Michel Autran at home...

Superb New Arrivals  from the Loire Valley: 2017 Vouvrays of Michel Autran and 2018 Special Cuvées from Philippe Tessier!

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We first met the affable and intelligent Michel Autran many years ago when he was working with our friend François Pinon in Vouvray, and we were glad to hear that he had obtained parcels of old vines of his own, on great terroir, in 2011.  We've happily purchased his wines every year since 2013 and our tasting of 2016s and 2017s with him last winter was sensational, with the wines showing crystalline structure, great purity and fantastic minerality. Quantities here are tiny however - only two cases of each wine in 2016 and a whopping 5 cases of the two 2017s offered today. From importer Michael Foulk: "Michel learned from some of the top Chenin producers in the world, people like François Pinon, Vincent Carême, the Joussets, Frantz Saumon, Ludovic Chanson, and more. In 2011, he was able to purchase just under 1 ha of prime vineyards in Noizay to start, and slowly expanded to 3.8ha today. Farming is completely organic, and due to the steepness of some of the plots, a horse is necessary for the vineyard work. The vines are all very old, between 50-80 years, and all replanting is with massale selection of old vines from Pinon (or by marcottage). Fermentation begins with native yeast in stainless steel before immediately being racked off by gravity into barrel, some new, but most 4-12 years old and coming from friends like Carême or the late Stéphane Cossais. A small amount of sulfur is used at débourbage if necessary, otherwise, the wines are raised completely sans souffre." These are indeed superb Vouvrays, somewhat like the wines of of Richard Leroy in Anjou, in a lighter very chalky and crystalline style - they are beautiful wines that any lover of Chenin Blanc should try!

Vines of Michel Autran in Noizay, Vouvray

For many years, our tastings with Philippe Tessier have been among the highlights of our winter trip to France, particularly his superb cuvées of Romorantin and his vibrant reds made with Pinot Noir, Gamay and Cot.  In the best vintages, the estate produces two special cuvées of red from the oldest vines, "Point Nommé" from Pinot Noir and "Nota Bene" from Gamay. The wines are aged in old barriques and bottled with minimal SO2 and no filtration. In 2018 the wines are quite extraordinary, with lush, sappy fruit backed by vibrant acidity. Unfortunately, due to the horrible mildew in the spring of 2018, only tiny quantities were produced - we have only 12 to 18 btls to sell! One of our favorite wines from Philippe is his elegant and flavorful Petillant Naturel "phil en Bulle" made from Romorantin and Menu Pineau - it's outrageously delicious and we have 42 bottles available!  These are must buys for any lover of the Loire Valley!

Philippe Tessier

The estate was created by Roger Tessier in 1961, with his son Philippe taking over in 1981. Certified organic since 1998, the estate covers 22 hectares and produces Cour-Cheverny, from Romorantin, as well as Cheverny and Vin de France from Gamay, Pinot Noir and Côt for the reds, and Sauvignon Blanc with Chardonnay and Orbois (Menu Pineau) for the whites. The estate maintains living soils with diverse flora and fauna; harvesting is by hand and fermentations are with wild yeasts with no addition of sulfur. (A small amount of sulfur is added at blending or bottling, depending on the vintage and wine.) In the words of Philippe Tessier: "A wine should be the expression of the place where it was produced, a reflection of the climatic conditions of the year and -- a little -- of the vigneron who produced it, all respecting the life of the soil and the environment. It should give pleasure and above all should be healthy, alive and invigorating - a natural wine."

Wines arrive Tuesday 1/21 - And please remember to call your elected representatives to protest against the proposed 100% tariffs on European wines!!

Autran, Michel 2017 Vouvray Ciel Rouge

Michel Autran's brilliant 2017 "Ciel Rouge" is from average 80 year-old vines in red clay over limestone, a superb Vouvray terroir. The wine shows a pale bright gold color, with subtle, very elegant high-toned aromas of poire william, green apple, grapefruit, fines herbes, wet stone and honey with a hint of oak. The palate is a rather intense blend of white fruits,  minerals, grapefruit pith, firm chalky acidity and bright citrus flavors that will need a few years to integrate. Showing a bit more weight than the "Enfers Tranquilles" the wine is nevertheless equally crystalline and intensely mineral.  Give this a long decant if drinking now, preferably cellar five to eight years, then enjoy for many years to come. This is a unique and potentially great Vouvray and is highly recommended!  David Lillie

  • white
  • 12 in stock
  • $44.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Tessier 2018 Cheverny "Point Nommé" Pinot 1.5 L

The superb 2018 "Point Nommé" is from 100% Pinot Noir grown on silex and clay over limestone, vinified with minimal SO2 and aged for 10 months in old barriques, bottled unfiltered.  This is a vibrant fruit-bomb, showing lush high-toned aromas of blackberry, black raspberry liqueur, citrus peel, brown spice and licorice. There is lush fruit on the palate brightened by firm acidity - black raspberry and red currant - very ripe with a touch of tannin, deep and long. This is an unusual and delightful Pinot Noir showing the beautiful fruit of this great vintage in the Loire Valley. Only 6 bottles available, don't delay. David Lillie

  • red
  • 2 in stock
  • $71.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur
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Autran, Michel 2017 Vouvray Les Enfers Tranquilles

This is a beautiful dry Chenin and an amazing expression of the soils of Vouvray, in this case clay with silex over the limestone bedrock. The 2017 "Enfers Tranquilles" is a very light bronze/gold color with aromas of dried pear, lime-flower, marzipan, honey and white peach - subtle and quite elegant. The palate is crystalline with tart citrus and chalky mineral flavors under hints of green apple, pear and lemon zest. The finish is long, silky and fine, with intense acidity and stone flavors lingering on the tongue - just a superb wine, delicate but with exhilarating minerality. Serve with oysters, sole and cod or age ten to twenty years to enjoy with richer dishes. Highly recommended!  David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $37.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Tessier 2018 Cheverny "Point Nommé" Pinot Noir

The superb 2018 "Point Nommé" is from 100% Pinot Noir grown on silex and clay over limestone, vinified with minimal SO2 and aged for 10 months in old barriques, bottled unfiltered.  This is a vibrant fruit-bomb, showing lush high-toned aromas of blackberry, black raspberry liqueur, citrus peel, brown spice and licorice. There is lush fruit on the palate brightened by firm acidity - black raspberry and red currant - very ripe with a touch of tannin, deep and long. This is an unusual and delightful Pinot Noir showing the beautiful fruit of this great vintage in the Loire Valley. Only 18 bottles available, don't delay. David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $35.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Tessier 2018 Cheverny Rouge "Nota Bene"

"Nota Bene" is Philippe Tessier's rare and beautiful Gamay, made from his oldest vines and only in the best vintages. The 2018 is extraordinary showing a deep black/red color with intense aromas of blackberry, earth, mint and violets - lush but bright. The palate is quite dense with complex black fruits lifted by firm acidity, with hints of mint, licorice, spice and earth. The finish is long and dense with almost bitter black fruit and mineral flavors.  We would suggest cellaring for about five years.  David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $35.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Tessier 2018 Vin de France Pet Nat "Phil'en Bulle"

 Philippe Tessier's "Phil'en Bulle" is an inviting Methode Ancestrale made from Romorantin and Menu Pineau.  The wine is bottled after one year on the lees, with zero added sulfur. The 2018 beckons with aromas of butterscotch candies, honeycomb, hay, cinnamon and lemon peel, and shows a delicate mousse of soft bubbles.  The palate is rich but energetic, with a jovial sweetness that evokes the texture of a perfectly ripened asian pear.  The palate is a decadent combination of sweet golden apple, ripe pear, tangy citrus, brown sugar, and caramel flavors that finishes with a bitter note of herb and chamomile. Ben Fletcher

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $25.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur