2013 Jean-Noël Gagnard, Chassagne-Montrachet, Champ Derrière, $62
Winery info: Chassagne-Montrachet is a village in the Côte de Beaune district of Burgundy’s Côte d’Or. Although it produces both red and white wines, it is particularly renowned for its Chardonnays. Jean-Noël Gagnard inherited vineyards in the region from his parents and began to make wine in 1960. He continued to expand the estate over the years and in 1989 he passed the reins over to his daughter, Caroline Lestimé. She is committed to viticulture and winemaking practices that respect the land and the region. The winery is certified organic and follows biodynamic methods.
Grapes: 100% Chardonnay
Vineyard: On an east-facing slope with clay/limestone soils rich in iron and manganese.
Flavor Profile: Caroline’s wines are noteworthy for their beautiful minerality and graceful touch. This offering is elegant and complex, with notes of white stone fruits and a lean, fresh finish.
Availability: There is still a bit available through the distributor.
Drinkability: Now through 2020
Food Pairing: Fish, shellfish, or chicken dishes would all pair well with this wine.
2013 Occhipinti, Siccagno Nero d’Avola, $38
Winery info: Arianna Occhipinti made her first wine at the age of 16, in the cellar of her uncle Giusto, co-founder of COS, a highly-regarded winery in the Vittoria region of southeast Sicily. That experience inspired her to attend enology school and eventually start her own winery. She released her first wine before she was 25, and since then has become an iconic winemaker in her own right. Importer Louis Dressner notes, “Her rise to prominence has been meteoric, and rightfully so.” She farms naturally and biodynamically, with no irrigation or use of new oak, in order to best express the regional terroir and the purity of her fruit.
Grapes: 100% Nero d’Avola from organically grown vines averaging 35 years in age.
Vineyard: 280 meters above sea level with red sands and chalk from sub-Apennine limestone rocks.
Flavor Profile: Low in alcohol, it is fresh and elegant with flavors of both red- and dark-skinned fruit, fresh earth, and spice. With supple tannins and lively acidity.
Availability: This vintage is now gone. They will soon be onto the 2015.
Drinkability: Ready to drink now, or over the next few years.
Food Pairing: Rich meaty stews, grilled meat, ragù alla siciliana, or a hearty oxtail or lentil soup.