Pierre, Emmanuel and Stéphanie Calsot, Domaine de la Chevalerie

Fabulous Loire Reds from Domaine de la Chevalerie, Terres Blanches, Pierre Breton, Chateau du Coulaine and Source du Ruault!

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We're very happy to feature a few lesser known Loire Valley estates that we really love in today's email, principally the wonderful Domaine de la Chevalerie in Bourgueil. "Wine has no value unless it's shared" says the Caslot family at Chevalerie. And in fact during our visits to the Salon des Vins de Loire (going back more than 25 years!) we would always stop by the Chevalerie booth, where instead of coats and ties and careful sipping, there would be a crowd of happy drinkers, enjoying the old vintages allways offered by the Caslots. I found the wines a bit rustic back then, but with the new generation came biodynamic agriculture and good work in the cellar, producing elegant wines from each different terroir of Bourgueil. (And happily the Caslots have retained their "esprit hedoniste," making their tastings a great pleasure - be sure to come by on Friday, March 30th when the irrepressible Stéphanie Caslot invades Chambers Street!) The 2014 vintage at Chevalerie was a great success, as at many estates in Chinon, Bourgueil and Saumur-Champigny. The 2014 Bourgueil "Les Galichets" is a superb wine and a fabulous value, offering a beautifully balanced blend of fruit and minerals, with perfect acidity - it's an elegant Cabernet Franc to enjoy now or to cellar. From the "Galichet" vineyard with it's sandy clay soils over the Turonian limestone, we move up the hill slightly to "Busardières" and "Grand Mont," both on shallow clay soils with mica over the limestone. This is the finest terroir for Bourgueils to age, and the 2009 "Busardière" is a glorious wine in mid-life that will keep nicely another ten years. A bit higher on the slope, "Grand Mont" may be the best site in Bourgueil combining great elegance with power and long-aging. These are oustanding wines that are rarely seen in the US and we urge you to try them!

South of Saumur and west of Chinon (but legally in Anjou) is the sleepy village of Oiron where Benoit Blet at Domaine des Terres Blanches makes superb organic wines on an interesting terroir of sandstone (grès) under sandy clay topsoils. We have been fascinated by the subtle and complex fruit and terroir expression of Benoit's wines at recent tastings in France and have finally succeeded in bringing a few of these lovely and well-priced wines into Chambers Street.  The 2015 Anjou "Les Hautes Bruyères" is a unique wine that offers a distinctively different and delicious version of Cabernet Franc. And the 2016 "Pot de Vache" Gamay de Bouze is a wonderfully juicy and earthy expression of this seldom seen grape.

For sheer value, it's hard to beat the delicious 2015 Saumur-Champigny from Jean-Noël Millon at La Source du Ruault. We've just received another shipment of this gorgeous Cabernet Franc from organic vineyards of clay over limestone in Varrains. The grapes are hand harvested, fermented with wild yeasts, aged in stainless steel vat and bottled with zero or minimal sulfur depending on the vintage. The wine shows lovely aromas of ripe raspberry and strawberry with violet, orange peel, pepper and brown spice. There is a nice chalky density on the palate with lush berry fruits, earth, citrus and spice with a juicy, supple finish balanced with firm acidity. Yum! $14.99!!

Chatesu de Coulaine (Bert Celce, Wineterroirs.com)

Back in 1985 we visited the Château de Coulaine in Beaumont-en-Veron (Chinon) and met Etienne de Bonaventure, who had just taken over the estate from his parents. Etienne converted the estate to organic and biodynamic agriculture and made superb wines, certainly among the finest in Chinon. Time goes by, and Etienne's son Jean has taken over the winemaking and was in the store pouring his wines last week. The 2016 Chateau de Coulaine was a big hit - it's a wonderful value, a velvety and delicious Chinon for everyday. The estate makes three single vineyard wines, which are not normally imported, but a small quantity of the superb 2014 Chinon "Les Picasses" has again arrived at CSW.  The vines are at the top of the vineyard with southern exposure, on the classic clay/limestone "tuffeau." The wine shows a dark red/black color with beautiful aromas of ripe strawberry and black-raspberry with earth, citrus and spice, really deep and pretty. This is an outstanding "Les Picasses" which can be enjoyed now and will cellar beautifully - best perhaps 2022 to 2040?

Speaking of 2014, one of the top wines in this excellent vintage is certainly the beautiful Domaine Pierre Breton Bourgueil "Clos Sénéchal" - any lovers of Loire reds who don't have this wine in their cellar, should grab a few now before it's gone! Also from 2014, we'd like to mention the delicious 2014 Saumur Blanc "La Coulée d'Aunis" from La Source du Ruault. With prices of white Chinon now ranging from $30 to $45, this superb Chenin Blanc, from a great south-facing hill north of Varrains, represents a great value. "It shows ripe but subtle aromas of pear, apple, citrus, lime-flower, hay and earth; the palate is very mineral, with ripe lemony white fruits, almond, stone and herbal flavors and a very long intense chalky finish."  We seem to like it - please give it a try!

Chevalerie 2014 Bourgueil Les Galichets

We're big fans of the Caslot family at Domane de la Chevalerie, who  make soulful Bourgueils from organic vineyards on their varied terroirs.  The Chevalerie vineyard is on mid-slope Turonian limestone with clay and alluvial sand and gravel topsoils, rich in silex; the vines average about 60 years of age. The 2014 vintage in Bourgueil and Chinon is excellent and the 14s at Domaine de la Chevalerie are absolutely superb!  This wine is a fabulous mix of fruit and minerals, perfectly balanced and with terrific length: dense black/red color, with aromas that blend soil, stone and black-raspberry fruit with hints of cocoa and violet. The palate is dense and supple and intensely mineral - a blend of stone  and cool red fruits lifted by firm acidity, with the bright fruit continuing in the long mineral finish. This is a beautiful Bourgueil that can be enjoyed now with roast chicken, pork dishes, even a steak - or hold for ten to fifteen years for a mature experience. It's a faulous value at $19.99 - congratulations to the Caslots! David Lillie

  • red
  • 13 in stock
  • $19.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur
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Chevalerie 2012 Bourgueil Grand Mont

A price reduction from the importer enables us to sell the last two cases at a lower price - take advantage!  "Grand Mont" is one of the greatest sites in Bourgueil - a south facing slope on turonian limestone with shallow sandy clay soils, rich in mica. Wines from this vineyard are built to age and this rare bottling from Domaine de la Chevalerie is a beautiful example. 2012 Loire reds are not big wines, but they have lovely bright fruit and are beautifully balanced with refreshing acidity. The 2012 "Grand Mont" shows elegant aromas of black raspberry and strawberry with violet, earth, dark chocolate, citrus and game.  The palate shows silky tannins and complex red and black fruits - beautifully balanced with bright acidity and mineral flavors. This is really elegant and Burgundian, very long and built to last. Open the day before if drinking now, this will be a beautiful mature wine.  David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $38.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Chevalerie 2011 Bourgueil Grand Mont

Stéphanie, Emmanuel and Pierre Caslot are the current proprietors of this 400 year-old estate in Bourgueil. With excellent parcels on all the varied terroirs of Bourgueil they produce delicious old-school wines with great organic farming and natural vinifications with low sulfur. "Grand Mont" is one of the greatest sites in Bourgueil - a south facing slope on turonian limestone with shallow sandy clay soils, rich in mica. Though not considered a great vintage, the 2011s from the best sites in Bourgueil are turning out beautifully, such as the Breton "Les Perrieres" and the Chevalerie "Grand Mont." Denser and more opulently fruited than the 2012, the 2011 "Grand Mont' shows a deeper, darker color and ripe aromas of blackberry, black plum, violet, earth, game, and blood orange. The palate is round and supple with quite earthy red and black fruits with a lovely finish of dense red fruits, earth and citrusy acids. I would drink this sooner than the 2012 - delicious now with a long decant, best perhaps 2023 - 2030. Beautiful wine. David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $44.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Chevalerie 2009 Bourgueil Busardière

Stéphanie and Emmanuel Caslot are the current proprietors of this 400 year-old estate in Bourgueil. With excellent parcels on all the varied terroirs of Bourgueil they produce delicious old-school wines with great organic farming and natural vinifications with low sulfur. "Busardières is a great mid-slope parcel on Turonien limestone with clay rich in mica.Tasted in France in February, 2018, the 2009 Busardières showed beautifully, with complex aromas, both primary and maturing, of floral black raspberry with earth, musk , citrus and licorice. The palate shows earthy black-raspberry with cool acidity, plum skin, spice, citrus and mineral flavors, really delightful! A great food wine with a great balance of ripeness and eathy acidity, this is lovely now, in mid-life, and will be superb with ten to fifteen more years in the cellar. Only 60 bottles and only at Chambers Street!  David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $32.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Terres Blanches (Benoit Blet) 2015 Anjou Les Hautes Bruyères

South of Saumur and west of Chinon (but legally in Anjou) is the sleepy village of Oiron where Benoit Blet at Domaine des Terres Blanches makes superb wines on an interesting terroir of sandstone(grès) under sandy clay topsoils. "Les Hautes Bruyères" is from old vines of Cabernet Franc; the wine undergoes a long slow fermentation with wild yeasts and is then gravity-fed into small 2 to 5 year-old barrriques for 18 months of aging. This is a unique and delicious Cab Franc that shows an opaque black/red color and intriguing aromas of ripe black raspberry and plum with hints of mint, citrus and earth. The palate is ripe and supple with an earthy texture, showing pretty blackberry and cassis fruit with bitter chocolate, citrus and mineral flavors that linger on the long finish. A bit different from either an Anjou or Chinon red, the Hautes Bruyères will accompany a variety of poultry and pork dishes and will be great with grilled foods this summer, served a bit cool.  David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $17.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Terres Blanches (Benoit Blet) 2016 Vin de France Pot de Vache (Gamay de Bouze)

Gamay de Bouze "the first red-juiced Gamay to be observed, in the village of Bouze, near Beaune, in the nineteenth centrury" says Jancis Robinson. Whatever it is, the resulting wine from Benoit Blet at "Les Terres Blanches" is quite delicious, showing bright aromas of black currant liqueur with dark chocolate and mint and herbs with earthy, slightly gamey bright black fruits on the palate with hints of cocoa. Very refreshing with nice length of bright berry fruits and mineral flavors in the finish. This is a lovely and distinctive Gamay - serve cool with charcuterie, chicken and pork dishes and burgers off the grill. (And it's tied with Donneurs du Temps for label of the year!)

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $18.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Source du Ruault 2015 Saumur-Champigny Rouge

Jean-Noêl Millon at La Source du Ruault has 13 hectares on turonian limestone in Saumur-Champigny, organic since 2007 and using biodynamic methods. The "regular" Saumur-Champigny is from younger vines on clay and sandy soils over the limestone; the wine is hand harveted, fermented with wild yeasts, aged in stainless steel vat and bottled with zero or minimal sulfur depending on the vintage. The 2015 is a beautiful  wine and a superb value, showing lovely aromas of ripe raspberry and strawberry with violet, orange peel, pepper and brown spice. There is a nice chalky density on the palate with lush berry fruits, earth, citrus and spice with a juicy, supple finish balanced with firm acidity. This delicious and versatile wine will accompany chicken and pork dishes, grilled foods, charcuterie and full-flavored cheeses. Serve cool and enjoy!  David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $14.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Coulaine 2016 Chinon Cuvée Domaine

This is a delicious fresh wine from Chateau de Coulaine, a 12-hectare estate operated by Etienne and Pascale de Bonnaventure, who have been practicing organic and biodynamic farming since 1988. This 100% Cabernet Franc wine comes from the youngest vines near the Chateau, along the Vienne river, grown on clay/limestone and sandy clay soils.  Harvested by hand, the grapes are macerated at cold temperatures and aged in concrete vats with little extraction and fining. Sulfur is added at minimal dosage at bottling. The nose shows a pretty aromatic bouquet of dark and red cherry, dark raspberry, strawberry, violet, chocolate, dark tobacco, light pyrazine and savory notes. The palate is vibrant with fresh acidity and silky tannin. A wine full of energy, drink it with light fares such as grilled pork chops, roasted chicken and light cheese. Caroline Coursant    


  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $17.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Coulaine 2014 Chinon Les Picasses

This is a sensational "les Picasses" from Etienne and Pascale de Bonnaventure at Chateau de Coulaine, who have been practising organic and biodynamic agriculture since taking charge in 1988. The parcel is at the top of the vineyard with southern exposure, on the classic clay/limestone "tuffeau" in Beaumont-en-Veron. This quite dense and powerful Chinon is aged in one-third new barrels and barrels of one and two wines.The wine shows a dark red/black color with beautiful aromas of ripe strawberry and black-raspberry with earth, citrus and spice, really deep and pretty. The palate is quite dense and a bit tight, with dark berry fruits framed in  a touch of oak. The fruit is elegant and deep and the wine finishes with black fruits, earth, firm acidity and elegant tannins. This is a "serious" Chinon of terroir that will age beautifully, best 2022 to 2035.    David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $27.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Breton, Catherine et Pierre 2014 Bourgueil Clos Sénéchal

The Clos Sénéchal is a south-facing mid-slope vineyard, with soils of clay and limestone over the Turonian limestone bedrock. The vines are 35 to 50 years old, replaced slowly by massale selection. The grapes are hand-harvested into 20 kilo crates, there is a three-week alcoholic fermentation with wild yeasts, no added SO2. Two year elevage in Grenier foudres with minimal SO2 added before bottling. The 2014 is a superb example of Clos Sénéchal showing a deep red/black color and aromas of ripe blackberry and cassis with earth, violet, pepper, spiced citrus and animal notes. The palate is deep and ripe with fantastic density of fruit but perfectly balanced with firm acidity at only 12.5% alcohol. There is a fine-grained, intense texture with pure black fruits, earth, graphite and dark chocolate that continue in the long, focused finish. This is a wine of earth and elegance that is enjoyable in its youth, decanting advised - or hold for 5 to 8 years, perhaps best 2025 to 2040 and beyond. Save your money on C*** R******* and put some Clos Sénéchal in your cellar!

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $32.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Source du Ruault 2014 Saumur Blanc "La Coulee d' Aunis"

This is a lovely Chenin Blanc from our organic friends at La Source du Ruault. Ripe but subtle aromas of pear, apple, citrus, lime-flower, hay and earth lead to the palate which is very mineral, with ripe lemony white fruits, almond, stone and herbal flavors and a very long intense chalky finish. A beautiful and very young Chenin that is scintillating and delicious now, best after a few days open or ten years in the cellar. Highly recommended! David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $22.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur