Dark clouds are looming if you love European wines and cheeses, and the opportunities for affordable wines are dwindling.
A Word About Tariffs
So, as some of you may have heard by now, there was recently a 25% increase in tariffs placed upon many items coming from France, Italy and Spain, with 100% tariffs threatened for the very near future. Before we go any further here I need to make very clear, this is not a political comment or debate. I just wanted everyone to know that it has happened and for our European wine lovers to be aware of why some of their favorite wines might be seeing an uptick in prices here soon. Everyone is entitled to feel how they feel about it, but we are just getting the word out to make everyone aware of some likely upcoming price increases.
As of October 18th the tariffs were put in place, so many, but not all, wines from France, Germany, Spain, as well as some from The United Kingdom and food items, like cheeses, meats and olives/olive oils, from Italy, that were not here before the tariffs were put into place are taking on that 25% increase.
There are many real benefits of working with small growers and importers and we are seeing yet another one here, most of them have already begun to lean in to shoulder some of these increases. They are giving it their all and we will also shave some margin in order to keep those wines and goodies available for you but there is, should things stay as they are, a high likelihood that we will have to see some increases.
...And the Silver Lining (For Now)
Now for that silver lining bit I mentioned in the beginning.
As we started to draw closer to the holiday season we had already begun to scout out and place orders, months before the tariffs went in place, so the wines were already in the United States, many of which are already arrived and are here waiting for you! Here are some notes on a few truly thrilling new Burgundy arrivals.
Sechet is consistently one of my favorite premier cru vineyards. I find that the wines show exquisitely at a young age and there is always this pop of generous, nearly tropical fruit that I find captivating. 2015 was a nice full, ripe vintage which gives this offering from Dauvissat from Sechet even more charm. Curvy and round on the palate with ripe fruit and fresh cut fennel layered atop one another with a flinty, stony flavor that carries on through the long finish.
$39.99 per bottle
With a wine this explosive and expansive one might be tricked into thinking you were drinking Grand Cru Chablis instead of Premier Cru, lucky for us it is Premier Cru and we are paying a lot less than what it would fetch if it were a Grand Cru. The fruit for this Chablis comes from old vines in ages varying from 50-75 years. Here you get tremendous depth and gobs of spiced green apple all over the weighty palate. Plenty of lift and citrus rind with a spark of bright and high-toned limestone and acidity. Drinks like a wine that should cost a lot more money.
$46.99 per bottle
Saint-Veran is a region located in the southern half of Burgundy’s Maconnais. The wines are closest in style to great Pouilly-Fuisse and offer that same kind of richness with ample fruit and balancing acidity. The wines from Franz Chagnoleau have several times graced our white Burgundy racks and this 2017 Saint-Veran is a perfect example of why it is we love them so. Plushy and full with a sexy texture. Ripe stone fruits with butter laden brioche and sweet caramel notes. Pretty powerful with a long, long finish.
$28.99 per bottle
A blend of 5 vineyards, some of which are right up against the famed Meursault village. Here you find an astoundingly exuberant Chardonnay, full of white pear flesh and lifted by a cutting blast of lime rind. More peach and anise on the palate with a medium weight that spreads across the palate and then retracts and leaves the palate fresh with just a kiss of ripe fruit. Ready to drink now but will hold up for a couple years in the cellar.
$84.99 per magnum bottle
The 30 plus year old vines for this gorgeous Meursault come vines that are adjacent to the 1er Cru Gouttes D’Or, known for producing luscious and early ripening wines. Here you get a groan inducing custard and caramel like aroma with bruleed peaches and vibrant citrus notes. Sizeable and broad on the palate the wine floods the palate with spiced stone fruits, sweet cream, more custard and holiday spice, like nutmeg. Mouth staining with the kind of layering and complexity that keeps you coming back to the glass over and over again. Insanely sexy wine. Period.
$81.99 per bottle
Jean-Charles Fagot left the family business of grape growing after completing his enology education, he headed off to Paris and Los Angeles to produce television and music but returned to the family domaine in the mid-nineties. Practicing organics whenever possible and only using chemicals in severe or extreme conditions, Jean-Charles is fully committed to produce the highest quality wines he can and offer them at very affordable prices. Chassagne-Montrachet is not known for their red wines but spend a little time with this gorgeous thing and you might start asking, “Why not?” Perfumed with intense floral notes intermixed with tart red cherries and hints of sweet smoky ham. Bright and almost crunchy on the palate with great tension and nerve. Medium weight with just the right amount of acidity and tannin. Bring on the salmon, roasts and mushrooms.
$31.99 per bottle
Yet another super-value from a lesser known region in Burgundy. 1er Cru red Burgundy for $35.00 id nearly unheard of now a day so we were elated when we tasted this vibrant Pinot Noir with the importer. Deeply fruited with more black cherry than red and with beautiful gentle spice running throughout. Lighter texture but with a big blast of traditional flavor. Simply easy to love.
$34.99 per bottle
Now this is a full bodied, big flavored and brooding Burgundy! Made from vine 55 years and older you are getting some deeply concentrated flavor in this brilliant wine. Deep and packed but still retain the delicate beauty that Pinot Noir displays, especially from Volnay. Needs a little decant to come to life but drinking exceptional now.
$53.99 per bottle
The house of Champy has been an established domaine in Burgundy since 1720, so they have a long history and plenty of adoration within the Burgundy loving community. This graceful Pernand-Vergelesses reminds me of a dancer, powerful but still light, pretty, elegant. Leaning towards the savory end of Burgundian flavors, more mushroom and meat with some dried spices and tart cranberry. There is a beautiful lift mid palate that make the wine feel even broader and the finish goes on and on and on. Enough stuffing here for simple meat dishes and this would love a pork dish with heavier seasoning, or sausages.
$42.99 per bottle
Another one of those long-term family domaines in Burgundy, dating back to the early 1700s which makes it one of the oldest in Marsannay. All the fruit for this pretty and agreeable wine comes from vined averaging between 20-40 years in age and everything is hand harvested. The domaine has been certified organic since 2008, so we are getting fruit from happy, healthy soils. 2016 was an extremely difficult vintage but we are finding that the wines we are getting, while very, very limited, are in fact quite beautiful. This Marsannay from Jean Fournier is no exception. Ample, round, darkly fruited with sultry smoky flavors that fold into the fruit perfectly. The texture here is lean but hardly light or thin, there is plenty of layering going on here. Drinks even better after being open for an hour or two.
$31.99 per bottle
It should come as no surprise to anyone that has been following our Burgundy department for any length of time that we are fully on board and in love with the wines from Marchand-Tawse. The wines are polished without being buffed completely out of recognition; they speak of place but skip a chunk of that awkward baby talk phase and are often ready to drink upon release. That isn’t to say they won’t get better with time, they will for sure but the need to age the wines to make them drinkable, that is never an issue with this winery. Mark Fincham is the lead winemaker for the wines from Gevrey-Chambertin and his deft hand is showing all over this wine. Beautiful earth notes of dried leaves, mossy bark, underbrush along with some sexy cooked red fruit and spice. Assertive right upfront with a body that spreads across the palate and leaves a stain. Beautiful texture and power here. Decant before serving, let this wine stretch its long legs before jumping in. You will be rewarded greatly for it.
$64.99 per bottle