• 2016 Baby Bonnes Mares:   Sigaut Chambolle 1er Cru Les Sentiers

    2016 Baby Bonnes Mares: Sigaut Chambolle 1er Cru Les Sentiers

    Domaine Sigaut's Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Les Fuées has been a huge hit with customers. With no Grand Cru holdings the domaine regularly flies under-the-radar, but proof in glass has made it apparent these are among the best values in my personal favorite appellation in the world. Sigaut's perfect counter-punch of precision and saturating power is one of my favorite Burgundy finds. However, through the domaine's oldest vines located below Grand Cru Bonnes Mares is where their lineup reaches its final crescendo.

    Today I'm happy to offer, from 1947-planted vines, Domaine Sigaut's Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Les Sentiers Vieilles Vignes.


    During our 2016 Red Burgundy seminar and tasting it was Sigaut's Chambolle Musigny 1er Crus that stood out for the second year in a row. Simply put, this is where the convergence of terroir and value have no match. Sentiers sits directly below Chambolle Musigny's most powerful and structured Grand Cru, Bonnes Mares. As one drives along the Route des Grand Crus you will be taken directly through this point mid slope with Bonnes Mares to the west and Sentiers below to the east. Driving north, the price tag for this stretch of terroir begins at $300 and rises quickly to the tipping point over $1,000 per bottle.

    How has Sigaut flown under-the-radar? The 5-hectare estate has no Grand Cru holdings. In the minds of some collectors looking to pounce on Grand Crus Musigny and Bonnes Mares this leaves the domaine off the radar a bit. Of course, all of this is to our gain.

    Anne and Hervé Sigaut apply organic and biodynamic principles in the vines, and the wines show the purity of Chambolle with 100% de-stemmed fruit and aging in modest 30% new French oak. In 2016, that hauntingly ethereal and bona fide Chambolle Musigny lacing really makes itself known. This is a vintage that's very reminiscent of 2010, revealing that same rare proportion of ripe concentration with bright lift and energy.

    Pricing for 2016's have risen across the Cote d'Or, but Sigaut's top wines available today at $107 and $96 shows that value hunters who prefer traditional-leaning domaines have a reliable source for two of Chambolle Musigny's top Premier Cru climats.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • The Pearl of Volnay:  Domaine Michel Lafarge

    The Pearl of Volnay: Domaine Michel Lafarge

    The highlight through eight days in Burgundy in July 2018 was undoubtedly visiting for the first time with Frédéric Lafarge in Volnay. The village is synonymous with grace and delicacy, but ardent collectors know in the traditional realm they can be among the most long-lived in Burgundy. The wines of Domaine Michel Lafarge are models for this tightrope act of finesse and tension, and they are among my favorites for this reason precisely.

    Today, I'm happy to offer a deep lineup from Domaine Michel Lafarge, highlighted by one of the regions's greatest value Pinot Noir, the Bourgogne Rouge from 2015 & 2014.

    The Bourgogne Rouge is sourced from one hectare of 41-52 yr-old vines in the lieu dit, 
    Petit Pré. Within the context of this most humble Burgundy appellation, Lafarge's example is the stuff I simply dream to drink on a nightly basis. It's highlighted by a purity and ethereal lift that's almost never realized at this level in Burgundy.

    Domaine Michel Lafarge was founded in the early 1800's, and today is managed by Michel, with his son Frédéric, and granddaughter Clothilde. The trio has seen dramatic trends sweep through Burgundy in their time. During the 1950's, vignerons started incorporating chemicals in the vineyard, but Lafarge never considered it. In the mid to late 80's when the practice of elevated extraction was rampant this domaine continued their own path founded on transparency. And then in 1995, Lafarge was one of the very first to begin biodynamic practices in the vineyard.

    Tradition can mean so many things in Burgundy, but the use of hand-destemming and reliance on nearly all older barrels for aging places the domaine in a very specific position.

    It may be unfair to jump in categorizing Volnay as feminine and ethereal, leading one to believe the wines lack the rigid structure required for serious aging. Michel Lafarge touched on this really eloquently in his terrific interview with Levi Dalton on I'll Drink to That! Wine Podcast:

    "It's difficult to achieve the silkiness in tannins, but in Volnay it's unacceptable to have hardness. It's the silkiness of the tannins that define the overriding definition of Volnay."

    Domaine Lafarge holds vineyards primarily in Volnay, with plots in Pommard, Beaune, and Meursault. All wines have a regal frame met with the translucent qualities that put terroir firmly in the crosshairs. Volnay may not have Grand Cru vineyards, but if given the opportunity to drink any Côte de Beaune reds, my first choice is always Volnay.

    Volnay Vendanges Sélectionnées comes from multiple parcels in the middle of Volnay adjacent to Premier Cru vineyards. 1.25 hectares of 50-yr-old vines. Aged in 7% new wood.

    Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Aigrots comes from a 0.88 hectare parcel of vines planted as far back as 1949. Soil here is limestone and clay, but with a mix of gravel and red clay.

    Beaune 1er Cru Grèves comes from a 0.38 hectare parcel of vines planted in 1951 on light gravel soils over limestone.

    Volnay 1er Cru Les Caillerets comes from a 0.28 hectare parcel planted in 1957 on red and brown clay soils over limestone. Aged in 15% new wood.

    Volnay 1er Cru Clos du Château des Ducs (Monopole) comes from a 0.57 hectare parcel planted as far back as 1946 on deep brown clay soils over limestone. This vineyard is owned exclusively by Lafarge and located next to their home garden. Aged in neutral oak.

    Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes comes from a 0.9 hectare parcel planted as far back as 1951 on shallow red clay soils over limestone on the lower portion of the vineyard.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • Saumur Royalty:  Guiberteau Brézé, Arboises, & Motelles

    Saumur Royalty: Guiberteau Brézé, Arboises, & Motelles

    Two things initially jumped out when visiting Saumur in the Loire River Valley. The idyllic, undulating hills perfectly matched my notion of pastoral France, but I hadn't the first clue on where to spot the grand terroir. Since the middle ages, the hill of Brézé was esteemed as any white wine terroir in France, but the secret was in the bedrock of this unassuming, gentle slope.

    Here, the famed tuffeau limestone is the backbone of France's single most celebrated Chenin Blanc, Clos Rougeard's Brézé bottling, which surpasses $400 per bottle. But, the Brézé producer who offers the ultimate intersection between this site's brilliance and value is, undoubtedly, Romain Guiberteau. After mentoring under the Foucault family of Clos Rougeard, Guiberteau's eponymous domaine today captures Chenin Blanc at its most crystalline and pure.

    Today, I'm happy to offer Guiberteau's top white and reds from the famous hill of Brézé.


    For more than 100 years the Guiberteau's have farmed Saumur's hill of Brézé. But, it was when Romain left Clos Rougeard and implemented critical changes in the vineyard that quality began to soar. Unlike the Chenin Blanc coming from neighboring appellations where rounded, more overt orchard fruit dominates, in Saumur the alkaline limestone soils bring the same sense of cut and lacy minerality that shares much more in common with Chablis and Champagne.

    Guiberteau's Brézé bottling comes from a 1.2 hectare parcel of vines planted in 1933 and 1952. This parcel's limestone soil also contains sand and clay, bringing a textural weight that balances the razor sharp focus from Brézé's tuffeau bedrock. Simply put, this is world class Chenin Blanc to rival top white Burgs.

    Arboises is a 1 hectare, south-facing portion on Brézé of 1957-planted Cabernet Franc. Sand and silt sits over the limestone bedrock here. All grapes are de-stemmed. Aging takes place in 80% new French oak. This is a wickedly precise and mineral-driven style of Cabernet Franc that elicits Burgundy before Bourgueil.

    Les Motelles is another 1 hectare parcel of Cabernet Franc vines, planted in 1955 on sand and gravel above clay. As you'd imagine, versus Arboises, there is more breadth and density on the palate here, but the absence of weight is a perfect example of Guiberteau's deft touch. Aged in 2-3 year-old French barrels.

    Saumur Rouge comes from a 2 hectare parcel of 1955 & 1957-planted Cabernet Franc over silt and sand over a softer limestone. 100% de-stemmed and aged in steel. The quintessential example of how sophistication Cabernet Franc is capable of does not need to be tied to price.

    Les Moulins comes from a 1.9 hectare portion of Chenin Blanc vines ranging from 7 to 80-yrs-old planted on sand over a limestone-clay mix. Aged in stainless steel. Nervy, supremely fresh, dominated by citrus tones that slowly open to reveal more typical orchard fruit and faint lanolin.

    Clos des Guichaux comes from a 1.3 hectare parcel of Chenin Blanc planted on silt and sand over limestone. Vines were planted in 2003. Aged 9 months in neutral oak. As compared to Les Moulins, the enclosed Guichaux has an intensity and long finish that belies the younger age of these vines.

    The long-used selling point for the wines of Brézé have been that they're the first place in the Loire Valley for white Burgundy collectors to turn. But, at the highest order from Guiberteau (and Clos Rougeard), these are whites that simply exist among the most royal in all of France.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • Red Burgundy Showstoppers:  The Crème de la Crème

    Red Burgundy Showstoppers: The Crème de la Crème

    Harvest is underway in Burgundy and today we are taking a close look at the region's top addresses for Pinot Noir. We have young and old featured below from Côte de Beaune legends like Lafarge, D'Angerville, and De Montille. Côte de Nuits stars like Dujac, Rousseau, Roumier, and Mugneret-Gibourg. Plus so much more.

    Serious values can be found with 
    1999 L'Arlot Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Clos Des Forets (Monopole) for $177, Drouhin's secret Chambolle and Vonse 1er Cru brews from elite Premier Cru vineyards, and finally the best of all values in Burgundy: Bourgogne Rouge from masters like Fourrier, Hubert Lignier, Barthod, and Lafarge.

    The list is deep, and should you like to secure wines immediately I recommend purchasing directly through the below link. Otherwise, please email me with your requests. Bon vendange!
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • Baby Margaux for the Ages:  2015 Chateau Moulin de Tricot Haut-Médoc

    Baby Margaux for the Ages: 2015 Chateau Moulin de Tricot Haut-Médoc

    Chateau Moulin de Tricot is the first place my mind goes when I think of Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant Bordeaux that has stuck to tradition and continues to offer sharp pricing. The Margaux estate personifies all of the grace and regal structure the commune has been associated with for centuries. From their small 5 hectares a second label, the Haut-Médoc, takes their strength in authenticity and value to the extreme.

    Today, I'm happy to offer the 2015 Chateau Moulin de Tricot Haut-Médoc for $35 per bottle, with special pricing down to $32/btl on 4 or more.


    At this price point there is no left bank Bordeaux I drink with more regularity or enthusiasm - Baby Margaux with Bourgogne Rouge pricing. And like those warm, even growing seasons in Burgundy where I highly recommend the most moderately priced wines, here too in 2015 I say going deep will reward many years of enjoyment.

    I love Bordeaux. And particularly the Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant examples regularly found on the left bank. The gravel here is suited to the variety, just as on the right bank of the Gironde the clay soils fit better with Merlot. The sad state of affairs is that Merlot plantings in these left bank gravel vineyards has been increasing steadily over decades in order to provide more soft-fruited wines that capitulate to a global palate.

    Chateau Moulin de Tricot has stuck with tradition and is a rarity in Margaux as they still have 75% of their vineyards planted to Cabernet Sauvignon. They also have unusually dense vine spacing with 9,500 vines per hectare, providing naturally concentrated yields. The Haut-Médoc is aged in small one-year-old Bordeaux barrels, giving the oxygen exchange needed to soften structure while limiting any ostentatious oak flavors.

    I've always had an aha moment each time I've tasted the Haut-Médoc bottling from Moulin de Tricot, but 2015 was something different. The vintage has simply elevated each component of this wine. Margaux has often been called the "Iron Fist in the Velvet Glove", explaining the balance between grace and dead-serious regal structure.

    In this exceptional Bordeaux vintage this moniker is even more suited to their Baby Margaux. The dark fruit intensity, graphite and cigar box notes, and long finish is something extra-ordinary. Very special pricing has been included to make this the easiest call as we lead into Thanksgiving.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen