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From 70-80 year-old vines in "Petits Monts" and "Grand Monts" towards the top of the slope above Benais, facing roughly south-west, clay over Turonien limestone (tuffeau, craie micacée). 18-month élevage ; 40% in cuve inox, 20% in one new 400 liter barrel, 20% in one-year and 20% in two-year old barrels, assembled two months before bottling. This is the terroir giving the most elegant and age-worthy Bourgueils and 2018 is a magnificent vintage for this wine! Tasted July 2022, the wine showed a deep red/black color and lush aromas of ripe cassis and black raspberry with hints of brown spice and oak. The palate is a lovely combination of ripe black fruits and bright acidity, dense and supple with graphite and saline minerals under the deep fruits in the very long finish. Forward enough to enjoy now, this will need time to unfold its mysteries and will be a very complex and beautiful mature wine, best to wait 5 years then drink until 2042 and beyond.
2018 brings us another great Cuvée Prestige from Stéphane Guion in Bourgueil, whose domaine has been certified organic since the 1960s. From vines averaging 45 years old on thin topsoils of sandy clay over limestone (tuffau jaune) in Benais, a terroir that produces some of the most elegant and age-worthy Bourgueils. 2018 is a great vintage for Loire reds, despite the very warm and humid spring that brought attacks of mildew. The summer was perfect, warm and dry, without spikes of heat, and the soils retained enough moisture to bring freshness to the very ripe grapes. Tasted with Stéphane in February 2020, the 2018 Prestige showed elegant intensely perfumed aromas of red and black fruit liqueurs. The palate was complex and earthy, very calcaire, dense but not heavy with beautifully supple ripe red and black fruits, with a long finish of saline and mineral flavors quite present below the sappy fruit. We look forward to a more thorough tasting after the wine rests from its voyage, but it's quite clear that this will be delicious to drink as a young wine, and - although it may seem crazy to cellar a $17 wine for 20 to 30 years - those that do will be rewarded with a unique expression of this great terroir. I'm hoping to live to be 100 to have that experience myself! 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
Last bottles - (Retasted in September 2022 - the wine is showing beautifully, with fabulous complexity of fruit and mineral notes, with a great finish - drink over the next 2 years.) 50 years of organic farming and great traditional winemaking give this refreshing, perfectly balanced rosé from our friend Stephane Guion in Bourgueil. The wine shows bright strawberry/raspberry aromas with citrus, rose and earth. Raspberry, blood orange, melon and earthy flavors on the bone-dry palate which is framed in firm acidity and saline minerals. This is a real rosé of terroir, dry and balanced with moderate alcohol which needs a bit of time to open up. Drink now and through 2024, with grilled tuna, roast chicken, grilled pork and charcuterie.