Private Collection: France

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Marguet Père and Fils 2014 Champagne Extra Brut Grand Cru Ambonnay Rosé (disg. 3/19)

While we love biodynamic grower Benoît Marguet's Champagnes for their combination of Ambonnay power and frank minerality, it may be that his most pleasurable wine is his excellent vintage-dated rosé. Chardonnay dominated in a village noted for its Pinot Noir, the wine offer a beautiful nose highlighted by aromas of wild strawberry, raspberry seed, tarragon, and chalk. The palate is brightly mineral and structured, with a deep stoniness at its core within its layers of ripe red fruits and savory notes. The wine balances deftly its grand cru power with a lacy bead, vibrant acidity, and achingly pretty florality. This is natural Champagne and an absolute joy to drink.  John McIlwain

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Suenen 2017 Base Champagne Oiry Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Extra-Brut

Wines from the village of Oiry are typically sold under the Cramant designation (we haven't been able to find another Champagne with this single village designation, as yet), so this is a fine opportunity to taste Oiry's distinctive, chalky terroir. Aurelien's parcels contain some very old Chardonnay vines which make for some pungently mineral, stony wines. The vins clairs are fermented partially in barrel, spend nine months on the lees, and are bottled with3 g/l dosage. The 2017 has a pale lemon yellow robe and boasts a fine bead. There are aromas of  chalk, rainwater, lemon pith, jonquil, spring breeze on the nose—cool sweetness and liveliness for sure. The palate reiterates that chalk and rainwater character, expressed in a lacy kind of minerality; the wine dances across the tongue rather than penetrates. But all the white fruit and citrusy character come welling up on the back-end and carry over on the unexpectedly long, lilting finish. I’m always amazed by Aurelien's Oiry, it manages the trick of weightlessness, while expressing a very specific piece of earth. Compelling year after year. Lovely now, but I suspect another 3-6 months more in bottle will reveal still more character. Highly recommended! John McIlwain

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Suenen 2018 Base Champagne GC C + C Blanc de Blancs Extra-Brut

 Aurelien Suenen's wines  display his desire to release Champagnes that articulate a sense of place. He notes that in Cramant there is different terroir expression in the wines from the high vineyards and the lower lying vineyards, with the vines planted in the latter proving to be more distinctly chalky. C + C, a blend of wines from Chouilly and Cramant tends to be richer and more briny than the Oiry bottling. Pale yellow robe with fine bead and soft mousse. Nose offers pretty aromas of golden apple skin, orange oil (that’s the Cramant talking) and apple blossom. The palate is concentrated with flavors of stone fruit, preserved lemon, and toast. In the mouth this is broad and expansive, but not lacking for energy or flair on the incisively chalky finish. This could use a bit of time to knit, but it’s certainly delicious now. John McIlwain

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Suenen 2018 Base Champagne Oiry GC Blanc de Blancs Extra-Brut

Wines from the village of Oiry are typically sold under the Cramant designation (we haven't been able to find another Champagne with this single village designation, as yet), so this is a fine opportunity to taste Oiry's distinctive, chalky terroir. Aurelien's parcels contain some very old Chardonnay vines which make for some pungently mineral, stony wines. The vins clairs are fermented partially in barrel, spend nine months on the lees. The 2018 was disgorged in June of 2021 and bottled with 3 g/l dosage.

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Pinon, François 1989 Vouvray Cuvée Botrytis 750ml

This wine was purchased from the Pinon family as part of an effort to help them through the devastating hail storm that entirely destroyed their 2012 vintage. 

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Levet 2018 Côte-Rôtie La Chavaroche

 100% Syrah, 60% from Chavaroche (1940s), 40% from Mollard, Côte Brune, Côte Blonde (1978-80), whole bunch fermentation, 3 week vinification in 50 hl concrete vats, cap is immersed, twice daily pumping overs, held at 29°C , aged in 30% new, 70% used oak casks, barrels for 24 months. From Importer Neal Rosenthal: "The crown jewel of the Levet family’s holdings is a 1.2-hectare parcel of old vines at the very summit of the great La Chavaroche vineyard, and the wine they summon from this dizzying slope is among the most iconic in our entire portfolio. Always arrestingly wild, “La Chavaroche” possesses an unmistakable musk: a warm-animal profile that feels somehow ancient and unknowable, a sort of profound riddle of terroir." Drink over the next 20 to 30 years.

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