Chablis’ Domaine Oudin with Nathalie Oudin

“Our vineyards are on the left and right banks, all near Chichée,” said Nathalie Oudin. I immediately sensed that Nathalie might be sizing me up. Luckily, I speak “Chablisien” and understood that the family’s vines are clustered around the pretty village of Chichée, about a five-minute drive to the southeast of the town of Chablis.

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Joseph Wagner’s New Projects: Böen and Elouan

Joseph Wagner grew up in a Napa Valley family legend in-the-making, Caymus Vineyards. In establishing his own brands, he has impressively translated his understanding of “what the consumer wants” into a series of “must haves” that have largely been based on Pinot Noir rather than Caymus’ Cabernet Sauvignon. Staking out on his own, Joseph previously created the much-loved Belle Glos Pinot Noir line-up as well as Meiomi, the latter now under the ownership of Constellation Brands.)

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Laurent Tribut and His Je Ne Sais Quoi Chablis Style

Driving up to the big, beautiful and old stone farmhouse of Laurent and Marie-Clothilde Tribut, I was impressed. It looked like quite a large operation. When no one replied to my knock at the door, I took a few pushes on the swing in the seemingly centuries old tree in the front yard while I waited for someone to arrive.

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A Scintillating Discovery in Chablis: Jean-Claude Bessin

Jean-Claude and his wife oversee 12 hectares and run their miniscule winery based in La Chapelle-Vaupelteigne north of the town of Chablis. Jean-Claude took over from his father about 30 years ago, and his son, Romain – a drum-playing jazz musician – now works with him.

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Despite A Dramatic 2016 Vintage in Chablis, Kool Kid Patrick Piuze Made Stand-Out Wines!

The 2016 vintage will long live as a legend in Chablis. Everything that could have happened in a growing season did. Brows furrowed deeper and more hair turned gray - or even white -than in any vintage in recent memory. In fact, even the old timers say they’ve never seen anything like it.

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Arínzano Wines – It’s All About the Pago

An arínzano is an agricultural estate that showcases unique vineyards, and this winery was the first estate in northern Spain to be endowed with the prestigious Vinos de Pago classification. The term pago is a nod to the Greek “pagus”, or property. The idea behind these wines is that they are entirely unique because of their provenance, or terroir, in wine geek speak. In sum, pago equals prestige, as the classification is set up.

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Garofoli Eyes Greatness

About 12 years ago, I vividly remember tasting a non-Friulian, Italian white under $20 that was head turning. It was a Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi. I was taken aback as non-Friulian Italian whites didn’t usually excite me. Yes, there were some exceptions, but for the rest, I largely clumped Italian whites together as “high acid and lightly bitter, lemony and nutty.”

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sidebar: David Ramey Navigates a New Course

David Ramey launched sidebar Cellars in 2014 to push boundaries. He and the next generation of Rameys, Claire and Alan, are exploring new grape varieties and wine styles. They are making not only Sauvignon Blanc but also Zinfandel, rosé and…Kerner! From the taste of things, sidebar will be much more than its diminuitive name suggests.

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Troon Vineyard 2016 Releases

G*S*M 2015 Rogue Valley: This wine is noted to be an astonishingly precise 39.66% Syrah, 31.61% Mourvèdre, 16.06% Grenache and 12.67% Sangiovese! It is a pale-colored and youthful blend bursting with rose petals and spice box aromatics that eagerly show off its Grenache and Sangiovese portions.

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Fontanafredda 2013 Barolo Duo

On the first night, I was surprised to find that this was an unremarkable set of wines. The next night, however, the wines began to expand in the glass and show more verve. If you can’t bear to wait, give them an aggressive splash decanting a few hours before serving them. In their current state, these Piedmont bottlings are definitely wines for a table laden with hearty fare.

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Soave Single Vineyard Wines

Rocca Sveva 2015 Soave Castelcerino: YES! This is a delightfully full-flavored wine with oodles of lemony acidity balancing the creamy, custardy palate. The beautifully scented nose starts with heather and anise then veers into Canary melon, Meyer lemon, pomelo and mirabelle plums on the rather weighty (for Soave) palate.

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