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Mar

27

2014

Posted by Robert Schagrin

This will be the first event of its kind and promises to be legendary. The group of winemakers, many of whom never travel outside of Europe, is just too impressive for this not to be the case. 

Jan

13

2012

Posted by Joe Salamone

Fernando de Castilla was originally founded by Fernando Andrada-Vanderwilde, an aristocrat from a family of land owners who grew grapes and produced base wines for the sherry trade for generations.

Oct

31

2011

Posted by Joe Salamone
Bernard and Matthieu Baudry

In 1975, Bernard Baudry founded what started out as a small 2 hectare domaine (a little under 5 acres). Bernard came from a winemaking family in Chinon and had studied oenology at the Lycée de Beaune and started his career as a wine consultant in a laboratory in Tours. Today the estate totals 30 hectares and includes all of Chinon's major terroirs. The vines are now tended using organic methods. Since 2000, Bernard is assisted by his son, Matthieu, who returned to the domaine after working in the Mâcon, Bordeaux, Tasmania and California.

Baudry's clean and precise Chinons were soon mentioned in the same breath as the region's benchmark producer, Charles Joguet. With a scientist's attention to detail, Baudry maintains a state of the art cellar and perfectly manicured vineyards.

The domaine releases 5 different red bottlings with Croix Boisses currently being the estate's top bottling. (They also produce two very small production whites.) The fruity and accessible  Les Granges bottling comes from sandy soils on the banks of the Vienne river.

The cuvee Domaine bottling is a blend dominated by grapes from gravel soils with a portion of grapes grown in limestone, which contributes some tannic structure to the wine.

Of Baudry's three single vineyard wines, Grezeaux (from gravel and clay soils) possesses the oldest vines; they average 60 years. Croix Boisses' vines are 35 years of age, but the site is on the chalky limestone soils that produce Chinon's longest lived wines. Baudry's youngest vines reside in what is likely to become his best site once the vines reach the proper age, Clos Guillot, which is also a chalky clay limestone parcel. The Baudrys also have .3ha of ungrafted vines planted in Clos Guillot that they often bottle separately under a Franc de Pied label.

Oct

19

2011

Posted by Stephen Bitterolf

Click here for the 2010 Kellers.


Aug

29

2011

Posted by Joe Salamone

Equipo Navazos
The story of Equipo Navazos and their La Bota sherries is an unusual one, in that originally there was absolutely no commercial ambition behind the endeavor. This was simply an effort by two sherry-loving friends to get their hands on some extraordinary amontillado that they discovered while tasting at bodegas.

History
As the story goes, Jesús Barquín, sherry expert and professor of criminology at the University of Granada, and Eduardo Ojeda, technical director of Grupo Estévez which includes sherry houses La Guita and the prestigious and very traditional Valdespino, took a field trip to the Sánchez Ayala sherry house in Sanlúcar. There, they came across 65 butts (sherry barrels) of amontillado that, despite their average age of over 30 years – the last 20 of which had been spent without “refreshing” or adding new sherry to the solera to preserve the flor - displayed an incredibly fresh profile with elegant, steely notes revealing definitive manzanilla origins.

Jul

16

2011

Posted by Stephen Bitterolf

Blick-auf-alten-Ayler-Neuen
Blick auf alten Ayler Neuen

May

12

2011

Posted by Joe Salamone

Vin Jaune flies in the face of viticultural orthodoxy.

It is a rebel, a wine that somehow miraculously weathers the slings and arrows of time to gain a depth and complexity that makes it unlike any other wine on Earth. Though the most obvious comparison is with Spain's oxidized Sherry, Vin Jaune is denser and more robust, and it also has a strong tail of acidity that Sherry simply does not.

Apr

28

2011

Posted by Joe Salamone

While Piedmont's Langhe superstars Barolo and Barbaresco hog much of the spotlight, Nebbiolo grows and makes good - even great - wines under various aliases throughout Northwestern Italy. The wines may lack the muscle of Barolo and Barbaresco, but they make up for it in perfume, nervosity and delicacy.

Northern Piedmont: This region includes Gattinara, Ghemme, Bramaterra, Fara, Lessona, Sizzano and, of course, Boca. Nebbiolo (called Spanna here) is often blended with Vespolina and Uva Rara.

Carema: Also in northern Piedmont, but just southwest of those mentioned above. Carema sits in the shadows of Mt. Blanc and is on the border of the Valle d'Aosta region. Nebbiolo (here called Picoutener or Picotendro) grows at high altitudes in fantastically terraced vineyards rooted in poor stony soils. Compared to the wines from Gattinara, Lessona, Boca, etc., the wines of Carema are even more brisk and ethereal.

Valtellina: In Lombardia and bordering Switzerland, these vineyards reach over 2,000 feet. Nebbiolo (locally called Chiavennasca) can be blended with other grapes (Rossola, Pignola, Prugnolo and Pinot Nero). This is the most "nervous" Nebbiolo, full of flowers and sometimes subtle gamey notes. The four Crus are Sasella, Grumello, Inferno and Valgella, which may appear on labels. There's also a tradition of beefing up the region's light wine by drying grapes, Amarone-style; they call this Sforsato.

Donnas and Arnad-Montjovet: From the eastern section of Valle d'Aosta near Carema, these are light and crisp Nebbiolos (called Picoutener or Picotendro).

 

Apr

09

2011

Posted by Joe Salamone

Bodega: a generic term for a winery or cellar. In Sherry, the bodega is thought to have its own unique terroir. 

Solera: a succession of barrels, each one of which is filled with wines of different ages. The younger wines provide nutrients to keep the flor alive, and they flow into the barrels that contain the older wines as wine is drawn from the solera to be bottled.

Butt: a barrel associated with the Sherry region and often made of American oak. Individual butts make up the solera.

Flor: Yeast cells that form a film over wine that's not topped-up in wooden barrels. Flor provides many of the flavors that define Fino and Manzanilla Sherries and Jura Vin Jaune.

Fino: The lightest and freshest of Sherries. Aged under flor yeast and usually from wines with a fairly young average age.

Manzanilla: Fino from the area of Sanlúcar. The proximity to the sea results in wines that tend to be even fresher and more delicate than Fino.

Amontillado: Essentially, aged Fino where the flor yeasts have died and exposed the wine to oxygen. Flor dies over time or through raising the alcohol level by fortification beyond what flor can tolerate.

The History of La Bota

Fascinatingly (though perhaps not surprising), Equipo Navazos wasn't formed with commercial ambitions. Instead, it was born out of a deep knowledge of Sherry and a love for the wine.

It all started in 2005 when Jesús Barquín, a professor of criminology and renowned Sherry expert, and Eduardo Ojeda, technical director at Grupo Estevez (which includes the famed sherry houses of Valdespino and La Guita), stumbled upon an old Amontillado solera at Bodegas Sanchez Ayala.

They knew they wanted some of the wines for themselves, so they selected their favorite butts, wrote to friends around the world to help them make the investment, and bottled just 600 bottles. That was La Bota de Amontillado #1, named after Edgar Allen Poe's story, "The Cask of Amontillado."

The first several wines weren't meant for the market. But word spread (hey, it's good stuff), and Barquín and Ojeda eventually decided to release the wines commericially, albeit still in tiny quantities.

Mar

29

2011

Posted by Joe Salamone

We’re over a decade into the third millennium, and Jean-François Ganevat is reputed to have no computer. He fulfills orders for his 40-50 different wines (40-50!) by fax machine. And he gets back to people when he wants. We speak from experience:

We had our importer fax some questions over to Jean-François on November 4th. We received an answer from him March 27th.

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