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The senseless sales of Black Friday are over, time to focus on the real deal, such as delicious natural wines from Pierre-O Bonhomme, the Mosse family, Hervé Villemade and our new favorite, Le Monde est Petit! Not to mention Biodynamic wines from Domaine de la Chevalerie and Luneau-Papin and... the return of Stéphane Guion's beautiful 2019 Bourgueil Cuvée Domaine!
Pierre-Olivier Bonhomme was the kid who was always hanging around while Jean-Marie and Thierry Puzelat paved the way along with Olivier Lemasson and Hervé Villemade (among many more of course!) for the future of naturally made, "real" wines from the Loire et Cher. I remember when a customer was curious if the "In KO we Trust" would be as good by Pierre-O alone as it was in the days of the Puzelat-Bonhomme label, little knowing that Pierre-O had been making the wine on his own for years without Thierry's assistance! Now a decade later (the last "Puzelat-Bonhomme" Tesniere we sold was 2013 vintage), Pierre-O's wines are without question some of the most honest and soulful of the Loire Valley scene.
We're happy to have a last little round of the pitch-perfect Pineau D'Aunis 'La Tesnière' from him along with the always charming Telquel. It wouldn't be a Loire party without some Mosse wines, so we have to come correct with some Magic of Ju-Ju and the fresh red blend "Le Bisou." Villemade Cour-Cheverny's are the sleeper hit of this offer. If you know someone who says Romarantin is their favorite white grape (or if that's you) the 2011 Chataigniers and the mag (sorry mags only!) of 2009 Acacias are exquisite, rich and dense yet balanced expressions of this rare grape from the Loire et Cher.
Many of the aforementioned producers are household names for Loire Valley afficianados, but we would like to take a moment to introduce Le Monde est Petit, a new estate that we started working with this year, from Tigné, in the southern part of the Anjou appelation.
Hervé Cormier is the winemaker, a promising and humble talent who spent time working with Olivier Cousin among others, and is employing a natural approach to his farming and winemaking, in the spirit of his mentors. Here is a short description of the domaine that Hervé and his business partner Arnaud provided to us!
"Le Monde est Petit (“It’s a Small World”) is a small and young winery born in 2018, in Tigné, Anjou, created by Arnaud Legros and Hervé Cormier. 3.5 hectares of Cabernet Franc, Grolleau, and Chardonnay, where high-quality craftsmanship takes priority over producing large quantities.We use only natural and artisanal methods for cultivation and vinification (no herbicides or pesticides in the vineyard, work horses to improve the health of the soil and crops, natural fermentation, no sulfites added, no filtration).Therefore, our wines are original from one year to the next, according to the climate and the land."
I tasted with Hervé last winter and really enjoyed his laid back and matter of fact personality, and the wines of course! Visiting the small micro-domaine was a treat, and everything I expected: very humble, and low-tech. Though the Chardonnay is quite nice, straighforward and well-balanced, the reds were the main attraction here, from Cabernet Franc of course, and Grolleau as well. Here, we start to see clay and limestone, less of the Schist that the Anjou appelation is partly known for. There are also sandy soils rich minerals and stones. We're excited to introduce the wines to the our readers and to the US! Across the board, they are fantastic values and play well between vibrant 'natural' and earthy 'classic'. - Eben Lillie
Quantities are limited, please allow until Thursday Dec 1st for pick-up and shipping.
This is a fresh and friendly, direct press of Chardonnay, which is aged for 6 months in fiberglass tanks. I think of it as the perfect salad or grilled cheese wine. It is clean, unoaked, with subtle orchard fruit on the nose, crisp finish, a bit like what you'd expect from a Chardonnay mixed with what you'd expect from a Muscadet. Pleasant, stony and well balanced. -EL
A big hit locally already, the Cabernet des Touches is Cab Franc from 60+ year old vines on clay and limestone soils. Fermentation is whole cluster for 5-6 days. Vibrant, and dare I say "barnyardy" on the nose, with pure red fruit and a little chalky mineral character in the finish. Very nice, clean and energetic. -EL
My original notes on this charming Cab Franc contained a reference to its "easy, Bistrot style," which to me is what I very often want more than anything - a wine that over-delivers for the price, goes well with snacks, dinner, and conversation, and satisfies without being too powerful. Apparently a wine "Sur le zinc" refers to the zinc bar, implying that this is a perfect red to put back with friends. Where the Cabernet des Touches comes from argile-calcaire (clay-limestome) soils, this is from sandy soils. Grapes are destemmed here instead of whole-cluster, there's a bit more 'grapiness' and earthiness to this Cab Franc, which is by no means a downside! -EL
This is a deep dark and flavorful expression of the local Grolleau grape. Known to have big berries, big acid and big fruit, the Grolleau here has it all, with a cassis profile and purple fruit to the freshness and smoothness of the subtle tannins. Quite 'gulpable' too at 11.5% ! Enjoy on its own or with snacks and feel free to give it a light chill!
This is a light and lovely expression of Pineau d'Aunis from Pierre-Olivier Bonhomme, from vines near the Cher river on clay with silex in organic and biodynamic farming. Aged in old futs and demi-muids, bottled without filtration, minimal SO2. The 2021 shows a pretty light red color with subtle aromas of ripe raspberry, citrus, white pepper and violets, really pretty. The palate is vibrant and bright with raspberry, cranberry and cherry, quite light in body with lip-smacking acidity and a beautifully refreshing finish of minerals, earth and pretty red fruits. This is a delightfully refreshing version of Pineau d'Aunis - serve cool! David Lillie
This "poil dur" is wagging its tail again in 2021, with the brightness and balance of the old days at 11.5% alcohol, really refreshing and delicious! The wine shows bright plum, raspberry and green apple fruit with a bit of earth and spice. The palate is light and fresh but with nice density of fruit - raspberry, red currant and cherry with bright acidity, quite "gouleyant" - lip smacking and tasty that is, reminding us of the Ducroux Exspectatia...yum! The blend in 2021 is still based on Gamay, with Cabernet Franc, and some Syrah and Grenache from the Roussillon (noted from tasting with Pierre-O in February 2022).
Every year the Mosse Family creates a new and delicious version of their "Magic of Ju-Ju" - in 2021 the wine is 60% Chenin and 40% Sauvignon Blanc and we suspect that it's 100% vibrant and delicious!
This years Bisou by the Mosse Family was made with Grolleau Noir and Gris, Gamay, Cabernet Franc and Chenin. The grapes underwent a short semi-carbonic maceration, the wine aged for 8 months in foudres and shows a bright raspberry color with an expressive nose of blackberries, cardamon and fresh figs. The is a delightfully refreshing light red to serve cool - save some for next summer!
Hervé Villemade's 2020 Cheverny Blanc is a lovely and versatile wine, a bit brighter and more refreshing than the previous two vintages, made from 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Chardonnay grown on flinty sand and clay soils. The wine shows pretty aromas of pear, green apple, citrus peel, almond and stone with hints of white flowers. The palate is vibrant and fresh with good density, with white and yellow fruits, ripe citrus, a bit of anise and herbal flavors and is nicely balanced with firm acidity. This is a delicious and refreshing everyday white that will accompany most seafood dishes, chicken, white meats and goat cheeses. Very low SO2.
We won't get to try this as there are only 6 btls, but here's our note on the 2010 - Herve Villemade's 2010 Cour-Cheverny is 100% Romoratin grown in vineyards planted in 1964 and 1988 which is bottled after 2 years of aging in a 500L barrel."A wine with good aging potential" says Hervé and we couldn't agree more, having tasted examples from the 1950s at the Clos Roche Blanche. Truly an impressive, aged wine, and a fantastic example of aged, dry Cour-Cheverny. Notes of butterscotch and herbs. Beautiful, long creamy mid-palate, and a lovely slightly oxidative finish with minerals and fresh cut herb notes....
Ten-year old Cour-Cheverny from Hervé Villemade? Yes, please!
Wow, the 2021 Villemade Rosé is 80% Pineau d'Aunis and 20% Pinot Noir and it weighs in at a lovely 11% alcohol. Yum, sign me up!!
Our friend Hervé Villemade made another gorgeous "Les Ardilles" in 2020. Made from 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Gamay grown on sandy clay with silex over limestone in Cheverny with yields of about 25 hl/ha. There was a 20-day maceration with light extraction followed by aging in old barrels and amphora, with no added SO2 during vinificaton. The wine is particularly elegant and intriquing in the excellent 2020 vintage. The nose is a bit closed, with deep, brambly black cherry/black raspberry fruit with earth and minerals, adding notes of citrus peel, spice and licorice with air. The palate elegant, light and fresh, with sapid black cherry and raspberry, chalky and bright with velvety tannins and firm acidity. The finish is clean, elegant and long with beautiful sapid, ripe black fruits, minerals and citrus. Just a great natural wine, only 10mg/l SO2. Decant if drinking now, best 2023 - 2030
2020 is another excellent vintage for the Luneau-Papin "L" d'Or in a ripe, dense style but with a bit more brightness than the 2019 that makes it a superb Muscadet for current drinking and medium-term aging as well. The wine shows a fairly ripe gold color and complex aromas that are a great combination of ripeness and vibrant acidity, including pear, almond, stone, citrus and exotic fruit with anise and herbs. The palate is dense and long with ripe yellow and white fruits, almond and marzipan, really delicious, with the wine's unique granitic acidity hidden below, the sapid fruit. The wine remains a good candidate for aging - it's Luneau-Papin's only cuvee on a granite subsoil (granit a deux micas in Vallet) having a different character than the granite soils in Clisson or Chateau Thebaud. The vines are approximately 50 years old and and are farmed with organic and biodynamic methods. Vintages going back to 1989 of the L d'Or are superb now, but this very young 2020 would be perfect today with full-flavored fish dishes such as halibut and monkfish or with lobster and even white meats in sauce. David Lillie
(Arrives Monday 11/21) The Chevalerie "Galichets" vineyard is on mid-slope Turonian limestone with clay and alluvial sand and gravel topsoil, rich in silex; the vines average about 60 years of age - similar to the "Chevalerie" parcel but a bit lower on the slope, giving a wine that is more open and easy for early drinking. The 2015 vintage is excellent, with a bit more ripeness and lower acidity than 2014, while retaining the core of minerals and acidity aslways found in the Chevalerie wines. The aromas of black raspberry and blackberry fruit are ripe and floral. The palate is dense and silky, very mineral with ripe red and black fruits and a clean vibrant finish. Still quite youthful, I would open this bottle the night before or give it a long decant, best perhaps 2022 - 2035. David Lillie
(Arrives Monday, 11/21) Peu Muleau is located on the upper part of the hill in Bourgueil, just below the forest, on Cenozoic eolian sands with iron, clay and altered limestone tuffeau. The vines are around 35 years old, and farmed biodynamically. The maceration lasts less than 20 days. Aging is done in a mix of tank and large used barrels with less and less oak. This is the earliest drinking single-vineyard cuvée, always on the raspberry and wild violet with very supple tannins, but you can keep it up to 10 years without a problem. Peu Muleau is always more linear than Les Galichets - it does not have the same clay-gravel flesh, dancing on its feet with great elegance. The 2015 shows a bright red color and aromas that are more earth than fruit with subtle raspberry, strawberry, citrus and spice. The palate is a lovely blend of earth and red fruits, fairly tight but quite elegant with firm acidity and mineral flavors blending with raspberry and violet in the finish. Warning - not a fruit bomb and best suited to those who like some rocks in their wine. Best to decant or cellar 3 - 5 years. David Lillie
The World's Best Value in Cabernet Franc is back! - This is another beautiful wine from the shy and affable Stéphane Guion who is quietly making some of the best wines in Bourgueil. His 2019 Cuvèe Domaine is from not-so-young (15 to 40 year-old) vines, mostly on clay/limestone terroir in Benais and is equal to the superb 2018 with perhaps a bit more brightness to the fruit. The wine shows a vibrant black/red color and lush aromas of raspberry and blackberry confit, dark chocolate and violets - very deep and ripe but still bright with earthy hints as well. The palate is medium-bodied and very fresh with firm acidity and chalky, saline mineral flavors framing the very ripe, chalky red and black fruits, which continue in the long sappy finish. Drink now, served cool, with grilled chicken and pork, charcuterie, green vegetables and mild cheeses, or hold 5 to 8 years for a velvety mature experience. This is a beautiful wine and a sensational value! David Lillie