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Just a reminder not to miss these superb back vintages from the Caslot family at Domaine de la Chevalerie in Bourgueil - some of our absolute favorite Loire Valley wines! We're not sure when or if we'll have them again, so Cab Franc lovers should grab some for current drinking or for mid and long-term cellaring. Only 12 to 24 btls are available for most wines...
Our friend Pascaline Lepeltier is a big fan: "the Caslots produce some of the most delicious and sincere Cabernet Franc in the world, and at a fantastic price! Every time I open a bottle of Domaine de la Chevalerie, I can’t help but smile. So treat yourself, not by the bottle but by the case, as these wines are as highly addictive and delicious today as they will be with age!"
Read on for Pascaline's notes on the available wines:
"Peu Muleau, on the upper part of the hill just below the forest of chestnut, acacia, oak, pine and birch, on Cenozoic aeolian sands with iron clay and altered tuffeau. The vines are around 35 years old. The maceration is a little longer than Diptyque, and aging is done in a mix of tank and large used barrels with less and less oak. This is the earliest drinking single-vineyard cuvée, always on the raspberry and wild violet with very supple tannins, but you can keep it up to 10 years without a problem. Peu Muleau always shows a more herbal, linear profile." We love this lighter-bodied wine for it's subtle, complex fruit and beautiful minerality. Both the 2014 and 2015 are drinking beautifully.
"Galichets, South-west facing on quite deep altered sands with gravels, silex and clay from the Sénonian over Turonian yellow tuffeau. This is the largest cuvée, produced from roughly 10 ha on the upper terrace below the house. The oldest vines were planted in the 1930s, with more planting happening in the 70s, 80s, 90s, and now. The average age of the vines is approximately 60 years old. Maceration usually lasts two weeks, and aging occurs in large used barrels. This is always a generous cuvée, more fruit-forward (on the darker side) with great mid-palate flesh. The finish is a great combination with gentle tannins and sleek acidity. "Galichets" is a reference to the high content of rocks in the soil."
"Bretêche On the upper part of the mid-slope with south-western exposure, the vines are planted on a meter-deep heavier clay with high mica content above the Turonian yellow tuffeau. The vines are between 25 to 55 years old. More powerful with broader tannins, the wine maintains a great freshness. The structure is more angular and in its youth benefits from decanting. Of course, it ages beautifully as well for 20 years or more."
"La Chevalerie, between the Galichets and the winery, slightly higher on the slope, with more clay on the top part. The Turonian tuffeau is not even three feet below. The oldest vines date from 1903 and 1922, the average being 75 years. The sandier part of the plot goes into the Galichets. This cuvée is a perfect introduction to the more “serious” tuffeau driven bottlings of the domaine. You still get the flesh and texture brought by the sand, you also pick up the racy, salty and fresh acidity typical of the tuffeau. The fruit becomes more blue with distinctive herbal notes. The Caslots have farmed this parcel since 1640!"
"Grand-Mont (since 2009) is located west of the winery in Benais, the most highly regarded commune for age-worthy Cabernet Franc in the AOC, as most of its acreage is on Turonian tuffeau on a perfect southwest / west facing slope. This plot is just below the forest, the top part being on eolian sands, with more clay at the bottom. The tuffeau is not even 2 feet below. Vines are around 55 years old. Grand-Mont means high hill. This is the cuvée de garde of the domaine, macerated and aged longer (but never more than 10 months). Picked last as there is a cooler micro-climate allowing for hanging time, this is a dense cuvée for the estate. The texture is full right upfront, tannins are stonier with a remarkable freshness. I always decant young releases of these wines, but I would recommend to wait and enjoy them after 10 - 30 years, as this is the point at which the wine begins to truly reveal itself."
Wines are in storage, please allow until Friday 9/2 for pick-up or shipping.
(Arrives 8/30) Peu Muleau is located on the upper part of the hill, above the Domaine de la Chevalerie and just below the forest of chestnut, acacia, oak, pine and birch, on Cenozoic eolian sands with iron, clay and altered tuffeau. The vines are around 35 years old, and farmed biodynamically. The maceration last less than 20 days. Aging is done in a mix of tank and large used barrels with less and less oak. This is the earliest drinking single-vineyard cuvée, always on the raspberry and wild violet with very supple tannins, but you can keep it up to 10 years without a problem. 2014 Loire reds are really great wines, despite a tricky vintage for the producers. Yet with the best the wines are delicious, in a classic ligérien style. It means the Peu Muleau from the Caslot in just a winner, a terrific value and such a great Bourgueil to enjoy now! The wine has a unique chalky minerality, subtle and earthy on the palate - the nose explodes with raspberry and cherry blossom, coriander seeds and Sichuan pepper. The ripe, salivating acidity is driving the palate, with supple tannins, and a lingering saltiness. It is ready to drink now, but cellared for 4-5 years you will gain some nice earthy secondary tones. Pair it with a beautiful pâté en croûte, duck rillette or a summer porcini risotto. 100% Cabernet Franc. PL/DL
( Arrives 8/30, 12 btls available) Domaine de la Chevalerie's "Les Galichets" vineyard is on the lower part of the Turonian slope just below the "Chevalerie" plot, with clay -alluvial sand and gravel topsoils, rich in silex, giving a wine that is more open and easy for early drinking. The vines average about 60 years of age. The wine is aged in large old barrels, and bottled after 6 months unfined unfiltered. 2014 Galichets is an archetypal Bourgueil to enjoy now! This wine is a fabulous mix of fruit and minerals, perfectly balanced and with terrific length: dense black/red color, with aromas that blend soil, stone and blackberry fruit with hints of cocoa and violet. The palate is dense and supple and round without any heaviness - a blend of stone and ripe red and black fruits, continuing in the long, graceful mineral finish. This is a beautiful Bourgueil that can be enjoyed now with roast chicken, pork dishes, even a steak - or hold for ten to fifteen years for a mature experience. It's a fabulous value - congratulations to the Caslots! 100% Cabernet Franc. David Lillie / Pascaline Lepeltier (Re-tasted on Jan 3, 2022 - when opened it's very good, but on day 2 it's fabulous, a beautiful mouthful of earth and minerals , a bit of musk and gorgeous dark fruits. I'm buying a case, I suggest you do the same!)
(Arrives 8/30, 24 btls available) We're big fans of the Caslot family at Domane de la Chevalerie, who make soulful Bourgueils from organic/biodynamic vineyards on their superb terroirs. The Chevalerie vineyard is on mid-slope Turonian limestone with clay and alluvial sand and gravel topsoils, rich in silex; the vines average about 60 years of age. 2014 is a superb vintage for the Cuvee Chevalerie which shows a lovely deep red color and fresh ripe black raspberry and cassis with black pepper, stone, prune and roast meat. The palate is well-structured and quite concentrated with complex black fruit liqueur, spice, bitter chocolate, licorice and truffle, with a long finish of sappy fruit and mineral flavors. This is a beautiful Bourgueil of terroir that can be enjoyed now with coq-qu-vin, steak au poivre and grilled lamb, best to wait 3 - 5 years, then drink until 2035 and beyond. Highly recommended. David Lillie
(Arrives 8/30, 24 btls available) Bretêche (Domaine de la Chevalerie is the only estate claiming this vineyard name) is the easternmost vineyard, a rented plot on the border of Ingrandes-de-Touraine. On the southwestern exposed upper part of the mid-slope, the vines are planted on a meter-deep heavier clay with high mica content above the Turonian yellow tuffeau. The vines, biodynamically farmed, are between 25 to 55 years old. More powerful than Busardières with broader tannins, the wine maintains a great freshness. Hand-harvested and destemmed, the grapes are macerated for up to 20 days and aged in large used barrels in the magnificent underground cave dug into the yellow tuffeau for roughly 8 to 10 moths. The wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered. 2014 is considered a great classic vintage in the Loire for Cabernet Franc, and it is indeed very good at Domaine de la Chevalerie, with fruit a little darker than the 2015 (this opposite to a lot of other estates in the region). Ruby purple in the glass this cuvée as usual has more freshness, tension and a little austerity - 2014 enhances these typical quality of the wine! More open than the 2015, the nose has distinctive black cherry, elderberry notes, Chinese badiane and spearmint. The palate is still deliciously youthful barely showing any evolution, with lean and brilliant acidity, and oolong-like tannins. It is already very-well structured and poised, not angular at all. Decant it 2 hours and serve it in Bordeaux glasses, or keep it 20 years or so - I would say it will reach another plateau by 2025. Enjoy it with a duck magret, the juice reduced with a touch of raspberry vinegar, or sweetbreads in a madeira sauce. 100% Cabernet Franc. Pascaline Lepeltier
(Arrives 8/30) Peu Muleau is located on the upper part of the hill in Bourgueil, just below the forest, on Cenozoic eolian sands with iron, clay and altered limestone tuffeau. The vines are around 35 years old, and farmed biodynamically. The maceration lasts less than 20 days. Aging is done in a mix of tank and large used barrels with less and less oak. This is the earliest drinking single-vineyard cuvée, always on the raspberry and wild violet with very supple tannins, but you can keep it up to 10 years without a problem. Peu Muleau is always more linear than Les Galichets - it does not have the same clay-gravel flesh, dancing on its feet with great elegance. The 2015 shows a bright red color and aromas that are more earth than fruit with subtle raspberry, strawberry, citrus and spice. The palate is a lovely blend of earth and red fruits,fairly tight but quite elegant with firm acidity and mineral flavors blending with raspberry and violet in the finish. Warning - not a fruit bomb and best suited to those who like some rocks in their wine. Best to decant or cellar 3 - 5 years. David Lillie (Travelogue - On one of our early visits to the Loire, we were driving through the Coteaux du Loir, then headed south over the hills to descend into Bourgueil. This is the site of "Peu Muleau," as you come over the top of the hills, through the forest, with suddenly the Loire Valley revealed below, with the fabulous light, and the vineyards sloping gradually down to the river. ..)
The Chevalerie "Galichets" vineyard is on mid-slope Turonian limestone with clay and alluvial sand and gravel topsoil, rich in silex; the vines average about 60 years of age - similar to the "Chevalerie" parcel but a bit lower on the slope, giving a wine that is more open and easy for early drinking. The 2015 vintage is excellent, with a bit more ripeness and lower acidity than 2014, while retaining the core of minerals and acidity aslways found in the Chevalerie wines. The aromas of black raspberry and blackberry fruit are ripe and floral. The palate is dense and silky, very mineral with ripe red and black fruits and a clean vibrant finish. Still quite youthful, I would open this bottle the night before or give it a long decant, best perhaps 2022 - 2035. David Lillie
(Arrives 8/30) Bretêche is their easternmost vineyard, a rented plot on the border of Ingrandes-de-Touraine - (Domaine de la Chevalerie is the only estate claiming this vineyard name). On the southwestern exposed upper part of the mid-slope, the vines are planted on a meter-deep heavier clay with high mica content above the Turonian yellow tuffeau. The vines, biodynamically farmed are between 25 to 55 years old. More powerful than Busardières with broader tannins, the wine maintains a great freshness. Hand-harvested and destemmed, the grapes are macerated for up to 20 days and aged in large used barrels in the magnificent underground cave dug into the yellow tuffeau for roughly 8 to 10 moths. The wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered. 2015 was an easier, more mastered vintage for the Caslot siblings, as the growing season was never extreme, and the harvests were peaceful. A little more concentrated than the 2014, especially in acidity, this a great vintage for the Domaine! Bretêche 15 is still a baby! Purple in the glass, the wine as usual has more freshness, tension and a little austerity. This is even more apparent here. The nose is a little restrained, showing progressively a lot of black and red currant and cranberry, hibiscus tea and black cardamon. In the palate, it is a superbly balanced wine, with some chiseled tannins enhanced by the lingering acidity. There is less flesh than other cuvées, and the texture is sleeker but absolutely charming and vibrant - and could please any Burgundy lover. You will pick up more herbal notes in the palate : tobacco, beet juice, pink peppercorn. A great bottle to keep 10 years and plus, as it is built to age! To serve it now, decant it a good hour at least or enjoy it over multiple days - a superb pairing would be with a roasted deboned pigeon stuffed with nettle and foie gras, but a slowly roasted pork loin with black garlic condiment would also be delicious. 100% Cabernet Franc. Pascaline Lepeltier
(Arrives 8/30, 12 btls available) "Grand Mont" is perhaps the greatest site in Bourgueil - a high, south-facing slope on yellow Turonian limestone with shallow sandy clay soils, rich in mica. Wines from this vineyard are built to age and this rare bottling from Domaine de la Chevalerie is a beautiful example. They started to produce it in 2009, and they consider it their grande cuvée. The wine ages in a one-year-old barrel and several older barrels for 7 months, bottled unfined unfiltered, released 5 to 6 years after the vintage. 2016 was a tough year for the winemakers in Touraine, beginning with a disastrous frost, followed by a rainy spring and outbreaks of mildew that continued into early July. From mid-July through October the weather was sunny and beautiful with just enough rain in September to help the ripening. Matthieu Baudry is reminded of 2002, but perhaps with a bit more tannin and concentration. I would put the 2016 Grant Mont away for eight to ten years and enjoy at least until 2045-2050. David Lillie