Didier Barrouillet and Julien Pineau (Photo: Eben Lillie)

More Delights from the Loire: Bonhomme, Chidaine, Landron, Luneau-Papin, Pineau and Les Vins Contes!

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In 1989 François Chidaine discovered a mostly abandoned vineyard near a cliff overlooking the Loire in Montlouis called "Les Bournais" which he termed a "magical place," named after the unique type of limestone soil. François planted vines there in the late 1990s - even the first vintages from young vines impressed us with complex aromatics (including hints of red and pink fruits!) and a dense and silky palate - it has been a favorite at Chambers Street since the 2005 vintage and is now acknowledged as one of the finest Chenin Blancs of the Loire. Slightly dryer than the incoming 2019 vintage (which should be fantastic, by the way) we're offering the last few cases of the gorgeous 2017 - a wine that is sensational now and that will cellar beautifully for 15 to 20 years. Another reason to buy this great wine is that the Chidaines are great champions of biodynamic and "regenerative" agriculture, maintaining permanent cover crops between the rows, protecting the network of mychorrizal funghi and sequestering carbon. If only everyone farmed like this....

"Les Bournais," Loire River just beyond  (Photo:  Clay McLachlan )
Olivier Lemasson gets down...

Natural Wines from Les Vins Contés - Since 2002 Olivier Lemasson has been making vibrant natural wines, both as vineyard owner, and as negociant, purchasing organic fruit from his friends in Touraine, and perfecting the techniques of no-sulfur winemaking. While we love the vins de soif for early drinking - P'tit Roquin, R 20 and Poivre et Sel, the old vine cuvees frm Gamay (Gama Sutra) and Cot (Cheville de Fer) are profound wines that are delicious now and in 10 to 15 years. The 2020s have just arrived and ideally should rest for six months or so before drinking. Quantities are miniscule, only 2 - 3 cses total of each wine. Natural wine lovers - don't delay...

Turing our attention to the the Melon de Bourgogne and two superb Muscadets by Joe Landron and Domaine Luneau-Papin...

The Luneau-Papin "L d'Or" has been one of the finest of Muscadet since its first production in the 1970s. (Perhaps a few of you remember the legendary 1976, that spent 6 years on the lees?) Planted on a seam of granite with two micas in Vallet, the vines produce an intense and very mineral wine that is perfect with any full-flavored fish preparation and cheeses such as aged Comté. The wine ages gracefully for 20 to 30 years as those still drinking the 1989 can attest. 2019 is a great vintage for this wine, but very little was produced, only a few cases are available...

Jo Landron with old Melon vines

Happily the irrepressible Jo Landron produced a bit more of his lovely 2018 "Les Houx" from a parcel near the "Fief de Breil" on 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 (formerly called "Hermine D'Or"), the 2018 is slightly riper and rounder but remains essentially a mouthful of terroir. The wine has softened a bit over the last year and is now drinking beautifully, especially if served with oysters or any mildly flavored fish. It's a great value at $18.99!

 

Pierre-O pours Pineau

Pierre-Olivier Bonhomme is best known for his insanely delicious and affordable Vin de France Gamay "Le Telquel," but Pierre-O makes a wide range of superb and distinctive wines from Pineau d'Aunis, Menu Pineau, Pinot Noir, Cot, Romorantin, Chardonnay and Sauvingnon Blanc (!) as well, and four of our favorites are offered today. First, the almost orange 2019 "Ormeau Deux Croix Maceration" from Chenin Blanc grown on clay/limestone/silex soils, which undergoes a one month maceration in amphora and vat that imparts a pale orange/bronze color and a bit of skin tannin in the finish; "Incredibly compelling" says Michelle about the 2018 "La Tesniere" Blanc, from 75% Menu Pineau and 25% Chenin, "with notes of grapefruit, daffodil, yellow peach, and marzipan." Yum! One of our favorite Loire reds, though made in tiny quantities, is Pierre-O's "In Cot We Trust" - it's one of the most fascinating and delicious Malbecs of the Loire. The 2018 showed beautifully when tasted in January 2020 in the Loire, just a superb, vibrant natural wine, no added SO2. And in a lighter style, the 2019 Vercheny (as opposed to Cheverny) is 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Gamay - it's sapid, complex and refreshing, serve cool and enjoy!

Old vines, beautiful farming at the Clos Roche Blanche

Julien Pineau, originally from Tours, worked with Didier Barrouillet and Catherine Roussel at the Clos Roche Blanche before taking over 6 of the 12 hectares in 2015 (Sauvignon, Gamay, Côt, Pineau d'Aunis, Cabernet Franc and Cab Sauv.)  In the vines, the inherited greatness of the Clos's terroir remains respected: the land is worked by horse and the soils are permitted to exist in harmony with the hundreds of species of flora and fauna that inhabit them. Julien's wife is an agronomist, so future plans for the land include fruit trees and free-roaming animals to push polyculture to the next level. In the cellar, no addition of sulfur is used at any point and Julien favors long élevages of his cuvées, often releasing them 12 to 24 months after harvest. Our tasting with Julien in January of 2020 was a great experience, with the wines showing beautifully in a very natural style, with vibrant fruit and terrific length...

We recently enjoyed these two beautiful wines from great estates in Bourgueil and Sancerre: It's no secret that we love the 2014 vintage for Loire Valley reds and we particularly enjoyed last week a bottle of the unique 2014 Bourgueil "Peu Muleau" from Domaine de la Chevalerie. From a unique  terroir at the top of the slope, the wine shows a subtle, saline minerality combined with light and lovely berry fruits, making every sip an adventure in "soil-to-glass transfer" as our friend Livingstone-Learmonth would say, $22.99. Another great expression of terroir that we recently loved came from the superb 2019 Vincent Gaudry Sancerre "Constellation du Scorpion." This austere and scintillating Sancerre is from old massale-selection vines on silex soils over limestone. The vibrant pomelo, pear and herbal flavors are lifted by intense saline minerals making this a brilliant food wine, and I think five to ten years of aging will create something really quite interesting. $34.99

Wines arrive Tuesday 3/30, please allow 2 - 3 days for pick-up/shipping.

David Lillie

Vins Contés (Lemasson) 2020 Vin de France Poivre et Sel

Almost all Pineau d'Aunis with 10-20% Gamay, the 2020 was recently bottled and needs a bit of time before opening. We'd recommend drinking in fall of 2021. Aromatics are classic Pineau D'Aunis, with a range of baking spice, fresh cut and dried herbs, and flowers. 

  • red
  • 4 in stock
  • $30.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur

Landron, Jo (Louvetrie) 2018 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Les Houx

(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

  • white
  • 11 in stock
  • $20.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Bonhomme, Pierre-Olivier 2018 Touraine KO In Cot We Trust

Pierre-Olivier Bonhomme's "In Cot We Trust" is one of the most vibrant, fascinating and delicious Malbecs of the Loire! From  a single parcel called "les Automnes" with 45 year-old vines on clay/limestone soils, 2 week whole-cluster maceration, fermentation and aging for 18 months in 500L demi-muids, zero added SO2. 2018 is a great vintage for this soulful wine, showing deep and ripe but very bright aromas, with beautiful ripe black fruits on the palate that is very fresh and long. Serve cool and enjoy! David Lillie

  • red
  • 14 in stock
  • $29.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur

Bonhomme, Pierre-Olivier 2019 Vin de France Vercheny

Pierre-Olivier Bonhomme currently works about ten hectares and  sources some fruit from trusted friends, also working organically. This vintage of the Vercheny (an anagram of Cheverny) is 100% Pinot Noir, we think.... Grapes are hand-harvested, whole cluster fermentation occurs in vat, and the wine ages for at least six months in used 500L barrels. A spectrum of bright black and red fruits present on the nose, with fresh red cherries slowly evolving into cherry candy syrup as your nose lingers in the glass.  The wine is bright with acidity with nice density and a touch of structure framing juicy red raspberries, strawberies, cherries and tangy red apple skin on the lingering finish. Just delicious!

  • red
  • 12 in stock
  • $26.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Chevalerie 2014 Bourgueil Peu Muleau

Peu Muleau is located on the upper part of the hill, above the Domaine de la Chevalerie and just below the forest of chestnut, acacia, oak, pine and birch, on Cenozoic eolian sands with iron, clay and altered tuffeau. The vines are around 35 years old, and farmed biodynamically. The maceration last less than 20 days. Aging is done in a mix of tank and large used barrels with less and less oak. This is the earliest drinking single-vineyard cuvée, always on the raspberry and wild violet with very supple tannins, but you can keep it up to 10 years without a problem. 2014 Loire reds are really great wines, despite a tricky vintage for the producers. Yet with the best the wines are delicious, in a classic ligérien style. It means the Peu Muleau from the Caslot in just a winner, a terrific value and such a great Bourgueil to enjoy now! The wine has a unique chalky minerality, subtle and earthy on the palate -  the nose explodes with raspberry and cherry blossom, coriander seeds and Sichuan pepper. The ripe, salivating acidity is driving the palate, with supple tannins, and a lingering saltiness. It is ready to drink now, but cellared  for 4-5 years you will gain some nice earthy secondary tones. Pair it with  a beautiful pâté en croûte, duck rillette or a summer porcini risotto. 100% Cabernet Franc. PL/DL

  • red
  • 1 in stock
  • $22.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Gaudry, Vincent 2019 Sancerre "Constellation du Scorpion"

Vincent Gaudry's extraordinary Sancerre "Constellation du Scorpion" is from a small parcel of old massale-selection vines on silex soils over limestone and is fermented and aged in old barrels. "A bit closed on the nose, a little reduced, as expected for this cuvée on Silex. It is also more austere and restrained  on the palate, less broad and wild, more herbal than Mélodie. A great backbone of acidity with more bitterness, less fat and roundness than Melodie. Needs a decant. After 4 min in the glass, it opens up - very floral (seringa), and more on the white pomelo. Real aging potential - as silex tends to really ask for 2-3 years and more in bottle." - Pascaline Lepeltier.

  • white
  • 16 in stock
  • $34.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
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Chidaine 2017 Montlouis Sur Loire Les Bournais

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

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $38.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic

Vins Contés (O. Lemasson) 2020 Vin de France P'tit Rouquin (Gamay)

100% Gamay. From Olivier’s “young," which means 40-year-old vines. Whole clusters, short carbonic maceration, natural yeasts, no sulfur and no filtration. The nose is an expressive mix of ripe blackberries and blueberries, with pungent aromas of violets, mint and juniper. The palate has rich flavors of plums and dark cherries, with a bold core of crunchy dark minerals. Very well structured wine, with satisfying tannin on the gums and tongue, with a light flash of acidity. Although full of flavor and texture, we'd suggest allowing the wine 3-6 months to settle into its ultimate character. David Hatzopoulos

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $21.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur

Vins Contés (Lemasson) 2020 Vin de Table Gama-Sutra (Gamay VV)

The 2020 Gama-Sutra is from Olivier Lemasson's oldest Gamay vines at 80-100 years old, on clay-silex soils and many on their  own roots (aka ungrafted or franc de pied). Carbonic maceration, natural yeasts, no sulfur, no filtration. The nose of this young wine shows is a hearty mix of dark fruits, including blackberry, small plum and fragrant, ripe cherry. Adding to the bouquet is a  clean vegetal aroma of chopped fennel and celery leaves. The palate begins tart, with bracing black plum, firm cherries and a salty, green flavor of Manzanilla olives. After some time open, a crunchier structure of dark mineral tones and a broad, savory flavor of riper dark fruits develops. Great, high level of tannin balanced by a strong core of acidity. So far, the most approachable 2020 from Vins Contes that I've tasted. Delicious wine, with so much to give! David Hatzopoulos

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $32.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur

Luneau-Papin 2019 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine "L" d'Or Granit Vallet

2019 is a  great vintage for the Luneau-Papin "L" d'Or in a ripe, dense style that makes it a superb Muscadet for current drinking and medium-term aging as well.  The wine shows a fairly ripe gold color and complex aromas including pear, almond, stone, citrus and exotic fruit with anise and herbs. The palate is dense and long with ripe yellow and white fruits, almond and marzipan, really delicious, with the wine's unique granitic acidity hidden below the creamy, sapid fruit. The wine remains a good candidate for aging -  it's Luneau-Papin's only cuvee on a granite subsoil (granit a deux micas in Vallet) having a different character than the granite soils in Clisson or Chateau Thebaud. The vines are approximately 50 years old and and are farmed with organic and biodynamic methods. Vintages going back to 1989 of the L  d'Or are superb now, but this  very young 2019 would be perfect today with full-flavored fish dishes such as halibut and monkfish or with lobster and even white meats in sauce. David Lillie     

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $26.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic

Bonhomme, Pierre-Olivier 2019 Vin de France Ormeau Deux Croix Maceration

This is a beautiful almost-orange wine from Chenin Blanc grown on clay/limestone/silex soils in the "Ormeau des Deux Croix Ronne" vineyard near Monthou-sur-Bievre (Cheverny). The grapes undergo a one month maceration in amphora and vat which imparts a pale orange/bronze color and a bit of skin tannin in the finish. The wine shows complex aromas of pear and apple with hints of red fruits, citrus peel, spice and minerals. The palate shows complex flavors of apple and pear skin, dried herbs, citrus zest and minerals with firm acidity, stone, spice and citrus lingering in the finish. This will be a great food pairing for a complex fish dish, perhaps monkfish or halibut, a full-flavored ceviche and white meats in sauce.  David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $30.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Bonhomme, Pierre-Olivier 2018 Vin de France La Tesniere Blanc (Menu Pineau)

This is an incredibly compelling, unique white from Touraine highlighting the lesser-know grape varitety, Menu Pineau. The 'La Tesnière' white is a blend of 75% Menu Pineau and 25% Chenin Blanc, from a parcel adjacent to the famed Clos Roche Blanche. A beautiful golden color in the glass with notes of grapefruit, daffodil, yellow peach, and marzipan on the nose. The palate is bright and refreshing, but Chenin's often bracing acidity is softened by the Menu Pineau, and the finish has a lingering stony texture. Michelle DeWyngaert

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $30.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Pineau, Julien 2018 Vin de France Roche Blanche

Julien Pineau, who now owns 6.5 hectares of the Clos Roche Blanche, is making briliant wines, including this distinctive Sauvignon Blanc, very much in the style of the Sauvignon No 5 of Catherine and Didier. Produced without the addition of SO2, this is a lovely natural wine that benefits from decanting or aeration, then shows aromas of white fruits, melon, lemon zest and lime-flower with bright herbal notes and a lifting hint of oxidation. The palate is intensely flavored with quince, dried herbs, grapefruit rind and minerals backed by very firm acidity. The finish is very long with white fruits, citrus, herbal and mineral flavors. Serve with a full-flavored ceviche, sushi or elegant fish preparation. This is  for lovers of natural wine who will appreciate the fascinating complexity of this serious Sauvignon. David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $24.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur

Pineau, Julien 2019 Vin de France L'Ecume des Nuits

The 2019 Julien Pineau "L'Ecume des Nuits" is a beautifully juicy Cabernet Franc from the profound farming and great terroir at the Clos Roche Banche. The grapes undergo a five-day whole cluster carbonic maceration followed by pressing, fermentation and aging in tronconic wood vat, zero added SO2. The wine shows bright aromas of raspberry and wild strawberry, with lovely ripe fruit on the palate, surprisingly balanced and fresh for a 2019, with beautiful length of earthy red and black fruits...

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $26.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • No Sulfur

Pineau, Julien 2019 Vin de France Côt "Coup d'Jus"

The 2019 "Coup d'Jus" from Julien Pineau is a worthy sucessor to the brilliant Cot of Catherine and Didier at the Clos Roche Blanche. The wine shows bright blackberry and red currant aromas with cocoa, violet, roast meat, earth and spice, quite pretty, complex and interesting. Dense black fruits on the palate are lifted by bright acidity, even with the ripeness of 2019. The finish is lovely with blackberry and red currant fruits framed in vivid mineral flavors, complex and long.  This is a delicious natural wine that happily continues the work of our friends at Clos Roche Blanche, bravo to Julien Pineau. Zero added SO2.

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $29.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur