Home Archive by category 'Wine, Beer & Spirits' (Page 2)

Archive for the ‘Wine, Beer & Spirits’ Category


Matt R.

Memorial Day: Wine Picks & Wild Local King Salmon!

With the recent heat waves it feels like summer has already come and gone! But Memorial Day weekend is here and that means awakening those grills from their long winter hibernation. And since you’ll be doing some grilling and cooking up some BBQ this weekend, we’ve got our wine picks ready for you! Each of these is the perfect addition to a Memorial Day picnic or BBQ!

Unti2013 Unti Vineyards Rosé  –  $24.99
Unti Vineyard’s 2013 Rosé is made of mostly Grenache from their Benchland Vineyard, blended with about 20% Mourvedre. Located in Dry Creek Valley, Unti specializes in Rhone and Italian varietals, all farmed biodynamically. We love their rosé every year and the 2013 vintage is no exception! It’s light in color with plenty of mouth-watering acidity. A floral and fruity nose leads to a lush, yet crisp and dry palate the remindes us of fresh Provencal-style roses. Pair this with anything from whole grilled fish with spring veggies to simply a park blanket and sunshine!

SalmonPostIf  you’re looking for the perfect fish to pair with your Unti Rosé, look no further than our Memorial Day special on fresh-caught local wild King Salmon. We’re offering fillets of this beautiful fish from Half Moon Bay for just $19.99/lb. Don’t miss this incredible price, available through Tuesday, May 27 at both Bi-Rite Market locations!

Tendu2013 Matthiasson Tendu White  –  $19.99
Tendu is a joint project of Steve Matthiasson and his friend (and wine distributor) Matthew Plympton. In a fun-sized 1-liter bottle, it’s a nod to the ubiquitous liter bottles of Grüner Veltliner you might find in Austria. The blend consists of Vermentino, Cortese, and Arneis – all native Italian varietals grown right here in Northern California! We can’t get enough of this refreshing and approachable wine. Dry, crisp, and minerally, with flavors of tart green apple, flowers, fresh lemon, and just a hint of white pepper. What more could you want along side a BBQ or picnic? Be careful though, you just might drink the whole liter by yourself!

GreenRed2011 Green and Red Vineyards Chiles Canyon Zinfandel  –  $21.99
Jay and Pam Heminway first planted their vineyards on the hills of the Chiles Valley District of Napa in the 1970s. Today, the iron-rich soil and varied vineyard terrain provide ideal growing conditions for unique Zinfandel. The Chiles Canyon Zinfandel is a blend of all three of their vineyard sites, with elevations ranging from 900 to 2000 feet above the valley floor. Aged in half American and half French oak; the resulting wine couldn’t be more prefect for Memorial Day grilling! Black cherry and raspberry aromas, with plenty of spice and notes of espresso and clove make this great with most BBQ!

Tellus2010 Tellus Vinea Bordeaux Rouge  –  $19.99
Made by brothers and winemakers Jacques and Jean-Paul Pueyo, of famed Château Belregard Figeac, this Bordeaux blend is an incredible value. They harvest their grapes by hand from organic vineyards that border the Lalande de Pomerol appellation. The blend is mostly Merlot with a bit of Cabernet Franc, and Bi-Rite is the only retail shop in California to carry it! It’s a stunning Bordeaux with a soft perfumed nose, great structure, and long finish. The perfect red to accompany all your summer BBQs!

Upcoming Events:

 


Patrick

Bi-Rite Divis: Ready for Bay to Breakers on May 18th!

Bay to Breakers 2013 - Andrew Dalton

Outside Bi-Rite Divisadero at Bay to Breakers 2013. Photo by Andrew Dalton.

Bay to Breakers is coming up on Sunday, May 18th and the event route runs right past our Divisadero Street Market. To enhance the celebration, we’re opening a full hour earlier than usual at 8am, and will be ready with everything you need to stay happy and hydrated. Bay to Breakers isn’t just the oldest consecutively-run annual footrace in the world, it’s also one of the biggest, craziest, and most fun days on the San Francisco summer calendar!

Bi-Rite Market on Divisadero is the newer of our two Market locations, having flung open its doors to the Western Addition just a few months before last year’s Bay to Breakers. We had a great time and we’re looking to having even more fun our second time around.

Viet sandwiches

Sandwiches! We’ll have ‘em ready to go for you as the race goes by.

We’ll be highlighting all of the snacks, sandwiches, beer and water that you’ll need to enjoy the day. Even our Bi-Rite Creamery Scoop Shop will be serving up ice cream! Whether you’re running the race or cheering from the sidelines, make sure to get up extra early and come by Divis. The day can be crazy, but we’ll be there for you, an hour early and with everything you need ready to go, to make it chilled out, fun and cool. See you on the 18th!


Zach Berg

All I Want! Sprocket and Manchego!

AllIWant3As a Cheesemonger at Bi-Rite Divisadero, I have access to an array of beers right across the aisle from the Cheese Department. One of the many fun parts of my job is developing pairings of my favorite cheeses and beers to complement and draw out their flavors. My current favorite combination is Sprocket Bier and Artequeso Manchego.

Sprocket Bier won an intra-brewery tasting at Stone Brewery, hosted and judged by their three top brewers. Similarly, the Artequeso Manchego was a standout among the exhausting list of different Spanish Manchego cheeses available to us in the Bay Area.  At Bi-Rite, our Cheese Buyer Anthea has worked to select the perfect Manchego for us–creamy and yet salty and crumbly. The beer is a dark rye with big toasty notes that are balanced by a crisp dry finis –a perfect foil for the rich sheep’s milk cheese. Together they create a perfect snack!


Bi-Rite’s Spring Wine Blitz is Here!

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Bi-Rite’s Spring Wine Blitz is here!
Save 20% on mix-and-match cases

Create your own cases from our entire selection of food-friendly wines.

One week only: April 28-May 4, 2014
at both Bi-Rite Market locations!

FREE delivery in San Francisco!

Call or email us to pre-order with a member of our Wine Team:

Email: wine@biritemarket.com

Bi-Rite Market: Western Addition
551 Divisadero Street (between Fell and Hayes Streets)
Phone: (415) 551-7900

Bi-Rite Market: Mission District
3639 18th Street (between Dolores and Guererro Streets)
Phone (415) 241-9760


Spring Wine Blitz: Pre-Sale Tasting Events!

Bi-Rite’s Spring Wine Blitz is nearly here! From Monday, April 28 to Sunday, May 4, save 20% on mix-and-match cases from our entire selection of food-friendly wines! Come to our preview tasting events, and pre-order your favorites to lock in Wine Blitz savings! Get free home delivery of your Wine Blitz cases in San Francisco!

– – –
Thursday, April 17
4:00pm to 6:00pm
Bi-Rite Market Divisadero—Wine Section
Wine Tasting with Faith Armstrong from Onward Wines
Faith will pour her delicious new sparkly made from the Malvasia grape, a first in California! Plus, her new Hawkeye Ranch Pinot Noir!

Thursday, April 17
6:00pm to 10:00pm
18 Reasons
18th Hour Cafe, featuring Kenny Likitprakong of Hobo Wines and Abe Schoener of Scholium Wines
Winemakers Kenny Likitprakong and Abe Schoener will be in the house pouring some of their favorite wines.

– – –
Friday, April 18
4:00pm to 6:00pm
Bi-Rite Market Divisadero—Wine Section
Tom Switzer Previews Spring Wine Blitz Wines
Our beloved Tom Switzer will be previewing wines from Charles Neal Imports and Oliver McCrum. The best of France and Italy in one place!
– – –
Saturday, April 19
4:00pm to 6:00pm
Bi-Rite Market Divisadero—Wine Section
Preview Tasting of Spring Wine Blitz Wines
Jeff Vierra from Farm Wines will be pouring some lovely Wine Blitz preview wines
– – –
Sunday, April 20
4:00pm to 6:00pm
Bi-Rite Market Divisadero—Wine Section
Wine Tasting with Alex Finberg from Terra Firma
Alex Finberg from Terra Firma will be pouring some Bi-Rite exclusive wines in preparation for the Spring Wine Blitz
– – –
Thursday, April 24
6:00pm to 8:00pm
Ticketed Event: $15 for 18 Reasons Members, $20 for non-Members–Purchase tickets here
18 Reasons
Bi-Rite Spring Wine Blitz Preview Tasting
Try more than 20 wines and place pre-orders to lock-in your Wine Blitz 20% Savings on mix-and-match cases!
– – –
Friday, April 25
4:00pm to 6:00pm
Bi-Rite Market Divisadero—Wine Section
Wine Tasting with John Khayami from Sacred Thirst
John Khayami from Sacred Thirst will be pouring some lovely Wine Blitz preview wines.

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Monday, April 28 through Sunday, May 4: Spring Wine Blitz!
Visit the Markets, call, or email our Wine Team to pre-order or check availability!

Email: wine@biritemarket.com

Bi-Rite Market 18th Street: (415) 241-9760

Bi-Rite Market Divisadero Street: (415) 551-7900

 


Matt R.

Bi-Rite’s Spring Wine Blitz: Drink Pink!

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Spring has sprung! With the warm weather, the abundance of spring produce suddenly available, and the arrival of new fresh goat and sheep milk cheeses, we’ve definitely made the transition into springtime. And what better way to ease your wine drinking into spring than with the latest rosé releases!

Rosé Season, as we call it, is the time of year to celebrate the release of the wide range of rosés available this time of year. And we’ve got plenty of pink on our shelves right now and will throughout the spring and summer as we rotate through exciting and limited release rosés from our favorite producers.

And don’t forget, our Spring Wine Blitz is coming up very soon! From Monday, April 28th through Sunday, May 4th, you can get 20% off mixed cases of wine with free delivery within San Francisco – now at both Markets! So come by and try some of these rosés and start making your Spring Blitz wish list!

Wine12012 Chateau Coupes Roses Fremillant Rosé – $11.99; Blitz Price – $9.59
Chateau Coupes Roses is located in the small one-street village of La Caunette, just upstream from the townof Minerve in the Languedoc. Their vineyards are located on some of Frances more dramatic landscapes, planted on a rocky limestone plateau 1350 feet above sea level. It almost seems as though life shouldn’t exist on these high rocky plateaus surrounded by sheer cliffs, but their vines’ roots dig deep into the limestone to thrive. The rosé is a blend of mostly Mourvedre along with Cinsault, Grenache, and Syrah. A beautiful ruby hue, the wine has notes of herbs, spice, and ripe strawberry with a dry and refreshing finish. A heartier rosé that will pair well with heartier spring fare!

Wine22013 Matthiasson Rosé – $24.99; Blitz Price – $19.99
The SF Chronicle’s Winemaker of the Year, Steve Matthiasson has released his latest rosé and it’s stunning! It’s a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Counoise, and Syrah from the Windmill vineyard in the Dunnigan Hills of Yolo County. Steve is all about preserving acidity in his wines and so his rosé is made in a lighter, fresher style. Notes of tart grapefruit and white peach lead to a minerally and mouthwatering palate. Great alongisde fresh pasta with spring veggies and goat cheese!

Wine32013 Copain Tous Ensemble Rosé – $19.99; Blitz Price – $15.99
Winemaker Wells Guthrie crafts some of the most elegant Pinot Noir and Syrah in the Anderson Valley. His Tous Ensemble Rosé is a blend of various vineyard sites in the Anderson Valley and is as elegant as Copain’s other wines. A rounded soft texture and lovely floral and red berry notes make this rosé an easy companion any warm spring or summer evening. No wonder it was on the SF Chronicle’s most recent list of Best 20 Wine Under $20!


Wine42013 Ameztoi Txakoli ‘Rubentis’ Rosé – $21.99; Blitz Price – $17.59
Ok, time to remember your Basque pronunciation skills! This Txakoli (say ‘chok-oh-lee’) rosé is a rare and special wine from Basque country Spain. Usually, Txakoli is made into white wine and is the everyday drink of the Basque people, with its typical tart acidity and light effervescence that pairs so well with the abundant seafood of the region. This rosé is a lovely expression of typical Txakoli, but pink! Tart blood orange and lemon notes lead to a crisp palate with that typical spritzy-ness that is too mouthwatering to only enjoy one glass of.

Wine52013 Birichino Vin Gris  –  $14.99; Blitz Price – $11.99
To us, this is what rosé season is all about! Fresh, light, quaffable, and affordable rosé all in a beautiful package! Made from Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Rolle (Vermentino) from vineyards both in the Sierra Foothills and Gilroy, this rosé gives some Provencal rosés a run for their money! Bone dry, with notes of cranberry, rose petal, and mouthwatering acidity. Drink it now!

Don’t hesitate to call us with any questions or special requests (415.241.9760 for 18th St. or 415.551.7900 for Divis) or email wine@biritemarket.com.

Upcoming Events:

Spring Wine Blitz! – Monday, April 28 through Sunday, May 4 – At Both Bi-Rite Markets!


Jason Rose

Our Menu For Your Passover Celebrations

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We’re delighted to bring our 2014 Passover Menu to our Markets from Saturday, April 12 through Tuesday, April 22. The menu includes a variety of  our yearly favorite house-made dishes, plus an array of desserts from the Bi-Rite Creamery Bakeshop, traditional grocery items to stock your pantry, and more.

From Our Kitchen

Jewish-Style Artichokes – White Wine-poached, then fried
with Lemon, Mint & Sea Salt 
$3.99/ea

Local Asparagus with Sieved Egg, Capers, Fines Herbs & Dijon  $12.99/lb

Citrus-Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Sumac, Pistachio, Apricot, Radicchio,
Mizuna & Honey 
$10.99/lb

Red Wine-Braised 5-Dot Ranch Brisket  $19.99/lb

Spring Frittata with Pasture-Raised Farm Egg, Asparagus, Ricotta,
Bi-Rite Farms Spring Onion, Tarragon & Lemon 
$6.99/slice

Grilled Coho Salmon with Lemony Spring Pea Hummus &
Shaved Bi-Rite Farms d’Avignon Radish 
$10.99/ea

Fennel & Garlic-Crusted Slow-Roasted Grass-Fed Lamb with Raisin,
Meyer Lemon & Horseradish Salsa Verde 
$24.99/lb

Whitefish Salad $6.99 / ½ pt

Homemade Organic Apple Sauce $2.99 / ½ pt

Chopped Chicken Liver with Caramelized Onion & Egg $3.99 /½ pt

Dried Fruit & Almond Haroseth with Golden Raisins  $4.99 / ½ pt

Homemade Free-Range Chicken Stock  $6.99 / qt

Organic Potato Latkes  $4.99 / each

From Our Butcher

Pasture-Raised Grass Fed Spring Lamb from Anderson Ranch:
Bone-In Leg of Lamb  $11.99 / lb ▪  Boneless Leg of Lamb  $13.99 / lb

Pasture-Raised Beef Brisket from California’s Five Dot Ranch  $7.99 / lb

House-Smoked Wild Alaskan Salmon, sliced to order  $34.99 / lb

House-Smoked McFarland Springs Trout Fillets  $23.99 / lb

From Bi-Rite Creamery & Bakeshop

Flourless Cheesecake  $12.99

Flourless Coconut Macaroons  $5.50

Chocolate-Covered Flourless Coconut Macaroons  $8.99

From Our Grocery Department

Manischewitz Concord Grape Juice  $6.99 750 ml

Bubbies Prepared Horseradish  $3.49 5 oz

Ba-Tampte Beet Horseradish  $4.99 8 oz

Mrs. Adlers Gefilte Fish  $8.99 24 oz

Osem Matzah Cake Meal  $4.99 16 oz

Streit’s Matzo Meal for Passover  $5.99 16 oz

Osem Passover Matzo Crackers  $4.99 16 oz

Osem Whole Wheat Matzo Crackers  $4.99 16 oz

Bazzini Dark Chocolate-Covered Matzo Crackers  $6.99 7 oz

From Our Wine Department

Domaine Bunan Côtes du Provence Rouge  $24.99 (Kosher)
Trac’s tasting notes: A big, rustic red made from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
Rich and full bodied with flavors of black currants, thyme, and rosemary.

Galil Mountain Chardonnay  $19.99 (Kosher)
Trac’s tasting notes: Located in the Upper Galilee, a mountainous region in Israel,
this Kosher Chardonnay delivers flavors of citrus and tropical fruits with
hints of oak and butter.

 


Matt R.

Feautured Winery: Chateau Maris

wine1How ‘green’ can a winery be? It seems that the folks at Chateau Maris are pushing the limits of what makes a winemaking operation both healthy for the environment and as sustainable as possible.

Founded about 20 years ago by Englishmen Robert Eden and Kevin Parker, Chateau Maris was created with the goal of becoming one of the Languedoc‘s best estates while respecting the environment to the highest standards. They purchased old, dilapidated vines and began to restore them and the rest of their land from the previous farmer’s overuse of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Robert is a biodynamic winemaker and has used biodynamic preparations and composts since day one.

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They also employ local flora and fauna to help restore the balance to the land and maintain a healthy growing environment. This includes local livestock for compost, diverse cover crops like barley, bulgur, and mustard to avoid monoculture, and teas and tisanes of nettles, chamomile, and lavender to restore minerals to the soil. Today, they’ve also just completed construction on the world’s first hemp winery. The idea is fascinating ­– bricks made of hemp and lime, both naturally derived, are used to build a structure around a locally-sourced wooden frame. Over time, the hemp bricks actually absorb carbon from the atmosphere, hardening and strengthening as they transform into limestone, as well as naturally controlling temperature and humidity with no additional cooling or heating systems needed. Robert and Eden also collect rainwater, have plans to construct a wind farm, use recycled super-light glass and recycled paper for their bottles, and donate $1.50 from each bottle sold to one of three charities: The Jane Goodall Institute, The Rainforest Foundation, and The International Polar Fund.

And what about the wines? We know that just because a wine is made responsibly doesn’t necessarily mean it’s made well. Fortunately for Chateau Maris, the quality of their wines, especially for the price, matches the efforts put into them. All the wines are made with native fermentation, fermented in custom conical oak casks and cement eggs, and never fined nor filtered. The wines represent the Languedoc, an often forgotten region, as a region capable of producing wines of great character, rusticity, and sense of place. Come by either Market to try the wines of Chateau Maris!

wine32012 Chateau Maris Picpoul de Pinet  –  $14.99

Picpoul is a grape native to the Languedoc as well as the name for the Cru of white wines made there, Picpoul de Pinet. It’s often called the ‘Muscadet of the South’ due to its similarity to the signature grape of Northwestern France that has a familiar tart acidity and salty minerality. Best enjoyed in the sunshine, this Picpoul is loaded with tart green apple, chamomile notes, and zippy acidity. A great pairing with fresh seafood or spring veggies!

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2012 Chateau Maris Old School Rosé  –  $17.99

From their old-school vineyard, planted in 1959, which to this day is still plowed by horse (Karabi is his name!) and harvested by hand, this rosé is made mostly from Cinsault. Juicy strawberry, cherry, and orange zest notes lead to a crisp and fruity palate that has enough heft to pair well with a variety of dishes. Try with a classic salade nicoise and you’ll swear your sitting on the Mediterranean.

wine52011 Chateau Maris Old School Rouge  –  $12.99

A blend of mostly Syrah with a bit of Grenache, this red is everything you’d want in an everyday table red. Fermented and aged in concrete egg-shaped tanks, the nose is peppery and herbal with flavors of blackberry, currants, and herbs de provence. Great with any weeknight supper!

 

 

2010 Chateau Maris Natural Selection  –  $19.99wine6

A similar blend to the Old School Rouge, this red is a bit more serious, with about half of the wine aging in concrete and the other half in conical oak foudre, 30% of which are new. This gives it a bit more silky tannin on the finish, along with a slightly more herbal and spicy grip. A great red for grilling season!

wine72010 Chateau Maris Continuite de Nature  –  $29.99

Definitely the most serious of the three red wines we have from Chateau Maris, this blend is 90% Carignan blended with 10% Grenache from vines planted in 1922. It’s aged and fermented in large oak casts for 18 months and has rich dark-fruited notes like currants and elderberries alongside a silky and long finish; a testament to how elegant Carignan can become!

Upcoming Events:

18th Hour Cafe – Thursdays, 6-9PM – Drop-In – At 18 Reasons

Tasting with Taylor Sorenson from Winewise – Sunday, March 23, 4-6PM – At Bi-Rite Divisadero

Magnolia Beer Tasting – Thursday, March 27, 4-6PM – At Bi-Rite Divisadero

Tasting Seminar: Sherry and Madeira – Tuesday, April 15, 7-9PM, – At 18 Reasons

Beer Workshop: Malt – Wednesday, April 16, 7-9PM – At 18 Reasons

Inexpensive and Incredible: How to Spot Great Value Wine – Monday, April 21, 7-9PM, At 18 Reasons

Spring Wine Blitz Preview Tasting – Thursday, April 24, 6-8PM – At 18 Reasons

Spring Wine Blitz! – Monday, April 28 through Sunday, May 4 – At Both Markets!

Don’t hesitate to call us with any questions or special requests (415.241.9760 for 18th St. or 415.551.7900 for Divis) or email wine@biritemarket.com.

 


St. George Spirits’ California Agricole Rum–Drink Recipes!

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It’s my pleasure to announce our latest Featured Spirit: St. George Spirits’ California Agricole Rum. Established in 1982, St. George Spirits, located just across the Bay from us in Alameda, CA, was founded on the principles of Old World eau de vie distillation. Be it vodka, absinthe, liqueur, or brandy, every release from St. George is expertly created in small batches in copper pot stills, with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. The distillery incorporates organic, locally-grown fruit, vegetables, herbs, and grains into their products whenever possible, and every ingredient is used in its entirety to maximize the aromas and flavors of the spirit.

Their California Agricole Rum is made from fresh sugarcane grown in the Imperial Valley of Southern California. This unique-tasting rum features earthy notes of grass, ginger, and caramelized banana, and is great with Coke and lime! Or try it in the recipe below for the Castle Harbor Special, developed by expert barkeep Jonny Raglin of Comstock Saloon, located in San Francisco’s historic North Beach neighborhood.

Castle Harbor Special
by Jonny Raglin of Comstock Saloon
1-1/2 oz St. George California Agricole Rum
3/4 oz lime juice
1/2 oz Small Hands Pineapple Gum
1/4 oz Small Hands Grenadine
Lime wedge

Shake the first 4 ingredients for 20 seconds, and double-strain over ice. Garnish with lime.

Mexicali Libre
2 oz St. George California Agricole Rum
Mexican Coke

Pour California Agricole Rum into a tall glass filled with crushed ice, top with Mexican Coke and a squeeze of lime.

 

 

 


John Herbstritt

Vineyard Dispatch Part 3: Are there groundhogs in France?

contemplating our future

contemplating our future

This piece was meant to be more timely. Unfortunately it’s harder than previously estimated to write blog posts while road-tripping around foreign countries. But it’s still February, right? On February 2, 2014, Punxsatawney Phil saw his shadow and retreated back into his burrow, indicating that there will be six more weeks of winter. Thankfully, in America, we have traditions like these to guide us through treacherous territory: weather can be unpredictable and nasty. Other countries aren’t so lucky.

France, for instance, has no groundhogs, which is probably why they were ill-prepared for the harsh growing seasons of 2012 and 2013. 2012 brought multiple bouts of frost in April and May and poor weather during flowering, which means that many flowers didn’t bloom properly. Then there were hailstorms throughout the summer and, in many places, rains during harvest. Luckily the combination of flower loss and fruit loss from hail can lead to extra-concentrated fruit, but unfortunately also to an extremely reduced harvest. More on that later.

In 2013 it was unseasonably cold until June, and there was a devastating hailstorm in May that ravaged much of the Western half of the country. Once again, a reduced harvest. Many barrel samples that I tasted while travelling were vibrant and exciting, so still pretty excited about the wines. The worst thing about giant hailstones is that they not only ruin your crop for the current vintage but also extend their icy fingers into the proceeding one. How, you ask? When vines grow their canes during the Spring and Summer, sprouting leaves and flowers and tendrils, the budwood for the next year’s growth is already present on those canes, and when vintners prune their vines during the winter for the next year’s crop, they choose the best cane to keep from the previous year’s growth with which to continue on. So when entropy comes in the form of hail to ruin all of their careful preparations, vintners must make do, choosing inferior or partially damaged canes during pruning as they must.

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hail-damaged fruit

Of course, hail is very spotty. For instance, in 2012, the villages of Pommard and Volnay in the Southern part of Burgundy saw an 80% crop reduction due to hail, while the Cotes de Nuits just to the North was relatively untouched. I read this little tidbit in an article by Jancis Robinson in the Financial Times published on January 17, 2014: villages in the South of Burgundy are reportedly considering installing cloud-seeding cannons on the hills above their vineyards in order to mitigate hail damage. Depending on how you look at it, this seems either very futuristic or very retrograde – but wine is usually both of these things at once, isn’t it?

Which brings me to my final point. I had the privilege of tasting through barrel samples of 2012 Burgundies from some of the most famous names in Burgundy yesterday at a trade tasting at the Hotel Vitale. The tasting included great producers like Armand Rousseau in Gevrey-Chambertin, Domaine Christian Moreau in Chablis, Olivier Leflaive is Meursault, Jacques Prieur, and Domaine Faiveley. Big names. Across the board the wines were concentrated and intense, reflective of reduced harvests and a spell of warm weather in August and September that finally ripened things up. Speaking broadly, there were some Chardonnays whose intensity was rather jarring. The best wines were able to take this concentration and match it with clarity and minerality. Also, prices went through the roof this year for Burgundy. Perhaps this is the most boring sentence ever written, but of course rationales are about reduced harvests with the incentive that 2012 will also be a solid vintage in terms of quality. Of course, great Burgundy will still fetch great prices no matter what the vintage, but what about the rest of the country? Hard-working winemakers from Gaillac or Muscadet can’t simply make up for reduced harvests by increasing prices. They don’t make the market like the bigwigs in Burgundy. You’ll have to excuse the metaphor, but they’re like vines in a hailstorm: and crop insurance is expensive.