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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!

Burgers and Biodynamics

I'm just back from visiting the amazing Stéphanie & Julien at Champagne La Parcelle in the teeming metropolis of the Hameau de Launay, pop. 22. They're out on the western half of the Vallée de la Marne, with their goats, their rustic farmhouse, and their 1,000 bottles per year of exquisite Champagne - from their .40ha (1-acre) Biodynamic vineyard on the steep hillside of Barzy. The big news is that they've bought a second vineyard, in the nearby village of Connigis - .28ha (about two-thirds of an acre) of old vine Pinot Meunier. 2016 was their first harvest on the new parcel. I tasted the new vin clair from barrel and found it outstanding - equal to in quality but comprehensively different from their first parcel (a bit weightier, more vinous, yet refined and elegant through and through.) 

In the "cellar" at  Champagne La Parcelle

In the "cellar" at Champagne La Parcelle

Stéphanie & Julien own a viticulture service that farms 100ha organically or Biodynamicaly all over Champagne for dozens of clients. A couple of new clients have recently wanted to convert their vineyards to Biodynamics, and have cut deals with Steph & Julien to give them part of their harvest as part of their fees. So soon we will see even more wines from them, under a "La Parcelle-Partagé" (shared parcel) label. I heard chatter about some Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs in Avize, and a couple other goodies. Stay tuned - good things come to those who wait...

They knew I was coming, so they baked a cake!

They knew I was coming, so they baked a cake!

Stéphanie presented me with a slice of this fabulous fresh-baked cake - made with fresh duck eggs from her backyard and Demeter-certified Biodynamic wheat from a local artisan mill! It was absolutely fabulous. The greatest treat, however, was a taste of their single barrel "Le Bouc" Champagne, of which we'll be getting 18 bottles - the world's largest allocation, this fall. I can't believe they actually opened a bottle for me, in that there were less than 300 made. Not only was I incredibly honored, I was flat-out blown away. It was quite possibly the best wine I've tasted on the entire trip, and perhaps one of the best of my decades-long tasting career. It is a bottle I'll remember as long as I live. We'll be offering the La Parcelle wines on pre-arrival in about two weeks - watch your email!

Le CheeseBurger at  231 East Street  in Reims

Le CheeseBurger at 231 East Street in Reims

I was able to wrap up my "Burger tour of Champagne" at lunch today, with a stop at 231 East Street in Reims. It's the local outpost of a small chain around the country, with high-end ingredients that shoot for the burgeoning "Craft Burger" market in France. I just read that one out of every two sandwiches sold in France today is now a burger - 15 years ago it was one in twenty!

The 231 East Street burger was quite good - excellent in fact, though the faux-American decor and the bizarre soundtrack of cheezy cover versions of American Top40 hits from the 60s-80s was a little weird. They are trying to be "typically American", though we have nothing in the US that looks remotely like it, of course. It's probably like what the French think when they come to our 'Authentic French Bistros" in the US.

The best burger here by far was at Sacré Burger in Reims, with 231 East street in 2nd place and Prestige Burger in Épernay just behind. All are certainly better than the average non-chain burger back home, for sure. None of them get the fries right, ironically. No one seems to be double-frying them, so they lack the crisp, carmelized outer edge, and end up greasier and soggier than we're used to. We should send these folks to Little Big Burger in Portland to get the low-down on the fries...

At any rate, I have two more potential new producers to see here before heading down to Burgundy tomorrow - my Burgundy tour group arrives on Sunday, and we'll be tasting our way through Chablis, the Côte d'Or and the Mâconnais for a week. Until then - somebody please bring me a salad...