Wines with Premshree: 2013 Forge Cellars Pinot Noir “Les Alliés”

If you pardon the generalization for a second, you might agree that the prototypal Californian Pinot Noir may be big, lush and fruit-forward, lacking the complex, terroir-driven range of possibilities offered by Burgundy. Pinots from The Finger Lakes, on the other hand, in the hands of a good vintner, are firmly in the Burgundian camp. We may not have a good grasp of the region's terroir, but a single vineyard wine like this 2013 “Les Alliés”, (mostly) from vines from John Leidenfrost's vineyards, may start telling us their stories.

It is rumored that these vines may be Clos Vougeot clones, but no-one really knows. What Richard Rainey, wine grower and one of the partners at Forge Cellars, does tell me, though, is that these vines, many of them planted in the '80s (averaging 25 years old), give very ripe berries with incredibly thick skin.

We have enjoyed the “classique” in the past and it had become a weekday favorite in our home, until we couldn't find it anymore. We enjoyed this particular bottle over Thanksgiving in Vermont. What a revelation!

Per Rainey, 2013 was a warm and dry fall that benefited the pinots. The wine poured a light red. Dry on the palate, I sensed hints of smoke, leather, tobacco and fresh fruits on the beautiful bouquet. On the palate, notes of dried cherries and peaches interspersed the tannic structure, with a hint of spice on the finish. For wine this young it drinks remarkably. I'm curious to see how this will develop with some time in the cellar.

I look forward to seeing what the 2014s look like. (Hint: apparently, very exciting.)

Wines with Premshree: 1995 Hospices de Beaune Savigny-les-Beaune Premier Cru Cuvée Fouquerand

The Hospices de Beaune was originally founded in 1433 as a hospital for the poor. Domaine des Hospices de Beaune own several parcels, mostly grand crus and premier crus, acquired through donations. Since 1859, each year on the third Sunday of November the domaine auctions off its cuveés to négociants for charity.

Albert Bichot has been of the biggest buyers from the auctions for the past several years. They age the cuveés in their cellars in Beaune, under the supervision of chief winemaker Alain Serveau, who joined the domaine in '95, which also happens to be the vintage of this bottle.

This Savigny-les-Beaune 1er is a blend from four 1er cru vineyards: Les Basses-Vergelesses, Les Talmettes, Aux Gravains and Aux Serpentières. The cuveé is named after Denis-Antoine Fouquerand and his wife Charlotte Claudine who donated to the Hospice in 1832 and 1844.

Ochre-red pour. Jammy, concentrated fruit with some heft upfront, more earth on the mid-palate. Over the course of the night, the fruits gave way to dried fruits and the structured tannins began to open up to be more smooth.

The cork evoked memories of old teak wood furniture in a library full of musty books.

1995 saw poor weather, resulting in low yield, which (if you believe in the theory) may have led to more concentration. This wine is a good representation of what one might expect from this vintage. A very enjoyable wine.

Wines with Premshree: 2001 Domaine Robert Chevillon "Les Saint-Georges", Nuits St. Georges Premier Cru

Nuit Saint-Georges is one of the main wine-growing regions in the Côte de Nuits commune, part of the Côte d'Or. Les Saint-Georges is one of the bigger premier cru vineyards, located at the western and southern edge of the premier cru belt in the commune. The appellation has no grand crus.

Brothers Bertrand and Denis Chevillon manage the domaine named after their father Robert...

Read More