Archive for December, 2010

The holidays are usually a great time of year for wine. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, we had some great wines from Pierre Luneau-Papin, Jacques Puffeney, Heymann-Lowenstein, Rhys and Marcel Lapierre.

Yesterday, I went to a tasting at Weygandt Wines for a vertical vintage tasting of Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Domaine Charvin (2001, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2008). Really quite a remarkable tasting given that there are few free tastings of such high-caliber wines. It was really remarkable to taste how a great producer can start to blur the impact of vintage but also allow the characteristics of each vintage to speak. The 2001 and 2005 were excellent (as expected given the vintage), but I was also impressed with the 2004 and 2008.

During the last couple of months, I have also been drinking a number of wines from the 2009 Beaujolais vintage. I have had the Marcel Lapierre Morgon a few times and last week I had the Morgon from Jean-Paul Thévenet. Both wines are really quite outstanding. The Lapierre has really lovely aromatics and fruit, the Thévenet has great purity and feels quite Burgundian. These two wines have been the most memorable this holiday and expect that I will enjoy them again before the end of the year.

Jean-Paul Thévenet and Marcel Lapierre are part of a small group of producers that Kermit Lynch dubbed the Gang of Four (the others being Jean Foillard and Guy Breton).  The Gang of Four was not a formal group, but perhaps best embodied the “old school” qualities that these wine makers have championed in the region.

Thévenet works a plot in the Morgon appellation. The average age of the vines is 70 years and they are cultivated organically and yield very little fruit. The grapes are fermented with natural yeasts and, quite remarkably, often without the addition of any sulfur dioxide. After fermentation Thevenet ages the wine for six to eight months in used oak barrels that he manages to get from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. It is bottled without filtration. 13% alcohol.

It takes a little bit of work, but both wines can be found for about $25. While that might not be inexpensive, both are extremely high quality and outstanding values. Imported by Kermit Lynch.

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