Monday, October 3, 2011

A Rare Washington DC Appearance from one of the Best Importers in the USA - Fran Kysela – at MacArthur’s Beverages, USA

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Fran Kysela at Mac Arthur’s Beverages

I joined the team of Mac Arthur’s Beverages on Saturday, September 10 for a rare Washington DC appearance from one of the best Importers in the USA, Fran Kysela.

Fran Kysela

For those of us who aren’t familiar with Fran, the invitation of Mac Arthur Beverages included a quick “review” from Robert Parker himself: “Fran Kysela, unlike most Americans, was born into a family that consumed and appreciated fine wine. One of the youngest specialty importers, Kysela began his career as the national manager for the import arm of Kermit Lynch's sprawling wine business. Subsequently, he worked briefly for another high quality importer, Weygandt-Metzler in Unionville, Pennsylvania. Inevitably, Kysela founded his own firm, dedicated to discovering high quality top estates in France and Italy [and Portugal]. Kysela's offerings all tend to be extremely pure, ripe, fruity short, faithful reflections of their appellations. He is not an aggressive interventionalistic importer à la Robert Kacher (or to a lesser extent, Neal Rosenthal, Eric Salomon, or Peter Weygandt), but neither does he permit his producers to take a laissez-faire approach to their work. In a few short years Kysela has emerged as one of the finest palates and selectors of top wine, whether it be an inexpensive Muscadet or a top of the line Burgundy.”

Picture: Fran Keysela

In 1989, Fran received the Master Sommelier award from the British Court of Master Sommeliers. I think there are about 200 Master Sommeliers world wide. In addition, in 1992 he passed the first part of the Master of Wine diploma (the tasting half – he still needs to complete the essays).

Keysela Pere et Fils LTD

Fran Keysela founded Keysela Pere et Fils, LTD in 1994. Here is a short overview of what Keysela Pere et Fils LTD stands for, in Fran’s own words:

"I work directly with producers in a range of countries: France, Spain, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Portugal, Germany, USA, Argentina, South Africa, Chile and Austria.

Gross sales are 250,000 cases. The long term goal is 300,000 cases.

Wine Style: Fruit driven, true to type, not over oaked.

Motto: Value, bang for the buck. Any loser can find good wine that is expensive. It takes talent to find wines that "over deliver".

Picture: Fran Keysela

We believe wine is a beverage of pleasure. One doesn't need a Ph.D. to drink wine, nor does one have to suffer while drinking wine. Hedonism in wine is a good thing.

Wine needs to be properly shipped and stored under refrigerated conditions.

Quality wine is about fresh flavors, good acidity, length of finish and balance.

We purchase finished wines. Buying by barrel sample, and not by finished wine, can lead to major disappointments for the importer and his clients."

Fran Keysela and German Wine

Fran became acquainted with wine around the age of fifteen. This was in the early 1970’s and he was first interested in German wines: “I remember falling in love with the Steinberger Riesling Kabinett Staatsweingüter in the 1971, ’75 and ’76 vintages, but especially the 1975. My father initially introduced me to wine through his tasting groups, most notably Les Amis du Vin. My early education in wine centered around the classic growing regions of France, Germany, Italy and Spain. What I do today is an outgrowth of that early training.”

What German wines does Fran import? Here is his German portfolio: Bastgen, Gessinger, Hähn, Hansen-Lauer, Maringer-Reif, Matheus, St Nikolaus-Hospital, Winzer von Erbach . Except for the Winzer von Erbach, all winemakers are from the Mosel. And these are not the high-priced elite winemakers you typically find in the portfolio of say Rudi Wiest and Terry Theise. But there are almost 50.000 winemakers in Germany and the Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland covers just 800 of them. Many of the winemakers not included in the Gault Millau WeinGuide (Bastgen Gessinger and St. Nikolaus-Hospital are included in the Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland 2011) make very good wine, at very reasonable prices.

The Wines Fran Poured

Picture: The Wines Fran Poured

2010 Jean Reverdy Sancerre “La Reine Blanche” (Loire, France) 17.99

2009 Gaudrelle Vouvray Clos de Vigneau (Loire, France) 13.99

2010 Bastgen Riesling Qba Blauschlefer (Mosel, Germany) 13.99

2010 Mordoree Tavel Rose “La Dame Rousse” (Rhone, France) 24.99

2009 Cotes du Rhone Clos Hermitage (Lanzac) Segries (Southern Rhone, France) 27.99

2009 Mordoree Lirac “La Dame Rousse” (Southern Rhone, France) 19.99

2009 Mordoree Lirac “Reine des Bois” reg (Southern Rhone, France) 37.99

2009 Cave de Tain Crozes Hermitage (Northern Rhone, France) 29.99

2008 Thorn Clarke Shotfire Quartage (Australia) 14.99

2009 Thorn Clarke Shotfire Shiraz (Australia) 17.99

2008 Mullineaux Syrah (South Africa) 29.99

schiller-wine: Related Postings

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Morton’s Steakhouse Presented Peter Mondavi Jr. at a Charles Krug Winemaker Dinner

Meeting a Rhone Ranger and Tasting His Wines - Sherman Thacher from Paso Robles in California

Meeting Rupert Symington from the Symington Family - One of the Oldest Families of Port Producers

Christian G.E. Schiller Leads Tasting of US-American Wines in Hochheim, Germany

Wine and International Women Day 2010

Tasting Leo Hillinger Red Wines with Leo Hillinger’s Assistant Winemaker Michael Hoeffken and US Importer Klaus Wittauer

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