Entre deux bleus

Cellar Favorite: 2017 Domaine des Miroirs (Kenjiro Kagami) Vin de France Entre Deux Bleus

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, France

Neal Martin, Dec 2023

Earlier this year, I dined at a small but well-respected restaurant whose wine list was so saturated with below-market-price gems that I decided it was not in anyone’s interest to write it up as a Vinous Table. You just need to look at the “wastelands” that are wine lists around Beaune to see what happens. I want people to discover the restaurant like I did.

Beaulieu 1974

Cellar Favorite: 1974 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve Georges de Latour

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Neal Martin, Dec 2023

The 1974 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve Georges de Latour was served blind at a restaurant in Beaune, from a vintage where California excelled.

Musigny 2016 mugnier

Cellar Favorite: 2016 Domaine J-F Mugnier Musigny Vieilles Vignes

France: Burgundy, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Neal Martin, Dec 2023

Frédéric Mugnier caused a few ripples when, tired of witnessing his Grand Crus martyred not long after bottling in restaurants around Beaune, he decided to withhold his Musigny Vieilles Vignes until he deemed it had several years’ bottle age. I wish more growers would follow his lead.

Moulin a vent 1971 bottle

Cellar Favorite: 1971 Hospices des Moulin-à-Vent Moulin-à-Vent

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, France: Rhône & Beaujolais

Neal Martin, Nov 2023

Held every November, the Hospices de Beaune is Burgundy’s most famous charity auction. It attracts global attention, celebrities and, in recent years, stratospheric hammer prices. Lying in its shadow is the annual Hospices de Nuits auction that unfairly doesn’t attract nearly the same hoopla. Yet I have encountered very fine bottlings. Until the 1971 Moulin-à-Vent was poured, I had no idea that a similar auction was held in Beaujolais. I do not know when the auction ceased and correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems lost in the mists of time.

Von schubert 2009

Cellar Favorite: 2009 Maximin Grünhaus – von Schubert Abtsberg Riesling Auslese #93

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, Germany

Neal Martin, Nov 2023

Poured on a hot sunny evening in Beaune between a quick dip in the pool and a delicious supper, the 2009 Abstberg Riesling Auslese #93 from winemaker Carl von Schubert ranks as one of the greatest Rieslings I've encountered in the last five years.

Henschke 1971

Cellar Favorite: 1971 Henschke Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, Australia

Neal Martin, Nov 2023

There was a time a few years ago when I drank quite a number of mature Australian wines. Sadly, these have become much harder to find, especially since I have not visited Australia for over a decade. Therefore, it was a joy to drink a 52-year-old bottle from Henschke on a recent trip to the Far East.

Branaire 1890 bottle copy

Cellar Favorite: 1890, 1990, 2005 & 2015 Branaire-Ducru

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, France: Bordeaux

Neal Martin, Nov 2023

Proprietor François-Xavier Maroteaux whipped out a quartet of vintages on a recent visit to Branaire-Ducru. Nothing new there. However, this quartet spanned 125 years. I recall Maroteaux mentioning in passing about a handful of ancient bottles from a collector. So, to clarify, the bottle of 1890 had not laid undisturbed in the château’s cellars since birth. Instead, it resided in a private cellar until “coming home”.

Tsugane

Cellar Favorite: 2009 Beau Paysage Tsugane La Montagne

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, Japan

Neal Martin, Oct 2023

Japan’s wine industry might be in its infancy, but it’s expanding. In the past, I’ve had experience with Japanese wines after judging competitions in Tokyo, though I never encountered a bottle that obliged superlatives. I remain unconvinced about the potential of their indigenous Koshu variety. Towards the end of a recent meal, one of our attendees produced a magnum that I had never seen before, never heard of. The 2009 Tsugane La Montagne from Beau Paysage proved what is possible in Japan.

Cf oct232023 final

Cellar Favorite: 2010 Beaux Frères Pinot Noir The Beaux Frères Vineyard

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, United States: Oregon

Eric Guido, Oct 2023

The 2010 Pinot Noir The Beaux Frères Vineyard is a perfect example of how maturity can propel a wine of humble beginnings beyond expectations. The 2010s are the product of a cool and classic vintage that made producers question when the wines would peak. Today, the wines are in the sweet spot.

Cf oct162023

Cellar Favorite: 1970 E. Pira & Figli Barolo

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, Italy: Piedmont

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2023

The 1970 Pira Barolo is a wine I have never had before, at least that I can recall. Sweet, perfumed and ethereal, the 1970 takes us back to another generation, a time when Piedmont was far more agrarian and artisan than it is today. Crushed rose petals, mint, licorice, dried flowers, sweet dried cherry fruit, pipe tobacco and old chest drawer waft from the glass. Fine, silky, mature Nebbiolo tannins pull it all together beautifully. The 1970 is fully mature and past its prime, but well-stored bottles will drink well for another few years.