Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Opposite of Insipid

One of the few things we have in common with Robert Parker is an appreciation for young wines (not usually the same ones). Whether it's the latest vintage of rosé, a brisk, fresh white wine, or a chilled red... the liveliness and fruitiness of a young wine made without chemical additives is captivating.

Which brings us to our take on Burgundy--the most legendary wine region in the world. Often we get more excited about drinking the bottles that don't need to be aged rather than the ones that should be aged for your children's children!

Follow our lead, throw off the caste system, and dive into Bourgogne a la Thirst. To illustrate, we're offering four different stylistic variants for under a hundred dollars altogether!

the Quasi-Structured:
Domaine Robert Chevillon's Nuits-Saint-Georges are justly famous for ageing well, so even their Passetoutgrains has a "structured" bent to its texture on the palate. If you let this Pinot Noir and Gamay blend breathe for half an hour, you'll find a wine that goes with food instead of showing off in front of it, with rhubarb and raspberry underlying the tannic structure that helps it marry so well with meats.

the Ethereal:
Fanny Sabre, acolyte of natural wine maven Philippe Pacalet, makes precise and brilliantly high-res wines in the Cote de Beaune. Her latest Bourgogne Rouge is perhaps the most soif-able (can we patent the term?) wine we've had yet. If you loved her Grand Ordinaire, you're going to become obsessed with the levity and synesthesia--a wine so vivid you can taste the aromas and smell the flavors directly.

the Nervy:

The kind of white Burgundy we look for is one that has tension without oaky interference. Domaine de la Cadette's Bourgogne Blanc is from vineyards just an hour south of Chablis. The higher latitude mixed with clay and limestone soil gives a wine that's got great Burgundian mouthfeel but with the energy of a more Northern wine.

the Classic:

Domaine Valette's natural Macon-Villages is a flashback to the kind of wine monks made centuries ago. The opposite of insipid, this brilliant, unfiltered white has beautiful minerality. Imagine if Marcel Lapierre (RIP) made a white Burgundy.

Chevillon Bourgogne Passetoutgrains 2010, $25
Fanny Sabre Bourgogne Rouge 2011, $23
Cadette Bourgogne Blanc 2011, $18
Valette Macon-Villages 2011, $24

Buy 6 and get 5% off, or mix up a case of 12 and save 10%!

Click here to order.

Friday, April 12, 2013

It's Not The "No Sulfur" Movement

It's not the "no sulfur" movement--we first fell for low-to-no sulfur wines from the Kermit Lynch portfolio when we were drinking them in Berkeley: Jean Foillard, Marcel Lapierre, etc. There's an incredible purity in a wine made without added sulphur. But used in miniscule quantities at bottling, it does little to no damage to the flavor of the wine, and helps to protect it.

When Kermit Lynch first began importing wine, he noticed that some of the wines he was receiving didn't taste the same as they did when he drank them in Europe. The wines were being cooked during transit. His innovation was shipping the wine in temperature-controlled containers and storing them in temperature-controlled warehouses, which now all of the importers we work with do as well. And it's why we keep our store cool year-round.

Which brings us to the delicious un-sulfured wines of Domaine Buronfosse in the Cotes du Jura, next-door neighbors to Jean-Francois Ganevat, and less than half the price. We can't stop drinking their Chardonnays, their Poulsard (their Cremant too, which is now sold out!), as they have a freshness that's really different from the oxidative Juras that many like but few actually drink.

Peggy & Jean-Pascal Buronfosse moved to La Combe de Rotalier in 1999 because they wanted to escape city life. They wanted to live in a bucolic setting where they could grow their own vegetables, raise chickens, rabbits, pigs. At first their dream was to have a mixed farm but viticulture gradually drew them in and they soon realized what they really wanted was to grow, raise and make for themselves what they wanted to eat AND drink. They gradually acquired a number of small parcels of vineyards. They studied on their own and through trial and error, as well as some guidance from Monsieur Ganevat, they found their way.

Come taste the Buronfosse Cotes du Jura wines with us tonight at Thirst as our dear friend Kreso brings it from 6 to 8 pm. You might like them so much you'll have wished you reserved a case of each...

Buronfosse Chardonnay Marcus, $18
Buronfosse Chardonnay Ammonites, $22
Buronfosse Cremant de Jura - already sold out!
Buronfosse Poulsard, $24 - almost sold out!

Click here to order some.
stay true, 
the Thirst people 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Where Soif Meets Sagesse: Laurent Barth

The story of Laurent Barth is a dear one, because the honoring of a family legacy and terroir is done in large part by a strong commitment to restoring the soil with the eradication of chemicals. 

"I have a link to my family's land, and I'm proud it finally has the Barth name on it. The idea was always to make wine from my village." 

Laurent Barth

Laurent Barth went to wine school in Burgundy, as many sons whose fathers grow grapes in France tend to do, and so he set off around the world in search of a true path, living and working on estates in Libya, South Africa, the US (California), India, and even Australia, before returning home. Barth honored his father's existing contracts for a few years, selling grapes to the local co-op, in the meanwhile fostering his vineyards with organic techniques he learned to improve the soil and health of the vines.  

His first vintage of estate bottling was 2004. Each year thereafter he began to experiment more and more with biodynamic techniques in the vineyard and cellar, always aiming to integrate what he'd learned with the specific realities he encountered as well as those reflected in the larger events written into the biodynamic calender. Restoring the proper use of sulfur, which had for years been abused--it has so completely damaged the reputation of Alsatian wines that to this day one sees a preference for Austrian or German whites from all but the most discriminating sommeliers. Another imperative for him is to use only indigenous yeasts; not for doctrinaire reasons, but "if the grapes are clean, if they are well selected at harvest, you get much more substance," says Barth. 

Just as he was patient to transform his father's vines into his own, Barth has been equally patient in his cellar, allowing for fermentation to take its time, a small "price to pay for complexity" in the wine that comes out of it. We're offering proof of the payoff of Barth's wanderings and patient arrival back in his hometown of Bennwihr in the form of a cornucopia of old-vine cuvées. 

While many 2011 wines have been long on the market (now 2012s are even showing up!), Barth is just now releasing his 2011s as their élevage has brought them to a stage where soif (thirst) meets sagesse (wisdom), reminding us quietly that Alsatian wine can be some of the most pleasantly drinkable wine on Earth. We're clearing off a major portion on our shelves to make room for these wines--because these are wines that will transport you to a place that's somewhere special. Bennwihr, north of Colmar in Alsace, is where you'll be.

Barth Gewurtztraminer Les Clos des Trois Chemins 2010, $25
Barth Pinot [Blanc] d'Alsace 2011, $15
Barth Pinot Noir 2011, $23
Barth Pinot Noir M 2011, $31
Barth Racines Metisses 2011, $17
Barth Riesling Vieilles Vignes 2011, $24

Try all six for only $125 or save 10% off eight or more! Click here to order some.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Mediterranean Spring

We at Thirst Wine Merchants believe strongly in the greatness of Bandol; a greatness rooted by its Provençal terroir facing the Mediterranean Sea. If there's a place whose food and lifestyle we would never refuse for a respite, the shelves of our store in Fort Greene betray our preferences.  

String-turned roast of lamb at Domaine Tempier
Today we offer a "diagonal" flight across multiple vintages and vineyard sites of Bandol, making a case for the distinctiveness of its terroirs. We know of no other selection that's as passionate for Bandol as ours, and we hope you'll trust and share in our enjoyment of these treasures.

What you'll find here is a rustic and characterful Bandol planted entirely in clay soil (Gros 'Noré), a supple and luxurious Bandol from clay mixed with limestone (Tempier), and an ethereal Bandol coming from marl mixed into blue clay and a particular brown limestone (Terrebrune); as well as the field blends of different vineyards--for Tempier, their Bandol Rouge more Mourvèdre and Grenache; La Migoua less Mourvèdre and more Grenache and Cinsault; and La Tourtine, which has the most Mourvèdre of the bunch. 

To balance the budget of your case, we're also offering two fantastic values of declassified Bandol wines from the Provençal appellation of Vin de Pays du Mont-Caume, younger vines from the same terroiras well as what may be our favorite rosé.

Jean Pierre Gaussen VdP du Mont-Caume 2010, $15 
Domaine Terrebrune VdP du Mont-Caume 2010, $23 
Domaine Terrebrune Bandol Rosé 2011, $34 
Domaine Terrebrune Bandol 1987, $129 
Domaine du Gros 'Noré Bandol 2006, $39 
Domaine Tempier Bandol 2006, $50 
Domaine Tempier Bandol la Migoua 2008, $73
Domaine Tempier Bandol la Tourtine 2008, $75 

5% off four bottles from this email, and 10% off six or more. Quantities extremely limited! Click here to order.

In addition to all of this, a TWM event you don't want to miss! François and Jonathan Sack of Tempier's neighbor, Clos Sainte Magdaleine, will pour their wines in our store on April 26th from 6pm until 8pm. 

stay true, 
the Thirst people 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Who's Afraid of CLOS SARON?

Whatever marketing executive came up with the title "Cult California" to describe wines that are treated like stocks and investment opportunities more than part of the table clearly doesn't put his work away when sitting down for dinner. Instead of financializing one's appetite, we'd like to give credit to California winemaking at its pinnacle where credit is actually due. 

Clos Saron
Gideon Beinstock, Susan Rice, and their small children, embody the American spirit in a distinctly Californian manner; instead of rehashing French formulae ("Meritage!?!") for blending their grapes, their starting premise is that French grapes Taste Different in American soil and thus should be fermented and blended uniquely in ways that exemplify their exceptional terroir in the Sierra Foothills. Thus they co-ferment grapes in unusual ways, achieving clarity and texture that's only found in their wines. The love and care that goes into every unorthodox bottle is just insane, with each batch of wines clocking a few hundred bottles, if that. 

Every part of our Thirst team takes our hats off to these wines, and have probably passionately sold more Clos Saron than most other wine merchants combined. We are proud to offer from our allocation some exclusives, both vin de soif and vin de garde. One sip and you'll just forget your cult costume at the cleaners (the "Wine Storage Locker"). 

Clos Saron Rose 2012, $34 
Clos Saron Carte Blanche 2012, $34
Clos Saron [Cinsault] Out of the Blue 2011, $34 
Clos Saron [Pinot Noir] Home Vineyard 2010, $68 
Clos Saron [Syrah/Viognier] Stone Soup 2010, $55 
Clos Saron [Syrah/Viognier] Heart of Stone 2007, $43 
Clos Saron [Syrah/Viognier/Merlot] Cuvee Mysterieuse 2007, $43 
Clos Saron [Syrah/Viognier/Cabernet Sauvignon/Petite Verdot] Black Pearl, $43 

Normal six-pack and case discounts apply. As limited as it gets. Click here to order.
stay true, 
the Thirst people