Vines at Verdier-Logel

Awesome Juice! More 2018 Loire Valley Reds  (All Organic or Biodynamic, with Zero or Minimal SO2)

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As we have previously reported, 2018 is a great vintage in the Loire Valley and finally, after many good but very small harvests, a year of good quantity as well, to the great relief of many beleaguered growers, with comparisons to years such as 1989, 1990 and even 1947. We're happy to offer some fantastically delicious new arrivals and we bring your special attention to the rare and vibrant wines of La Grange Aux Belles in Anjou, and from the farthest reaches of the Loire, the beautiful Gamays of Verdier-Logel in the Côtes du Forez...

La Grange Aux Belles was created by Marc Houtin in 2004 (with friend Julien Bresteau joining in 2007) - a classic story of a new career, first looking for vineyards in the Languedoc then finding 9 hectares in Anjou, inspired by Leon Barral in the south and Patrick Baudoin in the Loire. The estate has Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pineau d'Aunis, Gamay, Grolleau and Chenin Blanc, farmed organically of course, using herbal infusions against mildew and vinified with minimal SO2.  Short maceratons are practised here, with minimal extraction, seeking light-bodied aromatic wines, low in tannins and alcohol. This comes as a welcome alternative to the tannic, high-acid reds that have been common in Anjou. The whites here too are light and mineral, very pure and un-tainted by new oak. The wines from Grange Aux Belles are simply delicious - they sell out immediately in France, and are in very short supply in NY - we urge you to try them!

Beginning in 1992, Jacky Logel and Odile Verdier have been producing delicious organic Gamays on basalt and granite soils in the Côtes du Forez, the first - or at least furthest south - Loire Valley wine region, located on slopes of the Massif Centrale about 100km due west of Lyon. Rarely seen in the US, the 2018s of Verdier-Logel are are particularly sappy and delicious, with intriguing minerality from the volcanic and granite soils.

Other juicy and vibrant new arrivals include Noella Morantin's suberb Gamay "La Boudinerie," Pierre-O Bonhomme's elegant "La Tesnière" Pineau d'Aunis, the gorgeous Cheverny "Rouillon" and Touraine "La Butte" from the Clos du Tue-Boeuf, Christian Venir's superb Chevery "Clos des Carteries" and the deliciously funky Pinot Noir from Hervé Villemade - Beuvez toujours, vous ne mourrez jamais!

David Lillie

Grange aux Belles 2018 Vin de France "53" Cabernet Franc

From old vines of Cabernet Franc on schist, most planted in 1953, de-stemmed, short fermentation with no extraction, bottled with minimal or zero SO2. The 2018 "53" shows a bright, deep red/purple color with lovely, very pure aromas of cassis and black raspberry with rose and a hint of spice, really lush and pretty. The palate is supple, round and ripe with dense cassis and berry fruit backed by firm acidity. The alcohol is a bit high, at 14%, but there is nice freshness to the wine and the fruit is extraordinarily pretty. Yum, serve cool and enjoy!! David Lillie

  • red
  • 27 in stock
  • $25.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Morantin 2018 Touraine Gamay "La Boudinerie"

This is a beautiful Gamay from the talented Noella Morantin, who acquired part of the Clos Roche Blanche vineyard and other parcels above the Cher River in Pouillé, Touraine. The 2018 Boudinerie is vinified in carbonic maceration, and shows lovely aromas of morello cherry, black raspberry and violet, quite ripe and pretty. The palate is lush, lively and bright, with nice density and length showing ripe, sappy red fruits, earth and mineral flavors that continue in the refreshing finish. This is a very pretty and versatile wine that will accompany charcuterie, chicken and pork dishes and mild cheeses. Serve cool and enjoy!  David Lillie

  • red
  • 16 in stock
  • $19.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Bonhomme, Pierre-Olivier 2018 Vin de France La Tesniere Pineau D'Aunis

This is a lovely, soft and ripe expression of Pineau d'Aunis from Pierre-Olivier Bonhomme, from vines adjacent to Clos Roche Blanche on clay with silex in organic and biodynamic farming. Aged in old futs and demi-muids, bottled without filtration, minimal SO2. Light red/pink color. The wine shows subtle aromas of wild strawberry and raspberry with rose petal and white pepper, quite elegant and surprisingly delicate in this ripe vintage. The palate is light and pretty with perfect acidity and mineral flavors - this is a beautiful expression of Pineau d'Aunis and a wonderful pairing with any lighter meat dishes and mild chesses. David Lillie

  • red
  • 6 in stock
  • $26.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Bonhomme, Pierre-Olivier 2018 Vin de France Le Telquel

This "poil dur" is wagging its tail again in 2018, showing the extra ripeness of this great vintage in the Loire Valley, with juicy aromas of blackberry, rose, spice and citrus. It's Gamay with a bit of Cabernet Franc in this vintage, with an extra layer of ripeness, and nice density of bright blackberry fruit, a bit floral and spicy. Quite refreshing with good length of lush berry fruits and citrusy acids in the finish. Serve a bit cool with charcuterie, chicken and pork - just delicious!  David Lillie

  • red
  • 1 in stock
  • $17.49

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Roche Bleue 2018 Coteaux du Loir La Guinguette

Sebastien Cornille's lovely 2018 "Guinguette" is made from a blend of 70% Pineau d’Aunis, 20% Gamay and 10 % Cabernet Franc sourced from 30+-year-old vines in biodynamic farming. It undergoes semi-carbonic maceration for 20 days in tank before the Pineau d’Aunis is pressed off to be aged in neutral barrique and the Gamay in tank. The 2018 Guinguette is a superb "vin de soif" offering bright aromas of peppery raspberry, cherry and violets, a bit riper than the 2017. The palate shows light but sappy raspberry, plum and red currant fruit with chalky minerals, spice and citrus. The finish is long and refreshing. Serve this lovely wine slightly chilled with charcuterie, of course, grilled pork and lamb, bluefish (?) and mild cow cheeses.  David Lillie

  • red
  • 10 in stock
  • $21.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Tessier 2018 Cheverny Rouge Le Point du Jour

The Tessier Cheverny Rouge "Le Point du Jour" is made from Pinot Noir and Gamay grown on an east-facing slope of clay/limestone soils. The wine shows lovely ripe aromas of black raspberry, blackberry and spice with violet and citrus. There is a lovely melange of black fruits on the palate that is lush and round but still quite fresh with good density and length.  Serve quite cool with charcuterie, grilled meats and mild cheeses - great on a picnic or summer cookout, drink over the next three or four years. David Lillie

  • red
  • 13 in stock
  • $25.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Villemade, Herve 2018 Cheverny Rouge

(60% Pinot Noir, 40% Gamay grown on sandy clay and flint soils over limestone in Cellettes, Chitenay and Fougères sur Bièvre, AOC Cheverny; 15-day whole cluster fermentation, aged in old barrels) 2018 is another great vintage for this light and lovely Cheverny Rouge from Hervé Villemade; slight reduction then very pretty aromas of plum, strawberry and blood orange with rose and white pepper; tart cherry and chalky raspberry/strawberry fruit on the palate, light but sappy and long with earthy citrus and berry fruits in the refreshing finish. This is a delightfully natural thirst-quenching red - serve cool with any chicken or pork dish, charcuterie and mild cheeses. DL

  • red
  • 17 in stock
  • $19.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Verdier-Logel 2018 Côtes du Forez Cuvée des Gourmets

The Verdier-Logel "les Gourmets" is from the estates oldest Gamay vines, grown on granite terroirs on the slopes of the Massif Centrale, west of Lyon near the upper reaches of the Loire river.  Odile Verdier on 2018: "The very hot and dry month of August posed a real test to achieving proper maturation of the grapes. In the end,  in reward for attentive and hard work in the vineyards, the harvest resulted in very good quality and quantity, Nature gave us a lovely 2018 vintage." Ten-day whole-cluster semi-carbonic vinification. The wine shows a lovely deep red/purple color with ripe aromas of crushed raspberry and red currant, with hints of rose, spice and citrus - ripe but quite bright and fresh. The palate is round and pretty with the berry fruits backed by a nice earthy/mineral character that continues in the refreshing finish. Serve this delicious Gamay a bit cool with roast chicken, grilled meats and mountain cheeses.  David Lillie

  • red
  • 19 in stock
  • $17.49

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Grange aux Belles 2018 Vin de France Brise d'Aunis (Liter)

We are big fans of Pineau D'Aunis, an ancient Loire grape varietal, for the light, earth-driven red wines it creates. This example from La Grange aux Belles is made organically, with low added sulfur. Semi-carbonic maceration for one week with destemmed grapes, and then aging for 6 months. On the nose is an array of savory dried leaves, white pepper and wild cherry, and on the palate plenty of juicy red forest fruits. There's enough structure here to hold up to a roasted chicken or something gamey, but light enough to chill and bring to a rooftop BBQ. Because the yields were quite high, this vintage is bottled by the liter, so more bang for your buck!   ~MD

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $24.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Tue-Boeuf 2018 Cheverny Rouillon

50% Pinot Noir, 50% Gamay from a small parcel of clay and flint soils over limestone of Blois. 2018 is a great superb for the reds from Jean-Marie and Thierry Puzelat at Clos du Tue-Boeuf as the wines show ectraordinary ripeness while retaining lovely balance and freshness. The 2018 Rouillon shows bright, floral tart plum, raspberry and wild strawberry aromas with citrus and earth. The palate is ripe and sappy with wild strawberry, plum skin, earth and spice. The finish is long with citrus and mineral flavors and a bit of tannin. Irresistible now, this should be very interesting after a few years in the cellar. Zero or minimal SO2. David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $28.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Tue-Boeuf 2018 Touraine La Butte (Gamay)

100% Gamay on clay and flint over limestone, organic and biodynamic farming. The 2018 La Butte shows a level of ripeness never seen before in this wine with bright, deep strawberry and raspberry aromas  with pretty floral notes. Quite dense red fruits on the palate, supple and textured, really lovely with the lush fruit lifted by refreshing acidity. This is just plain yummy and will accompany just about anything. David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $24.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Venier 2018 Cheverny "Le Clos des Carteries"

The cherubic Christian Venier is a cousin of the Puzelat brothers from Clos du Tue Boeuf, and like them, an early proponent of making wines the old fashioned way, without additives or manipulation.  His parcels are meticulously tended, and the wines of the Venier family always have a special vibrancy that I can only ascribe to the magic of the place (or maybe the wild yeast populations in the parcels or cellar). Clos de Carteries is all Gamay in 2018, from roughly 20 year old vines on clay and limestone with sand and silex. Whole cluster fermentation in open vats for 20 days, followed by 6 months in tank. Violet and floral notes on the nose, great concentration, with subtle peppery notes, and a very graceful finish. It's drinking nicely now, which is a treat, as the Venier reds often need a bit of time in bottle to harmonize after arriving to New York.    ~Eben Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $24.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur

Tessier 2018 Cheverny Rouge

The delicious 2018 Tessier Chevery Rouge is from 15 to 40 year-old vines of Pinot Noir, Gamay and Cot grown in sandy clay soils. Wild yeasts, of course, and aging in old barrels with minimal SO2 added, bottled unfiltered. The yields were low again in 2018, but the fruit achieved perfect ripeness in this excellent vintage, showing deep cherry and raspberry with plum, rose, citrus and brown spice. The palate is round, ripe and refreshing with chalky spiced berry fruits, plum skin and mineral flavors, ending with sappy red fruits and firm acidity. Serve cool with charcuterie, chicken and pork dishes and a wide variety of cheeses.  David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $20.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Villemade, Herve 2018 Vin de France Pinot Noir

A spunky and sippable Pinot Noir from Herve Villemade. The 2018 offers high notes of bramble fruit, rhubarb, sea salt and pie crust on the nose which is pleasantly funky. Ripe fruit and savory spice abounds on the attack and a jaunty mineral acidity buoys the succulent red berry notes over a bitter black tea finish. A delicious vintage to serve now with a slight chill. Pair with grilled mushrooms, roast chicken, or tuna burgers. Amanda Bowman

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

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Vins Contes (Lemasson) 2018 Vin de France R18

What started many years ago as a hodge podge homage to the Renault R12 (a notoriously unhip car from the 1970s) has become a delicious success for winemaker Olivier Lemasson, and his Vins Contés project in the Loire Valley. The blend is known to change, as it's essentially put together based on what fruit Olivier and his friends are able to harvest. This year, it's  Grolleau and Côt (Malbec). Very fun to drink, with red fruit and full flavor, balanced acidity and minimal tannin. A perfect red for heralding in the Summer.  Eben Lillie

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

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur

Verdier-Logel 2018 Côtes du Forez Volcanique

The Verdier-Logel "Volcanique" is from volcanic basalt soils on mountainsides of the Massif Centrale. The grapes undergo a three week whole cluster fermentation followed by aging in vat. The 2018 shows a bright red/black color and elegant lush aromas of crushed black raspberry with hints of dark chocolate and licorice. The palate is round and ripe with dense black raspberry and blackberry fruit with plum, earth and mineral flavors that are lifted by firm acidity. This is a beautiful Gamay to drink over the next three to five years, served cool, with saucissons,  terrines, pot au feu, chicken stew, meats in sauce and mountain cheeses.  David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $18.49

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur