Harvest 2008 — “The waiting is the hardest part…”
As I write this, we are awaiting the start of a very late harvest, which may have just begun by the time you read this (we’re guessing around the 8th of October or so.) That would make this the latest harvest since 1999, which also started in the second week of October. Spring came late this year and was cooler than normal, and we’ve just never really caught up over the course of the growing season. September, however, was nearly perfect – with an endless string of sunny days and plenty of heat (average highs in the mid-80s for a good chunk of it). Watch our Blog page for current harvest updates – but as of now we have good hopes for an excellent year…
More Yummy Burgs on the way!
A container-load of more of the delicious 2006 Burgs is arriving within days – including new 06s from Lucien Le Moine, J-J Confuron, Hervé Sigaut, Pascal Bouley, Buisson-Charles, Aleth Girardin, some new Champagnes from Marc Chauvet, and two new producers in our portfolio…
Young mademoiselle Erell Ninot is the latest in a very long line to take control of the family estate in the Côte Chalonnaise (the section of Burgundy just south of the Côte d’Or). Many of our producers go back 7 or 8 generations. Domaine Ninot goes back to 1313! Yes, that’s 1313 – as in the middle ages – a mere 695 years ago (but who’s counting).
Erell is an energetic dynamo, in full charge of all viticulture and winemaking for the 29 acre estate. Their holdings are in the villages of Rully, Mercurey and Givry – all of which are capable of producing excellent quality, but most importantly exquisite value – in both red and white. We’re bringing in her white villages Rully and a Rully 1er Cru that have lovely aromatics and great concentration, and a red villages Mercurey from old vines (70 years+) that is an absolute rockin’ deal at $25 – blowing away many $40-$60 villages burgs.
Erell keeps her yields way low (about 2 tons to the acre for the Pinot, under three tons for the Chardonnay), and uses a judiciously small amount of new oak – an average of about 10-15%. The wines are supple and vibrant and pure and quite simply a delight.
Domaine François Leclerc
François has taken over the winemaking at his father’s estate – Domaine René Leclerc – so François is not technically new to us, as we’ve been enjoying wines he’s made for the last few years. However, we are excited to be able to offer for the first time the wine from François’ own small estate, which he launched in 2005. He’s got some lovely holdings in Gevrey-Chambertin, and we were able to get a hold of a whopping 25 cases of his 2006. (He only makes a few barrels for the entire world, but he’s got a soft spot for Oregon, having done an internship here back in ’99.)
He follows the same philosophies and regimen as for his father’s wines, which is to say low yields from old vines, zero new oak, a light touch in the winery, and a focus on elegance and finesse. Burghound.com’s Allen Meadows had this to say about the ’06:
“A deeply pitched nose of somber crushed red and blue berry fruit with similar warm, iron-infused earth and underbrush notes complement the fresh and slightly sauvage medium-bodied flavors that sport plenty of Gevrey character on the delicious and nicely complex, firm and linear finish. 88pts.”
At $35/bottle this may be the best deal on Gevrey on the planet. We are thrilled to welcome François’s own wines to the Scott Paul family!
Burgundy’s new Superstar – Lucien Le Moine
We have the great fortune to import the outstanding wines from Burgundy’s hottest producer – Maison Lucien Le Moine, the project of husband & wife team Mounir Saouma and Rotem Brakir. Since their start in the 1999 vintage, the accolades have been nearly endless. This year alone they’ve nabbed the highest scoring Burgundy of the year in Wine Spectator, Winery of the year in Wine & Spirits, “One of the Wines of the Vintage” in Burghound.com, and an astonishing 56 scores of 90 pts or higher for the 2006 wines from Stephen Tanzer & Allen Meadows.
In the Middle Ages it was Cistercian monks who developed Burgundy’s vineyards and made the wines. Winemaker Mounir is a former monk – “Lucien” is the French translation of his nickname, and “Le Moine” simply means “the monk.” There is nothing simple, however, about their range of wines – over a dozen of the top Grand Crus as well as over 20 of the best 1er Crus of the Côte d’Or.
These two seem to hit a home-run every year, consistently drawing raves from all the critics. In fact only two estates – Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and LeRoy – consistently draw equal acclaim. The huge press and high scores creates a near feeding-frenzy for the wines, exacerbated by the fact that they are produced in minute quantities – usually no more than 50 cases of each bottling, more often only 25 cases. With worldwide demand for the wines, the quantities that reach our shores are even more miniscule – sometimes as low as just a few bottles of the most limited and precious appellations. In other words, don’t hesitate, last year these sold out in the first hour. For the complete listing of wines available, along with tasting notes and scores, click here.
2006 Burgundies – Drink ‘em Now!!!
What a joy it is to finally have a vintage in Burgundy that produced wines that deliver a lot of drinking pleasure when they’re young! They are delicious to drink over the near-to-medium term, and you can enjoy them now – instead of having to wait 5-10 years before they’re approachable. I direct you once again to Burgundy authority Allen Meadows for the straight scoop on 2006:
“… a very fine vintage that produced classically styled wines of superb purity and transparency that will deliver much pleasure, and sooner, than the more consistent 2005. Indeed, I would go so far to say that in some cases, the 2006s actually surpass their 2005 counterparts…”
A word (or two) on Value…
The wines of Burgundy have a reputation of being terribly expensive. That can be very true – especially in the case of a handful of the most famous producers. These estates (DRC, LeRoy, Coche-Dury, Lafon, Roumier, de Vogüé, for example – and perhaps another 20 or so) have intense world-wide demand for their wines, which are often produced in minute quantities (as in less than 25 cases of Roumier Musigny for the entire world.) Yes, the prices for these wines are stratospheric. Every billionaire from New York to Dubai to Hong Kong to Moscow is chasing after the wines, and they frankly don’t care what they cost.
When you get past the level of the superstar estates that command ultra-premium prices (and even more ridiculous prices in the secondary and auction markets) – you can find great wines from great producers who sell their wines for a lot less money. Often less than half the money. What’s even better is that the wines from these more reasonably-priced producers are getting the same scores from the critics as the “big boys.” A random look at a number of the Scott Paul Selections producers shows them getting, on average, the same level of critical reviews, but their wines cost 50% (or more) less!
A couple of quick examples – a 2006 Gevrey-Chambertin from Armand Rousseau or Claude Dugat sells for $150 – they get 87-89 and 86-88 Burghound points respectively. Our ’06 Gevrey from Taupenot-Merme is $46, and it scores 87-89 Burghound points. Or how about a 2006 Chambolle-Musigny from Domaine Roumier, it’s 86-88 points and $100. Our ’06 Chambolle from Hervé Sigaut gets 87-89 points for $55. There are dozens of examples like this throughout our portfolio. The choice is yours – you can pay for the label, or the quality of the wine in the bottle. (We’d choose the wine, btw…)
Two of our Burgundies Featured In Wine Advocate’s Value Issue
“The World’s Greatest Wine Values” – that’s the title of the latest issue of Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. We are honored that two of our wines from Domaine Thibert Père & Fils in the Mâconnais are highlighted in this report – one of just a handful of producers in Burgundy to be included (the report included only wines that retail for $25 or less).
Thibert’s 2007 Mâcon-Prissé ($20) scored an 89 and the St. Véran ($20) grabbed 90 pts. – with this lovely write-up up from WA reviewer David Schildknecht –
“This was my first opportunity to taste wines from this estate and based on their two least expensive offerings, they are a superb source. “
Our first shipment of wines from Champagne Marc Chauvet sold like proverbial hotcakes. We’re excited to have more coming in for Champagne season, with more of the delicious Brut and Brut Réserve (both excellent values) and two new wines – the just-released 2002 vintage, and their top-of-the-line Special Club 1998 which spent nine years on the lees in bottle prior to disgorgement this year – an awesome bottle for your celebrations at $55.
And of course the greatest value sparkler of all is Domaine Huber-Verdereau’s Crémant de Bourgogne – 100% Pinot Noir from just below Volnay, and it totally rocks at $22. Happy Holidays!!!
Scott Paul is On The Air…
After spending more than 25 years of my life on the radio every day, it’s fun to be back “on the air” after a 15 year lay-off. The Scott Paul Pinot Podcasts are an irregular series of radio shows covering all things Pinot – interviews with industry heavyweights, mini-Burgundy seminars, anything and everything Pinot that might be entertaining or educational (or both!) The podcasts are available for streaming or downloading directly from our Blog page – so check ‘em out and let us know what you think…
2007 Cuvée Martha Pirrie Pinot Noir – Grab it Now!
Burgundy Express Wine Club
Thanks for your tremendous response to the launch of our Burgundy Express Club earlier this year. It’s a unique wine club, in that it’s really all about education. You get two 6-bottle shipments per year of wines from our Burgundy portfolio, hand-selected by me specifically for the club, and you get them at 20% off. This is a club for those eager to explore all facets of Burgundy (and get a great deal on your wines at the same time). We might not turn you into a full-blown Burgundy expert, but we are intending each selection to be an educational and informative tasting flight with a specific topic covered in each shipment. These could vary from specific appellations, vineyard horizontals, vintage verticals — It will be like getting a mini Burgundy Seminar delivered to your door. Membership also gets you a full 20% off our already stellar prices on all of your Burgundy purchases while you remain a member. The Club was sold-out soon after we announced it, but we have now been able to get enough wine to satisfy the increased demand. So – if you’d like to sign up for yourself (a membership also makes a great gift, hint-hint) – just contact Kelly Karr at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 503 852-7300.
Premier Cru Weekend – October 18th & 19th, 11-4 p.m. Only 10% of all wine produced in Burgundy is classified at the lofty Premier Cru level – only vineyards that have proven to be distinctively excellent over the centuries make the cut. This weekend we’ll be featuring four exciting 1er Crus from across Burgundy, as well as two of our own Scott Paul Pinots.
You’ll taste the 2006 Chablis Fourchaume from Frédéric Gueguen, René Leclerc’s 2006 Gevrey-Chambertin Les Champeaux, the 2006 Gevrey-Chambertin Bel-Air from Taupenot-Merme, and Violot-Guillemard’s rockin’ 2006 Beaune Clos des Mouches. On the Scott Paul side we’ll be showing the brand new 2007 Cuvée Martha Pirrie and the 2006 La Paulée Pinots. Tasting fee for this special flight is $10, refundable with purchase.
La Paulée de Carlton – November 1st (Let’s Party!) Our 3rd annual “La Paulée de Carlton” is set for Saturday, November 1st, and we are ready to eat and drink exceedingly well – with the hopes that you can join us! The event begins with a grnad tasting in our tasting room, 11-4 p.m and is followed by a Grand Dinner in our winery at 6:30.
The Grand Tasting willl be your first chance to taste and buy futures of our pride and joy and most sought-after wine – the 2007 Audrey Pinot Noir. Only eight barrels of this beauty were produced, and like its predecessors it is simply stunning (in our humble opinion!) The complete Scott Paul line-up will be available for tasting as well.
On the Burgundy front, we’ll be introducing our two new producers, starting with Domain Ninot – we’ll be tasting her 2007 Rully Blanc 1er Cru and 2006 Mercurey Vieilles Vignes ($25 each – what a deal!), and then the 2006 Gevrey-Chambertin from young François Leclerc (at $35 the best deal on top villages-level Burgundy on the planet.) We’ll follow that with a super rarity – the 2006 Volnay Roncerets 1er Cru from Pascal Bouley – he only makes one barrel, and only 4 cases come into the U.S.! And of course we’ll have a nice array of cheeses and charcuterie to go with. Make your plans now to be here for one of our best events of the year. FLASH – journalist Jordan Mackay – author of the forthcoming “A Passion for Pinot” will be on hand with a sneak preview of his gorgeous book.
La Paulée Grand Dinner: Join us along with some of Oregon’s top winemakers for a true bacchanalian extravaganza. In the tradition of La Paulée in Burgundy, everyone is encouraged to bring some special bottles from their cellars to share with all dinner revelers. For reservations or more information, contact Kelly at 503-319-5827 or email@example.com.
Champagne & Chambolle – November 22 & 23
The weekend before Thanksgiving has become a wine-tasting tradition in its own right here in the Willamette Valley – especially for those who want to get out ahead of the holiday crowds. We’ll make it festive all weekend with new Champagnes from Marc Chauvet, and a selection of newly arrived Burgs from my favorite village of Chambolle-Musigny – including bottlings from J-J Confuron, Hervé Sigaut, and Taupenot-Merme. And our own Scott Paul goodies will be here too, of course. We’ll be open 11-4 both days – tasting fee is $10 for this event, refundable with purchase.
Thanksgiving Weekend Open House – November 28 & 29
The granddaddy of them all! Come on out for our joyous annual celebration in wine country. We’ll be open Friday & Saturday from 10-4 with a great line-up of Scott Paul Pinot and Burgs to taste, including your chance to taste and buy 2007 Audrey Futures.
Author John Winthrop Haeger will be here on Saturday, signing copies of his exciting new book “Pacific Pinot – a comprehensive winery guide for consumers and connoisseurs.” A copy of this excellent book is yours FREE with the purchase of a 6-pack of Audrey futures, or a 6-pack of 2006 La Paulée, or any mixed 12-bottle case throughout the weekend. (John will only be here on Saturday, but the free-book deal is good Friday thru Sunday.)
Your $10 admission fee is refundable with a purchase of 3 bottles or more, and includes a selection of cheeses, patés and charcuterie. We’ll also be open regular tasting room hours on Sunday the 30th from 11-4.
We’re excited to continue our series of Burgundy seminars next year, with classes for both beginning and advanced Burg-lovers. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about one of the world’s finest (yet most confusing) wine regions – these seminars are for you. Classes take place every month January through June – call Kelly Karr at 503 319 5827 to book your seats and for more information. We’ll have the 2009 Schedule finalized by early December.
As always, thanks for joining us on our amazing journey!
Martha, Scott, Kelley, Kelly & Emily – the Scott Paul team