They're Back ... the Beautiful Burgundies from Domaine des Terres de Velle

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Ready for some really good Burgundies? Well, here they are. We are delighted to bring back the beautiful Burgundies from Domaine des Terres de Velle, this time from the very difficult and very small 2013 vintage. Sophie and Fabrice Laronze, owners of this little bit of paradise just outside the village of Auxey-Duresses (pictured above) are very pleased with their 2013s, but wish there were a lot more of them. All of their 2013 wines have been spoken for except the small amount we have reserved. Please order early to avoid disappointment.

Domaine des Terres de Velle

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Sophie and Fabrice Laronze
We first met Sophie and Fabrice when they were marketing manager and wine-maker respectively for the successful Burgundy vintner, Alex Gambal. Alex used to purchase most of his grapes from growers throughout Burgundy. Fabrice wanted more control over what happened in the vineyard, believing that a great bottle of wine owed its stature to what happened there. After an amicable parting with Alex in 2009, the Laronzes acquired eleven separate plots of mature vines in choice areas of the Côtes de Beaune in Burgundy (about five hectares in all). More recently they have purchased a village parcel in Chassagne-Montrachet and two neighbouring premier crus in Meursault, Les Charmes and Puligny-Montrachet, Les Referts. The total estate now stands at about six hectares which yields fourteen different wines and around 30,000 bottles annually (in a normal year).

While the brand might be new, (the Velle River runs through the domaine; hence ‘the lands of the Velle’) the Laronzes are no neophytes when it comes to producing first-rate wine. Fabrice studied oenology in Beaune and Montpellier and then toiled for a few Burgundy houses and at Mirimar Torres in Sonoma. He joined forces with Alex Gambal in the late 1990s and helped him find juice and grapes throughout Burgundy, acquire vineyards and produce ten vintages of stellar Burgundy that have garnered well-earned international acclaim.

Sophie did marketing work for Albert Bichot in Beaune and the barrel-maker, Tonellerie de Mercury before joining Fabrice at Maison Alex Gambal.

The pair is committed to the principles of sustainable viticulture, eschewing chemical intervention (no herbicides or pesticides) in favour of natural processes in the vineyards and chais. They rigorously debud their vines during the growing season in order to improve ventilation (reducing the chance of mildew) and to concentrate the juice thereby enhancing the complexity of the remaining grapes. The grapes are hand-picked and sorted. The wine is neither fined nor filtered and is produced in very small quantities. They firmly believe that great wine is created in the vineyard, not manufactured in the winery. To sum up, they make very, very serious wine.


What Sophie says about the 2013 Vintage in Burgundy

“The winter season was a little bit long in Auxey and the first three months of 2013 were very cold. The second quarter was rain; always wearing our boots, both in the vineyards and in the flooded cellars!

Under these conditions, the growing season started very late, but real summer finally set up in July and August. We were all enjoying this perfect weather, when a hail storm hit Côte de Beaune, a disaster, as the previous year, on our vineyards located in Volnay!

By the end of summer the maturing reached a good level, but 2013 will remain a late vintage. September seemed endless for us; the weather was mild and humid, our grapes need more time and we needed to be reactive.

We started harvest on September 30th and the instructions were clear – pick quickly and selectively. The next rainy spell was announced for October 6th and it was necessary to take time to sort out every bunch of grapes. Our team of pickers successfully met the challenge!

2013 white wines have citrus notes combined with white and yellow-fleshed fruit aromas. In the mouth the aromatic profile is also very pure. A nice tension brings freshness that tempts one to take another sip!

The 2013 red wines have wonderful colours, as the berries were very small. The nose is intense with notes of fresh red berries. In the mouth the wines are very balanced, delicate with smooth tannins leading to a perfect finish.

The fifth harvest for Terre de Velle was a perfect example of the huge variability of our climate with which we must deal. It is difficult (and exhausting!) to manage but provides an amazing diversity in aromatic profiles … a fine reward, don’t you think?”

The 2013 Domaine des Terres de Velle Burgundies on Offer

All of the hard work in the fields and at the sorting tables paid huge dividends in terms of quality if not quantity for the 2013 vintage at Domaine des Terres de Velle. The resulting wines really are terrific. Here’s what we have selected from the very small but very good 2013 vintage: three whites (Chardonnay) – Bourgogne Chardonnay, Chassagne-Montrachet La Platière and Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Referts; and four reds (Pinot Noirs) – Bourgogne Pinot Noir; Auxey-Duresses Les Closeaux, Monthélie 1er Cru Les Duresses and Volnay 1er Cru Le Ronceret.

Sophie and Fabrice have once again created a very special mixed cased - the Terres de Velle Grand Sampler which contains one bottle each of the Chassagne-Montrachet La Platière, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Referts, Bourgogne Pinot Noir, ,  Monthélie  1er Cru Les Duresses, and Volnay 1er Cru Le Ronceret.  

And, they have come up with a special treat for those who love their wine in big formats - 2012 Volnay Magnum Special.

They all come in six-bottle cases. We will be taking your orders to the LCBO on Friday, March 27th.

The Whites


2013 Bourgogne Chardonnay – 13.0% Alc./Vol.                             $31/$186 case of 6
This is a really lovely, classic Burgundian Chardonnay that will be a real crowd pleaser. It comes from three parcels, one just below Puligny (Corpeau) and the other two in Meursault, one of which is fifty-five year old vines in Les Pellans. It rested in oak barrels, about ten percent new, for a year.  Offering forth a surprisingly big bouquet of pineapple, pear, peach and spices (a trace of ginger) that carry through nicely in the mouth, it has a pleasant underlying acidity and minerality and is wonderfully balanced. This very serious Chardonnay will go delightfully with shellfish, oriental cuisine and roast chicken. It is an excellent and amazing value. Order some of this delicious Chardonnay now.

2013 Chassagne-Montrachet La Platière – 13.0% Alc./Vol.                       $68/$408 case of 6
This gorgeous wine comes from 24 year old vines situated near the Abbaye de Morgeot. The juice rested in oak barrels, thirty percent new, for eighteen months. It is a classic Chassagne-Montrachet with aromas of green herbs, white fruit, wet pebbles and exotic spices. In the mouth it is    penetrating, fine acidity and good, sweet length. It will go wonderfully with seafood and medium cheese. If you enjoy Chassagne-Montrachet, you’ll certainly be pleased with this one. Order your elegant Chardonnay now.

2013 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Referts – 13.0% Alc./Vol.  $98/$588 case of 6
Situated between Les Perrières in Puligny and Les Charmes in Meursault, the southeast facing vines for this extraordinary wine are fifty-five years old. The juice is matured for eighteen months in oak barrels, forty percent new. It is a bright yellow colour and has a refined, delicate nose of honeysuckle, almonds, ripe apples, hazelnuts, caramel and honey. In the mouth it is perfectly balanced, full and stylish with good minerality which gives this wine great aging potential. It will pair splendidly with grilled scallops or sea bass. Only a few hundred bottles were produced. This is wondrous stuff. Order your most seductive, wondrous Puligny-Montrachet now.


The Reds

2013 Bourgogne Pinot Noir – 13.0% Alc./Vol.                                $31/$186 case of 6
 This little beauty comes from three very different but complimentary parcels, one in the area of Puligny-Montrachet, one in Corpeau and one in Volnay where the forty year old vines give the wine its excellent structure. The wine spent twelve to fifteen months in oak, 10%-15% new and like all the Domaine des Terres de Velle wines was neither fined nor filtered. A brilliant ruby colour, the nose offers up fresh, vibrant scents of red berries, particularly raspberries and delicate spices. In the mouth it is simply delightful – beautifully structured with light to medium weight, succulent with good acidity and structure and very soft tannins. This very pleasing wine is drinking beautifully now (and will cellar happily for at least three years) and would be an ideal accompaniment for roast chicken and beef. Order your most delightful red Burgundy now.


2013 Auxey-Duresses Les Closeaux – 13.0% Alc./Vol.                     $40/$240 case of 6
This village Burgundy is a sheer delight. It came from forty year old vines and rested in oak for twelve to fifteen months, 20% new. It is a lovely ruby/purple with a wonderful nose of fresh, ripe red fruit, savoury spices and a hint of new leather. In the mouth it is fresh, nicely balanced with soft tannins. This is a light to medium-bodied wine that can best be described as yummy. I would like to see it cellared for a year or two for it to reach its full potential. This too will go wonderfully with roast chicken or pork. Order your Burgundy charmer now.


2013 Monthélie  1er Cru Les Duresses – 13.0% Alc./Vol.                $57/$342 case of 6
This truly lovely Pinot Noir comes from a block of thirty year old vines located near those of the Hospices de Beaune and was matured in thirty percent new oak for a year and a half. A brilliant ruby colour, the nose is reminiscent of Volnay, full of raspberries, elegant black fruit (cherries and blackberries), spices and a hint of leather. Medium-bodied, it sports delightful acidity and minerality that balance the fruit perfectly. This splendid red, which will age well for several years, will pair beautifully with classic Burgundian dishes such as coq au vin or escargot in a light butter/garlic sauce. Only a few hundred bottles were produced. This is really good stuff. Order your heavenly Burgundy now.


2013 Volnay 1er Cru Le Ronceret – 13.0% Alc./Vol.                                    $77/$462 case of 6
This is a simply wonderful Volnay. Once again, yields were low and the wine rested in oak for a year and a half, 25% of it new. It comes from forty year old vines situated just under Champans. It is a vibrant medium ruby colour and offers up elegant aromas of raspberries, new leather, spices and minerals. In the mouth it is wonderfully concentrated, delicate, elegant and fresh with soft tannins and a nice mineral finish. I personally would sip this slowly by itself (giggling contentedly all the while), but it will go smashingly with Coq au Vin and other traditional Burgundy fare. Yum! Order your excellent premier cru Volnay now.


2013 Terres de Velle Grand Sampler – 13.0% Alc./Vol.                  $62/$372 case of 6
What a great way to try an array of the fine 2013 Burgundies from Domaine des Terres de Velle. You get one bottle each of the Chassagne-Montrachet La Platière, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Referts, Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Auxey-Duresses Les Closeaux, Monthélie 1er Cru Les Duresses and Volnay 1er Cru Le Ronceret in one convenient six-pack. This would also make a great gift for any Burgundy lover you might know. Order your deluxe Burgundy tasting kit now.

2012 Volnay Magnum Special – 13.0% Alc./Vol.                            $426 case of 3
We asked Sophie if she had anything special set aside that we might offer our Members. She came up with this very special Volnay magnum sampler – two magnums of the 2012 Volnay Ez Blanches along with a single magnum of the wonderful 2012 Volnay 1er Cru Le Ronceret. These are both extremely well-crafted Volnays that will age gracefully for years to come.  Order your tri-pack of splendid Burgundy big boys now.

Important Note
The LCBO is the only entity authorized to sell beverage alcohol in Ontario. Arthur Sellers & Company and Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club do not sell or markup beverage alcohol, but rather, arrange for customers to purchase it from the LCBO. Our prices indicated above and on our website include the LCBO sale price plus a fee to cover the cost of sourcing, handling and marketing the wine. The LCBO’s sale prices are available on request.

LCBO Delivery Notices!

The LCBO has started to mail out delivery notices to all our Members who order wine. This notice is being sent when the wine has arrived from overseas and has been cleared for delivery by the LCBO. The form letter is two sided, one with the numeric details of the transaction and the other with pick-up instructions. Please note - the pick-up instructions do not apply to our Members.

Why?

First, they instruct our Member to pick up the wine at the LCBO’s warehouse loading docks at 33 Freeland Street in Toronto. Our Members don’t have to do this – we either cause the wine to be sent to an LCBO retail store that is conveniently located near our Member or we personally deliver the wine.

Second, they infer that our Members owe them for the wine and warn that they will be penalized if the wine is not picked up within a prescribed period of time. Our Members have already paid for their wine and don’t owe any additional money. We look after payment for them.

Please disregard these form letters when you receive them.

We have requested that the LCBO either correct the message or not send it at all. We also asked that they send the message electronically (they have the e-mail addresses of everyone who orders) to save money and be environmentally responsible. They have thanked us for our suggestions and we hope they will act on them.

Why is the LCBO sending out these notices?

When we inquired, we were told that this has always been their procedure; they just haven’t been following it.

We can surmise that it is in response to last year’s ruling by the Information and Privacy Commission of Ontario (IPC) ruling that the LCBO stop taking personal information from wine club customers. In a subsequent Ontario Superior Court of Justice appeal hearing, the case was remitted back to the IPC for reconsideration, i.e., the LCBO and the other involved parties were told to work out their issues between themselves. A key point in the ruling was, “it is not clear whether the IPC actually made a clear or consistent finding on the issue of whether the LCBO's customer is the club or the club member.” Since then, the LCBO has been determined to make certain that we are all fully aware that it is they who control the customer relationship when it comes to the purchase of beverage alcohol in the Province of Ontario.

To reinforce this point, they have instructed us to prominently post the following wherever we display our prices:

The LCBO is the only entity authorized to sell beverage alcohol in Ontario. Arthur Sellers & Company and Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club do not sell or markup beverage alcohol, but rather, arrange for customers to purchase it from the LCBO. Our prices indicated above and on our website include the LCBO sale price plus a fee to cover the cost of sourcing, handling and marketing the wine. The LCBO’s sale prices are available on request.

If you have any comments for the LCBO, please address them to Margaret Plant, Supervisor, Private Ordering (margaret.plant@lcbo.com) and copy Archie Karanxha, Acting Manager, Specialty Services (arqile.karanxha@lcbo.com) and Geoff Allaire, General Manager Operations, Toronto Retail Service Centre, Vintages Warehouse (geoff.allaire@lcbo.com).

All this reminds me of a very old joke. It seems that a little devil was involved in a most unfortunate tangle with one of Toronto’s Red Rockets that resulted in his tail being severed. He was rushed to the Toronto General Hospital but was refused admission. The ER receptionist explained, “I am afraid you will have to take him to the LCBO ... they are the only ones in Ontario allowed to retail spirits.”


Kate joins the team!
We are delighted to announce that our eldest daughter Kate (shown here with a bottle of Penfolds Grange from her birth year!) has officially joined the Arthur Sellers & Company team. She is an avid wine enthusiast with a very fine palate and is renowned for her frequent thirsty assaults on Arthur’s Cellar. Kate will be assisting us with the day-to-day operation of our wine club and will introduce our fine wines to her market demographic (recognizing that this old tippler needs a little help marketing to the younger aficionados of the fruit of the vine). Please join us in welcoming Kate to our wonderful world of wine.

Come Join Us in Provence this September
Hélène is taking reservations for September 2015. Long our favourite part of France, Provence is filled with so many wonderful things - marvellous markets, gorgeous perched villages, exquisite Mediterranean cuisine as well as the Mediterranean itself, a bevy of awe-inspiring Roman ruins, medieval towns, olive oil mills, Southern Rhône vineyards, sophisticated cities with great shopping, and constantly changing, spectacular scenery. And, you get to spend it all comfortably ensconced in your very own castle for a week, the enchanting Château du Goult. Maybe even get a group of friends to join you. That way, Hélène can massage her itinerary to meet your specific interests.


Where’s My Wine??
Generally, it will take three to four months from the time you order your wine till it is delivered. To find out where your next treasure is on its long journey from Europe, just click on Delivery Status in the side bar to the left. We update it regularly.

About our website

Our web site will grow and change as we respond to the needs and preferences of our members. We appreciate the time you take to tell us about how we can improve our web site, and invite you to pass your comments and suggestions along to us. Click here to send us an e-mail and let us know what you think.