Our Wine Wednesdays, include one *free sample from each of our hand selected fine wine features (up to four wines). This week we welcome Kate Higgins-McCabe. Kate will have a selection of wines from one of greatest wine importers of all time, Kermit Lynch. KLWM was one of the very first importers to recognize “natural” producers as something important and worthy of the industries attention.
Kuentz-Bas Riesling “Tradition”
Maison Kuentz-Bas was first established by the Kuentz family in 1795, and the domaine as we know it today was forged through a marriage that joined the Kuentz and Bas families in 1895. Eager to restore Kuentz-Bas to its former glory, Jean-Baptiste Adam the current winery owner, lowered yields significantly and reverted to natural methods, following organic and biodynamic approaches to vineyard work. Alsace’s noble terroir shines through like never before in the domaine’s wines, making these among the greatest white wine values to be found. Dry, minerally,fine. Thos e of you who complain about sugary Rieslings, this one’s for you. Completely dry.
Guy Breton Morgon “Vieilles Vignes”
Guy Breton is known by his friends as Petit Max – though he is anything but petit, by the way. He took over the family domaine from his grandfather in 1986. Until that point, the family was selling their fruit to the large cooperative wineries which dominated the region and were gravitating towards a uniform style. The rise of imported yeast cultures to impart flavor and aroma, the use of high-tech carbonic maceration, and the widespread commercialization of Beaujolais Nouveau debased the region’s reputation, and Beaujolais came to be seen as one-dimensional, lacking any expression of the native terroir. Following the example of traditionalist Jules Chauvet, Guy and three other local vignerons, Marcel Lapierre, Jean-Paul Thévenet, and Jean Foillard, soon hoisted the flag of this back-to-nature movement. Kermit dubbed this clan the Gang of Four, and the name has stuck ever since. The Gang called for a return to the old practices of viticulture and vinification: starting with old vines, never using synthetic herbicides or pesticides, harvesting late, rigorously sorting to remove all but the healthiest grapes, adding minimal doses of sulfur dioxide or none at all, and refusing both chaptalization and filtration. The end result allows Morgon to express itself naturally, without make-up or plastic surgery: rustic, spicy, loaded with schist minerals and at the same time, refreshing and deep-down delicious. Breton’s domaine is comprised of three hectares (only 7.2 acres), eighty percent of which lies in the appellation of Morgon, around the village of Villié-Morgon. The vines range in age from 8 to 80 years, with the **80-year-old vines** dedicated to the “Vieilles Vignes” cuvée. Guy’s property is located in the microclimates “Saint-Joseph” and “Grand Cras,” where the naturally low pH of the soil creates favorable conditions for Breton’s sulfur-free vinification. Guy’s principal wine, the Morgon “Vieilles Vignes” is sourced from the Saint Joseph and Grand Cras subzones of the appellation, which give fine, stony wines. A high-lying sandy parcel contributes more complexity, structure, and acidity to the blend.
Charles Joguet Chinon Cuvee Terroir
The wines of Chinon have long been celebrated. French humanist and native son, François Rabelais, sang their praises as far back as the sixteenth century. However, the distinction with which the appellation is regarded today is due in part to the legacy left by a more contemporary icon: Charles Joguet. This young painter and sculptor abandoned a budding art career to assume direction of the family domaine in 1957. The Joguets owned prime vineyard land in between the Loire and Vienne Rivers, with some of their finest found on the left bank of the Vienne, just outside Chinon, in Sazilly. These very lieux-dits had been recognized for their character and defined before the Renaissance—some even date back to the Middle Ages. Variations in the soils of these alluvial plains were substantial enough to realize that he was sitting on what would be considered in other regions as premier cru and grand cru vineyards. A blend between a parcel from Beaumont-en-Véron with the alluvial soils of the left bank of the Vienne River, along with press wine from all the other cuvées of the domaine. Blend aims to highlight the harmony of Chinon’s terroirs. A cold maceration begins a fast fermentation at warmer temperatures, lasting for ten daysMalolactic fermentation takes place in cuve over the course of the winter months. After several rackings, the wine ages in cuve and is then bottled. This is quintessential Loire Cab Franc at its mineral laden best.
Château de Bellevue Lussac Saint Émilion
95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc. The good-natured proprietor of the Château de Bellevue, André Chatenoud, seems more at home in his cellars than anywhere else. Though he and his family have owned the property since 1971, the history of the château dates back to at least the 18th Century. One needs only to explore the incredible limestone caves and see the rich range of old graffiti engravings to be impressed: from harvest workers of the 1700s to American G.I.’s of the 1940s, so many of its visitors have been eager to mark their place in time through the walls of this small yet refined estate. Like other châteaux of the region, the winery is adorned with the elegant architecture of the era – the “chartreuse bordelaise.” Lussac St-Émilion is found on the Right Bank of the Bordelais, and is often regarded as a “satellite” appellation of St-Émilion. The terroir here is characterized by exceptional quality – only surprising because the great, low prices here at Bellevue stand to shift the perceptions of what good Bordeaux should cost. All twelve hectares of the clay and limestone vineyards are farmed organically and were certified through the French agency, Ecocert in 2002. All grapes are de-stemmed and only native yeasts are used. Wines are aged in the subterranean cellars for two years before bottling. This blend of Merlot with a drop of Cabernet Franc is consistently firm, fresh, and chalky from year to year, a stark contrast with the opulent, velvety reds produced in Saint-Émilion and even other parts of Lussac. This mineral backbone endows it with great aging potential, and yet the wine delights in its young years thanks to the pure, bright fruit and mouth-watering finale. Proprietor and vigneron André Chatenoud has been known to serve his Lussac with duck breast grilled over vine cuttings, but any number of other simple, yet delicious pairings will work.
*tasting free with purchase of $10 or more per guest