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December brought new arrivals from some of our favorite estates in France, some of which have been sadly missing from our shelves for the last few years. We'll start in the Loire Valley with Alain Bore and family at Domaine du Fresche in Anjou, whose 2019 Anjou Blanc is a sensational value, and we particularly love their Pinot Noir/Grolleau blend "Le Rouge Gorge!" Heading south to Bergerac, we find the superb natural wines of Isabelle Carles and Franck Pascal at "Le Jonc Blanc." This small Biodynamic estate is not well known in the US, but has earned great respect among winemakers in France for their great farming and precise vinifications, followed by a long elevage with zero sulfur. These wines are truly outstanding and unique and we are proud to have them at Chambers Street.
We finish with two domains in the Roussillon. First, Eric Laguerre in St. Martin de Fenouillet, whose high altitude vineyards on granite soils yield vibrant everyday wines as well as the impressive "Le Ciste" cuvees in red and white. And don't miss his completly unique "Oxy," a beautiful Jura-style white that spends 5 years sous-voile. We end up with the soulful natural wines of Philippe Wies at La Petite Baigneuse, whose Biodynamic vineyards on shist soils in Maury give full-bodied yet perfectly balanced wines, reflecting the Mediterranean climate.
And since winter is Rosé time (?), we include four beautiful wines in various shades of pink, including the deliciously unfashionable demi-sec Cabernet d'Anjou from Domaine du Fresche, and the dark pink/red "Plait-il" from La Petite Baigneuse made with a unique blend of Syrah, Carignan, Grenache and Oeillade...
Wines are in stock but please allow three to five days for pick-up or shipping as we try to catch up after the holidays...
Eric has once again made a small quantity of "Oxy" - his extraordinary Grenache Blanc that spends five years sous-voile. The current vintage is 2014 (we think) - for any lover of Vin Jaune, or anyone making chicken with vin jaune and morels, this is a must buy! The wine shows lovely herbal, stone, citrus peel and strong oxidative aromas. The oxidation is less apparent on the palate which is extremely elegant and of course shows an intense minerality, with flavors of lemon zest, stone and dried pear, finishing with terrific length. Superb and unique wine! (No added SO2) David Lillie
A ridiculous value from Domaine du Fresche in Anjou, this is a savory and refreshing Cremant de Loire that is sure to please. Fine mousse, subtle yeasty/brioche notes and perfect acidity. Though delicious on its own, our most recent tasting clearly revealed that this would be a great food wine as well. -EL
Alain and Christine Boré produce delicious organic wines on their estate in Anjou that are sensational values for everyday enjoyment. Their Anjou Blanc (100% Chenin Blanc) is superb, with lovely aromas of pear and apple, fresh herbs, lime-flower and honey. Not quite as sharp or acid driven as the previous vintage, it is still a simply delicious dry Chenin that will accompany seafood, grilled or in sauce, chicken, goat cheeses, etc.
Alain and Christine Bore, the sixth generation of the family at the Domaine du Fresche, produce beautiful certified organic wines on their estate at La Pomeraye, Anjou. The 2020 IGP Vl de Loire "L'Alouette" is made from Gamay and Grolleau Noir - it's a fabulous "vin de soif" (easy-drinking, thirst-quenching wine) which shows lovely aromas of ripe cherry and raspberry with floral and earthy hints. There is gorgeous ripeness on the palate, with cherry, raspberry, plum and citrus with floral and mineral notes - ripe and juicy but also light and refreshing. The finish is long with lush berry fruits, citrus and stone. This is a simply delicious Gamay/Grolleau glou-glou to serve quite cool - lovely by itself or with mild cheeses, vegetables, chicken and pork, and it's a fabulous value at $14.99!
50% Pinot Noir and 50% Grolleau grown by Alain and Christine Bore, the sixth generation on their organic estate in Anjou. This unusual blend of Pinot Noir and Grolleau is really lovely - it's a bit riper and fuller than previous versions, with lush aromas of blackberry, ripe cherry and plum, really showing both grapes in a lovely amalgam of fruit. The palate is round and supple with cool blackberry, cherry and raspberry fruit - quite ripe but lifted by fresh acidity and finishing with delicious sappy fruit. Serve a bit chilled with chicken, pork, vegetable dishes and mild cheeses. Just a great everyday red and a wonderful value! DL
Alain and Christine Bore, the sixth generation of the family at the Domaine du Fresche, produce beautiful certified organic wines on their estate at La Pomeraye, Anjou. The 2020 Anjou Rouge is a delightful Cabernet Franc to drink cool with casual meals at any time of year. Lovely aromas of blackberry and raspberry with violet and rose; the palate is light and supple with lovely berry fruits and refreshing acidity. This is a delicious everyday red to serve cool with chicken, pork, veggies, patés and mild cheeses. Fabulous value!
The delicious 2019 Jonc Blanc "Fruit" is a bland of 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and 65% Merlot from a parcel on limestone of Castillon in biodynamic farming with legumes, cereals and pollinators between the vnes. There is a cool pre-fermentation maceration, then fermentation with wild yeasts for 30 days, followed by 18 months in cuve and old foudre, bottled unfined, unfiltered with zero added SO2. Pure Juice!. The wine shows lovely aromas of black raspberry, cassis and plum with earth and violet, the palate is full and supple with bright acidity and mineral flavors under the vibrant fruit. This is simply delicious and a great value - serve cool and enjoy over the next three years with charcuterie, burgers, grilled chicken and pork. David Lillie
Isabelle and Franck Pascal make this beautiful natural wine (formerly known as "Classik") from Cabernet and Merlot grown on their Biodynamic estate near Felines, in Bergerac. The wine is aged sur-lie 12 months in barrel, and is bottled without filtration or added sulfur. The color is a dark red/black; the wine shows bright, vivid aromas of ripe cassis and boysenberry liqueur with earth, musk, violet and graphite. The palate is lush, ripe and vibrant with blackberry, cassis, prune, chocolate, earth, stone and licorice lifted by firm, cool acidity that continues in the long, bright and sapid finish. Wow, delicious! Serve with grilled pork or beef, a daube Provençal, strong cheeses and charcuterie or cellar for 5 to 8 years. David Lillie
The superb 2018 Jonc Blanc Pure T is 100% Merlot grown in a terroir of green clay on powdery limestone and fossilized oyster shells, élevage in 1200 liter Taransaud foudre for two years, bottled with no fining or filtration with zero added SO2. Pure Juice. Fabulous balance between richness, concentration and freshness, with the limestone soil bringing saline flavors. The color is a deep black with very floral aromas of cassis and blackberry. The palate is dense, deep and chocolately but still bright and balanced with terrific length. Beautiful wine! David Lillie
For lovers of natural, skin contact wines - “PURE S” : 100% Semillon. Boulbènes terroir on a limestone base: a mixture of limestone sands and silts with a little clay. Aging in 18hl Stockinger casks for 2 years, zero additives. Production : 2400 bottles.Tasting: the boulbènes on limestone of the plateau of Vélines are illustrated by very marked salty notes and give the wine a great minerality. A white wine that transcends the natural power of Semillon and expresses itself with fantastic length.To decant imperatively!" Yes, the wine is a bit funky on opening, showing a deep bronze/gold color. Floral, herbal, roasted citrus and apricot notes. The palate shows skin tannin, ripe melon, apricot and citrus peel with intense mineral flavors and firm acidity, with a "mousy" aspect that comes and goes. Best perhaps after 3 days open, recorked, or after many years of cellaring. Drink it if you dare.... DL
Eric Laguerre's "Le Passage" is from his highest parcel, at about 2,000 feet, on soils of decomposed granite. Organic farming, natural vinification, aged in used barrels. 80% Carignan with Syrah and Grenache. The 2019 is a lovely dark red/black color with deep aromas of blackberry, earth, dark chocolate brightened with violet and pepper. Dense, velvety black fruits on the palate - blackberry, prune and cocoa lifted by bright citrusy acids and finishing with a mineral kick. This is a beautiful expression of Eric's mountainside vineyards and a sensational value - showing the quality of his low-yielding Carignan. Drink now, served cool, with grilled meats, stews, and full-flavored cheeses, or hold a few years for a mature experience. David Lillie
Eric Laguerre's parcels for this cuvée are planted on plateaus fringed with flowering "ciste" bushes and wind swept trees. The Pyrénées loom in the distance and the afternoon sun reflecting off the decomposed granite gives his vineyards a sort of shimmering quality. Eric's bottling of "Le Ciste" is a faithful interpretation of each of these elements plus Grenache, Syrah, Carignan and Mourvèdre - some de-stemmed and some fermented on whole-clusters, separately, then aged for a year in barrel before being blended together in fiber tank. The 2017 has all of the bold flavor and texture of grapes that were allowed to fully ripen without any worry about lost acidity. At his altitude and with the help of granitic soils, Eric has little reason to pick early; his wines are vibrant and always have a marvelous backbone of mineral acidity. This is his fullest wine, with rich tannins and brooding flavors of fresh thyme, black pepper, bitter chocolate, and blood orange buoyed by ripe cherry. And while this is a handy and humble "grab n' go" for barbecues, Moroccan-themed dinners, etc., this wine has all of the potential to make us giddy and glad that we saved a few for 2030.
Eric Laguerre's "Le Ciste," (named after a flowering bush in and around his vineyards) is certainly one of the most distinctive whites of the Roussillon. Grown in Eric's high-elevation terroir on acidic soils of decomposed granite, the wine is made from Marsanne, Roussanne, Rolle (Vermentino), Grenache Blanc and Maccabeu. Yields are about 20 Hl/Ha, harvesting is by hand in small baskets, fermentation (wild yeasts) and aging is in small barrels. Complex aromas of lemon oil, thyme, hay and white fruits—a lovely melange with contributions from each variety and especially showing the Marsanne and Roussanne. The palate is dense, stony and saline with herbal, citrus, almond and white fruit flavors. The finish is long with mineral acids and white fruits that linger on the palate. Complex and distinctive as a young wine, this will accompany grilled fish as well as fish and chicken in sauce and goat cheeses, and should develop nicely with a few years of cellaring. Really a Grand Cru of the Roussillon and a great value! David Lillie
Grenache from schist soil in Maury, nestled near the Pyrenees mountains. Loustics is from an arid north-facing parcel, and always has a nice freshness to it. The shist soils bring a particular mineral aroma and finish to the wine, blending well with the natural tannins, which are quite soft in the '19 vintage. In the end, it's a delicious, easy drinking, gentle and a bit "sauvage" expression of Grenache. Drink with a slight chill. No SO2 added.
Lledoner Pelut is a relatively unknown variety, related to Grenache (and known as Garnacha Peluda in Spain). Philippe Wies farms Lledoner Pelut, Carignan and Grenache Noir in the Catalan hills of France, in a special part of the Languedoc-Roussillon region with soils of decomposed black schist. The 2018 "Grand Largue" is made from Lledoner Pelut and Carignan, and has a huskier profile than its little brother, Les Loustics. Here we have purple fruit, baking spice, and mineral cut. Clearly elegant enough to drink on its own, but would make a nice pairing with winter time stews or root veggie dishes.
Maccabeu and Grenache Gris from very old vines on black schist soils of Maury, in the Roussillon, bordering Spain and the Pyrenees Mountains. There's great density and body to the wine, balanced by a mineral finish. I'm personally a big fan of Maccabeu and find wines made from this grape have really nice weight and good cut as well. -EL
Philippe Wies at La Petite Baigneuse made "Imposture" - a blanc de noir rosé - from Grenache grown on shiste soils. The wine shows a very pale pink/orange color and pretty aromas of strawberry, citrus, earth and rose petal. The palate has nice density and texture, but remains light and fresh, with pure raspberry/strawberry fruit, citrus, earth and a very long finish of sappy bright fruits and refreshing acidity. It's a pleasure to drink a such a flavorful, natural rosé with zero or minimal SO2.
The 2020 Petite Baigneuse "Plait-il" is somewhere between an orange wine and a rosé with a fairly dark pink/orange color. Made from Grenache, Carignan, Syrah and Oeillade (an old version of Cinsault) the wine shows complex earthy aromas of raspberry, plum skin, tart cherry and orange peel, and a bit of funk, with sappy fruit flavors, citrus and minerals on the palate. The finish is long, earthy and intriguing with nice length of bright raspberry, tart cherry and citrus. A bit like the lighter wines from L'Anglore in Tavel but a bit more natural in style - give this some time open and be pleased.