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We've been enjoying the superb Bourgueils of Stéphane Guion for 11 years now, since discovering his wines, with a little help from Marc Olivier of Domaine de la Pépière, at the "Levée de la Loire" in Angers. His "Cuée Prestige" is always one of our favorite Loire Cabernet Francs, and the vintages 2009, 2010 and 2014 were particularly outstanding. 2018, however, may be the best he has made - even Stéphane, who is extremely modest, is a little bit excited with it!
2018 is an exceptional vintage for reds in the Loire as the wines possess superb ripeness and depth making them delicious to drink youg, with the freshness and structure to enable long-term cellaring. Here is Stéphane on his 2018 Cuvée Prestige: "The wine benefited from a damp climate in the spring and early summer, then sunshine through the summer and fall without excessive heat or hydric stress. We have then a wine from beautifully mature grapes giving superb aromas of very ripe black fruit confit with a savory mineral character on the palate, accompanied and enveloped by firm, ripe tannins with wonderful length, giving a very balanced wine and promising long cellaring. For me a magnificent vintage that I will want to revisit frequently!" Happily, we have reserved a good quantity of this wine which can be enjoyed immensely over the next few years, and for you youngsters out there, in 2050 as well!
Domaine Guion was created by Stéphane's father in the 1950's and was certified organic beginning in 1965. The estate's 8 hectares are all in Benais mostly on Turonien limestone with varied depths of clay topsoil. Only 15% of the vines are on gravel topsoil, in "La Ruée," used primarily for the rosé (arriving end of July) and a small amount in the Cuvée Domaine. The parcels are just west of Domaine de la Chevalerie and Domaine Breton, in the northern sector of Benais, on slopes facing south and southwest, which is prime real estate for ageworthy, mineral-laden Bourgueils! The Cuvée Prestige is from vines averaging 45 years of age in the parcels "Grand Mont," "les Marquises," le Vlaudons," "le Maupas," "les Caveries," "Petit Mont" and "Chavannes."
The "Cuvée Deux Monts" is from the estates oldest vines, averaging 70 years of age, in the parcels "Grand Mont" and "Petit Mont." This wine is produced only in the best vintages - the new release is 2017 as Stéphane felt the 2015 lacked the necessary tannin and acidity, and the yield was too small in 2016. 2017 was another quite warm vintage, with some vignerons comparing it to 2009, producing full-bodied relatively forward wines. Our first taste of the 2017 "Deux Monts" revealed it to be a superb wine, quite deep and ripe but still light on its feet and with a particularly long and focused finish. Says Stéphane "the weather in 2017 was quite warm in spring and summer with a bit of rain in september - the wine is quite floral with ripe red fruits and mineral flavors on the palate with round, supple tannins and the limestone terroir quite present in the finish." It's a beautiful wine showing the old vines and great terroir...
The estates 55 years of organic farming are supplemented by Stéphane's no-nonsense winemaking - hand harvesting, fermentations with wild yeasts, a small addition of SO2 only after the malo and aging in cuve for the "Domaine" and "Prestige," aging in cuve and barrels for the "Deux Monts." The wines are always marked by firm acidity and fantastic minerality - Stéphane blushes when I tell him this, but tasting with him is equal to any of the great visits we make on our winter trip. Bravo to Stéphane Guion!
Guion 2018 Bourgueil Cuvée Prestige
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
Guion 2018 Bourgueil Cuvée Domaine
From 15 to 40 year-old vines on clay/limestone soils in Bourgueil, in organic agriculture since 1965. This is always one of the best values in the store and the 2018 happily rivals the 2009, 2010, 2014 and 2015 vintages for absolute awesomeness, even at the Trump Tariff price of $15.49! Beautiful red/black color. Lovely deep pure red currant and blackberry aromas with violets, pepper, earth, bitter chocolate, licorice and leafy notes. The palate is round and supple with deep berry fruits framed in firm chalky acids, earth flavors, cocoa and saline minerals. Terrific length - this is just a superb young Bourgueil! At 13% alcohol it's beautifully structured and delicious to drink now, and will be even better in 5 to 10 years. Thanks to the Guion family for two generations of organic farming and great wines at modest prices! Serve cool with chicken, pork, charcuterie and full-flavored fish dishes as well...
Guion 2017 Bourgueil Cuvee Deux Monts
From 70-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). This is the terroir giving the most elegant and age-worthy Bourgueils. 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. Our first taste of the 2017 "Deux Monts" revealed it to be a superb wine, quite deep and ripe but still light on its feet and with a particularly long and focused finish. Says Stéphane "the weather in 2017 was quite warm in spring and summer with a bit of rain in september - the wine is quite floral with ripe red fruits and mineral flavors on the palate with round, supple tannins and the limestone terroir quite present in the finish." It's a beautiful wine showing the old vines and great terroir...
Guion 2014 Bourgueil Cuvée Deux Monts
(Last 60 btls of the 2014, arrives 7/26) From 70-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). This is the terroir giving the most elegant and age-worthy Bourgueils and 2014 is a particularly good vintage for Loire reds to age. 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. Tasted in February 2016, the wine was fairly closed and tight, with deep, pure black fruits and perfect balance. This will be a sensational mature wine, best to wait eight to ten years, or more, then drink until 2040.