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Located in the southern part of the Cote de Beaune, Chassagne Montrachet shares with Puligny the title of the prince of the world’s dry white wines, the divine Montrachet. This fine, broad hillside brings out the very highest expression of the two Burundian grapes - the Pinot Noir and the Chardonnay, which grows here side-by side - such, is the complexity of the district's terrors. However when one thinks Chassagne Montrachet the first thing that comes to mind is outstanding white wine although 50 percent of their production is still red. Chassagne has three Grand Crus within it border. Criots-Batard Montrachet and shares with Puligny, its neighbor, the Grand Crus of Le Montrachet and Batard Montrachet. Among the more prominent premier crus are Chenevottes, Clos del Maltroie, Cailleret, Chaumees, and Morgeot (Maltroye, Remi Jobard, and Bernard Moreau).The wine boasts a steely powerfulness and profound minerality when young. Age brings fleshiness and mellowness with notes of honey, ripe pear and a finish that is round and often opulent. This makes Chassagne Montrachet an ideal match for chicken, veal, or pork in a rich white sauce. They will easily age for five to ten years.
Puligny Montrachet lies between Chassagne Montrachet to the south and Meursault to the north. While it shares with Chassagne Montrachet the title of, “prince of the world’s dry white wines, the divine Montrachet,” Puligny surely can clam to have the lion’s share of Burgundy’s great white wines. Four of the six white Grand Cru lie within its borders, Chevalier Montrachet and Bienvenues-Batard Montrachet are entirely in its borders, and it shares with Chassagne Montrachet, its neighbor, the two other Grand Cru. Le Montrachet and Batard Montrachet.
Although not equal quality to the Grand Crus, the premier cru produced in Puligny are among the finest of all white wines. Among the more prominent premier cru are Cailleret, Chalumeau, Clavoillon, Combettes, Folatieres, Mouchere, and Pucelles. Some of the better producers are Maison Champy, Henri Boillot, and Matrot.
These Premier Cru located high on the hills are age-worthy wines with complex, concentrated and an elegant enhance by lively fruit and great minerality. The village wines tend to be softer, more accessible with less oak the than the Premier Cru as well as the wines of the of the other Cote de Beaune villages. Perhaps that is because the water table in the village is so near the surface, there are few cellars in the village available to age the wines more than a year. The Grand and Premier Cru are superb matches for Chicken or Veal especially in a mushroom cream sauce while the village wines do very well with shellfish.
Meursault is the largest commune on the Cote d’or and along with Puligny Montrachet and Chassagne Montrachet makes up the trifecta for the production of outstanding chardonnay.
The vineyards of Meursault continue in an unbroken line into Puligny Montrachet. Although it does not have any Grand Crus within its borders the commune enjoys a wealth of excellent village wines and premier cru. The best of their premier cru, Perrière, Charmes, and Genevriere, are high up on the hill, and lie closest to the border of Puligny Montrachet. They are equal in quality to the pre cru of both Montrachet. Tillets and Navaux, also located high up on the hill, are perhaps the finest village wines produced in the Cote de Beaune. Among the better producers are Remi Jobard, Henri Boillot and Patrick Javillier
The wines tend to be rich, soft and succulent with nutty flavors and a silky finish. The premier crus are long and structured with excellent minerality that will age gracefully for a number of years. The wines do well with white meats or shellfish in rich white sauces.
Romain Lignier left behind his American wife, Kellen and their two small children Lucie and Auguste after he passed away from cancer at the age of 34. It was his dream to create wines with character and style, which should be influenced by the great respect of Burgundy “terroir”.
Romain had taken over the reins of, Domaine Hubert Lignier the family estate, after his father who had established a fine reputation for the Domaine in the early 1980s retired in 1991. Romain was the passionate winemaker who led it into its era of even greater success. Kellen, learned about vineyards and winemaking by working hand in hand along side her husband. After Romain passed away in 2004, she decided to take up the mantle of the “Domaine” and devote her life to her husband’s work, the passion of winemaking. Therefore in 2005 the winery was named after their two children Lucie and Auguste (hoping that one day they will follow their parents footsteps).
Named one “Burgundy’s Young Guns” by the Wine Spectator Kellen’s wine making style is largely influenced by her husband’s philosophy to respect Burgundy’s ”terroir”. There is as little interference as possible in order to allow the fruit to fully express its origins. Starting with the work in the vineyard, minimal treatments of the vines and an active and living soil are essential.
The estate is 8.3 hectares (20 acres) covering vineyards in Morey-St-Denis, Gevrey-Chambertin, Chambolle-Musigny, and Fixin. The age of the vines range for 40 years for the village and regional wines to 62 for the pre-crus and 46 for the grand crus.
“Washington An Open Secret World-class wines flow from this unheralded quality frontier.”
Harvey Steiman-Wine Spectator.
Where once apples, cherries, winter wheat, and juice grapes grew, since the beginning of the 1990’s the region has become famous for producing outstanding wines. Today Washington is the second largest producer of American wines after California with 11 million cases produced in 2009.
Allen Shoup CEO of Stimson Lane (owner of Chateau St. Michelle & Columbia Crest) for twenty years is recognized as on of the founding fathers of the Renaissance in Washington wine. During his tenure, a 4,000 acre region of unsung vineyards in the 1980s was transformed into 30,000 acres of world-class viniferous grapes by 2000. It is by far the largest winery in Washington accounting for 60 percent of the wine growing acreage and the seventh larger producer in the United States.
He initiated joint ventures that brought Tuscany’s Piero Antinori and Germany’s famed Dr. Ernst Loosen to Washington. Out of these came Col Solare, a luxury wine shaped in the Bordeaux tradition, and Erotica, which helped spark Riesling resurgence throughout the country. On two separate occasions, five individual wines crafted under Allen’s tutelage appeared in the Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of the Year.
After twenty years at the helm of Stimson Lane he retired to pursue a personal dream. His goal: To extend his vision of creating some of the most extraordinary wines from Columbia Valley’s top vineyards, produced by world renowned winemakers each in their own style.
In 2003 he formed Long Shadow Vineyards.
Food & Wine Magazine named it it’s Winery of the Year in 2007.
Robert Parker In the Wine Advocate wrote, “For the third straight year, every wine in this portfolio has achieved an outstanding rating. Long Shadows is the brainchild of Alan Shoup, former longtime CEO of Stimson Lane. It is a consortium of seven different labels, each with its own star winemaker who has a 25% share in the brand. The concept is that each winemaker is dedicated to producing a single Columbia Valley wine representing a ‘best of type’ that reflects the winemaker’s signature style.”
What makes Washington wines unique is a combination of climate and geography.
There is a sharp difference in climate between western and eastern Washington. West of the Cascades you will find rain forests, mild temperatures, and lush weather year round. East of formidable Cascades you suddenly descend into a semi-desert with hot dry days and cold nights during the summer and cold to arctic winters.
Eastern Washington is where 99% of the States wine grapes are grown and 9 out of the 10 appellations are located. The continental climate that is on virtually the same latitude of Bordeaux and Burgundy are ideal for the growing of Bordeaux varietals. Rainless summers and autumn minimize disease while the hot summer days and cool nights allow the grapes to ripen and the acids to hold. With drip irrigation canopies can be controlled and the grapes can receive exactly the right amount of water they require.
To fully develop and make more complex and complete wines, winemakers are increasing the use of grapes like cabernet franc, petit verdot as well as merlot to produce Bordeaux blends that have lower alcohol, great finesse as well as ripeness.
Gevrey Chambertin located on the Cote de Nuits has more acres under vine in the Cote d’Or and more famous individual vineyards than any other village in Burgundy.
Because of it’s famous vineyards, there are more producer living off the that name rather than the quality. This is true at the village level and even among the Grand Crus. While in all of Burgundy, knowledge of the producer matters more than the vineyard, it is even more important in Gevrey Chambertin.
Sitting on a terrain made up of clay and limestone gravel the wines are typically, fuller, deeper in color, firmer in texture and more tannic than its neighbors. They take time to develop, but eventually become the most complete wines in Burgundy with great structure, complexity, and rich velvety fruit.
They boast eight grand crus, the most famous being Chambertin and Chambertin Clos de Beze followed by (in order of quality) by Mazis Chambertin, just a step below that of Chambertin and Clos de Beze, Latriciere slightly less intense but silky, Ruchottes intense, but more elegant while Griotte, Charmes, and Chapelle still firm but with aromatic, fragrant fruit. The commune also boasts almost thirty premier crus with Cazetiers, Lavaut-St. Jacques, Varoilles, and Clos St. Jacques arguably the equal to some of the Grand Crus.
Many consider Chambertin as the most complete vineyard only matched by Romanee_Conti for its completeness and intensity. Clos de Beze is qualitatively on the same level although somewhat less powerful.
Lignier-Michelot has been around since the beginning of the 20th century, but like so many of his neighbors sold their grapes to the big burgundy négociants. Virgile Lignier, who joined the Domaine in 1988, is the fourth generations to run this fine 8 hectare estate and was instrumental in bottling their wines under their own domaine. By 1992 they began to estate bottle and sell about 50 percent of their wines. In 1998, Virgile took over the reins of the estate from his father with 2000 being the first vintage that he vinified completely on his own.
Lignier-Michelot has holdings in Chambolle-Musigny, Gevrey-Chambertin and Morey St. Denis at the villages level, as well as number of superb Morey premier crus in the vineyards of Aux Charmes, Chenevery and Façonnières. They include a parcel of fifty year-old vines in Chambolle-Musigny from which they make their Chambolle Musigny “Vieilles Vignes” bottling, and all three premier cru Moreys; Aux Charmes, Chenevery and Façonnières whose vines are all in the fifty-five to sixty year-old range. A parcel in the grand cru vineyard of Clos de la Roche rounds out their fine lineup. Total production is about 1000 cases per year.
Over time, Virgile’s philosophy has evolved from that of a technical winemaker to a passionate viticulturist. As he said, “It’s all in the vineyard. It’s not what I do in here; it’s out there. The raw material.” He now spends more time tending to the vineyards and letting the wine make itself. His 2006 vintage shows in the quality of his wines.
As Bruce Sanderson wrote, “The 2006s from Lignier-Michelot, tasted blind in Wine Spectator’s New York office, showed lush, juicy textures and fresh, dark berry flavors.”
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What's New In Wine