I am truly lucky to continually have the opportunity to, not only meet, but talk and share ideas with people that inspire and change the way I view the world. Some people truly have a passion for the good that they are, and have no idea that they are “that person.” They understand and embrace what and who they are without question and will always continue to build upon what they have and what they’ve done. You know, the person that you talk to and think to yourself, WOW, that’s good peeps, but then, one day further down the road it hits you: I should be like that! The Hiedler Estate was founded in the late 1800s by grandfather Joseph Hiedler, a pioneer of the Langenlois wine region. It has been family run ever since. Not family run in the sense that it has just been passed down from generation to generation, maintaining operation, A true and undying passion for everything that is Hiedler has also been passed down! From a winery that was one of the first to put their wines into bottles, to an internationally acclaimed estate that is on top of the game and yet, humbly admits, that there is so much simple promise out there to be shared with all. They have, from day one, been in love with the land and all that surrounds it! And now, Ludwig and Maria Angeles continue the tradition of taking responsibility for all that is good, not only in life but in nature and wine. This month I choose not to talk about the vineyard sites, although very important, the pruning philosophy or the work that goes on in the cellar. Instead, I choose to highlight the soul that is the wine of Hiedler. Ludwig and Maria Angeles, along with the inspiration of the three children, have become a fixture in, not only the wine business but also in wine culture. They have somehow figured out how to be in a great, beautiful balance of a pure, thought out, affirmative, understanding, focused, and determined force that makes me sit back and say to myself WOW... Can I be that? I guess, as they say on the street, they’re keepin’ it real!!!! —Eric Story
In May I traveled through the south of France tasting wines on behalf of K&L. One of the standout tastings was with Olivier Hillaire at Domaines de Relagnes. After two hours tasting his 2004s and his 2005s, Oliver presented a bottle of 1979 Relagnes CNP. Covered in cobwebs and cool to the touch, this gorgeously fresh and lush CNP was an absolute gift to behold. Domaine des Relagnes is one class act. 2004 Châteauneuf du Pape Domaine des Relagnes “Tradition” ($33.99) If you are into purity of fruit and a wine that dances on your palate, flirts and teases you with its charm and delicacy, then you must try this wine. Cinnamon stick, red fruit and blackcurrant tea abound. 2004 Châteauneuf du Pape Domaine des Relagnes “Cuvee Vigneronne” ($38.99) Black cherry, rosehips with a bit more depth than the Tradition. Very subtle notes of stone and that “tar” thing give added depth and complexity, while all the while remaining cool and lovely, with fine tannins and exquisite balance. 2004 Châteauneuf du Pape Domaine des Relagnes “Les Petits Pieds d’Armand” ($74.99) (90% grenache 10% syrah) Relagnes’ super cuvee. Up there with Bosquet des Pape’s Chante le Merle in terms of depth, concentration and elegance. Definitely ageworthy (think 10-20 years) but showing beautifully right now, with fine tannins and an oh-so-silky texture. Sublime. —Mulan Chan
If you ever find yourself in the Languedoc with a hankering for a view of the water, some tasty oysters and a crisp glass of picpoul to wash it all down with then I recommend that you make a pit stop in the town of Bouzigues. Located about halfway between Montpellier and Beziers and overlooking the Bassin de Thau, Bouzigues is the perfect place to spend the afternoon before or after you hit the more pristine and sauvage Languedoc regions of say Minervois or Faugeres. The town itself is charming and quaint and can easily be “walked” within half an hour or so. While you’re at it, please stop by 42 Grand Rue and please say hello my friends Gregory Hecht and Francois Bannier. These two young enterprising Frenchmen collectively make up H&B Selections, a new enterprise dedicated to finding some of the best kept fruit sources in the South of France and bringing them to you and me. As I have stated before, the South of France is the new Wild West, and both of these guys are on the cutting edge of quality wine that’s being made down here. I am sure Gregory and Francois might even have a few recommendations on places (both vinous and non) in the region to visit. Below you’ll find two H&B selections that K&L is proud to offer. And watch out for more great wines to come from H&B! 2005 VdP du Cotes de Thau Rosé Hecht & Bannier ($9.99) Strawberry, watermelon and pomegranate nuances abound in this delectable pink wine that pairs with just about anything! H&B’s 2004 rosé was named #1 rosé in last summer’s La Revue du Vins de France, so when K&L had the opportunity to get some of these guys’ 2005, we jumped! This is a K&L exclusive and one heck of a deal. 2003 Coteaux du Languedoc Faugeres Hecht & Bannier ($22.99) Dried cherry, star anise and hints of pu-erh tea provide tremendous complexity, while fine tannins and a lengthy finish make this wine a real contender for “wine of the night” at your next Mediterranean themed dinner party. Best from 2007-2015 or decant for one hour and enjoy with heartier fare such as grilled tri-tip or a lamb kabobs! —Mulan Chan
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