• Patrick Piuze 2019 Chablis

    Patrick Piuze 2019 Chablis

    It's overwhelmingly agreed that Raveneau and Dauvissat represent the most crowning achievements in Chablis, but Patrick Piuze is a king-in-waiting. Piuze is a wizard at working with stainless steel and oak to craft Chardonnay from Chablis' fossilized ancient sea bed that delivers the grandeur expected from these top vineyards. Like Raveneau and Dauvissat, it's the regal structure, seamless contours, and definitive cut married to this breadth that places Piuze in elite company.

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    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Saint-Aubin Encore

    Saint-Aubin Encore

    While Pierre Yves was the first to go out on his own from the Colin family, his younger brother, Joseph, proved with his 2017 inaugural release that he's also the real deal. In his latest review, wine critic of The Wine Advocate William Kelley says: "Joseph Colin—who left Domaine Marc Colin to start a domaine of his own in 2016—is going from strength to strength and is justly delighted with his 2019 portfolio."

    So how does Joseph's style differ from that of his older brother? They generally have less of a reductive element, and the new oak is a bit more (still just 25% nearly across the board). The fruit profile has a touch more flesh and forward personality but shares the hallmark salinity and verve found in Pierre Yves' wines. Stylistically, the brothers share much more in common than their father, Marc Colin, whose wines have a stronger imprint of new oak and softer, glossier texture.

    In 1993, Joseph began working full-time at his family's domain at the age of 19. The brothers spent ten years working alongside their father until Pierre Yves left to start his own domaine in 2003. Joseph has been at the helm of Domaine Marc Colin ever since and, in 2017, took six hectares of the family's holdings for himself.

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    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Willamette Star

    Willamette Star

    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 2019 Pinot Noirs are also among the best in America today. These are Grand Cru-level expressions of Eola-Amity Hills Chardonnay and Pinot Noir!

    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 that I've come to obsess over. 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
  • Old-Vine Puligny Montrachet

    Old-Vine Puligny Montrachet

    Being introduced to Marc and Alexandre Bachelet-Monnot's Puligny-Montrachet took me back to my first glass of Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey. It was clear this domaine, too, was destined for star status. In a short time, these young brothers have also put Maranges on many collectors' maps.

    Bachelet-Monnot's Puligny Montrachet comes exclusively from old vines from four lieu dits: Les Corvées, Les Meix, Les Houillières, and Noyer Bret. This cuvée is a classic interpretation of Puligny with cut, tension, and ripe concentration. Following in PYCM's footsteps, Bachelet-Monnot chooses to ferment and age in larger barrels, with modest oak influence and a six-month stay in steel before bottling.

    The Maranges Premier Cru reds are also stellar in every way, combining regal structure and finesse centered upon a core of pristine red and blue fruits. Maranges 1er Cru Fussières is a personal favorite for its energy and precision, sourced from Maranges' highest elevation vineyard.

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    Posted by Max Kogod
  • First-Class Chablis

    First-Class Chablis

    Savary's old-vine bottling captures everything I love about Chablis: Crushed oyster shell, cool-fruited citrus, and green apple, etc. At $33 per bottle, this old-vine cuvée is a great value wine to go deep on from these famed Kimmeridgian slopes.

    Chablis may be a part of Burgundy, but its extreme northern setting and soil, comprised of fossilized seashells, share more in common with Champagne and Sancerre than with the more luscious Chardonnay found 80 miles southeast in the Côte d'Or. Burgundy's mineral expression matched with Chablis' cold climate is magical for crafting wines brimming with mouth-watering salinity and faint nutty flavors that appear with air.

    Much of Chablis is harvested too early, with many vignerons resting their laurels on the iconic appellation that's printed on the label. Savary is a prime example of what the region can do at its very best, pushing ripeness in this frigid climate to the maximum while preserving tension. Fermentation occurs in 20% neutral wood and 80% stainless steel for the Vielles Vignes cuvée; the wine then ages in neutral demi-muids barrels.

    Olivier Savary follows a long history of vignerons, but due to challenging vintages, his parents chose not to continue the family domaine. Olivier had to start over when he finished enology school in Dijon. Since 1984, he and his wife, Francine, slowly built what was once lost. A serendipitous introduction to importer Kermit Lynch by François Raveneau brought these wines to the U.S.

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    Posted by Max Kogod