As of late May, we have been very fortunate to obtain a producer of considerable quality and value. Champagne Fleury is well known for their use of pinot noir, the varietal that makes up their line of Champagnes. Fleury is located in Courteron in Aube. Because the vineyards are so close to Chablis, they produce a more Burgundian style of Champagne. That is to say, a very dry style with extremely low dosage despite the fact that their wines are pinot based. As an added bonus, the Fleury Champagnes are completely biodynamic, the strictest form of organic viticulture. At 100% pinot Noir, the Fleury “Carte Rouge” Brut ($29.99) is truly unique. A wonderful nose of lemon crème, coconut and lime. In the mouth, dried cherries, citrus fruits, vanilla and crème fraiche. Though the delicate fruit and creamy texture give away the pinot based aspect of this wine, there is a note of lemon on the finish that gives it a classic touch. Very well-suited for pate, rich seafood such as lobster or crusty bread and Brie. Like the Brut, the Fleury Brut Rosé ($34.99) is also 100% pinot noir with the base wine coming solely from the 1999 vintage. A wonderful creamy texture with small bubbles that rival those of Champagne Launois. Once opened, the Rosé shows a nose of dark cherries, wet stones, vanilla, nutmeg and the slightest hint of red currants. On the palate, a combination of cherry and strawberry fruit with a cleanliness enhanced by a bit of minerality. Rich and tasty, yet complex and delicate. Fine finish with just a whiff of oak. This is wonderful Champagne to start a meal with a salad of romaine, mandarin oranges and toasted pecans. Or, have it with a main course of poultry or game bird. Both of these Champagnes are also available in half bottles, perfect for picnics in the summer. The Brut is available in a magnum for larger parties and dinners. Happy summer sipping! —Scott Beckerley
I get a chance to try so many wines from the smaller producers in California that I thought I would focus my article every month on the excellent producers that K&L Wine Merchants have in stock. The following are a couple great wines that are now available: 2003 Boodeaux Vineyards Suisun Valley Syrah ($13.99) Owner Scott Becker (Boodeaux is his 130 pound Rhodesian Ridgeback) grew up in the Napa Valley and had been a home winemaker for years. After his retirement from San Quentin in 1997, Scott decided to try winemaking professionally. The 2003 Suisun Syrah is very elegant with a hint of spice and sweetness. There is just a hint of gaminess reminiscent of a great French syrah. About 200 cases produced 2003 Travieso Dry Creek “El Rey” Cabernet Sauvignon ($36.99) 2003 Travieso “Companero Ciego” Lodi Syrah ($24.99) Travieso was started in 2003 by two friends, Mats Hagstrom and Ray Sliter, who are the vineyard manager and winemaker respectively. All the wines are very limited and come from fruit contracted by the acre. Both varietals have great balance and enough acidity to go very well with food. The bottles can’t be missed in the store. They are massive. The label is beautiful and looks as if many hours were taken to get them perfect. Like the labels, time was taken to make the wine perfect as well. The cabernet is silky and balanced with great structure. Pure Cabernet. 100 cases released. The Syrah is a dark, almost black wine in color with black fruit, tar and earthiness. The blend is 95% syrah and 5% viognier, with the viognier adding great aromatics. Fifty cases released. See you in the City… —Mike Jordan
2004 Poliziano Rosso di Montepulciano ($11.95) This “second wine” for Poliziano has been in my article before (the 2002 and 2003), and this vintage is not to be missed. In 1989 Rosso di Montepulciano achieved the DOC classification, and I think it’s one of the best bargains to come from Tuscany. 80% sangiovese and 20% merlot. Fermentation is in stainless steal with 40% of this wine aged for 8 months in second-year American oak. Medium bodied with strawberries and blackberries mingling with a light mineral character. 2002 Antinori Chianti Classico “Peppoli” ($19.95) The Peppoli vineyards are mainly planted with sangiovese, as well as merlot, syrah and a small quantity of malvasia. This makes for a very user friendly Chianti, mature fruit with lots of vanilla, good structure with soft tannins and minerals on the finish. This is a great wine to bring as a host or hostess gift. Just make sure you are around when they open it! 2001 Castello di Fonterutoli Chianti Classico ($34.95) I love this estate and their wines. Here is a Chianti you are going to what to take some time with (either decanting or in the cellar). 85% sangiovese, 10% cabernet sauvignon and 5% merlot. This wine sees 16 months in small French barrels and is all hand harvested ( lots of care goes into the making of this baby). Beautifully balanced, with rich ripe fruit and a big tannin structure with toasty oak on the finish. Two or three hours decanting or drink on its 10th birthday. 1997 Castello di Monastero Vin Santo “Lunanuova” (500ml $49.99) A classic trebbiano blend, this Vin Santo is rich with viscosity. On the palate you will find, honey, orange marmalade and dried apricots, and an extremely long finish. DON’T dip the biscotti in this baby. You will what to savor this on its own, with only your best of friends. Salute! —Mike Parres
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