This Week’s Wine Tasting
Presented by Regional Manager Jennie Mass
Martine Saunier was born in Paris. “Although she lived and attended school there, she spent every summer vacation at her aunt’s home in Prissé, near Mâcon. Her aunt owned a winery with approximately 10 acres of vineyards planted with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
When Martine moved to the United States in 1964, she started to look for some local California wines. In 1965, she drove to Beaulieu Vineyards, knocked on the door and was lucky enough to meet the great André Tchelistcheff. He told her in his good French that if she wanted good Pinot Noir, she had to go to Burgundy to get it! The seed was planted in her mind…
In December 2012 — 33 years after founding her company — she passed the torch to a new generation of owners. “I wanted to leave my legacy to someone who would take care of it. I thought, ‘It has to be a Frenchman,’” Martine says. During a meal at her home, she and Gregory Castells, a Provence native and renowned wine expert, realized they were a perfect fit. They struck a deal, and today, Gregory leads the company, with Martine remaining on board to ensure the valued relationships she forged over so many years endure through the transition and beyond.”
Current President, Greg Castells was born in Digne-Les-Bains, Provence. His motto is: “When at dinner, choose the wine first. He has found working in the wine industry to be a life long journey. His favorite type of cuisine is Japanese. Greg’s most memorable Martine moment: When she asked me to take over Martine’s Wines.”
Regional Manager, Jennie Mass currently lives in Chicago, Illinois. “When not working at Martine’s Wines, Jennie enjoys: Entertaining and being entertained! And afterwards: the gym. Favorite wine quote: “I enjoy cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.” – Winston Churchill. Jennie on Martine’s Wines: History, culture, and travel have always been important to me. My first trip abroad was to France and there has been no looking back since. Martine’s Wines is about our growers and their stories, and the adventures of meeting people from all over. I cannot think of anywhere I would rather be.”
Chateau Respide-Medeville– “Julie and Xavier Gonet-Médeville are, in many ways, the first couple of French wines. Both hail from storied winemaking families: Julie’s family is famous for its incomparable Chateau Gilette, and Xavier comes from a long line of Champagne growers in Le Mesnil. Leading a new generation of winemakers, they bring their family knowledge, methods and passion to the many wines they now make together.
Julie’s father, Christian Médeville, integrated Château Respide-Médeville, in the heart of the Graves region of Bordeaux, into the family estate in 1959. Today, his daughter and her husband coax great Graves Blanc and Rouge from the sandy, gravelly clay soil, allowing the purity of the fruit to shine through.
The Graves Rouge is a blend of approximately 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. The dry Graves Blanc is a barrel-fermented blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle.”
Chateau Respide-Medeville Domaine de Justices Bordeaux Blanc 2013– Bordeaux Superieur. “Domaine des Justices is an estate on the Bordeaux Supérieur appellation for the red wine (5 hectares), Bordeaux dry, for the white (2 hectares) and Bordeaux Rosé. Situated in Preignac on the summit of the first gravel hill north of Langon. A blend of 60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Semillon. Area of vineyard: 2 hectares. Hand-harvested. Production: 1000 cases.” $15.99
Chateau Respide-Medeville Graves Rouge 2011– Graves, Bordeaux. “Château Respide-Médeville is situated on the summit of the first gravel hill north of Langon. The view over the Garonne valley and its vineyards is superb. The vineyard is spread out around the Château on a mosaic of terroirs: at the summit can be found large areas of deep gravel for the Cabernet Sauvignon with a plot of yellow clay in the slope. The Merlots are planted on gravel mixed with sand on a bed of clay. A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. Area of vineyard: 8 hectares. Soil: gravel and subsoil of clay. Hand-harvested. Vinification: stainless steel tank fermentation, maceration around 21 days. Ageing: 50% of the wine aged in barrels for 12 months. Production: 3500 cases.” $29.99
Domaine Charles Audion– “Cyril Audoin is part of the next generation from renowned winemaking families, and his energetic, outgoing personality is a refreshing counterpoint to wines that are among the most serious in their appellation.
Cyril’s father, Charles, was a visionary in the Burgundy region, as he’d already selected and vinified the best parcels in the 1970s, before Marsannay was even an appellation. He and his wife, Marie-Françoise, an oenologist, began their domaine in Marsannay-la-Cote, in 1972.
Cyril is the fifth generation to join the family business. He continues his parents’ commitment to producing fine red, white and rosé Marsannays, primarily from single vineyards, that are well-structured and wonderfully mineral.”
Written by Neal Martin of the Wine Advocate: “Since being introduced to this domaine’s wines last year courtesy of their commendable 2009s, I sought to taste their latest releases that are overseen by Charles’s son Cyril. He has been at the helm since 2000 and had the advantage of abundant old vine material at his disposal. There is plenty afoot at this address with a new state-of-the-art winery coming online in 2014 and again, there is plenty to admire in their latest additions, in particular a fabulous little Marsannay that shows just what this appellation can do in the right hands.”
Charles Audion Bourgogne Rouge 2012– Marsannay la Cote, Burgundy. “There are fourteen different wines produced at the Domaine Charles Audoin today, from Marsannay to Pommard. Classic, authentic wines, which are not filtered and come from the best soils Marsannay has to offer. In the words of Cyril Audoin, “The hallmark of our wines is the way our grape varieties are expressed within a given climate, and never derives from any temporary fashion or fad. No outside party ever plays a part in the making of our wines. They reflect our perception of Burgundy wines and their relationship to the soil they come from.”” 87 Wine Spectator- “Succulent, offering tart cherry, currant and a smoky, woodsy note. Stays persistent and juicy through the moderate finish. Drink now through 2018. 134 cases imported.” $27.99
“Domaine Laporte is the result of a perfect blending of two renowned Sancerre families. Founded in 1850 in the village of Saint-Satur, Domaine Laporte was run until 1986 by René Laporte. A visionary chair of the Sancerre appellation for 20 years, René was a pioneer in producing low-yield, high-quality Sancerre during a time of overproduction.
A well-known winegrower from Chavignol, Henri Bourgeois purchased the domaine from René, keeping the old vineyard, cellar and house – and maintaining the excellent reputation. Now under the watchful eyes of Henri’s two grandsons, Arnaud and Cedric Bourgeois, Domaine Laporte is one of the most highly respected estates in the Loire Valley. It holds more than 74 acres, and the flagship Sancerre comes from one of the finest vineyards in the appellation, Domaine du Rochoy, a 25-acre monopole vineyard carved out of the flint hillside overlooking the Loire River. Typically one of the first sites picked in the appellation, Rochoy offers grapes with wonderful ripeness and incredible mineral expression from Silex soils, the rarest terroir in Sancerre.
Laporte is a certified organic producer and the wine here is made in a very traditional, natural way, employing organic methods and always ensuring a sense of purity and excellence. In addition to Sancerre, Laporte produces beautiful Pouilly-Fume, Quincy and Chateaumeillant.”
Laporte Sancerre ‘La Rochoy’ 2014– Sancerre, Loire Valley. “From a hillside of singular sharp flint stones, the wines of Domaine du Rochoy express a delicate minerality, pure and unique. Coming from the most rooted vines of the Domaine du Rochoy, this prestigious selection reveals a very singular elegance and character. A wine of exceptional ageing potential. With great aromatic finesse, “Le Rochoy” will surprise you with its fullness, personality and tasty balance, added to notes of yellow fruit. A delicious peppery hint. The flinty minerality springs with a light smoky taste in the mouth. “Le Rochoy” beautifully extends its aromas with amazing generosity.” $28.99
“Féraud-Brunel began in 1998 with a partnership between two celebrated winemakers: Laurence Féraud of Domaine du Pégau and André Brunel of Domaine Les Cailloux. At their own estates, they make highly regarded Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Through the Féraud-Brunel label, they source old-vine Grenache from the best growers in the Côtes-du-Rhône, turning them into some of the best-value wines in the region.
Laurence and André work as diligently for the Féraud-Brunel label as they do for their own estates. After harvest, Féraud-Brunel wines are fermented and aged at André’s cellar in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and bottled without fining or filtration.
The partnership of outgoing Féraud and soft-spoken Brunel takes the best of both their personalities — and their exceptional winemaking — to produce wines that are fruit-driven, well-structured and true to their terroirs. These Côtes-du-Rhône wines over-deliver on every level.”
Feraud-Brunel Rasteau 2011– Rasteau, Rhone Valley. “This a a joint venture between Laurence Feraud of Domaine du Pegau and Andre Brunel of Domaine les Cailloux. The goal here is to produce moderate quantities of Cotes du Rhone and Cotes du Rhone Villages, along with smaller quantities of wines from more prestigious appellations.” 88 Wine Spectator– “Solid, with fleshy fruit flavors of plum sauce, boysenberry paste and crushed blackberry melding together. The finish is carried by a singed vanilla and sweet tobacco note, revealing a hint of graphite. Drink now. 180 cases imported.” $23.99
Niepoort– “When the Niepoort family moved from Holland to the Duoro region of Portugal in 1842, the rise of one of the great Port houses of Oporto began. And in 1997, as the fifth generation to make fortified wines for the family business, Dirk Niepoort began a brand new rise. Considered a true Renaissance man, Dirk continues to make Port using the same traditional methods as his ancestors, while also leading the way as one of Portugal’s most innovative, creative and exciting producers of dry table wine.
Dirk started making table wine because, well, he likes to drink table wine. As it turns out, he is rather good at it. He and his sister, Verena, make 11 Duoro wines (red, white and rosé) at a variety of price points. During the past 25 years, they put both the family estate and the entire region on the map for wine. Dirk is a pioneer of modern approaches — creating artistic labels and new marketing and selling practices — but with a healthy respect for traditional, classic methods of winemaking. Niepoort spares no expense in creating wines that match their high-quality Port siblings.”
Dirk Niepoort Ruby Port nv– Portugal. “Niepoort has been an independent family business since 1842. The Niepoort lodges are located in the historical center of Vila Nova de Gaia; a magical place where Portwines are aged in old casks, bottles or demijohns. At Niepoort we believe that the colour of the Port should be inspired by the “ruby stone”. Ruby ages an average of 3 years. The grapes come from old vineyards in Cima Corgo region of Douro Valley. The wine ages in large wooden casks at Niepoort cellars, in Vila Nova de Gaia. Niepoort Ruby is fresh, young and fruity. An expressive Port with great character. Ruby keeps well for several years, although the wine will not improve with age. No decanting is necessary since the wine contains no sediment. Serve after a meal, by itself or with soft cheese.” $21.99