Three Trios with an eye to the season.
It is December, 2020 is almost over. Let’s Celebrate!!!!!
It may be a Holiday Season like none before, but it still is the season. Since traveling and big groups are a no-no, it is an especially great year to find the pleasures that good food and wine can bring.
We have 3 new 3-packs for you this week. A trio of Champagnes that highlights the vast variety that exists in that region. Another trio of Champagnes that does the same thing frankly, but on a whole other level. Finally, a trio of Saint-Josephs that, well is basically because we love Syrah from the Northern Rhône and want to share them with you.
For other Holiday Gifts, Wine and otherwise, check out our pop-up shop at Canard!
TO ORDER select your wine bundle of choice, follow the steps to securely order your wine. All payments will be processed ahead of time through our website.
Once you order they will be available for pickup at Le Pigeon Tuesday through Saturday, beginning on Wednesday, December 9th, from 12:00pm to 4:00pm. You can pick them up from our front door, or we can bring them out to your car. If those times do not work for you, please let us know and we can arrange an alternative. Shipping is available as well. Please call after placing your order.
We are all in this together, and when you’re drinking good stuff, well hey, you’re keeping it classy.
Holiday Champagne Trio 3-Pack $165 (Available on December 9th)
One need not wait for a celebration or holiday to drink Champagne. We always encourage some bubbles any time of year. However, if you need a calendar based excuse to drink Champagne, surely December is it. We’ve assembled 3 sparklers here that together show the breath of what the region can do. From a classically styled Blanc de Blancs, to a Blanc de Noir that is representative of the edgy wines of Champagne’s newer class, to a rich vinous Brut Rosé. Grab a white wine glass, or even a Burgundy stem, leave your flutes in the cabinet (don’t even mention coupes), and enjoy.
Extra-Brut, Blanc de Blancs, Latitude, Larmandier-Bernier, NV, Champagne
Pierre Larmandier is one of the most meticulous vigneron in all of Champagne. He treats each vineyard differently in the cellar every year based on the conditions of the vintage. Pierre moved to organic farming when he took over the family estate in 1988 and went fully biodynamic in 1999. In the past, this cuvée was known as “Tradition”, a name chosen in the 1970’s by Pierre’s parents. The name “Latitude” was chosen since this wine is made exclusively from Chardonnay grapes which all come from the same “latitude,” vineyards south of Vertus in the southern part of the Côte de Blancs. This non-vintage cuvée contains 40% of wines coming from the estate’s perpetual reserve started in 2004.This Champagne is giving and fresh with flavors of citrus and stone fruit, and the finish is bone-dry and full of chalky minerality.
Brut, Blanc de Noirs, L’Ouverture, Frederic Savart, NV, Champagne
This 10 acre domain is in the Premier Cru Village of Ecueil in the Montagne de Reims. This cuvée is produced from 100% Pinot Noir which undergoes primary fermentation in mostly neutral oak barrels and some steel. Malolactic fermentation is blocked which gives the wine electric energy and brightness. He also chooses to age his wines under cork as opposed to crown cap which is practiced by only a few vigneron in the region. This process is more expensive but he believes it helps preserve the purity of his wines. A strong sense of minerality balances the prominent fruit tones of Fuji apple, pear, and the pretty floral notes.
Brut Rosé, Grand Cru Ambonnay, H. Billiot NV, Champagne
Laetitia Billiot is the fourth generation to helm her families’ winery that owns 5 hectares exclusively in the Grand Cru village of Ambonnay, which is known for the supreme quality of its Pinot Noir fruit. Nearly all of the 18 vineyard parcels are located in the mid-slope which are the most coveted vineyard sights in the village. This bottling is comprised of 70% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay both of which are fermented in stainless steel, the remaining 10% is still red Pinot Noir which lends color and body to the final blend. This is a great Rosé to drink in the winter time, it is rich and vinous with lots of depth. The fruit smells of black cherries and raspberries and is lifted by bright citrus notes.
Deluxe Holiday Champagne Trio 3-Pack, $335
One need not wait for a celebration or holiday to drink Champagne. That said, we are in the holiday season, so why not drink some incredible Champagne. We’ve assembled 3 sparklers here that together show the breath of what the region can do at a top tier level. From a super elegant vintage Blanc de Blancs, to a more vinous and rich sparkler based on a perpetual ‘solera’ going back to the 1980’s, to a rosé Champagne that had us jaded tasters sit up straight and marvel at its complexity and downright deliciousness. Grab a white wine glass, or even a Burgundy stem, leave your flutes in the cabinet (don’t even mention coupes), and enjoy.
Brut Nature, Cuvée Oenophile, Pierre Gimonnet & Fils, 2010, Champagne
The Gimonnet family has been growing grapes in the Côte de Blancs since 1750 and estate bottling since 1935. The wines are always sophisticated and pure. Cuvée Oenophile is the same wine as Cuvée Fleuron, but with zero dosage. It is only made in the best years when the fruit has the ripeness and balance to not require any dosage. 100% Chardonnay– mostly Grand Cru and some 1er Cru – fermented in stainless steel with malo, and then aged 5 years on the lees before being disgorged. It exhibits citrus notes, chalkiness, and spices at the first whiff. Tight and crystalline on the palate at first, it unwinds in a long and generous journey that travels through citrus groves, the seashore, and a cool mountain meadow.
Brut, Reflet d’Antan, Bérêche & Fils, NV, Champagne
The original Bérêche estate was established by Leon and Albert Bérêche in 1847. Successive generations expanded the property, and today it is under the direction of brothers Raphaël and Vincent who have raised it to new heights. This wine is truly one that combines the present and the past. Added to the base wine, relatively equal parts of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, is a perpetual reserve started in 1985 from barrels that are never empty but are always topped each year, like a solera. That reserve makes up 30% of the blend. Second fermentation and aging lasts for 4 years and is done under cork, rather than the standard steel crown cap. This is a labor-intensive approach with manual disgorgement, that Raphaël and Vincent feel is essential to preserving the character of each individual cuvée. Those aging methods give Reflet d’Antan its deep golden color, its apple, pear, grilled almond nose, and an intriguing hint of cool stone, like an ancient cathedral. In the mouth the wine is rich and structured, with the flavors of ripe baked apples and stone echoing the nose. This is wine for serious food, or perhaps on its own for serious contemplation.
Brut Nature Rosé, Saignée de Sorbée, Vouette & Sorbée, (2015), Champagne
The wines from Bertrand Gautherot’s Vouette et Sorbée are some of the most exhilarating wines made today in Champagne. Located in the Aube, they are closer to Chablis than to Reims. The soils too are reminiscent to those of Chablis with Kimmeridgian and Portlandian limestone. This rosé comes from the Sorbée, a site with Portlandian soils. It is hard to deconstruct how this wine smells and tastes, because the outright deliciousness factor is so startlingly high. The nose is intensely fruity, with candied, stewed and balsamic red fruit aromas intermixed with floral and some spicy notes, as well as an undeniable stoniness. On the palate, this Saignée is incredibly vinous in its texture – blanketing the mouth in red fruits, with fine, beautifully spicy, refreshing tannins. It is intense and persistent but still pure and elegant.
Saint-Joseph Trio 3-Pack, $160
We love Syrah from the Northern Rhône…. a lot!
About 10 years ago we had a feature on the Le Pigeon wine list called “Saint Joseph, Hiding in Plain Sight.” While the wines of Saint Joseph were neither a secret then, nor new to the world of wine, Saint Joseph lived in the shadow of its more famous neighbors like Hermitage, Côte Rôtie, and Cornas. Today while those areas are still heralded for their special characters, the wines of Saint Joseph are widely known and respected. We’ve selected three that we like a lot, that are each true to the appellation and to their grape variety, Syrah. As we enter the colder time of year some savory red wines are just the ticket.
Saint Joseph, Domaine du Monteillet (Stephane Montez), 2016, Northern Rhône Valley
Stephane Montez runs his family’s domaine that is based in Chavanay. Chavanay is in the northern part of what can be Saint Joseph. Here the soils are dominated by schist. The wine is aged in neutral demi-muids, the large barrels traditional in the area. This is the elegant side of Syrah. Floral and spiced, with deep fruit and pepper. Medium bodied and vibrant. Super versatile at the table.
Saint Joseph, Vieilles Vignes, Domaine Faury, 2018, Northern Rhône Valley
When Philippe Faury took over the domaine in 1979, the family was selling wine, peaches and cherries, and the bulk of their clientele was local. Over the years, Philippe expanded their holdings and expanded sales to an international client base. In 2006 his son, Lionel, took over the reins at Domaine Faury building off his father’s hard work and taking the domaine to new heights. This also hales from the northern part of the appellation but from granite soils. The fruit comes from two plantings, one from 1976, and the other from 1937 made up of ancient Serine plantings, the original clone of Syrah. The wine is about 25% whole cluster and aged, as well, in the traditional Demi-muids barrels. The wine is meaty, dark-fruited, and muscular, marked by flavors of pepper and black olives. Decant, or age a couple more years.
Saint Joseph, Domaine Jean-Louis Chave, 2013, Northern Rhône Valley
The Chave family winery was founded in 1481 and the current Jean Louis represents the 16th generation of the Chave family run the domaine. The cumulative knowledge that has been passed down is unprecedented in the region and probably the world. Most people associate the domaine with Hermitage, and for very good reason. However, the first parcels of vineyards the Chaves farmed back in the 15th century were in Saint Joseph. Jean-Louis has made it his life’s work to refocus on the potential of St Joseph replanting long forgotten vineyards, and rebuilding stone terraces on these steep hillsides…. how many other wineries have 2 stonemasons on staff. From granite hillsides at the heart of the original appellation the 2013 has a power to it, even with a few years in the bottle. Plum, blackberry, bitter cocoa and cured olives all rise up out of the glass. On the palate, the wine is structured with great balance between fruit, tannin, and acidity.