Xavier Gérard’s 2017 Côte-Rôtie
Young Xavier Gérard continues to hone his craft, and the 2017 Côte-Rôtie offers an exceptional sense of elegance wed to authoritative minerality and ample concentration. Vinified with one-third whole clusters and aged in traditional fashion in used 600-liter demi-muids, it combines fruit from four stellar sites: Viallière , Mollard , Fongeant , and the fabled Landonne . This vintage presents textbook Côte-Rôtie elements—sinewy black fruits, exotic spices, savory black olives, formidable mineral heft—but with a remarkable sense of clarity which Xavier seems to corral more effectively with each passing vintage. In comparison with the more ferocious, brawny wines from our beloved Levet family, Xavier’s display greater restraint, though they in no way lack for power.
The 2016 Margaux and Haut-Médoc from Moulin de Tricot
Bruno and Pascale Rey quietly produce Bordeaux of gorgeous classicism and restraint from their four hectares in Margaux (augmented by a single hectare in nearby Haut-Médoc-classified turf). With no new oak applied to the Haut-Médoc and just 10% to the Margaux, these are wines which underline their terroir’s capacity for elegance, harkening to a bygone era of Bordeaux which foregrounded the minerality and digestibility which come so naturally to the region’s wines when they aren’t overly manipulated. The superb 2016 vintage, with its emphasis on balance and finesse, serves to highlight Moulin de Tricot’s inherent gracefulness.
New vintages from Bechtold, plus the debut of the Pinot Noir “S”
In contrast to many winegrowers, Jean-Marie Bechtold has only grown more experimental with age. Over the past decade, he has converted entirely to biodynamics (certified for several years now), and begun skin-macerating batches of Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer in order to employ less sulfur and to coax more sensory information from his excellent northern-Alsace vineyard sites. In addition to the incoming new vintages detailed below, we are eagerly awaiting the debut of Jean-Marie’s Pinot Noir “S”—perhaps the most stunning example of the variety we have yet encountered from this region. Bechtold owns a 0.2-hectare sliver of Pinot Noir in the 40-hectare grand cru of Steinklotz, the northernmost grand cru in Alsace. Although appellation laws forbid Pinot Noir from being labeled “grand cru” (and thus from the name of the vineyard appearing on the label—hence “S”), Steinklotz is historically regarded as one of Alsace’s greatest terroirs for the variety. Its stone-laden calcareous marl yields a Pinot Noir of intense minerality and effusive spice, and Jean-Marie’s 2017 is both explosively aromatic and structurally powerful. Fermented naturally and with 50% whole clusters, the “S” spent two winters in used 600- liter barrels and was bottled with minimal sulfur and no fining or filtration. It offers a layered beauty very few examples of Pinot Noir from anywhere can approach, and the 2017 makes a strong case for Steinklotz as a true grand cru for red wine. In addition to the Pinot Noir “S,” we will receive the following:
- Crémant d’Alsace: 80% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir; a blend of 2016 and 2017; zero dosage
- 2016 Riesling Sussenberg: luscious and generous yet dry; 2 grams per liter residual sugar
- 2017 Riesling Grand Cru Engelberg: chiseled and mouthwatering; 3 g/L RS
- 2017 Pinot Gris Silberberg: aged in used 600-liter barrels; 5 g/L RS
- 2018 Pinot Gris Maceration “Nef des Folles”: 12 days skin maceration; aged in a single 30-hectoliter foudre; zero added sulfur; no RS
- 2018 Pinot Gris “Comme un Rouge” Grand Cru Engelberg: three weeks skin maceration; aged in used Burgundy barrels (purchased from Regis Forey); zero added sulfur; no RS
- 2018 Pinot Noir Obere Hund: chalky and vibrant; aged in old 600-liter demi-muids