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My Better Half [Bottle]

In the self-deprecating style of every good Englishman, I often introduce Vanessa as my “better half”. There is, of course, a great deal of truth in the matter, as amongst other things, you would all have a considerably harder time reading my weekly jottings, if Vanessa and her journalistic skills did not turn my pen scratches into legible English. Translation of obscure English phrases like, “This wine would go spectacularly well with Toad in the Hole” get queried with, “Do you really think people will even understand that?” So, in short, thank goodness for my lovely, better half.

This brings me to the first of today’s exciting finds: Wine Friend’s first half bottle offering:

Remoissenet Beaune Les Teurons 2019 'Half Bottle' ($47) I was really blown away by this little number. Good half bottles are hard to find, and I love them for many reasons. For one, I find them very handy when I’m in the mood for a glass but don’t want to open a whole bottle I won't finish. They’re also a great way to enjoy more expensive wine without the full-price cost.

This wine is breathtaking. I have tasted many Burgundies from 2019, which was the warmest vintage on record so far and caused a lot of over ripeness (no one there is questioning climate change). However, this Pinot Noir is an exception. The perfection of balance, clarity in the fruits, and structure, with ripe, freshly picked red cherries, wisps of cedar and sandalwood, all combine to make this a hedonistic pleasure. I cannot recommend this enough. Everyone should keep a few of these on hand for a mid-week treat.

Now, back to the full bottle size, the next wine is another Burgundian Pinot Noir, this time from our friends at Goisot.

Goisot Les Mazelots Irancy 2018 ($46) This producer looks for unique parcels of land outside the famed areas in which to craft phenomenal wine. Les Mazelots is from a tiny 1/2-hectare lot of 100-year-old vines that produces just 100 cases of wine. When first opened, this wine was a bit timid, but after decanting and letting it breath for an hour, it unfolded beautifully. Bright cherry and wonderful perfume enhanced by a deep core. You can almost taste the wisdom the vines have gathered over a century. This wine has such great structure it deserves something rich, like the famous French chicken with an almost gamy flavor, Poulet de Bresse. Add some Morels or Porcini mushrooms for extra depth.

If this spring weather has you in the mood for something lighter, here’s a great little French rosé we just discovered:

Chidaine Touraine Rosé 2020 ($17) Yum. This lovely offering from the Loire Valley made from Pinot Noir, Gamay and the local grape Grolleau, is amazing. It is like sticking your head into a bush of Lemon Verbena, while eating a handful of cranberries and freshly sliced apple. Brilliant.

Finally, one of our most popular, great-value reds is available again in a newer vintage:

Moulin de Gassac Pont de Gassac 2019 ($20) This delightful combination of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grown right next to the sea is a stupendous wine for the money. It has a great backbone that could stand up to fatty food like sausages and duck.

Also, do keep your eyes out for details about some upcoming Wine Friends tastings. We hope you can join us!

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