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A little more than a year ago, in January of 2016, we had the good fortune to taste barrel samples of the 2014s and 2015s from Domaine Philippe Tessier in Cheverny. The wines were simply delicious, showing beautiful, vibrant fruit with firm acidity and great minerality, and we're very happy that this wonderful group of wines has finally arrived in New York! The estate was created by Roger Tessier in 1961, with his son Philippe taking over in 1981. Certified organic since 1998, the estate covers 22 hectares and produces Cour-Cheverny, from Romorantin, as well as Cheverny and Vin de France from Gamay, Pinot Noir and Côt for the reds, and Sauvignon Blanc with Chardonnay and Orbois for the whites. The estate maintains living soils with diverse flora and fauna; harvesting is by hand and fermentations are with wild yeasts with no addition of sulfur. (A small amount of sulfur is added at blending or bottling, depending on the vintage and wine.) In the words of Philippe Tessier: "A wine should be the expression of the place where it was produced, a reflection of the climatic conditions of the year and -- a little -- of the vigneron who produced it, all respecting the life of the soil and the environment. It should give pleasure and above all should be healthy, alive and invigorating - a natural wine."
All these wines will drink beautifully over the next five years, with "La Porte Doré" capable of longer-term aging; we urge you to try them! Please note: the wines have arrived at our warehouse and will be in the store on Tuesday, April 11.
"La Porte Dorée" is from 40 to 90 year-old Romorantin vines grown on clay soils with limestone bedrock. The juice undergoes a long, slow alcoholic fermentation and malolactic fermentation, and the wine ages in old foudres and barriques. Minimal SO2 is added before bottling. The 2014 "Porte Dorée" shows complex aromas of pear, citrus, lime-flower, white pepper, almond and caramel, with a very slight oxidative character. The palate shows ripe pear, quince, citrus, almond and intense stony flavors that coat the mouth and are very dense and long. This is a very young wine that will benefit from decanting or 3 to 10 years of cellaring. Serve now with fish or chicken in a cream sauce and with a wide variety of full-flavored cheeses. Lovely wine! DL
The "Charbonnerie" is Tessier's better cuvée of Cheverny Blanc, mostly Sauvignon Blanc with a little Chardonnay, grown on sandy clay soils over the limestone bedrock. As with all the Tessier wines, the grapes are hand harvested and fermentations are natural with wild yeasts. The wine goes through the malolactic fermentation and is fermented and aged in vats, with minimal SO2 added before bottling. This lovely Cheverny shows pretty aromas of apple and pear, lime-flower, almond and stone. The palate shows subtle white fruit and herbal flavors with a beautiful mineral core, and perfect acidity, quite elegant and pure. While very delicious now, this is a young wine that will open up nicely over the next few years. Serve now with full-flavored oysters, sole, flounder and cod as well as chicken and mild cheeses. In a year or two, serve with fuller-flavored fish and chicken dishes. DL
The 2014 Tessier Cour-Cheverny is 100% Romorantin from vines grown on sandy clay soils over limestone. The wine goes through the malo and is vinified and aged in vats. This is a beautiful Cour-Cheverny showing distinctive aromas of pear and citrus fruit, lime-flower, toasted almond and hints of spice, really quite lovely. The palate is scintillating and dry with citrus, pear, herbal, stone and nut flavors, with nice ripeness and density and firm refreshing acidity. The finish is very long, with mineral, citrus and pear flavors that linger on the palate. Perfect as an aperitif or serve with full-flavored fish and chicken dishes, Asian foods, and especially with mild cheeses like Morbier or Raclette, or goat cheeses from the Loire. This will be very interesting with 3 to 5 years of cellaring as well. Lovely wine and a great value! DL
The Tessier Cheverny Rouge "Le Point du Jour" is made from Pinot Noir and Gamay grown on clay/limestone soils. The wine shows lovely aromas of tart cherry, raspberry and cinnamon with violet and citrus. There is a lovely melange of cherry, black raspberry and strawberry fruit on the palate that is light and lively but with good density and length. The finish is bright and refreshing with tart fruits and mineral flavors. Serve quite cool with charcuterie, grilled meats and mild cheeses - great on a picnic or summer cookout, drink over the next three or four years. DL
The lovely Tessier "Point Nommé" is from 100% Pinot Noir, and is made only in the best vintages. In 2015 the wine is superb, with very floral aromas of raspberry, wild strawberry, rose, earth and a hint of citrus and spice. The palate is light but with nice density and weight with flavors of ripe cherry and raspberry framed by very earthy, mineral acidity. The finish is long and refreshing with fruit and mineral flavors lingering on the palate. Just delightful! Serve cool with grilled pork and lamb and full flavored cheeses. This will benefit from decanting or three to five years of aging. DL
The Tessier "Phil'en Bulle" is a fabuous Pet Nat (Methode Ancestrale - one fermentation that finishes in the bottle) made from 90% Romorantin and 10% Menu Pineau - two of our favorite grapes! The wine is bottled after one year sur lie, with zero added sulfur. The 2015 version is a knock-out, showing a pale gold color and vibrant aromas of citrus, honey, almond, and pear with herbal notes. The palate is round, dense and brisk, with citrus peel, almond, white fruits and caramel with herbal notes. The finish is long and refreshing. Serve this terrific Pet Nat with just about anything, it's a perfect aperitif and will be a treat on a warm summer evening...