Sunday, October 9, 2011

12,000 Wines and Then There's SELECTION PAS MAL by Philip S. Kampe

For the past month, the New York TRADE Wine Tasting Marathon has been taking place.
During this 30 day period, I have attended THIRTY EIGHT Wine Tastings, SEVEN winemaker meals and THREE weekend Wine and Food Classics at LEGENDARY locations, such as, Tanglewood, the Newport Mansions and Chelsea Piers Food Network's New York Wine and Food Festival.

At last count, well over 12,000 wines have crossed my vision this past month. I did purchase a "TALLY HAND COUNTER" for $6.49 from the to keep track of how many wines I have sampled. The Grand Total from 7 September to 5 October is 3,828 wines. (Fortunately my wife does not read my articles or else I would be in trouble)

Tasting over 3,800 wines in a month does make you realize how COMPETITIVE the wine world is. There are over 125,000 wines listed in the New York version of the beverage Media Trade Magazine. All 125,000 wines are sold in New York State. Wine salespeople have an EXTREMELY hard job knocking on potential customers doors and showing their wines to store owners or buyers.

That is why these Portfolio tastings take place--to show the shop owners, buyers and media what they have to offer.

Media plays an important role in wine sales. A Great wine write-up often stimulates sales and gets the word out. A Great wine write-up coupled with wines that are rated above 90 points helps insure the Validity of the wine to the consumer.

As a wine journalist, my Wine discoveries are mainly Personal. I look for Quality and Value in a wine and try to pass along those wines to my readers. I, also, look for wines that are 'Special'. Those wines are not always Value wines.

Out of the 12,000 wines that entered my world this past month, ONE Portfolio Tasting stood out above the rest. The 'FRENCH' Portfolio of SELECTION PAS MAL, created by MICHAEL FEUERSTEIN and ALAN MARSCHOK took FIRST PRIZE.

PAS MAL highlights CHAMPAGNE and BURGUNDIES in their Portfolio. From VALUE Selections to VALUABLE Selections, the wines are 'OFF THE CHART".

When Michael Feuerstein talks about Champagne he quotes Napoleon Bonaparte,

And after tasting their Incredible Selections from FRANCE'S 'BEST Small Producer' CHAMPAGNE houses, it is easy to understand why CHAMPAGNE stands alone in the world.

These are my SUGGESTIONS:
CHAMPAGNE LAHERTE FRERES...Look for their 100% MEUNIER Extra Brut and Seven Grape LES CLOS NV.
Located in Village de Chavot,in the Valley de la Marne, CHAMPAGNE LAHERTE FRERES was founded in 1889 and is bound by TRADITION. They have 74 parcels in 10 different villages, which gives them the ability to utilize the different 'terroirs' best suited for each grape variety.

CHAMPAGNE JOSE DHONDT...Look for their 100% Chardonnay BLANC de BLANC 'MES VIELLES VIGNES Grand Cru 2006.
Located in COTE de BLANCS, Jose Dhondt produced his first vintage in 1976. Jose practices 'culture raisonnee', known as 'SUSTAINABLE' in today's terms. Low production and high concentration is his trademark.

CHAMPAGNE DEMIERE-ANSIOT...With only 2000 cases produced, NICOLAS DEMIERE focuses on QUALITY. His 100% Chardonnay, 2005 BLANC de BLANC GRAND CRU and his BLANC de BLANC NV are OUTSTANDING. Nicolas produces mostly Vintage Champagnes. If the harvest is not good enough, he sells grapes and doesn't make wine that year. With that philosophy, you are assured of only the BEST CHAMPAGNES when he releases his Vintage wines.

CHAMPAGNE HERVE DUBOIS...Since 1979 HERVE DUBOIS, from the Village de Avize, has been producing incredible 100% Chardonnay Champagnes. His BLANC de BLANC 2005 GRAND CRU AND NV IS A great example of Champagne with low yields, chalky soil and nice exposure. Only 1,800 cases are produced each year.

CHAMPAGNE VAZART-COQUART....The Vazart-Coquart Family has been involved in the wine business since 1785. The vineyards are in CHOUILLY. Sustainable agriculture and the first 'GREEN HARVEST' were introduced to the Champagne region by the Vazart Family...
The BLANC de BLANC 'GRAND BOUQUET GRAND CRU' 2004 and 2005 are Highlights, as is the 2005 'SPECIAL CLUB' GRAND CRU...

CHAMPAGNE MARCEL MOINEAUX...from the Village de Chouilly...known for his 50 year old vines, the BLANC de BLANCS GRAND CRU 2004 (100% Chardonnay) stands out as a PREMIER Champagne from the MOINEAUX Family.

CHAMPAGNE BERNARD GIRARDIN...Locate in the Village de Mancy, Bernard started making wine over 50 years ago. Now, Bernard's daughter, Sandrine and her husband, run the vineyard. They believe in very Traditional methods performing everything by hand and tasting every step of the way to insure quality. The BRUT VINTAGE 2004 and BRUT 'CUVEE BG' NV are Outstanding examples of their wines.

CHAMPAGNE GERARD LORIOT...The LORIOT Family vineyards are located near Epernay. The first vines were planted in 1921. Today there are 40 small parcels located on 16 acres. The vineyards in MESNIL le HUTTIER are famous for growing some of France's Best PINOT MEUNIER. With production of 5,500 cases a year the BRUT TRADITION NV (100% Pinot Meunier) stands out..

CHAMPAGNE BARON D'AUVERGNE (A Bouzy) has vineyards made up of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay...Of interest are: 'PRIVELEDGE' GRAND CRU NV; 'OIEL de PEDRIX' GRAND CRU NV; 'ELEGANCE' ROSE GRAND CRU NV; 'SAPHIR' GRAND CRU NV and 'SWEET VINTAGE' GRAND CRU NV...

CHAMPAGNE HUBERT PAULET...founded at the end of the 19th century. The vineyard is being run by the 4th generation of the Family. Their 'GOAL' is to EXTRACT the best from the terroir. Vines average 22, which keeps yields low. Look for BRUT VINTAGE 1er CRU 2004 and 'CUVEE RISLEUS' 1er CRU NV...

CHAMPAGNE GUY DE CHASSEY....Since the early 1800's, the DE CHASSEY Fmily has been producing outstanding Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. On only 25 acres, the Family has produced some of the finest Champagnes in the World. Look for their complete line, highlighted by the BRUT GRAND CRU NV, BRUT ROSE NV, NICOLAS D'OLIVET 'RESERVE' GRAND CRU NV and the VINTAGE BRUT GRAND CRU 2002..

CHAMPAGNE THIERRY MASSIN...Considered the pioneers in the grower Champagne sector of COTES de BAR, the MASSIN Family focuses on 'sustainable farming'. They work parcel by parcel, carefully, aerating the soil to get the best results. With close to 30 acres to work with, the MASSIN Family has focused on the PINOT NOIR and CHARDONNAY grapes. Favorites include: SELECTION BRUT NV and MILLESIME BRUT 2002.

SELECTION PAS MALS PORTFOLIO is known for other wines beyond Champagne..
Of note are:
DOMAINE SYLVAIN PATAILLE Bourgogne Blanc 'CHAPITRE 2007' and Marsannay 'CHARMES AUX PRETRES 2007, Marsannay 'CLOS du ROY 2009' and Marsannay 'L'ANCESTERALE 2009.



((WHITES) DOMAINE LUCIE & AUGUSTE LIGNIER Bourgogne Aligote 2009 and Petie Chablis 2009 from Agnes and Didier Dauvissat.

(REDS) DOMAINE LUCIE & AUGUSTE LIGNIER Bourgogne Passetougrain 2009 and Bourgogne Rouge 2009.

Wine Tasting is a 'LABOR OF LOVE'. I hope that you enjoy these Selections from PAS MAL as much as I do.

"BURGUNDY makes you think of silly things. BORDEAUX makes you talk of them and CHAMPAGNE makes you do them"
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

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