Specialty Club – November 2010

2008 Pyramid Valley Vineyards, Earth Smoke Pinot Noir
As you can tell from his statement on the back of this bottle, Mike Weersing is totally committed to bio-dynamic winemaking. Mike is an American who started his wine career working at Evesham Wood in Oregon, and then moved on to Burgundy for his formal training in oenology and viticulture. After working at some of the top producers in Burgundy, Alsace and Germany, he moved to New Zealand in 1996 to work with the pioneering winery Neudorf in the Nelson region. Four years later, he found the perfect site for the kind of Burgundian wines he wanted to make: the Pyramid Valley in the Canterbury hills to the south of Marlborough, where there’s a layer of clay on top of limestone and a climate that is a bit more continental than the other New Zealand regions. His star wines are single vineyard Pinots and Chardonnays that are acknowledged by wine writers as some of the very best in New Zealand. We were blown away by this wine; Jan’s notes include such words as “heavenly, ethereal, an almost weightless delicacy, incredibly elegant and intense.” Our reaction is not unusual, as other critics have also noted this seemingly paradoxical combination of lightness and profundity. We recommend giving it a couple of years to develop even further. It is $65, worth every penny, and very limited.

2009 Domaine des Gerbeaux, Pouilly-Fuissé, Terroirs de Pouilly et Fuissé
As a fitting companion to a Burgundian-style wine, naturally we offer a wine actually from Burgundy, imported by our good friend, Jean-Phillippe Bourgeois, who specializes in French wineries committed to organic and bio-dynamic winemaking. Domaine des Gerbeaux is a small estate of 17 acres created in 1896 in the village of Solutre. The main part of the estate is in Pouilly-Fuissé, with lots in Saint-Veran, Solutre, and other small villages in the Maconnais. The average age of the Chardonnay vines is between 35 and 45 years, with some parcels as old as 90 years. Their wines have been very popular in our shop, with the Macon-Solutre and the Pouilly-Vinzelles regularly selling out at tastings. This is their flagship wine, featuring grapes hand selected from at least 50-year old vines in their best sites. The wine is aged for ten months in mostly older French oak barrels for richness, preserving at the same time its minerality and elegance. Best enjoyed within the next three to five years, it would go well with any chicken or fish dish, particularly shellfish and oysters. It is $29.75 and still in good supply.