Article and
Tasting Notes by
George Heritier



Domaine Bois de Boursan Chateauneuf du PapeWe’ve made no secret of our fondness for the wines of Michigan-based importer J et R Selections, who continue to make some of our favorite Rhônes and Burgundies available at affordable prices. Last week, principles from two of their southern Rhone stalwarts came to town for a series of tastings and wine dinners, and when I heard that Domaine Bois de Boursan’s Jean-Paul Versino and Domaine de l’Espigouette’s Julien Latour would be in the house, I made a point of showing up at Royal Oak’s Vinotecca wine bar for an informal tasting of not only their efforts, but others from the J et R stable as well. I arrived later than I had intended, with a camera full of dead batteries, so I got none of the people pics that I had intended, but I did get to spend some time with the wines and J-P Versino, so it was hardly a washout. Happily, we have plenty of file photos of labels to draw upon to fill out this report.

J et R’s Dan Farley, who has more or less assumed control of operations from semi-retired owner J. C. Mathes, suggested a specific sequence of whites before moving on to the reds, and of course, he was spot on, so I started with some conversation with the upbeat, animated Versino and his only pale faced wine.

2006 Domaine Bois de Boursan Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc, 35% Clairette, 35% Grenache Blanc, 15% Roussanne, 15% Borbulenc, 13.5% alc., $42.99: Showing nice rich color and even richer white stone fruit and mineral character, this is very smooth in texture while displaying a dense viscosity at the same time, all kept moving along with balanced acidity. I would have loved to have enjoyed a few glasses of this, rather than my necessarily short pour, but I know where to get more, and there were other things to taste. Jean-Paul tells me that this saw 80% vat fermentation and 20% 2 and 3 year old barrels. Find this wine

Domaine Séguinot-Bordet Chablis Vieilles VignesFrom there, I moved on to 6 current incarnations of some old friends from Chablis and the Maconaise.

2006 Domaine Séguinot-Bordet Chablis, 13.5% alc., $24.99: Pale to medium straw color, with big wet stone minerality on the nose and plenty more of the same in the mouth. Dense, with excellent weight and cut, this is more about mineral than fruit, and that’s just fine with me.  Find this wine

2006 Domaine Séguinot-Bordet Chablis Vieilles Vignes, 12.5% alc., $26.99: Sourced from a small plot of 63 year old vines, this pale to medium straw colored Chardonnay is a more well mannered version of the “regular” S-B Chablis; a little smoother in texture, slightly lighter, but with that same crisp acidity and wet stone minerality that dominates these wines’ personalities. Find this wine

Domaine Séguinot-Bordet Chablis 1er Cru "Fourchaume"2006 Domaine Séguinot-Bordet Chablis 1er Cru "Fourchaume," 12.5% alc., $33.99: Pale to medium straw in color, with a smoky, stony nose, rich intensity in the mouth, and once again, more mineral than fruit, all buoyed by excellent cut and intensity, which has me looking over my shoulder and asking, “Where are the oysters?!” Find this wine

2006 Domaine Thibert Pere et Fils Mâcon-Prissé "En Chailloux," 13% alc., $21.99: Pale to medium straw in color, with a subtle but pretty perfume of white flowers and soft mineral; flavors generally echo, with excellent cut and, again, more mineral than fruit. Rounder, and not as angular as the Chablis, but most satisfying on its own terms. Find this wine

2006 Domaine Thibert Pere et Fils Pouilly-Vinzelles, 13% alc., $27.99: Pale to medium straw color, with wet stone and a hint of ash on the nose, which follows through on the palate with under-ripe, bone dry fruit and an ever-so-slightly creamy quality. Rich and racy, with excellent cut. Find this wine

Domaine Thibert Pouilly - Fuisse2006 Domaine Thibert Pere et Fils Pouilly-Fuisse, 13% alc., $31.99: This one saw a combination of large and small barrels (no stainless), and rests for 8-10 months on the lees prior to bottling. While it does show some oak, it’s so well integrated, and this is easily the biggest, most intense of the Thiberts. Once again, minerality dominates the wine’s personality, but it’s all good; it shows very good weight without being heavy and has the requisite acidity to keep everything moving along beautifully. Find this wine

By this time, I only had 10 minutes or so before the tasting ended, and while I probably could have lingered a while and tried several more selections, there was also a dinner date with my better half to consider, so I did the right thing. I had been looking forward to trying the very fine wines from Domaine de l’Espigouette, but with all due respect to Julien Latour, when faced with the choice between them and Bois de Boursan’s Chateauneuf du Pape, I’ll make the same choice at least 9 out of 10 times. (That’s OK, I’ll make a point of procuring the current Domaine de l’Espigouette lineup for review and mojo during the stretch drive of Red Wings and Red Rhônes 2008.)

2005 Domaine Bois de Boursan Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 65% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre and 5% a blend of the rest of the legal CdP varieties, 14% alc., $44.99: Showing deep, dark color and that classic Bois de Boursan character on the nose, this exudes rich, perfumed, spicy red and black plum and berry shaded with undertones of earth iron and smoke. Flavors generally echo, but this is deep, dark and savage on the palate, very earthy, with the kind of serious depth and tannic structure that you’d expect from such a young wine. Be patient with this; I’d hold off until 2015 to see what’s happening with it, and I’d wager that it’ll be even better in 2020. Jean Paul told me that this was only treated with some sulfur and copper, with no insecticide; it wasn’t destemmed and spent 18 months in foudre. Find this wine

Domaine Bois de Boursan “Cuvée des Felix” Châteauneuf-du-Pape2005 Domaine Bois de Boursan “Cuvée des Felix” Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 14% alc., $77.99: This was poured from a freshly uncorked bottle, and didn’t have the advantage of getting some air like the one we enjoyed last November, so it was all about huge, savage tannins and astringency. Obviously, our previous experience shows that it can be approached now with decanting, but really, why waste one now when it will be singing on its 15th birthday and well beyond that?  Find this wine

OK, so the fine folks at J et R and Wines of Distinction know that inviting me to a tasting like this is tantamount to preaching to the choir, because I’ve been an unabashed fan of these wines for some years now, but I’m not shy about callin’ ‘em as I see’s ‘em, even when it comes to my favorite producers. Happily, I can only find good things to say about these nine, and I’m looking forward to enjoying the whites over the next five years while waiting to sip on the reds in my dotage.

Reporting from Day-twah,


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Samples & Feeding Frenzies


More Red Wings & Red Rhônes 2007:
New Wines from Perrin & Fils and More

Champagne Tablas Swan Zin (a real mixed bag of goodies)

Dressner Does Day-Twah

Old Friends & New Faces

Six From Castello di Corbara

Chateau Grand Traverse: Where Riesling is King

A Mess o' Reds

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© George Heritier February, 2008