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Latest episode of Wine Library TV with Peter Weygandt, part 2.

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Latest episode of Wine Library TV with Peter Weygandt, part 1.

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Peter Weygandt of Weygandt Selections and Weygandt-Metzler, met Jesse Skiles of Fausse Piste at Hospice du Rhone 2009. This summer, Fausse Piste wines found their way to the shelves at Weygandt Wines in Washington, DC. Fausse Piste produces very limited quantities of stellar Rhone-style reds and whites from small, well-placed vineyards in the Yakima Valley and Walla Walla areas of Washington State, and Amaranth Ridge in Oregon.

Peter Weygandt wasn’t the only one to take notice of Fausse Piste at Hospice du Rhone. Gang of Pour was also impressed and had the following to say: “Perhaps the most unforgettable example of Viognier comes from newbie Fausse Piste; both new to the event and new winemaker from Oregon. If ever a wine expresses the purity of Viognier fruit, the ’08 C’est la Viognier, Outlook Vineyard Find this wine in Yakima Valley does. Fermented one half in barrel and one half in tank, the wine retains a lively crispness, while showing white peach, lemon grass, anise and cream flavors. If this is not the finest Viognier of the show, it is certainly in the top five.”

In 2009, the Yakima Valley had one of the warmest vintages in quite some time. A perfect spring rolled in to unusually hot summer, which was lucky, given an early frost across much of the state on October 11th.  The heat seemed to have less impact on Rhone Varietals as on  wines based on Bordeaux varietals. Harvested on September 14th at 25.8 Brix with unusually high acid and a ph of 3.6 the Viognier was ripe, but also well-balanced due to low yields of 2.4 tons per acre.

Handpicked then chilled at the winery overnight, following Hand sorting and then pressed whole cluster over a long and delicate press run.  Settled overnight in tank then fermented in equal parts neutral French Oak, Stainless steel 75 gallon drums and a Concrete “egg” from Numblot in France using a combination of native and yeast isolated from the Rhone Valley. After weekly battonage and a long cool fermentation, the wine is not allowed to undergo Malolactic fermentation. Lightly fined using bentonite, minimally sulphered and filtered sterile in a single pass through a plate and frame and bottled on March 19th 2010, then released May 1st 2010.

On the nose, mineral notes with stone fruit, honeydew with a little saline and lemon oil. On the palate, more stone fruit with green apple, citrus, some beeswax and thyme. Good steely minerality with crisp acidity. This would be interesting to pour blind and see if it was a ringer as a New World wine, I’m not sure I would have been able to place it. Certainly not your extra rich, creamy and overoaked style of Viognier. I really enjoyed this bottle and was even more impressed with it on the second day. 163 cases produced. 14.1% alcohol. Recommended and a fairly decent value at $21 a bottle.

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More than 10 years ago, Philippe Bravay took over the family domaine and dedicated himself to preserving the unique traditions and special characteristics that Chateauneuf brings to the world. The domaine is quite small, only 5 ½ hectares of which over half is on vines approaching 100 years old, all situated in the lieu-dit Ferrand. He uses organic growing techniques, limits yields strictly (his Côtes du Rhône yields less than 2 1/2 tons to the acre, and the Chateauneuf du Pape even less) and vinifies traditionally.

The Chateauneuf du Pape is 90% Grenache, the vines ranging in age from 60 to 100 years of age, and the balance the other twelve Chateauneuf varietals. From these he obtains superb natural ripeness, usually in excess of 14%. The vinification is traditional and the aging is for the most part in large oak foudre, but also a portion in barrique, but no new oak.

He produces a couple of Côtes du Rhônes as well. The 2007 Côtes du Rhône Cuvee Antique Vieilles Vignes was good, but wasn’t one of my favorites from the ’07 vintage. But I was really impressed with the 2006 La Ferrande. It is made from 100 percent Syrah. Nose of dark fruit with pepper, olive and earth. On the palate, more dark fruit with some bright notes of red fruit with tar and earthy notes. Dense and complex with impressive length on the finish. A very good bottle of wine at under $20 a bottle. 14% alcohol. Imported by Weygandt-Metzler. Recommended.

The Weygandt portfolio is impressive in terms of quality and diversity, and I am especially fond of the Côtes du Rhônes in his value — the quality is outstanding and the wines also offer a great value as well. They just announced an offer on their site for a 25% off a purchase when you sign up for the email list — they usually just send a weekly email detailing the Saturday tasting line up and any other special events or sales….to sign up go to http://www.weygandtwines.com/ and click “Join our email list” and you’ll receive the coupon in the confirmation email.

In my opinion, the following are a few of Weygants best Côtes du Rhônes from their portfolio:
Les Aphillanthes
Domaine Alary
Domaine Grand Nicolet
Domaine Charvin
Domaine Les Grands Bois
Domaine Beau Mistral

Other Favorites from the 07 Côtes du Rhône Vintage
Domaine Gramenon Sierra du Sud
Domaine Gramenon La Sagesse Côtes du Rhône
Domaine Gramenon Les Laurentides Côtes du Rhône
Domaine Richaud Côtes du Rhône-Villages-Cairanne
Domaine Richaud Côtes du Rhône Terres de Galets
Escaravailles Côtes du Rhône

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Another wine from Weygandt Wines, the new wine store in DC featuring importer Peter Weygandt’s portfolio. One of the great things about the store is that they taste wines every day. They usually taste the same half dozen or so wines for the week, but last Saturday they tweeted that they tasting some different wines than earlier in the week.  The Morgon from Bouland caught my eye and so I decided to stop by given that it was Saturday and Peter Weygandt might also be at the store (which he was).

I tasted the wine at the store and picked up a couple of bottles to bring home. The 2008 Daniel Bouland Morgon Vieilles Vignes is 100% Gamay made from 60 to 90 year-old vines grown on granitic soils that are rich in iron and manganese. Daniel Bouland is considered one of the traditionalists in Beaujolais, careful hand-harvesting, very low yields and wild yeast fermentations help create a complex and ageworthy Morgon (5 to 15 years is recommended by the estate).

Dark ruby color — with a shade of black olive, but transparent. Nose of strawberry and cherry with some earthy and floral notes. On the palate, loaded with cherry, strawberry and raspberry as well as some cranberry, earth, and crushed asphalt. This might be a serious Beaujolais, but it is also ranks very high in quaffability. Lightly fined and unfiltered. 13% alcohol. Recommended and a very good value at $20 a bottle, not to mention a solid choice for Thanksgiving.

More Thanksgiving picks:
Arianna Occhipinti Il Frappato Sicilia IGT 2006
Jean & Agnes Foillard — Morgon Cuvée Corcelette Vieille Vigne 2007
Occhipinti SP68 Rosso Vittoria 2008
Rhys Alesia Sonoma Coast Chileno Vally Pinot Noir 2006 (or any Pinot from Rhys)
Passopisciaro Sicily IGT 2005
Domaine Gramenon La Sagesse Côtes du Rhône 2007
Clos Saint-Jean Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2005 (or one of the great CdPs from 07)
Les Aphillanthes Côtes du Rhône 2007
Domaine Richaud Côtes du Rhône Terres de Galets 2007
Edmunds St. John Rocks & Gravel 2005
Cheverny Le Petit Chambord Domaine Francois Cazin 2007
André Perret Saint Jospeh 2007
Domaine Ricard Cuvee Les Trois Chênes 2008
Tablas Creek Vineyard Côtes de Tablas Blanc 2008
Mas des Bressades Roussanne-Viognier 2007
Mourges du Gres Terre d’Argence Blanc 2007

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IMG_1698As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, DC has a new wine store. Weygandt Wines is the best wine store in DC and in the same league with the best in the country (Chambers Street, Kermit Lynch, K&L, Astor and the Wine Exchange). At Weygandt it’s not the range of the selection (albeit impressive), it’s about a hand-picked selection that is especially strong in terms of French wines. They taste wines each and every day from 4-8 pm — and staff are super friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. The experience is further elevated on many Saturdays by the presence of Peter Weygandt. He helped me pick out some wines a couple of weeks ago. He suggested the 2007 Alary Cairanne La Font d’Estevenas (a wine I bought in 05 and 06). He said the 07 was very special, so much so that it was the red wine he selected for his daughter’s wedding this past summer.

The Alary family have been growers for 11 generations. One of their sites is on the choicest parcel of Cairanne, known as the Font D’Estevenas. The Font D’Estevanas site in Cairanne gives its name to two of the domaine’s top wines ( a white and a red). The red is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah planted some 40 years ago from cuttings brought from Hermitage, blended with Grenache and Counoise, some of the Grenache vines being over 100 years old.

Dark ruby in color. Aromatics of ripe raspberry, cherry and kirsch with violets and a little earthiness. On the palate — loaded with deep, ripe red and dark fruit with some rare meat, pepper and graphite. Opulent and textured with silky tannins and a solid finish. I thought this showed better on day 2 and I would definitely hold for 2-3 years at a minimum or decant in the near term. This would stand up against many a Chateauneuf du Pape. Another great wine from the Weygandt portfolio. Recommended.

Not surprisingly, my short list of favorites wines from the Rhône 2007 vintage is dominated by wines imported by Kermit Lynch, Louis/Dressner and Peter Weygandt.

Favorite Côtes du Rhônes 2007
Domaine Gramenon Sierra du Sud
Domaine Gramenon La Sagesse Côtes du Rhône
Les Aphillanthes Côtes du Rhône (Cuvée des Galets & Cuvée 3 Cepages)
Domaine Alary Cairanne La Font d’Estevenas
Domaine Richaud Côtes du Rhône-Villages-Cairanne
Domaine Richaud Côtes du Rhône Terres de Galets
Domaine Gramenon Les Laurentides Côtes du Rhône
Escaravailles Côtes du Rhône

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IMG_1689What makes Daniel Boulle so special, in my opinion, is his absolute perfection in growing. His yields are minute and the fruit is perfect. ~Peter Weygandt

As I wrote in a recent post, there is a fantastic new wine store in DC. Weygandt Wines is owned by Peter Weygandt and Todd Ross. Peter Weygandt has been an importer of wines for 20 years with Weygandt Metzler. I went back to the store for another visit yesterday and was surprised to see Peter Weygandt at the store. I was even more surprised by how friendly and personable he was. Peter chatted with me about the store and helped me pick out some wines — he was extremely approachable, modest, sincere and generous with his time and knowledge. It was a real delight to spend some time with him.

I’ve tasted a few of the wines I purchased from Weygandt Wines. My favorites were both from Les Aphillanthes. There are a number of cuvées produced at Les Aphillanthes. I selected three of the cuvées from the six of seven wines from Les Asphillanthes.

The “Cuvée des Galets” is a blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 20% Mourvedre, from yields of only 20-22 hl/ha (less than half of what he is allowed to produce). Bright ruby red. The Grenache really shines on the nose. Cherry, strawberry and violet wrapped in meaty, gamey and peppery notes. On the palate, black cherry, strawberry and cranberry with pepper, herbs and bacon fat. Structured with silky, chalk-edged tannins — and a little chewy. Solid finish. 14.5% alcohol.

Perhaps even better than the Galets is the “Cuvée 3 Cepages” of equal parts Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. Darker ruby in color with cherry and violet with some cassis, pepper and garrigue.  On the palate, cherry and dried cranberry with licorice, rare meat, earthy and floral notes. The 3 Cepages has a bit more impact with a little more acidity and tannins than the Galets — as well as a more pronounced and persistent finish. 14.5% alcohol.

Both wines would be on my list of favorite Côtes du Rhônes from 2007. Strongly recommended.

About Les Aphillanthes
Prior to 1999, Daniel Boulle and his wife Helene sold all of their fruit the local co-operative. Friends and colleagues saw that his fruit was of superb quality, and convinced Daniel and Helen it deserved to be bottled as it stood, rather than absorbed into the wines of the local co-op. Domaine Les Aphillanthes was born and today is a rising star of the southern Rhône.

Boulle sees himself as a vigneron rather than a winemaker and he applies minimal intervention in the winery. Recently Boulle has introduced biodynamic practices to the vineyard. Boulle was encouraged in this new practice not by contact with other followers of biodynamic principles, but by a success in treating his own son’s eczema using natural medical products which Boulle likens to a biodynamic approach. In the winery, Boulle transports the wine using gravity feed, and ferments in concrete vats. The wines are bottled without filtration.

Favorites from Côtes du Rhône 2007
Domaine Gramenon Sierra du Sud
Domaine Gramenon La Sagesse Côtes du Rhône
Domaine Gramenon Les Laurentides Côtes du Rhône
Les Aphillanthes Côtes du Rhône
Domaine Richaud Côtes du Rhône-Villages-Cairanne
Domaine Richaud Côtes du Rhône Terres de Galets
Escaravailles Côtes du Rhône

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