Great Value Burgundy From Chambolle-Musigny

Today’s Story: Domaine Odoul-Coquard

Domaine Odoul-Coquard is a relatively small family-owned and operated wine estate established in Morey-St-Denis during the early 20th century. Today the domaine is under guide of fourth generation Sebastien Odoul who joined in 2004 and took over winemaking in 2009. Sebastien, who was initially uninterested in becoming a winemaker, first worked harvests at Domaine Dujac, Domaine Méo-Camuzet, and Domaine Thierry Mortet before joining the family venture. Domaine Odoul-Coquard today consists of 8.5 hectares (21 acres) situated across the appellations of Morey-St-Denis, Gevrey-Chambertin, Chambolle-Musigny, Vougeot, Vosne-Romanée, and Nuits-St-Georges. The domaine produces wines from two Grand Crus (Clos de Vougeot and Charmes-Chambertin), four 1er Crus, seven village appellations, and four regional appellations with a total production of 2,500 cases per vintage.

When it comes to the vinification process, Domaine Odoul-Coquard practices fairly traditional methods for the region. All fruit is hand-harvested and 100% destemmed, as Sebastien doesn’t care too much for the characteristics stems impart on the wine. They practice a week of cold maceration before the start of fermentation, all of which occurs in stainless steel or enamelled vats. Punch downs and pump overs occur daily and then, at the end of primary fermentation, they use a pneumatic press and barrel down the wine into French oak. The domaine uses Francois Frères barrels and aging lasts 15 to 18 months depending on vintage and cuvée, with each quality level seeing different percentages of new oak. For example, the Bourgogne bottling sees no new oak while 1er Crus may see up to 50% new oak and Grand Crus may see up to 90% new oak.

Today’s Wine: 2014 Chambolle-Musigny

100% Pinot Noir; 13% ABV

The 2014 Chambolle-Musigny is medium ruby in color. After some time in the glass, this opens rather nicely with aromas of medium (+) intensity and a nose of bing cherry, cranberry, stemmy strawberry, black raspberry, leather, forest floor, underbrush, and stony mineral. The flavors are also of medium (+) intensity, offering up classic notes of cherry, raspberry, red plum, blueberry, violet, charred green herbs, green peppercorn, and crushed rock. This dry red is light- to medium-bodied with high acidity, medium (-) tannin, medium alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish.

Price: $45. This bottling offers great value in my opinion. In a world of many village red Burgundy bottlings commanding prices over $100, this offers great depth, complexity, and balance for its price. It even seems like it has at least another decade of drinking and may just be entering its window.

Historic Bordeaux From the Iconic 1982 Vintage

Today’s Story: Château Margaux

Château Margaux is an incredibly historic wine estate located in the Margaux appellation of Bordeaux’s Left Bank. It is also one of the original four properties ranked as a First Growth (Premier Cru) in the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855 (with Château Mouton Rothschild being added as the fifth First Growth in 1973). Château Margaux traces its roots back to the 12th century with a name of La Mothe de Margaux, though there weren’t any vines planted on the property at that time. Throughout the property’s first several centuries, it was reserved for Lords and royalty. Margaux as we know it today, however, started to take shape in the late 16th century when Pierre de Lestonnac spent the years 1572 to 1582 completely restructuring the property to wine production. By the end of the 17th century, Château Margaux consisted of 265 hectares (655 acres) with about one-third of that area planted to vine. It remains largely in this same format to this day.

The 18th century brought great growth to both Château Margaux and the world of wine as we know it from a quality perspective. At this time, most of the wine made in Bordeaux was low quality and somewhat watery which didn’t bode well for aging ability. At Margaux, Berlon became the first to vinify red and white grapes separately while vine stocks were mixed throughout the vineyards. He also decided to delay harvest time from dawn to later in the day so dew would dry up and not dilute the juice. Thanks to the improved quality, Margaux’s 1771 vintage became the first “claret” to be sold through Christie’s and, during Thomas Jefferson’s trip to Bordeaux in 1787, became noted as one of the top four properties by the statesman.

The fortune of the 18th century died down unfortunately, thanks to the French Revolution that saw Elie du Barry (owner of Château Margaux at the time) sent to the guillotine. The estate was auctioned to the revolutionaries and its new owner, citizen Miqueau, let the property fall into a horribly dilapidated state. In 1801, Bertrand Douat, Marquis de la Colonilla, purchased Château Margaux and set about building a new mansion in 1810. This was the château that still stands today and adorns the Margaux labels, though Douat died before ever living at the property. His children had very little interest in the property, ultimately selling it to a wealthy banker named Alexandre Aguado in 1830. Margaux trudged onward until the financial troubles and phylloxera of the late 19th century, with the estate sold to Count Pillet-Will in 1879. The estate bounced back with a great 1893 vintage, though the young vines of phylloxera-resistant rootstock didn’t produce at a high enough quality and a second wine named Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux was born.

Throughout the second quarter of the 20th century, wealthy wine trader Fernand Ginestet purchased shares in Margaux until ultimately purchasing the entire estate around 1950. Fernand and his son Pierre reorganized the vineyards and guided the estate through several successful vintages, though they were unfortunately no match for the financial crisis of the 1970s and the horrible vintages of 1972, 1973, and 1974. The Ginestet family, due to these struggles, had to sell Château Margaux and it was purchased by André Mentzelopoulos in 1977. André made his fortune trading cereals and through his ownership of a grocery chain, so he was able to invest heavily in Château Margaux during this trying time without the need for immediate financial gains. Though André passed away far too soon in 1980, during his short ownership of Château Margaux he completed drastic renovations to both the buildings and vineyards of the estate and set the property on a renewed path to greatness. André’s daughter Corinne adeptly took over in her father’s footsteps, guiding the estate through the incredible growing demand for Bordeaux wines following the 1982 vintage and into the 21st century. She remains CEO to this day.

Switching gears, as I mentioned before the size and format of Château Margaux hasn’t really changed since the end of the 17th century. Today the property consists of 262 hectares (647 acres) with only a third of that planted to vine. Vine density is fairly high but typical of Bordeaux, with 10,000 vines per hectare (2.5 acres) of land. For the red wines, 75% of this land is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% to Merlot, and the balance to Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. They also have 12 hectares (30 acres) planted to Sauvignon Blanc. With this Château Margaux makes four wines including the Grand Vin, Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux, and Margaux du Château Margaux for their reds and the Pavillon Blanc du Château Margaux for the white.

From a winemaking standpoint, Margaux is fairly traditional for the realm of Bordeaux. The red wines ferment in a combination of oak and stainless steel vats ranging in size from 5 hectoliters up to 180 hectoliters. The reds also go through malolactic fermentation in vats, however the press wines complete their malolactic fermentation in barrel. Aging is accomplished in 100% new oak for 18-24 months, with many of these barrels coming from Margaux’s own in-house cooperage. The white wine, on the other hand, is whole cluster pressed with no skin contact and ferments partially in stainless steel before wrapping up in 33% new French oak barrels. This wine is aged on its lees but forgoes malolactic fermentation while aging for 7-8 months before bottling.

Today’s Wine: 1982 Château Margaux

Cabernet Sauvignon dominant Bordeaux blend; 12% ABV

The 1982 Château Margaux is deep garnet in color, showing no signs of bricking. I decanted this for sediment, but there really wasn’t any and this seemed ready to go after a short while. The aromas are of pronounced intensity, with the nose showcasing notes of redcurrant, blackcurrant, red plum, dried violet, tobacco, pencil shavings, graphite, smoked meat, forest floor, black truffle, eucalyptus, and cedar. Flavors are also of pronounced intensity, while the palate offers up notes of redcurrant, blackberry, cassis, stale licorice, violet, cigar tobacco, scorched earth, crushed gravel, charred green herbs, green peppercorn, and a touch of smoke. This dry red is medium-bodied with medium acidity, medium but perfectly integrated and silky tannin, medium alcohol, and a long finish. This is an outstanding bottle with exceptional balance, and it’s drinking perfectly right now.

Price: $1,200 (we paid $980). At this price-point I can’t really discuss the value proposition because, let’s be honest, nobody can argue it. However, this was an ethereal bottle that I am very happy and lucky to have enjoyed and it was firing on all cylinders. This showed intensity, complexity, and incredible balance that will be memorable for a long time. I would love to find a 1983 for comparison.

Exceptional Sauvignon Blanc From a Pioneering Legacy of the Loire

Today’s Story: Domaine Didier Dagueneau

Domaine Didier Dagueneau is a highly-regarded wine estate established in 1982 by Didier Dagueneau in the village of Saint-Andelain in France’s Pouilly-Fumé appellation. Dagueneau, who unfortunately passed away in 2008 at the age of 52 in a small plane crash, was a fourth generation winemaker who spent his earlier career years as a motorcycle sidecar racer and dog sled racer. When he returned to Saint-Andelain in 1982, he established his domaine instead of joining his family’s property of Domaine Serge Dagueneau et Filles. Dagueneau was a visionary winemaker, establishing his domaine with the intent of producing single vineyard Sauvignon Blanc using an experimental mentality. The estate today consists of 12 hectares (30 acres) across parcels named En Chailloux, Silex, and Pur Sang.

Dagueneau had a laser-like attention to detail and demanded perfection in all aspects of winemaking, especially in his vineyards. The domaine has a staggering ratio of one vineyard worker per hectare (unheard of in the Loire and more common on the finest estates of Burgundy) and they became an early adopter of organic and biodynamic viticulture in the region. Dagueneau had a preference for own-rooted vines and kept yields incredibly low, all for a focus on optimal ripeness, concentration, and quality. In the cellar, the domaine has a history of experimentation particularly with its oak program. Dagueneau pioneered longer barrels called “cigares,” which provide greater contact for the wine with its lees to add texture. While they have quite the range of vessels to play with, fermentations are accomplished with native yeasts and winemaking is otherwise pretty hands-off and traditional. The wines spend their first year in oak before they are moved to tank for a final five to seven months until bottling.

Though Didier’s untimely death caused great shock and worry throughout the world of people who loved his wines, Didier’s children Louis-Benjamin and Charlotte joined the family domaine and run it today. Louis-Benjamin worked closely with his father in the vineyards and cellar during Didier’s last few years, and he also shares the same drive and demand for perfection. The Domaine Dagueneau wines have maintained their quality (some argue they’re even better) and they offer a quintessential representation of the Sauvignon Blanc variety.

Today’s Wine: 2015 Pur Sang

100% Sauvignon Blanc; 13% ABV

The 2015 Pur Sang is pale straw yellow in color. This needs some time to open up in the glass, and you could honestly decant it for 30 minutes or so I think. The aromas are of medium (+) intensity, with the nose showcasing notes of white peach, Meyer lemon, green apple, jasmine, freshly cut grass, cheese rind, macadamia, white chocolate, and mineral. Flavors are also of medium (+) intensity, while the palate offers up notes of lime zest, green apple, grapefruit, lemon tart, chamomile, grass, crushed stone, almond, and saline. This dry white is medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium alcohol, and a long finish. This is a creamy but still racy and well-balanced example of Sauvignon Blanc. 1,333 cases produced.

Price: $100. While not an inexpensive bottle of wine, I think pricing here is actually pretty fair given the quality. This is a great representation of the variety while still being somewhat unique thanks to the mouthfeel. It also has great balance, length, and complexity going for it.

Beautifully Aged Bordeaux in a Sweet Spot Right Now

Today’s Story: Château Léoville Las Cases

Château Léoville Las Cases is a historical Bordeaux estate ranked as a Second Growth (Deuxième Cru) in the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855. It is located in the appellation of Saint-Julien on the Left Bank. Though the estate used to be much larger and is one of the oldest in the Médoc, it was split up between 1826 and 1840 as a result of the French Revolution and came into the Las Cases family as 3/5 the size of the original estate. Luckily for the family, however, their land made up the heart of the domain and therefore consists of the original terroir back to the 17th century. Las Cases was managed by the same family through the 19th century, moving by inheritance through Pierre Jean, Adolphe, and Gabriel de Las Cases until Théophile Skawinski bought a stake in 1900 to become the manager. Today, Jean-Hubert Delon is the sole owner with the family coming in during the mid-20th century.

The estate today consists of 98 hectares (242 acres) of vineyards planted to roughly 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. The soil is classic Left Bank, made up of gravel over gravelly sand and gravelly clay subsoils. The heart of the property is the 55 hectare (136 acre) Grand Clos, where vines average an age of 52 years and farming is nearly 100% organic. The Grand Clos is walled-in and borders Château Latour to the north as well.

Winemaking is largely traditional at Léoville Las Cases, beginning with manual harvest and moving to fermentation in temperature-controlled wood, concrete, or stainless steel vats of varying size and age. Malolactic fermentation occurs in vat, and then the wines are blended before moving into French oak barrels for 18-20 months of aging. Come bottling, the wines are fined using egg whites and production of the Grand Vin is around 15,000 to 16,700 cases depending on vintage.

I previously wrote about the 1961, 1986, and 1990 (which I’ll be revisiting today) Château Leoville-Las Cases.

Today’s Wine: 1990 Château Leoville Las Cases

43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Franc, 7% Petit Verdot; 13.25% ABV

The 1990 Château Leoville-Las Cases is deep garnet in color. I decanted this for an hour, both for some mild sediment and per the winery’s recommended time. The aromas are of pronounced intensity and the complex nose showcases notes of redcurrant, black cherry, cassis, graphite, cigar box, pencil shavings, smoked meat, forest floor, truffle, green bell pepper, underbrush, eucalyptus, and clove. Flavors are also of pronounced intensity, with an equally complex palate of black cherry, redcurrant, blueberry, cigar tobacco, leather, gravel, forest floor, earthy mushroom, charred green herbs, green peppercorn, and a touch of cinnamon. This dry red is medium- to full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (+) but super fine-grained tannin, medium alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish. Superb.

Price: $475 (we paid $340). The going market rate on this wine is tougher to discuss on a value perspective, though I think the price we paid is well worth it. I reviewed this same wine two years ago, with this bottle showing more complexity but equally great balance. For the depth, balance, and complexity of this wine at its age it is truly a memorable bottle.

Green but Delicious Morey-Saint-Denis

Today’s Story: Domaine Dujac

Domaine Dujac is a highly regarded wine estate established in 1968 by Jacques Seysses in the Morey-Saint-Denis appellation of Burgundy. Though Jacques loved wine at an early age thanks to his father, he worked until the age of 25 at his family’s biscuit manufacturing company before moving into wine full-time. In 1966 and 1967, Jacques worked the harvest with Gérard Potel at the Domaine de la Pousse d’Or to learn his winemaking craft, ultimately purchasing the 5 hectare (12 acre) Domaine Graillet in 1968 and renaming it to Domaine Dujac.

Over time, Dujac expanded from 5 hectares to 15.5 hectares (38 acres) and their holdings include some of the greatest vineyard sites throughout Burgundy. The Grand Cru sites of Clos de la Roche and Clos St. Denis came early in the portfolio, with later additions of Charmes-Chambertin and Mazoyères-Chambertin still somewhat early in Dujac’s history. Today Dujac produces seven Grand Cru wines, five 1er Cru wines, and two village wines under the domaine label. They also produce five white wines, three of which are 1er Cru. Beginning in 2001, Dujac started experimenting with organic viticulture and expanded the practices to all holdings in 2008. They also started experimenting with biodynamic practices in 2003 and utilize that philosophy on all holdings today as well.

Jacques, during the domaine’s early decades, was a staunch proponent of whole cluster fermentation thanks to the character stems bring to the wine. Though today they destem some of the fruit, this is still a major philosophical backbone and the fruit sees minimal destemming. Winemaking is rather traditional in practice, with the team using only native yeasts for fermentation with light punchdowns early in the process and pump overs toward the end. Oak usage has changed over time, with Jacques establishing the domaine with religious use of 100% new oak. Nowadays, however, new oak percentages vary by quality level and the team has discretion given vintage conditions. The wines are all bottled unfiltered and rarely fined.

Domaine Dujac today is operated by its second generation, though Jacques is still very much involved. Jacques’ son Jeremy started working at Dujac in 1998, followed by his wife Diana in 2001 and brother Alec in 2003. Jeremy was the leading force behind some of the whole cluster and oak aging changes to winemaking, though the wines of Domaine Dujac remain incredible representations of Pinot Noir and the terroir they come from.

Today’s Wine: 2011 1er Cru Morey Saint-Denis

100% Pinot Noir; 13% ABV

The 2011 1er Cru Morey Saint-Denis is medium ruby in color and quite youthful in appearance. Given some time to blossom in the glass, the wine opens with aromas of medium (+) intensity and a nose of cherry, cranberry, stemmy strawberry, rose, forest floor, truffle, underbrush, olive, eucalyptus, menthol, mint, and crushed stone. Meanwhile the flavors are also of medium (+) intensity and the palate showcases notes of bing cherry, black raspberry, strawberry, dried plum, violet, olive, forest floor, eucalyptus, green pepper, and mineral. This dry red is light- to medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, light tannin, medium alcohol, and a long finish. Very good quality and certainly showing the green notes of the vintage and stem inclusion.

Price: $150. I think this is a pretty solid price-point and offers decent value in the realm of red Burgundy. While the 2011 vintage can be overbearingly green in some wines, I think this handles it well and comes across rather memorable. It’s intense, complex, and should be long-lived. If you try to steer clear of greener wines, though, this might not be your thing.

My Favorite Aligoté to Date

Today’s Story: Domaine Roulot

Domaine Roulot is a renowned Burgundy wine estate situated in the village of Meursault in the Côte de Beaune sub-region. Though Roulot’s history dates back to at least 1830 when Guillaume Roulot registered as a vigneron, the modern domaine traces its roots more directly to a 1930 founding and growing success following WWII under Guy Roulot. Guy came into some vineyard property through his marriage to Geneviève Coche, though he quickly set about purchasing additional vineyard parcels of village and 1er Cru classifications. Unique at the time, Guy vinified and bottled his wines by single vineyard, also mastering the lieu-dit practice of bottling a named vineyard without its own “legal” classification within the larger village. Guy made some of the greatest white Burgundy at the time, even later having his 1973 Meursault Charmes place second for the white wines at the Judgment of Paris in 1976. Sadly, Guy passed away suddenly and far too soon in 1982 and left his domaine in a precarious situation since his son Jean-Marc was in Paris studying acting. Though Domaine Roulot had several winemakers come in until Jean-Marc returned home, it wasn’t until 1989 when he fully took the reigns.

Shortly after taking over, Jean-Marc transitioned fully to organic viticulture and he has not used any herbicides since. Further, any treatments used in the vineyards ensure minimal if any impact on the natural microbial life amongst the vines. In the cellar, Jean-Marc crafts wines based on a philosophy that they should be what he likes to drink, not necessarily what the “modern palate” likes to drink. While many of the wines of Meursault can be rich and concentrated, Roulot’s wines are often described as chiseled, linear, precise, restrained, tense, and transparent. He achieves these descriptors through incredibly rigorous harvesting, very gentle pressing of the fruit, indigenous yeast fermentation, barrel aging for 12 months on lees followed by 6 months in stainless steel, and modest use of new oak of between 10% and 30%. Roulot even minimizes stirring the lees (and mainly does it in vintages of higher acidity), which is a practice more common with producers who like adding richness to the wines.

I previously reviewed the 2015 Bourgogne Blanc and 2017 Bourgogne Blanc from Domaine Roulot.

Today’s Wine: 2015 Bourgogne Aligoté

100% Aligoté; 11.5% ABV

The 2015 Bourgogne Aligoté is pale straw yellow in color. The nose is rather delicate and aromas are of medium intensity, offering up classic notes of green apple skins, lemon, white peach, honeysuckle, flint, saline minerality, and a touch of cream. Meanwhile the flavors are also of medium intensity, with the palate showcasing notes of green apple, grapefruit, lemon zest, dried white flowers, mild green herbs, chalk, a hint of smoke, and stony mineral. This dry white is light- to medium-bodied with high acidity, medium (-) alcohol, and a medium length finish. A great representation of the variety while incorporating that classic Roulot reductive character.

Price: $70 (I paid $37 a year ago). Pricing on this bottling continues to rise alongside Roulot’s others and Burgundy as a whole, so the value proposition is of course narrowing or evaporated. At the price I paid this is screaming value, for it’s bright, precise, delicious, and a great representation of the variety.

Complex Bourgogne Blanc That Needs a Little More Time

Today’s Story: Domaine Roulot

Domaine Roulot is a renowned Burgundy wine estate situated in the village of Meursault in the Côte de Beaune sub-region. Though Roulot’s history dates back to at least 1830 when Guillaume Roulot registered as a vigneron, the modern domaine traces its roots more directly to a 1930 founding and growing success following WWII under Guy Roulot. Guy came into some vineyard property through his marriage to Geneviève Coche, though he quickly set about purchasing additional vineyard parcels of village and 1er Cru classifications. Unique at the time, Guy vinified and bottled his wines by single vineyard, also mastering the lieu-dit practice of bottling a named vineyard without its own “legal” classification within the larger village. Guy made some of the greatest white Burgundy at the time, even later having his 1973 Meursault Charmes place second for the white wines at the Judgment of Paris in 1976. Sadly, Guy passed away suddenly and far too soon in 1982 and left his domaine in a precarious situation since his son Jean-Marc was in Paris studying acting. Though Domaine Roulot had several winemakers come in until Jean-Marc returned home, it wasn’t until 1989 when he fully took the reigns.

Shortly after taking over, Jean-Marc transitioned fully to organic viticulture and he has not used any herbicides since. Further, any treatments used in the vineyards ensure minimal if any impact on the natural microbial life amongst the vines. In the cellar, Jean-Marc crafts wines based on a philosophy that they should be what he likes to drink, not necessarily what the “modern palate” likes to drink. While many of the wines of Meursault can be rich and concentrated, Roulot’s wines are often described as chiseled, linear, precise, restrained, tense, and transparent. He achieves these descriptors through incredibly rigorous harvesting, very gentle pressing of the fruit, indigenous yeast fermentation, barrel aging for 12 months on lees followed by 6 months in stainless steel, and modest use of new oak of between 10% and 30%. Roulot even minimizes stirring the lees (and mainly does it in vintages of higher acidity), which is a practice more common with producers who like adding richness to the wines.

I previously reviewed the 2017 Bourgogne Blanc from Domaine Roulot.

Today’s Wine: 2015 Bourgogne Blanc

100% Chardonnay; 12.5% ABV

The 2015 Bourgogne Blanc is pale straw yellow in color and crystal clear. This shows at its best after at least 45 minutes in the glass. The aromas are of medium (+) intensity, with the nose showcasing notes of green apple, lemon, crisp pear, white flowers, flint, gunsmoke, limestone, saline, raw almond, and a hint of vanilla. Meanwhile the flavors are of medium intensity and the palate offers notes of green apple, lime zest, white peach, pear, white flowers, dried gravel, limestone mineral, a hint of smoke, and almond. This dry white is medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium alcohol, and a medium length finish. The wine seems to hollow out on the mid-palate, and the finish leaves one wanting for a bit more. Perhaps a dumb phase? Nonetheless this is a solid white Burgundy and offers up the classic reductive characteristics of Roulot.

Price: $140 (I paid $66 one year ago). At current market prices I think this struggles in value terms. There are quite a few lesser known Bourgogne Blancs well below $100 per bottle, and I am glad for the price I paid last year. While still an enjoyable wine, I would focus my efforts on the 2014 or 2017 Roulot Bourgogne Blanc if you’re spending the money.

Easy-Going and Straightforward Alsatian Riesling

Today’s Story: Maison Trimbach

Maison Trimbach is one of the most notable winemakers in Alsace, established in 1626 by Jean Trimbach. Today Trimbach is under the guidance of Hubert Trimbach and his nephews Jean and Pierre, rounding out 12 generations of family ownership and shared knowledge. Pierre’s daughter Anne, the oldest of the 13th generation, also now works in the family business. Though Trimbach’s world recognition greatly expanded in 1898 when Frédéric Emile Trimbach earned the highest marks at the International Wine Fair in Brussels, Trimbach is largely famous for the legendary Clos Sainte Hune vineyard. Located in the Rosacker Grand Cru vineyard, Clos Ste Hune has belonged to the Trimbach family for over two centuries and produces some of the most exquisite Alsatian Riesling in existence.

The Trimbach estate consists of 40 hectares (about 100 acres) encompassing 50 parcels across six villages that include Bergheim, Ribeauvillé, and Hunawihr. Trimbach also operates as a négociant business to produce additional non-estate wines. All of Trimbach’s winegrowing practices are sustainable and they try to preserve the natural environment of the vineyards. Trimbach practices close pruning and soil tilling while encouraging moderate yields and rigorous fruit selection come harvest which is accomplished entirely by hand. When the grapes are gently crushed at the winery, juices flow via gravity and Pierre vinifies and matures the wines adhering to centuries of tradition with both finesse and focus on the terroir. After being bottled each spring, the wines are released by maturity with some spending 5 to 7 years in the cellars to achieve balance before release.

I previously wrote about the 2016 Gewurztraminer and 2014 Clos Ste Hune from Trimbach.

Today’s Wine: 2009 Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile

100% Riesling; 13.5% ABV

The 2009 Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile is pale gold in color. The aromas are of medium (+) intensity, but the nose is rather straightforward offering up notes of peach, yellow apple, apricot, lime zest, petrol, slate, and mineral. Meanwhile the flavors are also of medium (+) intensity and the palate showcases classic notes of peach, ripe pear, apricot, lime, white florals, limestone, and petrol. This dry Riesling is medium- to full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium alcohol, and a long finish. This is a very good and straightforward wine, though I think there are stronger vintages of the Cuvée Frédéric Emile.

Price: $65. This is in a very competitive price-point to where I do think there are better values out there when it comes to dry Riesling. Whether it be bottlings a fraction of the cost or Grand Cru options around this price, there are a number of options. Though that’s not to be said without admitting this is a very high-quality bottling from a world-renowned producer.

Solid Bourgogne Blanc From the Queen of Burgundy

Today’s Story: Maison Leroy

Maison Leroy was founded in 1868 by François Leroy who was a winemaker and vineyard owner at Auxey-Duresses as well as Meursault, Pommard, Chambertin, Musigny, Clos Vougeot, and Richebourg. Though François sold his wines through Comptoir des Proprietaires de la Cote-d’Or in Beaune, his desire of enlarging his business led to the foundation of Maison Leroy. When François’ son Joseph joined the business alongside his wife Louise Curteley, the two grew Auxey-Duresses by producing liquors and distilled alcohols alongside the wine and garnered significant critical acclaim during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Henri Leroy, son of Joseph and Louise, joined the Maison in 1919 and further extended the family business by creating a subsidiary to produce eaux-de-vie alcohol near Cognac. One of Henri’s great achievements in Burgundy, however, came through his friendship with Edmond Gaudin de Villaine whose wife and brother-in-law (Jacques Chambon) inherited Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in 1912. Though the domaine went up for sale during the financial crises of the 1920s, Henri convinced Edmond not to sell his ownership and later purchased Jacques’ half in 1942 to cement the de Villaine and Leroy families as equal owners of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC). Henri worked tirelessly at DRC for the following four decades until his death in 1980, having turned the domaine into one of the most famous in the world and a producer of today’s most expensive wines.

Lalou Bize-Leroy, Henri’s daughter, joined Maison Leroy in 1955 and became President-General Director in 1971. Lalou, or Madame Leroy, worked tirelessly to understand the diverse terroir of Burgundy’s vineyards and selects her purchased wine with intense scrutiny and demand for quality. Madame Leroy also accompanied her father Henri at DRC until his death and became Co-Gerante with Aubert de Villaine from 1974 to 1992. While Maison Leroy’s village wines truly drink on par with some of the great 1er Cru equivalents throughout Burgundy and the 1er Crus drink like Grand Crus, Madame Leroy founded Domaine Leroy in 1988 after Takashimaya, an owner of luxury department stores in Japan, purchased 1/3 of the company and funded the purchase of vineyards. Madame Leroy purchased the estates of Charles Noellat at Vosne-Romanée and Philippe-Rémy at Gevrey-Chambertin to get the domaine running and she immediately transitioned to biodynamic farming for all of her vines. While Maison Leroy wines typically start around $70 per bottle and go into the several hundreds of dollars, Domaine Leroy produces wines in the thousands of dollars per bottle up into the tens of thousands of dollars due to their immeasurable quality and rarity.

Though the following is a description of the winemaking practices at Domaine Leroy and not necessarily Maison Leroy, I think it is important to include because of the demonstration it shares of Madame Leroy’s strict winemaking and quality standards. Starting in her vineyards, Madame Leroy follows a strict set of guidelines which includes spreading “Maria Thun”-type compost and manure throughout the vineyards as needed while hand-tilling the soil. At Domaine Leroy, they do not replant vineyards but rather replant individual vines as needed using buds of sister vines in the same vineyards. Leroy practices the Guyot pruning method from mid-January to early April only when the moon is passing the constellations Sagittarius, Aries, Leo, and, if necessary, also Aquarius, Gemini, and Libra keeping with strict biodynamic practices. They also remove a selection of buds to keep yields lower, remove buds from the trunk of the rootstock, and remove excess buds growing between nodes but do not clip the end of vines to keep the last bud in tact. At harvest, Domaine Leroy selects all fruit carefully by hand and carries them to the winery in small baskets before they are double hand-sorted on a stationary table to guarantee selection of the healthiest grapes. Fermentation is accomplished in large wooden barrels without destemming or crushing the fruit to avoid oxidation and preserve natural yeasts on the grape skins. Fermentation is not rushed and the fruit goes through extended periods of maceration before the wine is pressed and sent into the first level of the cellar until malolactic fermentation is complete. Using only gravity, the wine is then poured off the lees into the lower second level of the cellar where wine is stored until it is bottled.

For the source of the information above and more, check out Leroy’s website here. I also previously reviewed the 2010 Côte de Beaune-Villages from Maison Leroy.

Today’s Wine: 2014 Bourgogne Blanc

100% Chardonnay; 12.5% ABV

The 2014 Bourgogne Blanc is pale gold in color. This truly blossomed after about 45 minutes in the glass, with the aromas of medium (+) intensity and the nose showcasing notes of green apple, pear, Meyer lemon, white wildflower, flint, raw almond, dried vanilla, and a hint of butter. Meanwhile the flavors are also of medium (+) intensity and the palate displays notes of crisp green apple, underripe pear, white peach, melon, honeysuckle, white pepper, and crushed rock minerality. This dry white is medium- to full-bodied with medium acidity, medium alcohol, and a medium (+) finish. Very good but not as racy as other 2014 BB I’ve enjoyed in the past.

Price: $100 (paid $45 a few years ago). From a value standpoint, I think this is a bit of a stretch at the current market prices around $100. However finding this closer to $70 would be a solid entry and the $45 we got it for several years ago is screaming value.

Incredible Value From a Provence Red Blend

Today’s Story: Triennes

Triennes is a wine estate established in 1989 in Provence, France by Burgundy legends Jacques Seysses of Domaine Dujac and Aubert de Villaine of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. Given their prowess in Burgundy, the duo became convinced that great wines of incredible quality could also be produced in the south of France when focus is put on the vineyards first and foremost. After they purchased their estate, Triennes underwent a massive replanting program to ensure the healthiest of vineyards, with vines and rootstocks specifically adapted to the local climate and microclimates. The vineyards are farmed as naturally as possible, with Ecocert organic certification following a transition that began in 2008.

As far as the Triennes wine portfolio goes, they produce three main wines of Saint Auguste Rouge (Syrah, Cabernet sauvignon, and Merlot), Viognier Sainte Fleur (Viognier), and a rosé (Cinsault blended with Grenache, Syrah, and Merlot). They also produce a Merlot, Les Auréliens Blanc (Chardonnay, Viognier, Vermentino, Ugni Blanc, and Grenache Blanc), and Les Auréliens Rouge (Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon). I previously reviewed their 2020 Rosé.

Today’s Wine: 2017 Saint-Auguste Rouge

55% Syrah, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon; 13.5% ABV

The 2017 Saint-Auguste Rouge is deep ruby in color and completely opaque. I decanted this for about an hour which seemed about right at this stage. The aromas are of medium (+) intensity, with the nose showcasing surprisingly complex aromas of blackberry, black cherry, cassis, plum, violet, scorched earth, crushed rock, nutmeg, and clove. Meanwhile the flavors are also of medium (+) intensity and the palate displays notes of black cherry, blueberry, spiced plum, licorice, dried tobacco, cracked pepper, a hint of smoke, and clove. This dry red is medium-bodied with medium acidity, medium (+) but refined tannins, medium alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish.

Price: $18. I think this is an incredible value wine. For the price, it offers great depth, balance, and length while coming off rather elegant (at least partially due to aging in old Domaine Dujac barrels I imagine). Like their Rosé I reviewed previously, I suggest giving this a try.