So we’ve gotten in a few new fermented gems that we are so geeked about that we just had to share…
2008 Benoit Ente, Chassagne Montrachet “Les Houilleres”
From a small (7 acres total) estate based in Puligny-Montrachet, with holdings in both Puligny and Chassagne Montrachet. Benoit Ente is considered a master of white Burgundy. So is his older brother, Arnaud, by the way who’s famous for making chardonnay in a slightly bigger style. This is the villages level Chassagne Montrachet, from a tiny (one acre) plot of vines replanted in the late nineties called Les Houilleres, which sits right below the Grand cru vineyard of Batard-Montrachet. The estate farms as organically as possible and maintains painfully low yields. This cuvee sees 25% new oak, so expect a mild oakiness that should integrate with age. 2008 was a very tough vintage where some parcels struggled to reach maturity, but great winemakers often produced whites of great purity and minerality, with an energetic acid structure – this should be one of them, though with white burgundies the acid and the citrus notes are often balanced by a smack of richness and toastiness from the oak.
There seems to be a consensus that this wine drinks well above its villages level, towards a premier cru. It should be great to drink now for those who like to have a little oak in their chardonnay – it’s also a good candidate for customers who want a white to cellar for a few years. The oak should integrate and create something mineral and very pure.
2010 Graffito Malbec
Jimena Lopez worked in Australia and California before she returned to Argentina and set her eyes on this gem of a vineyard; the vines were planted in 1908 (105 year old ungrafted vines!!!), at 3051 feet at the heart of Argentina’s oldest appellation (Lujan de Cuyo), tended by Don Pepe, whose father planted the vines. This goes through the whole range of what Malbec is supposed to be, the dark, ripe fruit, the tannins, and the smoky earthiness. Once fermented, the wine produced by these beautiful vines is aged in 70% new French oak for 12 months (expect lots of spice and a bit of tannins here) and bottled unfined. Sounds like steak wine to me.
2008 Chateau Grand Traverse Gamay Noir
Gamay from Michigan! Chateau Grand Traverse is a beautiful winery established at the base of the Leelanau peninsula, just miles away from Traverse City. They make two Gamays, a ‘regular’ bottling, and this reserve one, which sees extended time in French oak barrels. Expect tart red fruit and a lingering earthiness, plus some spice from the wood barrels. This is a great Pinot alternative, and since Gamay has the ability to go well with almost any food you throw at it.
NV Landron Atmospheres Sparkling
Jo Landron has been making organically produced, naturally vinified and achingly pure and transparent Muscadet for about twenty years now. He is a master of minerality. And this is his bubbly! Not made with Melon, like muscadet, but with 20% pinot noir and 80% folle blanche, an obscure Loire variety that is somehow related to picpoul from the Rhone/South. Like Melon, Folle Blanche has the sad reputation of being a somewhat pedestrian grape, and like Melon, it shines in the hands of Landron. It’s vinified with no added yeasts, and then bottle conditioned. Disgorged 6 months before release and with a little bit of dosage. This is a rather structured bubbly (think blanc de noir), with serious acidity and a finish that is all minerals laced with tart pears.