The Beverly Hills Wine Club welcomes collaboration with the wine trade in providing exclusive, educational and engaging services and products to our membership. We communicate with a growing audience of 500+ wine lovers in the Greater Beverly Hills California community who desire to elevate their wine experience.
Hello wine lovers and fellow #902wine0’s
First and foremost, we hope you are all healthy and safe.
With that said, please consider joining us in exploring our favorite wine region here in the states, Paso Robles. The wines being made in Paso Robles are truly gorgeous and worth tasting. The folks that make the wine are passionate, friendly and accessible. One of our favorite wineries is Caliza Winery. Caliza makes very high quality wine, some of the finest in Paso Robles.
Caliza is a small, family-owned and operated vineyard and winery located in the coveted Willow Creek district of Paso Robles, California. Our focus is on crafting wines from varietals common to the Rhône Valley of France – Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Viognier, among others. But like many winemakers in Paso Robles, we like to throw a surprise or two in the mix. Our wines reflect what we feel are an excellent example of what the region has to offer – bold, yet elegant wines that drink well today and well into the future.
Express your interest by RSVP by 5pm June 3rd as we prepare for our very first “virtual wine tasting” as a group. Via Zoom Meeting, we will taste together the current wine offerings of Caliza Winery, one of the preeminent wineries in Paso Robles today (and a personal favorite). The tasting will be led by one of the experts at the Caliza team.
Update: We are pleased to inform all members that Owner/Winemaker Carl Bowker has committed to leading our tasting!!
You will be required to purchase a $35 wine ‘sample-pack’ from the winery prior to the tasting date so we are all tasting the same wine.
A $10 event fee to cover general admin costs will apply.
The sample packs will include two ounces of each wine (5 wines) and inclusive tax/shipping all for a grand total of only $35 per pack! That is a total of two glasses of wine which allows for the chance to taste and revisit each wine to a greater extent than you would be able to in a tasting room.
RSVP below by 5pm June 3rd to save a virtual seat. We are limiting virtual seats to only 25 club members. We will provide wine purchase details and direct link to winery where you’ll provide payment and shipping details. On June 13th we’ll attend the Zoom Meeting presentation in the comfort of our homes.
This event will sellout!
Let’s sip and taste gorgeous wine and food the world over!
Date: Saturday, June 13th, 2020
Time: 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Location: The comfort of your home
Cost: $10 prepaid event fee (sample wine kit $35 delivered to your door – ordering link to be provided)
Beverly Hills Wine Club – Paso Robles Virtual Zoom Tasting with Caliza Vineyards June 13th 2020 4pm-5pm
Members and their spouse/guest only. Event Fee is $10 per person. Your fee reserves one “virtual seat”. If you need more than one seat please purchase as needed. You will be emailed a link to then purchase your wine asap. A “Zoom Meeting” invite link will be emailed separately as the event date nears.
Jean-Charles Boisset is showman and entrepreneur, visionary and dynamo, storyteller and entertainer. He also manages (with his sister Nathalie) a $400 million empire—Boisset Collection that includes dozens of international wineries associated with choice terroirs in Burgundy, the Rhone Valley and Beaujolais in France, as well as in Napa and Sonoma valleys in California. They also own wineries in England and India. All adhere to organic principles, and several are certified as biodynamic.
Boisset—in his early 50’s—is a big thinking gregarious character, an accomplished winemaker and businessman, and a lively promoter of the benefits of working organically.
Consider viewing his latest lockdown livestream videos on YouTube—providing entertainment, theater, history and tastings. Who would you liked to have been in history—he asked during an April livestream before he sabered open a bottle of Buena Vista rosé sparkling wine, all the while regaling viewers with stories of soldiers, lovers and historical figures. Boisset then introduced a figure dressed in top hat and coat tails—the Count of Buena Vista (who explained how, in 1862, he made Sonoma County’s first sparkling wine)
Or, Boisset’s May 1st livestream in which he dances a jig before tasting wines from multiple French regions—his own ‘tour de France’ within 30 minutes. He sits next to a chair on which is propped his own recently published sumptuous coffee table tome—The Alchemy of the Senses. “We are alone without books without pictures in our minds and our memories,” he said as he sipped Louis Bouillot sparkling wine—produced in the heart of Burgundy’s Nuits-Saint-Georges since 1877. “These bubbles inspired me all my life,” he said before toasting his virtual audience with a generously sized crystal glass.
In Napa Valley in California, a series of businesses that form part of the aggregate of Boisset Collection include not only vineyards and wineries, but food stores (Oakville Grocery and Atelier Fine Foods and the Senses boutique (JCB Village in Yountville).
The day before I was to visit Boisset’s Raymond Vineyards in Napa Valley in March, early lockdown forced my premature departure. However, earlier this year we sat together in Florida, where Jean-Charles explained that much of his values were shaped by wandering through Burgundian vineyards and gardens as a child. This experience helped propel his modern role as promoter of improved viticultural practices. He shared what influences shaped his thinking.
“I was born in Vougeot, and my grandparents are from Gevrey—Chambertin, two miles away. My grandparents were school teachers, and nature was a key principle. So I was into organic all my life in the sense that I played with nature. My grandmother was a great teacher for young people and was very close to mother nature as well as into natural composting, and bees and never hurting insects.
“My grandparents on both sides were very interested in wine. And they were very close to America with a great love of the United States. I was very lucky to be born in ‘69, so saw the early 70’s shows with the American lifestyle. I came to the U.S. at ten and a half on a trip with my grandparents and parents. California. Monterey to Sonoma. All the missions. Fell in love with it! I said to my parents and grandparents—this is where I want to be in the future. I knew early on. Then I had an opportunity with a French international school in Washington DC. I went back to France, built a business and got into winemaking—which I’ve done all my life, really expanding the portfolio.
“I saw the impact of pesticides even in my own village in the 70’s and 80’s. At the age of nine or ten I became very involved in gardening and was always outside. I was allowed to watch TV for two hours a week. My parents started the business and we were helping. I was very fortunate to be raised very closely with my grandparents and parents, and really fell in love with mother nature. When I took responsibility for many of our vineyards, I converted everything to organic.”
“We became iconic in 20 years, luckily—thanks to great wines and great appellations: Musigny, Vougeot and Chambertin of Domaine de la Vougeraie. When my older sister Nathalie and I created that estate, we said one of our key principles needs to be organic and biodynamic farming and winemaking. We did it all.
“My sister and I get along very well. We co-own the business. Phenomenal synergy, phenomenal wines but also following ethics and values dear to us. When we had the opportunity to acquire DeLoach Vineyards in California’s Russian River Valley, we converted it into organic. We bought it in November, 2003, and the next February pulled out the whole estate. Laid it fallow for almost two years, and thereafter planted according to all the best rootstocks and clones. Five years later we got certified organic by CCOF [California Certified Organic Farmers] and biodynamic by Demeter. The estate is extraordinary. It had a big impact. A lot of wineries have seen our success, and many growers we work with have converted to organic. They taste the wines and they really are transcended.”
DeLoach was listed as one of the top 100 wineries by Wine & Spirits magazine twelve times, and in 2004 it received a ‘wine of the year’ award in Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Boisset attributed key reasons to this success.
“One—our team was very engaged, even though it was new for them. Two, the neighbors were very curious and adopted the same methods. Three—we pay more, because they are phenomenal grapes. It’s win—win. Biodynamic obviously requires a lot more work, a lot more diligence, a lot more discipline; it’s a cycle which follows a lunar calendar. The wine has more energy, thanks to those practices. I really see a transformation of the neighborhood. I’ve seen amazing inspiration for—honestly—everyone around us.”
“We bought Raymond Vineyards in Napa Valley in August of 2009 and converted the whole estate—over 200 acres—into being organically and biodynamically certified. We introduced solar panels onto all roofing, and used water management through recuperating rain and through drip irrigation. Winemakers at DeLoach and Raymond are all American. I’m maybe the only French man there. People in America who farm and are in the world of viticulture are very engaged, very conscious of the reasoning.
“We are Napa Green and are fighting in a positive way to convert everybody into the obvious. Humans invented pesticides, which go against mother nature. We work with her cycle and the plants that grow around vines, such as chamomile, nettle and yarrow. We are synergistically fully in line—hand in hand, hip to hip with mother nature. As stewards of the land you’ve got to go full force. You cannot go half way.”
Boisset and his wife live with their twin daughters at their home in Yountville in Napa Valley, which includes an organic garden and 15 types of animals. He is intent on having his daughters appreciate good quality, healthy food.
As a French man who appreciates cuisine, Boisset also appreciates improvements to American cooking and recalled how Julia Childs—author of Mastering The Art of French Cooking—helped convert complex French kitchen techniques into methods accessible to anyone.
Though raised in rural France, Boisset’s exposure to the United States at an early age endeared him to California, its vineyards, and the mentality of those who work the land.
“Americans open their arms to you. What I love about the American mentality is that people are audaciously curious to the point that they ask questions, and are always willing to learn.”
Boisset’s latest book—The Alchemy of the Senses—is as much of an experience as a read, and several tactile pages of this hefty volume are conducive to touching. The book highlights principles and values that nurtured Boisset’s philosophy, as well as his interest in organic and biodynamic practices. One of these is maintaining an open mind to diverse and wise influences. For example, the book includes a huge fold out map of the ‘last supper’ with characters Boisset would invite to his own final meal, if provided such opportunity (including his wife, Gina Gallo, the Marquis de Lafayette, Mother Teresa, Thomas Jefferson, Mahatma Gandhi, Federico Fellini, Christopher Columbus, Martin Luther King and Walt Disney). The purpose of this inclusion is to propel readers to consider who they value as influences.
Boisset is an engaging optimist—eager to share his grand view of life and its possibilities. Beneath panache and business acumen is also a man who learned well from his parents and grandparents the value of long-term, quality stewardship of land.
“The future is exciting. I am on fire! I’m a bon vivant. I love life. I really think that work is good if you have an impact. Hopefully I will have an impact here and influence people in a positive way and inspire them. Luckily, having credibility in wine helps.”
Les Aligoteurs recognize and promote the important legacy of a lesser-known, lesser-grown Bourgogne grape: Aligoté.
Like everyone else making wine in Bourgogne (Burgundy) Chevrot and his brother Vincent of Domaine Chevrot grow Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. These varieties represent over 90% of plantings in Bourgogne and are the region’s claim to international fame. But Chevrot and a number of other growers recognize and promote the important legacy of a lesser-known, lesser-grown Bourgogne grape: Aligoté.
Chevrot is the vice president of Les Aligoteurs, an association of Burgundian fans and growers of Aligoté. The group was founded by chef Philippe Delacourcelle and winegrowers Sylvain Pataille, Laurent Fournier, Anne Morey, Nicolas Faure and Pablo Chevrot.
The idea of an association was stirred up during a meal at Delacourcelle’s Boisrouge restaurant in Flagey-Echézeaux. On the wine list was a range of Aligoté and around the table, conversation centered on how to elevate and promote these wines, many of them from old plots scattered in the fabric of Bourgogne.
The group has organized tasting events and encourages producers to plant—not pull out—Aligoté. Now encompassing dozens of members, Les Aligoteurs even has international appeal. Young Inglewood Vineyards—organization member and home of a small Aligoté plot in St. Helena, California—participated in the 2018 Les Aligoteurs tasting held in Bourgogne.
Aligoté in Bourgogne
Aligoté has its own appellation—Bourgogne Aligoté, granted in 1937—swallowing a broad production zone which spans the Yonne, Côte-d’Or and Saône-et-Loire departments. Aligoté is known to show faith in reflection of terroir.
While Aligoté represents a slight 6% of plantings, the grape has a philosophical and historical connection to the region. Many of these growers feel that previous generations have a hand on their shoulder, reminding them of the cultural value of Aligoté.
Grown in Bourgogne since the 17th century, Aligoté makes a white wine, one that is pale and balanced, with range of fruity aromas and vibrant, mineral energy on the tongue. “We look for good aromatics and a clean, precise finish,” says Chevrot of his Aligoté, presenting a tempting side of this wine. “There are some sweet sensations, but no sugar. It’s great with seafood, crab, oysters and veg.”
“Lots of old vines are disappearing because the image of Aligoté wasn’t good,” says Chevrot. “But we really trust in it, and believe it is good.” The variety was planted widely in Bourgogne, until phylloxerahit and vineyards were decimated.
When the region was replanted on disease-resistant rootstock, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were considered the most financially viable, and Aligoté’s foothold began to slip. Critics pronounced it thin, or called out an imbalance in acidity. It was marginalized as nothing more than a base for kir, a drink of crème de cassis on white white. The success of Chardonnay from Bourgogne is legendary—a heavyweight competitor against the light presence of Aligoté.
Aligoté in Action: Domaine Chevrot
Chevrot organically farms 18 hectares of family land from Maranges to Santenay, at the southern tip of Côte de Beaune. Chevrot vines are on average 30 years old, with the oldest vines planted by his grandfather 75 years ago. A portion of these vineyards are plowed by horse (much of the Premier Cru), and no synthetic inputs are used. Indigenous yeasts are in charge of fermentation.
Chevrot says that nearly all Aligoté from around the world is found in Bourgogne and that it likes the local Triassic sandstone-marl plots sprinkled through his property. These are perfect-for-Aligoté vineyards and, when cared for meticulously, issue the wine in it’s most elevated fashion: a clean and delicious snapshot of the land’s character.
There are two strains of Aligoté. Vert, for which growers must balance vigor to maintain quality, and doré which has built a reputation for quality in nearby Bouzeron, a village on the Côte Chalonnaise. Chevrot has both.
Domaine Chevrot produces two wines of 100% Aligoté: Bourgogne Aligoté Cuvée des Quatre Terroirs from a “great growing hillside” of sandstone soils, and Bourgogne Aligoté Tilleul, which comes from 60 year old vines and is aged one year in neutral oak barrels.
Chevrot says that some of the oldest Aligoté vines are still productive and that promotion and conversation launched by Les Aligoteurs will help “conserve the good places” that support this special piece of Bourgogne winemaking.