2012 Pascal Janvier Jasnieres Cuvée du Silex - ($19.99)
Pascal Janvier is a late comer to the wine game –even though his parents had a vineyard – in fact, he trained to be a butcher. He now works about 25 acres of land (in 66 different parcels!) with his wife and horse – the latter helps with the ploughing, primarily in Jasnières, a small appellation of just 130 acres north of Vouvray, where Chenin Blanc reigns supreme. The vines for Cuvée du Silex are 35-40 years old and are planted in soils with a lot of clay, flint and limestone. In my humble opinion, Janvier produces some of the best dry white wine in the world, with stunning aromatics, fruit/mineral complexity and profound aging ability; at twenty bucks this is unquestionably one of the greatest values you can find. Jasnières reach their peak ten years after the vintage and they can age for decades according to Mr. Janvier, even more than a century! The wine has a beautiful golden color, a uniquely stone fruit character and a full firm flavor that lingers impressively. Liquid inspiration for the hardworking chef and a perfect companion at your Thanksgiving table!
Created by Robert Craig in 1993, this classic Bordeaux-style Cabernet Sauvignon from Robert Craig’s estate vineyard in the foothills south of Stag’s Leap is always predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon. Petit Verdot is added to the blend for deep, concentrated flavors and a touch of Malbec introduced for further weight, complimented by silky Merlot and Cabernet Franc spice. The fruit is hand-picked, hand-sorted and kept in separate lots during fermentation and barrel aging. The blend is 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 4% Merlot, 2% Malbec and 1% Cabernet Franc. Harvest took place between September 28 and November 3rd and the wine was aged in French oak for 18 months, 65% new and 35% second year. Decanting is recommended and then you can expect to find aromas of deep black-red fruit, classic cassis and espresso bean, underlain with crushed granite and dusty rose petal. Smooth, sleek and rich on the palate, this wine is loaded with character, presenting intense dark cherry and black plum, lovely cassis, earthy notes, and bracing minerality. This Cab offers great lift and length and will complement any red meats particularly well.
Burgundy, as you may know, is for many the be all and end all for Pinot Noir. This particular bottle comes from a “terroir” located at the bottom of the hill, on a brown, limestone ground, very poor and stony on the surface, with a layer of hard rocks underneath – there are only a couple feet of topsoil for the vines to root in. This wine has richness and great finesse and can be kept ten to fifteen years to achieve full complexity.
In the “Clos des Epeneaux”, the vines range from ten to seventy years of age. The Pommard Clos des Epeneaux 1er cru results from the blending of these different plots, averaging 55 years of age. Clos des Epeneaux is one of the ten largest premier or grand cru ‘monopoles’ under single ownership in the Côte d’Or. The wines coming from this vineyard have the remarkable ability to simultaneously display strength and finesse and to reveal all the fruit, spice and wonder that is Pinot Noir. The owner prides himself on the fact that not a single molecule of synthetic material (fertilizer, insecticide, etc.) is used in the production of this wine. In this vineyard, which has now been worked for close to 1,000 years, man works with nature in a grand symphonic suite: the climate provides the rhythym, the soil the harmony, and the vines take the role of lead violin. As the French novelist Colette once said: “Alone in the plant kingdom, the vine allows man the true flavor of the earth.” All I can add is blessed are those who get to savor this liquid gem!
Michael D., Beltramo’s Wine Consultant