2009 Château Simone
With a few exceptions, we are accustomed to enjoying early-drinking, uncomplicated reds, whites and rosés from the South of France. One of these notable exceptions is Château Simone. This historic estate, situated in the hills just south of Aix-en-Provence, has been in the hands of the Rougier family for two centuries and holds a virtual monopoly on the appellation of Palette. The red from Simone is an elegant yet well-constituted wine of great depth. It is primarily composed of Grenache and Mourvèdre but its special character reflects the presence of a mélange other grape varieties, albeit in small proportion, including Cinsault, Syrah, Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Castet, Manosquin, Théoulier, Tibouren, Picpoul Noir and Muscat de Hambourg. It may be drunk now, but it definitely deserves more time to develop the silky elegance & nuance it has earned its reputation for. Annually, there are just 2400 bottles available for the US market.
2010 Domaine Michel Niellon Chassagne-Montrachet Blanc, Clos St. Jean 1er Cru
Cote de Beaune, France
100% Chardonnay. Michel Niellon is a very quiet, unassuming man in his mid-seventies. Despite being nominated by Robert Parker as one of the five best white wine makers on the planet he remains totally self-effacing, and almost bemused by his own success. His wines are prized by White Burgundy lovers for their concentration, purity and ability to develop complexity & elegance. It is unfortunate that waiting for this magical transformation has become such a dicey proposition. Of course we are referring to the problems with premature oxidation that have plagued White Burgundies, some of the finest, most age worthy white wines in the world. Niellon has taken a few steps to combat the mysterious problem, including using a slightly wider cork to protect against oxygen ingress. To be safe, drink this bottle over the next year or so. Domaine Niellon has only 6 hectares of vines and therefore, the supply of his wines to the world is severely rationed.