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Chambers Street is proud to be working with these two outstanding estates, both of which are producing wines which are among the finest of their appellations. Domaine de la Roche Bleue was established in 2008 by Sébastien Cornille, a native of Sancerre, with 3.5 hectares in Jasniéres and 1.5 hectares in the Coteaux-du-Loir. Now totaling about 6.5 hectares, the estate is certified organic and uses biodynamic methods as well, very much in the style of his neighbor in the vines, Eric Nicolas. Sébastien works the soils without deep plowing, harvests by hand, vinifies with wild yeasts and without additives and uses minimal SO2. The 2015 Chenin Blancs here are beautiful wines, in particular the scintillating Jasnieres "Clos de la Moliere." They show the ripeness of the vintage but remain dry with suberb balance and fantastic mineral flavors with firm acidity. Sebastien makes beautiful reds as well; "La Belle d'Aunis" from 100% Pineau d'Aunis and "Guinguette" from Pineau d'Aunis and Gamay. Both are vibrant and refreshing light-bodied reds that are perfect accompaniments to pork and chicken dishes and mild-flavored cheeses.
Jean-Noel Millon took over this 13 hectare estate from his father in 1998, the seventh generation at La Source du Ruault, in Varrains. Farming here has been organic since 2007 with biodynamic preparations used in the vineyards as well. The domaine has vineyards on great clay/ limestone terroir in Varrains including the walled "Clos de la Côte" and "les Poyeux" as well as a great parcel for Chenin on a south-facing hill near the Loire. The cellars here are large, deep and cold, allowing the wines to receive at least two to three years of aging. A small amount of newer oak is used in the top cuvées as the wines in Saumur-Champigny often need more elevage than in Chinon and Bourgueil due to the slightly warmer climate and riper fruit. (The 2014 "Clos de la Côte" for example has not yet been released.) The basic Saumur-Champigny, 100% Cabernet Franc, is bottled without sulfur if the vintage permits, contributing to the lovely fruit in this inexpensive and delicious wine. Of particular interest is the domaine's white, "La Coulée d'Aunis," a complex and scintillating Chenin Blanc for current drinking or for the cellar. Selling mostly to restaurants in France, the estate is not well known in the US, but Jean-Noël Millon is doing fantastic work in the vines and in the cellar and we urge you to try his wines!
100% Chenin Blanc, from 10 - 25 year-old vines on a slope of clay/silex soils on limestone, certified organic. Slow pressing of whole clusters; long fermentations, most in 4 to 6 year-old barriques, the younger vines in cuve inox; elevage in 6 year-old barrels. The Roche Bleue 2015 Jasnières shows pale bronze color with beautiful aromas of pear, lime-flower and peach with hints of stone, anise and citrus peel. The palate reveals almond, pear, stone and chalky minerals that continue in the very long, tart, very mineral finish. This is a crystalline, complex Jasnières that will benefit from decanting and should age well for ten to fifteen years. Serve now with shellfish, grilled fish, roast chicken and goat cheeses. Lovely wine! DL
From 25 - 30 year-old Chenin Blanc vines in a mid-slope parcel of thin clay and silex soils on limestone, yields of 25 hl/ha, certified organic with biodynamic methods as well, fermented and aged in 4 to 6 year-old barriques. Sébastien Cornille has quickly become one of the finest producers of Loire Valley Chenin Blanc on his 7 hectare estate in the Coteaux du Loir and Jasnières. The 2015 Jasnières "Clos es Molières" is an astonshing dry Chenin showing a bright pale gold color and subtle aromas of pear, dried herbs, almond, citrus and white pepper. The palate is dense but crystalline and intensly mineral with white fruits, almond, citrus and stone flavors that continue in the scintillating finish. Serve now with an elegant shellfish or fish preparation or hold for ten to fifiteen years and serve with fish or chicken in sauce. Beautiful wine! David Lillie
This is a beautiful Chenin Blanc from Sébastien Cornille at Domaine de la Roche Bleue, from 30 year-old vines on slopes and terraces of clay and silex over limestone, certified organic farming with biodynamic methods. The 2015 L'Orée de la Berterie shows lovely ripe aromas - peach, pear, and kiwi with almond, floral and mineral notes. Dried pear, citrus peel, stone and herbal notes on the palate with terrific density and a quite firm citrus and mineral finish. This is an outstanding and mineral young Chenin that will open up over the next five to ten years, and it's a superb value as well. Serve with ceviche of fluke, fish in sauce, roast chicken and mild cheeses. DL
Fans of taut, aromatically complex light reds (think Piedmontese Ruché or a well-crafted carbonic Gamay) take note! Sébastien Cornille has hit it out of the park with this 100% Pineau d'Aunis: freshly cracked pepper and generous rose blossoms on the nose lead into crisp red strawberries, cherries, and sweet plum skins. The snap of tannin on the finish is addictive, bracing the palate for more while the earthiness is pleasingly textural, countering soft, sheer aromatics with a cool mineral crunch. This bottling of what is often used as a blending grape takes full advantage of the clay, silex, and limestone soils and meticulous farming at Roche Bleue to craft a terroir and varietal expressive wine that is a must for lovers of floral, lighter-bodied reds. Delicious served with a slight chill. Karina Mackow
This is a lovely Chenin Blanc from our organic friends at La Source du Ruault. Ripe but subtle aromas of pear, apple, citrus, lime-flower, hay and earth lead to the palate which is very mineral, with ripe lemony white fruits, almond, stone and herbal flavors and a very long intense chalky finish. A beautiful and very young Chenin that is scintillating and delicious now, best after a few days open or ten years in the cellar. Highly recommended! David Lillie
Jean-Noêl Millon at La Source du Ruault has 13 hectares on turonian limestone in Saumur-Champigny, organic since 2007 and using biodynamic methods. The "regular" Saumur-Champigny is from younger vines on clay and sandy soils over the limestone; the wine is hand harveted, fermented with wild yeasts, aged in stainless steel vat and bottled with zero or minimal sulfur depending on the vintage. The 2015 is a beautiful wine and a superb value, showing lovely aromas of ripe raspberry and strawberry with violet, orange peel, pepper and brown spice. There is a nice chalky density on the palate with lush berry fruits, earth, citrus and spice with a juicy, supple finish balanced with firm acidity. This delicious and versatile wine will accompany chicken and pork dishes, grilled foods, charcuterie and full-flavored cheeses. Serve cool and enjoy! David Lillie
Jean-Noêl Millon is making superb wines at his organic estate in Saumur-Champigny, including the delicious "Le Champ Fou" from a "clos" of old Cabernet Franc vines on clay/limestone soils. The wine receives an approximately 30 month elevage in one to three year barrels and is bottled with minimal sulfur. The 2014 shows very elegant aromas of strawberry and raspberry, rounded by a touch of oak, with hints of blackberry, pepper and earth. The palate is supple and ripe with berry fruits, quite chalky but rounded by the elevage, the finish is ripe and long with supple red fruits lingering on the palate. Decant and serve cool if drinking now, or cellar a few years then drink until 2030 and beyond.
This beautiful Saumur-Champigny is from a walled vineyard of old vines in Varrains, certified organic and worked with biodynamic methods as well. The wine shows a deep black/red color and ripe aromas of red currant and blackberry with earth, roast meat and citrus framed in a bit of oak, quite lovely. The palate shows lush, textured blackberry and black cherry fruit with earth and bitter chocolate backed by firm acidity that continues in the long finish. Delicious now served with a coq au vin, grilled steak or pork stew, this will age gracefully over the next ten to fifteen years.