• Joseph Roty: Gevrey Old-Vine Purist

    Joseph Roty: Gevrey Old-Vine Purist

    Domaine Joseph Roty is one of the great houses of Gevrey Chambertin. Operated by the Roty family since 1710, with a tenure of this length, they have achieved greatness working with true old vines. All of Roty's wines come from 60-plus-year-old vines. Their most famous site, a section of Charmes Chambertin, was grafted in 1881. This ancient vineyard was among the first to be grafted after phylloxera wiped out half of France's vines. The cuvée is aptly labeled "Très Vieilles Vignes," or very old vines.

    Stylistically, these wines hold nothing back, with concentration and intensity being the name of the game. 100% destemmed fruit undergoes a three-week fermentation at cool temperatures, followed by time in oak (50-100% new) before bottling without fining or filtration. Roty's masterful techniques and careful barrel selection yield red Burgundy with a tight coil of Gevrey's earthy minerality and a stylistic flair melding black fruits with black truffle.

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    Posted by Nathan Sneller
  • André Ostertag: Alsatian Sensation

    André Ostertag: Alsatian Sensation

    Domaine Ostertag has long gone against the grain of Alsatian expectations, crafting dry, disciplined wines that still summon the sunshine that marks the region. His Fronholz and Grand Cru Muenchberg Rieslings especially imbue the transparency and purity of a mountain lake. These wines are a moment of clarity for Alsace!

    Alsace is in the cool northeast pocket of France, and its protection from the Vosges Mountains means it receives the least amount of rainfall of any region. This abundant sunshine has long given Alsatian wines a rounded and golden orchard fruit quality, often with a dollop of residual sugar. However, several elements separate Ostertag from the norm. André studied viticulture in Burgundy and returned home in 1998 to employ organic and biodynamic principles in the vineyard. He also decided to ferment his Rieslings completely dry and age them in stainless steel.

    Today, Alsace is famous for having the highest percentage of organic and biodynamic producers in France. While the quality at harvest couldn't be higher, I still find few producers that execute with the same sense of harmony that Ostertag is adored for.

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    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Turley: California's Old-Vine Jewel

    Turley: California's Old-Vine Jewel

    At first glance, Turley may seem like an outlier in our Old World-focused collection. The reason I go deep on these prized wines from America's oldest vineyards extends far beyond their historical significance. While Turley wines have a hedonistic side, they are balanced, precisely detailed, and always supported by fresh acidity.

    Turley defines American viticulture today. Working with over 50 vineyards, they apply organic principles and rely only on native yeasts for fermentation. Head winemaker, Tegan Passalacqua of Sandlands, is rightfully respected for his work in the cellar as much as for his encyclopedic knowledge of California's diversity of old vineyards.

    While Zinfandel and Petite Syrah inherently push toward higher ripeness, their thoughtful approach with vines from Paso Robles to Napa Valley is to preserve acidity and manage tannins. Each cuvée is crafted free of reliance on excessive new oak, additives, or manipulation in the cellar. These are ultimate wines of terroir, epitomizing the best of California's viticulture heritage.

    When serious BBQ is at hand, Turley is among the first wines I reach for. Their vibrant, fruit-forward, and deeply nuanced traits lend themselves to a wide range of grilled meats and marinades. Even more, a bottle of 2001 Hayne Vineyard Petite Syrah was a great reminder that the pure joy these wines give, even after a decade in the bottle, is evidence of their greatness.

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    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Alto Piemonte Comeback: Colombera & Garella

    Alto Piemonte Comeback: Colombera & Garella

    Before Barolo and Barbaresco earned their stronghold, there was a time when Alto Piemonte, just two hours northeast, was the more sought-after region for Nebbiolo. We have a handful of Alto Piemonte wines in our collection, but the name to know among its current revivalists is Cristiano Garella.

    Over the last decade, Garella has helped revive Alto Piemonte as a wine region, advising about 20 wineries. Colombera & Garella is his personal project in partnership with Giacomo and Carlo Colombera, who have grown grapes in Bramaterra since the early 90s. Together, they farm nine hectares using organic and low-intervention practices: Native fermentation in concrete tanks, minimal sulfur, and 24-month élevage in neutral barrels.

    Compared to Barolo and Barbaresco, Alto Piemonte has a cooler, rainier climate. The soils are significantly more acidic, with Bramaterra having reddish-brown sand from an ancient volcano. This terroir results in a more mineral-driven expression of Nebbiolo with fine tannins and nerving acidity, which make for more approachable and readily drinkable wines than their slower aging counterparts in Piedmont.

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    Posted by Sydney Love
  • Willamette Valley Star: Walter Scott

    Willamette Valley Star: Walter Scott

    The pinnacle of the range from Erica Landon and Ken Pahlow of Walter Scott rests with their X Novo and Seven Springs Vineyard Chardonnays, though the Pinot Noirs are also among the best in America today. These are Grand Cru-level expressions of Eola-Amity Hills!

    Most of the 1983-planted Seven Springs Vineyard was devastated by phylloxera, until 2007, when Raj Parr and Sashi Moorman of Evening Land leased and revitalized the vineyard. Walter Scott is one of the few wineries with access to this site, sourcing less than two acres of Chardonnay from the south ridge.

    Pahlow's annual harvest visits to work alongside Dominique Lafon must have left a mark, as his Chardonnays elicit Burgundy's precise form of noble reduction and filigree. Notes of crushed oyster shell, lemon zest, and mouth-watering salinity are at the forefront, but like Comtes Lafon's brilliant whites, these are all about fine-grained texture and balance.

    If Walter Scott's Chardonnays are a master class in tension and balance, then the Pinot Noirs stand out for their silken tannin structure and full-bodied, concentrated style. The suave frame and harmony of fruit and earth meld perfectly with the slight whole cluster addition (15%) and modest application of new oak (35%).

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    Posted by Max Kogod