Showing posts from October, 2013

2011 Domaine Leflaive

2011 Domaine Leflaive wines just started arriving to retail shops around the country, and I did not miss the opportunity the taste the entire lineup from Bourgogne blanc up through premier crus. Sadly, grand crus were not yet available to taste, but perhaps it's for the better, as even the premier's are enough to do serious damage to one's wallet - Les Pucelles is starting to approach $300/bottle. Overall, this tasting confirmed what I have already been observing, which is that 2011 whites are very charming, with excellent balance, albeit not as much structure or concentration as 2010's, but still very enjoyable now and in the medium term. The Leflaive's all had superb acidity which makes me believe they will last a long time too, while already being delicious. Tasting Notes 2011 Domaine Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc - high acidity, high minerality, slight bitter note of citrus peel, tons of pronounced lemon/lime, almost chablis-like, flower water, pretty but lac

Vintage Wine Merchants Celebrates 10 Years in Business

View from the Cielo bar roof-top, Santana Row Is there ever enough Salon? I don't often get to drink it, but when I do, this king of Champagne, perhaps rivaled only by vintage Krug, is always a special affair. Especially so, because I was enjoying it with a glorious view and great food, courtesy of Vintage Wine Merchants , who threw a party of all parties on top of the ultra-swanky Hotel Valencia's roof-top Ceilo wine bar in Santana Row, San Jose. Man o man! What a way to celebrate 10 years in this tough biz. I couldn't keep my eyes off the beauties next to me. I am talking of the wines of course! The event was well organized, with enough interesting variety but without forcing me to rush. Plenty of generous refills ensured thorough evaluation of the wines. Harry Fong who runs VWM went all out. The wines were amazing, and many deserved an evening of their own. Here are the notes I was able to muster in the blur of this spectacular extravaganza put together for shop

Highlights of Wine & Spirits Top 100 Wineries of 2013

Five years in a row I have now attended this great event in San Francisco, organized by Wine & Spirits Magazine . As usual, fantastic ambiance of hors d'oeuvres , wines , chocolates and coffee, live music, and well-dressed people, with a gorgeous view from the City View at Metreon! I did not intend to provide exhaustive coverage. The following sampling of tweets reflects subjectively my most memorable wines at the event: Le Moine Charmes Chambertin 2010 Grand Cru Burg best wine W&S Top 100 2013. Spectacular. Rich focused powerful. Wow. — Gary Iron Chevsky (@IronChevsky) October 16, 2013 Ridge Monte Bello 2009 - best new world red at W&S Top 100 Wineries 2013. Complex, delicious, great acid, incomparable. — Gary Iron Chevsky (@IronChevsky) October 16, 2013 Louis Roederer Cristal 2005 - best Champagne at Wine&Spirits Top 100. — Gary Iron Chevsky (@IronChevsky) October 16, 2013 JJ Prum very good, es

A Day Trip to Napa Valley

People keep asking me for recommendations for a day trip in Napa Valley. Here is the latest perfect itinerary, which takes just a little bit of preparation. Schedule no more than two winery appointments. It's about quality, not quantity. Spend 2 hours at each winery on average, and let your world slow down for just one day. While cruising along the main road - highway 29, pick up your lunch at Bouchon Bakery  in Yountville or Oakville Grocery  in Oakville - two Napa Valley lunch-picnic "institutions" (with picnic tables outside - simply beautiful on a sunny day). I especially love the frenchified ham-n-cheese from Bouchon - the fresh baguette and Dijon mustard make the sandwich. And their tuna nicoise is the best tuna sandwich ever, and a good match for white wine! The line outside of Bouchon Bakery in Yountville. Allow yourself 10-15 min to get though, and you won't regret it! Or if you are in the mood for something heftier, stop further up the highway right

Clape Cornas "Renaissance" vertical 2004-2010

A vertical of Auguste Clape Cornas "Renaissance" at a local wine shop provided an excellent look at how the recent vintages of the venerable Northern Rhone producer's younger vines are doing. With Clape, even his entry level bottlings - Vin Des Ami and Cotes Du Rhone are seriously good wines if you like old world Syrah, which I think blows the socks off of any new world contenders I've tried. His Cornas is a classic rivaling great Hermitages and Cote Roties. The "Renaissance" cuvee is made from younger vines, and is a notch below his straight Cornas, and therefore still represents relative bargain, as the prices for the flagship wine have recently shot up to $200 bottle after Parker gave them two consecutive 100-points (in 2009 and 2010 vintages). Here are my tasting notes: 2010 Clape Cornas "Renaissance" - deep, awesome nose. Dark, elegant, slightly roasted (but not unpleasantly) olives, pepper spice, almost Cabernet-like graphite, but jus

Top Champagne Tasting of 2013

Joel Butler, MW (left) and Charles Curtis, MW (right) Another year and another glorious champagne event put together by the Institute of Masters of Wine in the San Francisco's Ferry Building overlooking the Bay. This year marked the first time the grand tasting in the evening was preceded by a super fun and informative seminar in the morning. Two masters of wine (MW's) Charles Curtis and Joel Butler led a presentation entitled "Champagne: House Style or Terroir" accompanied by a terrific set of champagne juxtapositions - blanc de blancs, NV, vintage, RosĂ©, etc...  Typically a producer of a so-called "grower champagne" (a winery that grows their own grapes) will go after a particular terroir expression of the land they own, because they may not have enough breadth of vineyards or depth of vintages to pull from, in order to blend a consistent "house style" that transcends a specific terroir. However, with many different grower/wine-maker busines