– 2011 US Private Client wines have shipped!
I’m writing to you tonight to share a bit of news as well as changes at Maison Ilan. The first thing to mention is that the 2010 Gevrey-Chambertin Les Corbeaux orders will be arriving Stateside in roughly 30 days. As some of you know, these bottles have delayed some orders from being released. Also, it is with great pleasure that I can share with everyone the news that the 2011s (destined for the Private Client list) have been picked up today and are heading to the US as we speak!! Wineflite will contact all US clients once the wines have arrived Stateside. Rest assured, they will make sure to take weather into account when scheduling deliveries and and holding wines for those that wish
I know, I know, they should have been resting in everyone’s cellars by now. I completely agree. So, with the wines having been bottled more than a few months ago, why have the wines taken until now to ship to the private clients? And why did the importer wines ship before the private client wines?
What we are trying to do with our private client list is simple, at least it should be. Simply put, I love going direct to our clients. Sure, importers are our clients as well. However, with private clients we are able to have a direct connection with those that are enjoying our wines. It means a lot for us to know who is going to be receiving our wines once they leave our winery. On top of this, selling all of our wines to an importer means that we aren’t able to build personal relationships with those that support us directly.
Since our first vintage, we have had a strong interest in going direct to our clients, especially in the US where the wine laws are complex. We didn’t have a model to follow as we didn’t know of anyone else doing this and so it has been a learning process as we have refined the connection between our clients and our winery. The first and second vintages saw our wines being brought in by our importers. They brought the wines in for us as an additional service, which was outside of what their core business was since they believed in the future of a direct model.
Moving forward with our third vintage, the 2011s, the importance of finding a permanent solution that would meet the needs of our clients was clear. The solution is Wineflite, a company which specializes in connecting wineries with their clients, one of the most important aspects of our winery. While the need for this solution was clear, we were not prepared to make the switch prior to the 2011s being bottled. The 2011s going to the importer were shipped right after bottling, while the private client 2011s awaited a streamlined solution.
The wines will arrive to your door without you having to work out importation details just as before, but you can now think of Wineflite as your personal shipper, dedicated to bringing your wines from our cellar to your doorstep without unnecessary complications. We appreciate that the road to this point has been a learning experience, but we are confident that these refinements to our winery shipments will provide a great benefit to everyone.
– Further Efficiencies
Our ordering process has at times been more complicated than it needed to be. The idea was simple enough, literally calling every single client that has placed an order. While speaking with everyone during this time has been enjoyable for us, we have come to the decision that this part of our business could use a modern update. We are currently developing an online ordering website that will allow vintage offers to be viewed, orders to be processed, and visibility on shipment updates. We believe that this will provide our clients with a better purchasing experience.
Côte d’Or, France
Amazon.com (as well as on amazon.uk, amazon.fr, etc) just added my upcoming book, The Road to Burgundy to their site for pre-order. You can find the link for the Kindle and Hardcover versions HERE! You can also find my book on iTunes!
Here is the synopsis:
An intoxicating memoir of an American who discovers a passion for French wine, and gambles everything to chase a dream of owning a vineyard in Burgundy
Ray Walker had a secure career in finance until a wine-tasting vacation ignited a passion that he couldn’t stifle. Ray neglected his work, spending hours poring over ancient French winemaking texts, learning the techniques and the language, and daydreaming about vineyards. After Ray experienced his first taste of wine from Burgundy, he could wait no longer. He quit his job and went to France to start a winery—with little money, a limited command of French, and virtually no winemaking experience.
Fueled by determination and joie de vivre, he immersed himself in the extraordinary history of Burgundy’s vineyards and began honing his skills. Ray became a pioneer in his use of ancient techniques in modern times and founded Maison Ilan. In 2009, Ray became the first non-French winemaker to purchase grapes and produce a wine from Le Chambertin, long considered to be one of the most revered and singular vineyards in the world.
Along with his struggle to capture his wine’s distinct terroir, Ray shares enthralling stories of late-night tastings, flying down the Route National on a vintage Peugeot bicycle with no brakes, and his journey to secure both the trust of his insular Burgundian neighbors and the region’s most coveted grapes. Capturing the sunlight, the smell of the damp soil, and the taste of superlative wine, The Road to Burgundy is a glorious celebration of finding one’s true path in life, and taking a chance—whatever the odds.
Thank you again for your support!!!
While in California, I had one of friends topping up my barrels. Due to some residual gas from primary, the barrels gave off the impression of malolactic fermentation starting up. This was last month. I made a post about it, glad that things were moving along. My preference was for a slow malolactic, but with so many other’s wines taking off, I believed mine were following suit.
2009 is proving to be an interesting year. Sure, I’ve read the hype from what people are tasting of the vintage. One of the generalities of the vintage are rapid malos, a good of them complete at present.
Tasting my own wines, I was fooled. Residual gas was present when pulling the bung off, and the taste seemed right.
Knowing the importance of wine health, I decided to get a analysis to be sure. Results in hand, I can say that not only has the malolactic fermentation not finished, it has yet to begin! While being correct in thinking the malo was comete would mean that I could rest easy knowing that all was finished, it is actually my preference to have this result that I was in fact wrong. A longer fermentation is my preference. And as it turns out many other who took samples in for analysis were also met with this great news after thinking there wines were following in the lines of the others having the malo finished.
What I take from this is to never hesitate in confirming your instincts with facts, never assume about your wines based on what others are reporting and when in doubt…ask.
I will stick with my decision to let the wine take it’s time. From looking at the analysis provided by the guys at Bouchard Analysis in Beaune, the wine is looking healthy while it sleeps.
That’s all for now…
Before harvest, I had an idea on some of the details of the winemaking process figured out. Sure, picking early in the day, hoping to get nice acids, as little intervention as possible, natural primary and malolactic fermentation, etc. The reality is that sure, it’s excellent to have an idea of what you are planning to do, what your preferences are. When reality hits, and your back is to the wall, your decisions can make themselves.
This is what I prepared for. The bad surprise. I heard this all harvest by countless locals. I planned to have things not go my way at some point. I had backups.
One thing that is worth mentioning is the primary and secondary fermentations. Innoculating the wine with commercial yeasts can help a winemaker sleep better at night as there is much more control in the fermentation process. There are arguments that something is lost when using non-indigenous yeasts. I decided early on that I would use the native yeasts for the primary fermentation. What if the fermentation stuck? Well, I would warm up the tank and wait? If that didn’t work? Well…I was mentally prepared to act fast if things got pear shaped. This was a real fear of mine.
Thankfully, the fermentation went well. More possible downsides of native yeast fermentations are terribly fast and hot fermentations, odd aromatic notes and stuck fermentations. None of the above happened. The fermentation was steady, and did not exceed 29*C. No odd notes aside from the whole cluster in the Morey Saint Denis being reduced.
Looking forward at this point my thoughts went to the secondary fermentation. In Burgundy, this process can take around a year to get underway when the malos are native. I’ve tasted countless wines that have been produced this nerve racking way of just letting the wine ‘do it’s thing’ so I figured, why not?
This vintage, many have reported on having low malo numbers while others shot through malo fermentation in record time. My native numbers looked low when I last checked, however, they just took off. There is still a good amount of time left for the process to be complete. But this is very good news as the timing is much earlier than I expected.
Thanks again for stopping by…
Sorry to have gone with the lights off. Things have been busy. My wife and daughter have come to visit and to help out, so now it feels like home. I bought a used car so I could get around better. Hey, trains have their limitations.
As a side note, I wanted to mention that Lisa Mroz and her friend Peter were a huge help. Otherwise I would have collapsed from the huge amount of Charmes Chambertin I had to process.
Fermentations have been going beautifully! I went native yeast on all three lots and Charmes-Chambertin was first out. I will let the grapes rest until Tuesday and then go to barrel. The wine is really nice and should develop well in barrel. The Morey is the sweetest tasting, yet lowest potential alcohol level. The Charmes is a bit brighter, however, the Le Chambertin lot is stunning.
When looking at the fruit from Le Chambertin on the vine it seemed nice, but the other vineyards looked really special. On each fruit day, I was surprised by the quality of the fruit being so high. However, the Le Chambertin just flat out tastes most interesting and complete. Odd to say at this early stage but no one would be surprised at which one was which when tasted side by side…which is a very good thing.
Also, I have to mention that the fermentation did raise the eyebrows of a few onlookers thinking, ‘what could a young winemaker from California know about making Burgundy?’
*Of note, I intentionally used very few punchdowns on the wines. The MSD recieved 3 in total, the Charmes-Chambertin ‘Aux Charmes’ 2 in total and Le Chambertin was punched down just once. No pump-overs were done either. All punchdowns were performed near completion of alcoholic fermentation. Results? We will have to wait and see…
Let’s just say that I am glad that I kept my head down and trusted in myself.
Well, enjoy the pics and I promise to update more. Thanks for popping in for updates…