The Best of the Best in 2015...
It has been quite a year. As I write here in the Portland Caveau on the last day of 2015, I'm looking back on 12 months of extraordinary change. I'm happy to say that it has all been very positive, and it's been a year I enjoyed immensely. At this time a year ago we had just closed the sale of Scott Paul Wines to our partner, but I was still devoting most of my time to consulting and marketing projects for them. At the beginning of 2015 I started putting in place all of the licenses and legalities and infrastructure that we would need to re-christen our 10 year-old Burgundy and Champagne import business under the new name Caveau. We officially re-launched in March, hit the ground running, and have enjoyed every exhilarating moment since.
Thank you for all of your words of encouragement and support - they truly mean so much. The first offer we sent out last March was for our Caveau Extra-Brut Champagne, a wine that no one had ever tasted, and it sold out on pre-arrival! I am so grateful for your trust in me, and I take that to heart in every decision we make. This entire operation is based on me bringing you wines that I really want to drink myself, and that is never going to change.
It was a rockin' good year of wine consumption. In no particular order, some of my fave bottles of the year:
- 2008 Georges Laval "Les Chênes" Brut Nature
- 1937 Volnay "Cuvée Blondeau" - Hospices de Beaune
- 1959 La Tâche
- 1990 Montrachet - Drouhin
- 1992 Corton-Charlemagne - Bonneau du Martray
- 1982 Montrachet - Jadot
- 1926 Clos Vougeot - Leroy
- 1976 Musigny - de Vogüé
- 1990 Chambolle-Musigny les Amoureuses - Roumier
- 1999 Scott Paul "Kent Ritchie Vyd." Chardonnay (bottle by bottle at this point, but the good bottles rock!)
We also managed to eat exceedingly well this year. Most of my favorite meals have been right here at home (see Martha's Caveau Kitchen blog for all of her great recipes and food writing.) Restaurant-wise, here in Portland Gabe Rucker's return to the kitchen at Little Bird produced a number of the best meals of the year. Former Little Bird chef Erik Van Kley opened his own Taylor Railworks a few months ago, and he's hitting it out of the park nightly. Ditto for Vitaly Paley and Doug Adams at Imperial. We are blessed with too many great options here!
On the road in France I was blown away by my meal at Arnaud Lallement's l'Assiette Champenoise (Michelin 3-star) outside of Reims, and continue to love Auprès du Clocher in Pommard, le Millésime in Chambolle, and les Popiettes in Beaune. For wine bar-small plates you cannot beat Au Bon Manger in Reims and La Dilletante in Beaune.
I don't think it was a terribly exciting year musically. I do like the new Adele record, and I'm thrilled that the Beatles catalogue is now available for streaming on Apple Music and Spotify. I also love the new Don Henley solo album, the Springsteen "Ties That Bind" box set, Ryan Adams "1989", and Lera Lynn - though my most-played album of the year was still First Aid Kit "Stay Gold" from 2014.
Looking ahead for 2016 - I'm excited to add at least three new Champagne producers to the portfolio in the next couple of months, a couple of new additions coming from Burgundy as well, and the second cuvée of our Caveau Extra-Brut Champagne has just been disgorged and will be here in the spring. We'll be doing our first customer tours in Champagne this year in addition to our annual Burgundy tours, and I'm really looking forward to it all.
Thanks for making it such a great ride. Wishing you a great year with family friends, food & wine!