Selections for November 2016

Let’s get “Library” yet again . . .

2005 il FAUNO di ARCANUM – Tuscany, Italy

While we didn’t mean to do this so regularly, several recent submissions to your club have been older wines.  I’ve already spoken to the more mellowed-out effect befitting this colder and (hopefully) damper time of year and the requisite table fare, so this time I’ll comment on what this wine proves.

We have shown younger versions of il Fauno to your club at least twice, perhaps three times.  While Wine Spectator and Robert Parker report on only a few vintages, all the ratings have been 90 points or above.  Every time we have featured it the price has been very fair considering an ample delivery of character and power.  With the provision of this 2005, il Fauno’s reputation is firmly established.  NOW we know how the wine can age.  You are savoring an 11-year-old wine costing less than thirty dollars after wine club discount.  You are admiring a very healthily-colored, beefily-scented, and significantly-structured blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc.  With at least two other vintage experiences in the databases of longtime club members, let’s just say it:  Il Fauno is one of the world’s great wine values.

Enjoy with a pork tenderloin, roasted on the bone and topped with a cherry-plum fruit sauce. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

2012 CHATEAU de CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET ROUGE – Chassagne-Montrachet, Burgundy, France

Burgundy, both red and white, represents one of the wine world’s most expensive categories.  That is, you have to pay a lot for greatness.  The hefty rates are borne of demand, economy of scale (most producers own or access smaller amounts of fruit from here or there), and some recent weather-related crop depletions.

But like great Champagne, there’s nothing like Burgundy.  This is Pinot Noir which needn’t be alcoholically “big” to impress, if you’re the contemplative kind of wine lover spending at least as much time sniffing as sipping.  – And so we must bring it to our thoughtful World Class Club members from time to time.

This particular Burgundy is delicious yet more accessibly-priced for several reasons.  The Bader-Mimeur Family, having operated in Burgundy since the 1700’s, owns or manages larger amounts of land than many producers, easing the economy of scale pressure a bit.  Additionally, this is a selection from Importer Charles Neal who operates here in the Bay Area.  Unlike many other European wines we access, his wines travel from Europe non-stop, sans East Coast toll-charging middlemen.  I also respect Charles’ lower overhead / lower margin rates.  Everything he brings us is a very fair deal.  Then there’s the “take all” price he recently proposed:  Seeing just seven cases of this left in his warehouse, Charles offered us a better price opportunity on the whole lot.  We bit.  You win.  

Finally, there’s the matter of this being Chassagne-Montrachet ROUGE.  This particular appellation is better known for its Chardonnays, and the Pinots from here often feature under-the-radar value in comparison.

It is 10:30 a.m. and nothing could be more fragrant or tastier at this hour than the fruit tart expression of this juicy, mineral-driven Pinot in my mouth.  If the wine makes it to dinner time (doubtful) it will meet up with some King Salmon,- and next Thursday roast turkey will be its accomplice!