In the Media

  • Start 2011 with a glass of 2006 Domaine Thenard Givry Clos Saint-Pierre, a reasonably-priced red Burgundy from a very good producer.

    Givry is a village in the Cote Chalonnaise district of France’s Burgundy region. South of Burgundy’s prestigious and expensive Cote d’Or area, Cote Chalonnaise produces white and red wines for both everyday consumption and short term aging of less than a decade. Within its boundaries is the excellent Domaine Thenard.

    The Bordeaux-Montrieux family has owed land in Givry since 1760. In 1842, ...

  • TO drink only the best-known wines from time-honored regions is a little like eating in the same restaurants over and over. You can’t go wrong, perhaps, but without the rewards of exploration, you are missing out on so much more.

    This has never been truer for wine lovers than it is today, when more people have more access to great wines from more places than ever before. Yet of all the world’s wine regions well off the beaten path, none is farther removed than the Canary Islands.

  • Color is not the most significant factor in drinking seasonally — it’s texture and weight. Nights grow longer and days shorter, but like reds and whites, we still have both. Thinking seasonally, Eric Asimov has picked 20 great fall wines, all at the magical price point of $20, where the greatest values reside. They are presented here in no particular order.

  • A critical issue to the very existence of the fine wine industry in New York has been brought to our attention and we wanted to make you aware of it.  One of the largest liquor wholesalers is lobbying the State Senate to include an “at rest” provision in their 2012 budget. The practical effect of “at rest” means that only those distributors delivering product out of New York warehouses could legally sell you wine. Legislation such as this would affect essentially every wholesaler currently in operation other than the two biggest ones, since they almost all warehouse in New Jersey, ...

  • David Bowler, an importer and distributor with many German wines in his portfolio, offered another reason for the disappearance of kabinett. He points to the increase in the German thirst for dry rieslings. “They’re letting the vineyards go longer and riper so they can make a good dry wine with 12 or 13 percent alcohol,’’ he told me.

    There’s no question that dry rieslings are the rage in Germany, and that the dry wines have greatly improved in the last 10 years, even from the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, where ...

  • Earlier this month I attended a lunch with Jean-Baptiste Bordeaux-Montrieux, whose family owns Domaine Baron Thenard in Givry. The domaine covers 57 acres of vineyards from Givry, in the Côte Chalonnaise, to Grands Echézeaux, just north of Vosne-Romanée.

    But its jewel in the crown is 4.5 acres of Le Montrachet on the Chassagne side of the appellation, making Thenard the second-largest proprietor of the esteemed grand cru. We had the opportunity to taste six vintages of the Montrachet at lunch, along with current vintages and a few mature ...

  • Call it the boomerang effect.

    As the wine world has embraced small growers of late, a shadow has fallen over the once-common concept of the négociant, a merchant who makes wine from bulk amounts of purchased fruit.

    But that meaning has been shed recently thanks to a different kind of négociantbringing a small-grower philosophy to the merchant's role.

    No one embodies this paradigm shift better than  ...

  • Kim Engle pauses mid-sentence as his eyes drift to the window. Looking uneasy, he peers through the foggy pane at his vineyards: "Sorry, the rain made me lose concentration; it makes me nervous." For four summer days, the rain had been driving down in unseasonably high quantities; that morning, the sound of water pounding the roof was like marbles unleashed from the sky. For a vineyard owner, the weather was frightening — particularly when trying to farm organically.

  • Four years ago, wine from the Canary Islands was unheard of in America. Unless you were one of the tourists who visit the archipelago each year, you might have assumed that quality grapes couldn't exist 80 miles off the southwestern coast of Morocco.
    But these days, Canary Islands wines have become almost a constant in good Bay Area wine shops and restaurants, largely thanks to their sole American importer, Richmond's Jose Pastor.

  • ST.-SADURNÍ d’ANOIA, Spain — If ever a grape needed a champion, it may well be xarello. It suffers pronunciation woes (in Catalan, it’s shah-RELL-lo; in Castilian, hah-RELL-lo; in English, zah-RELL-oh). It has spelling issues (it’s often written xarel-lo among numerous other renderings). Most important, it is guilty by association as a key component of cava, the Spanish sparkling wine that most people consider at best cheap and cheerful and at worst a headache in a glass.

  • WARNING: You may assume that what you are about to read is the usual dutiful holiday roundup of Champagnes and sparkling wines. But you would be wrong. Ignore this at your own peril.
    Hmm. Wrong tone. Too grim. Not at all the light, exuberant note I’m seeking. Let me try again. Ah, Champagne! Ah, bubbly! Ah, the corks popping anew as we joyously stride forth into the new year! No, even worse...
    Includes Bowler wine: Joël Falmet Brut Tradition NV

  • A View From The Cellar

    The Chandon de Briailles cellars this year contained some of the ripest wines I have ever had the pleasure to taste here, but the wines have retained a lovely sense of purity and precision to their underlying terroirs that is rather remarkable at these rather high octane levels. In many cellars, I found the riper side of the 2009 vintage quite reminiscent of either the 1990 or the 1997 reds depending on the style of the specific wine in question, but here at Chandon de Briailles one finds a completely different set of ripe wines. Take for example the stunning Savigny "les Lavieres", which ...

  • Domaine de la Tour du Bon has been a welcome change of pace for Agnès Henry

    Agnès Henry has a flock of silver hair and often ends her sentences with a soft laugh. At 52, she seems blissfully content to walk amidst her Mourvèdre vines at Domaine de la Tour du Bon in Bandol.

    "It's nice here," she said plainly. "The feeling is you're not quite alone, but it is very quiet."


  • The transformation of the world of wine in the last 20 years has been simply astounding. Consumers have been blessed with a profusion of wonderful wines from sources that few would have predicted as recently as the turn of the century. Case in point: Sicily.


  • August 25 – September 1, 2013

    Are you up for a European wine tour this summer? Germany’s Rieslings have gone cult. And German Reds are close behind. Pinot Noirs from Germany are in break-out mode. They’re rocking the competition at international blind tastings and setting the cognoscenti abuzz. Join us for a wine tour with a new vibe in August and see what’s behind Germany’s Pinot Revolution.