Château Haut-Maurac (Médoc 2012)
Special 6-Pack Price: $117 ($19.50/bottle)
We picked up the last few cases of the 2012 vintage of Château Haut-Maurac at a great price and are passing that savings on to you.
Drinking at its peak, this is a wine of great value, showcasing the strength of Merlot in a somewhat challenging vintage in Bordeaux. With aromas of mocha, blackberry sap, autumn leaves, and a whiff of black pepper spice, it clearly expresses its place. A sip is rounded, generous with fruit but not fruity, and finishing with soft and chewy tannins. It’s a versatile wine that will make a nice complement to a quick appetizer spread of olives and cheese or just about anything off the grill. It’s an ideal wine to stock for drinking through autumn and into the holidays.
Château Haut-Maurac is located on the left bank of the Gironde estuary, in the municipality of Saint-Yzans-de-Médoc. It’s a project owned and led by Olivier Decelle, who’s perhaps best known for rebuilding Mas Amiel, one of the leading and most respected wineries in the Roussillon, and also for bringing Château Jean Faure (neighbor to Château Cheval Blanc in Saint-Émilion) back to prominence. Because of the quality of production under Olivier Decelle, Château Jean Faure’s Grand Cru Classé status was recently restored.
So it comes as no surprise that Olivier Decelle is taking great lengths to ensure this Cru Bourgeois is of the highest quality. Aspects of organic and biodynamic cultivation are used alongside the more conventional lutte raisonée (reasoned fight), all with the aim of producing the best fruit possible.
From 60 acres of 35 year old vines on gravel and clay soils, 2012 Château Haut-Maurac is a blend of 60% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Malbec. Aging takes place for 18 months, 20% in vats, 80% in oak barrels (25% new).
It’s not easy being a small, independent winemaker. It’s especially difficult being a small, independent winemaker, and a single mother, and an Englishwoman living in rural Spain, trying to scrape a living from a land of extremes, where already this season Charlotte Allen has seen frost and hail and drought. To add insult to injury, arsonists recently destroyed her largest property of old vines. Needless to say, she is struggling to hold it all together in this disastrous vintage.
Charlotte (known locally as “Carlota”) wouldn’t have it any other way. When she first beheld the western Spanish landscape of Las Arribes del Duero, on the border with Portugal, she was “overwhelmed by the savage beauty of the region: the deep gorges cut by the Duero, the steep terraces covered with ancient vines and even older olive trees, the way man had adapted himself to the landscape rather than bending it under his will.” It was then she decided to give up on the dream of setting up her own domaine in France and acquired about 29 acres and a tiny old cellar in Arribes. This was ten years ago.
Since then, Carlota has been able to adapt and coax some beautiful wines out of her old vines growing from granite soils. She employs organic and biodynamic methods in the vineyards and the wines are fermented using indigenous yeasts. Production is tiny with less than 300 cases of each wine made. The two Pirita wines are named for the mineral pyrite (fool’s gold) found throughout the vineyard soils.
Stop by on Saturday to sample Carlota’s wines. The more we sell, the quicker Carlota can raise funds to replant her vineyards and make it through this devastating vintage.
All prices are based on purchase of six or more of the featured bottles.
$18 Almaroja “Pirita” White (Arribes, 2015)
A blend of Malvasía, Godello, Palomino Fino, Puesta en Cruz, Albillo and Moscatel from vines aged 40 to 100 years-old. Pirita Blanco is aromatically complex and fills a glass with scents of almond, apricot, minerals and flowers. Stone fruits continue through a sip wrapped around a spine of fresh acidity.
$26 Almaroja “Pirita” Red (Arribes, 2011)
The base variety for the 2011 vintage is 65% Juan García, a low-growing bush vine native to the region that produces medium-bodied, brilliantly colored, and highly aromatic wines. The remainder of the blend is comprised of the local Rufete and Bruñal grapes and a touch of Tempranillo. If you are in the mood for a glorious red wine and cheese pairing try a bottle of Pirita with Zamorano, the famous aged sheep’s milk cheese of the Zamora province where Carlota makes her wines.
Stretching from Fixin at its southern end to the city of Dijon at its northern end, Marsannay vineyards are on the famous Côte that continues north from Gevrey-Chambertin. Although Marsannay has no Premier Cru designated vineyards there are a handful of lieux-dits on a shortlist, “Les Longeroies” and “Clos du Roy” prime among them, for this status upgrade once the French wine governing authority catches up with the the level of excellence coming out of these vineyards. For now, we can revel in the relative affordability of single vineyard Marsannay wines.
Only a few producers in the Côte d’Or’s northernmost zone of Marsannay have gained international attention for the quality, specificity, and ambitiousness of their wines. Régis Bouvier is regularly mentioned among them. He has a lengthy track record of both consistency and value in this appellation that is quickly growing in prestige.
Régis owns nearly 25 acres of vineyards, mostly in Marsannay, with a few prime parcels in Morey-Saint-Denis and Gevrey-Chambertin. He vinifies all three colors – red, white, and rosé, but the red wines are his crowning achievement, managing to be simultaneously bold and refined, with aromatics to spare. This is all the result of managed yields and high quality terroirs.
The 2015 red Burgundies are beginning to arrive and many of the pundits are claiming it as an epic vintage for red wine. Time will tell but we couldn’t be more pleased with the overall quality of this vintage so far. These are wines of ample ripeness with a core of juicy acidity and serious reserves of ripe tannins hidden behind their generous fruit.
It’s not impossible to find a value red Burgundy. But it’s not exactly simple either. At Elie Wine Co. we spend many an hour studying the landscape of wine regions and producers for the purpose of bringing in the highest quality and most specific wines for the best prices. It’s a point of pride for us. It’s also the reason why we’ve been selling the wines of Régis Bouvier for many years. They just keep delivering.
All prices are based on purchase of six or more of the featured bottles.
~$30 Régis Bouvier “Les Longeroies Vieilles Vignes” (Marsannay, 2015)
From a four acre plot of vines over 50 years old. Aged in barrel (30% new French oak) for 12-16 months.
~$30 “Clos du Roy” (Marsannay, 2015)
From five acres of 40+ year-old vines. Aged in barrel (30% new French oak) for 12-16 months.
~$49 Gevrey-Chambertin (2015)
From 1.3 acres of 45+ year-old vines. Aged in barrel (30% new French oak) for 14 months.
~$28 “Les Longeroies Vieilles Vignes” (Marsannay, 2014)
~$33 “Clos du Roy” (Marsannay, 2012)
~$49 “En la Rue de Vergy” (Morey-Saint-Denis, 2014)
From a little over an acre parcel of the lieu-dit “En la Rue de Vergy,” just upslope from the Grand Cru Clos de Tart.
$99/bottle “En la Rue de Vergy” (Morey-Saint-Denis, 1995)
This is a prime example of a village Burgundy with the developed mushroom, cherry leather, and forest floor tertiary aromas and flavors that the region is known for. We have a handful of bottles remaining and all have been in our possession since release.
~$32 Château Fonroque (Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé 2014)
~$43 Peter Dipoli “Iugum” (Alto Adige 2011)
Representing Alto Adige is “Iugum” from Peter Dipoli. Just about every region in the world capable of growing wine grapes produces some Bordeaux-style blend. Quite often the commitment to plant these international grape varieties is based more on perceived market demand than climate and soil. Not so with Peter Dipoli. After careful study of a 2.7 acre vineyard on the southeast-facing slopes over the tiny hamlet of Magré in Italy’s Alto Adige zone, he purchased the plot in the early 90s. Not only is this vineyard one of the warmest sites of the Alto Adige, the soil has a high content of clay over limestone, characteristics that Peter considered ideal for the specific purpose of planting and vinifying Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon to make a wine as expressive as Bordeaux’s Saint-Émilion but with it’s own unique Italian mountain stamp.
“Iugum” is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon from vines planted in 1992 at around 900 feet of elevation. The Cabernet Sauvignon is aged for 12 months in new barriques and the Merlot is aged for 12 months in second and third run barriques. After blending and aging for 60 days in stainless steel tanks, the wine is bottled and aged for another two years before release. This is a wine capable of medium term cellar development but it is definitely not required. Less than 550 cases are produced.
Representing Saint-Émilion, one of the world’s benchmark appellations for Merlot-based wine (along with its neighbor Pomerol) is Château Fonroque. Owned by the Moueix family since 1931 Château Fonroque has been run by Alain Moueix for the past 15 years. Also in charge of the Pomerol estate, Château Mazeyres, Alain is no newcomer to high-quality Bordeaux production. What sets Alain and Château Fonroque apart is the estate’s commitment to full biodynamic farming methods. Fonroque became one of the first vineyards in Bordeaux to earn the certificate of Biodyvin from Ecocerts.
Château Fonroque is a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc from vines around 35 years-old. The vineyard covers over 43 acres in a single piece of land that spreads across a plateau and a west-facing hillside marked by clay and limestone soils. Vinification takes place in traditional, temperature controlled, cement vats. The wines are aged in a combination of 40% new French oak and 40% one year old, French oak barrels with the remaining wine aging in vat for 14 to 18 months before bottling. The production is close to 5,000 cases annually.
Will the more mature Italian outperform the younger vintage Saint-Émilion? Will the Saint-Émilion terroir show a superiority that can’t be rivaled? Stop by this Saturday to find out. Although, in truth, the winner is going to be you – tasting two excellent wines from two top-notch producers.
Discount prices are based on purchase of six or more of the featured bottles.
The term “new” is novel in a region like Burgundy that is steeped in centuries of winemaking history. Domaine Odoul-Coquard is “new” in the sense that they’ve only recently started bottling wine under their own name. In fact, the family has been farming their acreage in prime Côte d’Or real estate for decades, though the majority of production was sold to négociants.
It has only been in the last decade that the Domaine has become recognized by critics and consumers for its superior vineyard holdings and quality. Particularly now that fourth generation Sébastien Odoul, after working at Domaines Dujac, Méo-Camuzet and Thierry Mortet, is fully in charge of the winemaking responsibilities.
Sébastien farms a little over 20 acres of land in the Côte de Nuits, including a handful of Grand and Premier Cru plots. As with all serious growers, Sébastien is meticulous in the vineyard. His cellar practices are minimal intervention so the wines articulate the terroir of individual sites. The Domaine produces only 2,500 cases annually.
Stop by on Saturday to sample a few of these concentrated and elegant wines. Discount prices are based on purchase of any six bottles of Domaine Odoul-Coquard.
~$49 Nuits-St-Georges “Aux St. Jacques”
70-year-old vines inherited from Sébastien’s grandmother. The lieu-dit “Aux St. Jacques” is in the zone Vosnoise, to the far north of the commune and bordering Vosne-Romanée. You could toss a stone into “Aux Réas” from there.
Incorporates fruit from both village vineyards and the Premier Cru vineyard of “Les Sentiers” that borders the Grand Cru vineyard of “Bonnes Mares.”
Boasting no fewer than eight Grand Cru vineyards the small commune of Vosne-Romanée produces wines of extraordinary depth and richness with elegance.
~$85 Chambolle-Musigny “Les Baudes” (Premier Cru)
The “Les Baudes” vineyard is located just beneath the Grand Cru of “Bonnes Mares.”
~$85 Morey-Saint-Denis “Clos la Riotte” (Premier Cru)
30-year-old vines that sit virtually on the rock at the limit of the Grand Cru vineyard of “Clos de la Roche.”
~$85 Gevrey-Chambertin “Aux
The Premier Cru vineyard of “Aux Combottes” is sandwiched between the Grand Cru Vineyards of Morey-Saint-Denis and Gevrey-Chambertin. Assembly of seven year-old vines (40%), 30 year-old (30%) and 70 year-old (30%).
$126 Clos de Vougeot (Grand Cru)
Seven rows of 40 year-old vines running from the border of the “Grands-Echézeaux” Grand Cru vineyard down to the route nationale.