Christopher's in the River Oaks Shopping Center is the place to shop for rare labels from Burgundy, the Rhône Valley and the West Coast. We asked owner Christopher Massie for a little insight into what's hot and what's not in wine land and to recommend "5 Wines That Will Blow Your Mind."
Christopher Massie: The vintage of 2005 is the hottest topic among our customers right now. It's an amazing year for Burgundy and the Rhône Valley. Every importer and winery we work with has offered us a bevy of products from this stellar vintage. The only downside has been the limited allocations. But get any of these five wines into your glass, and you'll understand all the buzz:
$15 or less
Gold Label Réserve Grand Veneur/Alain Jaume 2005 Côtes du Rhône
Rhône Valley, France
A blockbuster, Grenache-dominated dream of a value. For 2005, the Gold Label is a blend of 80 percent Grenache and 20 percent Syrah — all from old vines — and the purity and power of the flavor is captivating. Packed with black cherry fruit, sweet spice and virtually no tannins, this is one of the most popular "quaffers" of the 2005 vintage.
$30 or less
Philippe Gavignet 2005 Nuits St. George
Every wine critic on the planet has proclaimed 2005 the perfect year in Burgundy, and Gavignet is a stunning illustration. This is supposed to be a simple wine, but this year the usually basic Burgundy is brimming with blackberry, cinnamon and dusty cocoa powder nuances and is crammed with juicy black Pinot noir fruit. Which leaves you wondering just how sublime things must be "further up the hill."
$60 or less
Domaine Clos du Caillou "le Clos du Caillou"
"Cuvée Unique Vin Non-Filtre" (Unfiltered) 2005 Réserve Côtes du Rhône
Rhône Valley, France
This is not just another Côtes du Rhône. Long before the official 1930s classification of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Clos du Caillou's vines were planted just outside the recognized AOC zone, across the winding road from the famous Beaucastel. Strange to say, this Côtes du Rhône may be the ultimate expression of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. An absolute explosion of exotic raspberry fruit is combined with violets, roses and one of the most powerful and mind-bending flavor experiences you'll ever encounter. The finish lasts on the palate for longer than you can imagine, and the wine is a meal in itself.
$120 or less
Frédéric Magnien 2005 Morey St Denis 1er Cru "Blanchards"
This wine is stunning in every sense of the word. This deep, dark, brooding black Pinot noir could easily spend ten years mellowing in your cellar. The village of Morey-St-Denis, nestled between Gevrey-Chambertin to the north and Chambolle-Musigny to the south, is only one square kilometer in size. Yet it's home to five Grand Cru vineyard sites, making it one of the most impressive areas in all of Burgundy. In the hands of the perfectionist Frédéric Magnien, this First Cru Burgundy is made with Grand Cru power, precision and complexity.
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Perrot-Minot 2005 Chambertin Clos de Bèze Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes
The village of Gevrey-Chambertin has nine Grand Cru vineyards, more than any other in the Côte-de-Nuits. Among them is the estate of Perrot-Minot, whose wines are available in ridiculously small quantities. But what a wine. This is the essence of Burgundy Pinot Noir. Produced from vines averaging more than 50 years in age, this wine could spend 20 years or more maturing in the cellar. Drinking this wine young demands a minimum of 12 hours in a decanter. Only then will it stubbornly reveal an aroma of blackberry liqueur, totally integrated new oak and miles of minerals allied to the sweetest fruit you've ever experienced. Perfection — and worth every cent and the effort to find a cellar.