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The delicious natural wines of Hervé Villemade have graced our shelves since the 2008 vintage, joining those of the Clos du Tue Boeuf, the Clos Roche Blanche and many others from the beautiful vineyards of the Loir et Cher. Unfortunately, the terrible frost of April 2021 has forced estates in the Loire to severely allocate their remaining stocks and only a few cases of each wine are available in today's offer. These are vibrant, refreshing and fascinating wines, full of character - don't miss them!
Also featured today is the lovely Pineau d'Aunis blend "Icone" from Valerie Forgues, a vigneronne whose estate is just east of the Clos Roche Blanche, on the left bank of the Cher river. Her estate, also called Domine de la Méchinière, struggled in it's early years, but our friend Didier Barrouillet of Clos Roche Blanche began to advise her, and with his help the estate converted to organic farming, hand-harvesting and natural winemaking, and the results are wonderful!
Special Added Attraction (but not from the Loire et Cher) - A few cases of 2021 Baudry Chinon Rosé! Drink this light, elegant rosé over the next 2 years...
Hervé Villemade hails from a farming family that originally settled in Celettes, in the Loire valley, in the 1930’s. Hervé’s father took over in the 60’s, focusing the polyculture on vines, vegetables and grains. Wines were bottled under the Villemade name since the 1970’s and in the late 90’s, Hervé and his sister Isabelle took over, taking the estate organic, and only using natural treatments in the vineyard. Grapes are hand harvested and sorted, juice ferments with indigenous yeasts, and the wines typically receive a small dose of sulfur at bottling. The farming really is impeccable here, treatments are only used when necessary, and limited to sulfur and copper only. Otherwise, grass is allowed to grow, and wild herbs and flowers contribute to biodiversity. Most of the vineyards are tranquil, enclosed plots, surrounded by forest and shrubbery.
Since I began visiting the Loire Valley in 2011, I have always held high esteem for Hervé Villemade. He is a focused, professional winemaker, and an open-minded and fun-loving colleague and friend. His wines have both defined and defied the Cheverny appellation for me, teaching me of tradition and then occasionally throwing it out the window. EL
Valerie Forgues 2020 Vin de France "Icone" 70% Pineau d’Aunis/20% Cabernet Franc/10% Gamay. 2020 is the very first vintage of "Icône". Averaging 30 years old, the vines are planted on clay-limestone soils in the heart of the Cher valley of the Touraine region in the Loire. They are certified-organic and tended and harvested by hand. The bunches were destemmed and fermented spontaneously with native yeasts and without sulfur in stainless steel and fiberglass tanks; the Pineau and Cabernet Franc were co-fermented, with the small bit of Gamay added after vinification to lighten up the blend. The wine was aged in vat and bottled without filtration and with minimal sulfur. The Icône shows a fairly dark red/black color with very pretty and surprisingly deep aromas of peppery, earthy berry fruits - typical of Pineau d'Aunis but with an extra layer of ripeness from the Cab Franc. On the palate there are firm juicy acids and velvety, chalky fruits as well, a nice melange of spicy cherry and berry fruits that is sapid and refreshing, with the juicy acidity lingering in the finish. Serve cool with just about anything
Hervé Villemade's 2020 Cheverny Blanc is a lovely and versatile wine, a bit brighter and more refreshing than the previous two vintages, made from 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Chardonnay grown on flinty sand and clay soils. The wine shows pretty aromas of pear, green apple, citrus peel, almond and stone with hints of white flowers. The palate is vibrant and fresh with good density, with white and yellow fruits, ripe citrus, a bit of anise and herbal flavors and is nicely balanced with firm acidity. This is a delicious and refreshing everyday white that will accompany most seafood dishes, chicken, white meats and goat cheeses. Very low SO2.
(Arrrives 9/20) Hervé Villemade's extraordinary Cheverny Blanc "La Bodice" comes from a single vineyard of 40 year-old vines on sandy soils with silex on clay of Sologne, where the 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Chardonnay reach maximum ripeness and expression. Yield is only about 10 hl/ha. The wine ages on the lees in old barrels for a year or more and is bottled with minimal SO2. The wine shows a pale bronze color and notes of fresh and candied fruit (pear, quince, apple) with citrus confit, nuanced by angelica and fennel, with a dense, even almost "tannic" texture, and quite sapid, nourished by aging on the fine lees. The substance, elegance and length on the palate give this wine a real personality and a great aptitude for pairings with complex fish and white meat dishes or goat cheeses. 24 bottles available
(Arrives 9/20) "Romorantin, the official grape of the Cour-Cheverny AOC, appreciates sandy clay/limestone soils where it offers a wine of great character that mixes elegant vegetal and floral notes (cut grass, violets, a touch of mint), often slightly honeyed with notes of ripe fruit (roast pear) lightly marked by the elevage in old barrels. The finish is fresh, tight with saline minerals and bitter anise. A wine with good aging potential." (Villemade.net) In 2019, the "Les Acacias" is again simply outstanding and very distinctive, offering aromas of ripe peach and pear with spice, floral, caramel and oxidative notes. The palate is very round and ripe, a bit more developed than the 2018, with stone, peach, earth and almond flavors, with fabulous length with honeyed lemon, anise and minerals. Superb wine - a big favorite of Eben's on his winter 2022 trip - to drink now or in 10 to 20 years. (12 bottles only) David Lillie
(Arrives 9/20) "1 Litre à boire d'une traite" - A liter to drink in one go - We think the message makes things pretty clear: this is a fresh, fun bottle of Gamay that is dangerously easy to drink. The wine shows a light red/garnet color with pretty berry fruit aromas. Bright and refreshing on the palate, with spicy red fruits and juicy acidity - well worth a light chill. A bovine beverage that's "Vachement Delicieux!" EL
(Arrives 9/20) 100% Gamay from Hervé Villemade is as delicious as it should be. Alluring aromas of plum, violets, and spice invite you to take a sip and then another, and another. The 2020 is a bit ripe and lush on the palate, there is a satisfying crunchy texture and beautiful chalky minerality that adds dimension to the brambly fruits, sweet tobacco, and brown spice. Serve with a slight chill and remember to share!
(Arrives 9/20) (60% Pinot Noir, 40% Gamay grown on sandy clay and flint soils over limestone in Cellettes, Chitenay and Fougères sur Bièvre, AOC Cheverny; 15-day whole cluster fermentation, aged in old barrels) 2021 is another excellent vintage for this light and lovely Cheverny Rouge from Hervé Villemade: ; an old-fashioned light-bodied red at 11.5% alcohol with a pale red color and very pretty aromas of cherry, ripe raspberry, violet, earth and blood orange with rose and white pepper; tart cherry and chalky raspberry/strawberry fruit on the palate, light but chalky, sappy and long with earthy citrus and berry fruits in the refreshing finish. This is a delightfully natural thirst-quenching red - serve cool with any chicken or pork dish, charcuterie and mild cheeses.
Our friend Hervé Villemade made another gorgeous "Les Ardilles" in 2020. Made from 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Gamay grown on sandy clay with silex over limestone in Cheverny with yields of about 25 hl/ha. There was a 20-day maceration with light extraction followed by aging in old barrels and amphora, with no added SO2 during vinificaton. The wine is particularly elegant and intriquing in the excellent 2020 vintage. The nose is a bit closed, with deep, brambly black cherry/black raspberry fruit with earth and minerals, adding notes of citrus peel, spice and licorice with air. The palate elegant, light and fresh, with sapid black cherry and raspberry, chalky and bright with velvety tannins and firm acidity. The finish is clean, elegant and long with beautiful sapid, ripe black fruits, minerals and citrus. Just a great natural wine, only 10mg/l SO2. Decant if drinking now, best 2023 - 2030
(Arrives 10/26) 70% Pineau d’Aunis/20% Cabernet Franc/10% Gamay. 2020 is the very first vintage of "Icône". Averaging 30 years old, the vines are planted on clay-limestone soils in the heart of the Cher valley of the Touraine region in the Loire. They are certified-organic and tended and harvested by hand. The bunches were destemmed and fermented spontaneously with native yeasts and without sulfur in stainless steel and fiberglass tanks; the Pineau and Cabernet Franc were co-fermented, with the small bit of Gamay added after vinification to lighten up the blend. The wine was aged in vat and bottled without filtration and with minimal sulfur. The Icône shows a fairly dark red/black color with very pretty and surprisingly deep aromas of peppery, earthy berry fruits - typical of Pineau d'Aunis but with an extra layer of ripeness from the Cab Franc. On the palate there are firm juicy acids and velvety, chalky fruits as well, a nice melange of spicy cherry and berry fruits that is sapid and refreshing, with the juicy acidity lingering in the finish. Serve cool with just about anything...enjoy!
(10/18) As always, this is one of the most elegant and delicious of all French rosés, a reflection of the superb organic vineyard work and the great terroir possesed by the Baudrys as well as their great talent in vinifications with minimal added SO2. The Cabernet Franc grapes are from two parcels, one on clay/limestone with silex that brings structure, minerality and acidity to the wine ("Les Balais"), and another on sandy gravel soils bringing fruit and fragrance. The fermentation is slow, with wild yeasts, with no SO2 added, often taking a few months to finsh. Minimal SO2 is added before bottling. The 2021 will please those who enjoy a lighter, les "fruity" wine, as the wine is more delicate than the previous 3 vintages...