On the slopes of an ancient volcano...

New Arrivals from the Loire Valley - The  Volcanic Wines of Gilles Bonnefoy in the Côtes du Forez!

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We're very happy to have a new shipment from Gilles Bonnefoy of  "Les Vins de la Madone" in the Côtes du Forez! We sometimes use the word "vibrant' when discussing the fruit and mineral flavors of wines from the Loire Valley and that is certainly the case with "Les Vins de la Madone," from Biodynamic farming on the estate's high-altitude parcels of granit and basalt soils. Gilles' great farming achieves maximum ripeness giving wildly delicious red and black fruits to the wines, combined with a wonderfully refreshing acidity and a unique mineral character  - "vibrant" describes them well!  Please note: Gilles' wines are very popular in France - the 2020 vintage is already sold out so this will be our only offer until next year. (Wines arrive Tuesday 6/15)

History and Geography: The estate began in 1997 with the rental of a few plots of old vines and has grown to 11 hectares, mostly on and around the volcano de la Madone near Montbrison, entirely certified organic and Biodynamic (Demeter). To situate the domain, we can follow the Loire upstream to Orleans where it makes a broad trun to the south, flowing past Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. At Nevers, the river splits, with the Allier continuing due south and the Loire heading further east before turning south again to Roanne and then Montbrison, with the hills and ancient volcanoes of the Monts du Forez on the west and the Monts du Lyonnais to the east. (Here we are in the Loire Department, officially, which also contains much of the vineyards of Condrieu and northern Saint-Joseph!)

Gilles Bonnefoy

The Terroir: The reds are bottled from different soils  on and around the volcano of the Madone, which include "Granit du Forez," "Migmatites de Montbrison" - a granit which contains migmatite with clay and mica, and basalt, a volcanic rock here containing iron and magnesium.

The Grapes: The only red permitted in the AOC Côtes du Forez is the Gamay Noir a Jus Blanc, but Gilles also has old varieties of Gamay such as Gamay de Bouze, Gamay de Chaudenay and Gamaret. The whites are from Roussanne (50% is massale selection from Quenard in Savoie), and from Sauvignon Gris and Sauvignon blanc.

The Cellar:  The grapes are harvested by hand into small crates, with very low yields, and are destemmed or fermented whole-cluster depending on the cuvee. No SO2 is added and fermentations are with native yeasts, aging is usually in cuve inox with a small addition of SO2 before bottling.

These wines are incredibly delicious! They are a testament to the superb  Biodynamic farming and natural winemaking of Gilles Bonnefoy and his team - serve cool this summer for some vibrant refreshment!

Hillside vines of Les vins de la Madone

Bonnefoy (La Madone) 2020 Côtes du Forez "La Madone"

The Gilles Bonnefoy "Gamay sur Vulcan" is from 15 to 30 year-old vines, 50% on basalt soils, 50% on granit/clay soils on the slopes of an ancient volcano. Hand harvested with low yields, the grapes are de-stemmed and undergo a short fermentation with native yeasts. The wine is lightly filtered and bottled with minimal SO2. The color is a warm purple, with lighter violet edges. Nose is plush red and black berries, a minerally smoke, black tea, with an airy, grassy aroma. Palate has tart cherries and plums, a flash of limestone, and a hint of rich, woodsy earth develops on a long, engaging finish. The wine's structure, crisp but juicy, makes it incredibly drinkable. Complex and fresh, serve with a slight chill, and drink this summer. David Hatzopoulos

  • red
  • 9 in stock
  • $17.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Bonnefoy (La Madone) 2020 IGP Urfé Sauvignons Gris/Blanc Volcan

 The Bonnefoy 2020 "Sauvignons" is 60% Sauvignon Gris and 40% Sauvignon Blanc (massale selection) grown in basalt soils on the east face of the volcano of Purchon. Farming is certified organic and Biodynamic, all harvests are by hand, and Gilles Bonnefoy has a low-intervention approach in the cellar, where he eschews additives or new oak. The nose shows flinty stone and ripe citrus notes that continue on the palate,  which shows further notes of gooseberries and a slight tropicality. There's nice density and length here, making it a quite serious expression of Sauvignon, distinguished by its long and dense mineral finish. A lovely wine that should definitely not be served too cold: this is Sauvignon with real substance.

  • white
  • 5 in stock
  • $18.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic

Bonnefoy (La Madone) 2020 IGP Urfé Roussanne de Madone

 The beautiful Roussanne from Gilles Bonnefoy is from 20 year-old vines (partly massale selection from Quenard in Savoie) grown on the steep south face of the volcano of Purchon.  Bonnefoy  farms these young vines carefully, keeping yields  very low to promote concentration and  harvesting late (Roussanne takes a long time to ripen fully) and by hand. Native yeast fermentation takes place in used barrels; the wine ages in the same.  In the glass, the Roussanne  is pale and shows  a very expressive nose of white flowers, green herbs, and a touch of orchard fruits. Given the freshness of the nose, the palate is surprisingly and lusciously dense and complex, with pear, peach, and apple as well as long and broad minerality. A great expression of Roussanne on unique Volcanic terroir.   Only 3000 bottles produced.

  • white
  • 15 in stock
  • $23.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Bonnefoy (La Madone) 2020 Vin Mousseaux de Qualité Bulle Rouge

 The delicious Bulles Rouge de Madone from Gilles Bonnefoy is made from direct presss of Gamay de Bouze and Gamay de Chaudenay (teinturier). There is a low temperature fermentation in tank, then the wine is bottled and continues fermentation with no added SO2 until over 4 bars of pressure, about three months. The wine is then disgorged and re-bottled with a small addition of sulfur. The 2020  Bulles Rouge from Bonnefoy has a lovely dark purple robe. The wine has a medium fine bead with a frothy mousse. The nose offers pretty aromas of wild berries, bramble, and violets. The palate is lightweight and fresh with juicy, dark berry fruit and graphite notes, with a lifted, lip-smacking finish. And while this is delicious (not to mention fun) on its own, there’s enough character here to enjoy with charcuterie, composed salads, or dare we suggest fried chicken. Enjoy this frisky sparkler all summer at the beach at the park or even on your fire escape.

  • rosé sparkling
  • 6 in stock
  • no discount
  • $18.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
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Bonnefoy (La Madone) 2020 Côtes du Forez "Migmatite"

The 2020 Cote du Forez "Migmatite" from Gilles Bonnefoy at Les Vins de la Madone is a extraordinary Gamay from 50 year-old vines in a unique parcel of granite/clay soils very rich in mica. The grapes are hand-harvested with yields of only 25 hl/ha,  followed by whole cluster fermentation with native yeasts. Aging is in cuve inox, with a light filtration and the wine is bottled with minimal SO2, per Demeter Biodynamic rules.  The wine shows a deep black/purple color with elegant aromas of ripe black fruits, very floral and fresh.The palate is fabulously deep, dense and velvety with lush black fruits above a very present saline mineral character that lifts the vibrant black fruits in the long refreshing finish. Just a beautiful wine and perfect with grilled foods this summer, charcuterie  and cheeses or just sipped cool by itself. This is the most "serious" of Gilles' wines to be offered this year -  put a few in the cellar as the wine should develop nicely over the next 3 to 5 years. Highly recommemded!

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $19.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic

Bonnefoy (La Madone) 2020 IGP Urfé Les Rougeots du Clos

Gilles Bonnefoy's vibrant "Les Rougeots du Clos" is from young vines of three Gamays: Gamay de Bouze, Gamay de Chaudenay and Gamaret (a cross between Gamay and Reichensteiner, resistant to grey rot, with bright black fruit flavors). The vines grow at 1,800 ft in a single parcel on granit soils with mica and clay. The wine shows a bright red/black color with very floral, complex, earthy aromas of blackberry and black raspberry with gorgeous fruit on the ripe supple palate, with terrific length of earth, minerals and deep black fruits. Really a fascinating and very "gouleyant" wine to serve cool with grilled foods this summer, fresh goat cheeses and even chocolate desserts!  David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $19.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur