Loire wines from private collections

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Baudry 2010 Chinon La Croix Boissée

( From 2013) From a small parcel of clay over limestone on a south-facing slope above Cravant. 20 months of aging in 2 and 3 year-old barriques. This is perhaps the finest example of La Croix Boissee to date. Even as a very young wine the aromas are quite complex and wonderfully elegant. Blackberry, strawberry compote, pepper, briar, earth, chocolate and musk... There is superb concentration of black and red fruits with seemingly perfect structure and acidity and fabulous length. Destined to become a truly great Chinon, this will be best perhaps between 2020 and 2035. I remember Matthieu telling me, back in 2010, that they had finally figured out how to get the best result from this great vineyard, and here it is...

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Baudry 2010 Chinon Le Clos Guillot

Le Clos Guillot is a beautiful south-east facing vineyard, just east of the town of Chinon, above the Clos de l'Olive and adjacent to Le Chene Vert. The upper slope of the parcel is clay over limestone (the lower part has sand over the rock, permitting a tiny separate production from franc de pied vines) and the vines are young, planted from 1993 to 2000. We have been buying this wine since it's first production in 2000 – it's one of the most elegant and Burgundian of Chinons and in the 2010 vintage it has reached a level of quality putting it among the very finest reds of the Loire. Bernard and Matthieu Baudry are skilled, intelligent winemakers whose vineyard work and harvesting are exemplary, and whose careful vinifications seem to perfectly express the quite different terroirs of Chinon. The 2010 vintage in Chinon gave wines with a bit less alcohol and density than the excellent 2009s, but they have perfect acidity, great purity of fruit and a bit more terroir presence – in other words an excellent vintage, especially chez Baudry. The 2010 Clos Guillot is a deep red/purple color with astonishingly bright, pure and complex floral red fruit aromas. The palate is bright, pure and very long with slightly peppery red and black fruits. The Baudrys did a longer élevage for this vintage, 15 months in 3 to 7 year-old Burgundy barrels.

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Baudry 2011 Chinon La Croix Boissée

This superb Chinon is from a sloping vineyard of clay soils over limestone (tuffeau blanc) in Cravant. The 2010 was a perfect wine and the 2011 comes very close to that high standard, due to the great vineyard and cellar work of the Baudrys. Deep red/black color. Elegant deep blackberry, powdered stone, violet and musk aromas. (A kinship, perhaps, in freshness and style with those parcels in Cornas on limestone?) Cool, elegant fruit on the palate — silky red and black fruits with menthol, cocoa and earth, really lovely. Light on its feet and with a refreshing finish, but with superb depth and length as well. This can be drunk young with great pleasure — best probably 2024–2034 but why wait?

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Baudry 2014 Chinon Les Grézeaux

(Tasted in January 2016) From 50 to 60 year-old Cabernet Franc vines on a gravel soil over sandy clay and limestone at the bottom of the hill of Sonnay in Cravant. Aged 12 months in 3 to 5 year-old barrels.  The 2014 is certainly one of the greatest "les Grézeaux" from this wonderful estate! Beautiful deep red/black color, lush, complex palate of ripe dark fruit with perfect balance and fabulous length, with  cool acidity lifting the fruit. As always the "les Grézeaux" is enjoyable young as the gravel soil gives a wine with a silky texture, but it ages beautifully as well, as anyone with the 1989 can tell you. This is a must for any lover of Chinon!

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Filliatreau 2009 Saumur-Champigny La Grande Vignolle

From a beautiful vineyard of chalky soils right on the banks of the Loire, this is a very pretty Cab Franc with lovely raspberry/strawberry fruit and a supple palate. A quite elegant Saumur-Champigny, serve cool with chicken or lighter meat dishes.

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Fosse Seche 2014 Saumur Eolithe

The site "Fosse Seche" has been producing wine since the 13th century, and unlike the rest of Saumur which is a limestone terroir, the soil here is stones of silex and iron oxides, producing distinctive, highly mineral wines. The estate is certified biodynamic and includes a diverse environment of woods and fields with a bird sanctuary. "Eolithe" is a cuvée of Cabernet Franc, with a bit of Cabernet Sauvignon, from 10 to 50 year-old vines. The wine shows a light, pretty red/garnet color and lovely aromas of raspberry, red currant and rose. The palate is fairly light and very refreshing with nice density of raspberry fruit with earth and mineral flavors. This is a quite elegant expression of Cab Franc, all in finesse, which should be served cool with pork and chicken dishes and a wide variety of mild cheeses.

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Guion 2010 Bourgueil Deux Monts

From 70 to 80 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. This is prime real-estate in Bourgueil. Tasted in January of 2012, this wine showed superb elegance and focus, with the great balance of Loire reds in 2010. Not for drinking young—hold for five years, then enjoy until 2040!

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Huet 2008 Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Demi-Sec

2008 is a great vintage for moelleux and demi-sec Vouvray as the high acidity of the vintage gives fabulous brightness and balance to the extra sweetness. "A vintage with high acidity but great ripeness, unusual, not since 1893, it was a trick to balance the alcohol and the sugar." - Noel Pinguet.  Tasted in February of 2009, the Huet Le Haut Lieu Demi-Sec showed beautifully with pretty aromas of quince, grapefruit, earth and lime-flower, balanced with very firm acidity and a lovely finish of mineral and citrus flavors. 27 grams of RS, aout 13% alcohol. Highly recommended. David Lillie 

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Huet 2010 Vouvray Clos du Bourg Demi-Sec

"There was very little Demi-Sec produced at Domaine Huët in 2010, but the Clos du Bourg is a magnificent wine in the making and very much proof that this vintage possessed the potential for profound Demi-Sec as well as the great trio of Sec bottlings that the estate has produced. The deep, delicate and stunning nose offers up scents of apple, quince, a delicate hint of tangerine, bee pollen, beautifully complex, chalky soil tones, citrus peel and dried flowers in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and hermetically sealed, with a great core, stunning focus and balance, a superb girdle of bright acidity and magical length and grip on the seamless and very closed finish. Normally, young vintages of Domaine Huët offer up a modicum of early approachability before shutting down, but apparently, I have missed this window with the 2010 Clos du Bourg Demi-Sec. It is inherently a brilliant wine, but patience will be required! 2020-2085+"

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Huet 2015 Vouvray Le Haut Lieu Sec

Le Haut-Lieu—The original Huët vineyard is nearly 9 hectares. It has the richest soils of the domaine’s three crus—a deep limestone-clay—and the wines are generally the estate’s most approachable. In some vintages, small quantities from nearby estate parcels may be added to Le Haut-Lieu." 2015 Le Haut Lieu: 13% alcohol, 6 grams/liter RS, 5.6 gr/l acidity.

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Huet 2015 Vouvray Clos du Bourg Moelleux 1er Tri

"Gaston Huët believed this to be the greatest of all Vouvray vineyards. With the Première Côte’s poorest, shallowest, stoniest soils, Clos du Bourg wines often produces the most powerful wine in the lineup, synthesizing Le Mont’s intense minerality with Le Haut-Lieu’s generous texture." 2015 Clos du Bourg Moelleux 1er Trie: 11.5% alc, 115 gr/l RS

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Huet 2015 Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux

2015 Le Mont Moelleux: 12.5% alc, 60 gr/l RS. A bit more decadent than the Haut-Lieu Moelleux, it shows notes of lemon meringue, marzipan, orange peel, pear skin, and green apple on the nose. Unctuous and powerful on the palate, the residual sugar is more perceptible, but remains balanced by a dense minerality and a chalky intensity. Grab a few for the cellar and don't think about them for ten or more years! Tim Gagnon

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Huet 2015 Vouvray Le Haut Lieu Moelleux 1er Trie

2015 Le Haut Lieu Moelleux 1er Trie: 11.5% alc, 90 gr/l RS. Gorgeous tropical melon, Meyer lemon, and orange blossom at firston the nose with undertones of baked pear, walnut, and wildflower honey. You do get a sense for the botrytis, with more luscious orange marmalade and very ripe pineapple as well. On the palate it is honeyed, tropical, and almost salty, with an invigorating acidity balancing out the residual sugar. Long and very pretty; this is no doubt a beautiful wine, it will need quite a long time in the cellar to really open up. Tim Gagnon

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Raffault, Olga 2012 Chinon Les Picasses

Les Picasses is one of the greatest vineyards in Chinon - a south-facing slope of clay over porous limestone that retains water and nutrients, nourishing the vines. While the wine is amply fruited and enjoyable young, it has firm acidity and structure for long-term aging, up to 30 years and more depending on the vintage. 2012 was a quite successful vintage for Loire reds, which generally showed vibrant fruit, fresh acidity and moderate alcohol. Not a "big" vintage but one of very pretty, well-balanced wines.  The 2012 Raffault "Les Picasses" is a surprisingly full-bodied wine, showing ripe strawberry, blackberry, and cooked prune with a fabulous earthy core of stone and mineral flavors.  The palate is dense with blackberry, prune, citrus, earth,  licorice and cocoa with a long fresh finish. Ripe and forward enough to drink now with anything from roast chicken to steak, the 2012 should age beautifully, perhaps best 2020 to 2030 and beyond...? David Lillie

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