vintage that Bordeaux has produced in years. Likewise, the en primeur (futures) campaign will prove to be the most exciting and sought-after since the 2010 vintage. But just how good is 2015 Bordeaux really? This year, I traveled to Bordeaux to attend the primeur tastings. After tasting nearly 300 wines from the vintage, I think I have a pretty good handle on what to make of it.
Ever wonder what it’s like to attend Bordeaux primeurs? This hectic week of tasting requires a lot of planning and a lot of fortitude. While everyone has a different schedule and different goals, most will attend a mix of larger appellation tastings and apointment-only private tastings. Here's a snapshot of what a typical agenda might look like.
I had the opportunity to taste Stephane Aviron's Beaujolais crus from barrel not once, but twice, over the past year. I loved them on both occasions, and I am going to put these front and center in our vintage offerings this year. And it's not just because he is a Buffalo Bills fan (he spent some time in the Finger Lakes in the 90's and fondly recalls the Super Bowl years.)
In September 2008, my wife and I packed our car and left coastal Liguria to make the drive toward Florence, where we were spending the next leg of our trip. We planned to take a detour for lunch, with only one goal - find the best view in Tuscany. I had read about a little spot in the hills surrounding Greve in Chianti. A small village called Lamole with a historic winery dating to the 14th century. The restaurant, I read, had a terrace with a panoramic view of the Tuscan hills, looking out toward San Gimignano's famous towers.
This gluten-free dish is a perfect match for a beautiful Chinon from Domaine Philippe Alliet, one of the great red wine values from the Loire Valley.
Our senses are a wonderful tool for mindfulness, allowing us to truly savor experiences when we slow down. This is one of the reasons that enjoying wine slowly is so important to me, and why it is such a powerful vehicle for recalling positive experiences. To achieve this, it's all about the nose.
2004 was a classic vintage in Tuscany. Of the vintage, Jancis Robinson wrote that it was an "exceptionally good vintage, central Italy’s equivalent of the perfect growing season that France experienced in 2005." Like in most great vintages, growers were counting on a warm and sunny September. They got that in spades, and by the time wines were in barrels, some winemakers were already making comparisons to the classic 1997 vintage. "I have never seen Sangiovese with such quality, with perhaps the exception of 1997," said Roberto Guerrini, of Eredi Fuligni in Montalcino (one of my favorite Brunello producers).
My most recent visit to Burgundy and Alsace was a true celebration of food and wine. A lot of food and wine enjoyed with incredible people. I landed at Charles de Gualle on a hot and humid Thursday morning. Paris is so frenetic and it is evident as soon as one walks through customs onto the main level. It is crowded, loud, and rushed. The country was calling. We set out on the road heading southwest toward Bordeaux, and then veered toward Lyon. Finally, the busy Paris traffic cleared and we were sailing toward Burgundy.
Near the end of 2014, I was introduced to a wine that completely changed everything I believed and thought I knew about South African wines. Mvemve Raats De Compostella, with a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Merlot, was like Cheval Blanc meets Petrus. It was freshness and power. Purity and balance, with an exotic quality that you just can't put your finger on. It had me at hello. As the Wine Advocate's Neal Martin noted, "To sum up this wine in two words: world class. Ignore at your own risk."