The Modern Wine List Review- 2 Michelin Stars
Champagne NV Krug, Grande Cuvée 125- Krug Champagne has a cult following. They will only drink Krug Champagne. Taste this NV [non vintage] 1/2 bottle and see what all the “buzz’ is about.
Burgundy 2015 Saint-Aubin, Hubert Lamy, La Princée 70- This Chardonnay is from the St Aubin region of Burgundy, where great Chardonnay is produced for value prices. Take advantage by ordering this wine from the great 2015 vintage.
Austria 2015 Riesling, Hirsch, Gaisberg, Kamptal 80- Ask the Sommelier to describe [bone dry-dry-semisweet-sweet] all the Riesling wines [German-Ausrian-Italian-French] on the list at this price point. See which one matches your preferred style of wine.
Burgundy 2015 Chablis, Moreau-Naudet, Forêts 1er Cru 80-This Chardonnay is from the Chablis region of Burgundy. This is my favorite white Burgundy because the wine has complex fruit and mineral flavors.
California - 2015 Kistler, Vine Hill Vineyard, Russian River Valley 110- If it is California Chardonnay you desire, pick this one. It is “big” and “rich”. Even if you do not know anything about wine, you will be impressed. Is this California Puligny-Montrachet?
Italy - Tuscany 2010 Felsina, Chianti Classico Riserva 50- The 2010 vintage was excellent, so this Chianti will have beautiful red and black fruit flavors [black cherries-blackberries]. With 8 years of bottle age, this wine will have soft tannins.
Oregon - Pinot Noir 2015 Ken Wright, Shea Vineyard, Yamhill-Carlton 75- If you desire USA Pinot Noir, pick this one. I prefer Oregon Pinot Noir to California Pint Noir because the fruit is darker and more complex.
Burgundy 2015 Chambolle-Musigny, Domaine Anne & Hervé Sigaut 85- This Pinot Noir is from Chambolle Burgundy, which is almost “ethereal”. The color is light but the red fruit flavors [strawberries-raspberries] are intense. Think of a strong woman.
Bordeaux 2005 Médoc, Château Potensac 65- In a great vintage, like 2005, every Chateau makes great wine. This wine has “lush” fruit and beautiful structure. A fantastic value.
NV Domaine Bruno Dangin, Crémant de Bourgogne 72- This is not “true” Champagne, but who cares? Cremant is a sparkling wine that is delicious. If you are taking guests to dinner, order a second bottle of this “bubbly”, and look like a sport.
NV Gosset, Grande Réserve 140- I love Gosset Champagne. Loads of citrus and apple flavors in this beautiful NV [non vintage] Champagne.
2009 Roederer Estate, l’Ermitage, Anderson Valley 148- I like aged sparkling wines because the fruit flavors become more complex and the “bubble” quality changes. Here is a 9 year old California sparkling wine from the French Champagne house that produces Crsital. This bottle of Roederer is voted the “best” California sparkling wine every year.
NV Agrapart & Fils, Terroirs, Blanc de Blancs 145- Blanc de Blanc Champagne [all Chardonnay grapes] is my favorite. There is a “special” quality to the fruit when you taste this Champagne.
NV Georges Laval, Brut Nature 180- This is the “driest” Champagne made. Your tongue will be “dusty” and your cheeks will “pucker”.
2008 Nicolas Maillart, Franc de Pied 225- The 2008 vintage was excellent, so this Champagne should have “bright” and fresh fruit flavors.
ROSE NV Billecart-Salmon, Brut Rosé 220- I have tasted this rose Champagne on many occasions and have always found it to be well balanced and elegant.
California 2016 Vermentino, Ryme, Las Brisas Vineyard, Hers, Carneros 55- Vermentino, a classic Italian spicy and herb infused wine, is making a “big splash” in California.
Greece 2016 Assyrtiko, Hatzidakis, Santorini 60- Grapes grown in volcanoic soil, impart a unique fruit flavor in the wine. This beautiful white wine has citrus and mineral flavors. Greek white wines are fantastic values.
Mâconnais 2014 Mâcon La Roche Vineuse, Olivier Merlin, Vieilles Vignes 70- This Vieilles Vignes [old vines] Chardonnay is from the Macon region. This is where great Chardonnay is produced for a fraction of other white Burgundies [Puligny-Chassagne] cost. A great value wine.
Savoie 2008 Domaine Patrick Charlin, Roussette du Bugey, Montagnieu 70- Put white wines from Savoie France on your “radar”. They are very “crisp” [high acid] wines which allow them to pair well with rich foods.
Bourgogne Aligoté 2015 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey 75- Aligote is the “sister” grape to Chardonnay. This is a lovely and floral wine from an amazing winemaker, Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey.
Chardonnay - Santa Barbara 2014 Sandhi 85- If you desire California Chardonnay, pick this “classic” one.
Sancerre 2016 Vincent Pinard, Flores 85- Sancerre [Sauvignon Blanc] could be the best white wine value on any restaurant wine list, because it has great fruit flavors [citrus+pineapple] and is priced “right”. A great wine with food.
White Bordeaux 2014 Clos Floridène, Graves 85- Great white wine is made in Bordeaux. These blended [Semillion-Sauvignon Blanc] wines are “rich” and “lush’ in a great vintage year like 2014.
Umbria Italy 2010 Trebbiano Spoletino, Paolo Bea, Arboreus, Umbria 98- Paolo Bea is a master winemaker in Umbria. This wine will make you rethink what you know about Trebbiano wines. Serious Trebbiano wines, like the one, need bottle age to allow the fruit to emerge. This Trebbiano has 9 years of bottle age.
2016 Château Les Valentínes, Côtes de Provence 72- ask the Sommelier to describe all the rose wines in this price point. See which one matches your preferred rose style of wine.
Cahors 2014 Château du Cèdre 55- This French Malbec is dark “inky” purple in color. A “rustic” style of wine that has intense black and red fruit flavors. If you are a Malbec drinker, pick this great value wine.
Roussillon 2015 Domaine Le Roc des Anges, Unic, Côtes Catalanes 65- A southern France “table” wine from the very good 2015 vintage.
Cru Beaujolais 2016 Morgon, Marcel Lapierre 75- Do not mistake this Beaujolais for that “super fruity” wine. This is Crus Beaujolais from the Morgon region [my favorite]. Crus Beaujolais produced by a great winemaker, like Lapierre, can be as complex and as nuanced as Burgundy Pinot Noir.
2015 Domaine Richaud, Cairanne, Côtes du Rhône Villages 75- Do not dismiss this “basic” Cotes du Rhone as “simple” table wine. There is an art to great Cotes du Rhone red wine. The 2015 vintage was fantastic, so there will be plenty of fruit in this anything but “simple” red wine.
Pernand-Vergelesses 2013 Rollin 80- This is “rustic” Pinot Noir from the Pernand-Vergelesses region. BTW, Rollin is a master winemaker in this region.
Northern Rhône Valley Crozes-Hermitage 2015 Alain Graillot 80-Crozes-Hermitage is one of my favorite French Syrahs for the money on every restaurant wine list. Grailot is a master winemaker in Crozes-Hermitage. The 2015 vintage was great and there will be plenty of spice and dark fruit flavors [plums-black cherry] in this value Syrah. A great pick for the money.
Rully Premier Cru 2014 Céline et Vincent Dureuil, Vauvry 85- Another very colorful Pinot Noir with “big” red fruit flavors [strawberry-raspberry]. This is a Premier Crus [grapes grown in the special Vauvry vineyard] Pinot Noir, which ensures “special” fruit flavors.
Burgundy 2015 Hubert Lignier, Grand Chaliot 90 Bourgogne Rouge is “basic” French Pinot Noir but in the hands of this master winemaker, like Hubert Lignier, this wine is anything but “basic”.
Chianti 2012 Querciabella, Classico 95- I love this Chianti! There is a special bing cherry flavor in this Chianti, that makes it a fantastic wine. The 2012 was a very good vintage and 7 years of bottle age has smoothed out the tannins.. I would pick this wine.
Barbera d’Alba 2012 Giuseppe Mascarello, Vigna Santo Stefano di Perno 98- Barbera is one of the best restaurant red wine values. Dark and “rich” with earth and cherry flavors, this Barbera is produced by Giuseppe Mascarello, a master winemaker in Italy.
Pinot Noir - Willamette Valley 2014 The Eyrie Vineyards 98- If it is USA Pinot Noir you desire, pick this one. I prefer Oregon Pinot Noir to California Pinot Noir because the fruit is darker and more complex. Did you know that Oregon and Burgundy are on the same latitude.
Pinot Noir 2012 Gérard Boulay, Oriane, Sancerre 98- This French Pinot Noir is at the other end of the spectrum. Light and fruity is the hallmark of Sancerre Rouge [Pinot Noir].
Bordeaux Graves & Pessac-Léognan 2009 Les Hauts de Smith 98- This is the “second label” wine from an amazing vintage. This wine should have “lush” fruit and “earthy” scents and flavors. In a great vintage, like 2009, there is little difference between the “marquee” label and the “second label” wine. A really good value!
Australia Shiraz 2014 Joshua Cooper, The Springs, Heathcote 98- A artisanal Syrah from Australia. Dark fruit and spice [black pepper] flavors.
Malbec 2014 Bodega Noemia, J Alberto 95- A dark and “rich” fruit flavored Malbec.
Brunello Di Montalcino 2008 Casanuova delle Cerbaie 128- Brunello di Montalcinos need at least 10 years of bottle age before they can really be enjoyed. The 10 year”rule” allows the tannins to soften and the Sangiovese fruit flavors to emerge. This value Brunello from the very good 2008 vintage is ready to be appreciated tonight. One of the best value Italian red wines on the list.
Cabernet Sauvignon - Washington 2012 Pepper Bridge 160- If your tastes are leaning toward “big” and “jammy” USA Cabernet, then pick this one from Washington state.
Carema 2011 Ferrando, Etichetta Bianca 135- This Nebbiolo wine is from Carema, which is located “just outside” the legal Barolo district. Ferrando is a winemaker who is able to express the true terroir of a vineyard. Terroir is the unique characteristics of the soil and nearby flora and fauna, to be present in the wine. Taste what a brilliant winemaker can do, and order this wine.
Burgundy Vosne-Romanée 2013 Domaine Forey 135- This Pinot Noir is from the village of Vosne Romanee, which has a “cult” following. It is thought that the wines produced there have a “unique” flavor. Forey is an amazing winemaker.
Cornas 2012 Franck Balthazar, Chaillot 135- I love Cornas [Syrah] from northern France. Franck Balthazar is a master winemaker in Cornas and the 2012 vintage was very good and is drinking nicely now.
Bordeaux Pomerol 2010 Château La Pointe 145- The 2010 vintage was great and so is this Pomerol [Merlot] from Bordeaux.
Bandol 2001 Château Pradeaux 145- This wine [Mourvedre grapes] from the south of France, is one of my favorite wines. Deep, dark, and brooding, this wine needs a lot of bottle age to soften the “savage” tannins. Here you have it! This 17 year old “tamed”monster should be amazing. I just tasted the 2004 from Château Pradeaux and it blew me away!
Burgundy Morey-Saint-Denis 2011 Hubert Lignier, Très Girard 155- Hubert Lignier is a master winemaker in Morey-Saint-Denis. He is able to express the true terroir [essence of the region where grapes are grown].
Burgundy Nuits-Saint-Georges2011 Domaine Robert Chevillon, Vieilles Vignes 185-Nuit St George Pinot Noir is considered “ masculine” [taught and sinewy]. Chevillion is a master winemaker in this part of Burgundy. This is a “Village” wine [grapes grown in the town vineyards] from Vieilles Vignes [old vines]. It is believed that older vines produce more complex fruit flavors.
Châteauneuf-Du-Pape 2001 Domaine de Marcoux 185- If you love 17 year old Châteauneuf-Du-Pape from the great 2001 vintage, pick this excellent value.
Burgundy Chambolle-Musigny 2013 Ghislaine Barthod 190-Barthod is a master winemaker in Chambolle Burgundy. This region produces my favorite “ethereal” Pinot Noir wines. They are light in color but intense in red fruit flavors [strawberry-raspberry]. Think of a strong woman.
Bordeaux Graves & Pessac-Léognan 2000 Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion 245- The 2000 vintage alone with 1945 and 1982, is considered to be the best of the century. Intense fruit flavors and structure, make for a fantastic 18 year old Petit Chateau [small family owned winery] Bordeaux.
Bordeaux Haut-Médoc 1989 Château Sociando-Mallet 250 - I have been drinking through a case of the 1986 Château Sociando-Mallet which I fortunately purchased 25 years ago. It is an amazing wine with great earth tones and bing cherry fruit flavors. I can imagine this beauty from the fantastic 1989 vintage. A great value Bordeaux pick.
Côte-Rôtie 1990 Domaine de Bonserine 250- The 1990 vintage for Cote Rotie was near perfect! You can imagine what a 28 year old Cote Rotie from that kind of vintage is going to taste like tonight. Not expensive for this caliber of red wine.
Bordeaux Pauillac 1990 Château Cordeillan-Bages 295- This is a fantastic value Bordeaux. The 1990 vintage was amazing and this 28 year old Paulliac should be equally amazing. I am fortunate to have collected the 1990 vintage, and am now finding out how fantastic they are. This wine is produced by the winemakers from the famous Chateau Lynch Bages. That should say enough.
Bordeaux Pauillac 1982 Réserve de la Comtesse 295- Here is a gem! Every big Chateau puts their “best” grapes into their “marquee” label. The “second best’ grapes go into their “second label”. In a great vintage, like 1982, there is little difference between the “best” and “second best” grapes. The “marquee” label for this wine is Chateau is Pichon Lalande. The 1982 Pichon Lalande received a score of 100 points [Robert Parker], making it a perfect wine. This is the same vintage! Ask the Sommelier if this wine is past its prime or is it still amazing?
Ribera Del Duero 1996 Tinto Pesquera C, Reserva 265- A 22 year old Reserva Ribera Del Duero wine with completely evolved fruit and no tannins. Delicate and special from the serious Pesquera winery.
Burgundy Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru 2011 Ghislaine Barthod, Les Cras 295- Here Barthod is working with Premier Crus grapes from the Les Cras vineyard. I have tasted her Les Cras cuvee many times and they are stunning.
Hermitage 1989 M. Chapoutier, La Sizeranne 275- I have tasted this 1989 wine from Chapoutier many times. It is a sublime experience! Pale garnet in color and fully evolved Syrah fruit flavors, make this a beautiful wine.
Burgundy Morey-Saint-Denis Premier Cru 2009 Hubert Lignier, Les Chaffots 295- Here Lignier is using Premier Crus grapes from the Les Chaffots vineyard to produce serious Pinot Noir. The 2009 vintage was amazing and this wine has 9 years of bottle age, The bottle age should soften the tannins and allow the fruit flavors to emerge.
Burgundy Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru2003 Domaine Robert Chevillon, Vaucrains 320- Here Chvellion is using Premier Crus grapes from the Vaucrains vineyard. I have tasted this wine several times over the past 30 years and have always been amazed. This Pinot Noir is from the really good 2003 vintage. With 15 years of bottle age, this “masculine” wine will have soft tannins and very evolved complex fruit flavors.
Bordeaux Saint-Julien 1996 Château Gruaud-Larose 350- I have been tasting a lot of the 1996 Bordeaux, and I think they are great. Château Gruaud-Larose is known to make excellent wine. This wine has 22 years of bottle age, which allows the fruit to evolve and become more complex. Think of fresh fruit flavors versus stewed fruit flavors. Great vintage, great producer, and a good price.