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Back in January, our friend Eric Asimov gave a glowing review to Stéphane Guion's amazing 2019 Bourgueil Cuvée Domaine: "It’s a great drink and a superb value," so of course it sold out immediately. We're happy to report that the wine is back in stock along with Stéphane's superb 2018 Cuvée Prestige ($16.99) his profound and age-worthy 2014 Cuvée Deux Monts ($32.99) and....his vibrant and super-delicious 2019 Bourgueil Rosé!
2019 Bourgueil Rosé? Absolutely - it takes a few years for Stephane's Rosé to shed a bit of its bracing acidity and for the ripe berry fruits to fully emerge. A product of serious limestone/gravel terroir, this is the perfect wine for grilled chicken on a hot day this summer...
(For Mr. Asimov's January article click HERE - we've included some of his other selections at the end of our offer, a few of which are new vintages.)
Domaine Guion was created by Stéphane's father in the 1950's and was certified organic beginning in 1965. The estate's 8 hectares are all in Benais mostly on Turonien limestone with varied depths of clay topsoil. Only 15% of the vines are on gravel topsoil, in "La Ruée," used primarily for the rosé and a small amount in the Cuvée Domaine. The parcels are just west of Domaine de la Chevalerie and Domaine Breton, in the northern sector of Benais, on slopes facing south and southwest, which is prime real estate for ageworthy, mineral-laden Bourgueils! The Cuvée Prestige is from vines averaging 45 years of age in the parcels "Grand Mont," "les Marquises," le Vlaudons," "le Maupas," "les Caveries," "Petit Mont" and "Chavannes." The Cuvée Deux Monts is from 70+ year-old vines in "Petits Monts" and "Grand Monts" towards the top of the slope above Benais, facing roughly south-west, clay over Turonien limestone (tuffeau, craie micacée)
Due east from Bourgeuil, our friend Laurent Saillard has been producing wines in the Loire et Cher (the wine region between the Loire river and the Cher - a tributary of the Loire) since 2010. He started by renting a small parcel that was farmed by Didier Barrouillet and Catherine Roussel at the legendary Clos Roche Blanche, making some "micro-cuvées" while working with Clos Roche Blanche and Noella Morantin. In 2015, Saillard set out on his own, expanding his surface by taking over close to half of the Clos Roche Blance vineyards. From the CRB parcels, he now has Pineau D'Aunis, Gamay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. Since then, he has found some small plots of Grolleau Noir and Gris, and in recent years, has started to look to friends in other regions after losing crops to mildew, frost and hail in the Loire et Cher. 2021 saw Laurent struggling with low yields, so several new wines will be trickling into the city this Summer. For now, we have the end of stock on some 2020s, the famous 'La Pause' Gamay, 'La Paire,' a blend of Grolleau and Gamay, and 'Une Été Partagé,' a Grolleau Noir/Grolleau Gris blend. All of his wines share a characteristic Loire et Cher purity, from the primarily limestone terroir. They are perfectly light-medium bodied, with mineral length and good ripenes and overall balance.
The World's Best Value in Cabernet Franc is back! - This is another beautiful wine from the shy and affable Stéphane Guion who is quietly making some of the best wines in Bourgueil. His 2019 Cuvèe Domaine is from not-so-young (15 to 40 year-old) vines, mostly on clay/limestone terroir in Benais and is equal to the superb 2018 with perhaps a bit more brightness to the fruit. The wine shows a vibrant black/red color and lush aromas of raspberry and blackberry confit, dark chocolate and violets - very deep and ripe but still bright with earthy hints as well. The palate is medium-bodied and very fresh with firm acidity and chalky, saline mineral flavors framing the very ripe, chalky red and black fruits, which continue in the long sappy finish. Drink now, served cool, with grilled chicken and pork, charcuterie, green vegetables and mild cheeses, or hold 5 to 8 years for a velvety mature experience. This is a beautiful wine and a sensational value! David Lillie
(Arrives 7/26) 2018 brings us another great Cuvée Prestige from Stéphane Guion in Bourgueil, whose domaine has been certified organic since the 1960s. From vines averaging 45 years old on thin topsoils of sandy clay over limestone (tuffau jaune) in Benais, a terroir that produces some of the most elegant and age-worthy Bourgueils. 2018 is a great vintage for Loire reds, despite the very warm and humid spring that brought attacks of mildew. The summer was perfect, warm and dry, without spikes of heat, and the soils retained enough moisture to bring freshness to the very ripe grapes. Tasted with Stéphane in February 2020, the 2018 Prestige showed elegant intensely perfumed aromas of red and black fruit liqueurs. The palate was complex and earthy, very calcaire, dense but not heavy with beautifully supple ripe red and black fruits, with a long finish of saline and mineral flavors quite present below the sappy fruit. We look forward to a more thorough tasting after the wine rests from its voyage, but it's quite clear that this will be delicious to drink as a young wine, and - although it may seem crazy to cellar a $17 wine for 20 to 30 years - those that do will be rewarded with a unique expression of this great terroir. I'm hoping to live to be 100 to have that experience myself! David Lillie
(Last 60 btls of the 2014, arrives 7/26) From 70-year-old vines in "Petits Monts" and "Grand Monts" towards the top of the slope above Benais, facing roughly south-west, clay over Turonien limestone (tuffeau, craie micacée). This is the terroir giving the most elegant and age-worthy Bourgueils and 2014 is a particularly good vintage for Loire reds to age. 18-month élevage ; 40% in cuve inox, 20% in one new 400 liter barrel, 20% in one-year and 20% in two-year old barrels, assembled two months before bottling. Tasted in February 2016, the wine was fairly closed and tight, with deep, pure black fruits and perfect balance. This will be a sensational mature wine, best to wait eight to ten years, or more, then drink until 2040.
(Arrives 7/26) Our review from July 2020: Of course we love the great Cabernet Franc rosés from the Loire and a special favorite of ours is the vibrant Bourgueil from Stéphane Guion in Benais. Organic since 1964, the estate produces superb wines on the limestone/clay soils, and this year's rosé is perhaps his best ever! The color is a lovely pale pink and the raspberry and red currant fruit is supple, complex and refreshing, remaining light but with lovely complex fruit, herbal notes and a particularly long and focused finish with firm acidity. It's an amazing value at $14.99, and will drink beautifully for many more years, case purchases are recommended!
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.
The cuvée "La Pause" comes from a plot Laurent Saillard (former Brooklyn restauranteur) has been renting since 2011 from Catherine Roussel of the famed natural wine domain, Clos Roche Blanche. These Touraine vines were planted in 1978, and have been organically farmed since 1991, and biodynamically farmed since Saillard took them over. This is a clean and naturally made Gamay with forward fruit and high acidity.
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
Thorsten Melsheimer has been farming organically in the Mosel since 1995 (certified ECOVIN) and became Demeter (biodynamic) certified in 2013. The 'Handwerk' is actually a blend of three different barrels: a QBA trocken, Kabinett, and Spätlese. Off dry, and high-toned with a fine bead of mineral character within, brimming with energy and perfect for the soft shell crab, flowering chives, or soy sauce noodles at Great New York Noodletown, or your favorite neighborhood Chinese spot.
From Samantha Sheehan, wine maker of POE Wines. This is juicy red- and black-fruited Cali Cab, with the barest hints of violets and sage. A touch of Cabernet Franc adds freshness and there is good acidity in this wine make up for the relatively gentle tannins. This is not a bruiser. It's all about pure honest fruit.
This delightful estate uses one-third Syrah, one-third Grenache and one-third Cinsault in their Corbières Rouge, grown on limestone/clay soils in the foothills of Mont Alaric, certified organic since 2007. The wine shows aromas of blackberries, ripe plums, and tiny wild blueberries, as well as notes of balsam wood. Like all the best Languedoc offerings, there's a wild edge here with a bit of funk that is tempered by juicy sleekness. Its excellent balance and wealth of ripe tannins make it a natural at the table - serve with a stew or grilled meats, a coq au vin with farm chicken or guinea hen, and full-flavored cow cheeses.
A collaboration between our good friend Eric Texier, and a biodynamic farmer named Cyril Cuche. Cyril’s family owns a massive chunk of land, which he has been working organically and biodynamically for over a decade. The estate has always practiced polyculture with wild forest, grains, vines, and more, all contributing to the biodiversity. Without any winemaking experience, Cyril turned to Eric Texier to help produce a wine with wild yeast fermentation and no added SO2. This is a frothy and refreshing rosé Pet-Nat that is unfiltered and quite delicate on the palate. A great choice for a thirst quenching afternoon bottle and a must try for fans of ancestral style Pet Nats. -Eben
Situated in the heart of wine-growing zone of Crete, Greece, in Dafnes of Heraklion, on hill slopes at an altitude of 350 - 450 meters. The terroir of the Dafnes region is characterized by limestone soil and the prevailing microclimate is considered ideal for producing high quality grapes. The Dafnes region has a long viticulture history, according to written records, since the Venetian rule in Crete. Dafne is the name of the winery's village as well as the Laurel tree the nymph Daphne was transformed into after rejecting Apollo's advances (hence the laurel leaves on the label). Douloufakis is one of the oldest wineries on the island and certified organic.Their Vidiano explodes with aromas of white flowers, herbs, pears, citrus and wet rocks. The palate is medium bodied, citrusy and herbal with a mineral, long finish. For lovers of Assyrtiko and Albarino. Serve with pork roast with leeks or octopus with chickpeas and peppers. Giselle Hamburg
A pitch perfect dry Riesling in the Federspiel style. We've tasted a lot of good Riesling from 2019 vintage, but it's rare to find one that we can put on the shelf for $20 or less. This offering from the Fischer family gives a nice touch of petrol on the nose, nice density, and a clean finish. Fun fact: the Salmon on the bottle represents the effort of the family to repopulate the Danube with wild Salmon.
This is the newest project from Agusti Torello Roca, focused on producing red wines from the Montsant DO. Mostly Garnacha, with a small percentage of Carignan, from a mixture of limestone, clay and granite soils. Fermentation is in stainless steel and aging is in 500L used French barrels. This is a beautiful Montsant that favors balance and acidity over extraction, new oak, and high alcohol. -EL