Beaujolais is the southernmost district in Burgundy. While Pinot Noir is king in most of Burgundy, here the Gamay grape is the primary red varietal. In the hierarchy of Beaujolais the Crus are at the top of the quality pyramid. There are ten: Julienas, Chenas, Moulin-A-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Regnie, Cote de Brouilly and Brouilly. I think that the Cru Beaujolais are underated wines with a good price to quality ratio.
2018 Belles Grives Beaujolais “Morgon
Clear medium red, dusty red fruit and cherry candy on the nose, juicy with green herb notes on the fruit, tightens at the end with silky tannins. Feeling some heat at 14.5%.
This year was the 20th anniversary of La Paulée de New York which was held from March 4-7. The week included seminars, tastings and some very expensive dinners. The Grand Tasting was held on Saturday afternoon at the Pier Sixty event venue located at 60 Chelsea Piers on the far west side of Manhattan overlooking the Hudson river.
In the U. S., the festival alternates between New York City and San Francisco and showcases the latest vintage of the Burgundian wines to be released. At the Grand Tasting on Saturday afternoon over 50 wine professionals were on hand to serve the wines from over 40 domains of Burgundy. A team of top-notch chefs prepared “petits plats” for guests to nosh on while they sampled the various wines. Members of the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastvin were on hand to serenade (a capella style) the wine drinkers.
The event is Restaurateur and Sommelier Daniel Johnson’s homage to the annual La Paulée de Meursault in Burgundy. That originally began as a end of harvest festival thrown by the Burgundian growers for their guests and field workers and was revived in the early twentieth century as an annual event for the growers and their guests.
The 2017 vintage was a much better year for Burgundy than Bordeaux. The later suffered through epic frost while Burgundy was able haul in the biggest crop since 2009.
This was one of those tastings that I could have spent 2-3 days tasting through all the wines. There were over 150 of some of the most famous (and expensive) wines in the world to taste. I really enjoyed the whites, in general they were very elegant and balanced wines with just enough of the tropical fruit and oak notes to make them interesting. The reds were light in color with restrained fruit and firm acids, very old world style.
The Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux is a trade organization that promotes the Grand Cru wines of Bordeaux, France. At the beginning of each year they sponsor a world-wide tour where they showcase the current vintage that is being released. The U.S. and Canadian portion of the tour will make stops in Toronto, Montreal, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington DC and on January 20th, the tour arrived in New York City. The event as usual, was held at Cipriani restaurant at 110 East 42nd Street in midtown Manhattan across the street from Grand Central Terminal. It’s the former Bowery Savings Bank which was constructed at a time when banks were built to be opulent places of commerce. A trade tasting was held in the afternoon and Sotheby’s auction house held a tasting for consumers at the same venue in the evening.
The 2017 vintage in Bordeaux was not the best of vintages. It was the “year of the frost” where the worst frost in living memory created conditions that had yields coming in at about 40% lower than the previous year. There were fewer wineries attending this tasting than there were in previous years as many wineries did not make a wine or made very little wine from the 2017 vintage.
In tasting through the wines, no one would confuse them for the lush and fruit forward wines of a Napa Valley Cabernet. In general for this vintage, I was finding a lot of lean red fruit with red cherry aromas and bitter cherry flavors on the finish. Many, not surprisingly for young wines, were hard edged, but many had low tannins and acids. I was not getting the type of concentration in these wines that I had gotten from the 2015 or 2016 vintages. I think these will be wines to be drunk in the short term.
Chateau Haut-Bailly: Clear medium red, toasty nose, tight with big tannins at the end.
Chateau Canon-La-Gaffeliere: Opaque medium to dark red, pretty nose of black fruit and graphite, dusty red cherry fruit with firm tannins.
Chateau Canon: Clear medium red, cooked fruit notes on the nose, tight with crisp acids and firm tannins.
Clos Fourtet: Opaque dark red, crushed black fruit on the nose, juicy, graphite black fruit ending with a firm, silky finish.
Chateau Larcis Ducasse: Opaque medium red, sweet red cherry on the nose, moderate silky and dusty fruit with moderate tannins and acids at the end.
Chateau Pavie Macquin: Cloudy dark red, crushed black fruit and mint on the nose, tight red cherry fruit with tongue coating tannins at the end.
Chateau Villemaurine: Medium clear red, floral black cherry on the nose, bright dark fruit with a bitter cherry finish.
Chateau La Cabanne: Clear medium brick, dark chocolate on the nose, juicy red fruit with silky tannins and firm acids.
Chateau Clinet: Clear light amber, red cherry graphite on the nose, tight, silky tannin on the firm finish.
Chateau Gazin:Clear medium red with some tar and earth on the nose, tight, red cherry fruit, low acids.
Chateau Cantemerle: Opaque medium red, graphite notes on the nose, tight red fruit with big tannins and acids on the finish.
Chateau Citran: Opaque medium red, candy red cherry on the nose with juicy red fruit and moderate acids.
Chateau Coufran:Medium to light brick, sweet red cherry on the nose, light black fruit with a chewy finish and moderate tannins.
Chateau La Lagune: Opaque medium red, dusty red leather on the nose, tight fruit with bitter red cherry at the end.
Chateau Giscours: Medium to brick in color, toast and wet earth on the nose, moderate chewy fruit with dark chocolate on the finish, nice balance.
Chateau Kirwan: Clear medium red, crushed black fruit and some earth on the nose with bright red fruit ending with moderate tannins and acids.
Chateau Rauzan-Gassies: Clear medium red, crushed black fruit on the nose, chewy, toasty red cherry fruit with a firm finish.
Chateau du Tertre:Opaque medium red, toasty dark chocolate on the nose, bright dark fruit, firm finish.
Chateau Beychevelle:Medium purple, green olives on the nose, light fruit with olive notes, balanced finish.
Chateau Branaire-Ducru:Clear medium red, toast and graphite on the nose, light fruit with a bitter cherry finish.
Chateau Lagrange: Clear medium red, minty nose, dusty dark chocolate fruit with crisp acids.
Chateau Leoville-Barton: Medium red, tarry nose, moderate black cherry fruit, firm but balanced.
Chateau d’Armailhac: Clear medium red with some cooked vegetable notes on the nose, light fruit with very tight tannins on the finish.
Chateau Clerc Milon: Medium to light red, dirt and sweet red fruit on the nose, tight with big tannins.
Chateau Duhart-Milon: Clear medium red, stinky nose, moderate dusty fruit with a bitter cherry finish.
Chateau Grand Puy-Lacoste: Clear medium red, dusty nose with tight red fruit and crisp acids.
Chateau Lynch-Bages: Opaque medium red, red cherry and graphite on the nose, light red fruit with high acids at the end.
Chateau Pichon Barton: Clear medium brick, chocolate on the nose, chewy bitter cherry fruit with a firm but balanced finish.
Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande: Opaque medium red, tar and red cherry on the nose, light and tight with low tannins and acids on the finish.
Chateau Ormes De Pez: Light red in color, graphite on the nose, tight red fruit, nice grip.
Chateau Phelan Segur:Cloudy medium red, red pixie stick and toast on the nose, tight, light closed fruit with low tannins and acids.
July 14th is Bastille Day, the national holiday of France. It celebrates the storming of the Bastille on July 14th, 1789 and the birth of the modern French nation.
FIAF (french institute alliance francaise) is the “country’s leading French language and cultural center” founded nearly 120 years ago to promote French arts and teach French language and is now housed in the heart of Manhattan at 22 East 6oth Street. For over twenty years they have hosted New York City’s largest public celebration of France’s national holiday.
It was a three-block long party on East 60th Street with French themed food booths, French products and a stage with continuous live music throughout the afternoon.
Of course there were a couple of wine tastings as well, a Summer in Provence tasting and a Champagne, Cocktail and Jazz party which I attended. At the party they served five very drinkable Champagne and a specialty cocktail while being serenated by Avalon, a four-piece Jazz band.
Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé
Pol Roger Reserve
Besserat du Bellefon Bleu Brut
Michel Gonet Brut Reserve
Cocktail: “La Quatorze Juillet“
Made with Routin vermouth blanc, Giffard rubarbe liquour, Giffard Menthe Pastille (a pepperment flavored liquour), a couple of dashes of Angostura bitters and topped with a slice of cucumber. It was very refreshing.
The debut Côte du Rhône festival was held on June 23rd and promised to be “a free flowing wine and food experience in Manhattan”.
The event was held at the event space Second at 849 6th Avenue in Manhattan. It was a walk-around tasting with a French wine bar theme. There were also a couple of seminars thrown in. To accompany the generous quantity of wines that were served were pates, terrines, salumi, mussels, cheeses and pasta.
The Rhone is the second largest wine appellation in France and the Rhone AOC was established in 1937. The appellation is divided the into four classifications; Cote du Rhone, Cote du Rhone Villages, Cote du Rhone Villages + a village name and Cru wines which come from 17 defined crus.
The region is coming off of a couple outstanding vintages of 2015 & 2016 and I’ve tried some nice wines from across the classifications at every Rhone tasting that I’ve been to this year. Viognier based whites are in general lush with peach and tropical fruit notes while the rest of the whites have nice minerality and floral notes. The reds have nice concentration with meaty notes on the Syrah based North Rhone reds with red fruit and earth notes and approachable tannins on the rest.
They hosted a Trade/Media tasting in the afternoon and opened the doors for the consumers later that evening, it was an enjoyable Sunday afternoon.
The inaugural La Tablée New York City Rhone wine event was held on January 30-February 2nd.
It was run by the same team that produced the high-end French wine events of La Paulée and La Fête du Champagne. The series of events consisted of wine dinners, seminars and a tasting. I attended the tasting on Saturday February 2nd which was held at 26 Bridge, an event venue located at 26 Bridge Street in the trendy cobblestoned streets of DUMBO Brooklyn.
The term La Tablée originates in the village of Ampuis in Cote-Rôtie and denotes “the meal celebrating the end of the harvest (similar to Burgundy’s La Paulée), bringing to mind the colloquial French phrase, a table, the call given to family and friends to sit and enjoy a convivial meal around the table.”
The tasting was an opportunity to preview nearly 100 wines from the excellent 2016 vintage from 25 estates in the northern and southern Rhone. Other vintages were poured as well.
Some of what I sampled:
2016 Cote-Rotie “Fongeant”: Medium purple, cooked fruit notes on the nose with juicy black fruit and moderate tannins and acids.
2016 Cote-Rotie “Carmina”: 100% Syrah. Light purple, roasted dried herbs on the nose, chunky with sweet dark cherry fruit.
2013 Saint-Joseph “Tilde”: In magnum, dark red, roasted meat on the nose, juicy black fruit with silky, firm tannins on the long finish.
2016 Saint-Joseph “Serines”: Medium purple with a funky, dirty nose and juicy, chewy and firm fruit.
2007 Saint-Joseph “Serines”: Medium brick with an amber rim, nice perfume of tar and violets, tight and tannic.
2016 Cote-Rotie “Reserve”: Medium purple, toasty green herbs on the nose, juicy, toasty fruit nicely balanced.
2007 Cote-Rotie “Reserve”: Cloudy dark brick with a perfume of crushed black fruit, mint and tar, juicy herb notes on the fruit with lip smacking tannins at the end.
2016 Cote-Rotie “La Landonne”: Medium purple, roast meat and red fruit on the nose, bright red fruit with firm, silky tannins.
2003 Cote-Rotie “Cuvee Classique”: Medium brick, pretty perfume of sweet red fruit, bright red fruit and licorice notes with firm acids.
2016 Crozes-Hermitage “La Tout”: 100% Marsanne, single vineyard. Light gold, lemon, petroleum on the nose with lemon custard notes on the tight fruit.
2014 Cote-Rotie “Couteaux de Bassenon”: Light purple, roasted meat on the nose, light with bright red fruit, nice balance.
Paul Jaboulet Ainé
2016 Hermitage “La Chapelle”: Medium purple, roast meat on the nose with dusty bright black fruit and a firm finish.
2013 Hermitage “La Chapelle”: Medium brick with a sweet nose of dried leaf and mint, sweet red fruit and red licorice on the nicely balanced finish.
Chateau de Beaucastel
2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Roussanne “Vielles Vignes”: Light gold with tropical fruit notes on the nose and fruit, moderate acids.
2007 Chateauneuf du Pape: Medium brick in color, sweet dried leaf on the nose, juicy black licorice on the balanced fruit, long finish.
Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe
2016 Chateauneuf du Pape “Piedlong”: 100% 70yr old Grenache vines. Light red, crushed red fruit and nuts on the nose, silky red fruit with a nice balance.
2010 Chateauneuf du Pape “Vieux Telegraphe”: Medium brick, perfume of mint and toast, chewy fruit with a roast coffee on the long and balanced finish.
Domaine de Crista
2016 Chateauneuf du Pape: Medium purple, notes of earth and strawberry on the nose, chunky and earthy, good balance.
2010 Chateauneuf du Pape “Renaissance”: Dark brick, perfume of sweet earth, chewy red fruit followed by dusty and earthy tannins.
Domaine La Barroche
2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Signature Julien Barrot: Medium purple, roast meat on the nose, juicy ending with tight, firm tannins.
2010 Chateauneuf du Pape Signature Julien Barrot: Cloudy medium brick, perfume of mint, tree bark, chunky fruit with mint notes on the finish.
Domaine Saint Préfert
2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve Auguste Favier: Dark purple, tree bark and crushed black fruit on the nose, dark chewy fruit ending with mint notes on the silky tannins.
2011 Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve Auguste Favier: Light brick, roast meat on the nose, juicy red fruit with earth notes on the balanced finish.
Domaine de Beaurenard
2016 Chateauneuf du Pape “Boisrenard”: Cloudy medium purple, cooked red fruit on the nose, dusty fruit with lip smacking tannins at the end.
2001 Chateauneuf du Pape: Black with a brick rim, perfume of crushed red fruit and mint with sweet red fruit and a balanced, long finish.
Domaine de la Janasse
2016 Chateauneuf du Pape “Vieilles Vignes”: Medium cloudy purple, crushed red berries on the nose, big juicy red fruit, red licorice on the firm finish.
1999 Chateauneuf du Pape “Vieilles Vignes”: Magnum. Light brick, mint and dried leaf on the nose, chunky red licorice fruit, firm and balanced.
La Vieux Donjon
2016 Chateauneuf du Pape: Clear medium purple, crushed blueberry on the nose, juicy red fruit with a good grip.
2010 Chateauneuf du Pape: Clear brick, sweet roast meat on the nose, sweet dark fruit with a good grip on the long finish.
Chateau de Saint Cosme
2016 Gigondas: Dark purple, damp earth on the nose, juicy, concentrated black fruit with coffee notes on the balanced finish.
2010 Gigondas: Dark red with an amber rim, chunky and chewy dark fruit, tight, silky tannin on the firm finish.
2016 Gigondas: Dark purple, roast meat and black licorice on the nose, concentrated and dusty fruit, firm balanced finish.
2005 Cornas “Vieilles Vignes”: 100% Syrah. Medium brick, petroleum notes on the nose, chunky fruit with mint and dried leaf, nice balance.
Domaine Pierre Usseglio
2016 Chateauneuf du Pape: Opaque medium purple, green herbs and toast on the nose, spicy red fruit, firm and balanced.
2010 Chateauneuf du Pape: Light brick, stewed plums on the nose, chewy red leather fruit, nice balance on the long finish.
The Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux is a trade organization based in Bordeaux, France that promotes the wines of its 133 member chateaux.
Every year they host a world tour showcasing the current vintage to be released, stopping in various cities in Europe and Asia with the tour arriving in North America on January 18-26.
In New York City on Monday afternoon January 21st, they held a tasting for members of the trade and a consumer event later that evening. Both events were held at the Cipriani Midtown event space located at 110 East 42nd street in heart of Manhattan, just down the street from the iconic Chrysler building. A former bank, the event space is a huge, pink marbled cathedral-like room.
The 2016 vintage in Bordeaux was a Jekyll and Hyde vintage. The first half of the year was very rainy which made the winemakers concerned that the vintage would be a bust, but the second half of the year turned out to be bone dry.
For the most part, I thought the wines had good fruit and structure with firm tannins and manageable acids. Most of the wines were still wound tight but I think will age well. I didn’t think they had the immediate lushness of the 2015’s where I was getting a lot of California style flavor profiles, nor were they as hard-edged as the 2014 vintage. Overall some nice wines to be drunk in the future.
Chateau Beychevelle: Clear medium purple with a closed nose of crushed red berries and milk chocolate, tight with silky, firm tannins.
Chateau Talbot:Dark purple, roasted meat and sour fruit on the nose, juicy dark fruit with a firm, balanced long finish.
Chateau Gruaud Larose: Medium red, tree bark and roast meat on the nose, tight silky fruit, moderate firm finish.
Chateau Leoville Barton:Medium purple, sweet tar on the nose, chunky, sweet cherry fruit with firm tannins.
Chateau Leoville Poyferre:Medium red, toasty sweet fruit on the nose, gritty tannins on the dark fruit ending with big tannins.
Chateau Branaire Ducru: Medium red, toasty crushed red fruit on the nose with silky red fruit and green herbs on the finish.
Chateau de Pez: Medium red with a perfume of sweet red fruit, tight red fruit.
Chateau Phelan Segur: Medium red, floral, green herbs on the nose, dusty dark chocolate and slate on the firm fruit.
Chateau Clerc Milon:Medium red, toast and crushed dark fruit on the nose, tight, red cherry fruit with crisp acidity.
Chateau Lynch Bages: Dark red, tar, violets and green herbs on the nose, tight with mouth puckering tannins.
Chateau Pichon Baron: Medium red, crushed dark fruit and violet on the nose, light, juicy fruit with firm tannins and acids.
Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtese de Lalande: Clear, dark red, roast meat notes on the nose, tight red cherry fruit with a moderate finish.
Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere: Dark purple, tar and leather on the nose, chewy, meaty dark fruit, long finish on the balanced finish.
Clos Fourtet:Medium purple, sweet tar on the nose, sweet red fruit with firm , tongue coating tannins.
Chateau Grand Mayne: Opaque medium red, dark chocolate and cigarette smoke on the nose, tight and tannic.
Chateau Pavie Macquin:Medium clear purple, tar and violets on the nose, dusty, red cherry fruit, moderate to long finish with moderate tannins and acids.
Chateau Balestard La Tonnelle: Medium to light red in color with a perfume of tar, tight, silky red fruit with crisp acidity at the end.
Chateau Clinet: Medium purple with a pretty perfume of violets and tar, juicy dark red fruit with moderate tannins and acids on the long finish. Drinkable.
Chateau Gazin: Clear medium purple, toast notes on the nose, juicy red fruit with some earth on the firm finish, tight.
Chateau Le Bon Pasteur: Medium red, cooked berries on the nose, leather notes on the fruit, firm and nicely balanced.
Chateau La Pointe: Medium red, strawberry and graphite on the nose, toasty sweet fruit on the firm finish.
Chateau Brane-Cantenac:Clear medium red, tree bark on the nose, dark chocolate and gritty tannins on the fruit.
Chateau Giscours: Medium red, sweet red fruit on the nose with tight sweet fruit and a firm finish.
Chateau Lascombes: Opaque dark red with a perfume of sweet cherry, tar and mint, chewy dark fruit and silky tannins with moderate acids.
Chateau Prieure-Lichine: Dark red with green herbs and red cherry on the nose, juicy followed by big tannins and moderate acid.
Chateau Dauzac:Clear medium red, pixie stick notes on the nose, juicy red fruit ending tart.
Domaine de Chevalier: Opaque medium red, some barnyard notes on the nose with chunky red fruit, moderate tannins and acids.
Chateau Malartic-Lagraviere:Medium opaque red, sweet black fruit on the nose with silky black, ends tart, moderate tannins and acids.
Moulis En Medoc
Chateau Maucaillou: Medium red with a perfume of turned earth, chunky and rustic, with the fruit dropping a bit but still nice balance.
Chateau La Lagune: Medium red with dark chocolate on the nose, juicy bright red fruit ends with tart notes.
Le Reboule is the traditional end of harvest celebration in France’s Rhone Valley. It’s when everyone involved the wine process celebrate another successful vintage with wine, food and fun.
Sommiliers Dustin Wilson and Thomas Paustuszak brought the tradition of Reboule duRhone to New York City on November 17th with a weekend of wine dinners and tastings with some of the best producers of the Northern Rhone who were on hand to pour their wines. The events raise money in which 100% go to the No Kid Hungry charity.
Most of the wines that were poured were from the excellent 2016 vintage. With plenty of sun and a long growing season, the whites had plenty of tropical/ melon/honey/ peach notes on the fruit. Anyone who drinks California whites would love them. With the reds I got plenty of the classic roast meat notes on the nose though at this point they’re still wound a little tight.
I attended the Northern Rhone tasting on Saturday afternoon which was held at the venue located on 180 Maiden Lane in lower Manhattan next to the South Street Seaport.
2012 Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Blanc “Blanche” Medium gold, big nose of honey, tropical fruit, juicy, honeyed fruit followed with a great grip, delicious.
2016 Jean-Baptise Souillard Roussanne Medium gold, honey, green herbs on the nose, tight with slate notes on the balanced finish.
2016 Domaine Andre Perret Condrieu “Chery” Light gold, honey nose, ripe peaches on the fruit, good balance.
2016 Domaine Andre Perret Condrieu “Clos Chanson” Light gold, sweet honeydew on the nose, tight honeydew melon fruit.
2017 Julien Cecillon Saint Peray Light gold, crushed peaches on the nose, juicy with some toast notes on the long finish, some
2017 Aurelien Chatagnier Condrieu Very light gold, crushed apricot on the nose, juicy, peachy, nice finish. heat.
2015 Domaine Graillot Crozes-Hermtage “La Guiraude” Black, slate and crushed black fruit on the nose, chewy, chunky black fruit, nice balance
2015 Maison Tardieu-Laurent Cornas “Coteaux” Medium red, crushed black fruit and rosemary on the nose, tight with roasted meat notes on the fruit.
2016 Domaine Andre Perret Saint Joseph “Les Grisieres” Medium purple, roast meat notes on the nose, silky roasted nuts on the fruit, firm, balanced finish.
2016 Jean-Baptise Souillard Saint-Joseph “Janoune” Opaque medium purple, roasted meat on the nose, juicy red fruit, balanced.
2016 Aurelien Chatagnier Syrah “Cret Louison” 100% Syrah, Dark purple, barnyard notes on the nose, nice silky fruit, balanced.
2016 Domaine Clape Cornas “Renaissance” Dark purple to black, roast bacon and green herbs on the nose, concentrated, silky fruit, moderate balance.
2016 Domaine des Lises Crozes-Hermitage Medium purple, roast meat on the nose, silky red fruit with moderate tannins.
2016 Domaine Monier Perreot Saint-Joseph “Chatelet” Dark purple, roast meat on the nose, silky fruit with some nice barnyard notes on the finish with a long finish.
2016 Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas “Granit 60” Opaque dark purple, crushed dark nose, juicy firm tannins with roast nuts on the finish.
2016 Julien Cecillon Crozes-Hermitage “Les Marguerites” Light purple, roast meat on the nose, juicy turns tight on the long finish.
July 14th is the French National Day, or Bastille Day which commemorates the storming of the Bastille during the French revolution.
In New York City on Sunday July 15th, FIAF (French Institute Alliance Francaise) has celebrated Bastille Day for over twenty years with a three-block long party on 60th Street in Manhattan.
FIAF is a private not for profit created in 1898 to “promote and enhance knowledge of French and Francophone culture” through cinema, lectures and language classes.
The fête featured live entertainment, street art, a French-themed market and a couple of wine tastings; a jazz and Champagne event and a tasting of wines from the south of France provided by Sud de France. The tastings took place at their office at 22 East 60th Street.
As luck would have it, this year France made it to the finals of the World Cup which was played on this Sunday afternoon which added to the festivities of the day.
There was an after-party at Amali restaurant at 115 East 60th Street with free-flowing wine from the south of France , rum from Martinique and cider from Normandy.