• A Different Face To Beaujolais:  Thivin's Pink Granite Rosé

    A Different Face To Beaujolais: Thivin's Pink Granite Rosé

    Corsica and Provence have been the heart of our rosé focus since we opened in April 2015. While the red wines of Beaujolais have also been a cornerstone, the region's more limited production rosés never made the cut. That all changed when Kermit Lynch asked Château Thivin (our favorite in Côte de Brouilly) for a small amount of their rosé for California. One hectare of 50-year-old vines from pink granite on steep slopes of an ancient volcano - This is not your standard rosé. And, at $23 per bottle it's the best kept secret in pink.

    Surrounding the ancient volcano, Mont Brouilly, is pink granite and sand. Here, on some of the steepest slopes in the region Gamay is endowed with purple-toned fruits and wild lavender notes. I was initially hesitant before tasting, imagining those very bouncy and fruit-forward Gamay traits wouldn’t translate to the crisp and mineral personality I look for in rosé. But, I was shocked at the great sense of salinity and freshness from Thivin.

    The rosé of Gamay is sourced from one hectare of 50-year-old vines. Grapes are pressed immediately giving just a slight pink hue. The wine is fermented with native yeasts, goes through full malolactic, and spends its life only in steel prior to bottling. In the end, it's a snappy and lively rosé that finishes with a salty punctuation that makes it irresistible.

    Château Thivin’s roots date back to the 15th century. But, it was in 1877 when Zaccharie Geoffrey purchased the 2-hectare estate at auction that Thivin began as we know it today. His grandson, Claude was pivotal in the creation of the Côte de Brouilly appellation during the great depression. And now his grandnephew, also Claude, his wife Evelyn, and their son Claude-Edouard are behind production of this benchmark Côte de Brouilly. Kermit Lynch visited the domaine during his first trip on the wine route with Richard Olney in 1976.

    Thivin’s rosé stole the show at our annual rosé tasting. Guests were shocked that this dark horse was neck and neck with the more established rosé estates like Tempier, Abbatucci, Clos Canarelli, and Marquiliani. At $23 per bottle, and allocated from only a single hectare, this rosé hits a rare spot where value, rarity, and top-notch terroir converge.

    2017 Château Thivin Beaujolais-Villages Rosé
    $23 per bottle.

    Posted by Max Kogod
  • The Return of the Glou:  2017 Lapierre Raisins Gaulois

    The Return of the Glou: 2017 Lapierre Raisins Gaulois

    Of all the glou-glou wines produced in France it's Lapierre's Raisins Gaulois that so perfectly suits this funny badge. Glou-glou is described as the sound of wine leaving the bottle neck when poured rapidly, and also for the sound of one's gulping. Lapierre may turn out some of the most dead serious Morgon, but this Beaujolais from young vines is released early to harness all of the plump and delicious Gamay fruit with pricing that makes it easy to go deep on. So I always do.

    Nearly all of the vines tapped for Raisins Gaulois comes from within the esteemed cru of Morgon, with small amounts of fruit from the larger Beaujolais appellation. Like all of Lapierre's wines, this is from organically farmed land and fermented with native yeasts, using whole clusters. These young vines provide that fruit-forward, rambunctious and unctuous Gamay grapey personality (yes, that's an apt descriptor for Gamay).

    The historical significance of Marcel Lapierre is firmly ingrained into the history books of French winemaking. Since 2010, Marcel's children Matthieu and Camille have carried on the natural approach that had placed their father in the hearts of winemakers and enthusiasts across the globe.

    Marcel Lapierre took over the domaine in 1973 from his father, and in 1981 his encounter with Jules Chauvet set him on a course that would literally change the world of wine. Chauvet's strong words against using pesticides, herbicides, and cultured yeasts launched a shift toward natural viticulture and winemaking in Beaujolais. And along with Jean Foillard, Guy Breton, and Jean-Paul Thévenet, the Gang of Four was unofficially founded. Their practices spread quickly and the proof in the pudding made clear this natural route was one that yielded wines of authenticity and joie de vivre.

    As spring approaches, this light and fruity red is the best bet to win over the hearts of house guests and BBQ invitees. Please serve with a chill. Thank you, and thank Marcel Lapierre.

    2017 Lapierre Beaujolais Raisins Gaulois 
    $22 per bottle.

    Also available:

    1x 2014 Lapierre Morgon 
    $72 per bottle.

    4x 2015 Lapierre Morgon 
    $34 per bottle.

    13x 2015 Lapierre Morgon 1.5L 
    $73 per bottle.

    3x 2015 Lapierre Morgon Roche du Py Camille
    $48 per bottle.

    2x 2016 Lapierre Juliénas
    $33 per bottle.

    14x 2016 Lapierre Morgon (N)
    $34 per bottle.

    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Morgon Master: The New Release from Jean Foillard

    Morgon Master: The New Release from Jean Foillard

    From release, through decades in bottle, there's no Cru Beaujolais producer that consistently thrills like Jean Foillard. Young producers like Yann Bertrand call him a mentor, while his contemporaries call him the Morgon Master. Regardless of where your preferences lie within the unparralled values found in Cru Beaujolais, one thing is clear: Jean Foillard is the benchmark.

    Today, I'm very happy to offer the new release featuring 2016 Morgon Côte du Py and Cuvée Corcelette, as well as the 2015 Fleurie and Morgon Eponym "Les Charmes".

    2016 saw yields reduced by hail throughout Beaujolais, but Foillard's vineyards were hit particularly hard. Pricing has seen an increase and quantities are down for most cuvées. There will be no Fleurie in either 2016 or 2017, so today's offer featuring both 2014 and 2015 should not be missed.

    Of course, Foillard is best known for his work in Morgon's cherished Côte du Py and Corcellete, but his micro-production Fleurie cuvée and his recent Eponym "Les Charmes" have evoked equal lust. If pressed to answer which $40 French red I would want to find in my cellar in 10, 20, and 30 years, the clear choice is Foillard.

    I've been forunate enough to drink wines after decades in bottle and they're nothing short of magical. Even a 2010 Corcelette opend last weekend at a friend's wedding had turned into somewhat of a masterpiece, with sweet and savory brown spices gaining prominence. The concept of "Pinote" has been given to these Gamays that with time develop Pinot Noir-type elements that make them nearly indistinguishable from aged Red Burgundy. Foillard's back-vintage examples illustrate this idea vividly.

    But, let's not get ahead of the true gift of Cru Beaujolais: its unrivaled approachablity upon release. Yes, these top cuvées will improve and transform with time, but the silky, harmonious, and pure-fruited elements that have earned Foillard fame are in perfect focus day one. Foillard offers the best of both worlds.

    Thankfully, I've gotten into the habit of cellaring a handfull of bottles each vintage, with magnums certainly going directly to sleep for a yet-to-be-named future fête. When these magnums of Foillard magically appear, no matter the venue, heads turn and eyes light up.

    Morgon Corcelette comes from a parcel of 80-year old vines planted in sandstone. Delicacy and a silken mouthfeel always stand out with this cuvée. The fruit spectrum tends to be a little more high toned, and red-fruited. Aged in a combo of used barrels and one 30-hectoliter foudre.

    Morgon Côte du Py is sourced from the famed granite and schist hill that sits just outside the town of Villié-Morgon. Vines here are 90-years old. This shows the darker, more structured side of Morgon. Aged in used barrels.

    Morgon Les Charmes has been produced only since 2013 and comes from Morgon's highest altitude lieu dit, only 1.3ha in size. It's the most transparent and energetic of the range. While we don't know exactly how this will perform over time in the cellar, my intuition says it will unwind to be the thriller of the linuep. 
    Aged in used barrels.

    Fleurie is best known for its limited availability, as production is rougly 8% of each the Côte du Py and Corcelette cuvées. Planted on the pink sandstone that's featured throughout veins of this village dubbed, the "Queen of Beaujolais". Sourced from Fleurie's top two sites: Grille-Midi and Champagne. Aged in used barrels.

    Morgon 3.14 is the greatest wine of Beaujoais (although Métras l'Ultime & Dutraive Cuvée Champagne deserve honorable mention). 100+yr-old-vines are tapped from decomposed granite. Aged in used barrels.

    2016 Foillard Morgon Côte du Py
    $44 per bottle.

    2016 Foillard Morgon Cuvée Corcelette
    $44 per bottle.

    2016 Foillard Morgon Côte du Py 1.5L
    $96 per bottle.

    2015 Foillard Morgon Eponym "Les Charmes"
    $44 per bottle.

    2015 Foillard Fleurie 
    $53 per bottle.

    Also available:

    1x 2013 Foillard Morgon Eponym "Les Charmes"
    $42 per bottle.

    6x 2013 Foillard Morgon 3.14
    $89 per bottle.

    12x 2014 Foillard Morgon 3.14
    $89 per bottle.

    1x 2014 Foillard Morgon Eponym "Les Charmes"
    $42 per bottle.

    4x 2014 Foillard Fleurie 
    $53 per bottle.

    8x 2015 Foillard Morgon Cuvée Corcelette
    $42 per bottle.

    21x 2015 Foillard Morgon Côte du Py
    $42 per bottle.

    2x 2015 Foillard Morgon Côte du Py 1.5L
    $89 per bottle.

    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Cru Beaujolais Tête de Cuvée Trifecta: Lapierre, Dutraive, & Foillard

    Cru Beaujolais Tête de Cuvée Trifecta: Lapierre, Dutraive, & Foillard

    Cru Beaujolais is cherished for its stellar value, up-front drinkability, and myriad of rockstar producers. But, the cream tends to rise to the top. Lapierre, Dutraive, and Foillard represent the majority of my Beaujolais personal cellar, with each of them producing one wine, a Tête de Cuvée, that I annually stash away for the long haul. These are wines that transcend Morgon and Fleurie, offering complexity that always holds its own on the table with top tier Côte d'Or Red Burgundy.

    Today, I'm very happy to offer this Tête de Cuvée Trifecta, with special pricing on 3-Packs & mixed 6-Packs.

    Lapierre's Morgon Cuvée Marcel Lapierre is a selection of the venerable estate's oldest vines. The minimum vine age for this bottling is 100+ yrs. All of the satin-textured, explosive Gamay fruit you expect from Lapierre, with a darker side framed by crushed granitic minerality built for the cellar.

    Dutraive's Fleurie Cuvée Champagne is Fleurie at its most fine-grained and breathtaking. Sourced from old vines planted on very shallow topsoil above a bedrock of pink granite. Dutraive's style is one with no extraction and minimal sulphur. For this cuvée aged in neutral barrels we see that classic Jean-Louis finesse met with a piercing concentration and length of finish. More red-fruited than the Morgons in today's offer.

    Foillard's Morgon 3.14 is going to be the wine I pull out of my cellar in 20 years and place blind next to top Red Burgundy. We ran a test of this with all 2009's and the results were everything I had banked on. 3.14 is sourced from 100+ yr-old vines planted on schist and granite. Again, this Morgon shows a darker-fruited expression of Gamay, with a structure remiscent of Gevrey Chambertin.

    Each of the three wines are allocated by importers in small quantities each year. I never thought I'd be able to offer mixed case discounted pricing, but I was thrilled to recently source a second tranche. If you want an opportunity to see how the greatest wines of Beaujolais can unfold over time, this trio is where you begin!

    2015 Lapierre Morgon Cuvée Marcel Lapierre MMXV
    $48 per bottle.

    2015 Dutraive Fleurie Cuvée Champagne 
    $44 per bottle.

    2014 Foillard Morgon Cuvée 3.14
    $89 per bottle.
    Special E-mail 3-Pack Pricing: $249 ($83 per bottle)

    Special E-mail Mixed 6-Pack Pricing: $325 (Regularly $362)
    (2 bottles of each Tête de Cuvée)

    Posted by Max Kogod
  • The Last Chapter of Beaujolais: Métras Fleurie

    The Last Chapter of Beaujolais: Métras Fleurie

    When I travel to France there's always one producer I crave to drink, Yvon Métras. The Fleurie-based vigneron is famous for spellbinding and pillow-soft Gamay with a magic touch of complexity often calling to mind Grand Cru Burgundy before Beaujolais. That's obviously a bold statement, but I've lost count of the times this thought struck me upon first sip. When the wines are on, there is nothing that hits the same high. Unfortunately, Yvon is equally famous for his disdain of paperwork, and so the wines that once were regularly imported to the US have, more or less, stopped. Today, I'm very happy to offer a wide range that I've slowly been collecting, including a rare four-bottle vertical of his flagship, Fleurie.

    Métras Fleurie is sourced primarily from two celebrated vineyards, La Madonne and Grille Midi. The former named for the church built on top of the steep hill, and the latter loosely translating to "roasts at noon", as this site garners substantial afternoon heat. Both parcels in these two vineyards are even more prized due to Yvon's collection of vines that top 120-years of age.

    Métras, like Foillard and Lapierre, was heavily influenced by the teachings of Jules Chauvet. Organic viticulture, native yeast ferments, and no sulphur additions. Yvon follows traditional whole cluster, semi-carbonic fermentation in concrete tanks prior to raising in neutral oak.

    If you, like me, have ever had that epiphany moment with Beaujolais where the subtle, but brilliant, conviction of the wines strikes a chord, then Métras is akin to the ultimate, final discovery.

    The Queen of Beaujolais, Fleurie is built around silken texture, pure red cherry and strawberry tones, and finely-woven granitic lacing. Where the Métras wines seem to go above and beyond even his greatest contemporaries is their gripping saturation and relentless finish, still gathering like a cloud on the palate. For Métras, much of the magic is in what we'll never learn, what's unable to be revealed through methods in the cuverie or the vineyard.. And it's this mystery that makes the experience that much more exhilarating to discover for yourself. 

    2016 Métras Fleurie
    $79 per bottle.

    2016 Métras Fleurie 1.5L 
    $169 per bottle.

    Special E-Mail Vertical 4-pack (2013, 2014, 2015, & 2016 Fleurie)
    $259 (Regularly $282)

    Also available:

    1x 2012 Métras Fleurie 1.5L
    $149 per bottle.

    1x 2012 Métras Moulin-à-Vent 1.5L 
    $149 per bottle.

    5x 2013 Métras Fleurie Vieilles Vignes 
    $59 per bottle.

    5x 2013 Métras Moulin-à-Vent
    $59 per bottle.

    4x 2013 Métras Fleurie Vieilles Vignes 1.5L
    $139 per bottle.

    4x 2014 Jules Métras Beaujolais Villages Bijou
    $40 per bottle.

    5x 2014 Métras Fleurie 1.5L
    $139 per bottle.

    3x 2014 Métras Fleurie L'Ultime
    $149 per bottle.

    6x 2014 Métras Fleurie Vieilles Vignes
    $69 per bottle.

    3x 2014 Métras Moulin-à-Vent 1.5L 
    $139 per bottle.

    33x 2015 Métras Fleurie 
    $75 per bottle.

    6x 2015 Métras Fleurie 1.5L 
    $149 per bottle.

    3x 2015 Métras Moulin à Vent 1.5L
    $149 per bottle.

    6x 2016 Métras Beaujolais "Madame Germaine"

    $42 per bottle.

    Posted by Max Kogod