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News & Events

April 28, 2021

The Digest

Welcome to the European Cellars Digest

Below you will find brief snippets of gossip, news, random thoughts, and stray opinions. Hopefully, it will be as exciting and engaging for you as it is thrilling for José-Maria Vicente to peruse a well-stocked and comprehensive wine list. We can only hope so!

When we get around to it, we will convert this page into a more fully functional newsfeed, but for the moment, the newest updates will be at the top. Just bookmark this page and check back for updates.

The Spanish Wine Press Picks Their Top Wines

The Spanish Wine Press Association released at the end of January their list of top Spanish wines with top awards going to the 2019 Rafael Palacios As Sortes for best barrel-aged white wine, 2019 Aalto Ribera del Duero for best red wine from 2019 & 2020, and 2015 Gramona Imperial for best Sparkling wine.

You can read the full list on AEPEV’s website.

–1/20/21 by S.S.

Empordà Renaissance

Jancis Robinson recently reviewed the wines of Empordà for her website, One standout grower and subzone was Anna Espelt and the majestic Cap de Creus. You can read all about this tiny corner of Mediterranean viticulture, and Anna’s work there, in an article published free for all to read.

–9/20/21 by S.S.

The INAO strikes!

We just received this note from Benoît Droin regarding the 2020 Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos:

In 1920, Louis Droin became the owner of a Grand Cru vineyard situated at the juncture of the climats Les Clos and Valmur and described in the notarial act at the time as “Au Clos, lieu-dit Les Clos.” For almost a century and well before the decree of 1938 defining the AOCs of Chablis, all harvests from this parcel have been declared and commercialized by five generations of winemakers as Grand Cru Les Clos. 

Today, for administrative reasons, it is no longer authorized to bear the name of the climat that nevertheless corresponds to it in every way: soil, slope, exposure, organoleptic characteristics…

However, local professional bodies recognize the sound basis for this claim, but INAO national authorization is still pending. Meanwhile, we have chosen not to separate the wine from this parcel and to continue to assemble it with our other wines from Les Clos, as was always the case in the past.

–9/1/21 by S.S.

New labels, new names, new releases at Garrigue

In June Domaine de la Garrigue will be releasing their 2020 Côtes-du-Rhône Cuvée Romaine and 2019 village Vacqueyras which carries the cuvée name of Albert & Camille – the founders of the estate. There will be new labels for the entire range as well. We just want to make sure you’re not surprised when they show up in your warehouse or shelf. The gray pattern on the Vacqueyras is embossed rather than printed.

–5/27/21 by S.S.

A quick note from Davy Dosnon

We recently received an email from Davy Dosnon in the Côte des Bar reporting that he was projecting an 80% reduction in yields this year due to the devastating frosts last month. Despite this setback, he is close to a deal to purchase the last 3 hectares of his leased vineyards. This would allow him to change from one of the smallest NM to just a small RM. All of Dosnon’s Champagnes are currently available except Récolte Blanche, which will be available in August. We will have more information about Champagne and all things bubbly in our not-a-newsletter next month.

–5/12/21 by JDH & S.S.

April is the cruelest month

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

So begins T.S. Elliot’s Wasteland, a poem written in the aftermath of the Spanish Flu pandemic of the last century. This last month was indeed quite cruel not only because of the renewed lockdowns in Europe but the continued near freeze of transatlantic shipping and a week-long series of actual freezes across France. But, rather than give in to despair like Elliot, European Cellars is dedicated to ensuring that our tiny corner of the world works as it should – that wines make it to our shores, our growers feel supported, and that the 2021 vintage, while small in many cases, is one that we look back to as a time of rebirth and renewal.

So just what does this all mean?

Firstly, our diligent operations staff, Tena Davis and Amber Johnson have been closely managing every container order making sure that bookings move as quickly as possible. While the normal turnaround in shipments cannot be guaranteed, Tena and Amber have been working some crazy magic. We have also made a tremendous investment in moving significant inventory to our warehouse in California to ensure some of our most popular wines make it into your warehouse, onto your shelf, and into your glass. These containers will begin to be received in May.

Secondly, we are working with our growers to secure enough wine for our market. Wines for consumers to discover and enjoy, for our distributors to sell, but most importantly, so our growers have an income while assessing the damage caused by the frosts in April. While last year’s rounds of tariffs combined with the slowdown in the economy were challenging at the time, it did prove to be a silver lining of sorts, with plenty of wine available to sell now. If anything, the multitude of challenges over the last year has brought us closer to our producers, who now feel like family more than ever before.

What about the 2021 vintage?

It is still too early to say what will become of the 2021 vintage. Parts of the Southern Rhône were severely impacted, with some growers projecting close to 100% losses. Conditions were a little more spotty in the Loire. A fuller picture will emerge over the coming months as flowering begins and a sense of what can be salvaged from this vintage as it goes through veraison and harvest. As we find out more, we will add this information to this feed to keep you updated.

– 4/28/2021 by S.S.

Website updates

We will be making some changes to our website in May. The primary change will include a better delineation of our three portfolios: European Cellars, Indigo Wine & Jon-David Headrick Selections. We are also adding a more formalized method of how we list farming practices, so at a glance, you can see who is certified, who is practicing organics or biodynamics, etc. We’ve also been asking those pesky questions about vegan-friendly practices and hope to roll that into this update as well. You should start to notice these changes in June 2021, if not earlier.

– 4/27/2021 by S.S.