Young Christophe Foucher in Rossignoux 2008 (Photo: Bert Celce Wine Terroirs)

Naturally Loire: Chrisophe Foucher's "La Lunotte" and More....

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We remember a stroll through Paris in 2008 when  a salesperson at "Le Vin en Tete" recommended "Haut Plessis" from La Lunotte. Wow, what an extraordinary wine - Jura Savagnin sous-voile meets Menu Pineau from Touraine! We called Christophe Foucher the next day and have been trying to obtain his wines ever since, with only occasional sucess, so we're very happy to have received a small shipment and are hoping for more...

Foucher’s vineyards are located on the southern bank of the Cher River, near St. Aignan, just a few miles from our friends at Clos Roche Blanche, and with quite similar terroir. Foucher farms seven distinct plots planted to Sauvignon Blanc, Menu Pineau, Gamay, Cot and Cabernet Franc; everything is done by hand at this 7 hectare domaine and the farming is strictly organic, without copper sulfate. The whites are aged in small, used barrels and have a certain creaminess and weight that magically balances their high acidity and intense minerality, while the reds are generally light, low in alcohol and high in refreshing pleasure. Bottling is done by hand, without pumping and without added sulfur.

Christophe in the cellar (Photo: E. Lillie)

The news in August from Christophe was not good, but his attitude is admirable..."So here, the climatology was catastrophic for more than two months, very little sun and a lot of rain and humidity. In short, this really rotten summer obviously generated an explosion of mildew in the vines. It's a shame, because I had pretty much gotten through the freezes and hail that fell really very close to here. Today the crop is devastated and I will not organize a harvest for the 2021 vintage. But it's not that big of a deal, because 2019 and 2020 have really been two great years. So I still have in the cellar, a lot of wines in vinification and aging."

We hope to have "Haut Plessis," "La Flou," "Bulottes" and who knows what other special cuvées arriving in 2022, so stay tuned and in the meantime enjoy the magical, natural glou-glou of "Rossignoux," "Les Ormeaux" and "Pochetières!" (Our first delivery sold-out quickly, additional inventory arrives 11/16.)

For those of you seeking to drink more "naturally," we've included a few of our favorite exmples from the Loire Valley, all produced with organically-grown grapes and bottled with zero or minimal added SO2. Enjoy!

Lunotte (Christophe Foucher) 2019 Vin de France Les Rossignoux

Christophe Foucher makes brilliant natural wines on his 5 hectare estate, La Lunotte, in Couffy,  on the southern bank of the Cher River, near St. Aignan, just a short distance from our friends at Clos Roche Blanche. Christophe grows Sauvignon Blanc, Menu Pineau, Cabernet Franc, Cot and Gamay, farmed with strict organic methods and vinified without sulfites or other additives and bottled by hand, unfiltered. The 2019 Roussignoux #2 shows a pale gold color with aromas of dried herbs, pear, candied citrus, mint and wet stone, slightly oxidative in the style of a Jura white, The palate shows a dense mineral core with ripe citrus, pear, dried apple, stone and herbal flavors that continue in the long finish with firm acidity. Serve with a full-flavored ceviche, fish or chicken in sauce, goat cheeses. Pure juice! 

  • white
  • 24 in stock
  • $19.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur

Lunotte 2020 Vin de France Les Ormeaux (Gamay)

In my excitement to finally open a bottle of La Lunotte red after several years of missing out on the wines (due to their immense popularity in natural wine hubs of France and Japan), I opened the Ormeaux and thought it was the most fresh and vibrant Cab Franc I'd had in a long time. Then I looked back at the email Christophe wrote us during the Summer and realized that it was Gamay. So! It's the darkest and most Cab Franc-like Gamay I've had in a long time! Crunchy, bright, but with a black fruit profile that is reminiscent of darker grapes, or perhaps of Gamay Teinturier. There is on one side the bright gulpability that is common with Foucher's reds, but there are also notes of raw earth and cassis. We had a bottle open for about 5 hours and it was "clean," a word we use to refer to wines without added SO2, which can at times start to taste bacterial, or in some way "unclean" several hours after opening.  A joy to drink!  -EL

  • red
  • 18 in stock
  • $19.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur

Lunotte 2020 Vin de France Pochetières (Cot)

Wow, we actually got some Cot "Pochetières" from Christiphe Foucher at La Lunotte! (The ony other store in the world that has this is in Manitoba, Canada?) The wine shows a dark red/black/amber color with aromas of fresh blackberry, just off the bush, with violet, earth and citrus, pure and lovely. There's a tingle of CO2 on the palate, then pure light-bodied, lush blackberry/black raspberry fruit, beautifully low in alcohol at 11.5%. There are minerals and blood orange with earth and berries in the clean refreshing finish. Serve quite cool and be happy!  David Lillie

  • red
  • 20 in stock
  • $19.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur

Pineau, Julien 2020 Vin de France Sucettes á l'Aunis

From Jullien Pineau, new proprietor of vines at the Clos Roche Blanche in Touraine, comes this earthy and beautiful Pineau d'Aunis, organic farming of course and zero added sulfur. The 2020 shows a bright, slightly opaque red/purple color with lovely aromas of rose petal, spice, plum, ripe raspberry, orange peel and white pepper. The palate is tangy and velvety with ripe plum and crushed berries - the finish is soft and ripe with earth, minerals, red fruits and citrus. This is a delightful natural wine that will accompany a wide variety of lighter meat dishes, served cool. David Lillie

  • red
  • 8 in stock
  • $27.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur

Tessier 2020 Cheverny Rouge

The delicious 2020 Tessier Chevery Rouge is from 15 to 40 year-old vines of 57% Pinot Noir, 36% Gamay and 7% Cot grown in sandy clay soils. Wild yeasts, of course, and aging in old barrels with minimal or zero SO2 added, bottled unfiltered. The yields were surprisingly good in 2020, but the fruit achieved perfect ripeness in this excellent vintage, showing deep cherry and raspberry with plum, rose, citrus and brown spice. The palate is round, velvety, ripe and vibrantly refreshing with chalky spiced berry fruits, plum skin and mineral flavors, ending with sappy red fruits and bright acidity. Serve quite  cool with charcuterie, chicken and pork dishes and a wide variety of cheeses.  Just delicious! (13 mg/L total SO2, normally indicating zero added)

  • red
  • 12 in stock
  • $22.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Tessier 2020 Vin de France TOC (Cot)

 Toc is a pun for Côt, one of the single-variety cuvées made by Simon and Philippe Tessier in their organic estate of Sologne. Côt, or Malbec, is one of the grapes authorised in the Cheverny AOC but as the appellation has to be a blend, the wine is declassified in Vin de France - one of the meanings of Toc in French is "fake stuff."  Vinified like all the other reds in semi-carbonic maceration for 15 days or so, then aged in larger oak barrel, this bottling has a juicy, plush texture balancing really well the natural high acid spine of the variety. Dark purple - the usual colour of Malbec - the 2020 has a powerful bouquet of violet, elderberry, blackberry liqueur and dried thyme. On the palate, the attack is round and easy, with blackberry and cherry fruit, then the vibrant acidity appears, and plays with the gentle tannins, finishing with ripe, chalky fruit. Despite this ripeness it is not heavy at all, but quite refreshing and lively so serve quite cool.  Delicious wine and highly recommended. PL/DL

  • red
  • 25 in stock
  • $22.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Bonhomme, Pierre-Olivier 2020 Vin de France La Tesniere Pineau D'Aunis

This is a bold expression of Pineau d'Aunis from Pierre-Olivier Bonhomme, from vines near the Cher river  on clay with silex in organic and biodynamic farming. Aged in old futs and demi-muids, bottled without filtration, minimal SO2. The 2020 shows a pretty light red color with aromas of ripe raspberry and violets, really lovely. The palate is vibrant and bright with raspberry, cranberry and cherry with lip-smacking acidity and a beautifully refreshing finish of minerals and juicy red fruits. This is a delightfully refreshing and forward version of Pineau d'Aunis - serve cool!  David Lillie

  • red
  • 11 in stock
  • $28.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Bonhomme, Pierre-Olivier 2019 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 or minimal added SO2. 2019 is another great vintage for this soulful wine! (Please decant or open a few hours in advance) The wine shows an opaque dark red color and complex aromas of ripe blackberry and plum, violet, earth, roast meat, citrus peel and mint, very changeable and bright. The palate is fresh and bright with cool acidity under dense stony black fruits, plum skin and lighter berry fruits, menthol and stone that linger in the long finish. Fascinating now, this should be very interesting in 5 to 10 years. Highly recommended for lovers of natural wine, serve cool.  David Lillie

  • red
  • 24 in stock
  • $25.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Bonhomme, Pierre-Olivier 2020 Touraine Sauvignon Blanc Maceration

Pierre-O Bonhomme's 2020 Sauvignon Maceration, from estate fruit, is macerated in vat and aged in barrel giving a wildly complex Sauvignon that's truly delicious. In the glass, the wine is a hazy lemon in color. The nose is smoky, showing pear, yellow apple, and bold grassy aromas. As the wine opens, scents  of orange peel, anise and bitter herbs develop. Flavors of orchard fruit and lemon lead the palate, with undertones of black tea and white pepper. A dose of healthy minerals add a great energy to the wine's mouthfeel, balanced by a touch of faint tannin and a zip of great acid. Wild but approachable, tons of flavor and great structure. Drink up!

  • white
  • 2 in stock
  • $23.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Bonhomme, Pierre-Olivier 2020 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, slightly cloudy orange/bronze color and a bit of skin tannin in the finish. The 2020 seems a bit brighter than the 2019 with intriguing aromas of orange peel, spiced pear, beeswax, almond...  The palate is finely textured with very firm acidity and flavors of ripe pear and granny smith, with citrus peel and spice in the long scintillating finish. Enjoy by itself or with full-flavored fish and chicken dishes.

  • white
  • 9 in stock
  • $27.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Bonhomme, Pierre-Olivier 2019 Vin de France Tesniere Blanc (Menu Pineau)

Menu Pineau, also known as "Arbois" is described in Wine Grapes  (J. Robinson et al.) as "an old variety from the Val de Loire named after its similarity to Gros Pineau (Chenin Blanc)...although it has nothing to do with the village called Arbois in the Franche-Comté." It is an offspring of Gouais Blanc, along with many other European grapes, and is "a little more rustic, but less acid than Chenin Blanc," according to Thierry Puzelat. The 2019 La Tesnière Blanc by Pierre-Olivier Bonhomme is from organically-grown vines, 75% Menu Pineau and 25% Chenin Blanc. The wine shows a bright pale gold color and is slightly petillant when opened. Subtle aromas of grapefruit, dried pear and apple, dried herbs, stone and caramel. The palate is austere and stony, with firm acidity and flavors of hazelnut, citrus, baked apple, earth and brown spice. A really fascinating wine and a great pairing with sushi, grilled fish with fennel, lemon chicken, aged goat cheeses and much more. Highly recommended to lovers of unique natural wines.

  • white
  • 16 in stock
  • $27.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Grange aux Belles 2020 Vin de France "53" Cabernet Franc

From old vines of Cabernet Franc on schist, most planted in 1953, de-stemmed, short fermentation with no extraction. "53" shows a bright, deep red/purple color and the palate is supple, round and ripe with dense, earthy cassis and berry fruit and stone flavors backed by firm acidity. This needs aeration or a few years in the cellar, and there is nice freshness to the wine - the dark fruit will pair well with grilled meats and charcuterie. Serve cool.

  • red
  • 16 in stock
  • $26.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Mosse 2019 Vin de France Le Rouchefer

The Mosse family is making superb natural wines in Anjou, and the 2019 Vin de France Rouchefer is a classic example. From a 1.6 ha parcel of 50 year-old massale selection vines in soils of clay and quartz over schistes, the wine is produced with minimal SO2 (total 20mg/l) and is aged in barrel. The  wine shows beautiful floral aromas of quince, pear, citrus, almond and stone. The palate is quite ripe, expressive and elegant without being heavy, and the lovely fruit is backed by firm acidity, herbal and mineral flavors, with terrific length  - a real Chenin of terroir that will accompany a wide range of seafood and chicken dishes and mild cheeses. Serve cool, but not too cold, over the next ten to fifteen years.

  • white
  • 8 in stock
  • $38.99

  • Organic

Tue-Boeuf 2020 Touraine Le P'tit Buisson

100% Sauvignon Blanc. Tue Boeuf has been sourcing from this site known as Petit Buisson on the north bank of the Cher since 2003. It is an organically farmed, hand-harvested, 1.4-hectare parcel of 35-40-year-old vines on flinty clay-limestone soils.Typical of Tue Boeuf whites, Petit Buisson fruit is whole-cluster-pressed and allowed to ferment spontaneously with native yeasts and without sulfur in large oak tanks. The wine ages for around 6 months in used Burgundy barrels, without racking and with occasional stirring of the lees; it is bottled without fining or filtration.  The 2020 is a lovely Sauvignon Blanc with vibrant pear and melon fruit, very supple and ripe but with firm acidity. Most Sancerres are dulled by excess sulfur-dioxide, but this wine is pure, long and delicious with only a tiny addition of SO2 before bottling. Serve with any full-flavored fish dish, white meats and goat cheeses, lovely wine.

  • white
  • 7 in stock
  • $24.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Saillard, Laurent 2020 Vin de France La Paire (Grolleau/Gamay)

La Paire is a blend of Grolleau and Gamay from organically farmed vines in the Loire et Cher. At 11.5%, it's flavorful, but definitely light in body and deserving of a light chill.

  • red
  • 4 in stock
  • $24.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur
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Saillard, Laurent 2020 Vin de France Un Ete Partage (Grolleau/Grolleau Gris)

From vines neighboring Laurent, and part of a negociant project that he had to undertake after several years of limited harvests from his own vineyards. This is a blend of Grolleau and Grolleau Gris that is delightful, fresh and thin, almost akin to Pineau D'Aunis in body, without the pronounced peppery notes that Pineau D'Aunis provides. Juicy and well worth a chill, and though it didn't make our Thanksgiving email blast, it would be perfect with a feast, as it's both thirst-quenching and red.  -EL

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

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur