Showing posts from 2016

2011 Produttori del Barbaresco Horizontal Tasting

Produttori del Barbaresco is the benchmark producer of Barbaresco. Always reliable in quality, they represent remarkable value too. And with their 9 single-vineyard riserva cru's, you get a look at the nuances of the various terroirs of Barbaresco. Though 2011 was a warmer than ideal year, it is considered a good vintage in Barbaresco, with wines on the riper, richer, darker, sexier end of the scale, but with good tannic structure and sufficient acidity, giving them serious ability to age. The fruit is by no means roasted or raisiny, as may happen in hot years. In short, 2011 vintage in Barbaresco is a vintage of considerable early appeal, but with serious capacity to age. Here are my impressions of the 2011 line-up from Produttori del Barbaresco, in the order I tasted them. There was a clear familial similarity among all the wines, including the Normale bottling. They were suave, rich, ripe, and tannic, shifting from red berries to blueberries and plums, hints of herbs and spi

Meeting George Derbalian of Atherton Wine Imports

The other night I had the privilege of attending a private dinner hosted by our neighbors, who invited the owner / founder of Atherton Wine Imports - George Derbalian and his wife Sue-Min to be the wine stuarts for an aspiring group of wine aficionados. Atherton have been around for over 30 years and established reputation for carrying some of the top names in Burgundy, including producers like Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey, Groffier, Roty, Hudelot-Noellat, Anne Gros, and many others whose wines I cherish in my cellar. They also import some other famous regions, but it's Burgundy where I have typically seen and bought their bottles. The dinner hosted by a prominent Chinese family consisted of home-cooked Shanghai-style (non-spicy) seafood, vegetables, poultry and pork-based courses. I have noted in the past that Chinese food when not spicy, tends to pair well with both white and red burgundy, and this experience further cemented that belief. George and Sue-Min seemed like a delightful

La Paulee San Francisco 2016 - Featuring 2013 Burgundies

Another La Paulee is in the books. The 2016 edition roared through San Francisco to the delight of Burgundy lovers. The 3-hour (all-too-short) Grand Tasting focused on the 2013 vintage, and it did not disappoint. The reds and whites across the board showed clear and consistent vintage characteristics. For the reds, this meant tart acidity and sufficient ripeness and depth without overt over-ripeness, suppleness or fat of such recent years as 2009 and 2012. The whites were consistently excellent, with high acidities, citrus, minerality, crystalline purity, and loads of grip. The best reds I think came from higher cru's, which had a bit more flesh on the bones to balance out the high acidity of the year. Same with whites - the higher cru's with a bit more sweetness were well balanced by a level of freshness and purity rarely seen. I have generally recommended caution with 2013 whites, as this is a rather leaner, high-acidity vintage. The tasting did not change my mind, but it als

La Paulee 2016 coming to San Francisco

This year the much heralded La Paulee event comes back to San Francisco (last year was in New York), with the focus on 2013 vintage in Burgundy. It really needs no advertisement, the event tends to be fully booked, regardless of the lofty admission price tags, because of the quality of wineries and wines showcased there, and the grandeur of the events. I will be attending the grand tasting for the 4th time in a row, and this tends to be my most memorable wine event of the year, and the opportunity to taste once-in-a-lifetime burgundies and rub elbows with gods of the wine world. Last time in SF (in 2014) featured the 2011 vintage and was covered here . I will point out a couple of lesser known events in the week-long La Paulee program. The Off Grid tasting and the Roulot Play . The Off Grid "Tasting of Burgundy's Hidden Gems" event showcases 50 wineries from Burgundy's less premium appellations and up-and-coming winemakers, along with small plates from SF'

Rombauer Vineyards

I don't always drink new-world Chardonnay, but when I do, it's Rombauer! Stay thirsty, my friends! kidding... kidding... My palate gravitates toward French, Italian, and German. For whites - white burgundy - Chardonnay that expresses fruit, minerals and cooler climate of Côte de Beaune (Burgundy, France) and Chablis in a leaner, higher acidity, and dare I say, a more nuanced way that challenges many American palates. Polar opposite of Rombauer. Rombauer is colloquially known as everyone's mother's favorite Chardonnay - a rich, sweetly, buttery, and approachable California Chardonnay, a style that huge number of domestic consumers adore. I rarely make it to Napa anymore, but recently when I got an invitation for a press tasting and tour at Rombauer, I cast my personal preconceived notions aside, and decided to learn more about what makes Rombauer a public's darling, with 100,000 cases of their "house-style" Carneros Chardonnay sold each year. It's