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Propriété de L’Ètat de Fribourg, Vully (Switzerland) Pinot Noir Vignoble de L’Ètat 2016 ($22)
 Vully was not an appellation even mentioned when I first traveled to Switzerland for wine, but now… perhaps largely due to climate change and the success of pinot here… it belongs on everyone’s map.  The fruit is delicate but penetrating in flavor, which is the key characteristic of all great Pinot.  I’m not ready to claim “greatness” for this wine, but the fact that it can get that one key thing right suggests that greatness can truly be achieved with sufficient vine age and winemaking talent.  What is in the bottle now is already wonderfully impressive, with little evidence of assistance from fancy oak -- or oak at all for that matter -- yet the stable color and depth of color suggests that some must have been involved.  The acidity and tannin are matched to the fruit in a way that is, well, perfect, and the symmetries and proportionality of this wine is really quite impressive.  I’m honestly not sure whether this is a co-op or some other sort of enterprise in light of its state-affiliated name, but who cares.  The wine is completely delicious. 
92 Michael Franz

WRO WINE BLOG

Posted by Michael Apstein on July 2, 2018 at 1:36 PM

An Interesting Rarity from Burgundy

Geantet-Pansiot, Bourgogne Rouge, “Pinot Fin,” 2015 ($30 - 45):

Pinot Fin is a clone of Pinot Noir that produces smaller berries and thicker skin, according to the internationally acclaimed wine expert, Jancis Robinson.  It’s rarely grown in Burgundy today, because it’s a finicky grape to grown, even more troublesome than Pinot Noir, susceptible to many diseases that result in lower yields--meaning, more expensive wine.  Nonetheless, Geantet-Pansiot, one the top producers in the Côte de Nuits (he makes spectacular Gevrey Chambertin and Chambolle Musigny that sell for triple digits) produces a small amount of Bourgogne Rouge from this clone of Pinot Noir. 

While I remain a great fan of the top Burgundy négociants, such as Bichot, Bouchard Père et Fils, Drouhin, Jadot, and Latour, because of their depth of production and overall quality, I’ll be the first to admit that a Bourgogne Rouge (or Bourgogne Blanc) from a top grower usually beats one from a négociant.  These “minor” wines from the top growers often prove to be hidden gems in today’s stratospherically-priced Burgundy market. 

It’s always a good bet that the grapes used to make these wines came from vineyards located near the estate’s base. In the case of Geantet-Pansiot, that means Gevrey-Chambertin, Chambolle-Musigny or Marsannay, three renowned villages where he owns vineyards.  Now, don’t be fooled.  Geantet-Pansiot’s Bourgogne Rouge does not come from within the confines of those appellations.  The grapes likely come from nearby plots that lie outside the limits of those revered appellations.  Hey, it may not be Rockefeller Center, but it’s still New York City. 

By comparison, négociant Bourgogne Rouge--or Blanc--can come from anywhere within Burgundy, perhaps comparable to New York state to pursue the analogy.  Grower Bourgogne Rouge or Blanc will not be cheap.  But you will get a glimmer of what the producers’ wines are like.  Even they may not be able to make, as the saying goes, “a silk purse out of a sow’s ear,” but often they make wine, as in this case, that hits well above its appellation.

Geantet-Pansiot’s Bourgogne Rouge has power and concentration, delivering a healthy dose of dark fruit and earth, as befitting the superb 2015 vintage and the nature of the Pinot Fin grape.  Gangly when first tasted, the wine settled down by the next day, suggesting it still needs a year or two in the bottle.  What it lacks is elegance and finesse--a not so subtle reminder that the French appellation system is based on those attributes, and not just power and concentration.  In other words, bigger is not necessarily better.  (88 Points)

A word about the price.  Wine-searcher.com tells me that the wine is available in just two stores in the U.S., MacArthur Beverages in Washington, D.C. and Astor Wines in New York City, both superb outlets for fine Burgundy.  The dramatic discrepancy in price noted above highlights our Byzantine alcohol regulations.  It is my understanding that MacArthur can import the wine directly, whereas Astor must acquire it from a licensed New York distributor, thereby incurring another mark-up.  It pays to shop around.  But getting it shipped to your home is another matter….

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Ten Wines that Changed the World
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It is a truism bordering on cliché to observe that wine the world over is better than it's ever been. Greater variety coupled with improved quality has made the early twenty-first century a true golden age for wine lovers. Compared to the global scene 50 years ago, when select French wines remained unrivaled as both examples and definitions of excellence, the changes have been revolutionary. Many factors account for them. Some involve production, new approaches to grape growing and winemaking. But others involve consumption. New audiences have embraced wine in new ways. In turn, those audiences have been influenced by new tastes, many of which came to widespread attention because of the success of specific wines. Those specific wines were not necessarily the best ones. Their significance came less from inherent quality and more from the effect they had on consumer perceptions and attitudes. In short, they made wine in general more inclusive than ever before.
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