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The 2014 Domaine de la Pépière "Chateau Thébaud" is one of my favorite Muscadets of the last ten years - and one of Marc Olliver's favorite's too - and the very last inventory, in magnums only, has just arrived in NY. It's drinking beautifully now, and it will be a treat to pull out of your basement in 2041. (Unexpectedly a few cases of 2015 arrived as well - it's a bit more forward and rounder than the 2014 - a superb wine to drink over the next ten to fifteen years!) The 2015 "Gorges" is a dense and complex Muscadet from Gabbro soils - we think there is more at the estate, but grab some now to be sure, magnums only. This is a good, and perhaps last opportunity to put these great Muscadets from great vintages into your cellar!
We're also at the very end of the wonderful 2019 "Briords Vieilles Vignes" - only ten cases remain - and only a few cases remain of 2017 "Clisson" as well.
Speaking of last of stock, we've just received a few bonus bottles from La Ferme de la Sansonnière, featuring two cases of their unique 2018 "Rosé d'Un Jour." Made from late-harvested Grolleau Gris, it's one of the most unusual and delicious wines of the Loire. "2018 gave an absolutely crunchy wine" says our friend Pascaline, "a basket of pomegranate and raspberry, the acidity showing really well and balancing the sugar. A true gourmandise to enjoy with a red berry pie, as well as Peking duck with five-spices glaze." With or without the Peking Duck, it's a beautiful wine.
The affable and keenly intelligent Michel Autran has quickly become one of the truly great producers of Vouvray - we first met him many years ago when he was working with François Pinon in Vouvray (what better place to learn?) 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 2018s with him last winter was sensational, with the wines showing crystalline structure, great purity and fantastic minerality. 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.. 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). A small amount of sulfur is used at débourbage if necessary, otherwise, the wines are raised completely sans souffre." Michel's wines are bone-dry and emphazise the mineral flavors of the terroir. The 2018's went through malolactic but remain crystalline with firm acidity, good density and fabulous length - they are a must for any lover of Chenin Blanc! Michel's two Petillant Naturels are superb as well - the very elegant, and chalky Chenin "Cap a l'Ouest" and the insanely delicious Gamay "Arrête-toi a Kerguelen!"
"Les Capriades" is two men, Pascal Potaire and Moses Gadouche, who set out to make the world's finest Methode Ancestrale (Petillants Naturels) sparkling wines. Based in the Loire Valley at Faverolles-sur-Cher, they grow and purchase organic grapes from the limestone with sandy clay and silex soils of Touraine, with every aspect of the production focused on making great Pet Nats. A few more cases of these superb bubbly wines have just arrived - the silky and refreshing 2019 "Pet Sec" made with Menu Pineau, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, and the ripe and vibrant 2018 "Pynoz" Rosé, a brilliant blend of Pinot Noir and Pineau d'Aunis. Save a few for this summer as they are the perfect accompaniment to maybe even maskless outdoor meals!
The Domaine de la Pépière Château Thébaud "Clos des Morines" comes from old vines on a beautiful vineyard with great terroir sloping down towards the river Maine. The granite here (Granit de Château Thébaud, oddly enough) is fissured and permeable by the vine roots which have access to water during dry spells and absorb micro-nutrients along the way. 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2015 here were among the best of the vintage in Muscadet and the 2014 will stand out as perhaps the finest yet due to the perfect combination of great density and minerality with the very firm acidity of this superb year for Muscadet - those of you lucky enough to have the 2014 Pépière Clisson in your cellar understand just what a special vintage this is. From Remi Branger at Pépière: "As the wine aged we performed three bâtonnages and after three and a half years sur lie, in April 2018, we decided to bottle it. We then decided to leave it another year in bottle before offering it for sale. For us, the 2014 Château Thébaud is a wine with a great potential for cellaring. In its youth, the wine was very austere but the prolonged élevage sur lie allowed it to develop well and it benefited further from the additional year in bottle. Recent tastings of the wine confirm to us that we made the right choice for the aging, because it has the balance we hoped for with a finish of power and tension." We're very happy to offer magnums of this superb Muscadet - although it's delicious now, 10 - 20 years of further aging will reveal something quite special. David Lillie
The Domaine de la Pépière Château Thébaud "Clos des Morines" comes from old vines in a beautiful vineyard sloping down towards the river Maine. The granite here (granite de Château-Thébaud) is fissured and permeable by the vine roots which have access to water during dry spells and absorb micro-nutrients along the way. The grapes are hand harvested, fed into the press by gravity and undergo a one to two month fermentation with wild yeasts. The wine ages "sur-lie" for 30 months with regular battonage, contributing to the complex aromatics and richness of the wine. The 2015 Chateau Thébaud is a gorgeous wine, showing a bright pale gold color with ripe aromas of candied citrus, melon, pear, honeysuckle, wet stone, almond and licorice. The palate is silky and quite rich for a Muscadet, with white and yellow fruits, citrus and mineral flavors, with hints of anise and licorice emerging, with the firm acidity in the background. This very young wine is delicous now, but please decant or open well in advance. As with "Briords," this reminds me of the 2009, which is drinking beautifully in 2018. Serve with oysters and fish such as sole, cod and halibut, white meats as well, great with goat cheeses. Highly recommended! David Lillie
We're ecstatic to have this superb new Muscadet from Pépière. The product of an exchange of juice with Fred Lailler at Domaine Bregeon (pressed at Bregeon), the wine undergoes a slow fermentation and is then aged 42 months on the lees. Marc Ollivier considers this his favorite of his bottlings right now, along with the Château-Thébaud. From Bregeon's vines on Gabbro with clay topsoil (in conversion to organic) the 2015 Gorges is a complex, dense and beautifully structured wine, with unique aromas showing almond, smoke and petrol notes in addition to stone, pear, quince and mushroom. The palate is dense and intensely mineral with ripe pear and quince, earth, almond, anise and citrus notes, with stone, lemon peel and white fruits lingering in the very long finish. Although vibrant and delicious now, we would recommend waiting for eight to ten years before opening for peak enjoyment. Highly recommended! (July 2019) David Lillie
The 2017 "Clisson" reminds us of the superb 2014 - subtle, fine and elegant, and at the same time dense and powerful, yet with only 12.5 % alcohol. The wine shows a very pale bronze color lovely aromas of lemon zest, fresh herbs, stone, almond and dried pear and apple, very elegant, with hints of pineapple, anise and brown spice. The palate shows nice ripeness, density and weight but remains delicate and fresh with pear, citrus zest and intense mineral flavors with a finish that is very long and lemony and slightly astringent with food-friendly minerality. The 2017 Clisson is a delightful wine - serve as often as possible with oysters, little-necks, grilled seafood and roast chicken. Put some in the cellar to enjoy over its 20+ year evolution while enjoying with fish in sauce and shellfish. Thank you Marc, Remi and Gwenaëlle for another beautiful wine!
Harvested early in this sunny, dry year (at 12.5% alc) to preserve the freshness, 2019 is an extraordinary vintage for "Briords," not like 1996 perhaps (I wish I stilll had some) but certainly like the excellent 2010 in it's combination of density and ripeness with firm acidity. Our tasting with Rémi and Gwénaëlle last winter showed a subtle, crystalline nose of white fruits, citrus, stone and iodine with a focused, dense palate with dried pear, citrus and mineral flavors and fantastic length. This will be exhillarating to drink now and will really sing after ten years in the cellar.
Geology in our beloved region of Anjou is the most complicated in the world. The soil is different every 20 meters, ranging from - 10 million to - 1 billion B.C. ! That’s why we decided in 1997 to blend many different tiny plots in one cuvée, La Lune. The other bigger plots were kept separated : Les Fouchardes, Les Vieilles Vignes des Blanderies or Coteau du Houet. The name La Lune was chosen by our former worker, Stéphane Bernaudeau (who has since joined the little world of exceptional wine growers), because of the crescent shape of the ranks : they look like the moon! We quickly discovered soon La Lune, compared to the other wines, could be an “immediate drinking” cuvée, not very much affected by the bottling. Of course it could also be kept 30 years and more, like the single-vineyard cuvées. Minerality is maybe just a little less defined - probably because of the soil diversity. However, we consider it a benchmark for the region, showing the taste of the area without overthinking the individuality of all the different plots. Mark & Martial Angeli, Bruno Ciofi. Badly hit by the mildew and the frost, the vines produced barely 10hl/ha, giving a lot of concentration to all the wines. Yet for the first time in a couple of vintages, the 2018 Lune is almost dry, and it is a superb expression of the cuvée. Mirabelle and peach pit on the nose, the palate is dense, plummy, with a salty core. The quinine notes gives a lot of length. Enjoy it with spring pea gazpacho, a fluke tartare, bergamot and castelvetrano olive oil or a fourme d’ambert. 3g RS, 44 ppm total of volcanic sulfur. Pascaline Lepeltier.
The Rosé d’un Jour is a pun on the AOC name Rosé d’Anjou. It is a 100% grolleau gris, an old variety of Anjou-Touraine. The whole clusters are pressed in a large coquard, then fermented in a tank. The wine is filtered and bottled 2 weeks after harvest. Bottles are waxed with real bees wax! 2018 gave an absolutely crunchy wine, a basket of pomegranate and raspberry, the acidity showing really well and balancing the sugar. A true gourmandise to enjoy with a red berry pie, as well as Peking duck with five-spices glaze. No sulfites were added, so make sure to keep the bottle in a storage below 52F. 60g RS, 0 ppm total of volcanic sulfur. Pascaline Lepeltier.
The Rosé d’un Jour is a pun on the AOC name Rosé d’Anjou. It is 100% grolleau gris, an old variety of Anjou-Touraine. The whole clusters are pressed in a large Champagne-style coquard press, then fermented in tank. The wine is bottled 2 weeks after harvest, volcanic sulfur is used, before a sterile filtration. Bottles are waxed with real bees wax! Exuberant with damask rose, wild strawberry, hibiscus tea and pepper, the 2019 is paler than previous vintages, with the sunny texture of the year. With its 70 g of sugar, it is perfect with berry pies, but also with Asian food, especially Thai, but worth to be aged for 10 years! 70g RS, 22 ppm total of volcanic sulfur. Pascaline Lepeltier.
Michel Autran has become one of the most respected producers in Vouvray. After working with our good friend François Pinon, Michel made his first wines in 2012 and his rare and elegant dry Vouvrays have been on our shelves ever since. His new Pet Nat, the 2019 "Arrete-toi a Kerguelen" is absolutely wonderful - it's a blend of Gamay and Chenin showing extremely pretty red-currant fruit with fabulous depth and a great finish, really a superb and delicious sparkling wine that is a sensational value as well. Don't delay, as there's very little available. David Lillie
(12 btls only!) Michel Autran's Vouvray Petillant is a beautifully elegant sparkling Chenin and a great value! There are subtle white fruit and floral aromas and flavors but they are framed in chalk and saline minerals with very firm vibrant acidity, giving this wine a crystalline elegance. This will be a great aperitif of course, but will be great at dinner as well, with oysters and mildly favored fish and chicken dishes. Highly recommended. David Lillie
Tasted from barrel in January 2020, the 2018 "Les Enfers Tranquilles," grown on clay soils high in silex, showed more weight than the 2017 with bright, complex aromas of pear and citrus. The palate is dense, vibrant and very earthy with chalk and stone flavors supporting the citrus and ripe white fruits, almond and herbal notes. There's great acidity and energy here - it's a superb wine for those who like their Chenins on the very dry and mineral side.
Michel Autran's 2018 "Ciel Rouge" is even more built on it's chalky, mineral and high acid center than the "Enfers Tranquille." My initial note from barrel doesn't mention fruit at all, but of course there are creamy pear, apple, quince and honeyed flavors which show the weight of the vintage. (Both "Ciel Rouge and "Les Enfers Tranquilles" went through the malolactic transformation, unusual for Vouvray) Vines for "Ciel Rouge" are from "La Roche de Cestre ," "Les Granges" and "La Folie" on classic Vouvray clay/limestone terroir. Vibrantly delicious now, this will develop nicely over the next fifteen-plus years. Highly recommended. David Lillie
The lovely 2019 Les Capriades "Pet' Sec" is made from 30 to 70 year-old vines of Chardonnay, Menu Pineau and Sauvignon Blanc grown in the home vineyard in Faverolles-en-Berry and in the Cher Valley. This is just delicious with the perfect balance, silky palate and fine mousse of all the Capriades wines showing floral pear, quince and green apple - it's easy drinking and refreshing, a perfect aperitif anytime of the year or serve with oysters, charcuterie and mild cheeses.
The beautiful 2018 "Pynoz" is from 30 to 80 year-old vines, 50/50 Pinot Noir and Pineau d'Aunis, grown on stony clay/limestone soils. The artistry of Pascal Potaire and Moses Gadouche produces this perfectly balanced Pet'Nat Rosé that spends 24 months sur lie before bottling. Tasted in February 2020, this youthful wine showed subtle raspberry and floral aromas and a fresh, silky palate that will open up nicely over the next few years, although it's remarkably delicious now as well...