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PARIS – MARCH

This March, we’ve continued a new tradition, the Domaines Familiaux de Tradition Burgundy Tasting in Paris. The Domaines Familiaux de Borugogne is an association of 28 Family Domaines in the Cote d’Or, who originally joined to share best business practices for small wine estates, but now share winemaking ideas, techniques and support as an elite group of traditionally minded producers. Now meeting at the Bristol Hotel in the 8th arrondisement, we tasted highlights from the 2011 vintage.  This is a special tasting, intended for the invited Paris wine community, and delightfully intimate as each winery is represented by the winemakers and family of the Domaine, leading to a conviviality and dialogue unmatched for such a spectacular gathering.

 Although regarded as difficult vintage due to the early and warm spring, cool and rainy June and July, and warm, dry August, 2011 was a year that seasoned and patient winemakers were still able to make beautiful wines, despite a loss in total crop by an average of 20-30%.  The quality of the wines at each domaine reminds us why buying wines from the most selective winemakers is the best way to guarantee quality. The vintage character is always true from these producers, and while generous years produce great wine from all producers, difficult years remind us who the best-handed winemakers truly are.

 We visited with long time friends Frederic Lafarge, Frederic Mugnier, Eric Rousseau, Etienne de Montille and Jean Louis Trapet. We visited with families that craft some of our favorite expressions of Burgundy, Domaine Dujac, Domaine des Comes Lafon, Domaine Leflaive, Domaine Raveneau, Domaine Roumier, Domaine Tollot-Beaut and Domaine de Villaine. We celebrated a wonderful life lived by Simon Bize, as we tasted his beautiful expression of 2011 Savigny Les Beaune and we sent our warmest regards to his family.

 What is also a great pleasure, it to taste wines from families that always produce beautiful and traditional wines, but surprise us with fantastic charm and recapture our imagination. This year, we fell back into love with Claude de Nicolay’s charming wines from Pernand-Vergelesses at Chandon de Briailles. How could we not share our pleasure of tasting the last few years of absolute elegance, poured into every glass by Domaine Henri Gouges in Nuits-St-Georges?  We brought New York City bagels and cream cheese to Guillaume d’Angerville, who has been carrying the family torch with pride since his 2003 start in making the Domaine wines after his father Jacques’ passing.  We cannot sing enough praise about the new caliber of excellence raised by Guillaume.

 Of course we saved time to experience Springtime in Paris with friends and over some delicious meals. We cooked together, celebrating the first morel mushrooms, fennel bulbs, white asparagus from Pertuis, spring milk-fed lamb and the most delicious, spring’s first wild strawberries. We cooked with George Germon and Johanne Killeen of Al Forno Restaurant in Providence, RI. We set up dinner tables with Sommelier Gaylord Robert and Jean Emmanuel Simond, some of the liveliest wine personalities in France, and invited friends to share the pleasures of the table paired with beautiful wines late into the night, in the City of Lights.

 We’re back in New York, invigorated, with new energy and excited to share with you, purity from the vineyard and pleasures of the table. We hope to see you soon.

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