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#ExPat on the Ground and Running in France

T. Edward Wines, New York wine importer/distributor, Patrick Burke, Chantal Tortochot Patrick Burke with Chantal Tortochot

As the vines near budbreak, we stole a moment to catch up with Patrick Burke (#ExPat), our French Portfolio Manager, who’s been living with his ear and palate close to the terroir for the past eight months. “I’ve spent a lot of time with our existing producers and it’s deepened the existing friendships,” he said. “When you see them once or twice a year, it’s business. But being able to see them more often, in a casual setting, it’s allowed me quality time that’s not the standard of a winery visit. It’s strengthened relationships.” Such immediate access has also given Patrick a more intimate understanding of each producer’s winemaking style, he said. “You see how they relate to other people in their villages, you get more insider information.” On the road seven to ten days a month, Patrick recently introduced Chateau de Lavernette, a historic property that straddles Beaujolais and Maconnais, and just joined our ranks. “His family has owned the property since they bought it from the Tournus monks, in 1596,” he said. “They have vineyards all around the chateau and Xavier [de Boissieu] is the latest to take over the estate.”

T. Edward Wines, New York wine importer/distributor, Chateau de LavernetteXavier & Kerrie de Boissieu

Meeting Xavier at a small tasting in Maconnais last fall, Patrick said that his wines really stood out. “I fell in love with the Beaujolais Blanc and the Granit,” he said. “They’re both stunning wines that are organically and biodynamically farmed. He gets it. It’s a really great fit.” Also producing a Beajolais Village from granite soils, Ch de Lavernette is the only estate in Beaujolais to produce a white Cremant from 100% Gamay Noir. “The Beaujolais Blanc is straight Chardonnay. There’s not a lot produced,” he said. “But I think it’ll be a big hit in New York. I’ve been drinking it a lot. It’s minerally, and not aged in oak, but it’s a serious wine.” In addition, Patrick mentioned a few Burgundy producers who’ll be joining our book. “There’s one that I’m pursuing in Cote du Nuits. And there’s an up and coming potential superstar with family vineyards in the best Premier Crus, with great parcels in a few Grand Crus,” he said, just days before announcing the arrival of Domaine Heitz-Lochardet. T. Edward Wines, New York wine importer/distributor, Heitz-Lochardet Organically farmed for 25+ years and converted to biodynamic practices in 2013, Domaine Heitz-Lochardet has been in the family since 1857. Rented to Maison Joseph Drouhin for 25-years, the vineyards have been slowly recouped by Armand Heitz, the young winemaker who recently took over the property from his mother. “The quality of his wines is astounding,” said Patrick. “They are aromatic, extremely balanced and expressive of their terroir. They’re classic nods to old-school Burgundy winemaking practices.” Four wines, including Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru “La Maltroye”, Pommard 1er Cru Monopole “Clos des Poutures” and Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru, will arrive by the end of May. Additionally, Patrick has been working with Goatboy Wines, as they seek new acquisitions from Loire. “I spent a week with them in Loire meeting some new people,” he said, “and at the Renaissance show, while visiting Goatboy producers, some of whom I didn’t really know like Sylvain Bock and Gerald Oustric. Last week, I went with Tess to Ardeche. It was my first time meeting Andrea Calek, and it was equally beneficial for us, for them to know who we are in our relationship with Goatboy, and for me to meet and taste their wines with Byron and Bill. I got to see them on their turf and in their wineries. It was good.”

T. Edward Wines, New York wine importer/distributor, Andrea CalekAndrea Calek with the ladies from CA

In such close proximity, Patrick’s been able to respond to things on the fly, like an invitation from Chantal Tortochot to attend the Trilogy Tasting at Clos de Vougeot, with top-notch wines from Vosne-Romanée, Chambolle-Musigny and Morey Saint-Denis. “Everyone says they have good relationships, but the face-time is really important,” he said. “They really appreciate seeing you at their place when they’re relaxed and can show you everything, in their element.”

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