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05.19.2007

Tasting the Wilson Daniels European Portfolio 2007

The average wine drinker doesn't think much about distributors and importers. And why should he? There's not much need to interact with the folks behind the scenes who are responsible for getting wine into stores and restaurants where the public gets a chance to try them. Despite a lack of familiarity with this whole tier of the wine industry, it should come as no surprise that there are a lot of different kinds of wine distribution companies. Just as wd_logo.jpgthere are different kinds of wine retailers, from the corner liquor store to the highest-end wine retailer on Madison avenue, the range of service, product quality, and focus can be vast.

Of course, just like wine stores, there are distribution companies which become renown for their selection and service, and it is to these distributors that the finest restaurants and retailers turn when they want upper echelon wines. Many of the world's finest wine estates have relationships with only a select few distributors around the world, so often there is just one go-to company for a top-end wine, at least here in the United States.

Wilson Daniels started in 1978 as a small collaboration between Win Wilson and Jack Daniels, two wine industry veterans who wanted to help smaller Napa wineries with marketing and distribution. After a few years of operation they expanded their rapidly successful portfolio to include some estates in Burgundy. With a reputation for attention to detail and quality, as well as offering to do much more for their clients than a normal distributor (they sometimes even handle packaging, labeling, brand marketing, PR, and pricing) they have gradually established a portfolio of some of the world's greatest wines.

So. When a firm like Wilson Daniels holds a tasting event for journalists and members of the wine trade, it's always a good idea to go, if only to get an opportunity to taste wines that you might never be able to get your hands on, let alone afford.

Yesterday I tasted through majority of their top European estates (sadly minus Domaine de la Romanee-Conti), and thought I'd share my notes with you.


WINES SCORING BETWEEN 9.5 and 10

White
1996 Salon Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Champagne, France. $350

Red
2003 Mastroberardino Villa dei Misteri Pompeiano, Pompeii, Italy. $217

WINES WITH A SCORE OF 9.5

White
2005 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet Clavoillon 1er Cru, Burgundy, France. $123
2005 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles 1er Cru, Burgundy, France. $212
2005 Domaine Faiveley Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru, Burgundy, France. $88
2005 Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss Lerchenberg Pinot Gris, Alsace. $29
1995 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Ats Cuvée Late Harvest, Hungary. $19

Red
2000 Mastroberardino Radici Taurasi Riserva, Campania, Italy. $79

WINES SCORING BETWEEN 9 and 9.5

White
1996 Delamotte Brut Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Champagne, France. $90
2005 Domaine Leflaive Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru, Burgundy, France. $342
2005 Domaine Pierre Morey Meursault Perrières 1er Cru, Burgundy, France. $132
2003 Domaine Pierre Morey Meursault Les Tessons, Burgundy, France. $78
2005 Morey-Blanc Auxey-Duresse, Burgundy, Frances. $45
2005 Morey-Blanc Meursault Bouchères 1er Cru, Burgundy, France. $110
2005 Mastroberardino Radici Fiano di Avellino, Campania, Italy. $24
2005 Domaine Faiveley Corton Clos des Cortons Faiveley Grand Cru MONOPOLE, Burgundy, France. $195
2005 Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss Wiebelsberg Riesling Grand Cru, Alsace. $44
2005 Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss Clos Rebberg Pinot Gris, Alsace. $42
1999 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Tokaji Aszú Gold Label 6 Puttonyos, Hungary. $60
1996 Royal Tokaji Wine CompanyTokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos Nyulászó, Hungary. $83
1999 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos Szt. Tamás, Hungary. $77
1995 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Aszú Essencia, Hungary. $166

Red
2001 Mastroberardino Radici Taurasi, Campania, Italy. $41
2000 Mastroberardino Naturalis Historia, Campania, Italy. $65
2004 Val di Suga Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy. $25
1999 Val di Suga Vigna Spuntali Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy. $86
1999 Val di Suga Vigna del Lago Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy. $165
2003 San Leonino Chianti Classico Riserva, Tuscany, Italy. $77

WINES WITH A SCORE OF 9

White
1999 Delamotte Brut Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Champagne, France. $90
2005 Morey-Blanc Saint-Aubin Les Pucelles, Burgundy, France. $42
2005 Morey-Blanc Saint-Aubin 1er Cru, Burgundy, France. $48
2006 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Furmint, Hungary. $14
2003 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Tokaji Aszú Red Label 5 Puttonyos, Hungary. $39
2000 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos Birsalmás, Hungary. $54
1999 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos Betsek, Hungary. $67
1996 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos Mézes Mály, Hungary. $113
2005 Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss Andlau Riesling, Alsace. $24
2005 Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss Kastelberg Riesling Grand Cru, Alsace. $77
2005 Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss Moenchberg Pinot Gris Vendanges Tardives Grand Cru, Alsace. $64
2005 Domaine Faiveley Montagny Domaine de la Croix Jacquelet Rouge, Burgundy, France. $23
2005 Domaine Faiveley Mercurey Clos Rochette MONOPOLE, Burgundy, France. $30

Red
2005 Domaine Faiveley Nuits-Saint-Georges, Burgundy, Frances. $59
2005 Domaine Faiveley Beaune Clos de l'Ecu 1er Cru MONOPOLE, Burgundy, France. $71
2004 Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss Ansata Vin de Pays des Coteaux Flaviens Vallée du Rhône, Alsace. $19
2001 Val di Suga Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy. $52
2004 Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva Coltassala, Tuscany, Italy. $46
2003 Castello di Volpaia Balifico, Tuscany, Italy. $48

WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8.5 and 9

White
Delamotte NV Brut Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Champagne, France. $50
Delamotte NV Brut Rosé Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Champagne, France. $77
2005 Domaine Leflaive Mâcon-Verzé, Burgundy, France. $31
2005 Domaine Pierre Morey Monthelie, Burgundy, France. $40
2003 Morey-Blanc Auxey-Duresses, Burgundy, France. $36
2005 Domaine Faiveley Georges Faiveley Chardonnay, Burgundy, France. $20
2005 Domaine Faiveley Mercurey Domaine de la Croix Jacquelet Blanc, Burgundy, France. $23
2005 Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss Kritt Pinot Blanc, Alsace. $20
2005 Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss Kritt Gewürztraminer, Alsace. $32
2005 Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss Perrières Costières de Nimes, Alsace. $14
2005 Mastroberardino NovaSerra Greco di Tufo, Campania, Italy. $24
2000 Castello di Volpaia Vinsanto del Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy. $38

Red
2003 Mastroberardino Aglianico, Campania, Italy. $21
2001 Val di Suga Vigna Spuntali Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy. $103
2004 Tenuta TreRose Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Tuscany, Italy. $23
2003 Tenuta TreRose Simposio Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Tuscany, Italy. $51
2004 Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva, Tuscany, Italy. $34


WINES WITH A SCORE OF 8.5

White
2005 Domaine Pierre Morey Meursault, Burgundy, France. $80
2005 Domaine Faiveley Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers 1er Cru, Burgundy, France. $99

Red
2005 Domaine Pierre Morey Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Burgundy, France. $24
2005 Domaine Faiveley Joseph Faiveley Pinot Noir, Burgundy, France. $20


WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8 and 8.5

Red
2005 Domaine Pierre Morey Bourgogne Aligoté, Burgundy, France. $18

And for those who care...

WINES GROUPED BY PRODUCER:

NV Delamotte Brut Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Champagne, France. $50. Score: 8.5/9
NV Delamotte Brut Rosé Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Champagne, France. $77. Score: 8.5/9
1999 Delamotte Brut Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Champagne, France. $90. Score: 9
1996 Delamotte Brut Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Champagne, France. $90. Score: 9/9.5

1996 Salon Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Champagne, France. $350. Score: 9.75

2005 Domaine Leflaive Mâcon-Verzé, Burgundy, France. $31. Score: 8.5/9
2005 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet Clavoillon 1er Cru, Burgundy, France. $123. Score: 9.5
2005 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles 1er Cru, Burgundy, France. $212. Score: 9.5
2005 Domaine Leflaive Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru, Burgundy, France. $342. Score: 9/9.5

2005 Domaine Pierre Morey Bourgogne Aligoté, Burgundy, France. $18. Score: 8/8.5
2005 Domaine Pierre Morey Meursault, Burgundy, France. $80. Score: 8.5
2005 Domaine Pierre Morey Meursault Perrières 1er Cru, Burgundy, France. $132. Score: 9/9.5
2003 Domaine Pierre Morey Meursault Les Tessons, Burgundy, France. $78. Score: 9/9.5
2005 Domaine Pierre Morey Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Burgundy, France. $24. Score: 8.5
2005 Domaine Pierre Morey Monthelie, Burgundy, France. $40. Score: 8.5/9

2005 Morey-Blanc Saint-Aubin Les Pucelles, Burgundy, France. $42. Score: 9
2005 Morey-Blanc Saint-Aubin 1er Cru, Burgundy, France. $48. Score: 9
2005 Morey-Blanc Auxey-Duresse, Burgundy, Frances. $45. Score: 9/9.5
2003 Morey-Blanc Auxey-Duresses, Burgundy, France. $36. Score: 8.5/9
2005 Morey-Blanc Meursault Bouchères 1er Cru, Burgundy, France. $110. Score: 9/9.5

2005 Domaine Faiveley Georges Faiveley Chardonnay, Burgundy, France. $20. Score: 8.5/9
2005 Domaine Faiveley Montagny Domaine de la Croix Jacquelet, Burgundy, France. $23. Score: 9
2005 Domaine Faiveley Mercurey Clos Rochette MONOPOLE, Burgundy, France. $30. Score: 9
2005 Domaine Faiveley Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru, Burgundy, France. $88. Score: 9.5
2005 Domaine Faiveley Joseph Faiveley Pinot Noir, Burgundy, France. $20. Score: 8.5
2005 Domaine Faiveley Mercurey Domaine de la Croix Jacquelet, Burgundy, France. $23. Score: 8.5/9
2005 Domaine Faiveley Nuits-Saint-Georges, Burgundy, Frances. $59. Score: 9
2005 Domaine Faiveley Beaune Clos de l'Ecu 1er Cru MONOPOLE, Burgundy, France. $71. Score: 9
2005 Domaine Faiveley Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers 1er Cru, Burgundy, France. $99. Score: 8.5
2005 Domaine Faiveley Corton Clos des Cortons Faiveley Grand Cru MONOPOLE, Burgundy, France. $195. Score: 9/9.5

2005 Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss Kritt Pinot Blanc, Alsace. $20. Score: 8.5/9
2005 Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss Andlau Riesling, Alsace. $24. Score: 9
2005 Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss Wiebelsberg Riesling Grand Cru, Alsace. $44. Score: 9/9.5
2005 Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss Kastelberg Riesling Grand Cru, Alsace. $77. Score: 9
2005 Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss Lerchenberg Pinot Gris, Alsace. $29. Score: 9.5
2005 Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss Clos Rebberg Pinot Gris, Alsace. $42. Score: 9/9.5
2005 Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss Kritt Gewürztraminer, Alsace. $32. Score: 8.5/9
2005 Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss Moenchberg Pinot Gris Vendanges Tardives Grand Cru, Alsace. $64. Score: 9
2005 Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss Perrières Costières de Nimes, Alsace. $14. Score: 8.5/9
2004 Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss Ansata Vin de Pays des Coteaux Flaviens Vallée du Rhône, Alsace. $19. Score: 9

2005 Mastroberardino Radici Fiano di Avellino, Campania, Italy. $24. Score: 9/9.5
2005 Mastroberardino NovaSerra Greco di Tufo, Campania, Italy. $24. Score: 8.5/9
2003 Mastroberardino Aglianico, Campania, Italy. $21. Score: 8.5/9
2001 Mastroberardino Radici Taurasi, Campania, Italy. $41. Score: 9/9.5
2000 Mastroberardino Radici Taurasi Riserva, Campania, Italy. $79. Score: 9.5
2000 Mastroberardino Naturalis Historia, Campania, Italy. $65. Score: 9/9.5
2003 Mastroberardino Villa dei Misteri Pompeiano, Pompeii, Italy. $217. Score: 9.75

2004 Val di Suga Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy. $25. Score: 9/9.5
2001 Val di Suga Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy. $52. Score: 9
1999 Val di Suga Vigna Spuntali Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy. $86. Score: 9/9.5
2001 Val di Suga Vigna Spuntali Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy. $103. Score: 8.5/9
1999 Val di Suga Vigna del Lago Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy. $165. Score: 9/9.5

2004 Tenuta TreRose Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Tuscany, Italy. $23. Score: 8.5/9
2003 Tenuta TreRose Simposio Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Tuscany, Italy. $51. Score: 8.5/9

2003 San Leonino Chianti Classico Riserva, Tuscany, Italy. $77. Score: 9/9.5

2004 Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva, Tuscany, Italy. $34. Score: 8.5/9
2004 Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva Coltassala, Tuscany, Italy. $46. Score: 9
2003 Castello di Volpaia Balifico, Tuscany, Italy. $48. Score: 9
2000 Castello di Volpaia Vinsanto del Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy. $38. Score: 8.5/9

2006 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Furmint, Hungary. $14. Score: 9
1995 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Ats Cuvée Late Harvest, Hungary. $19. Score: 9.5
2003 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Tokaji Aszú Red Label 5 Puttonyos, Hungary. $39. Score: 9
1999 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Tokaji Aszú Gold Label 6 Puttonyos, Hungary. $60. Score: 9/9.5
2000 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos Birsalmás, Hungary. $54. Score: 9
1996 Royal Tokaji Wine CompanyTokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos Nyulászó, Hungary. $83. Score: 9/9.5
1999 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos Betsek, Hungary. $67. Score: 9
1999 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos Szt. Tamás, Hungary. $77. Score: 9/9.5
1996 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos Mézes Mály, Hungary. $113. Score: 9
1995 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Aszú Essencia, Hungary. $166. Score: 9/9.5

Comments (142)

05.20.07 at 7:47 AM

"sadly minus Domaine de la Romanee-Conti"...

Is there a story behind that? Why did they exclude their crown jewels?

Alder wrote:
05.20.07 at 3:44 PM

Daniel,

No real story. So little Romanee Conti comes to the US, and it's so darn expensive at $1000 plus per bottle, that they literally just can't affort to pour it for the general public. A shame to be sure, but then again, they really have no problem selling it out completely, so the purpose of offering it at a trade tasting is somewhat moot.

Steve wrote:
05.21.07 at 7:31 AM

I counted 69 wines you tasted before my eyeballs fell out of my skull. That's a lot of wine to taste in one session, Alder. I generally limit myself to 12 at one session. Beyond that,I find, the palate gets fatigued, unable to discern subtlety, responsive only to power.

Alder wrote:
05.21.07 at 9:57 AM

Steve,

This is probably the smallest tasting I do every year. I regularly taste hundreds at ZAP and other festivals. Palate fatigue is very real, but like any physical activity, endurance is built over time.

Jill wrote:
05.22.07 at 3:24 AM

Hey. Just picked up a bottle of the 2005 Domaine Faiveley Mercurey Domaine de la Croix Jacquelet on a whim in Burgundy. Is it drinkable now or should I hold it for the long haul? Thanks. JB

Joe wrote:
05.22.07 at 6:12 PM

No DRC? Surely you are not "general public"! You should have name dropped: "Alder, you know VINOGRAPHY" - might have worked. I have to find your trainer to work on my endurance...

Alder wrote:
05.23.07 at 7:28 AM

Jill,

Faively wines are far too tight when young for good drinking. They improve immensely with 5 to 10 years on them. I recommend you hold it.

larry-s wrote:
05.24.07 at 11:43 AM

The DRC portfolio is poured for the trade at a separate tasting. Generally, quite difficult to get an invite.

Salvatore Abbate wrote:
07.31.07 at 4:21 PM

I don't know all the wine in the list.
I don't bother of this stupid way to give a value 9,5 8 2...
But I know the wine of my land, it's Aglianico!
But my land is Lucania (alias Basilicata) not Avellino... :-)
If you have Aglianico from Avellino the quality is really poor.
If you are wrong on one why not on all?

Best Regard.

Alder wrote:
07.31.07 at 5:51 PM

Salvatore,

I do not know what you are talking about. Are you saying that I have listed a wine with the wrong region?

There are only 5 Aglianicos on this list, and they are listed as being from Pompeii or Campania.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.