The magic of the wines coming from Elisabetta Foradori's estate at the Dolomite Mountains in Trentino has been well documented here before. July's Pinot Grigio offer quickly sold out, and today we turn to her new release: the most obscure, and definitely the most subtle of her skin-contact whites, the 2015 Fontasanta Nosiola.
In a world where skin-macerated whites seem to be vying for the title of orangest, haziest, apricottyest, the elegance and grace in Nosiola is a reminder of the possibilities. Aged on the skins in amphora, the result is a bright, orchard and citrus mountain stream with an amazing texture that never once makes you think orange wine. As compared to Elizabetta's Pinot Grigio and Manzoni Bianco, Nosiola is leaner and less obviously skin contact. Its subtlety is what impresses the most.
Nosiola is an ancient variety that's native to the Trentino. Plantings have reduced drastically over the last centuries, and today is primarily in these hills in the Valle dei Laghi above Trento and Pessano. Nosiola really strives in porous soils, planted here on just two hectares of a limestone/clay mix. The delicacy and more reserved nature of this white is largely attributed growth on these depleted soils. And, long maceration on skins in clay amphora (tinaja from Villarrobledo, Spain) slowly coax out Nosiola's personality. Decanting and serving above 60 degrees is highly recommended.I've lost count of the number of times the skin-fermented whites from Elisabetta have floored customers, opening a new avenue for discovery in this realm. Foradori is the first place I turn for introductions into this category that's seen a wave of enthusiasm build over the last decade.Elisabetta's journey to being one of the most respected natural wine producers in the world came with challenges. Her family purchased this Trentino estate in 1934, her father bottling his first vintage in 1960. His untimely passing in 1976 meant that her mother had to manage the winery until Elisabetta finished her enology degree, then being thrust into the 1984 harvest and taking control of production thereafter. The philosophical trek for Elisabetta was a winding one that began with the immediate removal of high yielding pergola-trained vines. She wisely chose massale cuttings from the estates oldest vines and trained them much lower in the guyot method. Her approach brought a new concentration to the wines that garnered awards in the 90's, but she felt their was an energy and vitality missing.Upon familiarizing herself with Rudolf Steiner's teachings she slowly adopted biodynamic principles and eliminated laboratory yeasts. Sulphur additions were lowered, riper stems began to be included in ferments, and a more gentle extraction protocol was used. She also began visiting Giusto Occhipinti at COS, learning about the use of clay amphora for aging.2015 Foradori Fontanasanta Nosiola
$47 per bottle.
Macerated for 8 months on skins in amphora, then aged 2 months in acacia and oak casks.Also available:5x 2016 Foradori Fuoripista Manzoni Bianco
$34 per bottleA cross between Riesling and Pinot Bianco, developed by Dr. Manzoni in the 20th century. It comes from the clay and limestone Fontanasanta hills above Trento. It's macerated for one week on its skins in cement tank and then pressed off into Acacia barrels for 12 months aging.2x 2010 Foradori Sgarzon Teroldego IGT
$66 per bottle.
3x 2013 Foradori Granato Teroldego IGT
$59 per bottle.
4x 2014 Foradori Sgarzon Teroldego IGT
$47 per bottle.
2x 2014 Foradori Teroldego IGT
$27 per bottle.
Over the last few years I've found myself reaching more and more for new cool climate French wines, and the summer is no exception. The one region that has captured my attention the very most is the Savoie, located just along the Swiss border in view of Mont Blanc. Although history is as steep as the slopes here, it's a younger domaine that's arguably making the most exciting wines. When I'm craving those cool alpine inflections and mineral spring purity in both whites and reds, it's Domaine des Ardoisières I turn to.
Today, I'm happy to offer the two wines from Ardoisières that bring the greatest thrills and the most electric minerality, the Schiste Blanc and Argile Rouge.
Ardoisières works with two sites in the Savoie, Cevins and St. Pierre de Soucy, both farmed biodynamically since its 1998 founding. Although, these same vineyards had been planted back in Roman times, but had become taken over by forests as the region fell into obscurity. A group had cleared these forests in the late 1990's for replanting, and then in 2005 Champagne native, Brice Omont took the lead on winemaking. This small-production estate has become the darling of the Savoie, and has been a champion in making the case for the region's great potential.
Ardoisières' most mineral-driven and age-worthy white, Schiste, is comprised of 40% Jacquere with 30% Roussanne, 20% Pinot Gris, and 10% Mondeuse Blanche. These decomposed granite soils in Cevins give a racy personality with a pulverized rocky core that make it one of my favorite crisp whites in all of France. There's a yellow stone fruit quality that's backed up by a laser-like mineral precision that brings superb freshness. On a steamy Bordeaux night last month I stumbled onto a killer wine bar and it took me about 10 seconds to make this selection from a sea of gems. In all, that first glass may have been the single most satisfying one through my three week tour.
The top red of the domaine, Argile, is comprised of 80% Gamay and 20% Persan coming from the clay-dominant soils of St. Pierre de Soucy. As compared to the Gamay we're all more accustomed to from Beaujolais, this Savoie rendition has a lighter body and more pepper tones with a super pronounced mineral finish. The fruit profile is more in the red raspberry realm vs. those plush grape-ey traits from Beaujolais. And the finish lingers with a brisk mineral flicker that's lip-smacking good!
2016 Domaine des Ardoisières Argile Rouge
$45 per bottle.
2016 Domaine des Ardoisières Schiste Blanc
$68 per bottle.
2014 Domaine des Ardoisières Argile Rouge
$48 per bottle.
It's no secret that over the last decade Jean-Marie Fourrier has catapulted his family's domaine into elite status within Burgundy. Fourrier is the 5th generation to lead this 9-hectare Gevrey Chambertin estate, officially taking over for his father in 1994 after interning with the mythical Henri Jayer.
Today, I'm very happy to offer the 2016 Domaine Fourrier release, just arriving today from importer Neal Rosenthal.
The wines of Fourrier are most associated in my mind for their silken texture with ripe and vivid fruit. They also are lauded for their ability to drink great at all stages of development. But, above all, it's a sense of purity and site reflection that have put them atop the wishlist of every traditional Burgundy collector.
Jean-Marie is most noted for his strict reliance on using only old vines for domaine bottlings - averaging 60 years according to my visit in November 2012. The maximum new oak employed is 20%, and like Jayer grapes here are overwhelmingly de-stemmed.
Much of the magic to the wines' purity has to be tied into Jean-Marie's practice of using very minimal amounts of sulphur, instead relying on dissolved CO2 to remain in the wine protecting against oxidation. Because of this it's recommended that younger bottles are double decanted to help "blow-off" any slight effervescence that might remain.
As noted, 2016 is a thrilling red Burgundy vintage for those who place importance on a sense of clarity and brightness of fruit. For me, this is the greatest red vintage since 2010.
Below is a wide range of Fourrier's 2016's, as well as back-vintage gems through 2005. Jean-Marie has recently started a négociant project, but, with the exception of the Bourgogne Rouge, 100% of the wines offered below are domaine, having been farmed by the Fourrier family for generations.
3x 2016 Domaine Fourrier Griotte-Chambertin
$999 per bottle.
12x 2016 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques
$699 per bottle.
1x 2016 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques 1.5L
$1,579 per bottle.
3x 2016 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Combe Aux Moines
$239 per bottle.
2x 2016 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Combe Aux Moines 1.5L
$539 per bottle.
1x 2016 Domaine Fourrier Vougeots 1er Cru Les Petits. Vougeots 1.5L
$514 per bottle.
6x 2016 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Champeaux
$239 per bottle.
9x 2016 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Goulots
$239 per bottle.
6x 2016 Domaine Fourrier Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Gruenchers
$239 per bottle.
12x 2016 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Cherbaudes
$215 per bottle.
24x 2016 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin Vieilles Vignes
$105 per bottle.
6x 2016 Domaine Fourrier Morey Saint Denis Clos Solon
$99 per bottle.
34x 2015 Domaine Fourrier Bourgogne Rouge
$55 per bottle.
1x 2013 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Combe Aux Moines
$225 per bottle.
2x 2013 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques
$542 per bottle.
2x 2013 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Cherbaudes
$169 per bottle.
2x 2012 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Combe Aux Moines
$231 per bottle.
1x 2012 Domaine Fourrier Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Gruenchers
$215 per bottle.
1x 2011 Domaine Fourrier Griotte-Chambertin
$769 per bottle.
2x 2010 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques
$789 per bottle.
2x 2010 Domaine Fourrier Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Gruenchers
$299 per bottle.
6x 2008 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Cherbaudes
$159 per bottle.
1x 2007 Domaine Fourrier Griotte-Chambertin 1.5L
$1,739 per bottle.
1x 2007 Domaine Fourrier Griotte-Chambertin
$799 per bottle.
1x 2006 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques
$419 per bottle.
1x 2006 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Champeaux
$229 per bottle.
1x 2005 Domaine Fourrier Griotte-Chambertin
$1,199 per bottle.
2x 2005 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques
$899 per bottle.
The highlight through eight days in Burgundy was undoubtedly visiting 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. And, without hesitation, the wines of Domaine Michel Lafarge are the model for this tightrope act of finesse and tension that ultimately leads to slow transformation in bottle.
Today, I'm happy to offer a diverse range stretching from the ultimate insider and best Burgundy buy, the 2015 Lafarge Bourgogne Rouge through the 1991 Volnay Vendanges Sélectionnées.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.A few bottles opened over the last year have amped up my love affair with this domaine: At La Paulée, the 2000 Clos du Château des Ducs was a great reminder that when Lafarge hits that perfect window it's simply breathtaking. A 1993 Volnay Vendanges Sélectionnées proved that aging the more humble designations is the wisest thing one can do. And at this summer's wedding of a dear friend, a magnum of 2006 Clos des Chênes was far more generous and approachable than anyone would have guessed, a beautifully pristine example of Pinot Noir from one of the best slices of limestone in all of Burgundy!Of course the array of Premier Crus from Lafarge are the most profound, but I cannot stress enough how much enjoyment there is to be had from the Bourgogne Rouge - from one hectare of 41-52 yr-old vines in the lieu dit, Petit Pré.36x 2014 Lafarge Bourgogne Rouge
$44 per bottle.
37x 2015 Lafarge Bourgogne Rouge
$49 per bottle. (Fall arrival)3x 2015 Lafarge Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Aigrots
$128 per bottle.
1x 2015 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos du Château des Ducs (Monopole)
$299 per bottle.
1x 2014 Lafarge Volnay Vendanges Sélectionnées
$89 per bottle.
3x 2012 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes
$246 per bottle.
10x 2010 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Les Caillerets
$273 per bottle.1x 2009 Lafarge Beaune 1er Cru Grèves
$129 per bottle.
3x 2008 Lafarge Pommard 1er Cru Pézerolles
$139 per bottle.2x 2008 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Les Caillerets
$199 per bottle.2x 2008 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes
$219 per bottle.3x 2006 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes
$209 per bottle.1x 2005 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Les Caillerets
$284 per bottle.
1x 2005 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos du Château des Ducs (Monopole)
$299 per bottle.
1x 2002 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes 1.5L
$899 per bottle.
1x 2001 Lafarge Pommard 1er Cru Les Pézerolles
$269 per bottle.2x 2000 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos du Château des Ducs (Monopole)
$209 per bottle.
3x 1999 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos du Château des Ducs (Monopole)
$389 per bottle.
5x 1996 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos du Château des Ducs (Monopole)
$344 per bottle.
4x 1996 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes
$399 per bottle.
1x 1995 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes
$359 per bottle.
1x 1991 Lafarge Volnay Vendanges Sélectionnées
$299 per bottle.
Before we get to our visit with Vosne Romanée's Domaine Yves Bizot, today I thought we'd turn to a former protégé, Marc Soyard and Domaine de la Cras. While its great inception story is a fresh departure from the norm in Burgundy, the wines in bottle are the most thrilling element from Soyard's domaine. In only three vintages the wines have gone from obscure to seeing a cult following.
Today, I'm happy to offer the 2016 release from Domaine de la Cras. Quantities are incredibly limited, with only 6 bottles available of Soyard's top wine. Today's offering is not listed our website. To order, please reply directly to this email. Domaine de la Cras goes against the grain of what Burgundian law has dictated for centuries. Five years ago the city of Dijon purchased a vineyard just outside their limits. The city essentially held a casting call to find a winemaker for the property. The criteria was that they must be young, have no family vineyard holdings, be prepared for organic farming, and open the domaine for educational tours. The rent for the land would be paid each year to the city in bottles, 2,000 exactly.
Marc Soyard, originally from the nearby Jura, was chosen. Soyard does not come from a family of vignerons, but he had worked previously for the esteemed and tiny Domaine Bizot in Vosne-Romanée. Bizot is known for their rigorous vineyard work, minuscule sulphur regimen, and their use of whole grape clusters for fermentation.Soyard works a slope, En Bessy, just outside Dijon. His Pinot Noir pulled me in immediately for its super crunchy and unadulterated bright red berry fruit. 100% whole cluster ferment gives a lifted and spicy, floral character that just floored me. Even before tasting, those aromas are so intoxicating they grab ahold of you straightaway.
The two Chardonnay's supple mouthfeel melds with an exotic stone fruit profile and is backed up by a crazy, zippy mineral drive. In short, these wines are unlike anything produced in the region today. and speak to this unique slice of Dijon.The "Cras" bottlings are the domaine's top wines and come from the oldest vines on the steepest portion of En Bessy. Biodynamic and organic approach to all viticulture here, with only small amounts of sulphur additions, primarily at bottling. Older barrel elévage for the two Coteaux de Dijon wines, and 50% new wood for the two "Cras" cuvées.24x 2016 Domaine de la Cras Coteaux de Dijon Bourgogne Blanc$35 per bottle.12x 2016 Domaine de la Cras Coteaux de Dijon Bourgogne Rouge$35 per bottle.6x 2016 Domaine de la Cras "Cras" Coteaux de Dijon Bourgogne Rouge$67 per bottle.6x 2016 Domaine de la Cras "Cras" Coteaux de Dijon Bourgogne Rouge$67 per bottle.