Nicolas Carmarans used to run an excellent wine bar in Paris, Café de la Nouvelle Mairie, before resettling in Aveyron, where his ancestors once made wine. This natural wine, Maximus, is one of several expressions of fer servadou that he makes from different terroirs. It was light, pure, clear and soulful, absolutely delicious. I vowed to find more wines made of fer servadou, but so far, I’ve been unsuccessful — except, of course, for the Carmarans cuvées.
Claire Naudin Hautes-Côtes de Beaune Blanc Bellis Perennis 2020
I visited Burgundy in early May and one afternoon, early in the trip, I was joined for lunch by two dear friends. It was our first meal together outside of New York, and we drank this bottle from Claire Naudin, who makes beautifully pure, textured wines that are full of life.
It came from the Hautes-Côtes de Beaune, a modest region high on the slope above the famous and expensive vineyards of the Côte d’Or. Historically, grapes were sometimes difficult to ripen there, but in recent years the region has benefited from the climate crisis and offers relatively good values.
This bottle, served in a simple bistro, was far from the most profound wine we shared in our meals together. But it captured a feeling of liberation from pandemic restrictions, its depth and deliciousness expressing the joy of friendship and pleasure in each other’s company.
Stefan Vetter Franken Sylvaner GK 2017
This is not the first time I’ve written about Stefan Vetter’s silvaner, which he, like many in Germanic areas, spells “sylvaner.” He’s fanatical about demonstrating the possibilities of this grape, which has so often been typecast as simple and pleasant at best.
Mr. Vetter farms old vineyards, many on steep, terraced slopes requiring intensive manual labor. The GK bottling, which I drank in January, comes from the Kalbstein vineyard in the village of Gambach. It was complex, bracing and bottomless, gloriously mineral and saline. A wine like this demands a re-examining of the potential of this grape and, really, all grapes written off by conventional wisdom.
Emrich-Schönleber Nahe Frühlingsplätzchen Grosses Gëwachs 2015
Over the course of a dinner in late January at Noreetuh, the modern Hawaiian wine destination in the East Village, I examined many excellent German rieslings. None stood out to me more than this young dry riesling from Emrich-Schönleber.