Friday, August 7, 2009


It was a long time coming, I thought, as I met with Katie Schoeny, the French portfolio rep for Vintner Select, a distributor/importer based in Mason, Ohio. I have been anxious to meet her for over a year, ever since she assumed the position from one David Schildknect, the now staff writer for Robert Parker who is considered the foremost authority on German and Austrian wines IN THE WORLD (shades of the Waco Kid). Big shoes to fill, though Katie really isn’t replacing David. David wore many hats at VS, and Katie is focused solely on France. Katie worked at one of the better wine stores in the area, a store that specialized in French wines so she really knows her stuff.

Truth be told, when she was in the market for a new job, prior to her joining the VS team, I had tried through a friend to get her to come to work here. She is most certainly not aware of that – the friend had assured me that she was trying to get OUT OF the retail business and climb the ladder to the next rung – that being the supplier side of things. She would have been a great addition to our team though.
Back to our meeting – she is very energetic, and very knowledgeable about French wines, as she brought with her some terrific, more affordable red Burgundies from Domaine Besson, Jean-Luc Dubois and Daniel Bocquenet.

All 2006 vintage, a problematic vintage only in that it follows the phenomenal 2005, the two Domaine Besson offerings, the Givry Le Haut Colombiere Rouge and Givry Petit Pretan are both exceptional values, both clocking in under $20. That alone makes these two wines from the Cote Chalonnaise subregion in Burgundy (south of the Cote du Beaune) extraordinary.

The two beautiful wines from Jean-Luc Dubois, the Savigny-les-Beaune 2006 and Beaune Cent-Vignes 2006 are exceptional, with loads of depth and character. With more noticeable oak, these wines seem to need a little time before they are really ready to show their wares. Still, I was again impressed.

The last wine Katie had was the Bocquenet Nuits-St.-Georges, which has always been a favorite of mine. It was quite shy, but alluding to great things to come with sublime cherry, nut and raspberry notes lingering on the back end. Though we still have some 2004 on the shelf, the 2006 she had brought was quite pleasing.

I look forward to working with Katie on building a bigger, better French category here at LD. I only hope she doesn’t get weirded out by me blogging of our brief meeting together. I have to say though, that it is people like her that make me excited to show up for work each day. I love learning more about this business, and enjoy it more when there are good people who have the knowledge and passion to impart.

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