• Garnacha Redefined

    Garnacha Redefined

    Comando G's Garnacha from the ancient hillsides above Madrid is among the most exciting Spanish reds I've encountered. Comando G has a unique understanding of Garnacha alongside a few others in the world, including Old Rayas and Henri Bonneau.

    These wines are similar to the composure, silken texture, and focus on freshness that I've come to expect from Cru Beaujolais, but we're not dealing with Gamay here. The Comando G wines are true to their Garnacha roots, with robust red fruit traits and wild incense spice, yet streamlined to reveal a brisk spine and chiseled rock minerality.

    Daniel Landi and Fernando Garcia became friends in college and, after graduation, worked for wineries around Madrid. Rumors spread about plots of old, wild vines growing high in the hills of Sierra de Gredos. The duo leased the vineyards, implemented organic and biodynamic farming, and began producing these micro-cuvées under their label.

    Shop Garnacha

    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Burgundy Love Affair: 2017 Joseph Drouhin

    Burgundy Love Affair: 2017 Joseph Drouhin

    If I were to choose one domaine in Burgundy to drink from Chablis through the Côte de Beaune, it would be Joseph Drouhin. The name has become synonymous with elegance and precision, offering terroir-driven wines founded upon transparency first and foremost. While the relatively large estate purchases grapes from many top growers, they also have their own domaine holdings where all aspects of viticulture are under their control—fully organic and biodynamic.

    Robert Drouhin was among the first in Burgundy to adopt "culture raisonnée" in the late 1950s, and today the domaine is fully organic and biodynamic in all owned vineyards. Grapes are de-stemmed and fermented with native yeasts. Gentle punch-downs are applied once per day for the first half of fermentation, with pump-overs utilized afterward.

    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 more powerful style of the village. The track record of aging is unmatched in Beaune.

    Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru is labeled as such, because it comes from only 1.3 hectares of vines divided through the Premier Cru vineyards: Noirots, Hauts Doix, Borniques, Plantes, and Combottes. The tiny parcels are vinified together. Among secret cuvées in all of France, I put this pretty high on my list. This always over-delivers with the classic, unadulterated lacey Chambolle purity and chalky definition.

    My first experience tasting the adored Premier Cru, Les Amoureuses, was at a small wine shop in Chassagne-Montrachet in 2012. A well-known Canadian collector called me over to taste the highly anticipated 2010 release. Not surprisingly, the wine in the glass was one of the most memorable I had in Burgundy. There's something to be said for the openness and generosity of brand new releases. Pure, unadulterated fruit and maximum impact.

    Shop Joseph Drouhin wines

    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Bare-Naked Chablis

    Bare-Naked Chablis

    Finding Chablis deeply entrenched in the natural category while still delivering rigor and classicism is a challenge. For a while, hunting down ample quantities of Château de Béru, who's become a leader in the natural movement, was equally difficult, 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, their eight planted hectares being known as some of the stoniest vineyards in all of Chablis. Since 2004, it's been overseen by Comte Éric de Béru's daughter, Athénais, and she quickly converted their farming to organic and biodynamic practices. Old oak is employed for élevage, and wines are fermented with native yeasts. No filtering or fining.

    The wines really 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 notes when that broad wet stone mineral quality is met by a crystalline level of acidity.

    Click here to shop Beru wines

    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Giovanna's Chianti Classico

    Giovanna's Chianti Classico

    Making the case for why pockets of Chianti warrant the same attention as Brunello di Montalcino or even Burgundy is a challenge for me. The blame can fall squarely at the feet of those infamous straw-covered fiasco bottles or with higher-priced examples where sharp acidity may mesh with the marinara but not much else.

    But when I have the opportunity to prove that Sangiovese from Chianti Classico can show grace and pristine fruit quality akin to Red Burgundy, I use Giovanna Morganti's Le Trame as my first example. I implore you to trust this will be your moment of clarity for Sangiovese.

    Importer Neal Rosenthal's Montevertine and its Le Pergole Torte is a benchmark for the region. But in many aspects, Rosenthal's other discovery, Le Trame, is better suited to illustrate how Sangiovese's sometimes illusive fruit-forward profile and silken tannins can lead the charge in calling to mind those traits I personally adore about Red Burgundy.

    All the technical information clearly outlines how Giovanna's Chianti Classico is one-of-a-kind, but it doesn't do a fair job of referencing what will end up in your glass. Farming her fives hectares using organic and biodynamic principles, you know the raw material is going to be pristine. But what stands out for me is that each vintage, no matter how challenging, the wines are just perfectly composed. Purity of fruit is what I look for above all else, and Giovanna is making a strong case now as the prime address for the best value Sangiovese in all of Tuscany.

    I'd like to cut this one short and say this is a profound wine that's simply a joy to drink. The number of times I've used this bottling to convince friends that Sangiovese can be fun, approachable, and deadly serious is innumerable. I recommend you take the dive to see what this small gem of an estate in Chianti Classico is all about!

    Click here to shop Podere Le Boncie wines

    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Fleurie's Queen of Hearts

    Fleurie's Queen of Hearts

    In a very short time, Julien Sunier has become one of our favorite producers in a region full of unbelievably talented vignerons. Sunier, originally from Dijon, has worked with wineries all over the globe. You can't help but be reminded of the wines of Chambolle-Musigny when you try his Fleurie, due to their haunting grace and depth. He actually sources his neutral barrels from iconic Chambolle producer, Christophe Roumier, where he first worked.

    Fleurie, by all accounts, is one of the most feminine of the 10 Crus of Beaujolais and referred to as the Queen of Beaujolais commonly. Julien practices organic viticulture and employs 100% whole cluster fermentation of Gamay. His wines are outrageously floral, elegant, energetic, and are capable of developing in the cellar for years after release.

    Visiting with Julien in 2012 put his new domaine on my radar, and over the years since then, I've watched them gain traction with Cru Beaujolais fanatics. His 2019 release raises the bar again. Do not miss Sunier's Fleurie, one that has been a staple of Kogod Wine Merchant since we opened in 2015.

    The Wine Advocate's William Kelley on 2019 Julien:

    "As I wrote last year, Julien Sunier established his own small Beaujolais domaine in 2008 after a stint working with Christophe Roumier in Chambolle-Musigny, and he has rapidly emerged as one of the region's new star producers. Committed to organic farming from the beginning, whole-cluster fermentation in cement vats at low temperature followed by élevage in used Burgundy barrels are the rudiments of his approach. The style is supple, elegant and perfumed, emphasizing grace and charm, and all the cuvées reviewed here come, once again, warmly recommended."

    Click here to shop Julien Sunier wines

    Posted by Max Kogod