Maison Lucien le Moine – Bygone Methods yielding Perfection in White Burgundy

“Dazzling pretty much sums it up" - Antonio Galloni

“Dazzling pretty much sums it up” – Antonio Galloni

 

The history of Burgundy includes the Citeaux of the Cistercian Monks – a beautiful, fine old Abbey south of Dijon – where wine was fermented on its fine lees in frigid cellars through summer months. The ancient fermentation practices recognized by the Monks of the Cistercian Order during the Middle Ages as well as the practice of selecting specific plots – or Crus – for the production of fine wines were the corner stone for today’s greatest wines of the Cote D’Or. Allowing wines to naturally ferment in barrel on their fine sediment – known as lees – produces beneficial levels of Carbon Dioxide (a natural preservative). This ancient practice allows modern proponents to avoid the overuse of Sulfur Dioxide in the winemaking practice.

 

Meet Mounir Saouma, a Lebanese monk who – along with his wife Rotem Brakir – established what has become the most talked about, Beaune-based micro-negociant in the Burgundy trade today. Mounir’s passion for great Burgundy was born from his work alongside Cistercian Monks not only in Burgundy at the Citeaux, but further blossomed during his time with the Monks while in Israel – where he met Rotem. Through the assistance of the Cistercians, the couple visited Citeaux many times together, and from there a mutual passion for the Cote’s great terroirs and the Cistercian’s vinification practices was ignited.

 

After leaving the order in 1999, Mounir established his micro-negoce with Rotem, naming it Lucien le Moine. Following the practices of old, their first guideline is to work exclusively with 1er and Grand Cru vineyard plots within the Cote D’Or – precisely as the Cistercians deemed appropriate. Taking this practice one step further, each vintage brings a new selection however as Mounir realizes that what makes Genevrieres perfect in 2004 might omit it from selection in 2007. And therein we find the magic that has made this micro-negoce the jewel of the Cote: a selection process to rival the greatest in the region.

 

Each harvest, Mounir visits his friends in Burgundy just after the harvest – when the first pressing has been completed. Once the selections have been made, the juice – jus-wine as it’s known – is placed in the Lucien le Moine barrels for aging. The le Moine barrels add yet another dimension, being from the Jupilles, which provide some of the most consistently tight-grained oak of any French forest. Toasted to the le Moine specifications, each barrel in the cellars is ordered precisely for Mounir, and Jupilles makes up 100% of the barrel selection Chez le Moine.

 

Once barreled, the juice rests on 100% of its fine lees without racking throughout its entire fermentation process. The wine is encouraged to feed upon these fine lees – through the ancient process of “battonages”, or stirring of the lees – which protects, balances and promotes complexity in the fermenting wine. During this process, the barrels are resting in the le Moine cellars, which are closed, cold, humid and very deep. And thanks to this, the malolactic fermentation process is able to last for many months – another aspect of the winemaking process that leads to exquisitely layered and profoundly flavored wines from Lucien le Moine.

 

Finally, when each barrel announces its readiness for bottling, the le Moine team bottles with respect for the ancient ways: never are their wines fined or filtered. This method allows for the naturally occurring Carbon Dioxide to be present in the finished wines, a natural element that ensures the ability for each of the Lucien le Moine wines to age gracefully for decades. And thanks to this element, Mounir recommends decantation for each of the wines when consuming them young. Each and every element of terroir – from the most sublime nuances of minerality to the brilliance of the Cote’s acidity – combine with the almost indescribable layers of extreme flavor alive in the very grapes themselves, and come together to build a taste sensation that one is not likely soon to ever forget. Tasting these wines is truly vinous perfection!

 

Just how good are they?

 

In the words of Antonio Galloni, when describing the 2010 le Moine White Burgundies, he would say:

 

“Dazzling pretty much sums it up…. This dazzling, drop-dead gorgeous wine is a pure pleasure to taste. Frankly, it is impossible to spit.”

 

And Steven Tanzer – after scoring the top wines here 99 points for 2010, succinctly summarized:

 

“The 2010s here should be extraordinary.”

 

Might be terribly difficult to locate – at a price suitable – but I assure you the search is worth it; exemplary wines!

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Chateauneuf du Pape 2012 – First Release – Low Yields, Excellent Wines!

CDP

There’s a word you need to memorize: coulure. It’s the French vinous term for a condition which results in low yields for the wine-makers. Grapes fail to develop after flowering, leaving growers weeping. This condition has wreaked havoc across France. Remember the 2010 Burgundies? Well, it’s happened again! But what spells sorrow for growers equates to sheer joy for quality conscience consumers.

Coulure lowers yields and concentrates flavors. Cut to the chase, these 2012 Chateauneufs are packed with flavor! The Grenache harvest alone was cut by 60% at some places, the resulting wines as juicy as I’ve tasted in quite awhile. As reported in Tanzer,

Vincent Avril [of Clos des Papes] quipped sardonically that ‘maybe we need to come up with a new definition of “normal” for yields because this is getting to be sadly consistent.’”

But here’s the downside to all this: allocations will be slashed. One of my suppliers actually laughed when I tried to order 25 cases of our best seller. “I’ll give you 5”, he replied. These are sublime folks. But when they’re gone, that’s it. With that in mind, here’s round one (watch this space for more to come)…    clos-des-papepegau-cdphillaire-cdp-l

First release offers may be found here

 

Selvapiana Bucerchiale Riserva, Chianti Rufina – Chart Topping!

Bernabei

Winemaker Extraordinaire Franco Bernabei

Now here’s one which requires virtually zero introduction and even less fanfare – in fact I may have said too much already! In vintages past, Antonio Galloni has asked – when tasting the 2004, for instance – “Why can’t more Chiantis be like this?”  The answer to that seemingly unanswerable question is quite possibly attributable to (at least) two major factors: winemaker extraordinaire Franco Bernabei (known as “Mr. Sangiovese” and the maestro of past treasures such as Flaccianello and Fontalloro from Felsina), as well as the location of Selvapiana:  within the Chianti sub-zone of Rufina.

And I’m here today to posit what may turn out to be THE most substantial declaration regarding not only one of the top vintages for Chianti this past decade, but for the very district itself. Selvapiana’s 2009 Chianti Rufina Riserva Bucerchiale takes my pick as the single greatest Chianti of the 2009 vintage! There. I said it. And the words you’ve just read were somewhat echoed by the guys at Tanzer’s IWC, “The 2009 vintage doesn’t get any better than this. An outstanding wine, and everything a Chianti ought to be.”

No other wine scored higher! A whopping 95 points!

Available here

 

Turley “The Label” Cabernet 2011 ~ The Zin Man “Actually Likes It”!


Christopher’s Wine Country Connection
Your Direct Source to Exclusive Offers from Wine Country


2011 TURLEY “The Label”Turley The Label

Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena
(92 points): Outstanding; Tanzer

~ “Larry Turley bought this property next to his winery north of St. Helena in 2009 and promptly pulled out the merlot and replanted it to cabernet sauvignon

~ “Aged in one-third new oak, vs. 20% for the zinfandels here; tasted from tank a day or two prior to bottling…

~ “Good full red.  Nice lift to the aromas and flavors of currant and pepper.  Sweet, supple and scented, in a gentle, seamless style.  An herbal quality contributes to the wine’s juicy character and light touch.  Finishes seamless and persistent, with noteworthy purity of flavor.  ‘I actually like it,’ says zin man Turley.”
(92 points) ~ Tanzer

~ The above referenced notes come to us via Tanzer and indicate a wine in keeping with the long-standing reputation of Turley; a wine which true enthusiasts should be buying before it’s gone!

2011 “The Label” Cabernet

Turley Wine Cellars, St. Helena

Retails at:  $45.00/btl

Your Price: $42.99/btl


2011 TURLEY “The Label”

Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena


Larry Turley

Larry Turley (left) & Ehren Jordan

2011 marks the 2nd release of “The Label” Cabernet from legendary producer Turley Cellars. This surprisingly impressive Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from magnificent 20+ year old vines in a single, organically-farmed vineyard that recently became part of the Turley Estate in St Helena.

The wine undergoes aging in 100% French oak (33% new), which imparts a nicely integrated seamlessness and toasty spice. It’s packed full of ripe black and blue fruits with pretty floral notes. Balanced and inviting,

“The Label” represents a refreshing take on Napa Cabernet and deftly balances New World charm with Old World refinement.

If you’ve ever wondered just how good the wines of Turley can be, I strongly recommend securing a case of this limited Cabernet for your wine collection.

To order simply call my toll free number: 866-620-4476

(if your account is already established you may order by replying to this email)

All the best in wine & life,
Christopher
Wine Country Connection
866-620-4476

Olson Ogden Milla’s Blend 2009 ~ A Rhone Blend for Pinot Enthusiasts


Christopher’s Wine Country Connection


Olson Ogden 2009 Milla’s BlendOlson

* Rarely do you find a wine that the world’s most respected wine critics can all agree on…

* Olson Ogden quickly became a fan favorite, with their consistent reviews, realistic prices and new and unique blends.  The winery is closing its doors Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity to stock up on this fantastic blend.

Here are some of the Reviews….

~ From the Connoisseurs’ Guide:
“…Rich, well-balanced…shows a real sense of winemaking polish from front to back….fresh berries…sweet oak…refined flavors…lively, long-lasting fruit..”
90 points

~ From the Rhone Report:
An electric, fun blend….fruit-driven…beautifully put together, this should have 5-6 years of prime drinking.
89 points

~ From Steve Tanzer:
Aromas of dark berry preserves….Juicy and precise, offering tightly wound blackberry, and mulberry flavors that show very good focus...
90 points

~ From the Wine Enthusiast:
full of flavor…concentrated and thick…the finish is long..”
91 points

 

2009 Olson Ogden Milla’s Blend
Retails at:  $35.00/btl
Your Price: $25.50/btl + Ground Shipping Included on Case Purchases

 ~ WCC Notes:
Enchanting aromas of raspberry cobbler, vanilla and ripe plum.  Impeccably balanced flavors of ripe red berries, sweet oak, spices and brambleberry vanilla silk.  Very elegantly presented, this is a Rhone Blend for Pinot drinkers, and fans of interesting and unique red wines.   The finish is long and memorable.  Drink now through 2015″.
91 points


Olson Ogden

2009 Milla’s Blend


From a Star Studded lineup of vineyards, that reads like a who’s who list of some of California’s Best, including Alder Springs, Kick Ranch, Unti and Stagecoach.  This unique and delicious Blend is very well balanced, and elegantly presented.   Just 365 cases produced, this wine is sure to impress.

Olson Guys

 

Olson Ogden delivered some fantastic wines over the last several years.  This is a rare opportunity to stock up on their 2009 Milla’s Blend at a truly fantastic price.  The winery is closing their doors, and this will likely be your last chance to secure a case or two of this delicious wine.   The last 100 cases will be sold on a first come first serve basis….

 

 

To order simply call my toll free number: 866-620-4476

(if your account is already established you may order by replying to this email)

All the best in wine & life,
Christopher
Wine Country Connection
866-620-4476
https://cepagenoir.wordpress.com/tag/wine-country-connection

 

Arietta “Quartet” Proprietary Red, Napa Valley ~ The Screaming Eagle Connection


Christopher’s Wine Country Connection


2011 ARIETTA “Quartet” Proprietary Red, Napa ValleyArietta Quartet 1

*From Stephen Tanzer, one of the toughest critics in the industry…

Dark red-ruby. Expressive aromas…Dense and sweet…boasts excellent energy...” 92-94

*Accomplished Napa winemaker Andy Erickson (Made Screaming Eagle from 2005-2010 with 2, 100 Point Wines, & assisted at Harlan Estate…)

*The Vineyard, located in the red hot Coombsville AVA in Napa Valley, was planted by world renowned viticulturist David Abreu…

2011 ARIETTA QUARTET
$64.99/btl + Ground Shipping Included on Case Purchases

Dark red-ruby. Expressive aromas of black raspberry, pepper, mocha, leather, menthol and coffee. Dense and sweet but youthfully tight, with a sappy impression of firm acidity energizing the mid-palate. Finishes savory, peppery and perfumed, with a firm tannic spine. Not a thick wine but one that boasts excellent energy and supporting spine.”92-94 Tanzer


2011 ARIETTA “Quartet”
Proprietary Red, Napa Valley
62% cabernet, 19% cabernet franc, 17% merlot & 2% petit verdot


At a tiny fraction of the price that you would see a bottle of Screaming Eagle or Harlan Estate going for in the marketplace, Arietta’s “Quartet” packs in more bang for your buck in this price range than seemingly possible.   An expertly crafted blend by accomplished winemaker Andy Erickson

During Andy’s five year tenure making Screaming Eagle, he expertly crafted two 100 point perfect wines, the 2007 & 2010.   Andy was also the former assistant winemaker at Harlan Estate, is currently involved in his own label Favia, and is also winemaker at cult producers Dalla Valle, Dancing Hares and Ovid…  If you still aren’t quite convinced, Stephen Tanzer who is well known for being one of the toughest critics in the business raved about the 2011 Quartet and awarded it 92-94 points.   I strongly recommend securing a 15 bottle case of this magnificent red for your cellar….

If your account is already established, simply reply to this post to order.

OR call me at my office number (510.749.0325) to set up an account.

All the best in wine & life,

Christopher
Wine Country Connection

cepagenoir@gmail.com

 

Maison Lucien le Moine – Bygone Methods yielding Perfection in Chardonnay

Lucien le Moine

 

The history of Burgundy includes the Citeaux of the Cistercian Monks – a beautiful, fine old Abbey south of Dijon – where wine was fermented on its fine lees in frigid cellars through summer months. The ancient fermentation practices recognized by the Monks of the Cistercian Order during the Middle Ages as well as the practice of selecting specific plots – or Crus – for the production of fine wines were the corner stone for today’s greatest wines of the Cote D’Or. Allowing wines to naturally ferment in barrel on their fine sediment – known as lees – produces beneficial levels of Carbon Dioxide (a natural preservative). This ancient practice allows modern proponents to avoid the overuse of Sulfur Dioxide in the winemaking practice.

 

Meet Mounir Saouma, a Lebanese monk who – along with his wife Rotem Brakir – established what has become the most talked about, Beaune-based micro-negociant in the Burgundy trade today. Mounir’s passion for great Burgundy was born from his work alongside Cistercian Monks not only in Burgundy at the Citeaux, but further blossomed during his time with the Monks while in Israel – where he met Rotem. Through the assistance of the Cistercians, the couple visited Citeaux many times together, and from there a mutual passion for the Cote’s great terroirs and the Cistercian’s vinification practices was ignited.

 

After leaving the order in 1999, Mounir established his micro-negoce with Rotem, naming it Lucien le Moine. Following the practices of old, their first guideline is to work exclusively with 1er and Grand Cru vineyard plots within the Cote D’Or – precisely as the Cistercians deemed appropriate. Taking this practice one step further, each vintage brings a new selection however as Mounir realizes that what makes Genevrieres perfect in 2004 might omit it from selection in 2007. And therein we find the magic that has made this micro-negoce the jewel of the Cote: a selection process to rival the greatest in the region.

 

Each harvest, Mounir visits his friends in Burgundy just after the harvest – when the first pressing has been completed. Once the selections have been made, the juice – jus-wine as it’s known – is placed in the Lucien le Moine barrels for aging. The le Moine barrels add yet another dimension, being from the Jupilles, which provide some of the most consistently tight-grained oak of any French forest. Toasted to the le Moine specifications, each barrel in the cellars is ordered precisely for Mounir, and Jupilles makes up 100% of the barrel selection Chez le Moine.

 

Once barreled, the juice rests on 100% of its fine lees without racking throughout its entire fermentation process. The wine is encouraged to feed upon these fine lees – through the ancient process of “battonages”, or stirring of the lees – which protects, balances and promotes complexity in the fermenting wine. During this process, the barrels are resting in the le Moine cellars, which are closed, cold, humid and very deep. And thanks to this, the malolactic fermentation process is able to last for many months – another aspect of the winemaking process that leads to exquisitely layered and profoundly flavored wines from Lucien le Moine.

 

Finally, when each barrel announces its readiness for bottling, the le Moine team bottles with respect for the ancient ways: never are their wines fined or filtered. This method allows for the naturally occurring Carbon Dioxide to be present in the finished wines, a natural element that ensures the ability for each of the Lucien le Moine wines to age gracefully for decades. And thanks to this element, Mounir recommends decantation for each of the wines when consuming them young. Each and every element of terroir – from the most sublime nuances of minerality to the brilliance of the Cote’s acidity – combine with the almost indescribable layers of extreme flavor alive in the very grapes themselves, and come together to build a taste sensation that one is not likely soon to ever forget. Tasting these wines is truly vinous perfection!

 

Just how good are they?

 

In the words of Antonio Galloni, when describing the 2010 le Moine White Burgundies, he would say:

 

“Dazzling pretty much sums it up…. This dazzling, drop-dead gorgeous wine is a pure pleasure to taste. Frankly, it is impossible to spit.”

 

And Steven Tanzer – after scoring the top wines here 99 points for 2010, succinctly summarized:

 

“The 2010s here should be extraordinary.”

 

Might be terribly difficult to locate – at a price suitable – but I assure you the search is worth it; exemplary wines!