Today, I have something a bit different: video. No, I know video is not all that different since we consume tons of it daily. It is a bit different for me, however, as really the only video I have posted to date has been my sometimes futile attempts at sabering sparkling wine bottles.
As I mentioned last week, my buddy Christophe Bristiel, the export manager for Château la Nerthe (one of the oldest producers in Châteauneuf-du-Pape) is currently cycling across the South of France, visiting all the wineries owned by the Richard Family. Of course, I would have been there with him were it not for Washington’s completely incompetent response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
(That last comment was not intended as a political statement but rather as a fact. Most of the countries in the world have banned Americans from entering. Even Canada, for goodness sake. Canada.)
The first video is my conversation with Christophe as he stands in the vineyards of Château des Tours in Brouilly, the largest of the ten crus in Beaujolais.
2018 Château des Tours Brouilly, Beaujolais, France: Retail $25. 100% Gamay. Right upon opening this wine was singing: rich red berry fruit wafted out of the glass with just the slightest of coaxing along with a rather intense mélange of earth and minerality. The palate is rich, fruity, and layered with complexity, leading to a finish that endures for several minutes. Beaujolais has been blessed with many good to great vintages recently and 2018 might go down as one of the best of all-time. Grab some of this fantastic Brouilly while it is still available, it will age well for at least 5, maybe 10 years. Whoa. Excellent to outstanding. 92-94 Points.
Here is another video of Christophe (I know you’re thankful that you do not have to look at my huge forehead again) in the hills above the Richard Family’s other winery in Beaujolais, Château de Corcelles:
Last, I was contacted by another buddy, Gabe Sasso, wine writer extraordinaire, to partake in a new venture of his, called One Bottle Each. The premise is rather straightforward: we send each other a bottle of wine and then we go on Zoom and chat about it a bit. Unfortunately, my forehead makes another appearance:
2018 Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, France: Retail $60. 42% Grenache Blanc, 41% Rousanne, 12% Clairette, 5% Bourboulenc. Whoa. Way back, well, let’s just say many years ago, I had a vanful of about 23 bikes and I was tasked to drive them from Avignon to St. Jean de Luz. As geography would have it, I needed to pass through the Southern Rhône Valley. As chance would have it, I got a bit of a late start (long story) and I was passing by the tiny town of Chåateauneuf-du-Pape at lunchtime. Not one to be known to ever miss a meal, I took a slight detour off the A-7/A-9 route to have lunch. And one singular glass of wine. That wine turned out to be a Château la Nerthe, and my life was forever altered. Whoa. I have said more than once that if I were ever denied a white Burgundy at my final meal, it should be replaced by a Château la Nerthe Blanc (in the years since I first uttered that decree, la Nerthe has easily moved to the top rung). Slightly golden in the glass, this wine is simply a masterpiece: rich, unctuous, mineral, floral, holy mother of Jesus, I could smell this for days. The palate? Initially a bit of fruit, but only a hint, followed by a wave of tartness, and then a bed of white flowers. It finishes with a subtle fruitiness that causes one to beg for more, only to realize that the flavors remain en bouche for much more than a lingering moment. Whoa. Wow, and Holy cow. This is a bucket-list kinda wine. Outstanding. 94-96 Points.
2019 ZD Wines Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley, CA: Retail $27. I tasted this with my buddy Gabe Sasso on a Zoom call (hello new world order). As I told him during the tasting, Sauv Blanc is not my “go-to” variety, but this is pretty darned close to gangbusters (minus the Big Ass Bottle, natch). Fresh, bright, citrusy, and just ever-so-slightly grassy on the nose (with no cat pee in “sight” thank goodness). The palate is certainly bright, but also rich and layered. Wow, this is what Sauv Blanc should be–a Napa interpretation of Sancerre. Fantastic. But that bottle… Excellent to Outstanding. 92-94 Points.