OK, you’re going out on a first date

with a wine geek and you want to

impress.  Sure, if youhave serious

scratch, you can bring a bottle of

high end Burgundy, but if you really

want to impress a wine geek, you

need to bring something delicious,

interesting, somewhat esoteric

and much better than its price. I also

went these wines to be accessible

and not need 1-2

hour decants.

Here’s my Top 10 list of interesting,

affordable wines that I have in my

cellar that I would BYOB on a first date.

Herve Murat Hautes Cotes de Blanc - I only have one bottle left in my cellar and since the winery has been sold out, this wine won't exist anymore. It was a beauty. I only worked with one vintage, the 2012, so that is what I'd choose.

When I go to the Northern Rhone I taste an awful lot of wine. Besides meeting with my producers, I taste many wines at the Salon des Vins and also at the Greek's shop and home. One thing that always amazes me is that some of the top stuff over there rarely if ever gets here. I really don't get that. It gets me thinking. In general, I'm a big believer in markets.  Better things generally cost more and there is a general alignment between price and quality.

Before I begin I would like to share some sad news about Marie-Elodie-Zighera Confuron.The frost that gripped Beaujolais destroyed 100% of her Morgon in 2016. I'm still upset and I found out two weeks ago.

Having said that, she has wine to sell and we are thrilled to offer two of her wines today. These are probably the most extraordinary wines in the entire Beaujolas portfolio.

We were arranging the pickup of the rising young star of the Rheinhessen, Julianne Eller's Rieslings and she asked if we wanted to sell small allocations of her Weissburgunder and Spatburgunder.  I had wanted to sell these but was not offered them.  I guess I made the cut.

I can barely explain how terrific these two wines were.  Both are utterly brilliant wines.

First, let me start by saying this is one of the greatest debuts for a Spatburgunder I've ever tasted.

Our Italian portfolio resulted from tastings of a ton of Barolo and Barbaresco.  And you know what you learn?  While those wines can be great, the wines from the Northeast of Piedmont (e.g. Boca, Bramaterra, Carema, Ghemme and the flagship Gattinara) are, at their best, pretty darned close in quality (and often much better) at a fraction of the price.

If some of you have forgotten, the Wine-Al-Four is chugging along. Some upsets and some blowouts

and we have a few more matches till we get to the round of 32.  France there were no big upsets at all. But there are terrific matches set up for the round of 32. Below are some highlights.

5) Loire Reds

4) Red Bordeaux

6) Champagne

3) Northern Rhone

I cannot deal with the Champagne/Northern Rhone one. Like choosing a favorite child.

In Germany there were zero surprises.

Top 10 Best QPR Regions in France

Everyone knows that the French make some of the greatest wines in the world.  Names like Batard-Montrachet, Vosne-Romanee and Gevrey Chambertin are known world over.

But some think that because these wines are famous and expensive that French wine gravitates towards being expensive. While there are certainly hundreds of French wines that are over say $50 per bottle, not all French are wealthy and they almost all drink wine.

What makes a wine a Grand Cru?

Well certainly, there is terroir.  But one also needs great winemakers to make Grand Cru.I've had Grand Crus I would not cook with.  One or more winemakers needs to make wine good enough to

make the vineyard famous.

Monthelie sits between its famous neighbors Volnay and Pommard.  I do believe that there is Grand Cru Quality wine in both regions although no vineyards have received that status as of yet.

Florent wanted to make a wine of Grand Cru quality.

So the Burghound has spoken and really breaks down what is so special about 2014 WhiteBurgs. His

latest issue came out and he, as usual, he just nails it. This will be one of the few e-mails where I won't have as much to say as normal, because Burghound, who besides having a spot on palate, is also quite an eloquent writer. Below let's unpack one of his first quotes. But first here is the wine if one does not want to read all of the e-mail.

2014 Marc Colin St.

Montalcino is a tough area for a wine buyer.  There is a limited amount of territory to make wine and

demand is sky high for everything, almost irrespective of quality. They say it is better to be lucky than good and I'm not sure if it was luck or skill but man did Fass Selections hit the absolute jackpot in Montalcino.