Once a year, three friends and vignerons—Angéline Templier of J. Lassalle, Pierre de Benoist of Domaine de Villaine, and Daniel Brunier of Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe—travel the country visiting distributors, restaurants, and retailers. Catch them in Oakland on November 1.
A bottle of grower Champagne is an obvious choice to celebrate life’s finer occasions, but for a subversive twist, I like to pair Lassalle’s scintillating Cachet Or with low-key, homestyle fare, like toasty sourdough and gruyère grilled cheese, or creamy mac and cheese topped with a crackle of black pepper. Its palate-cleansing acidity and racy bulles slice through the buttery richness of classic comfort foods while bringing them to life. At this price, why not ornament the ordinary?
For Domaine de Villaine, the 2017 vintage marks twenty years of life as a village-level Bouzeron AOC instead of a regional Bourgogne Aligoté, due, in large part, to the conviction of Pierre de Benoist and his oncle, Aubert de Villaine. As climate change sets in on Burgundy, Pierre is doing his part to ensure a bright future for his beloved Bouzeron. In addition to working organically and biodynamically, he created an Aligoté nursery to preserve the most well-adapted, genetically diverse, ancient clones. A deep and spiritual thinker, Pierre tends to evoke the celestial when describing his wines, and indeed there is something otherworldly about the vibrant and crystalline 2017 vintage.
Just one glass of the Brunier family’s Télégramme will wash away any notions you may have of the seemingly members-only Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation. Youthful Grenache from iconic lieux-dits like La Crau and Pignan take center stage in this cuvée. If you don’t own a cellar, or a decanter, or subscribe to vintage reviews, know you are welcome in the Télégramme club, where all you need for access is a wine key, a glass, and a tasty dish to share with others.
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