VIRTUAL TASTINGS POPULAR: ACKER WINES SPOTLIGHT MARK O’CONNELL OF DOMAINE CLOS DE LA CHAPELLE

April 20th, 2020

Busy past week spent at home including many video-audio webinar virtual tastings. A superb new way to pick up more current wine knowledge. Lots of them out there now on the web anxious to get your following. Enjoyed many including on Vinous most ably hosted by Antonio Galloni (Alex & Graeme Macdonald in Napa, Gaia Gaja, Cathy Corison, Morgan Twain-Peterson MW on Zin), Wine Institute hosted by knowledgeable Elaine Chukan Brown (Jasmine Hirsch Sonoma Coast & Cathy Corison Napa,), Benchmark (Erik Segelbaum on Bordeaux Unlocked,), Blackbird in Napa with Winemaker Aaron Pott, and Adam Halpern interviewing Sangiovese innovator Paolo De Marchi of Isole E Olena Chianti Classico & son Luca De Marchi of Propieta Sperino in northern Piedmont. Also some good showcases by dynamic John Kapon of Acker Wines both on Zoom & Instagram with legendary importer Martine Saunier and new Burgundy producer Mark O’Connell of Domaine de la Chapelle.

This last one your scribe found especially fascinating. Here you have a wine lover attending France regularly and buying wines at Hospices de Beaune auction through Christie’s 2006-2009. Mark expands his interest in 2010 working a harvest for the first time and in 2011 buying (with Philippe Remoissent and Pierre Meurgey) a monopole vineyard in Volnay Domaine Clos de la Chapelle founded by Victor Boillot in 1865. He quickly moves to owning 11 different appellation wines (all 1er Cru & Grand Cru with 3 whites and 8 reds) and obtaining an oenolgy degree at UDavis. They are introducing changes in vinification and following organic and biodynamic farming practices. Mark claims now to be the only American owner-winemaker in Burgundy. 2011 was the first year he actually made wine and this year 2020 already will be their 11th vintage. WOW!

Mark’s vintage opinions on his wines are briefly summarized as follows:

2010 loves structured wines of this vintage even though he didn’t make them;

2011 rather good Cotes de Beaune results hot early harvest end of August but 100% destemmed grapes – quite a contrast to 2016 in style;

2012: Lost 80% of the crop resulting in very concentrated wines expressive now but better complexity with 5-9 years more aging;

2013 & 2014: Quite tiny crops for them;

2015: Classic breeding reds with 20-25 years still to go;

2016: Cooler year later harvest end of September with much lower yields (frost & mildew) with 50% whole cluster (50% destemmed) with more fruit plus elegance;

2017: Really likes it with no disease and compares 1999 & 2002. Good young like 2000 (but still good today too) with less breeding than his 2015 & 2016;

2018: Believes these are his best reds ever made from Clos de la Chapelle;

2019: Warm and very ripe with concentration even more than 2015 & 2016.

Like his emphasis on expressing vineyard terroir. Describes so well the differences in his Volnays:

EN CARELLE at slope bottom with 50% clay & 50% limestone is simpliest with straight forward very Volnay style intro for drinking first;

CLOS DE LA CHAPELLE has more refined mid-palate in a “Lafite” style;

TAILLEPIEDS can “cut your feet” on the 2/3 limestone & 1/3 clay higher up on the hill. Lower pH with darker colour. Serious wine brooding more powerful textures in a “Latour” style.

Amazing story already and he hasn’t raised his wine prices since inception. Mark is a wine collector appreciating to try in establishing first a reputation for fine wines and building a producer following. Well done values.

Lots more wine webinars scheduled for this week. Worth checking some of them out!

SKUQTYWine Price Score
1336466Clos de la Chapelle Beaune Champs Pimont 2015 750ml $              79.0090pts, JG
14215536Clos de la Chapelle Beaune Champs Pimont 2016 750ml $              79.0091+pts, JG
14877013Clos de la Chapelle Beaune Teurons 2017 750ml                                                        $              70.9992+pts, JG
14323010Clos de la Chapelle Corton Bressandes 2013 750ml $           119.0093+pts, JG
14215612Clos de la Chapelle Corton Bressandes 2016 750ml $           119.0095pts, JG
14877614Clos de la Chapelle Corton Bressandes 2017 750ml                                                     $           109.0095+pts, JG
1455786Clos de la Chapelle Corton Le Rognet 2014 750ml $           109.0094pts, JG
1451629Clos de la Chapelle Corton Rognet 2011 750ml $              79.0092pts, WS
887824Clos de la Chapelle Pommard Chanlins VV 2014 750ml $              69.0094pts, JG
13364712Clos de la Chapelle Pommard Chanlins VV 2015 750ml $              79.0094pts, JG
14215336Clos de la Chapelle Pommard Chanlins VV 2016 750ml $              79.0094pts, JG
14215310Clos de la Chapelle Pommard Chanlins VV 2016 750ml                                                   $              69.9994pts, JG
14216012Clos de la Chapelle Pommard Grands Epenots 2016 1.5L $           209.0094+pts, JG
14215436Clos de la Chapelle Pommard Grands Epenots 2016 750ml $              99.0094+pts, JG
1487772Clos de la Chapelle Pommard Grands Epenots 2017 3L                                                   $           594.9994+pts, JG
14877210Clos de la Chapelle Pommard Grands Epenots 2017 750ml                                                $           109.0094+pts, JG
14217410Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Carelle 2006 750ml $              59.00
14215136Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Carelle 2016 750ml $              64.9991+pts, JG
1458759Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Clos de la Chapelle 1er Cru 2017 750ml                                    $              89.0094+pts, JG
1114892Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Clos de la Chapelle 2010 750ml                                            $              99.9994pts, JG
87495Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Clos de la Chapelle 2014 750ml $              79.0092+pts, JG
1458742Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Clos de la Chapelle 2015 750ml                                            $           109.0094pts, JG
14215812Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Clos de la Chapelle 2016 1.5L $           179.0094+pts, JG
14214836Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Clos de la Chapelle 2016 750ml $              82.9994+pts, JG
1487804Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Clos de la Chapelle 2017 3L                                               $           615.9994+pts, JG
1451635Clos de la Chapelle Volnay En Carelle 2011 750ml                                                     $              49.9991pts, BH
1451642Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Les Taillepieds 2011 750ml $              79.0090pts, WS
14323212Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Taillepieds 2013 750ml $              99.0093pts, JG
881210Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Taillepieds 2014 750ml $              99.0093pts, JG
14215236Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Taillepieds 2016 750ml $              79.9994pts, JG
1487812Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Taillepieds 2017 3L                                                       $           551.9994+pts, JG
1487736Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Taillepieds 2017 750ml                                                     $              99.9994+pts, JG
14215712Clos de la Chapelle Corton Charlemagne 2016 750ml $           159.0095pts, JG
14337324Clos de la Chapelle Corton Charlemagne 2017 375ml $              85.0095pts, JG
14337236Clos de la Chapelle Corton Charlemagne 2017 750ml $           159.0095pts, JG
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Ask Sid: Best song to accompany at home wine drinking?

April 15th, 2020
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Question: What currently is the best music (song) to accompany your wine drinking at-home?

Answer: Everyone must have their own nostalgic favourite! For me the Top 3 would be –

1.      Don’t Stand So Close To Me by The Police

2.      It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) by R.E.M.

3.      All By Myself by Eric Carmen

What is yours?

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IN THESE MOST DIFFICULT TIMES CHEFS ARE SHOWING AMAZING COMMUNITY SPIRIT

April 13th, 2020
covid 19 coronavirus chef food take out

As predicted in an earlier blog this long continuing Covid-19 pandemic is hitting the hospitality industry particularly hard. Restaurants are closed but many are trying to continue some business with orders for take-out and delivery. Some have been most innovative with their practical food menus and offering some real bargains too on deeply discounted wines. Please check out and support them in your own community. In Vancouver Chef David Hawksworth of Nightingale restaurant has organized that every order results in support for meal deliveries to front line staff at St. Paul’s Hospital fighting this Covid-19 virus. Well done indeed. The Chefs’ Table Society of British Columbia (@ChefsTableBC) has worked like a Trojan during these difficult times to show culinary leadership and help in searching for possible solutions. An interesting successful monthly Director’s meeting at the end of March was held virtually on Zoom with a good exploration of possible helpful ideas. They also held April 7 on line for members a Virtual CTS Social-Cooks, Books, & Beverages “nourishing for the soul and the mind”. This was a wonderful shot of much needed inspiration and confidence with many chefs reflecting on the cookbooks that had influenced them the most from the good old early days. Lots of nostalgic memories and thanks given for the valuable input from Barbara-jo McIntosh and her long closed outstanding Books to Cooks store for both cook book selections offered and visiting chef food demos. It has inspired a new initiative of establishing a CTS Culinary Library now in the works. Many highlights in the discussions including these references:

1. Chef Angus An: Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell

2. Chef Robert Belcham: The Professional Charcuterie by Marcel Cottenceau, Jean-Francosi Deport and Jean-Pierre Odeau

3. Chef Johnny Bridge: Cod by Mark Kurlansky

4. Chef Darren Clay: Culinary Artistry by Andrew Dornenburg

5. Chef Scott Jaeger: White Heat by Marco Pierre White

6. Chef Alex Tung: Tetsuya: Recipes from Australia’s Most Acclaimed Chef by Tetsuya Wakuda.

My wife Joan Cross co-editor of Vancouver Cooks I & II for CTS chimes in with her choice of Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volumes 1 (1961) & 2 a continuation on seven selected subjects (1970) by Julia Child. Joan advises that she has gained so many valuable things from these books which were a really fabulous way to learn the cooking basics. Even today all these years later she makes our still favourite Navarin Printanier (Lamb Stew with Spring vegetables) on page 345 of Volume 1. However we use less salt and less butter in many of her recipes, to our own taste. Amazing.

Exciting to have on the upcoming agenda a Let’s Eat Together from coast to coast in Canada the first “National Take-Out Day” (#TakeoutDay) plus support from The Great Kitchen Party with an hour long variety show on April 15 at 8 pm EST on the Facebook Live platform. Tune in with your ordered take-out dinner matched with your favourite Canadian beverage. Plans are in the works for a 2nd and 3rd edition on April 22 & 29. Join in.

What is happening in your culinary community? Please provide us with a short update.

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Ask Sid: Why is a wine called “white” when it isn’t?

April 8th, 2020
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why is it called white wine when it isn't really white color

Question: Ask Sid: Why is white wine called “white” wine when it’s not & neither is the grape?

Answer: True. “White” just developed as a simple broad category of wines to differentiate them from also incorrectly named “Red” for those having more skin contact. Think of the many different shades of red there are too. There are some very light pale coloured wines that can be almost true white – like sauvignon blanc & pinot grigio. However most are some shade of yellow. Some oak treatment may add an even deeper tone. So maybe the category should be called  “Yellow”. Not as good. There are a lot of various shades of pink wine too – from pinot gris on the skins to so many different now popular Roses. Sometimes “Pink” is given a separate category. As are more “Orange” by naturally leaving the seeds and skins in contact with the juice while making a unique white wine. Also there can be green tints in wines like Chablis. There are so many different fascinating colours of the rainbow plus more out there. “White” maybe is the best catch-all encompassing descriptor name after all.

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THE NEW WINE REALITY OF GETTING TOGETHER IS ALL ON LINE!

April 6th, 2020
online wine tastings covid 19

We now all know about the importance of physical distancing to keep that Covid-19 virus away from us. This makes the old possibility of holding wine seminars or group wine tastings presently most difficult indeed. Besides you are supposed to be staying home anyway. Over the last month there has been an explosion of another whole industry to provide meetings on line led by ZOOM Video Communications for everything from video conferencing to just keeping in touch with family and friends. What started out as mainly a business application is now a dramatic consumer social networking platform. They haven’t solved yet digitizing the aromas of fine wine on line (but it may be coming with AR (augmented reality) technology in the future. In the meantime it is working well in providing winery updates and detailed vineyard & wine information with limited participatory discussion. Some interesting examples this past weekend include @JancisRobinson on ft.com with a live Q & A on where to buy wine online (need that in British Columbia and other North American jurisdictions); Pressoir.Wine at home session with Olivier Krug ($50 registration benefiting ROAR Foundation) featuring Krug Grande Cuvee 168th Edition, and also Dominque Lafon (in support of NoHo Hospitality Family Fund) on his Beaune 1er Cru Greves 2017; and Live Tastings with John Kapon @ackerwines on both Zoom & Instagram of “The Great Wines of Austria” with Sommelier Aldo Sohm 8 pm ET today April 6 and “2000 Bordeaux” April 8th same time.

Highly recommend what Antonio Galloni of Vinous & Delectable is doing with this new opportunity to provide wine knowledge to a thirsty community on line. Started it on March 28 with Marquis d’Angerville, April 4 Domaine Dujac and this morning April 6 with Vietti. Ambitious ongoing free programs planned of Vinous Live! all this week with an impressive most interesting guest list. Be sure to tune in.

A few sample information gems I picked up from enjoying the last two webinars mentioned with Zoom on line:

1. Jacques Seysses of Domaine Dujac compares 2017 vintage with 1984, 1994, and 2004 as good years but lighter in structure. No really unripe vintages since the nineties. Have been green notes in some wines from ladybug (coccinella) invasions in 2004, 2011/2012 and for other reasons. His father Jacques used 100% whole cluster but he still uses 80-85%. Warmer vintages seem to give less integration of oak perhaps because of more skin tannins so cutting back on oak so only 75% for Grand Cru and less for 1er Cru down to 25%. Climate change: Riper means extract faster so he is cooling down the grapes but has his foot on the brake with fewer pump overs and punch downs. Most concerned with warm Winters for early buds followed by cold Springs for frost. Chablis already is geared up but Bourgogne needs to do more preparation. Antonio Galloni likes the variation in 2017 meaning you have to taste carefully and get the unexpected curve balls. Likes the unknown small producers for example in Maranges to find surprises you can actually afford and the beauty in that. Or the village wine of top producers like Roumier. AG likes Dujac’s wines including Romanee St. Vivant and iconic Clos de la Roche but admitted his favourite to collect is Bonnes-Mares.

2. Luca Currado of Vietti with Alessandro Masnaghetti map expert and AG on three way split screen. Still technical issues to resolve as only audio of LC and no video of him for first 15 minutes. Fun tour of the vineyards on line without having to drive those steep very narrow roads in Castiglione Falleto. Luca drinking Champagne for “bubbles fun & happiness” he calls it the “altra Langhe” with Burgundy too. Later switched to Barbera d’Alba from Cappellano of Gabutti. AG had his 1999 Barolo Ravera Vietti ready. Luca said this vineyard struggled in the sixties and seventies but now can be a bit too ripe sometimes but has those typical strawberries. AM not convinced new climate is changing the best historical vineyards in Barolo as they are still there in their unique terroir and producers are reacting to it all. They all like the real classic style of 1996 and 2010 vintages.

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