If ever there was a royal family in the wine world, it would most certainly be the Pinot family. No other group of grapes is so revered and adulated, and, collectively, achieves such greatness as do the Pinots. And while Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Gris (or, in Italian, Grigio) are responsible for a wide range of distinct wine styles, it is crucial to note that they have the same origin. In fact, they are practically the same variety! Their primary difference comes from a genetic mutation: Pinot Blanc is a mutation of Pinot Noir with lower anthocyanin levels, meaning less color in the grapes and resulting wine. Pinot Gris, logically, lies somewhere in between the two. However, there is much more to consider than just color in the grape skins. In addition to pigmentation, these varieties vary in their acidity levels, potential alcohol, berry size, and cluster compactness, among other factors. And, evidently, wines made from each Pinot present aromas and flavors that are entirely their own. As the head vigneron at Kuentz-Bas, a historic Alsatian domaine, Olivier Raffin crafts a multitude of wines from all three Pinots. “To me, they are very different varieties,” says Olivier. “If these grapes are really from the same family, they are more like cousins than siblings: they share some similarities but have many differences.” He points to the grapes’ pH at ripeness (low for Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc, high for Pinot Gris) and the vigor of each vine (low for Pinot Noir, high for Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris) to illustrate his experience with each, also noting that the diversity of clones within each variety could account for some of this variability. “If a mutation took place, it must have been long ago, and since then each variety has evolved independently,” he surmises. “This is just my feeling; I am no expert in ampelography!” The wines in this collection explore the nuances between these closely related, yet highly individual cépages. In addition to smelling and tasting the differences between each, you will discover how they express themselves across various terroirs and production methods: Pinot Gris from one of Alsace’s great sites bears little resemblance to the exact same grape grown on the hillsides of Friuli, just as the rare Tuscan Pinot Nero is a different animal from a Burgundian or Loire rendition. There is clearly much to love about the Pinot family, and we invite you to discover all of its many charms with 20% off wines in this collection, now through Monday, May 30th.
Use promo code PINOT20 to take 20% off the wines in the collection, now through May 30th!
Pinot Gris from one of Alsace’s great sites bears little resemblance to the exact same grape grown on the hillsides of Friuli, just as the rare Tuscan Pinot Nero is a different animal from a Burgundian or Loire rendition.
Daniel Chotard France | Loire | Sancerre
The Chotards are some of the lucky few who have Sancerre parcels that are ideal for growing Pinot Noir, and theirs have been planted to Pinot for well over fifty years, so the vines are at full maturity.
Domaine Lucien Boillot et Fils France | Burgundy
Pinot Beurot is the Burgundian name for their local strand of Pinot Gris. It is unique and delicious and showcases an interesting bit of Burgundy’s history.
Domaine Ostertag France | Alsace | Alsace
Fronholz is a vineyard composed primarily of quartz, and the taste of an Ostertag wine from here is reminiscent of this stone: sleek, transparent, and brilliant.
Domaine Follin-Arbelet France | Burgundy | Aloxe-Corton
The Follins’ exquisite 2019 reds are aromatic, enchanting, and serious, encompassing everything we love about Burgundian Pinot Noir, and none is more immediately irresistible than this bottling.
Domaine Ostertag France | Alsace | Alsace
Ostertag’s Fronholz delivers deeply refreshing, pulpous cherry fruit, woodsy nuances that scream autumn, and velvety-smooth tannins that give the finest reds from anywhere a run for their money.
One of the most affordable wines in our entire portfolio comes from a vineyard site that is among the steepest, hardest-to-work parcels upon which you’ll ever lay eyes. You might think that heroic viticulture comes at a cost, yet somehow the delicate, fragrant Moscato d’Asti Marco Tintero ekes from his precipitous Sorì Gramella plot—a true marvel of Italian viticulture—lands on our shelves at a mere $14.
We’ve been working with the Montanets for nearly three decades now, a partnership that was a no-brainer, given that Bernard Raveneau first taught Jean Montanet the techniques and importance of getting things right in the vineyard before anything comes into the cellar, and it was Marcel Lapierre who showed Jean the splendor and purity of natural winemaking. It has always been and remains a great pleasure to work with Jean and his son Valentin, both of whom are ever smiling, ever optimistic, and quick to joke at their own expense. But don’t be fooled. Their wines—every last one of them—are world-class, serious, and, most important, delicious Burgundies.
Much ink has been spilled about the great wines of Italy. Entire books have been written about her two superstars, Barolo and Brunello; other appellations like Barbaresco, Chianti, and Amarone are right behind, logically sharing representation in the annals of Italy’s vinous hall of fame. For the thirsty traveler, it is a similar story: Tuscany and Piedmont are obvious destinations, home to a thriving wine scene complete with fine dining, luxury hotels, guided winery tours, and scenic vineyard aperitivi.
The only thing we like better than great wine is great wine that doesn’t cost much and we’re happy to report that a bottle of great wine can still be found for $20 or less. We’ve put together a collection of our favorites all in one place for your browsing pleasure: bargain whites, rosés, reds, and a couple of sparklers.
From a tiny village nestled in the foothills of the Pyrenees to Burgundy’s golden slope and the prestigious vineyards of Piedmont, we have just received dozens of exciting wines from many distinct regions in France and Italy.
Drinking the wines of Corsica is akin to a visceral immersion into the natural wonders of the Île de Beauté: each sip is the liquid sum of sea, sun, stone, wind, and the wild maquis herbs that make up this stunning land. But beyond this, it is also a window into the Corsican identity and the strong local culture that has been forged as a result of the island’s turbid history. From this perspective, there is no better portal to understanding Corsica than through the wines of Antoine Arena.
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