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Categorized | General, New York

Manhattan Wine Company Update

I hope you are doing well today. We are deep into the busy season in our industry. I hope you finish this challenging year on a bright note! Despite the chaos of Covid life, it’s an exciting time of year for us as so many great wines come to market, and although this year might look different, I hope you’re still planning to enjoy some delicious wine and food with the upcoming Holidays and year-end celebrations. Good food and comforting wines have certainly carried us through at our house – perhaps they were the only thing that got us through! Anyway, I hope you have a great finish to your year, and if you need wine, gifts, or pairing ideas for special evenings over the coming months, I am happy to help.  
I am writing today to introduce the 2018 Burgundy vintage and offer three special growers we plan to offer in this vintage. We will be more selective with 2018s and do not plan to feature as many producers we did with 2017. Over the coming months, I will write periodically detailing the producers we feel excelled in a year where winemakers really had to earn their keep managing the warmer temperatures and dry conditions. 
2018s will land in arguably the most tumultuous economic and political environment of my nearly ~20-year career. On top of that, due to Covid, I have less first-hand experience tasting this vintage than I have with the past 12 consecutive vintages. So more so than ever this year, I am reading reports to get a feel for this vintage from Jasper Morris, Neal Martin, John Gilman, and the likes before personally tasting much wine. Of course, I take what they all write with a grain of salt, but I get the sense that this is going to be a vintage that is pegged as this or that when in reality, the truth is much more nuanced (as is always the case, to be honest) and the story perhaps more complicated than some quick talking points might reveal.     
An Intro to the 2018 Vintage:
No doubt about it, 2018 was an extreme vintage in that the weather was warm and spiked to very hot at certain points. Many will be quick to dismiss the vintage based on this fact alone, but that would ignore an important part of the story. The growing season was marked as much by the warm summer as it was the steady rainfall throughout the winter and early spring leading into the 2018 summer months. There was sufficient water in the ground for the vines to drink their fill even through the dry, hot summer months, and as a result, some excellent wines were made. 

Of course, in a challenging growing season like this, some vignerons faired very well, and others did not produce their best wines. Obviously, in a solar vintage, it is easy to think reds have a better chance of thriving than whites, but Chardonnay is hearty and these vignerons have learned to deal with warmer temps over the past ~20 years. I know I have enjoyed some ’09 and ’15 whites over the years, so I am confident we will find a few winners in this vintage. We will offer a few whites from producers we feel managed the challenge well, and a broader group of reds. It was sort of the opposite with 2017s where I essentially tried to buy across the board in whites and was a bit more selective with reds. MW Jasper Morris says, “The most successful 2018 reds hit heights only found in the greatest vintages.” So as we roll out the offerings, I’ll do my best to explain why I feel a grower managed the vintage well based on their farming and wine-making techniques/style. I hope these offers will help you gain an appreciation for the vintage and that you will find some great wines to enjoy.  In general, I think the whites are going to be fairly accessible right out of the gates whereas many of the vintage’s top reds are going to need time in the cellar to shed some baby fat and reveal more typicity.  I’ll spend more time digging into the profile of the wines as we offer them, but I’m guessing this is already too long so I’ll dig right into three of our favorite producers to kick off this vintage: Marquis d’Angerville in Volnay, Simon Bize in Savigny-les-Beaune, and Bernard-Bonin in Meursault.
And before we dig too deep into these producers, a quick note about pricing.  I have priced them competitively and have eaten margin a bit to help defray the 25% tariffs. Unfortunately, with small price hikes ex-cellars, a weaker dollar and the 25% tariffs, if we marked them up at same level as normal, the price hikes would be too high IMO. I tried to keep them as close to ‘17s pricing as possible and even reduce them a bit if possible.  Our goal is to get the wine in to your hand if you want it so happy to move them along even if we must work a bit shorter on them.  I wanted to show you exciting wines from these producers so you could have a crack at them early.  If you need specific recs, please give me a call at the shop and I can work with you. 646-712-8200 Ext. 207. I’ve worked with these three Domaines for a number of years now so happy to share my thoughts on them if you’re interested.  So here goes:
Marquis d’Angerville:
**All d’Angerville 2018s will arrive in November 2020**
There are few domaines in Burgundy whose wines resonate more with American collectors than Marquis d’Angerville. This is a domaine that has earned its status as one of the most respected addresses for red wine in all of Burgundy despite the fact that they are based in the Cote de Beaune and do not own any Grand Cru vineyards. Guillaume d’Angerville, who runs the domaine today, took over from his legendary father, Jacques, back in 2003. Guillaume inherited his father’s unshakable insistence for the expression of place & vintage above all else in his wines while fine-tuning work in the vineyards, which are now fully biodynamically certified. Guillaume ultimately sees himself as a steward of the land rather than a radical innovator. His approach is careful and methodical, and he does not avoid changes in his work, but only when these changes enhance his end goal in transmitting his land into bottled form as clearly as possible. His wines’ personalities are largely in lockstep with the exceptionally age worthy wines of his father.
Today we have the lion’s share of the domaine’s 2018 reds from Volnay to offer. Their Volnay 1er Cru is largely composed of grapes from their holdings in Mitans & Pitures, with additions of younger vines from other 1er crus depending on the vintage. Fremiets sits on the Pommard border, underneath Clos des Ducs & Pitures. This especially rocky site provides for wines of finesse and quiet intensity. Champans comes from 4 hectares owned by the domaine in both the upper and lower sections of this vineyard. Theirs is a powerful rendition, equal parts suave and structured, with excellent length and staying power. Caillerets is just up the road, from a .45ha parcel owned by the family. It is a wine of exceptional focus and energy that will be a wonderful contrast to Champans over the years. And Clos des Ducs is a monopole for the d’Angerville family, a regal wine with few rivals in the appellation. This is a domaine that embodies class and consistency, and this is another beautiful set of wines from this special property.
According to Guillaume d’Angerville “It was a pretty uneventful and easy season. There was an early flowering around 20 May. There was no significant mildew pressure and the vines reacted better than expected during the dry conditions. They are getting accustomed to it. They did not seem to suffer. We started the harvest early on 1 September.” I take it Guillaume was pleased with their results in 2018, and I think Neal Martin from Vinous Media would agree. I’ve including Neal’s tasting notes below as well as details of what we have available:
2018 d’Angerville – Volnay, 1er Cru – $105/bottle – 24 bottles available
“The 2018 Volnay 1er Cru, a blend of Les Pitures and Les Mitans, has a perfumed bouquet of very pure black cherry and wild strawberry aromas. The palate is defined by slightly chalky tannins. Quite poised and mineral driven, tapering slightly toward the finish but maintaining impressive focus and elegance. Superb.”

2018 d’Angerville – Volnay, 1er Cru Fremiet – $142/bottle – 24 bottles available
“The 2018 Volnay Fremiet 1er Cru, which underwent replanting up until 1999, has an appealing bouquet of wild strawberry, raspberry preserve and crushed stone aromas, touches of rose petal emerging with aeration. The palate is framed by fine-grained tannin, quite citric on the entry and one of the most Pommard-like of d’Angerville’s Volnays. This is an energetic, edgy Volnay thanks to the limestone soil here. I suspect it will age extremely well.”

2018 d’Angerville – Volnay, 1er Cru Taillepieds – $180/bottle – 12 bottles available

“The 2018 Volnay Taillepieds 1er Cru comes from vines located high up on the hill at the same altitude as Clos des Ducs in a windy location. This has the most precocious bouquet among d’Angerville’s Volnays, with blueberry, cassis and iodine aromas billowing from the glass. The palate is built around a sweet core of slightly confit fruit. An unusually outgoing and approachable Les Taillepieds that is full of joie-de-vivre. Whether it has the intellectual element of, say, the Clos des Ducs or the Champans is another matter. It comes across as a Volnay more intent on sensory enjoyment.”
2018 d’Angerville – Volnay, 1er Cru Champans – $175/bottle – 12 bottles available | $365/magnum – 6 magnums
“The 2018 Volnay Les Champans 1er Cru has an outgoing bouquet similar to the Taillepieds, albeit one with more intellectual weight and gravitas behind it. Black cherries, blueberry and light cassis aromas reveal crushed stone and undergrowth notes, all delivered with intensity and superb delineation. The palate is medium-bodied with slightly firmer, stockier tannins than the Taillepieds, darker fruit and grainier texture toward the persistent finish. I see this has having real long-term potential. Excellent.”
2018 d’Angerville – Volnay, 1er Cru Caillerets – $175/bottle – 12 bottles available
“The 2018 Volnay Les Caillerets 1er Cru includes an additional 0.23-hectare adjoining parcel of old vines purchased in 2013 that represents a 50% increase in acreage. It has a more reticent bouquet compared to its siblings, demanding coaxing from the glass to revealing morello cherry, raspberry preserve and rose petal aromas. Hints of blood orange develop with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with darker berry fruit than d’Angerville’s other Volnay, and a little spicier, displaying impressive depth and grip toward the finish. It will require 5–6 years in bottle. Excellent.”
2018 d’Angerville – Volnay, 1er Cru Clos des Ducs – $295/bottle – 17 bottles available
“The 2018 Volnay Clos des Ducs 1er Cru, the famous 2.15-hectare monopole of the domaine, is matured in around 25% new oak, although Guillaume d’Angerville mentioned that he intends to use less new oak in the future. It has a very intense bouquet of raspberry preserve, kirsch, blood orange and sous-bois aromas, all displaying wonderful delineation. The palate is medium-bodied with fabulous density and complexity, offering brambly red fruit, blood orange, orange peel, suggestions of dark chocolate and, of course, wonderful mineral tension on the persistent finish, which fans out beautifully. This is an exceptionally fine Volnay that will age for 30–40 years.”
2018 d’Angerville – Meursault, 1er Cru Santenots – $158/bottle – 12 bottles available
“The 2018 Meursault Santenots 1er Cru was the first vineyard picked this vintage, whereas it can often be the last. It has an attractive bouquet of grilled walnut and light smoky aromas, perhaps not quite as intense as recent vintages. The palate is well balanced with a slightly honeyed entry, offering orange pith and light apricot notes and a smooth, almond-tinged finish. Fine.”
Bernard-Bonin:
**All Bernard-Bonin 2018s will arrive in November 2020**
Véronique Bonin and Nicolas Bernard are turning out some of the most exciting white burgundy on the planet. The young couple took over the 7ha domaine, formerly known as Michelot Mère et Fille, from Véronique’s family in 1999. They work exclusively in chardonnay, largely in Meursault with a few small plots in Puligny. Their strict work in the vineyard allows them to let their wines to express themselves in the cellar, with as little intervention as possible – natural yeasts, no enzymes, no chaptalization, no fining, no filtering and minimal sulfur throughout the process (à la d’Auvenay from Madame Bize-Leroy). The wines rest in mostly older barrels for 15 months and another 4 months in stainless before bottling.
I believe that one of the defining characteristics of this Domaine is that they are always among the first to harvest in Meursault to make sure freshness is maintained. They can do so because of the health of their soils, which are farmed biodynamically. Bud break is early and so provided they can get through spring frosts (which was not as much a problem in ’18 as it was in ’16 and ’17), they’re able to get to full ripeness before most of their neighbors while still maintaining naturally high acid levels.  Bernard believes that the buttery character in Meursault is a modern invention rather than an inherent quality, and his wines are more about minerality and energy than pure richness. That is not to say these lack concentration, but rather their weightless quality defines them. The wines can give many of the big names of the appellation a run for their money. Not sure if you are on social media or not, but you may see them on Instagram from time to time. Rarely do you ever see them available for sale. We have been working closely with the Domaine since the 2012 vintage when they were new to Martine’s (importer for Rayas, Lafleur, and formerly Henri Jayer) and very much an unknown producer in the US.  We loved them from the beginning and the very first private tasting we ever held at our shop when it opened in 2015 was a night to celebrate the wines of Bernard-Bonin! Our stocks are quite limited this year, so please have a look and let me know as soon as possible:

2018 Bernard-Bonin – Meursault, 1er Cru Charmes-Dessus – $175/bottle – 12 bottles available
These 50 to 60 year old vines are planted at the upper reaches of Charmes, just below Perrières, and this wine always has more in common with the stony, nervy character of most Perrières than it does with your average Charmes. This is a lifted, elegant, pure and thrilling Charmes that has length and intensity to rival the very best wines of Meursault.
2018 Bernard-Bonin – Meursault, 1er Cru Genévrières – $175/bottle – 6 bottles available
Certainly one of their top bottlings, their Genévrières is sourced from plots in both Genévrières-Dessus and Genévrières-Dessous. Nicolas Bernard says “For Genevrères the growers have never made a distinction between the two parts, the upper and the lower, Genevrières-Dessus and Genevrières-Dessous. The soil in Genevrères is quite homogenous. Perhaps a bit stonier in the upper part. In the lower part you have 50 centimeters of loose soil. When you plough the upper part you hit rocks all the time.” Véronique Bernard Bonin explains that “Genevrères-Dessus produces a spicier wine, whereas Genevrières-Dessous produces a more buttery wine,” and so as a result of this, they have chosen to always blend their plots together assuming that the sum of the whole is better than the individual parts. We couldn’t agree more as the results with this wine over the years has been astounding – powerful and long, piercing and pure. A true delight!
Simon Bize:
**All Simon Bize 2018s will arrive in November 2020**
As part of our #MWCWINERELIEF efforts earlier this spring, Raj Parr wrote a great piece on Bize for us to share with our customers.  Here’s his intro: “Many excellent producers offer Savigny, but it is impossible nowadays to mention this Burgundy village without a respectful nod to the great Domaine Simon Bize. A Savigny stalwart, Bize made a name for itself under the brilliance and perfectionism of Patrick Bize, the fourth generation of Bizes on the property, who tragically passed away in 2013. Patrick proved that Savigny’s wilderness could be tamed again to produce expressive, graceful wines that speak of place as well as person. And these wines continue to be bargains, as Bize’s wife Chisa, his sister Marielle, and the rest of the family have managed to uphold the tradition of quality.
The signature of Bize is purity, focus and ageability. The wines are widely considered to be hands off, traditional, transparent, and honest. Wines constructed in the vineyard from older vines, and winemaking submitting to the vintage to dictate the percentage of whole cluster fermentation. Non-ameliorated wines, fermentation is spontaneous with native yeasts, and the wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered. Their goal is to farm and harvest the grapes with a balance between ripeness and acidity in order to make precise, delicate wines that show off the different distinct terroir of the vineyards. Chardonnay is aged in between 12% – 25% new oak, while the Pinot Noirs are aged in little to no new oak to preserve their crunch factor.”
I would just add that Bize is near and dear to me personally. I cut my Burgundy teeth on Bize wines early in my career and fondly remember buying cases of ’99 and ’00 SLB 1er Cru Aux Vergelesses at auction in 2004. I drank those long ago, but it is one of the first Domaines that I feel deeply in love with.  MWC has worked with every Bize vintage since the 2009.  I find Chisa’s wines to be more delicate and perhaps cleaner than Patrick’s but I also think she and her team are working more naturally than ever before.    In fact, they’ve released some sans soufre cuvees that are really interesting, and I’m excited to offer those today as well as our normal favorites from the Domaine:
2018 Simon Bize – Bourgogne Blanc, Les Champlains – $39/bottle – 24+ bottles available
“The 2018 Champlains had been bottled in August of 2019. It is a touch less ripe than the Perrières Blanc this year (13.5 versus 14 percent) and is a lovely wine, offering up scents of apple, quince, chalky soil tones and a topnote of white flowers. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and nicely soil-driven, with a good core and nice backend tension on the long and wide open finish. This will drink nicely from the outset, but seems likely to last a bit longer than the Perrières this year.” – John Gilman, View from the Cellar
2018 Simon Bize – Bourgogne Blanc, Les Perrieres – $51/bottle – 9 bottles available
“The Bourgogne Blanc “Perrières” chez Bize is usually one of my absolute favorite bottlings at this level, but the 2018 is a tad on the soft side and will probably not age as long as most vintages of this wine. It is still very pure and bright, as it is only fourteen percent octane, but structurally, it is pretty laid back this year and will drink with generosity right from the outset. The nose is very pretty, wafting from the glass in a mix of apple, pear, chalky soil tones, a bit of almond and white flowers. On the palate the wine is full, open and succulent on the attack, with a good core, soft acids, but good length and focus on the very tasty finish. Good juice, but the 2018 Perrières is not going to last as it usually does in bottle.” – John Gilman
2018 Simon Bize – Savigny-les-Beaune Blanc, Villages – $64/bottle – 24+ bottles available
“The 2018 Savigny-lès-Beaune Blanc from Domaine Simon Bize is also quite forward this year. The wine offers up lovely aromatic complexity in its blend of lemon, pear, chalky soil tones, a touch of citrus peel and a topnote of fruit blossoms. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and quite suave already on the attack, with good focus and balance, a nice foundation of soil and good, but not great depth at the core. The finish is long, open and the acids are fairly gentle here, so this again, will be a wine that is best drunk in its relative youth.” John Gilman
2018 Simon Bize – Savigny-les-Beaune Blanc, 1er Cru Aux Vergelesses – $120/bottle – 12 bottles available
“Not surprisingly, the 2018 les Vergelesses Blanc is a step up in terms of depth and complexity, but this too shares the same relatively gentle structural chassis and will be a charmer right out of the blocks. This was the very first vineyard picked on August 29th this year and offers up a very stylish bouquet of lemon, pear, chalky minerality, orange zest and a nice touch of iodine. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and soil-driven, with an excellent core of fruit, fine focus and grip, sound framing acids and a long, classy finish.” John Gilman
2018 Simon Bize – Bourgogne Rouge, Les Perrieres – $52/bottle – 24+ bottles available
“100% stems, for bottling at the end of the year. Dense dark purple, there is a huge weight of dark ripe fruit here, really vibrant, just the right tannins, this will be a joy to drink.” MW Jasper Morris
2018 Simon Bize – Savigny-les-Beaune, Villages – $63/bottle – 24+ bottles available
“The 2018 Savigny AC rouge was one of the few wines still in cask at the time of my visit and it was showing beautiful detail and complexity on both the nose and palate. The bouquet wafts from the glass in an elegant mix of black cherries, woodsmoke, bitter chocolate, a fien base of soil, pigeon and a gentle topnote of spice. On the palate the wine is fullish, suave and classy, with fine focus and grip, a good core and a long, modestly tannic and very satisfying finish. This wine is only 12.85 percent octane this year. Unless this closes up dramatically after bottling, it is going to drink well from a young age and make lots of friends, as it is a very, very satisfying villages bottling this year.” John Gilman
2018 Simon Bize – Savigny-les-Beaune, 1er Cru Aux Fournaux – $115/bottle – 18 bottles available
“The 2018 Fournaux is the lowest octane wine in the cellar this year at 12.5 percent, and it is excellent. The bouquet offers up a deeply black fruity mix of black plums, dark berries, bitter chocolate, gamebird, a hint of Savigny fruitcake tones and a fine base of dark soil. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, complex and chewy, with a sappy core, fine mineral drive and a long, focused ant very nicely balanced finish. This is fine juice in the making.” John Gilman
2018 Simon Bize – Savigny-les-Beaune, 1er Cru Aux Vergelesses – $120/bottle – 18 bottles available
“The 2018 les Vergelesses is probably the ripest red wine chez Bize this year, coming in at 13.8 percent, but in the context of the vintage, this is still pretty low octane juice! The bouquet is deep, pure and very classy, wafting from the glass in a mix of dark berries, black cherries, gamebird, woodsmoke, gentle spice tones, just a whisper of fruitcake and a very complex base of soil. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and very elegant in profile, with a sappy core, fine mineral drive, ripe, buried tannins and outstanding length and grip on the complex and very refined finish. This is the most elegant premier cru terroir in the domaine’s lineup, but often that elegance takes a full decade or more to start to really make its presence felt; this year it is there right from the outset!” John Gilman
New Cuvées:
These new and exciting wines from Bize are all farmed organically with the addition of homeopathic methods designed to replace vineyard sulfur and reduce copper in fighting mildew and oidium. The "Aka" Savigny-les-Beaune red is bottled with no added sulfur; the two whites "Shirokuro" and "Shiro" have a small amount added at bottling.  If you’re a fan of natural wines and curious what that might mean in Burgundy, please check these out!
2018 Simon Bize – Savigny-les-Beaune, ‘Aka’ – $61.99/bottle – 11 bottles available
2018 Simon Bize – Savigny-les-Beaune Blanc de Noir, ‘Shirokuro’ – $61.99/bottle – 12 bottles available
2018 Simon Bize – Savigny-les-Beaune Blanc, ‘Shiro’ – $61.99/bottle – 12 bottles available

I fully realize this is a lot to read and absorb, but I wanted to put it all in here for you to refer to moving forward. Our next 2018 offers will be brief, and as I mentioned in the intro, there will not be as many offerings as in year’s past as I plan to tread a bit lighter this vintage and focus on the producers I think did a great job.  Please have a look through this and get back to me as soon as possible with your wishlist.  I will do best I can to accommodate your request. 
Thanks for your time and hope to hear from you soon!
Sincerely,


Matt Tornabene

President
Manhattan Wine Company
D: 646-712-8200
C: 917-992-4752

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New York, NY 10001

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All wines offered subject to prior sale and final confirmation.

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