French Wines from Private Collections

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Meyney 2000 St. Estephe

An old fashioned Saint Estephe with power from a very rich vintage — tannin and muscle along with cassis and cedary bouquet and good fruit — steak on the grill wine!

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Raymond Lafon 1983 Sauternes

The proprietor of Chateau Raymond Lafon, Pierre Meslier, was the vineyard manager and winemaker at Chateau d'Yquem. This is his own property which is surrounded by Suduiraut, Lafaurie Peyraguey & Chateau d'Yquem! 1983 is a great vintage and this is a beautiful example of a mature Sauternes. Unctuous and lovely with a bouquet of a cornucopia of honey and ripe tropical fruits that keeps changing as you taste and retaste this wine. A real treat!

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Rieussec 1988 Sauternes

When Sauternes of this quality ages, it gains a lot of complexity of aroma and flavor. The 1988 is now in – sorry! – a sweet spot for drinking, with mouth-watering aromas of stone fruist and nuts; it’s quite rich on the palate but there is enough tart acidity to make the wine taste fresh. A classic French pairing is to serve this with foie gras, liver pate, or blue cheese, but we have also loved Sauternes with fruit desserts and with custard/pudding.  

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Baudry 2011 Chinon Le Clos Guillot

2011 is a very good vintage for the Baudry Clos Guillot as the well-drained hillside vineyard on "tuffeau jaune" suffered less from the wet conditions in the spring. This is a superbly elegant Chinon, with subtle, cool, minty red and black fruits and refreshing acidity. Lovely to drink now served cool, this will repay five to fifteen years of cellaring—really a lovely Burgundian style!  

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Pinon 2017 Vouvray Les Déronnières

The grapes for this new cuvée from Francois Pinon used to be included in the Silex Noir, but this wonderful vineyard, the Pinon's best parcel on a hill-top directly above their cellar, much deserves to be bottled on its own.  The soil is clay over Turonian limestone, and the beautiful exposure gives ripe fruit that is normally vinified as a demi-sec. In 2017 the potential alcohol was not too high, so the Pinons vinified it as a dry wine, with  5.6 grams rs/liter. The wine shows elegant aromas of lime-flower, dried pear, lemon zest and stones. The palate is very saline and mineral with round white fruits, citrus and herbal notes with impressive density and length. A great dry Vouvray with fantastic minerality that will age beautifully!  Normally thought of as a fish wine, the flavors and texture of this wine will make it pair beautifully with poultry and white meats as well.  Highly recommended.  David Lillie

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Brunel - Les Cailloux 2000 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Centenaire

Centenaires: Grenache 80%, Syrah 10%, Mourvedre 10%, from vines 30-100 years old; aged in a combination of large old barrels, and 1-3 year old barriques. Bottled unfiltered.

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Brunel - Les Cailloux 2001 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Centenaire

Centenaires: Grenache 80%, Syrah 10%, Mourvedre 10%, from vines 30-100 years old; aged in a combination of large old barrels, and 1-3 year old barriques. Bottled unfiltered. 

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Texier 2011 Côte-Rôtie Vieilles Vignes

(Note from 2013) Eric Texier's Côte-Rôtie is always one of the finest, especially to those who appreciate a traditional whole-cluster fermentation and aging in old barrels. The 2011 shows highly perfumed crushed raspberry and red currant, very floral with animal notes, graphite and menthol. Dense blackberry and blueberry on the palate, with stone, animal, floral and citrus with a firm finish of stony acidity. On day two the wine has tightened and firmed-up showing good structure for a 2011. Not for long-term aging perhaps, but ten to fifteen years from now this should be extremely pretty. 2012 should be excellent here as well, but prices will be higher...

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Texier 2013 Côte-Rôtie Vieilles Vignes

(Note from 2016) This is Eric Texier's second harvest from a parcel of old vines on gneiss in Semons, at the southern end of the appellation. "Ridiculous, minuscule yield" says Eric. Aged for 12 months in 5-year-old Burgundy barrels, SO2 adjusted to a total of 35 mg/l at bottling. 556 bottles and 12 magnums produced. The wine shows very subtle aromas of black-raspberry, violet, white pepper, earth and musk. The palate is intense, but relatively light, even austere with cool acidity and very structured berry fruits. The finish is tight with red fruits and firm citrusy acids. Three days later the wine is really quite elegant with blueberry, olive, licorice and smoke appearing in the nose, the palate is more mineral and meaty with blackberry, slate, olive and citrus. This is a very well-built Côte-Rôtie that should be a lovely old-school wine when mature. David Lillie 

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