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Today's email feature's 15 wines from three of our favorite estates. All three practice superb, thoughtful, organic or Biodynamic farming, harvest by hand and ferment their wines naturally with wild yeasts and use minimal SO2. All three make unique, distinctive, honest wines that are perfect for everyday drinking and some will cellar nicely for ten to fifteen years. These domains honor their great terror, whether it be the high-altitude granit of the Roussillon, the brown shist of the Languedoc or the limestone and clays of Blaye and Bourg. They are inexpensive, but sometines quality and authenticity are not a matter of price...
Domaine Thierry Navarre: "Twelve hectares of vines planted on brown schist terraces. The environment is a group of small mountains covered with holm oaks, arbutus, heather, cistus, rosemary, thyme... The landscape is a jewel of the Haut Languedoc. The vineyard work is done with respect for the land, the cycles, the seasons. Cultivation without chemicals using compost, natural preparations, plant infusions, nettle, manure, plowing and hoeing the soil. The harvest is manual, in small teams of 7 people. Grenache, Carignan, Cinsault, Syrah for the St Chinian wines, Œillade, Terret, Merlot, Muscat, Clairette, Grenache gris, for the Vins de Pays. And Ribeyrenc, one of the oldest grape varieties in the Languedoc, a forgotten grape that we propagated and planted on three south-east facing schist hillsides - an ancient cepage that shows a way for the future given the ambient climate change.' (Thanks to thierrynavarre.com!)
Domaine Laguerre: This is one of our favorite domains in the Roussillon, with high-altitude mountain vineyards producing superb wines of terroir. A visit to Eric, Corinne and Paul in Saint-Martin de Fenouillet requires steep climbs through a mountain pass up to the vineyards at 500 - 600+ meters. Here the granite and gneiss soils, cooler climate, very low yields and Eric's superb organic farming produce distinctive, balanced wines with bright fruit and firm acidities. The Eos Rouge, Blanc and Rosé are sensational values and Le Ciste Blanc is a unique blend of Marsanne, Roussanne, Vermentino, Grenache Blanc and Maccabeu it's one of the most interesting whites of southern France, along with "Oxy" - his extraordinary Grenache Blanc that spends five years sous-voile. The current vintage is 2014 - for any lover of traditional Jura wines, or anyone making chicken with Vin Jaune and morels, this is a must buy!
Château Peybonhomme-les-Tours/Château La Grolet: Back in Stock!
Chambers Street customers need no introduction to these two over-achieving Bordeaux estates owned by the Hubert family, certified organic and Biodynamic since the 1990s. Located in Bourg and Blaye on the right bank of the Gironde (roughly opposite Margaux), and situated on classic gravel and clay/limestone soils, the great farming and winemaking at both domains produces some of the most authentic and affordable wines of Bordeaux.
In addition to the 2020 Peybonhomme-les-Tours, the 2020 Peybonhomme "Quintessence" and the 2020 La Grolet "Origines," we're especially happy to have the 2018 Château La Grolet "Tete de Cuvée" back on the shelf - this cuvée from the estates oldest vines will cellar beautifully for ten to fifteen years and is delicious in its youth as well.
Peybonhomme-les-Tours produces a tiny quantitiy of Bordeaux Blanc - The 2020 "Blanc Bonhomme" shows elegant pear, lemon, herbal and dried flower aromas, with pear, citrus and chalky mineral flavors on the palate. This shows good ripeness again in the 2020 vintage, but with good freshness, and it really shows the terroir with crisp acidity, lovely white fruit, a hint of pineapple and oak and stony flavors in the finish.
All wines discount 10% on a case or mixed Case, pick-up/shipping available Friday 12/16.
Laguerre 2019 Côtes du Roussillon Le Ciste Blanc
Eric Laguerre's "Le Ciste," (named after a flowering bush in and around his vineyards) is certainly one of the most distinctive whites of the Roussillon. Grown in Eric's high-elevation vineyards on acidic soils of decomposed granite, the wine is made from Marsanne, Roussanne, Rolle (Vermentino), Grenache Blanc and Maccabeu. Yields are about 20 Hl/Ha, harvesting is by hand in small baskets, fermentation (wild yeasts) and aging is in small barrels. Complex aromas of lemon oil, thyme, hay and white fruits—a lovely melange with contributions from each variety and especially showing the Marsanne and Roussanne. The palate is dense, stony and saline with herbal, citrus, almond and white fruit flavors. The finish is long with mineral acids and white fruits that linger on the palate. Complex and distinctive as a young wine, this will accompany grilled fish as well as fish and chicken in sauce and goat cheeses, and should develop nicely with a few years of cellaring. Really a Grand Cru of the Roussillon and a great value! DL
Laguerre 2014 IGP Côtes Catalanes Oxy (5 years sous voile)
Eric has once again made a small quantity of "Oxy" - his extraordinary Grenache Blanc that spends five years sous-voile. The current vintage is 2014 (we think) - for any lover of Vin Jaune, or anyone making chicken with vin jaune and morels, this is a must buy! The wine shows lovely herbal, stone, citrus peel and strong oxidative aromas. The oxidation is less apparent on the palate which is extremely elegant and of course shows an intense minerality, with flavors of lemon zest, stone and dried pear, finishing with terrific length. Superb and unique wine! (No added SO2) David Lillie
Navarre 2021 Vin de France Lignieres Blanc
From a vineyard co-planted with old varieties - Ribeyrenc Blanc, Grenache Gris and Clairette du Languedoc - Thierry Navarre makes his unique and delicious "Lignières." It's a delighful wine with slightly spicy and floral aromas of white peach, lemon peel, almond, pear and honeysuckle, dry and dense on the palate, but nicely round and ripe, with mineral, herbal and stone fruit flavors with firm acidity - really lovely, a great aperitif or serve with fish or chicken in sauce, salads, sheep and goat cheeses. Three cheers for Thierry Navarre for making such a delicious, distictive and unusual wine from historic varieties. David Lillie
Navarre 2021 Vin de France Ribeyrenc
An almost extinct grape grown in the Languedoc, Ribeyrenc (Rivairenc) has been preserved mostly due to the work of Thierry Navarre and his father before him, planted on slopes of schist, exposure south-east. It’s thin-skinned and yields a fresh and vibrant red wine with only 11.5% alcohol, and is possibly related to Cinsault. The 2021 is simply delicious! The aromas are complex with red fruits, spice, herbs, tobacco, rose petal and tea-leaf. Low-alcohol and light-bodied and a bit delicate with plum, red currant, spice and smoke on the palate, with a long finish - fresh, floral, and unlike anything else, really a lovely wine ! EL
Navarre 2020 Saint-Chinian Cuvée Olivier
Thierry Navarre's Cuvée Olivier is a blend from old vines of Carignan, Grenache, and Syrah in Thierry’s 12-hectare practicing organic estate situated in the AOC of Saint-Chinian, grown in brown schist soils that give density to the finished wine. On the nose it is deep and complex with dusty dark plum, boysenberry, pink peppercorn, sage, lemon oil, and clementine zest. The palate is poised and structured, leaning towards more smoky and mineral flavors but is balanced by fresh fruit. Blackberries, citrus, and savory herbs come to mind on the finish that lingers on the palate. On day two the palate is beginning to open up with more fruit redolent of pomegranate seeds and minerals. Drink now or cellar for 10 to 15 years. Truly a great wine, perfect with grilled meats, tagines and stews and a fantastic value.
Grolet 2020 Côtes de Bourg "Origines"
Chateau La Grolet has been certified organic and Biodynamic since 2000. Double Guyot pruning, spontaneous winter grass cover. Soil tillage during the spring, every other row ploughed. Treatments combining small quantities of Bordeaux mixture with herbal teas such as horsetail or nettle. The blend is 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet-Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet-Franc, 5% Malbec. The Hubert family's great farming creates this sensational value Bordeaux which is truly a subtle, complex and profound wine. When young, it is dominated by red and black fruit aromas, then as the years pass, cocoa and mild tobacco notes combine with hints of spice and earth. Can be drunk young but is also a very good wine for laying down, recommended cellaring time: 5 - 10 years.
Grolet 2018 Côtes de Bourg Tête de Cuvée
This is the special cuvee of old-vines from Chateau La Grolet. Aromatically extremely ripe and complex, it has cassis liqueur, fig, prune and cedary notes that continue on the palate that is ripe but balanced with good acidty and structure. Long-time biodynamic farming has given this young wine an earthy complexity and depth that is sadly lacking from today's cookie-cutter, oaky, over-extracted Bordeaux. The finish is long with mineral and acid notes balancing the ripe red and black fruits, cocoa and smoke. Lovely to drink now, this wine should be fabulous in 5 to 10 years or more. Congratulatons to our friend Jean-Luc Hubert and family for making the lovely organic wines of Chateau Peybonhomme and Chateau la Grolet!
Laguerre 2021 Côtes du Roussillon Eos Rouge
Eric Laguerre's "Eos Rouge" is an elegant blend of 80% Grenache from 40-year-old gobelet-trained vines, with some Carignan and Syrah from soils of decomposed granite, gneiss, and some veins of quartz. Like "Le Passage," the grapes are fermented in fiber tanks with native yeasts for about two weeks, then aged in concrete. The beautiful 2021 shows bright aromas of cherry, strawberry and black raspberry with hints of blueberry and musk from the Syrah, quite pretty and pure. The palate shows a potpourri of ripe red and black fruits, with earth, cocoa and spice in a refreshing frame of cool acidity and mineral flavors. The high altitude and the primarily granite soils give Eric's wines a bright and vibrant character that makes them great pairings with a wide variety of foods - we loved it with a grilled burger from grass-fed beef, but grilled pork and chicken would be great as well. This is one of the best values in the store - thanks to Eric and Corinne Laguerre for their great organic farming and delicious, affordable wines! David Lillie
Laguerre 2021 Côtes du Roussillon Eos Blanc
The Laguerre EOS Blanc is from high-altitude vineyards in the Roussillon, on granite soils, approximately 65% Grenache Blanc and 35% Macabeu, harvested by hand into small baskets, with low yields, certified organic by Ecocert. Subtle, floral, pear, stone, citrus and herbal aromas with an elegant, round and balanced palate of citrus, white fruits, hay and stone with crisp acidity. Really an elegant, refreshing and unique wine that is a great aperitif and will accompany a full-flavoerd fish dish, chicken and white meats. This is a beatifully made, real wine of terroir at an unbeatable price! David Lillie
Laguerre 2021 Côtes du Roussillon Eos Rosé
(Arrives Feb 2 - last bottles) We've always loved Eric's rather full-bodied rosé, made from Grenache, Carignan and Syrah, but this year he decided to make a lighter, fresher wine from Grenache Gris and Grenache Noir and it's really delicious! it shows a pretty, pale pink color with subtle aromas of rose and raspberry. The palate is fresh, light and round with lovely red and yellow fruit flavors, quite crisp and long. This is a complex, refreshing and delicious rosé and a sensational value! David Lillie
Laguerre 2019 Côtes du Roussillon Le Passage Mourvedre
Eric Laguerre's "Le Passage" is from his highest parcel, at about 2,000 feet, on soils of decomposed granite. Organic farming, natural vinification, aged in used barrels. This version of "Le Passage" is a special 100% Mourvedre cuvée that Eben particularly loved when tasting with Eric last winter.
Navarre 2020 Saint-Chinian Le Laouzil
Thierry Navarre's touchstone "Laouzil" is a blend of equal parts Grenache, Carignan, and Syrah from old vines planted on brown schist ("Laouzil" in the local dialect) soils in the rugged mountains of Roquebrun (Saint-Chinian). The grapes are de-stemmed and aged in neutral barrel before bottling with minimal sulfur. The robe is a lovely red/black in the glass. The wine shows seductive aromas of spiced plums, dried rosemary, and deeper notes of coffee and dry earth. The rich palate is bursting with black fruit flavors, peppercorn, and savory herbs with a structured texture of dense minerals and bright acidity on the long, persistent finish. This is a fascinating wine of terroir that Thierry says will be perfect in 5 years (though it's delicious now!)
Peybonhomme 2020 Premières Côte de Blaye Cru Bourgeois
Biodynamic farming, native yeasts, wild fermentations, good value –all phrases not typically associated with Bordeaux. Yet, each year the Hubert family provides us with just that in their staple cuvee from the Côte de Blaye. The Cru Bourgeois is a blend of mostly Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and a bit of Malbec. Generously aromatic owing to the rich clay soils in which it is grown, This wine offers crushed violets, cassis, and rhubarb on the nose. The palate shows the warm vintage with finesse. Cascades of ripe red fruit, black currant, and spice, with supple tannins and an undercurrent of chalky minerality. This is a great addition to the dinner table alongside grilled meat or sipped on its own.
Peybonhomme 2020 Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux Quintessence
This year's Quintessence from the famille Hubert's estate in the Cotes de Bordeaux is composed of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon from beautiful biodynamically farmed vines on clay limestone soils. The nose is dense and ripe on opening, showing ripe cassis, blackberry and raspberry, with hints of warming spice. With time open, the wine shows increasingly complex aromatic qualities, with more tobacco and earth coming through by hour 4 or 5. On the palate, the fruit is again ripe and dense, with cassis liqueur, ripe blackberry, and black cherry balanced by bristly tannins and limestone minerality on the long finish. After some time open, the palate leans more towards cacao and earth, but the ripe fruit remains dominant. A pleasure now with butter basted rib eye steak or roast beef, it will certainly improve over the next 10 to 15 years...
Peybonhomme 2020 Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux Le Blanc Bonhomme
This is the eleventh vintage of the Hubert family's "Blanc Bonhomme"which seems to get better every year. The vines are now 16 years old, certified organic and Biodynamic. The grapes are hand-harvested in the early morning, pressed gently, fermented with native yeasts and the wine is aged partly in new oak, mostly in cement vats. Only about 650 cases are made. In 2020, Le Blanc is 45% Sauvignon Blanc, 45% Semillon, and 10% Colombard, and shows elegant pear, lemon, herbal and dried flower aromas, with pear, citrus and chalky mineral flavors on the palate. This shows good ripeness again in the 2020 vintage, but with better freshness and lower alcohol than the '18 and '19, and it really shows the terroir with crisp acidity, lovely white fruit, a hint of pineapple and oak and stony flavors in the finish. Really a lovely, balanced and food-friendly wine - serve with anything from oysters to grilled fish to roast chicken.