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Please join us this Wednesday at Chambers Street to welcome Jo Landron, one of the great heroes of Loire Valley viticulture, as he presents his superb organic and Biodynamic Muscadets at the store from 5:30 to 7pm. We'll taste Jo's delicious sparkling "Atmospheres," the 2018 Muscadet "Domaine," 2018 Muscadet "Les Houx'" and the complex and age-worthy 2015 Muscadet "Haute Tradition."
And up the street at Racines NY, Pascaline Lepeltier, MS of Racines will welcome Jean de Bonaventure from the wonderful Biodynamic estate, Chateau de Coulaine in Chinon, beginning at 6pm! Jean will pour an oustanding line-up of Chinons rarely seen in the US incuding: 2015 Blanc, 2017 "Domaine," 2015 Franc de Pied, 2015 "Les Picasses," 2015 "Les Diablesses" and 2014 "Clos Turpenay." A real treat for any lover of Chinon! $40 for 6 half-pours, to reserve click here.
For more than 25 years we have had the great pleasure of working with Jo Landron of the Domaine de la Louvetrie, not to mention drinking his superb Muscadets on a regular basis. Jo is one of the heroes of Loire Valley viticulture and has been a leader in the resurgence of quality in Muscadet by his example of converting to organic agriculture, hand-harvesting, wild yeast fermentations and terroir specific, single-vineyard bottlings. His enormous effort and engaging personality have been an inspiration to the region and have helped lead the way to the new Cru Communal classifications, finally bringing recognition to the potential of Muscadet.
Chateau de Coulaine, with the young Jean de Bonaventure in charge, is one of our favorite producers of Chinon. A family estate since 1470 (!) they have been practicing organic and Biodynamic farming since 1994 and possess great terroirs, especially in the vineyards of "Les Picasses" and "Clos de Turpenay." We love the Coulaine 2015 Chinon "Les Picasses" from a parcel at the top of the vineyard with southern exposure, on the classic clay/limestone "tuffeau" in Beaumont-en-Veron. This is a dense and powerful Chinon that will age beautifully, but will drink well young, having the deep, sappy and a bit softer fruit of the 2015s.
Returning favorites from the Loire include two beautiful Biodynamic Bourgueils from Stephanie Caslot at Domaine de la Chevalerie - these are unique and soulful Cabernet Francs that will drink beautifully over the next ten to fifteen years. Newly arrived is the rare and wonderful 2017 Cour-Cheverny "Les Acacias" form our friend Herve Villemade - drink this vibrant Romorantin now or cellar forever... We had a great tasting with Francois and Manuela Chidaine last month and were once again floored by their gorgeous 2017 Montlouis "Les Bournais" from a superb terroir that brings an extra level of complexity and elegance to this silky and delicious wine. Speaking of Montlouis, we also had an exciting tasting with Damien and Coralie Delecheneau of La Grange Tiphaine - their 2018 Montlouis "Clef de Sol" is simply gorgeous and shows the continuing resurgence of quality in Montlouis-sur-Loire.
(Last of the 2018 vintage!) Jo Landron's 2018 "Les Houx" (formerly known as "Hermine D'Or") is from a great parcel of thin sandy clay soils, rich with silica, quartz and iron, over a bedrock of gneiss and clay. Kept on the lees for 12 months. Normally one of the most scintillating and mineral of Muscadets, the 2018 is slightly riper and rounder but remains essentially a mouthful of terroir. The wine shows lovely aromas of ripe pear, stone and anise that open nicely with aeration. The palate is round and mineral, framed in firm acidity with ripe white fruits, citrus, stone and licorice and there's a nice mineral kick in the finish. Delicious now, this will develop nicely over the next few years, and will accompany oysters and grilled seafood, from flounder to monkfish, roast chicken and mild cheeses. David Lillie
Jo Landron's "Domaine" cuvée from La Louvetrie has been excellent in recent vintages and the 2018 is really lovely, a bit softer and more forward than his "Fief du Breil" and "Les Houx," showing pretty pear and citrus fruit with a nice mineral kick in the long finish. This very versatile wine will pair with anything from oysters to cod or lobster, not to mention roast chicken and mild cheeses. David Lillie
La Haute Tradition is a beautiful Muscadet from our friend Jo Landron that is rarely seen in the US. The grapes are from old vines in the "Les Houx" vineyard on iron-rich clay over subsoils of orthogneiss with quartz, giving a dense powerful Muscadet that is aged for about a year in wooden foudres.The wine shows elegant aromas of lemon peel, stone, ripe pear, almond, anise and honeysuckle. While it's similar to Jo's superb Fief du Breil, the palate shows more ripeness - quite round and full for a Muscadet, with sapid white fruits, citrus, anise and licorice, with terrific density backed by firm acidity. The finish is long and lovely with with bitter lemon, pear, anise and stone. This is a superb Muscadet that should be opened well in advance or decanted if drinking now, or cellar five years then drink until 2035. Serve with fish in sauce, grilled lobster (!), veal, roast chicken and goat or sheep cheeses. David Lillie
Jo Landron's vivacious "Atmospheres" is made with roughly equal amounts of organic Folle Blanche, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, hand harvested and fermented with wild yeasts. It's a Methode Traditionelle (Champagne method) that's very dry and refreshing, with lively aromas of pear, citrus and red currant. The palate is vibrant and fresh with flavors of pear, quince, citrus and brioche. It's a delicious aperitif and will pair well with oysters, salmon, crudites and charcuterie and it's great for a crowd on New Year's Eve!
Chateau de Coulaine is producing a ripe and vibrant Chenin Blanc from a south-facing slope just across the Vienne from Coulaine (AOC Touraine) with interesting terroir of granitic gravel and fossils over white limestone. The 2017 "Les Pieds Rotis" is a dry but very ripe and full-bodied Chenin, with beautiful white fruit, earth and citrus flavors. The wine went through malolactic fermentation, and finished quite dry at only 1.8 grams RS. Aging is in 2 to 8 year-old 400 liter foudres and minimal SO2 is used. It's a great apéritif or serve with white meats, Asian food and mild cheeses.
This is a delicious fresh wine from Chateau de Coulaine, a 12-hectare estate operated by Jean and Pascale de Bonnaventure, which has been certified organic since 1997 and uses biodynamic practices as well. 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 and savory notes. The palate is vibrant with fresh acidity and silky tannins with a very pretty finish. A wine full of energy, drink it over the next few years with light fare such as grilled pork chops, roasted chicken and mild cheeses. Caroline Coursant
This is a superb "les Picasses" from Jean, 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 more round and open than the more austere 2014, 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 drink well young and will age beautifully as well, best 2022 to 2040.
"Romorantin, the official grape of the Cour-Cheverny AOC, appreciates sandy clay/limestone soils where it offers a wine of great character that mixes elegant vegetal and floral notes (cut grass, violets, a touch of mint), often slightly honeyed with notes of ripe fruit (roast pear) lightly marked by the elevage in old barrels. The finish is fresh, tight with saline minerals and bitter anise. A wine with good aging potential." (Villemade.net) In 2017, the "Les Acacias" is simply outstanding and very distinctive, offering aromas of ripe peach and pear with spice, floral, caramel and oxidative notes. The palate is very round and ripe with stone, peach, earth and almond flavors, with fabulous length with honeyed lemon, anise and minerals. Superb wine, to drink now or in 10 to 20 years. David Lillie
This is usually our favorite wine from François and Manuela Chidaine, long-time champions of organic and biodynamic farming in the Loire Valley. Named after the soil type "Les Bournais," a unique clay topsoil over limestone (tuffeau blanche) also found across the river in Vouvray and without the silex present in most Montlouis terroirs. The 2017 is a beautiful example of this wine with lovely aromas of lemon confit, kiwi, pear, lime-flower, honey and earth, with subtle hints of crushed raspberry as well. The palate is dense and creamy with chalky ripe pear and citrus fruits with a long, lush finish of stone, white fruits, anise and citrus. (Lush but dry at only 2.3 gr RS/L) This is a beautiful Montlouis that will perfectly accompany lobster, fish or white meats in sauce, Asian foods and goat cheeses. It's delicious now, and should be very interesting after ten to fifteen years in the cellar. David Lillie
The Chevalerie "Galichets" vineyard is on mid-slope Turonian limestone with clay and alluvial sand and gravel topsoil, rich in silex; the vines average about 60 years of age - similar to the "Chevalerie" parcel but a bit lower on the slope, giving a wine that is more open and easy for early drinking. The 2015 vintage is excellent, with a bit more ripeness and lower acidity than 2014, while retaining the core of minerals and acidity aslways found in the Chevalerie wines. The aromas of black raspberry and blackberry fruit are ripe and floral. The palate is dense and silky, very mineral with ripe red and black fruits and a clean vibrant finish. Still quite youthful, I would open this bottle the night before or give it a long decant, best perhaps 2022 - 2035. David Lillie
La Chevalerie is located between the Galichets and the winery, slightly higher on the slope, with more clay on the top part. The Turonian tuffeau is not even three feet below. The oldest vines date from 1903 and 1922, the average being 75 years. The sandier part of the plot goes into the Galichets. This cuvée is a perfect introduction to the more “serious” tuffeau driven bottlings of the domaine. You still get the flesh and texture brought by the sand, you also pick up the racy, salty and fresh acidity typical of the tuffeau. The 2015 is now showing all its potential, after a quick decanting. An easier, more complete vintage compared to 2014 according to Stéphanie Caslot, the wine is showing concentration yet a lot of delicacy, with a noticeable floral bouquet, and more red berries as it ages. A little sweetness on the attack indicates a perfect ripeness, then you feel the limestone backbone on the terroir, with a juicy sandy flesh and lingering chalky tannins make it ultra appealing. The fruit is a nice mix of red and black plum and cherry, with Chinese badiane and coriander seed, finishing with a great mix of salt, smoke and leather. Without a doubt a great bottle at a terrific price, you can cellar it for 5 years and more, then enjoy until 2035, or serve it in large glass, quickly decanted, with any red meat with a poivre sauce, or a rack of lamb in Provençale herbs crust. 100% Cabernet Franc. Pascaline Lepeltier.
Clef de Sol means treble clef and is a tribute to music, Damien being an accomplished clarinetist and Coralie a choir singer. Clef de Sol is a blend of different southern exposed plots located in Montlouis on sandy perruches, i.e. clay and flint over tuffeau. The vines are mostly 80 years old, and farmed biodynamically. Hand-harvested mid-september, the grapes are sorted in the vineyard and the cellar, whole-cluster pressed, then fermented in barrels (225 and 400 l) in the underground cellar. Fermentations are spontaneous and malo occurs, without making the wine lose its tension. The wine is aged for a year on the fine lees, and lightly filtered with a sulfur dioxide adjustment. Clef de Sol is without a doubt a benchmark wine for Montlouis, in the line of François Chidaine’s Les Bournais but drier, with more density and less oak than Jacky Blot’s cuvées. 2018 is a superb, powerful expression of the wine, yet the weight is really well balanced by the chalky acidity. Think Savennières meets Brézé, with specific smoky notes coming from the Montlouis flint. Aromatically, this Chenin shows more its floral side, with a lot of lemon-verbena and linden, quinine, peach pit and salt. The oak is very well balanced, with just a hint of white tobacco. The finish is really impressive. I would recommend to cellar this bottle for a year or two before drinking (at least, it will also be great in 15 years). If you open it today, serve it a Burgundy glass not too cold. Pair it with grilled crayfish with tarragon butter, artichokes barigoule or mild blue cheese. 100% Chenin. Pascaline Lepeltier.