Question: Who are some of the main Burgundy producers that are now in Oregon?
Answer: There have been quite a few since the Drouhin family first established their Domaine Drouhin Oregon pinot noir release in 1988. Jacques Lardiere after 40+ years at Louis Jadot (with Guillaume Large) is developing Resonance Wines. Dominique Lafon (with Thomas Savre) influenced Evening Land & Lingua Franca. Jean-Nicolas Meo of Meo-Camuzet has Nicolas-Jay with Jay Boberg. Your scribe visited Nicolas-Jay winery earlier this month and was impressed tasting their 2021 pinot noirs in barrel. Henriot Champagne (owners of Bouchard Pere) are invested in Beaux Freres. There are many others as well from both Burgundy and elsewhere. Hamilton Russell is a fav from South Africa who have an agreement with Jackson Family Wines. Continue to monitor!
Long time followers of this Blog will know your scribe’s affection for Meursault wines – and especially classy Perrieres with postings here on August 26, 2019 & August 24, 2015. Also reference notes here on the rounder Les Charmes on September 7, 2020, September 24, 2018, and Ask Sid feature on Dessus September 19, 2018. Long list of producers of top Meursault today that include among others my favs of Bouchard Pere, Coche-Dury, and Guy Roulot. Also very much in that star group is Domaine des Comtes de Lafon in the hands of the most competent Dominique Lafon since 1984 taking over and extending with innovations (biodynamic late nineties) the marvellous tradition of his father Rene. Clive Coates calls Lafon the “best white wine domaine in Burgundy”. This opportunity for a tasting-dinner on June 7, 2022 at Blue Water Cafe of 10 Meursaults & 3 Volnay Clos des Chenes all from Lafon was exhilarating indeed! Some thoughts:
The initial plan was to start with 6 consecutive vintages 2007-2012 of Clos de la Barre but 2011 was misplaced so 2000 Desiree substituted:
2000 DESIREE MEURSAULT AC – Nice treat here of older vines that were replanted in 2007-2008 and reappeared again in 2012 as younger vines. No oxidation or madrization with 2000 but mature softer luscious rich hazelnuts. What a big surprise opening statement!
2007 CLOS DE LA BARRE – Vines of this “home” 2.4 hectare village AC vineyard are a step up with limestone-clay soils. 2007 is fresh light and leaner but rather good despite the lack of much Summer sun that vintage.
2008 CLOS DE LA BARRE – Lovely now with some full tropical fleshy guava but nice tighter balance too. Clos de la Barre always shows the fruit well because no new oak is used. 2009 CLOS DE LA BARRE – Riper opulent concentrated delicious now with ginger, spices, anise but a bit of heat on the finish.
2010 CLOS DE LA BARRE – So vibrant and precise citrus! Intense but not over concentrated. Still young, sophisticated and subtle that can age further for even more complexity.
2012 CLOS DE LA BARRE – Lower yields for Lafon in 2012 results in wonderful elegance. So clean.
2012 MEURSAULT PERRIERES – Admire this vineyard in 3 parts of older vines north, younger south and newer small parcel also Dessous facing SE acquired in 2004 first used in the 2010. However, this bottle of very low yields (15hl/ha) is a tad earthy mushroomy and not as typically pristine as usual, outshone by the 2012 Clos de la Barre this time. 2013 MEURSAULT PERRIERES – Shows wet rocks minerality with complexity still so youthful. Impressive for the year with a steely backbone! Older vintages of Perrieres in Lafon horizontals have sometimes been more mature than Charmes. Dominique told me it was because he was picking Perrieres a week later but now picks all vineyards earlier and as much as possible at the same harvest time. No filtering.
2014 MEURSAULT CHARMES – Love that 2014 vintage for white Burgundy including Chablis! In fact here the vintage vibrant structure is so strong that it takes over from the Charmes terroir underneath. What a future treasure!
2015 MEURSAULT CHARMES – Richer rounder more classic velvety texture from this large vineyard (more than Perrieres & Genevrieres combined). Riper pears of 2015 are more forwardly delicious already.
1999, 1997, & 1996 VOLNAY CLOS DE CHENES – Generally balanced fuller bodied from the southern part of Volnay These three vintages are showing quite differently. 1999 biggest sturdy deep intense powerful fruit; 1997 much paler but seductive open delicate charming aromatic bouquet; and 1996 pure more elegant Volnay styling.
Question: What is the oldest Riesling vineyard in the world?
Answer: Must be Schloss Johannisberg in Germany’s Rheingau region. Their history dates back to the days of Charlemagne (742-814) with the vineyard first documented in 817. Schloss Johannisberg has been cultivating since 1720 the entire domain with only the Riesling variety exclusively. That is an amazing 300+ years old!
The third and final day of the International Wine & Food Society Vancouver Branch 2022 Wine Tour of South Okanagan on May 29, 2022 is a memorable one. Early 9:30 am Sunday first stop was at MOON CURSER VINEYARDS in Osoyoos warmly greeted by early riser owner Chris Tolley. Check out here your scribe’s earlier posting of March 29, 2021 shining a spotlight on this exciting winery with such a diverse portfolio of top quality wines. Their dedicated work in finding success by producing so many different less known grape varieties is truly admirable. Their current wine release has 18 different ones listed on it but some are Wine Club Exclusives. They continue to receive all sorts of awards recognition the latest being led by Double Gold @allcanadawine for unique Touriga Nacional 2020 and Golds for Arneis 2021, Malbec 2020, & Tannat 2018. We tasted 6:
MOONLIT 2021 Frizzante from 100% Viognier is rare picked early for higher acidity shows light 11.5 abv & refreshing with granny smith apple, kiwi, and notes of orange zest.
ROUSSANNE MARSANNE 2021 Grown on Osoyoos East Bench has fresh 13.9 abv floral citrus lime chamomile clove and lees stirring with some oak. Enjoy now or later when a richer texture feel develops.
CARMENERE 2020 Can be difficult to ripen and shows better blackberries, lilacs, and white pepper in hotter years like this intriguing 2020 at 14.1 abv.
SYRAH 2020 This big seller is dark rich & peppery with both blueberries and blackberries lush and powerful at 14.7 abv.
MALBEC 2020 Elegant & delicious here with notes of cinnamon, cocoa, espresso, and mocha at 14.5 abv. Thin skinned grape nonetheless gives an intense expression in the resulting wine.
DEAD OF NIGHT 2020 Flagship unique blend of Syrah & Tannat is bold 14.8 but rich and worth cellaring. Recommend with BBQ.
RAINMAKER the estate project of some 27 acres by proprietor Kim Pullen on Black Sage Road in Oliver BC was our second visit. All gravity flow and layout organized well with no pumps or hoses. Tried 6 of their wines with experienced winemaker from SW France Caroline Schaller:
SPARKLER THE PERFORMER 2020 Charmat method of mostly Chardonnay mixed with Gewurztraminer & Viognier
VIOGNIER 2019 Two different ones RAINMAKER VINEYARD vibrant acidity 6 months French oak & RATTLESNAKE VINEYARD richer caramel spends 9.
CHARDONNAY THE CRAFTMAN 2019 Full “sweet” caramel notes from 9 months in French oak
SYRAH 75% VIOGNIER 25% THE MODERNIST 2018 Aromatics – their idea of a “before dinner” red wine
MERLOT SECOND CHAPTER 2017 Planted 2005 in the warm sheltered Rattlesnake vineyard on Golden Mile and produced since 2009. Big rich intense 14.9 abv regular price $40 (same for all reds) on sale presently less 30% for a case.
MERLOT 65% CABERNET 35% THE SOCIALITE 2018 Big Red Bordeaux Blend at 14.5 abv spending 20 months in French oak.
Our final winery visit was the “piece de resistance” with an extensive tour, tasting, and outstanding lunch at PHANTOM CREEK ESTATES on the Black Sage Bench. The entrance into a most special place is noted by the welcoming exquisite two angels tall sculpture by Wu Ching Ju on our arrival. The Estate vineyards started in 1977 as the Becker Project are cleverly guided by Olivier Humbrecht MW organic/biodynamic master from Alsace. The winery founded by Richter Bai is a spectacular showpiece including the finest of everything from the 22 Austrian custom-made best Franz Stockinger (built a second plant to fulfill this remarkable order) oak casks to the beautifully crafted Dale Chihuly mouth-blown glass of 270 pieces chandelier in the Level One tasting room. Their amazing capable team also includes Director of Winemaking globally experienced Mark Beringer, and new attentive General Manager Bill Lui (also has One Faith Vineyards).
Reception was in the interesting History Room with framed soil profiles worth studying of their 4 different vineyard terroirs: Kobau, Evernden Spring, Becker, and Phantom Creek sipping 2019 VIOGNIER only 360 cases. It is from Kobau (gravel with cool afternoons) on the Golden Mile Bench using both stainless & oak in a fresh perfumed elegant textured style showing to advantage in the those classy German Stolzle Lausitz perfect glasses. Tasted 5 more wines:
RIESLING Estate 2019 $33 On elevated SW slopes in Okanagan Falls it is a salute to Alsace with the wonderful vibrant balanced mouth feel.
CHARDONNAY Small Lots Similkameen 2020 $48 Hot days cool nights for 16 Barrels fermented full cluster purchased grapes with partial malolactic fermentation shows strong fruit forward flavours at sensible 12.9 abv with some further development expected as it ages.
KOBAU CUVEE 2018 $80 From 2005 plantings on Golden Mile Bench of 45+ Merlot (savoury bramble), 35 Cab Franc (herbal spices + elegance), 19.5 Syrah (darker assertive fruit) co-fermented with Viognier at 14 abv. Spent 21 months in barrels of 45% new oak. Like the open raspberry violets aromas.
BECKER CUVEE 2016 $70 Merlot dominant Bordeaux blend showing success from late ripening of older vines with Cab Franc adding freshness at 14.5 abv with expressive interesting earthy almost mushroomy bouquet developing.
PHANTOM CREEK CUVEE 2018 $150 (Magnums $300) Best expression of their Cabernet Sauvignon (40%) dominant blend with Petite Verdot, Malbec, Cab Franc & Syrah for 21 months in 65% new French oak is powerful 14.5 abv has minty almost eucalyptus notes with bramble herbal blackberries and black pepper (more than bell pepper) and is a promising unique standard of what top Okanagan reds are capable of producing for cellaring.
Lunch was a tour-de-force culinary treat by talented Chef Alessa Valdez and her skilled brigade using local ingedients where possible to match the stellar wines produced. Ambitious lunch menu of excellent inspired choices including as shown artistic presentations of shaved root salad, killer burrata course, Halibut, and Duck Confit. Where are those new Michelin Guide investigators for Toronto when there is a worthy 3 star award Canadian winner right here in the Okanagan BC waiting to be crowned?
Question: What is the name of the largest grape variety?
Answer: That would be KYOHO. It is a very dark large round plum size flavourful eating grape developed in 1937. It is inspired from Mt. Fuji and means “giant mountain grape.” Native to Japan but now cultivated in several places including California, Chile, China, and Korea. Like Concord grapes they have proven to be more successful for eating and jams than for making a “grapey” wine.