Many of us are experiencing wines throughout the day on a regular basis. Our productivity and health require us to begrudgingly learn how to taste rather than drink. Yet there are moments when the rareness and quality of a particular wine are so profound, that it just seems wrong to spit it out! A few years ago, a new importing company began collecting a portfolio with wines that fit this description more times than not - DNS Wines - Do. Not. Spit.
Since their inception in 2013, DNS Wines has steadily added new producers that have only strengthened their claim. It was my pleasure to host 6 of these vignerons in Texas this past week. If you don't already know of these folks, please take a moment to get acquainted.
Quentin Paillard - Domaine Pierre Paillard was one of the original wineries to work with DNS. This 11 hectare estate is all Grand Cru from Bouzy. With 40% of the vineyards planted to Chardonnay, these champagnes show surprising elegance and refinement in a cru known more for power.
Étienne Julien - The wines of Domaine Julien continue to surprise first-time tasters. Under the recent care of Étienne, fifth generation winemaker, this is a property to invest in now. Fine, aromatic Pinot Noir at highly-competitive prices from Cotes-de-Nuits, Nuits-St-Georges and Echezeaux.
Guillaume Rouget - The legendary wines of Emmanuel Rouget recently made a news splash by giving their U.S. importing to DNS Wines. The 2014s on display this week were nothing short of spectacular, both in their youthful energy and in their regal structure, which already hints at what will reward the lucky collector. Guillaume, Emmanuel's son, took over the winemaking duties in 2011. He strikes me as being as thoroughly "Burgundian" as his father and great-uncle Henri Jayer, and he conveys an effortless confidence about his role in continuing the domaine's reputation among the Truly Greats.
Bruno Gaspard - Bruno has been the winemaker at Clos du Caillou since 2002. The Clos itself was once a hunting reserve physically situated within the Chateauneuf-du-Pape appellation. Now there are 17 hectares of vineyards, surrounded by 3 kilometers of woods, in some of the best terroir of the region. In addition to the Clos, there are now an additional 37 hectares stretched throughout the northeastern corner of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and into Courthezon. The winery was certified Organic in 2010 and is now systematically transitioning the vineyards to biodynamics. Bruno does a remarkable job, with the assistance of sandy soils and the picturesque large river rocks, in keeping a sense of freshness and crispness in his wines.
Catherine Maisonneuve - The wines of Cosse et Maisonneuve reflect the care and respect for the Cahors terroir that Catherine has given to her 17 hectares since the winery's beginning in 1999. Two things quickly enter the mind when tasting through these wines:this is not your mother's happy hour malbec from Argentina; and this is not the painfully tannic and funky wine often associated with Southwest France. By converting the vineyard ecosystem to biodynamics and using only enough oak to match the weight of the fruit, Cosse et Maisonneuve is able to make highly-drinkable and sensuous malbecs that easily belong in the realm of great french wines.
Phillipe Cohen - Introducing the extraordinary Saint-Émilion wines of Chateau Vieux Taillefer. Continuing the theme of transparent varietal expression from great terroirs, Phillipe and his wife Catherine acquired an enviable 5-acre property with 75 year old Merlot and other white varieties. The blanc is a (traditional?) blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Sauvignon Gris, Merlot Blanc and Chasselas. Their 2 red wines are 100% Merlot, and as gentle and nuanced as Bordeaux can be. Using barrels with the slightest toast allows the fine tannins to develop softly without interfering with the length and natural power of the fruit itself. Coming soon to Texas!