• Bare-Naked Chablis: Chateau de Béru

    Bare-Naked Chablis: Chateau de Béru

    "Admirers of racy, mineral Chablis should give this important estate serious consideration." — William Kelley, Wine Advocate

    Finding Chablis deeply entrenched in the natural category while still delivering rigor and classicism is a challenge. Hunting down ample quantities of Château de Béru, who's become a leader in the natural movement, was challenging for a while, but thanks to New York importer Zev Rovine and his expansion out west, that's changed.

    The Béru family has owned and farmed Château de Béru for four centuries, and their eight hectares of planted vines are known as some of the stoniest vineyards in all of Chablis. Comte Éric de Béru's daughter, Athénais, has overseen the estate since 2004, and she quickly converted their farming to organic and biodynamic practices.

    The wines unfurl in the glass, opening up over an hour to reveal more luscious green apple, lime zest, toast, and almond paste, all held together with a brilliantly strict vein of minerality. For me, Chablis hits the highest note when that wet stone mineral quality meets with a crystalline level of acidity. Old oak is used for élevage, and the wines ferment with native yeasts. No filtering or fining.

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    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Provence White Diamond: 2020 Chateau Roquefort

    Provence White Diamond: 2020 Chateau Roquefort

    Petit Salé from Chateau Roquefort is the best value white wine from Southern France that you're likely to overlook, though I highly encourage you to play it cooler (and less pretentiously) than I did when having it for the first time.

    Unlike Bandol, the brisk, high-altitude setting here cannot fully ripen Mourvèdre, but it's perfect for macerated white wines. A blend of Clairette and Vermentino, Petit Salé builds on ripe, unctuous white peach and briny citrus flavors, finishing with a persistent salty inflection. This microclimate on limestone and clay soils proved to me that a Southern French white can deliver all of the mouth-watering salinity as Chablis and Riesling while still capturing its orchard fruit characteristics.

    Villeneuve returned home in 1995 after spending time producing Burgundy's Grand Cru Clos de Tart for Mommessin. He use both organic and biodynamic farming practices. Also, this is the same distributor behind other small but mighty vignerons who you may have heard of, like Jerome Prevost, Cedric Bouchard, and Soldera.

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    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Columbia Gorge Crusher: Hiyu Floréal Cider

    Columbia Gorge Crusher: Hiyu Floréal Cider

    A burgeoning wine scene is forming in the Columbia River Gorge, just an hour east of Portland. "Little by little other Oregon wine regions like the Gorge are demonstrating that the state has much to offer beyond the Willamette Valley," wrote Eric Asimov, who highlighted Hiyu as one of those examples in an article published last year. This region is also known for its apples and pears, and it didn't take long for winemaker Nate Ready to pique interest. In collaboration with a nearby Biodynamic orchard, Hiyu produces a refreshing and complex cider with a lasting impression.

    Floréal has white florals and nuanced apple aromas ranging from freshly sliced to golden brown apple crumble. The palate was fresh and glimmering with yellow citrus and stone fruit notes, with a hint of fresh hay on the long finish. Hiyu paired it with a side of sorrel soup made with herbs from their garden, which brought out even more of the cider's aromatics. This cider consists of at least 20 apple varieties. The apples are crushed in a basket press lined with straw, then the juice ferments and ages in neutral barrels. The following vintage, they use fermenting juice to begin secondary fermentation in bottle.

    In 2010, former Master Sommelier Nate Ready and China Tresemer combined their curiosities for winemaking, farming, and culinary art and created what is now their 30-acre Biodynamic farm and vineyard. When you arrive, it almost feels like stepping into the pages of a Brothers Grimm fairytale. Nate takes a curious, playful, and philosophical approach to farming and winemaking, so it is exciting to see him experimenting with cider.

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    Posted by Sydney Love
  • Patagonia Prodigy: 2020 Bodega Chacra

    Patagonia Prodigy: 2020 Bodega Chacra

    When Jean-Marc Roulot joined his friend Piero Incisa della Rocchetta in Patagonia to consult on a Chardonnay cuvée, there was understandably a lot of buzz. Piero has made a name for Bodega Chacra by crafting the most elegant and Burgundian examples of Pinot Noir I've ever tasted from South America.

    Río Negro's position in the center of Patagonia makes it an ideal location for Burgundian varieties, as the cold nights and fierce winds mitigate daytime heat and preserve natural acidity, accentuating floral notes in the wines. The distinctive red clay soil with its high iron content brings a minerality perfectly suited to these varieties. All parcels are farmed following organic and biodynamic principles.

    HIGHLIGHTS

    Mainqué is aged in first and second-year Damy barrels from Jean-Marc Roulot. Malolactic fermentation is blocked in this Chardonnay, helping to preserve the snap and crystalline traits that form the wine's energetic backbone.

    Sin Azufre is one of the most sound sans soufre Pinot Noirs—complete with a gorgeous profile, purity, and vibrancy. Fermented with whole clusters.

    Cincuenta y Cinco is the more structured Pinot Noir but still has that ethereal personality that makes this so charming right out of the gate.

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    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Beaune Love Affair: 2019 Drouhin Clos des Mouches

    Beaune Love Affair: 2019 Drouhin Clos des Mouches

    If I had to choose one domaine in Burgundy to drink—from Chablis through the Côte de Beaune—it'd be Joseph Drouhin. The name is synonymous with elegance and precision, offering terroir-driven wines founded upon transparency first and foremost.

    Drouhin's Beaune 1er Cru Monopole, Clos des Mouches Blanc and Rouge, transcends the reputation of its village. Located at the southern end of Beaune next to Pommard, Clos des Mouches always surprises with the classic Drouhin elegance married with the powerful style of the village. The track record of aging is unmatched in Beaune.

    Robert Drouhin was among the first in Burgundy to adopt "culture raisonnée" in the late 1950s. While the relatively large estate purchases grapes from many top growers, their vineyard holdings are fully organic and biodynamic.Grapes are de-stemmed and fermented with native yeasts, and gentle punch-downs are applied once per day for the first half of fermentation, with pump-overs utilized afterward.

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    Posted by Max Kogod