The Gros wine dynasty dates back to 1860 with Alphonse Gros, who married a Latour and bought an estate and a little-known (at the time), 5-acre vineyard in Vosne-Romanee, called Clos-de-Reas. Six generations (and transitioning to the seventh) of family winemaking ensued.
Gros Frère et Soeur is from a Burgundian wine family lineage that dates back to 1860 (read more on the Gros dynasty). Gros F&S, as it is often abbreviated, holds 53-acres of vineyards, including top appellations of Richebourg, Clos-de-Vougeot "Musigni", Grands-Echézeaux, and Echézeaux. The largest parcels are the 30-acres of Hautes-Côtes-de-Nuits, which produces both red and white varieties. Currently run by Bernard Gros and his 30-year-old son, Vincent, Gros F&S is known for making Pinots that express an exuberance and power, with expressive aromatics and immense structure.
Among a sea of premium Burgundy winemakers, Frédéric Esmonin stands out for me because their wines are quite "pretty" in their infancy. Definitely drinkable and pleasant. Yet, I've also tasted older vintages (e.g. 2002) and it was so well-balanced and aged perfectly. They are also a tremendous value because they are less well-known than the “blue chip” Burgundy producers from the Cote de Nuits.
After eight generations, the Mongeard family remains a close-knit group and a true family business, which allows them to still make wine from all their family land holdings - 30 hectares across 35 different climats/appellations, including small parcels of Clos-de-Vougeot and Richebourg. That's an amazing feat within the laws of Napoleanic succession and family dynamics, and something that would be near impossible to purchase "from scratch" today.
Latour Giraud is not only one of the top producers in Burgundy, but one that is near and dear to our heart. We met Jean-Pierre Latour, a delightful man and a fabulous winemaker, during our recent trip to Burgundy, after selling his wines for many years. We were lucky enough to spend the afternoon with him in his 7th century Meursault winery, tasting through several of his 2015 Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.
Located in a clearing in the middle of a Graves (Bordeaux) forest, Domaine de Chevalier leverages the towering trees to protect the vines from extremes of temperature. It feels like a secret garden, and produces wines that are equally as magical.
Kosta Browne is known for their intensely-flavored and balanced wines from the Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast and Santa Lucia Highlands appellations. Founders Dan Kosta and Michael Browne were friends working together at John Ash & Co restaurant in Santa Rosa when they pooled their tips and made their first barrel of Pinot Noir. A couple years later, a business plan and some capital injections from angel investors and a new partner, Chris Costello, and the Kosta Browne business really started to take off.
Chateau Angelus, which has been making wine in St-Emilion for almost 250 years, is still considered "new" for that appellation. It was founded by, and has always been run by, the de Bouard family. The name "Angelus" means the ringing of bells to commemorate a catholic devotion, and the workers in the Chateau Angelus vineyards can hear the bells ringing from three nearby churches...thus how the winery got its name. Although the quality of the wine has had some rough years, the quality of the terroir is one of the best in St-Emilion.
Domaine de Cambes is another label by Francois Mitjavile, produced at the Roc de Cambes facility, but Mitjavile insists this is not a second wine.
Tertre Roteboeuf was unknown 20 years ago, but since then it has become a cult wine producer in St. Emilion and the price of Tertre Roteboeuf has gone up significantly. Owned and operated by Francois Mitjavile since 1978, Tertre Roteboeuf is from a 5.7-hectare vineyard of 85% merlot and 15% cabernet franc grapes on an 18th-century estate that Mitjavile inherited from his father-in-law.
Chateau Beauregard is a Right Bank, lighter and traditional style Pomerol red blend that has amazing red fruit characteristics. Unlike some other Bordeaux wines, this one is best enjoyed in its youth. The 2013 Beauregard Pomerol is now in stock, and let me tell you a little more about why you definitely want to purchase this wine to try at home!
Chateau Ausone, named after an ancient Roman poet, Ausonius, dates back to at least 1592. Over the centuries it has been sold to and passed down through three families, but today it is owned by Alain Vauthier and his sister, Catherine. Alain's daughter, Pauline, has assisted in winemaking since 2005 and the famed Michel Rolland has consulted since 1995.
Bond Winery, owned by the same person, made in the same winery and managed by the same winemaking team as Harlan Estate, is Bill Harlan's expression of Grand Cru quality from terroirs outside of his Estate vineyard in Oakville. Currently, there are five different vineyards/terroirs that are under the Bond umbrella:
David Abreu grew up in the vineyard management world, learning from his father and grandfather as they perfected the art. After running a successful vineyard management firm that farmed and operated vineyards for the likes of Staglin, Araujo and Spottswoode, David Abreu started bottling his own label in 1987 with grapes from Madrona Ranch Vineyard. It was nearly all sold through a mailing list then, just as it is now. However, over the past three decades his winemaking success at Abreu Vineyards has skyrocketed.
There is a lot to know about the story behind Harlan Estate, the famed winery in the hills above Oakville, but the most interesting aspect is the story of Bill Harlan, himself.
Bruliam Wines, besides the amazing wines that I will describe next, has a fun story. The co-owner and winemaker, Kerith Overstreet, was a surgical pathologist who married her La Jolla Country Day high school sweetheart. After having three kids, upon which the wine is named, the couple decided in 2008 that a change of career to vineyard farming and winemaking was the best for their family. The logo, reminiscent of a periodic table element, is a nod to Kerith's studies of organic chemistry in the medical field.
Yesterday Bob and I had the rare opportunity to sit down with winemaker and co-owner Gerhard Reisacher of Delectus Winery for the entire day. An El Nino storm was in full effect, so we chose to find shelter inside the Saint Helena tasting room rather than walk the slippery, steep vineyard. Over delicious wine and cheese we learned a lot about Gerhard and Delectus.
Obsidian Ridge has been one the "everyday drinkers" in our home for years. The quality and balance are amazing - beautiful fruit with wonderful minerality and supple tanins - and the price is right at roughly $25/bottle.
The Drouhin-Laroze domaine, situated in the middle of Gevrey-Chambertin, goes back 6 generations. A marriage in 1919 merged the vineyards of the Laroze and Drouhin families. Philippe and Christine Drouhin currently manage the operations with help from their children, Nicolas and Caroline.
Domaine Dujac is a relatively "young" addition to Burgundian winemaking (because the 1960's is considered contemporary for the that region). After Jacques Seysses, a fine food and wine enthusiast and wealthy businessman in his family's buscuit-making company, purchased a property in the Morey-Saint-Denis area in 1967, they began growing estate vines and purchasing fruit from their neighbors. Jacques Seysses had studied in Burgundy for two years, used his keen palette for fine wine to guide winemaking decisions and often mimicked the processes employed by Domaine Romanee-Conti.