Troon Vineyard 2017 Riesling Whole Grape Ferment Kubli Bench

I couldn’t help but smile when I read that the team at Troon decided to forgo the industry lingo of “skin fermented” on this label as they think it sounds “kind of yucky”. When it comes to human skin, I get it. The idea of sticky toes treading grapes never sounds appealing to me. However, this is different.

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More Bulgarian Wines!

Last year I tasted through a shipment of very fun Bulgarian wines in New York City that partially substituted for a trip I was to take there for a third time. Time flies, and again, I’ve had the pleasure of doing a similar round of wines in my office. Moreover, I had the chance to taste again the Bratanov Tamianka 2015, which is too delightful to resist yet has several years of staying power left.

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The Latest Releases of FEL and Cliff Lede

One of the most impressive attributes of the FEL wines is their consistency at a high quality level. The Pinot Noir and the Chardonnay are especially notable. I always appreciate the FEL wines’ terrific balance and clearly defined varietal character. Year over year, I am entirely confident of what I will get in a bottle of wine from FEL. So, I was excited to taste the Pinot Gris for the first time.

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A First! Tasting the Newly Born Vintage of Daniel-Etienne Defaix

I’ve been visiting Domaine Daniel-Etienne Defaix for over half a decade. I always taste older vintages that charm and delight…but I am always in the area to taste the most recent vintage. When tasting the 2015 vintage in the region, I got a naughty pour off a tank of that vintage chez Etienne. I was PUMPED! So, when I arrived in 2017 to taste the 2016s, I was astonished to be presented (at last) a full line-up of the 2016s.

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All in the Family: Domaine Jaeger-Defaix

I’ve long been a fan of the wide range offered at Chablis’ Domaine Bernard Defaix. So when Didier (son of Bernard, who with his brother Sylvain oversees the domaine’s production today) asked if I would be interested in tasting the wines of the Rully domaine that his wife, Hélène, inherited in 2002, I replied with great eagerness. I’d tasted a wine or two here or there in New York, but I didn’t know much about them.

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Domaine du Chardonnay: A Brilliant Marketing Name

You can’t beat the name Domaine du Chardonnay for an enterprise that produces 38 hectares of domaine-owned Chablis. Founded in 1987 by a trio of friends, Etienne Boileau, William Nahan and Christian Simon, they had to come up with a non-family name. Those are pretty rare for wineries in Chablis. As they say, sometimes simplest is best, and these guys nailed it for marketing purposes!

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Paul Mas Estate Wines

Jean-Claude Mas aims to make wines with a “luxuriously rustic” character. Interpretation is everything, and it’s easy for the mind to spin on those words. These are classy wines from highly selective and ambitious cellars that punch above their weight classes (a.k.a. price points). Whether you enjoy them at your urban dining table or on a blanket spread in the countryside of southwestern France (the only way I can see “rustic” entering the picture), it’s pretty easy to feel the luxury of each sip, especially in the case of the Château Paul Mas Belluguette!

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A Master of Making it Happen: Dominique Gruhier

Screw the romance of making wine and the lifestyle of wine. It’s a tough business, and some people seem to get none of the breaks. One of those is Dominique Gruhier, based in the hills of the world-famous Épineuil.

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A Signature of Terroir and Vintage: Vignoble Angst

P.S. If you do (or even if you don’t) visit the Angsts, don’t miss the Pontigny Abbey, the largest Cistercian abbey still standing in Europe. It is stunning from afar and on the inside. There are no vines around Pontigny today, but the monks did plant there. The office of the BIVB-Chablis (the marketing and promotions board of Chablis) is in a lovely building in the center of Chablis called The Petit Pontingy, and it previously served as the abbey’s vinification site.

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It’s All About the Timing: Domaine Alain Mathias

There’s nothing like arranging winery visits on the road. Learning about good juice while in Milan on a Monday then visiting the winery on the Friday (especially on Bastille Day…and at 9 am) in Chablis is exciting. Meeting people on their home turf is the best way to learn about their wines. That is especially true when the winery is off-the beaten path, and there are young peeps making tasty stuff.

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