From Spain, to Sicily, to the Northern Rhone, we're covering some serious ground.
Domaine Huet Vouvray Sec "Le Haut-Lieu"
VOUVRAY, LOIRE VALLEY
Domaine Huet Vouvray
Since its founding in 1928, Vouvray’s Domaine Huet has been the standard-bearer for great, age-worthy Chenin Blanc. And to this day, year after year, the estate produces some of the world’s most compelling white wines—and in a remarkable range that spans sparkling, dry, semi-dry, and breathtaking dessert styles.
Chenin Blanc has been identified with Vouvray since at least the 9th century, and many of its great vineyards were known by the 14th century. By those standards, the 80-year-old Huet estate is relatively young. Yet it was this youngster that established, once and for all, that Vouvray was capable of world-class quality.
The domaine’s founder, Victor Huët, was a Parisian bistro owner. However, with lungs and nerves shattered by his experiences in WWI, Victor re-settled to the town of Vouvray in France’s beautiful Loire Valley. He soon purchased the first of his great vineyards, Le Haut-Lieu, in 1928, and Domaine Huet was born.
Victor’s son Gaston (born 1910) worked with his father from the beginning, and assumed full charge by 1937. With an obsessive devotion to quality, and an engaging showman’s personality, Gaston built the Huet legacy over the next 55 years, despite spending five years in a German POW camp during World War II.
"... elegant and harmonious, subtly complex and simply gorgeous bouquet..."
The deep brown clay soils of the Haut-Lieu plateau provide the typical fruitiness and freshness wonderfully in Huet's 2019 Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Sec. Ripe pear, tangerine and orange fruits with notes of lemon grass and green pimientos intertwined with very fine chalky and later tobacco notes give a remarkably fine, elegant and harmonious, subtly complex and simply gorgeous bouquet with floral (lime blossom!) and yeasty aromas that are immediately attractive. Delicate and linear on the palate, this is a pure, fresh, bone-dry, lean and textured, highly refined and perfectly interwoven Chenin with persistent purity, finesse, salty-mineral tension and very fine tannins. Highly finessed and so pure and vivacious! This is a chalky picture-book Haut-Lieu that can age for many years, even though it is already dangerously seductive! There was no dry Le Haut-Lieu produced in 2018, but the 2019 is possibly the finest, most delicate and elegant I've had in recent years, at least at this early stage. A terrific and buoyant Vouvray that any Chenin lover should try—or, better yet, cellar! 13% alcohol. 80,000 bottles made. 95 points Robert Parker
The original Huët vineyard is nearly 9 hA. It has the richest soils of the domaine’s three crus - a deep limestone-clay - and the wines are generally the estate’s most approachable. In some vintages, small quantities from nearby estate parcels may be added to Le Haut-Lieu. - winery notes
Sweet & Sour Pork
Chenin Blanc is one of the most versatile wines you can drink with basically anything! Try this one with some sweet and sour pork over white rice. As this ages, it becomes even more delicious. Don't be afraid to push this past the 10-year mark in the cellar.
Rene Rostaing Domaine du Puech Le Vassal Rouge
COTEAUX DU LANGUEDOC
The Rostaing estate dates to 1971 when René Rostaing– a Notary by trade – began tending a few plots of family vineyards. He had the perfect role model to guide him into a career of classical winemaking: Marius Gentaz, his uncle. Over the next few years, René took advantage not only of his uncle’s mentoring, but of historically low vineyard prices, to acquire a prized half acre each in the Côte Blonde and La Landonne lieux-dits.
And when he married, he acquired a second traditional role model, his father-in-law, Albert Dervieux. Dervieux retired in 1989 and Gentaz followed three years later, giving René a further ten acres of very old vines in some of the appellation’s top sites. This treasury of vineyards launched René’s estate into the stratosphere.
The vineyard expansion also enabled René to quit his day job and to devote himself full time to winemaking. Over the next 25+ years, he crafted a sequence of masterful wines that honored the legacy of his illustrious forebearers.
In 2015, René’s son, Pierre, took the reins at an estate that boasts 20+ acres of the finest vineyards in and around Côte Rôtie. And, he shares his father’s deep reverence for Côte Rôtie’s traditions.
"...displays the structure and power of the region..."
This cuvée is a blend of 80% Syrah, 10% Grenache and 10% Mourvèdre, three of the region's finest grape varieties. The wine displays the structure and power of the region, but with a finesse and depth that come from its terroir. It ages well, with an appealing freshness and balance.
Fire up the grill, with the 80% of Syrah loaded in this bottle, you're set to easily pair this with anything from grilled chicken legs, pork steaks, or burgers.
Domaine Le Couroulu Vacqueyras
SOUTHERN RHONE, FRANCE
Domaine Le Couroulu
Located in between Gigondas and Chateauneuf du Pape, the village of Vacqueyras was finally granted its own AC in 1990 after vociferous lobbying. Domaine Le Couroulu, founded in 1928 and still owned by the Ricard family, is known for producing some of the most full-bodied Vacqueyras and other wines from their 20 hectares of old Grenache and Syrah vines.
The estate is named for the Curlew bird, which is known in Provencal dialect as Couroulu: this bird is the signature emblem on the Domaine’s labels. Winemaker Guy Ricard, who represents the third generation, is one of the Rhone’s most passionate and pleasant personalities, qualities which are reflected in his generous and engaging wines.
"...big, spicy, robust, somewhat jammy..."
This big, spicy, robust, somewhat jammy wine represents exceptional value. It is an excellent match for grilled ribs, sausages, and steaks as well as roasts and stews of lamb, beef and game. Robert Parker consistently acclaims the Couroulu Vacqueyras as one of the finest wines of its appellation.
J.M. Boillot Montagny 1er Cru
Jean-Marc Boillot was one of the younger generation in Burgundy who was determined to improve his family’s wines. In 1984, after vinifying 13 vintages at the family’s domaine, Henri Boillot, Jean-Marc walked out in protest, intent on producing highly concentrated, rich, and ripe wines. He became the winemaker for Olivier Leflaive for the next four years and at the same time produced wines from 5-acres of vineyards, bottled under his own label. The wines impressed Boillot’s grandfather, who bequeathed half his vineyard to Jean-Marc. Boillot runs his domaine from his grandfather Henri Boillot’s house and cellars in the village of Pommard. Jean-Marc’s maternal grandfather was the late Etienne Sauzet, from whom he also inherited exceptional vineyards.
"... clean, crisp, and pure on the palate..."
Crushed citrus, white flowers, oyster shell, and some obvious minerality emerge from the 2017 Montagny 1er Cru. It’s medium-bodied, clean, crisp, and pure on the palate, with a juicy, delicious style. It’s also going to evolve nicely.
Grilled chicken with a creamy mushroom sauce
Palacios Remondo "La Montesa" Rioja
If anyone embodies the promise and spirit of “The New Spain,” it is winemaker Alvaro Palacios. Born into a wine family in Rioja, he now makes wine in three different appellations: Priorat, Bierzo, and his hometown of Alfaro in Rioja. Alvaro’s flagship Priorat wine, L’Ermita, is one of the most coveted wines in all of Spain. Following his great successes in Priorat and Bierzo during the 1990s, and the death of his father in 2000, Alvaro Palacios took the helm of Palacios Remondo, his family’s property and winery in Rioja Baja.
The Palacios Remondo Estate and vineyards are located at high elevations in the eastern part of the region: Rioja Oriental. Historically, Garnacha is the dominant red grape in Rioja Oriental, while Tempranillo and the white grape Viura play supporting roles. Alvaro’s passion for staying true to the tradition of the land inspires him to focus on Garnacha-driven wines that are expressive and authentic to the Eastern Rioja region. La Montesa, Propiedad, Plácet Valtomelloso and La Vendimia are among the very finest of Rioja Oriental, full-bodied wines with aromas of Mediterranean herbs, cherries and nectarines, and flavors of mixed berries and blood oranges on the palate.
Palacios is deeply committed to organic viticulture and natural winemaking practices, such as use of organic fertilizers in the stone-covered, clay soils. All of the wines are unfiltered and clarified only with egg whites. No exogenous yeasts or commercial compounds are added to the wines, and sulfites are kept to minimum levels.
"...elegant, refined and stylishly oaked with pure red fruits"
One of Álavaro Palacios' great achievements is to make wines of this quality in comparatively large (656,000 bottles) quantities. This blend of Garnacha with 2.8% Monastell is elegant, refined and stylishly oaked with pure red fruits, rose petal undertones and the racy acidity of the best mountain Garnachas. 2020-26
From the sea
Grattamacco Bolgheri Rosso DOC
Founded in 1977, and acquired by the Tipa Bertarelli Family in 2002, Grattamacco was one of first the two wineries in Bolgheri. A region typically known for Cabernet and Merlot, Grattamacco sets itself apart from surrounding wineries with its winemaking practices using 15% Sangiovese to impart quality and elegance in its wines. Grattamacco was not only the first winery in Bolgheri to use Sang