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Rich whites and warming reds

I recently spent an epic weekend in Burgundy with my dear friends the Millemanns. Pierre is undeniably one of the finest winemakers in the world who consults with every top producer in Burgundy you could think of. After years of consulting he has built a tiny but perfect winery next to his house where he crafts minuscule amounts of famed Grand Cru’s like Chambertin and Bonnes Mares.

We spent a drizzly Saturday morning at the the market in Beaune, where we bought enough cheese and charcuterie to sink a battleship. After a making a sizeable dint in said purchases, we went back to their house and I cooked up a local Burgundian delicacy Oeufs en Meurette, a wonderful dish of poached eggs, lardon (bacon) in a rich red wine and truffle sauce. This was washed down with a bottle of one of Pierre’s latest releases. Needless to say, my jog through the vineyard the next morning was somewhat sluggish.

Returning to Muir Beach last week, I noticed there is now a distinct nip in the air and pumpkins are appearing everywhere. Gone is my craving for rosé and I am moving on to richer and aromatic whites and reds that go well with warming autumn soups and casseroles.

Our first wine this week is made by a family that has been making wine since Byzantine times in northern Thrace (now southern Bulgaria) until they moved to Greece when the Ottoman Empire fell. They seem to have got the winemaking thing down now after 1000 + years.

Domaine Tatsis, Xinomavro Blanc de Noirs Xiropotamos 2019 ($24) This is a natural wine made from a red grape not too dissimilar to Pinot Noir, however removing the skin early produces a lighter color wine. It has that lovely cider-like quality that you often find in natural wines, and great structure that makes it a super food wine. Please note, give this wine a little time to breath and it will bowl you over as it comes to life. Lovely notes of red berries mixed with fresh and dried herbs, and nuts. It possesses a wonderful richness that would make it just perfect with an autumn soup of butternut squash with apple and a little fried sage on top.

We were sorting through the cellar making room for the ALIT Pinot (which, if you have not ordered, ‘Spit Spot!’ as Mary Poppins would say) and uncovered, as you do, some wonderful cool weather reds that were buried under the seasonal wines from summer.

Domaine des Pierres Sèches Syrah 2020 ($25) A cool-weather favorite that we're excited to have in stock for the fall, this is just a ridiculously good wine, full of spices and pepper. Its ability to connect you with the decomposing granite hills in this region in brilliant. The vineyards are higher and cooler, which allow this wine to be rich and yet lifted by the great acids born of cooler nights. As the Rhone heats up, the ability to achieve this great acidity is becoming ever more important. Wonderful notes of marionberry with well integrated tannins, this wine can grace any autumn evening as you nibble some cheese by the fire and then dive into a rich beef casserole mopped up with some crusty bread.

Jagini Blaufränkisch 2011 ($59) Aged now for 10 years, this wine is such a treat. It has great energy and verve, with crags and secret lush valleys of minerals and fruit. It is amazing to be able to access something which, after a decade in the cellar, is really beginning to tell its story. Blaufränkisch, as I have mentioned before, is roughly what would occur if you mixed Pinot Noir with Nebbiolo (think of a Barolo). I feel it is one of the most exciting red grapes in the world of wine today. I almost want to get the fondue out, but maybe a crispy schnitzel in a creamy sauce, or even a slow roast pork loin, would better. Please eat wearing Lederhosen and listening to the sound clanging cow bells.

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