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Even in the summer, there's a time for a good Bordeaux, perhaps served a bit cool with a steak off the grill, and we're happy to again offer our favorite well-priced Saint-Emilion - the beautiful 2014 Ch. La Grave Figeac! This perfectly balanced medium-bodied Bordeaux is drinking beautifully now, and will cellar nicely for another 10 to 15 years. La Grave Figeac converted to organic farming in 2009 under owner/winemaker Laurent Clauzel. Located at the border of Saint-Emilion and Pomerol on sandy clay and gravel soils over the limestone, its neighbors are Cheval Blanc and Figeac in Saint-Emilion and La Conseillante in Pomerol. The blend here is 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Franc with an average vine age of 45 years. Harvesting is by hand and fermentations are with wild yeasts with no SO2 added until bottling. This relatively unknown estate offers fantastic quality and value especially beginning with the very pretty 2014 vintage. We're happy to offer the perfectly balanced 2014 and the slightly more dense and structured 2016.
Chateau Micalet, with a few hectares in the commune of Lamarque was classified "Cru Artisan" by Feret in 1893. Acquired by the Fedieu family in 1972 the estate was enlarged slightly, never using herbicides, and with a new generation the conversion to organic agriculture was started in 2006. The estate now has 10 hectares on deep beds of gravel, planted at 8,000 pieds/hectare; the normal blend is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot - and 7% Petit Verdot, a grape the Fedieus feel is particularly important. The grapes are harvested by hand and undergo a 3 to 4 week fermentation, the wine ages in barrique, 30% new. The 2019 "Origine" is a slightly lighter and more ready-to-drink version of their Haut-Medoc, with a shorter cuvaison and without aging in wood - serve it slightly cool with grilled foods this summer...
"Garage Wines and Forgotten Varieties of Bordeaux" announces the website of La Renouée, a project of winemaker Guillaume Dussans located on a few hectares of hillside vineyards in Cadillac, southwest of Pessac. "Our small estate is home to 17 forgotten Bordeaux grapes including the rares Boucheles, Castets, Merille, Prunelard, Corbu Noir, Abouriou, Carmenere, Duras and others that we have replanted since 2019" For now, the domain is producing a very complex and delicious dry white - "Les Vieux Semillons" - from Semillon vines planted after the war in 1945, and a lovely light-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon from 56 year-old vines. We urge you to try them!
Chateau Beausejour in Puisseguin-Saint-Emilion has never used chemical herbicides or pesticides and was certified organic in 1995, a very rare occurence in Bordeaux! This cuvée is 100% Cabernet Franc and was vinified and bottled with zero added SO2 - it's a truly unique and distinctive wine, Bordeaux like it used to be!
Chateau Bellegrave, located in the southwest part of Pomerol covers 8.5 hectares of vines. Three quarters of the plots are planted to Merlot, with the remaining planted to Cabernet Franc. The soil “consists of stony surface gravel, clay and sand with a subsoil rich in iron oxide, also known as crasse de fer." Organic practices began in 2001 with Ecocert certification in 2009. No over-extraction or excess new oak here, making this a staff favorite for many years, we're happy to bring back this superb 2015 Pomerol at a new lower price.
Lastly, it's important to shout out Château Cartier, Château Fonroque, and Château Mazeyres - all estates that have been guided by organic/biodynamic Bordeaux pioneer Alain Moueix. In the tasting notes here, you'll read the differences between the bottles, but complex earth and fruit, as well as sturdy structure, unite these wines in quality. They have the magic to satisfy both Bordeaux hipsters and old-school drinkers and are perfect to drink now and over the next ten to fifteen years.
Wines are in stock or arrive 7/29 - 10% case/mixed case discount applies
(Arrives 7/29) Chateau Micalet, with a few hectares in the commune of Lamarque was classified "Cru Artisan" by Feret in 1893. Acquired by the Fedieu family in 1972 the estate was enlarged slightly, never using herbicides, and with a new generation the conversion to organic agriculture was started in 2006. The estate now has 10 hectares on deep beds of gravel, planted at 8,000 pieds/hectare; the normal blend is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot - and 7% Petit Verdot, a grape the Fedieus feel is particularly important. The grapes are harvested by hand and undergo a 3 to 4 week fermentation, the wine ages in barrique, 30% new. The nose on the Haut Medoc has dark plummy fruit, with hints of vanilla and baking spice. Young leather notes and dark gravel tones as well. A little floral with dark violets and roses. The palate has lush black cherry. Graphite and iron on the tongue give an earthy glimmer. Medium acid and soft tannin, but great density at its core. Drink up! David Hatzopoulos
(Arrives 7/29) The Chateau Micalet Haut-Medoc "Origine" is from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot grown on deep beds of gravel in Lamarque. The Fedieu familu created this wine to be a slightly lighter and more ready-to-drink version of their Haut-Medoc, with a shorter cuvaison and without aging in wood. The Origine has a beautiful nose, with ripe blackberries, dried blueberries and an elegant combo of orange peel and clove. On the palate, the wine is full and bold, with black pepper, dark cherry and a zesty accent of cassis and plum peel. Structurally, the wine shows just enough generous texture, a mineral zing, and medium acid. A fantastic buy at under $25! David Hatzopoulos
(Arrives 7/29) Winemaker Guillaume Dussans has planted 17 ancient grape varieties formerly grown in Bordeaux on his small domain on a hillside in Cadillac. He is also making this "Les Vieux Semillons" from vines planted in 1945 - harvested in 3 different times on purpose (not perfectly ripe (to keep acidity), ripe and overripe) and fermentation occurred with and without the skins, then aged in barrels, all this to bring as much complexity as possible. "Our whites are macerated in whole berries to obtain more fat and complexity, it's skin-contact. We work with old tools, without thermoregulation, with a manual wooden press, bronze, brass or copper valves in order to give the tannins a patina during ageing. In short, it's old fashioned!" It is incredibly fascinating in the glass. Golden yellow in color. On the nose, it is fresh and grassy, with cured lemon, sea salt, green tea and an aromatic earthiness - like wet sculpting clay. The plate has great fruit, with lemon and savory apricot. There is a touch of smoke and salt, with a finish of yellow cherry. Zingy in structure, with high acid and great minerality. Highly recommended! David Hatzopoulos
One of my favorite bottles of Bordeaux. This 100% Cabernet Franc is made using zero sulfur, from vines that are tended under strict organic measures. The Dupuy family have been farming the same land since 1934, and have done an amazing job creating terrior-driven reds from their healthy grapes. This 2018 dark purple in the glass. The nose is beautifully plummy, with smashed raspberries, cherry leaves, graphite, all-spice, and violets. Flavors range from of blackberries, cranberries, pine, mint, and espresso. Graced by a dynamic level of clean acidity and formidable tannin. An absolute must for any lover of Cabernet Franc, especially if they enjoy examples from the Loire Valley. David Hatzopoulos
(Arrives 7/29) Château Bellegrave's 2015 Pomerol doesn't tip-toe like the shier, more accented 2010. Yes, it takes the same amount of time as the older vintage to come together, but the concentration and strength of the wine is noticeable the instant the cork is popped. At its prime, it has a fantastic nose of dark cherry, woodsy spice, and a rich smell of birch and cinnamon. The palate is equally as powerful, displaying flavors of plum and blackberry, along with spicy flavors of fennel and caraway seeds.The mouthfeel is tannic, but a wash of clean acidity keeps the wine from being gritty or overly chewy. The most stand out quality of this wine was the smell I took before my last sip, which was a pungent smell of Autumn, intense with the scent of maple. A good pairing with roast chicken, but definitely qualifies for heartier, oilier meats, like lamb. This ripe wine is delicious today, but has many years ahead. David Hatzopoulos
(Arrives 7/29) The 2016 Chateau Fonroque is the last vintage made by Alain Moueix before he sold the estate, though he continues to consult in the vineyard and winery. Organic certification obtained in 2006, biodynamic certification obtained in 2008. The ultimate blend is 90% Merlot, with 10% Cabernet Franc , mostly from the limestone-heavy plateau and high slopes - together creating a sturdy, powerful St.-Emilion of great strength and elegance. Wine was fermented naturally in concrete, and aged in a mix of barrique, with 30% being new. Wonderfully plummy nose, red cherry, raspberry syrup, hints of graphite, cocoa, black licorice, very ripe dark, dank roses and violets. The palate is cool and mineral, with strawberry, plum, blackberry, blueberries, herbs, with a hint of bell pepper. Long finish, high acid, tannin on the gums and middle of the tongue - with airy, lingering flavors of freshly cracked black pepper and graphite. Scrumptious wine. I've enjoyed every bottle I've opened. David Hatzopoulos
(Arrives 7/29) What a beautiful fresh Bordeaux! Certified organic since 2012, this estate has been making outstanding wines since the beginning, showing the expertise of the Clauzel family and superb terroir. This 2014 wine (a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc) is elegant and vibrant with a gorgeous bouquet of black and red berries, plum, exotic spices, leather and cedar box notes. The mid-weight palate has good concentration and lift, with ripe black fruit character, and fine-grained tannins carrying over on a long, succulent, layered finish. Delicious now, but possesses the balance to bode well for mid-term aging (say 7-10 ten years). This staff favorite should pair beautifully with roast lamb, hanger steak, or duck confit, though it wouldn't be out of place with tagine or mushroom risotto. La Grave Figeac continues to impress with their well-priced, organic St Emilion.
(Arrives 7/29) Château La Grave Figeac converted to organic farming in 2009 under owner/winemaker Laurent Clauzel. Located at the border of Saint-Emilion and Pomerol on sandy clay and gravel soils over the limestone, it's neighbors are Cheval Blanc and Figeac in Saint-Emilion and La Conseillante in Pomerol. The blend here is 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Franc with an average vine age of 45 years. 2016 is a classic Bordeaux vintage - the wine shows a bit more structure and weight than the lovely 2014. The nose is pungent and earthy when just opened, but quickly transitions to something more elegant. Dark roses, black cherry, blueberries, and a lovely anise aroma. The palate is fantastic - energetic mineral core splashed with flavors of ripe cherry, beach plum, and raisins. There is a distinct, healthy note of spicy black pepper on the tongue. Surprisingly fresh, well integrated tannin and great acidity. Drink now or hold for 5-10 years! David Hatzopoulos
(Arrives 7/29) Winemaker Guillaume Dussans has planted 17 ancient grape varieties formerly grown in Bordeaux on his small domain on a hillside in Cadillac. His "La Renouée" 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon is from a tiny parcel of 56-year-old vines, fermented and aged in old barrels. The color is a vibrant plum in color. The nose has aromas of red apple and cherries, with zesty ginger and warm black tea. On the palate, flavors of red cherry and cassis, with refreshing graphite zip and a hint of earthy gravel. Wonderfully lean on the tongue, just a dash of tannic grip and lovely acid! This unique and delicious Bordeaux would do well with a chill! David Hatzopoulos
(Arrives 7/29) The second label to Chateau Fonroque, this wine sees none of the estate's Cabernet Franc. The Merlot that goes into this wine comes from under the limestone plateau of St.-Emilion, picked from biodynamically farmed vines on the limestone-clay and silty clay soils of the slopes and bottom-slopes. All fruit is picked by hand. The wine was fermented naturally and aged in a mixture of 75% barrel and 25% concrete vats. A very impressive partner to Fonroque, mimicking the minerally character that the estate is known for. The nose delivers scents of dark flowers and rich baked fruit - strawberry, cherry, blueberry. The palate shows deep red and black cherry and plum, with accents of warm cedar and herbs. There is great minerality, which lends the wine a structure of supreme freshness, but a textural softness that no doubt comes from the high clay content of the plots on the lower portion of the estate's slopes. Great wine. David Hatzopoulos
(Arrives 7/29) Another compelling vintage from Chateau Mazeyres in Pomerol, which converted to organic and biodynamic farming in 2012. A blend of mostly Merlot, with about a quarter Cabernet Franc and just a tiny amount of Petit Verdot planted on clay soils, with some plots having additional layers of sand and gravel. Hand-harvested, fermented in steel and concrete, aged in wood (40% new), for 14 months. On the nose, there are deep black fruits, hints of spice and rich woodsy aromas. On the palate, the texture is warm and generous, with bold plum and black cherry, with accents of herbs and mint. Delicious now, but should be prime in just under a decade. David Hatzopoulos