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So why is the 2012 Ladera Cabernet—made from almost entirely from Howell Mountain fruit, from an incredible vintage—sitting pretty at $34.99? I honestly can't tell you. Maybe it's because no one knows how good the Ladera holdings in Howell Mountain are. Or maybe it's the pride that winemaker Jade Barrett takes in making a serious wine for a reasonable price. Or maybe it's because Ladera is an overlooked gem in a sea of Napa alternatives. For whatever the reason, I'm not going to complain. We tasted the 2012 vintage at our staff training yesterday and I was just floored by the quality of this wine. Dark, fleshy fruit cloaked in fine tannins, bits of earth, and in total balance, with enough gusto to go the long haul in your cellar. It's a whole lotta wine for $34.99, and it's made primarily from Howell Mountain grapes, harvested during a great vintage. 

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« Keith's Burgundy Hotline: Stupidly Low Prices on a Fabulous Vintage | Main | 2009 Bordeaux Roundup: Wines to Buy Now »
Wednesday
Apr042012

Keith's Burgundy Hotline: Domaine Benoit Ente - One of Burgundy's Absolute Best Producers

By: Keith Wollenberg | K&L Burgundy Buyer

 

Hello Burgundy Lovers,

I do not use the description Top Producer lightly.  And if you know me, you know I am seldom prone to hyperbole about how good growers are.  But mark my words, Domaine Benoit Ente is making some of the purest, most focused white wines in all of Burgundy.  He is less well-known than his brother Arnaud Ente, but I actually prefer his wines, as they are less worked for richness and more representative of the place they come from, in my experience.

If you are looking for life, vibrancy and a clear attention to terroir, this is the place to find them!  I spent an enjoyable time sitting in Benoit’s kitchen and talking cover crops, specifics of soil types in various vineyards, and what he was looking for in his wines.  This is a guy who lights up when you talk vineyard with him.

I have followed his wines for multiple vintages now, and would suggest to you that if you miss his 2009s you will be sorry.  He has no Grands Cru vineyards, although his Folatieres is better than many Grands Cru I have tasted, and his village wine better than many Premier Crus.   We managed to secure a few cases of each, which is no small feat given how little comes into California.

They will be here in less than a week, but are being offered now.  You snooze, you lose, on these wines.  ‘Nuff said.

The Wines:  

2009 Domaine Benoit Ente Bourgogne Blanc (Pre-Arrival) $29.99 

The 2009 Bourgogne is a striking wine endowed with gorgeous textural finesse and elegance. It shows attractive fleshiness and fine balance at this level. I especially like the brightness and freshness on the finish. The fruit is sourced predominantly from Puligny (85%) with the remainder coming from Meursault.(Parker's Wine Advocate, 09/11) Allen Meadows writes: "A pungent nose of straw, melon and pear gives way to very fresh and attractively intense flavors that exude a discreet minerality on the dry, clean and focused finish." (Burghound, 02/11) 


2009 Domaine Benoit Ente Chassagne-Montrachet "Les Houlieres" (Pre-Arrival) $59.95

91 Points Galloni in Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2009 Chassagne-Montrachet is all class and elegance. Rich and expressive on the palate, the Chassagne shows gorgeous persistence and depth to match an understated, refined personality. The wine keeps getting bigger in the glass, showing tons of villages character and energy. It is a fabulous bottle at the villages level." (WA, 09/11) 


2009 Domaine Benoit Ente Puligny-Montrachet (Pre-Arrival)   $59.95 

92 points Galloni in Parker: "The 2009 Puligny-Montrachet is simply fabulous. Flowers, mint and pears are some of the notes that emerge from the glass. This shows quite a bit of intensity, but in a more refined and subtle style than the Chassagne. There is considerable detail and nuance in this impeccably crafted, vibrant Puligny. This is another classy effort that over achieves its supposed pedigree. " Allen Meadows calls this "Outstanding", writing: "The vestiges of post-bottling reduction do not significantly diminish the appeal of the acacia blossom... Read More » 


2009 Domaine Benoit Ente Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru "Champ Gain" (Pre-Arrival)   : $99.95

93 Points Galloni in Parker: "The 2009 Puligny-Montrachet Champs Gain is a relatively large-scaled, textured wine. This is total seduction. The Champs Gain impresses for its pliant, mid-palate juiciness, yet there is more than enough minerality to provide freshness and verve. is a striking, wonderfully complete wine." (WA, 09/11) 91 and Outstanding! from Burghound: "An expressive and attractively complex nose speaks of white peach, pear, fennel and floral aromas though there is also a hint of SO2 lurking in the background. There is more volume and a bit ... Read More » 


2009 Domaine Benoit Ente Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru "Folatieres" "En la Richarde" (Pre-Arrival)   $134.99

This comes from a tiny piece of Folatieres, located almost touching Cheavliers Montrachet. Benoit feels htis is his finest vineyard, with the most aging potential and prices it accordingly. Allen Meadows scores it 92, calls it Outstanding!, and writes: "This offers the most elegant nose in the range with an exquisite aromatic profile of stone, acacia blossom, pear and lemon rind that precedes the energetic and imposingly full-bodied flavors that brim with dry extract on the lingering and mouth coating finish. This elegant wine of finesse is not quite as complex as the Referts but it is notably finer and much more mineral-inflected as well. A choice." (Burghound, 02/11)  Galloni scores this 93  in Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2009 Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatieres En La Richard is the most dense and substantial of these 2009s from Benoit Ente. It possesses gorgeous textural richness, considerable depth and fabulous overall balance. The aromas and flavors come together beautifully in this complete, harmonious white. The finish impresses for its depth and purity." (WA, 09/11)


-Keith

 

Mr. Keith WOLLENBERG

Directeur Commercial Bourgogne

K&L Wine Merchants

http://www.klwines.com

+1-650-556-2724 Direct Line

Keithw@klwines.com

 

 

 

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