Le Clos Guillot in Spring

The "View From the Cellar" Looks at the Loire!

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Sometimes a new pair of eyes, or tastebuds, can suggest a few new discoveries or remind us of how good some of our favorite wines really are. Such is the case with John Gilman's "The View from the Cellar" especially his "Annual Loire Valey Report," which just arrived. Many of the wines we have offered over the past year receive enthusiastic reviews and we have found a few new wines that belong on our shelves.

Let's begin with Muscadet! We are tireless advocates for cellaring the finest wines of the Pays Nantais and Mr. Gilman is equally rhapsodic over the joys of drinking mature Muscadet. Here are some of his suggestions which are well known to CSW customers and which deserve a place in your cellar. The problem will be leaving them alone long enough as they are so delicious as young wines as well. I need to refill my crawl space as the 2014s and 2017s are almost gone which is really a crime...

2019s from Domaine de la Pépière!

Thank you, Marc, for 35 years of great wine!

"Today, Rémi Branger and Gwénaëlle Croix admirably run Domaine de la Pépière, keeping alive the same vision and commitment to exceptional quality that were the hallmarks of Marc Ollivier’s long career and the estate remains one of the very finest in Muscadet. But, there are still in the pipeline new releases from the cellars of Marc’s last vintage at the estate from 2019, including the Crus of Gorges, Château Thébaud and Monnières-Saint-Fiacres, that lovers of Muscadet would be very well-served to snap up for their cellars, as all three wines are brilliant."  We'll add a few lines from Mr. Gilman to our notes below, but the basic message is that when you uncork one of these wines in 10 or 20 years or more, it will definitely make you smile...! And for around $30 per bottle - try to buy white Burgundy as good for 3 times the price! Maybe 10 times the price...

And more - 2020 "Clisson" "On the palate the wine is bright, full-bodied and rock solid at the core, with a fine girdle of acidity, superb focus and grip, lovely mineral drive and a very long, seamlessly balanced and youthfully complex finish." 2022 "Les Gras Moutons" "On the palate the wine is vibrant, full-bodied, focused and complex, with superb depth of fruit at the core, lovely mineral drive and grip, zesty acids and a long, impeccably balanced and very, very classy finish. This is superb Muscadet!" We couldn't agree more - 2022 may be the best vintage ever for this gorgeous wine from a terroir of Gneiss. Drink over the next ten years...$22.99??

A few new Reds...

Marc Plouzeau

2019 Marc Plouzeau Chinon "Les Cornuelles"  This small parcel is situated on the left bank of the Vienne, on soils of limestone pebbles ("cornuelles")  with clay and silex over the limestone bedrock. The estate has been organic for 20 years, harvesting is by hand, vinifications are with wild yeasts, aging is in used 500 liter barrels." "This is still a young wine by any stretch of the imagination and will demand cellaring time to properly soften up on the backend, but it is going to be an absolutely stunning bottle of Chinon once it is ready to drink!"  Drink until 2075 says John - we're not sure you should wait that long, but at the reasonable price, this seems like a good bet for cellaring!

Clotilde Legrand

2017 Clotilde Legrand Saumur-Champigny "Chaintrée" "The “la Chaintrée” bottling from Clotilde Legrand is raised in older barrels for three years prior to bottling The 2017 is the “new release” of this excellent Saumur-Champigny, coming in at fourteen percent octane and delivering a deep and refined aromatic constellation of dark berries, cassis, cigar wrapper, a beautiful base of tuffeau chalky soil tones, juniper berry and upper register smokiness. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, elegant and shows off superb depth in the mid-palate, with fine focus and grip, ripe, buried tannins, seamless balance, great soil signature and a very long, energetic and complex finish. This is truly great Saumur-Champigny! It is certainly approachable at six years of age, but it is still fairly chewy on the backend and its plateau of peak maturity is still several years down the road."  We have enjoyed the Legrand Chenins and we can't wait to try this very serious sounding Saumur-Champigny!

And an old favorite...

2020 Bernard and Matthieu Baudry "Le Clos Guillot" Le Clos Guillot is a beautiful south-east facing vineyard, just east of the town of Chinon, above the Clos de l'Olive and adjacent to Le Chêne Vert. The upper slope of the parcel is clay over limestone (the lower part has sand and gravel over the rock, which permitted a tiny separate production from franc de pied vines, now mostly deceased) and the vines are young, planted from 1993 to 2000. Fermentation in wooden cuves, 12 months of aging in three to ten year-old barriques, 9 additional months in unlined cement vats. We have been buying this wine since it's first production in 2000 – it's one of the most elegant and Burgundian of Chinons. "On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and very elegant in profile, with lovely soil signature and core of fruit, fine-grained tannins, excellent focus and grip and a long, seamlessly balanced and nascently complex finish. This is so cunningly balanced that it is relatively approachable today, but it is still quite primary in personality and to drink it now is to commit infanticide! I would not touch a bottle until it is ten years of age, just to allow it to truly blossom and deliver on all of its considerable promise."

Our thanks to John Gilman for his great work in the Loire Valley (and around the world) - please consider a subscription to this fascinating and informative journal!

Wines are in stock or incoming, please allow until Thursday 10/12 for pickup/shipping. All wines discount 10% on a case or mixed case. (2019 "Gorges" and "Monnières" are last of  stock)

Pépière 2019 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Cru Château Thébaud

The Château Thébaud comes from old vines in vineyards with great terroir on slopes overlooking the river Maine. The granite here (Granite de Château Thébaud, oddly enough) is fissured and permeable by the vine roots which have access to water during dry spells and absorb micro-nutrients along the way.  2009, 2010, 2012 and 2014 here were among the best of the vintage in Muscadet and the 2019 will stand out as well due to the combination of density and minerality with the firm acidity and great ripeness of this very good vintage year for Muscadet. Our tasting in February revealed a superb Muscadet, not marked by the heat of the vintage, showing crystalline white fruit and stone flavors with firm acidity, fantastic purity, density and length. Of course this will offer briliant drinking as a young wine, but try to put some away for ten years at least. "On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, focused and complex, with marvelous depth at the core, superb soil undertow, zesty acids and a very long, poised and beautifully balanced finish. This is drinking quite nicely today, albeit, with far more complexity to come with extended cellaring. A fine, fine bottle"  VFTC

  • white
  • 6 in stock
  • $31.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic

Pépière 2022 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Les Gras Moutons

Muscadet for Thanksgiving? Yes, if it's the beautiful, ripe and perfectly balanced 2022 Gras Moutons! Les Gras Moutons is a great parcel on gneiss, in layers that permit a deep penetration by the vines, with sandy clay and amphibolite stones. The vines are at the top of a hill and on the south facing slope overlooking the Maine. (The name, by the way, does not refer to fat sheep, despite their presence on the label, but rather in local dialect, to the hilltop vineyard site.) This terroir produces lovely, classic Muscadet to drink young or after short-term cellaring of 5 to 10 years. The 2022 shows a bright very pale gold color. The nose is subtle but complex with a lovely melange of peach, pear, melon, lemon verbena, dried herbs and wet stone. The palate is marked by a nice bitter minerality underlying white fruits and citrus flavors. The finish is pure, clean and refreshing, perfectly balanced at 12% alcohol. This is a lovely Muscadet to enjoy with shellfish, fish and chips, fish in sauce and white meats over the next 10 years. Try to save a few - we're drinking the last of our 2018s which are fantastic...! David Lillie

  • white
  • 20 in stock
  • $22.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
Sorry, the Following have Already Sold

Pépière 2019 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Gorges Cru Communal

(Last of stock) We're ecstatic to have another vintage of this superb new Muscadet from Pépière. The product of an exchange of juice with Fred Lailler at Domaine Bregeon from a tiny parcel of old vines on Gabbro bedrock with clay rich in quartz. The wine undergoes a slow fermentation and is then aged 36 months on the lees. (Marc Ollivier considers this a favorite of Pepiere's bottlings, along with the Château-Thébaud.) The 2019 Gorges is a complex, dense and beautifully structured wine, with  a bit more brightness and acidity than than the superb 2015.  The Gabbro terroir brings unique aromas showing almond, smoke and petrol notes in addition to stone, pear, quince and mushroom. The palate is dense and intensely mineral with ripe pear and quince, earth, almond, anise and citrus notes, with stone, lemon peel and white fruits lingering in the very long finish. If drinking young please give the wine a lengthy decant to release the unique character of this wine - best to wait at least 5 - 6 years before opening, then enjoy until 2042 and beyond.  David Lillie  " The 2019 Gorges from Domaine de la Pépière is simply outstanding, offering up a vibrant and already very expressive bouquet of breadfruit, lemon, sweet leesy tones, briny marine notes, lemongrass and a beautiful base of minerality from the basalt soils of this vineyard. On the palate the wine is zesty, full-bodied and mineral-driven in personality, with an outstanding core of fruit, a fine spine of acidity, excellent focus and balance and a very long, complex and extremely classy finish. This is a great young Muscadet!" VFTC

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $29.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic

Pépière 2019 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Monnières Cru Communal

The 2019 Pépière Cru Communal Monnières - Saint-Fiacre is from a parcel of old vines on bedrock of gneiss, rich in minerals such as feldspar, mica and iron, with sandy limestone topsoils. The Cru is in the heart of the Muscadet region, bordered on the north by the Sevre river and to the southeast by the Maine. Notes from Remi Branger: "After many tastings we decided to keep it three years on the lees before bottling - less fat, more mineral than usual in 2019."  The wine is less dense than "Clisson" and "Château Thebaud" but our notes  indicate an equally great Muscadet - subtle, ethereal, classy, pure and very long. A great wine for drinking over the next ten to fifteen years.  "...all of Marc Ollivier's Crus from 2019 are among the finest young Muscadets that I have ever had the pleasure to taste. His Monnières- Saint Fiacre from the vintage is a stunning young wine, soaring from the glass in a blaze of tart orange, bread fruit, ocean breeze, wet stone minerality, a beautiful foundation of sweet leesy tones and a topnote of dried flowers..." VFTC

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $31.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Pépière 2020 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Clisson Cru Communal

This sensational Cru Communal Clisson spent more than 2 years on the lees before bottling. Rémi Branger on the 2020 vintage "We harvested the 2020s very early, beginning on August 24th, it was a precocious vintage. Maturities advanced quickly but we were able to keep good freshness and some nice bitter notes that were missing a bit in 2018 and 2019." The 2020 Clisson, tasted last month in the Loire, is a great success featuring classic, vibrant aromas of almond, pear, citrus and stone, with a dense very mineral palate with subtle white fruits and a long bright stony finish. This will provide superb early drinking, especially with shellfish and baked cod or sole, but please put some away as 10 to 20 years of cellaring will create something special.    "On the palate the wine is bright, full-bodied and rock solid at the core, with a fine girdle of acidity, superb focus and grip, lovely mineral drive and a very long, seamlessly balanced and youthfully complex finish. At three years of age, the 2020 Clisson is just starting its journey and is clearly at least a decade away from its plateau of peak maturity, but if you are shrewd enough to have more than a few bottles in the cellar, it is hardly a crime to drink one or two in their beautiful youth."  VFTC

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $31.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic

Plouzeau 2019 Chinon Les Cornuelles

This small parcel is situated above and to the east of the town of Chinon, very close to the Baudry's "Le Clos Guillot," on soils of limestone pebbles ("cornuelles")  with clay over the limestone bedrock. The estate has been organic for 20 years, haarvesting is by hand, vinifications are with wild yeasts, aging is in old 450 liter barrels. "The 2019 les Cornuelles offers up a deep and sappy bouquet of sweet dark berries, cassis, a touch of menthol, cigar wrapper, a complex base of dark soil tones, plenty of smokiness and a dollop of tree bark in the upper register. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, focused and rock solid at the core, with lovely sappiness and elegance, a fine undertow of soil tones, ripe, firm tannins and outstanding length and grip on the poised and impeccably balanced finish. This is still a young wine by any stretch of the imagination and will demand cellaring time to properly soften up on the backend, but it is going to be an absolutely stunning bottle of Chinon once it is ready to drink!" Drink until 2075 says John Gilman - we're not sure you should wait that long, but at the reasobable price, this seems like a good bet for cellaring!

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $25.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Legrand, Clotilde 2017 Saumur-Champigny Chaintrée

"The “la Chaintrée” bottling from Clotilde Legrand is raised in older barrels for three years prior to bottling The 2017 is the “new release” of this excellent Saumur-Champigny, coming in at fourteen percent octane and delivering a deep and refined aromatic constellation of dark berries, cassis, cigar wrapper, a beautiful base of tuffeau chalky soil tones, juniper berry and upper register smokiness. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, elegant and shows off superb depth in the mid-palate, with fine focus and grip, ripe, buried tannins, seamless balance, great soil signature and a very long, energetic and complex finish. This is truly great Saumur-Champigny! It is certainly approachable at six years of age, but it is still fairly chewy on the backend and its plateau of peak maturity is still several years down the road."  We have enjoyed the Legrand Chenins and we can't wait to try this very serious Saumur-Champigny!

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $26.99

Baudry 2020 Chinon Le Clos Guillot

Le Clos Guillot is a beautiful south-east facing vineyard, just east of the town of Chinon, above the Clos de l'Olive and adjacent to Le Chêne Vert. The upper slope of the parcel is clay over limestone (the lower part has sand and gravel over the rock, which permitted a tiny separate production from franc de pied vines, now mostly deceased) and the vines are young, planted from 1993 to 2000. Fermentation in wooden cuves, 12 months of aging in three to ten year-old barriques, 9 additional months in unlined cement vats. We have been buying this wine since it's first production in 2000 – it's one of the most elegant and Burgundian of Chinons. It's become increasingly difficult to write superlatives about this wine, as each vintage since 2014 has been superb in it's own way.  And now 2020, a vintage the Baudrys describe as having old fashioned aromas and freshness typical of Chinon in years past, with firm acidity permitting long-term aging. The wine shows subtle, pretty aromas of raspberry,  strawberry, earth, violet and citrus with hints of meat and bitter chocolate, bright and high-toned. The palate is medium-bodied and earthy with a chalky texture and firm acidity. The berry fruits have nice density, light but persistent, merging with mineral flavors in the long and very food friendly finish. This is a beautiful wine for those who appreciate subtlety and earthiness in their Chinons, reminding me of 2012 and 2014. Serve now with monkfish or halibut, roast chicken and white meats. This will be a lovely, light-bodied mature wine in 10 to 20 years.  David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $36.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur