Caveau

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Caveau Selections -  from winemaker-importer Scott Paul Wright. We're specialists in the best of Burgundy and Grower Champagne, delivered to your door. Join our mailing list, sign-up for our Burgundy and Champagne Clubs, and take advantage of our exclusive pre-arrival offers. Start drinking hand-selected wines from the top artisanal producers at direct-import prices!

Champagne and Chablis, the barnstorm tour, Pt. 1

Fred and Céline Gueguen have a cool new guest house on their estate in Chablis -  2BR, 2BA - which we highly recommend if you’re looking for a nice place to spend a couple of nights in Chablis. We kicked off our whirlwind tour through Chablis and Champagne with a stop at the Gueguen’s on Sunday night. They took us up to the lookout spot at the top of the Grand Crus - a gorgeous view - and then to their newly expanded winery facility across the river in La Chapelle Vaupelteigne for a sneak-preview of the still-fermenting ‘17s. Then down into the cellar to test the entire line-up of the 2016s, which were gorgeous. A very classic Chablis vintage, with intense, bright minerality. We’ll have another allocation of these coming in the spring - and yes, there will be some of their amazing Rosé in the spring too. Oh yeah, there is now some Grand Cru Chablis Blanchots in the Gueguen arsenal as well - stay tuned!

Then it was up to Ville-sur-Arce in the Aube for our first Champagne stop at Jérôme & Valérie Coessens - into the vineyard, into the cellar, and then into their living room for a 4-course lunch that rocked. The Coessens wines - all from the same single vineyard, all single grape, single vintage, are always amazing to taste. I’m a huge fan of his Brut Nature, but the 2014 Coteaux Champenois, the de-stemmed version, was a revelation with lunch. We’ll likely never see any of this in the US - few in America really understand that still wines from Champagne are actually a thing - but the good ones can rival some 1er Cru Burgs. Killer stuff…

  Checking out the terroir in the l'Argillier vineyard with Jérôme Coessens. Photo - Martha Wright

Checking out the terroir in the l'Argillier vineyard with Jérôme Coessens. Photo - Martha Wright

Vincent Laval (Champagne Georges Laval), the wizard of Cumières, always blows my mind every time I taste in his cellar. The purity, precision, and depth of his wines just may be unparalleled. Wow. He hand-disgorged his last bottle of 2008 for us, which was gorgeous beyond words. Truly a treat, every minute I get to spend with him and his juice…

  Vincent Laval - the wizard of Cumières

Vincent Laval - the wizard of Cumières

The ball of energy and force of nature that is Sophie Cossy tasted us through her lineup and showed us her newly re-designed labels, which I like a lot. She joined us for lunch at Doko Koko in Reims, the new “bistro” from the chef-owner of Racine, my favorite spot in Reims proper. It’s a 29 EURO prix-fixe for entrée-plat-dessert - with two choices in each and you can’t go wrong. Absolutely delicious. And a bottle of Laherte Rosé de Meunier at 45 Euros to boot - I could eat there everyday. I’ll be back at Cossy in November to do the dosage trials for the next release of the Caveau Extra-Brut - always a hugely exciting (and learning) experience…

  Tasting the 2011 Blanc de Blancs with Sophie Cossy. Photo - Martha Wright

Tasting the 2011 Blanc de Blancs with Sophie Cossy. Photo - Martha Wright

Speaking of Laherte, Aurélien blew us away with his 12-wine lineup, not counting a few experimental cuvées down in the cellar (including an interesting “pet-nat”, and a zero-sulfur bottling), and then one of the few remaining bottles of his 2006 Vignes d’Autrefois - evolved and complex and very, very fine.

  Just a part of the tasting lineup today at Laherte Fréres. Photo - Martha Wright

Just a part of the tasting lineup today at Laherte Fréres. Photo - Martha Wright

The drive west along the Marne out to the tiny hamlet of Launay (pop. Approx. 20!) to visit La Parcelle is always beautiful - and it never ceases to amaze me how “in the middle of nowhere” it really is. Stéphanie Chevreux and Julien Bournazel have an amazing, funky, cool, earthy and biodynamic farm there, and a crooked stone house from the 1700s that they call home. Their daughter Jade may be coming to stay with us in Oregon for a bit next year - she’s the same age as Pirrie and wants to come work on her English. I’m happy to report that with the addition of a new vineyard in Connigis, La Parcelle will soon have more than their normal 900 bottles a year for sale! The new parcel will produce a whopping 300 cases or so - but it’ll be a few years yet until any of that is released. In the meantime, we’re thrilled to continue to get our allocation of 10-15 cases per year of their magical elixir.

  Jade, Pirrie, your intrepid importer, with Stéphanie & Julien on the farm at La Parcelle. Photo - Martha Wright

Jade, Pirrie, your intrepid importer, with Stéphanie & Julien on the farm at La Parcelle. Photo - Martha Wright

One of my most enticing discoveries has been the delicious work Julien Launois is doing with his fabulous Grand Cru holdings in Mesnil-sur-Oger. Fruit that used to go the co-op is now being vilified in-house since the 2015 vintage, and in 2016 he started a single-barrel program that is perhaps the coolest innovation in Champagne in recent history. The new label will be called Paul Launois - watch your emails for updates and offers to come. This is world-class juice…

  Julien Launois, pouring a just-disgorged 1998 in Mesnil-sur-Oger. Photo - Martha Wright

Julien Launois, pouring a just-disgorged 1998 in Mesnil-sur-Oger. Photo - Martha Wright

Those of you in the Champagne Club will soon be getting your first taste of the talents of Gaetan Gillet and his label Champagne MOST - he’s the incredibly dynamic entrepreneur who became Champagne’s youngest vigneron ever at age 22 a few years back. He’s just moved into the old Mumm facility in Avize, which he’s renovating himself, and has some 30 different single-parcel Grand Cru Champagnes in barrel from the 2017 vintage in his new cellar. We won’t see any of these for a long time, though - he’s committed to keeping his wines 7 years or so on the lees prior to release. He’ll be releasing his 2013s in maybe 2020 - but until then we’ll have some more of his delicious Champers from purchased fruit on the way, stay tuned…

  In the cellar in Avize with Gaetan GIllet, Champagne MOST. Photo - Martha Wright

In the cellar in Avize with Gaetan GIllet, Champagne MOST. Photo - Martha Wright

Is there a more congenial, fun, and entertaining host in Champagne than Cyril Janisson at Janisson-Baradon in Épernay? He’s just the best, and his wines are spot-on. His tasting room and shop in the center of town are the MUST stop when you’re in town…

  The one and only Cyril Janisson, at Janisson-Baradon in Épernay. Photo - Martha Wright

The one and only Cyril Janisson, at Janisson-Baradon in Épernay. Photo - Martha Wright

In all, a fabulous swing through bubble-land. I’ll be back up there in a few weeks to see everyone I missed this time, and to finish up the next Caveau releases as well. Rock on!

  The lemon tart of my dreams - at Le Jardin in Reims. Photo - Martha Wright

The lemon tart of my dreams - at Le Jardin in Reims. Photo - Martha Wright