Levet "Chavaroche" in July

Great 2018s from Chinon, Cote-Rotie and Cornas! Levet, Gilles, Lionnet and Baudry "La Croix Boissée.

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Chinon

2018 was a superb vintage for Loire Valley reds and in particular for the elegant wines of terroir from Domaine Bernard and Matthieu Baudry - their finest wine, La Croix Boissée, arrives at the store this week!  This is undoubtably one of the greatest red wines of the Loire Valley and it's simply magnificent in 2018. The quantity available is quite small, so don't delay!

Cote-Rotie and Cornas

The 2018 and 2019 vintages brought similar conditions of high summer temperatures and drought to most wine regions of France. The Northern Rhone, with its myriad exposures, terroirs and micro-climats is difficult to characterize but it's safe to say that both vintages yielded excellent wines despite the new normal of 14% alcohol and more. (I doubt we will see Northern Rhone wines at 12% again anytime soon!)  Some regions, such as Cote-Rotie, did receive more much-needed rain in the summer of 2019, but the 2018s we have tasted show a surprising degree of brightness balancing the very ripe fruit. "BERNARD LEVET has seen many vintages, and is now nearing elder statesman status. He related: “2018 is very good – the crop was very ripe, but there’s isn’t excess. There’s freshness... There was a large budding, but the drought reduced the yield to a normal level."  - DrinkRhone. As one of the last great traditionalists of the Northern Rhone, Domaine Levet's wines have become very difficult to obtain - we apologize for the tiny quantity available.

Another traditionalist, the young Guillaume Gilles worked with Robert Michel and took over his cellar and the vines on "Chaillot." The Gilles Cornas (Chaillot) is mostly from 40+ year-old vines on Les Grands Murs and Les Terrasses, both on Chaillot, plus older vines on Mazards and  Saveaux. Viticulture is with organic methods, there is whole-cluster fermentation, and aging is in old 400 liter and 600 liter casks. As with Levet, there is very little wine available...

Fortunately, the beautiful old-school Cornas of Corinne Lionnet and her husband Ludovic Izerable are a bit under the radar and there is more of their Cornas "Terre Brulée" and "Pur Granit" available! The estate has been organic since 2007, certified since 2012. "Terre Brulée" is from 50 to 70 year old vines on Mazards and Combe with 50 year-old vines on Chaillot and Pied de la Vigne, and young wines on Chataignier. There is a 2 - 3 week whole-bunch fermentation with cap punching by foot. Aging is in 2 - 8 year-old 500 liter and 228 liter barrels. "Pur Granit" is a new wine from the Lionnets, from young massale-selection vines on Saint-Pierre, above Chaillot. This is a somewhat lighter, medium-weight Cornas, really showing the terroir, that will drink well over the next 20 years. These wines are the real deal and are highly recommended!

Please Note: Due to the small number of bottles available, all prices are net, no futher discount, except the 2018 Baudry "Le Clos Guillot" which discounts 10% on a case or mixed case purchase.

 

Gilles, Guillaume 2018 Cornas

The Gilles Cornas (Chaillot) is mostly from 40+ year-old vines on Les Grands Murs and Les Terrasses, both on Chaillot, plus older vines on Mazards and  Saveaux, Practicing organic, whole-cluster fermentation, aging in old 400 liter and 600 liter casks. From DrinkRhone: "shiny, quite full red robe; red fruit with caramel casing, some Southern paste effect in the fruit, blood notes, a touch of reduction. The attack is expressive, comes with good freedom, clear, clean threads, iron filings, is very Burgundian, to grow into its frame and to expand. It has much restraint, more blood with firm cherry notes towards the finish. Decant it,...drink until 2044."

  • red
  • 4 in stock
  • no discount
  • $88.99

  • Organic

Lionnet 2018 Cornas Terre Brulée

A leading producer of traditional Cornas, Domaine Lionnet has modernized only slightly over the last 20 years with the wines losing their former "rustic" character, while retaining complexity and terroir expression, very much in the style of the Gonons in Saint-Joseph. Organic since 2007, whole-bunch fermentation with wild yeasts, aging in both 600 liter and 228 liter two to eight year-old oak casks. From 70 year-old vines on Combe, Chaillot and Pied la Vigne. Though the nose does show a touch of reduction upon opening, it lifted quickly with air, revealing dark blue and red fruit, white pepper, wild thyme and wet stones. Despite the warmth of the vintage, the fruit here feels quite pure and focused rather than sticky and there is good grip. The wine finishes cool and long and makes for rather a lovely wine when all is said and done. I like this quite a lot and I should add that it's the kind of Cornas that one could bear to drink next week, though it will certainly improve for many years.   Sam Ehrlich

  • red
  • 2 in stock
  • no discount
  • $66.99

  • Organic

Lionnet 2018 Cornas Pur Granit

From young massale-selection vines in very rocky, granite soils on Chataignier (their name) above Chaillot. 3 week whole bunch fermentation in steel & concrete vats, wild yeasts, pumping overs the first 2-3 days, then cap punching by foot, SO2 not applied until after malo, aged in 4-10 year-old 600-litre oak casks for 15-17 months, total SO2 60-70 mg/litre, unfined, unfiltered, first wine 2016. The 2018 has a dark purple robe, just this side of inky. The nose offers pretty aromas of pressed violets, wild blackberry, with hints of mineral smoke, spice, and black tea. The palate is supple and middle weight (for Cornas) with fine energy and a burst of brambly berry fruit and granitic spice over a firm mineral core. Though comprised of younger vines, this has fine concentration and a delicious, lengthy finish. Lovely stuff with no sense of heat or roasted character. Lionnet has been on a roll and this newish cuvee continues that trend. John McIlwain

  • red
  • 6 in stock
  • no discount
  • $69.99

  • Organic

Baudry 2018 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 Chêne Vert. The upper slope of the parcel is clay over limestone (the lower part has sand and gravel over the rock, which permitted a tiny separate production from franc de pied vines, now mostly deceased) and the vines are young, planted from 1993 to 2000. Fermentation in wooden cuves, 12 months of aging in three to ten year-old barriques, 9 additional months in unlined cement vats. We have been buying this wine since it's first production in 2000 – it's one of the most elegant and Burgundian of Chinons. It's become incrreasingly difficult to write superlatives about this wine, as each vintage since 2014 has been superb in it's own way. And now 2018, a vintage the Baudrys describe as "magnificent!" The ripeness of fruit in this vintage diplays a different side of Cabernet Franc with the more traditional light raspberry/strawberry aromatics enhanced by darker fruits: blackberry, black raspberry and boysenberry with violet and earth, that remain vibrant and bright. The color is deep black with a purple rim. The palate shows sensational purity, freshness and elegance with a fabulous dense, silky, calcaire texture and fabulous length of pure black fruits and minerals. While this wine is amazingly delicious now, it should be very interesting with long cellaring as well. Highly recommended!  David Lillie

  • red
  • 5 in stock
  • $38.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Baudry 2018 Chinon La Croix Boissée (5/28)

From  small parcels of shallow sandy clay soils over limestone (Middle Turonian calcaire micacé) on a south-facing slope above Cravant. 20 to 45 year-old vines.  20-day fermentation in tronconic wooden vats, 24 months of aging in 1 to 4 year-old Burgundy barriques, 3 months in cement. Zero SO2 added until a small dosage at assembly, 10 to 20 mg/L, bottled unfiltered. (Over the years, the Baudrys have moved to a more gentle extraction on this wine and have lengthened the barrel aging, never in new oak.) This is one of the greatest reds of the Loire Valley - at it's best after ten to thirty years of aging, the wine is also quite delicious, though with firm chalky tannins, when young. (Tasted in Cravant  January 2019 and January 2020) The 2018 is a magnificent wine and a testament to the great farming and incredibly  thoughtful winemaking practiced by Matthieu and Bernard. Unlike other famous wines of the Loire (and elsewhere) there is very gentle extraction and aging in carefully selected used barrels and concrete, bringing great intensity of flavor but with an intriguing lightness allowing full expression of the limestone/clay soils. The wine shows elegant black fruit aromas with powdered stone. The palate is dense but seems light with perfect tannins and finishes with chalk and black fruits with fabulous length. When mature I think this will be like a wine made 100 years ago - but better! From better farming, with minimal sulfur and with perfect elevage - bravo to the Baudrys!

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $47.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Levet 2018 Côte-Rôtie La Chavaroche

 100% Syrah, 60% from Chavaroche (1940s), 40% from Mollard, Côte Brune, Côte Blonde (1978-80), whole bunch fermentation, 3 week vinification in 50 hl concrete vats, cap is immersed, twice daily pumping overs, held at 29°C , aged in 30% new, 70% used oak casks, barrels for 24 months. From Importer Neal Rosenthal: "The crown jewel of the Levet family’s holdings is a 1.2-hectare parcel of old vines at the very summit of the great La Chavaroche vineyard, and the wine they summon from this dizzying slope is among the most iconic in our entire portfolio. Always arrestingly wild, “La Chavaroche” possesses an unmistakable musk: a warm-animal profile that feels somehow ancient and unknowable, a sort of profound riddle of terroir." Drink over the next 20 to 30 years.

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $89.99

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $189.99

Levet, Bernard 2018 Côte-Rôtie Journaries

100% Syrah, 60% from 70 - 80 year-old vines in the west part of La Landonne, 40% 30 - 40 year-old vines on the Côte Brune, 30-50% destemmed, 3 week vinification in 50 hl concrete vats, cap is immersed, twice daily pumping overs, held at 29°C, aged either in used 600-litre oak casks or in large 30 hl barrels for 24-26 months, "Journaries" is an elegant and delicate wine characteristic of the La Landonne vineyard with fruity aromas completed with notes of violette and sustained by velvety, fine tannins." (Levet website)

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $85.99

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $175.99