On the Trail

Our Best Batch of Charrière

David Driscoll

Back when I was helping as an assistant in the Burgundy department here at K&L, I would often help organize the shelves and put away cases in the warehouse when new shipments would arrive from France. I remember sorting out the numerous expressions of Château de la Charrière and asking our buyer at the time about the wines; the labels seemed so rustic and quaint, like they were being made at someone's house rather than a large winery. It turns out my aesthetic assessment wasn't all that far off! Years later, now that I'm one of K&L's Burgundy buyers, I finally got my chance to visit Yves Girardin's property in person and it was very much as I imagined: a small farm with a few vineyards planted nearby, and a romantic country home just a few turns off the Route des Grands Crus. We were there to taste the 2015 vintage, one that so far represents one of the best pinot noir harvests I've ever tasted from Burgundy. Given that the Charrière have always been made in an earthier, more old school style, I was excited to see what a bit of additional ripeness might do to the wines. If the fleshiness and pure fruited flavors we'd tasted thus far had reached the Girardin vineyards, we might be looking at some of the best deals of the year.

Château de la Charrière has long been one of our most popular direct import producers because it's a label that easily represents the best bang for your buck we carry in Burgundy. However, while it was formerly run by Yves Girardin with whom we originally started the relationship, the business is now run by his young son Benoit, who definitely has modernized the winemaking a bit since his first vintage in 2011. Believe me: this is great news for all you red Burgundy lovers because the 2015 vintage is not only riper, the flavors are also much cleaner; showcasing the pureness of the pinot noir. Benoit is de-stemming completely so as to remove additional tannic structure and as a result the wines are better than they've ever been. I've never tasted reds from them that are this approachable. I'd highly, highly advise you to check out some of the inexpensive 2015 reds we just got in. For less than twenty bucks, the Hautes Cote de Beaune is drinking like an absolute dream. Their local Santenay 1er cru wines, however, are the stars. Sourced from up on the above-pictured hill, both the whites and reds were showcasing serious stuff when we tasted in person this past March, and they're tasting even better right now.

One of the most difficult aspects of selling red Burgundy to customers over the years has always been the unpredictability of the quality. With so many different producers holding vines, making various styles of wines even within strong vintages, it's entirely possible to blow a lot of money on a pinot noir that isn't up to snuff. I've also watched customers open bottles that shouldn't have been opened for another decade, spending fifty bucks or more to drink a mouthful of tannins and bristling acidity. Burgundy has always been a crap shoot, which is why having a working understanding of its communes and producers is such a valuable thing in the wine game today. The great thing about these 2015s, however, is that the ripeness is the great equalizer. It's hard to go wrong with any wine in this harvest. I've tasted 2015 reds from even the most rustic of producers that are drinking beautifully in their youth at this point. In the case of Château de la Charrière, I think I can clearly say this is the best batch of wines we've ever received from them.

-David Driscoll

The World's Next Great Balsamic

David Driscoll

We’ve been preaching the gospel of Camut for as long as I can remember here at K&L. As I often tell customers, there are few genres of wine and spirits from which I can unequivocally declare a “world’s best,” but in the case of Calvados there’s Camut and then there’s everything else. From the age and condition of the family orchards, to the meticulous sorting process, to the blending and maturation, there’s simply no other distiller in Normandy—or the world, for that matter—who is making fruit spirits with the same complexity, pureness of flavor, and utter awesomeness. I’ve been visiting the Camut brothers—Emmanuel and Jean-Gabriel—at their grandfather’s original estate for seven years now, getting to know the two giants (literally and figuratively—they’re both quite tall!) of apple brandy quite intimately. It wasn’t until my last visit, however (possibly because it was the first time I had spoken to the brothers directly with a more intermediate grasp of the French language), that Emmanuel felt comfortable sharing with me a lingering secret. “I need to show you something, David,” he said to me cryptically after dinner, his voice quivering under the weight of strong drink. “It’s in the shed behind the barn.” I was both intrigued and utterly nervous. Did he have a body hidden back there? Did Emmanuel kill someone? What was in that shed?!!

There was nothing but darkness and cold winter air as we walked into the icy Norman night, through the Camut orchards, and towards the old shed Emmanuel had mentioned. As we approached the looming structure, he took out a flashlight, fumbling the key of the padlock guarding the way, and opened the door into the small room, revealing in that instant under the concentrated glare of the lamp what it was that awaited us: hundreds of small barrels, of various shape and sizes, stacked in rows according to type. "This is my new obsession," Emmanuel said with a grin. What was in these barrels? Not Calvados and not cider, but rather balsamic. At the beginning of the new millennium, it seems Emmanuel was offered a bottle of traditional balsamic vinegar by some Italian friends of his. He was taken by the word “traditional” on the bottle because, as he would come to find out, it belonged to a protected appellation of vinegars that followed rigorous guidelines as to production. The vinegar was only sold in 100ml bottles and it was both elaborate and expensive, representing only about .01% of all Italian balsamics. The experience was transformative, apparently; he had never known balsamic vinegar of this quality. Being the artisan producer that he is, Emmanuel decided to research the process of making “traditional” balsamic vinegar and applied it to the base material he knew best: apples.

The particularity of the “traditional” process is the attention given to cooking the must and concentrating the flavor. To recreate that quality, Emmanuel uses two 200 liter copper pots heated gently by a wood fire. Whereas the Italians use a variety of grape that results in roughly 17% sugars, Emmanuel’s apple must—composed of interesting Norman varietals—only results in 5%, and thus three times the concentration. Next comes a long decanting period, done during winter, where about 15-20% of the production is tossed out to keep the must as clear and clean as possible. During the spring, the must is transferred into barrels during which a slow acetic fermentation process begins, converting the sugars into a very light alcohol. From that point, the vinegar is aged for more than a decade, during which it loses roughly 10% of its volume each year from evaporation. With each year that passes, Emmanuel moves the liquid into smaller and smaller barrels, made of different woods like chestnut and acacia, some so small that you could hold them comfortably with one hand. That's as much as Emmanuel was willing to share with me about the process, and at that time he didn't want me taking any photos of the shed. "This is a secret, David," he mentioned again. "I"m not ready for the world to know about this yet."

A year and a half later, however, Emmanuel Camut—the world's foremost authority of all-things apple—is finally ready to share a bit of his Norman magic with us. He reached out to me this past spring and asked if K&L might like to be the exclusive American outpost for his Vinaigre Balsamique de Cidre, an elixir that in its appearance is as black and dense as that cold winter's night we spent back in the shed. Oozing like maple syrup out of the bottle, the resulting flavor is unlike any balsamic you've ever tasted. Astonishingly rich in flavor, with a harmonious balance of both sweet and sour, you only need one drop on a piece of bread, a tomato, or even a slice of finely-cooked steak to enhance the flavor of each bite immensely. All of the apples used for the vinegar came from an Norman orchard where no chemicals or herbicides have ever been used and where—per the norm for Calvados orchards—cows graze openly in a symbiotic relationship with the apple trees. Emmanuel’s vinegar is so concentrated, flavorful, and rich in character that just a single drop carries with it a symphony of flavor. While the bottles are only 100ml in volume, each has more than 2000 drops. Our initial order is a mere 120 bottles, most of which will likely be purchased and consumed by the K&L staff. It is without a doubt the best vinegar of any kind, I've ever tasted, but I'm far from an expert. What I do know, however, is that most of my colleagues feel the exact same way. Basically, if you thought the Camut Calvados was life-changing, wait until you try the balsamic. 

-David Driscoll

The Great 2015 Burgundy Arrival

David Driscoll

While I consider myself more of a serious fanboy for clean, crisp, and mineral-driven white Burgundy, there was no denying the fleshiness, ripeness, and simple deliciousness of the 2015 reds during our trip to the Côte d'Or this past Spring. We had heard the rumors, read the reports, and spoken with many a winemaker, but it wasn't until about our fourth appointment that the reality began to hit home. 2015 in Burgundian pinot noir is an absolute dream for wine drinkers like myself who, while happy to wait a few years before opening a bottle, aren't huge collectors and don't necessarily have the space for storage. That's not to say the 2015 reds won't age beautifully—because they will! It's just to point out that almost everything I've tasted from the heralded vintage is showing wonderfully already. There's nothing worse than walking a customer through the Burgundy aisle, pointing out a few recommendations, and telling them: "Yeah, maybe drink that one in 2020." It's the ultimate deflator. Most of our customers want wines to drink soon—like tonight! 

The other issue with recommending wines that aren't quite ready to be opened is how those bottles are ultimately interpreted by our customers. If someone takes home a tannic, acidic, and rather tart bottle of Côte de Beaune and thinks that young, rather robust bottle speaks for the whole of Burgundy, that's one more customer we've potentially lost for the department. Part of the reason I originally wanted to be involved with the Burgundy team here at K&L was because I felt our customers needed a bit of curation; someone to help them navigate the shelf and point out what was ready to drink and what wasn't. The great part about 2015 is that—while you might want to wait on some of the grand cru expressions—you can pretty much drink everything now and the wines will taste fantastic. Example number one? The recent arrival of 2015 Giboulot and Domaine Bart reds that just hit our warehouse this week. While we don't have all our tasting notes on the website yet and I plan to go into more detail here at OTL later on, you can feel comfortable buying any of these expressions today, popping the cork tonight, and having yourself a little Bourgogne rouge party. The Giboulet wines in particular are juicy and ripe on the palate, oozing with cassis fruit, blackberries, and baking spices. The 2015 Savigny-lès-Beanue 1er Cru "Aux Gravains" (perhaps my favorite of the bunch) is an absolute stunner, with a huge and expressive nose of fruit and spice, and a lush, lively, and long finish. 

Trey, Alex, and I all wanted to go deep this year, as we though across the board the 2015 vintage represented one of the best we've tasted in the past decade—right there with 2005. Watch the OTL blog moving forward as we continue to showcase our new arrivals, breaking down the wines one-by-one as they hit the docks.

It should be quite an exciting summer for Burgundy fans at K&L.

-David Driscoll

Latour's Quality Runs Deep

Jeff Garneau

We were fortunate enough to visit Château Latour during our 2016 En Primeur trip and I (Jason) was pinching myself from the second we stepped onto the property. I never expected to see the actual fort of Les Forts fame (the second wine of Latour) in person, let alone step foot in the tasting room of this legendary estate. Latour is one of this world's greatest wines—many people consider to be the best. As we walked inside to our appointment, at the end of the table—following the 2016 line up—was the 2012 Pauillac de Latour, the estate's third wine after Les Forts. Upon tasting, I was immediately transported back to when the first 2012s were reaching US shores and arriving at K&L. This wine reminded me of how much I loved that vintage. A wonderful expression of harvest and the château, it displays lovely purity of fruit and that characteristic 2012 bright fresh acidity. A combination of complex savory, mineral tones and exotic spice dominated the seamless offering. The wine has wonderful poise and polish, with the Latour thumbprint throughout. 

What exact do we mean when we say "second wine" and "third wine," you might ask? Each year, after the initial selection is made for the Grand Vin, and for the second label, Les Forts de Latour, some of the remaining lots are used to produce a third label: Pauillac, an "appellation" wine. Also included are grapes from some of the younger vines on the estate, as well as from outlying vineyards. The “Pauillac” bottling will usually include a higher proportion of Merlot and is intended for earlier consumption, requiring less aging than Latour’s more prestigious labels. When we tasted the 2012 Pauillac de Latour at the chateau in early April it was good enough to compare very favorably with a barrel sample of the excellent 2016 edition. Again, it's very much in the Latour style: structured, bold, and black-fruited. Very generous with loads of sweet fruit and good concentration. Tannins are quite fine. Drinkable now or over the next decade. Given the pricing for First Growths these days, this wine represents one of the great bargains in Bordeaux.

-Jason Marwedel and Jeff Garneau

Brandy Hunting in Northern Italy

David Driscoll

Emilia-Romagna is a beautiful place. Located just north of Bologna, the Villa Zarri estate is set in between rolling hills of green. The property itself dates back to 1578 and has hosted scores of parties, concerts, exhibits, and events over those many centuries, but distillation at the site is a rather recent development in context. Everything Guido Zarri does in the distillery is exactly as is done in the Charentes: the grapes are same varietal, the stills are the same shape and size, the proof of the spirit comes off just over seventy as it does in Cognac. It's in the barrel room, however, that Guido changes direction. Rather than age his brandies in used Limosin oak, he starts each distillate off in new oak casks to impart color and intensity before transferring them into refill barrels over time. He also does not top up the barrels to prevent evaporation, instead choosing to transfer the brandies into fewer and fewer barrels as they begin to lose volume. The result is a richer, darker, and more oak influenced spirit; one that does not require coloring agents or added sugar to soften the mouthfeel. The brandies are impressive and all encompassing from the very first sip. But, if you're a modern spirits fan, wait until you taste that concentrated flavor at 59.7%. That's what ultimately convinced to invest in our own single cask of Villa Zarri brandy.

I'd been waiting a long time for this day; the moment when we could start talking about Italy's potential as a serious source of distilled spirits beyond the ubiquitous vermouth, amaro, and herbal liqueur selections that are sweeping the cocktail culture. Distillation has been practiced in Italy since the early days of grappa and medicinal remedies. Unlike what's happening with the craft distillation scene in America, many of the "new" labels we're seeing from Italy come from companies established in the 1800s. In many cases these producers have not only generations of knowledge as it pertains to spirits, but also plenty of back inventory. Take the case of Guido Zarri as an example, the man behind the Villa Zarri brand. In addition to his fantastic amaro, his delicious nocino, and his dangerously drinkable ciliegia, Guido has mature stocks of Cognac-style brandy (distilled from trebbiano, basically ugni blanc grown in Italy) dating back to the late 1980s. As if his incredibly well-priced ten and twenty-one year old brandies weren't enough to persuade you of his prowess, I decided to dig a little deeper into his cellars.

"I want to do a single barrel and I want to do it at full proof. Is that OK with you?" I asked Guido during a phone conversation earlier this year.

"Yes, I actually think it tastes better that way," he replied, almost as if he was embarrassed by that admission.

I laughed and reassured him: "So do a lot of other people."

Why should you buy this brandy? Simple: rarely has a grape distillate ever come this close in my mind to mimicking the best parts of Scotch, Bourbon, and Cognac all in one tidy, cask strength, single barrel package. You get the richness of of the Brandy on the nose; oodles of caramel and creme brulée. You get the power and oak dominance of a Bourbon on the entry, with big spice and bold strength. You get the nuance and complexity of a Scotch on the finish with candied fruit, hints of earth, and rancio notes for minutes after swallowing. There's a reason we went crazy for this brandy after tasting it: it's a dynamic, delicious, and dangerously drinkable spirit, one that completely changes the conversation not just about brandy, but about Italy's role in the further evolution of top quality distillation.

-David Driscoll

The Fruits of our Beaujolais Labor

David Driscoll

Sitting out on the patio at Château Javernand in Beaujolais this past Spring was one of the great highlights of our trip to Burgundy. Not only did we have the chance to taste a number of great (and inexpensive!) local wines, we were able to meet the winemakers in person, have lunch with them, ask them questions about their practices, and get a sense of how the wines fit into everyday life in the French countryside. For me, it was truly a benchmark moment in my ongoing wine education—a chance to kick back a bit, get a glimpse into what table wine means in Burgundy, and get rid of all the smelling, swirling, and analysis. It was time to simply drink and be merry!

While we were tasting mostly reds and a handful of whites, there was one particular rosé that jumped out at all of us and completely stole our hearts. Fabien Collonge's Rosé de Gamay was a thirst-quenching, mouthwatering, berry-bursting blast of fresh acidity, clean fruit, and pure pleasure. When the weather warms up, there are few things better than a cold bottle of rosé and a few snacks on the picnic table. What made this particular rosé so memorable was seeing where it came from and talking with Fabien about the care he puts into it. Typically wines in the $8-$12 range don't have much of a story. In California, they're generally the result of bulk fruit or large batches of parcels, but in the case of the Collonge rosé, it's all select berries from his estate parcels. The charm and snap of the wine was what really caught my attention. Obviously, we're going to offer a great deal on any wine we import directly, but $10.99 was a total steal. I'd compare it with the fantastic Mount Edward rosé from New Zealand, albeit for six bucks less a bottle.

Beaujolais continues to be a prime source of high quality wines with ridiculously low prices, made by artisanal producers we're buying from directly. It's like a bustling farmers' market full of gamay deliciousness. I can't wait to start cracking these bottles open back here at home.

-David Driscoll

Puelles Returns to Deliver Top Value

On the Trail

One of the more exciting aspects of our direct import program is our ability to find exceptional wines at prices you simply won’t find anywhere else. Locating a Rioja Gran Reserva for under $30 is a rarity, finding one for under $20 is practically unheard of. And that’s just what we have with the 2005 Bodegas Puelles. First off, 2005 was an absolutely stunning vintage in Rioja offering the perfect conditions for wines of ideal balance and poise. Second, Jesús Puelles is a very talented winemaker, so given the raw materials 2005 provided he was able to craft an utterly breathtaking Gran Reserva. Bold, rounded black and red fruits hold center stage and are beautifully accented by notes of wild flowers, anise, saddle leather, and porcini mushroom. Given the long bottle aging the tannins are perfectly integrated making for a smooth and supple approach making this 2005 about as sumptuous as they come. And while it is drinking very well now, it will only continue to develop for another ten to fifteen years. That’s a whole lot of wine for $19.99. 

Jesús Puelles himself is one of the most talented vignerons in Rioja. Hailing from a long line of vineyard worker/owners, Puelles knows the terruño in his little slice of land in the Rioja Alta town of Abalos. All of the grapes for his red wines come from his own 26 hectares, on chalky clay soil, all within the Rioja Alta village of Abalos. Felix, Jesús' older brother, handles the winemaking (as well as packing all our orders - gracias, Felix!) Utlizing a blend of roughly 50-50 French and American oak barrels, generally of one to four years of age for the Gran Reserva, this is a juicy, brightly fruited Gran Reserva, even at twelve years of age, though it shows the hints of spice and leathery savor we love in classic, well made Rioja. Fresh, focused, and generously fruited, yet ultimately textbook Rioja, this is what we have come to expect casa Puelles and why we believe these continue to be amongst our most popular Spanish wines.

-K&L Buying Team

On the Trail at the NBA Finals

David Driscoll

I have been very lucky over the years to make the acquaintance of Warrior's owner Joe Lacob and his fiancée Nicole (maybe you've seen the old interview), who live just a few blocks from our Redwood City store and can be spotted picking out great bottles on the sales floor quite frequently. That friendship has put me into a number of incredible situations over the years, and into countless seats at Oracle Arena that I would never be able to afford or access otherwise. Last night was yet another such occasion in what is becoming a series of ridiculousness for me, as Nicole invited me to pour a high-end, pre-game wine event in the Warrior's Bridge Club and stay for game two of the NBA Finals afterward. As I'm never one to pass up an opportunity to promote K&L, I forced our company president and co-owner Todd Zucker to be my companion. "I'm going to pour while you mingle with the crowd," I said to him after springing this announcement on him last minute. He was reluctant at first, but eventually he acquiesced. "I've gotta have an owner there!" I exclaimed. "You think these people wanna talk to me?" That worked.

The Bridge Club is basically the owners' party den under the arena, just across from the players' locker room. It's located in the same tunnel the Warriors enter from before the game starts, so there's a lot of action in that hallway. Because I knew we were in for a serious crowd, I made sure we picked out a serious line-up of cannons: 1990 Montrose, 2014 Ponsot "Chambertin Close de Beze", Araujo's Accendo cabernet, and the dry white wine of Château d'Yquem for those looking for something more refreshing. We weren't going into a room like this unarmed. Besides the Warriors brass, you never knew who else might pop up before a finals game. Last night's crowd was crazily eclectic: I drank with California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsome at one point before shaking hands with motivational speaker Tony Robbins. You could never have predicted that roster! Not only did we need great bottles, we needed a diverse and interesting selection to match the diversity of the audience.

Todd, being the business man that he is, hit it off with the other business guys. He sat down with Warriors president Rick Welts for a bit of strategizing, while nursing his glass of red Burgundy. Just two company presidents, spitballing ideas and sharing thoughts before a huge NBA Finals game. 

Me being the chatterbox that I am, I spent my two hours mingling and socializing. The highlight was easily the five minutes I spent with Kevin Durant's mother talking about wine. She gave me a giant hug, said something that made me blush as red as a pickled beet, and took a plastic cup of Napa cabernet for the road as we exited the club for game time. She is an absolute character, and her beauty and buoyant personality took over that whole room last night. Wanda Durant is one of the most enegmatic people I've ever met in person, and easily the most fun I've had the pleasure of pouring wine for. I'm praying she calls me and asks for help picking out a nice bottle to celebrate another Warriors championship! Kevin—you are a lucky guy! And we're luckier to have you and your family here with us in the Bay.

After an inspiring and thrilling K&L tasting event, we took our seats in the owners' suite, had a bite to eat, and watched the Warriors dismantle Cleveland in four action-packed quarters—and we got to call it work! A big thank you to Joe, Nicole, Rick, Shari, and the rest of the ownership team for making our weekend that much better. I know I speak for K&L ownership when I say we're thrilled to be a part of all this.

-David Driscoll

The K&L 2016 Bordeaux Official Report

Clyde Beffa Jr.

I cut this year's Bordeaux trip down by a couple of days back in the Fall of 2016 when we originally booked our flights. After hearing the weather reports in May and June, and then during their long, dry summer, I figured we would just go, see our friends at the properties and a handful of négociants, taste a few wines and come back to concentrate on the very good 2015 vintage. As the winter progressed we kept hearing better and better reports about 2016, but we guessed it was just more Bordeaux hype as another “vintage of the century” was born. But some of our most trusted sources in Bordeaux (e.g. Bill Blatch) came out just before our trip with reports of a fantastic 2016 vintage. Oh well, we had to cram ten days into eight, which meant twelve hour days instead of nine hour days. We're professionals, are we not? Our group included myself, Ralph Sands, Jeff Garneau, Steve Bearden, and two rookies, Jason Marwedel and Tristan Stringer. I must say that the trip featured several grueling marathon days, but the crew performed admirably, and not one person missed an appointment or meal. 

So, with hopes that the reports we heard about a good vintage were true, we arrived on a beautiful Sunday afternoon and immediately went to a tasting at Barrière Frères just past Château La Lagune and across the street from Château Cantemerle. We got our first sampling of 2016s with a taste of Lanessan, Beaumont, Beychevelle and Cantemerle, and wow, these wines were delicious. The first thing we noticed was vivid color, then fresh and very perfumy aromas, and then very ripe, precise, pure fruit flavors with very round and soft tannins. The wines drank so easily, just like 2015 and 2009. Unlike 2009, these 2016s really tasted like the properties’ terroir and not like the vintage as a whole. We thought of 1982-1983, 1985-1986, 1989-1990, 1995-1996 or 2009-2010—we have back-to-back good vintages in Bordeaux! Hurray, but not so fast—what happened in those other consecutive good vintages? The prices for the wines in the second vintage were higher than those in the first, and the following campaigns stalled as a result. In fact, I remember the 1996 vintage vividly—we had bought a lot of 1996s, just like the 1995s, but the 1996 campaign came to a halt just after summer and I ended up selling a lot of the wines back to the négociants. Wouldn’t you know it, but Robert Parker came out in January 1998 with a glowing 1996 report and I had to buy the wines back—at 20% higher prices! Lesson learned—I think. 

(Clyde's review is continued in the K&L 2016 Bordeaux Report PDF) 

-Clyde Beffa Jr.

The Hill of Montée de Tonnerre

David Driscoll

On our recent trip to Burgundy, one of the highlights for me personally was spending an early morning walking through the vineyards of Chablis, watching the haze burn off over the eponymous small village from the hillsides as the sun crept up over the horizon. Obviously, like anyone with an affinity for Burgundy, I wanted to get a look at the grand cru sites to see if I could decipher the topography and determine why exactly they were considered the best vineyards. I spent a good forty-five minutes doing that. But with an hour still to spare before our first appointment, I decided to head back to the southeast and check out the hill of Montée de Tonnerre, a premier cru vineyard site from which I've drunk countless bottles over the years. Whether it was from Gerard Trembley, Raveneau, or Domaine Vocoret, for some reason I've always gravitated towards the wines from Tonnerre. They traditionally have a prettiness to them, an elegance of acidity and balance of fruit that has come to define what Chablis means to me: a serious bang for your buck. 

Our appointment later that morning was with La Chablisiénne, one of the best negotiants in the region with prices that are often too good to be true (especially when you can buy direct!). The Kimmeridgian soils of the Tonnerre terroir (meaning the fossilization of small sea creatures from the Kimmeridgian era) is on full display in the outstanding 2014 La Chablisiénne 1er Cru "Montée de Tonnerre". The breakdown of all that former sea life creates a chalky, limestone-rich slope that helps the grapes retain acidity and express a piercingly mineral character. I was stunned by the wine when we tasted it that day, and put the experience down as further proof of just how good 2014 was as a vintage for white Burgundy. It was racy and bursting with bright acidity with a saline note on the finish that almost reminds me of a great Islay whisky (sans the smoke). Located just a short walk from the famed grand cru vineyards, Montée de Tonnerre really doesn't give up much with the step down in classification. For less than thirty bucks, you're getting one of the best deals in all of white wine with our new Chablisiénne arrival. Not only am I reminded by my gorgeous morning walk with each sip, I'm reminded why I wanted to go to Chablis in the first place: it's the last true value in serious French white wine. 

-David Driscoll