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The Frick Pinot Blanc Classique is pure and delicious with just enough refreshing acidity. A nice apéritif, great with mild cheeses, just about any seafood and Asian cuisines...
When I was in Alsace, I visited our friend Christian Binner, and he told me about a long tradition in Alsace of making wines from a particular site, that were not varietal, but instead blends, meant to highlight the unique terroir of each vineyard - and in particular the Grand Crus. Christian once asked his father about an old bottle in the family cellar that simply said "Ammerschwihr" and his father responded "oh your grandfather used to do that... don't worry about it." Along with a handful of other winemakers in Alsace, including Geschickt, there has been a newfound interest in this Alsatian tradition, and I'm personally very fascinated with it. The Grand Cru Kaefferkopf is 60% Gewurtztraminer, 30% Riesling, and 10% Pinot Gris. It's beautifully balanced, dry, and earthy. Kaefferkopf is technically a slope of clay and limestone, but there is a unique granite fault running through the vineyard, which I think dons a particular stony minerality to the wine. I find this is a nice opportunity to reflect on the way terroir affects the mineral character of a wine, and I'm glad there are more of these wines being produced again. Open ahead of time, or decant! Eben Lillie
This is a maceration of Pinot Gris (with a tiny percentage of Gewurtztraminer) from the Grand Cru Kaefferkopf vineyard. We literally can't seem to keep this on the shelf here at Chambers, as people are drawn to the color and curiosity takes over. Luckily the wine is not just an eye catcher - it's also really good! Maceration is over one month, and there's a substantial amount of color extracted from their ripe Pinot Gris skins, along with a perfect level of grip. Wild and funky on the nose (sauerkraut?), with perhaps a gram or two of residual sugar that carries the pretty fruit over the tannin. There's great balance here, and the wine stays solid for days, developing a more mellowed out and delicate side on day two that I almost prefer. Eben Lillie
There are a slew of delicious Pet-Nats emerging from Alsace, as younger generations experiment with the newly popular "methode ancestrale." The Geschickt version is 100% Pinot Auxerrois, and will be an instant hit with fans of saisons and farmhouse ales, and an eyebrow raiser for wine aficionados. It's totally dry, and a bit opaque, but clean and direct. There's a hint of pineapple on the palette, and perfect acidity carrying the fine bubbles. The mouthfeel is soft and gentle and finish is subtle. Just an all around fun wine and the new kid on the block for all you thirsty pet-nat drinkers. **fun note: there is apparently also a pet nat made by Jean Ginglinger called the "Dark Nat" that is part of a funny joke between Geschickt and Ginglinger - to me it was a look into how awesome the winemaker community is in Alsace. ** Eben Lillie
From 40+ year-old biodynamically-farmed vines planted in clay, granite, and gravel soils. The Ostertag 2014 Sylvaner Vieilles Vignes has a pale gold robe. The nose is cool-toned and offers aromas of citrus peel, pear skin, honeydew melon, and leafy notes. The palate is fresh, sprightly, and spring-like, with melon, golden apple, and green plum flavors, with a fine bead of stoniness on the finish. Try with a fricassee of spring vegetables (morels, ramps, and asparagus) or shad roe in brown butter. Springtime in a glass! John McIlwain
Guy Breton's Regnié is from 35 year-old and 100 year-old vines on shallow sandy soils over decomposed granit.The 2016 is exuberantly floral on the nose, redolent of violets and cherry blossoms, with notes of wild strawberry, mustard seed, and spice. The palate is supple and racy, with ripe red and black fruits, black tea, and granitic spice on a bright, high-toned finish. While this is charming now, there's a nice midterm upside for those who prefer a little age on their Beaujolais. John McIlwain
The step-son of Georges Descombes, Damien has worked alongside him since early childhood. L earning everything from Descombes in the vines and shared cellar has instilled the same values in Damien's work ethic: organic viticulture, hand harvesting, native yeasts, zero intervention in the cellar and little if any sulfur at bottling.The 2016 Chiroubles is a particularly pretty, old fashioned Beaujolais! Weighing in at 12% alcohol, the wine shows gorgeous aromas of raspberry and rose with spice and citrus notes. The palate shows sappy raspberry fruit, really lovely, ripe and persistent but light and balanced with refreshing acidity. There is nice length of earthy berry fruit in the long finish. Serve cool with chicken and white meats, and anything grilled this summer. Lovely wine! David Liliie
Damien Coquelet, working in the same stlye as his step-father Georges Descombes, has created some beautifully old-fashioned Beaujolais in 2016. The Morgon Cote de Py shows lovely aromas of raspberry, strawberry, citrus and rose, very pretty and bright. The palate shows a bit more stucture and darker fruit than the Damien's Chiroubles, with sappy strawberry fruit, a bit of citrus and a more earthy character. The finish is refreshing and long with juicy berry fruit and firm acidity. Serve quite cool with chicken and white meats, grilled foods and charcuterie. Lovely wine.
The Descombes Morgon Vieilles Vignes is made from 60 to 100 year-old vines from numerous sites on granite soils; semi-carbonic fermentation then aging 6 - 8 months in Burgundy barrels and one year in bottle before release. Dense and dark, this wine has formidable concentration. Some nice floral notes on the nose, with some vegetable ash and herbal characteristics wrapped around the dense dark fruit core. Deep and intense blackberry compote character on the palate is supported by inky tannin. This is a full-blooded Beaujolais that will benefit from a decade in the cellar, though right now its incredibly concentrated dark fruit and raw power should be enticing to those who love their wine with youthful strength. An excellent companion to sweet and sour pork, peking duck, or veal marsala. Andrew Farquhar
Georges Descombes has once again made a light and lovely Morgon in 2016 that will be a joyful drink this summer and over the next few years. The wine shows a bright garnet color with aromas of strawberry, raspberry and rose with a bit of citrus peel and spice. The palate is light but nicely sapid and ripe with supple red fruits with hints of citrus, earth and spice. The finish is ripe and refreshing with juicy acidity. Serve cool and enjoy, this very pretty wine is highly recommended! David Lillie
The 2016 shows a pretty garnet in the glass and offers elegant aromas of violets, black cherry, pepper, and blackberry patch. The vibrant acidity and fine minerality are evocative of the lean 2014 vintage. Flavors of tart red currants, supple blueberry, earth and brown spice finish with tangy orange citrus and cherry pit. Another classic vintage from Georges Descombes! Amanda Bowman
From a small hillside parcel of 50-plus year-old vines in Brouilly, certified organic. Carbonic maceration with no addition of SO2, followed by foot-pressing, gravity fed into large barrels or foudres for aging. Light Garnet/black color. The 2016, at 12.5% alcohol, is back to the style of the lovey 2014, showing pretty aromas of raspberry and red currant with bright citrus notes and smells of earth and stone. The palate is light but intense with bright raspberry and tart cherry flavors over firm acidity with citrus and earth. The finish is refreshing with lingering citrus and mineral flavors. Serve with charcuterie, fish in sauce, chicken and pork dishes or hold for 5 to 8 years as this should be a very pretty mature wine. David Lillie
Julien Guillot of the Clos des Vignes du Maynes makes this beautiful Beaujolais from a small parcel of 90 year-old Gamay vines of various old varieties in Leynes, just south of Pouilly-Fuissé. The parcel is at 1200 ft in altitude, with granite soils. From the warm 2015 vintage, the wine shows ripe blackberry aromas with earth, mint, cocoa and game; the palate is dense with supple blackberry fruit framed in firm acidity and strong flavors of earth, citrus and minerals. This is a complex and delicious Gamay that will accompany grilled foods this summer, stews and tagines throughout the year. Cellaring for five to eight years would be interesting. David Lillie
Known for the Vignes du Maynes wines from Cruzille, in the south of Burgundy, Julien Guillot has had the chance over the years to take long term leases on a few vineyards south of Macon in the Beaujolais. Due to issues with frost and hail in 2016, and to the loss of a rental vineyard to an old owner who decided to tear out vines, this vintage of the "Climat" is a combination of grapes from Chenas and from a vineyard called "Pierres Bleues" which is near Villefranche. Chenas is all granite, and Pierres Bleues is limestone. The wines fermented and aged separately and were blended a few months before bottling. From what I percieve, there's hint of granitic spiciness from Chenas, and some lift and energy from the limestone site. There's lovely fresh rasberry fruit on the attack, and a very mineral, stony finish. Fresh and elegant at 12.5%. Eben Lillie
From vines averaging 70 years of age in the lieu-dit "La Croix des Rameaux" on a steep south-west facing slope with various degradations of granite. 90% of fruit was destemmed with a 21 to 24 day cuvaison. The free run and pressed wines were assembled just before final fermentation of sugars. Approximately two weeks later, the wine was transferred into neutral barrels (average age of 10 years) for elevage of 10 months. No added sulfur during vinification, 10mg/Liter SO2 added before bottling, no filtration. The 2015 La Croix des Rameaux shows a bright red-black color, with meaty aromas of ripe blackberry and earth with a bit of violet and black cherry. The palate is dense and a bit closed, showing deep black fruits with hints of citrus, earth and bitter chocolate, very textured and long. Certainly an impressive wine and better balanced than most 2015s at 13% alcohol. Decant in advance if drinking now, best served cool with a steak or grilled pork. This should be very interesting when mature, best perhaps 2022 to 2030.
The 2016 Lapalu "Eau Forte" is a selection of old-vine juice from Brouilly and Côte de Brouilly. Organic farming; the whole clusters are pressed in a traditional basket press and fermentation is with wild yeasts in concrete vats (not carbonic). There is a gentle maceration to extract color but with no pigeage or remontage to minimize extraction of tannins. Two-thirds of the wine is moved to older, neutral barrels to complete fermentation while one-third remains in concrete. The wine then stays in barrel or vat for five months before final assemblage and is not fined or filtered before bottling, with only 10mg/Liter of SO2. This wine is not meant to be a vin de garde like the Lapalu Brouilly Croix des Rameaux or Côte de Brouilly - it's a beautiful natural wine showing aromas of blackberry and violet with tart plum orange peel and spice, bright and pretty. The palate has a light feel but is quite intense with dense black raspberry fruit framed in very firm acidity with hints of mint, earth and citrus. This is serious "glou-glou," quite unique and delicious - get some saussisons or grill some pork and enjoy! David Lillie
We're very proud to have the lovely Morgons of Roland Pignard at Chambers Street. The vines for this cuvée are 60 years old, planted at high altitude on steep hillsides in sandy clay soils over granite in the lieu-dit "les Charmes," just northwest of their home in the hamlet of Saint-Joseph above Villié-Morgon. Biodynamic farming, with no SO2 added until a minimal dose before bottling. The fermentation is with wild yeasts with a relatively short period of carbonic-maceration. The 2015 Morgon shows a vivid deep red color with complex aromas of ripe black cherry and black raspberry, wild flowers, earth and black pepper. The palate is ripe and supple with black raspberry and cherry fruit, brightened by firm acidity with hints of orange peel and brown spice. The finish is long and ripe with lingering black fruits, citrus and mineral flavors. At 13% alcohol, this beautiful Morgon shows the ripeness of the 2015 vintage but in a balanced and nuanced style with a complexity and mineral character found in few of the 2015s. Delicious now, best 2020 to 2025, but who will wait? David Lillie
The Pignard's Morgon Cuvée Tradition is ripe, dense and delicious in 2015! Good friends with Christian Ducroux, the Pignards practise similar methods of biodynamic farming and natural vinifications. Produced from hillside vineyards of sandy clay over limestone in "Les Charmes," the wine ferments naturally, with only 10mg of SO2 added before bottling and spends a year in vat followed by a year in old barriques. The wine shows aromas of blackberry liqueur with earth, spice, citrus and herbal notes. The palate is silky and supple with ripe black fruits, bitter chocolate, earth, spice and citrus - having some aspects of northern Rhone wines in this very warm, dry vintage. The finsh is long with fruit liqueur, spice and citrusy acids. This shows the density and darker fruit flavors of the 2015 vintage but in a more balanced frame at 13% alcohol. Delicious now in it's youthful intensity, probably best from 2020 to 2025. David Lillie
We were lucky enough to taste this at La Dive Bouteille last winter - the wine showed beautiful floral raspberry aromas with a refreshing light and lovely palate showing subtle raspberry and cherry fruit. Very long and elegant with a sapid, refreshing finish. A little bit of Volnay in Saint-Amour!
Located in the village of Charnay in southern Beaujolais, Jean-Paul Brun quietly makes some of the most classic wines of the region on his family’s 40-acre estate. All of the wines are allowed to ferment with native yeasts and minimal amounts of sulfur are employed ensuring fresh, lively wines. Brun’s Beaujolais Blanc is made from 100% Chardonnay that comes from 80+-year-old vines planted in clay and limestone soils. On the nose luscious green apple fruit mingles with poached pear and citrus zest. The palate does have some weight, but this is a lean, sharp wine with a sturdy mineral backbone. It’s really quite amazing to drink such a precise wine for such a value.
Here's a first: this is Gameret, a cross between Gamay and a Swiss grape called Reichensteiner. It's funky and fresh, with no sulfites added and a bit of barnyardy character on the nose, with pure ripe berry fruit on the palate. Fun and curious. Drink with a slight chill. Eben Lillie
The wines of Jean-Pierre Boyer at Chateau Bel Air-Marquis d'Aligre, are made in the lighter "claret" style of the 19th century. The 1995 shows a light red/garnet slightly mature color with pretty aromas of sweet red-currant, cassis and prune with sous-bois, licorice, tobacco, citrus and spice. The palate is delicate and silky, with a firm core of red currant/cassis fruit, framed in firm acidity. Very earthy with fruit liqueur, smoke, mint and minerals in the long finish. Decant a few hours in advance to enjoy this very unusual and beautiful Margaux. Another 5 to 10 years of cellaring would be interesting. David Lillie
(Five hour decant) The 1998 is a complex and unusual Bordeaux in mid-life, showing more secondary and mineral qualities than the riper 2000. The wine shows a light, slightly browning garnet color; the aromas are quite floral and earthy with spicy black currant, clove, graphite and citrus peel. The palate shows dark earth and mineral flavors yielding to bright black currant and cassis fruit with dark spice and sous-bois flavors backed by very firm acidity. The wine held up well with an additional few hours open and will obviously benefit from another ten to twenty years of aging. David Lillie
A Margaux like no other, more akin to a 19th century claret than to a modern Bordeaux.The 2004 from Jean-Pierre Boyer shows a lovely deep garnet color and smoky red-currant aromas with earth, violet, licorice, spice and citrus peel. The palate is dense and mineral with firm structure, but showing velvety blackberry, cassis and red currant with earth and mineral flavors and a bit of bitter licorice. The finish is long and firm. Suspend your ideas of Bordeaux and enjoy this complex and Burgundian Margaux. Carafe four hours in advance or cellar ten to twenty years.(On day 2 the wine has deepened and softened into a lovely Burgundian Bordeaux)
The 2009 BAMA shows bright deep red/black color with lovely high-toned red fruit liqueur - strawberry, black-currant and cassis, with violet and earth. The palate is dense and ripe with bright acidity - not at all heavy, but with intense black and red fruits backed by flavors of mineral and earth. On day two the bright deep fruits have become more focused and linger on the palate in the long and very mineral finish. This is quite enjoyable as a young wine, especially after a day open, unencumbered by over-extraction and new oak - but beware, this style is for those who like some earth in their Bordeaux! Best to cellar for a very long time...
The 2010 Bel Air-Marquis d'Aligre is from very old vines and also from approximately 50 year-old vines planted by M. Boyer at 10,000 plants per hectare. There is a long fermentation without extraction, the juice remains in cuve until spring, then spends 6 months in old barrels followed by two to three years in cement vat. These are wines made in the lighter "claret" style of the 19th century, although the 2010 shows an incredible density of flavor, given the less-extracted style. Upon opening the wine shows subtle aromas of earth, red currant and cherry fruit with licorice and brown spice. The palate is deep and quite expressive with black cherry, strawberry, earth, licorice and mineral flavors, quite Burgundian in texture. The finish is very long with lingering tart cherry, sous-bois and mineral flavors. After two days open (re-corked) the aromas have broadened with prune, ripe cherry, tobacco, spice and rose and the palate is intense with red and black fruit liqueur, spice box and earth and ending with lingering red fruits and firm acidity. Delicious now with a long decant, this will be an extraordinary mature wine, best perhaps 2035 - 2050. David Lillie
The 2013 Maison Blanche is a superb blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc from at least 45-year-old vines on clay. With low yields, use of native yeast, a combination of old and new oak, and little addition of sulfur at bottling, this wine has an elegant structure with bright acidity, great minerality, and supple tannins. The wine is elegantly complex with a gorgeous bouquet of cassis and plums, dark chocolate, tobacco, cedar box, earthy and purple floral notes. On the palate, the wine is luscious with a long and beautiful finish showcasing its finesse. This is a delicious wine that can be cellared for several years (8+ years). Pair it with beef stew, braised beef, spare ribs or lamb. Caroline Coursant
This delectable, organic Bordeaux from the Fédieu family is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. On the nose, the wine displays notes of dark berries, cassis, menthol, dried rose petals, violets, yellow tobacco, young leather and oriental spices. On the palate, the balance between acidity, tannin and oak is beautiful; with great minerality coming from the gravelly sandy soils, the wine shows some weight with a bright freshness. Complex without being too much, this lively wine strikes the right balance between a table wine and a wine for more special occasions. Drink with meat recipes such as steak au poivre, ragouts, lamb kebabs, or braised pork. Caroline Coursant
(On Sale through June 9th Was $17.99) This 100% Merlot wine from Château Couronneau, an estate certified organically and biodynamically since 2009 and 2011 respectively, is a fun full-bodied Bordeaux. With a bouquet of ripe plums, blackberries, dark cherries, violet, and vanilla cream notes, the wine reminds me of summer times in the South of France when I was a child. On the palate, the wine has a beautiful density with good acidity and firm tannin. A great value, this wine will be the perfect companion to any barbecued meat or a classic steak and frites. Caroline Coursant
What a fantastic Claret from Coutet! This Saint Émilion estate, certified organic since 2012, does not use any chemical treatments on the land and the results show on the quality of their wines. A Claret, the wine shows off a gorgeous dark pink color with purple hue. On the nose, the bouquet of juicy red raspberry, ripe strawberry, and dark rose petal notes is enticing. The palate is complex and luscious with notes of red berry fruit, yellow plum, wild flower and mint lingering on the finish, and with a beautiful texture and pretty acidity. Drink this wine by itself or with blackened salmon, light roasted chicken or steak tartare. Caroline Coursant
Château Gombaude-Guillot, a renowned Pomerol estate, owned by the Bélevier family for several centuries, is the perfect illustration of classic, gorgeous Pomerol. Surrounded by illustrous estates (Chateau La Gay, Vieux Chateau Certan), the domaine has a superb terroir of gravel, flint, and clay. The estate is certified organic and follows biodynamic practices. Claire Laval, who currently manages the estate, believes in authentic farming with no use of herbicides or fungicides, low yields, and a clear respect of the ecosystem. The Pomerol is a blend of Merlot (85%) and Cabernet Franc (15%) from 40-year-old vines and shows off the beautiful gravel minerality of the terroir. All grapes are harvested by hand and fully destemmed. After natural fermentation in concrete and stainless steel vats for 3-4 weeks, the wine is aged in French oak barrels (around 50% new oak) for an extended period, with no filtering and minimal addition of sulfur at bottling. The resulting wine is rich, complex and luscious with an elegant bouquet of rich dark berries and plums, earth, spice, gorgeous gravel minerality, nice acidity and silky tannins. The finish is long and beautiful. A superb wine for great occasions. Drink now or age it for 10+ years. Caroline Coursant
Our biodynamic friends, the Hubert family, make this lovely Bordeaux with the best juice from Chateau La Grolet, coming from old vines of 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Malbec. The 2015 shows lovely aromas of ripe cassis and blackberry with cedar, brown spice and earth, really quite pretty. The palate is elegant and well-structured with cassis and red fruits over firm acidity with earth and mineral flavors. This is a real Bordeaux of terroir that is delicious now especially if decanted many hours in advance or opened the night before. Cellaring for ten to fifteen years will create a lovely mature wine. David Lillie Please carafe before serving.
What a beautiful fresh Bordeaux! Certified organic since 2012, this estate has been making outstanding wines since the beginning, showing the expertise of the Clauzel family and superb terroir. This 2014 wine (a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc) is elegant and vibrant with a gorgeous bouquet of black and red berries, plum, oriental spices, leather and cedar box notes. On the palate, the wine is bright with acidity and minerality, and shows supple tannins with a long fresh finish. This is a vibrant Bordeaux which can accompany casual to fancy meals. Pair this wine with hamburgers, seared lamb, or with more elaborated dishes, such as, roast beef or braised duck. A delicious wine to drink now or cellar it for a few years. Caroline Coursant
This delicious wine comes from the Domaine Les Trois Petiotes, a 3-hectare estate in the Côtes de Bourg, a proponent of "less is more" on the field and in the cellar. The grapes, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec, are fully destemmed, fermented in stainless steel tank, and then aged in neutral oak for a few years with minimal addition of sulfur at bottling. Lighter and more vibrant than the 2011 vintage, the wine is full of energy and freshness with a beautiful smooth texture coming from the supple tannins. Notes of red plum and cherry, green tobacco, mint and rose petals are prevalent on the nose. On the palate, the superb minerality (sand, clay, limestone and gravel soils) and bright acidity lift the wine. Pair this wine with barbecued meat, steak, and roasted lamb. This is a perfect Bordeaux to enjoy during the summer! Caroline Coursant
Château Peybonhomme-les-Tours is a fantastic organic- and biodynamic-certified estate located in Blaye on slopes of clay over limestone. The Quintessence is the top cuvée of the domaine and reflects the beautiful philosophy of wine making of the Hubert family. Typically a blend of Merlot (80%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (20%), the wine has nice structure with supple tannins, great acidity, and firm minerality with a long finish.
The Peybonhomme-les-Tours "Energies" is a selection of the best grapes, vinified with wild yeasts and aged for 12 months in terra cotta amphorae, 60% Merlot, 30% Malbec, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine shows a dense red/black color with ripe blackberry and cassis aromas with stone and earth. The palate is supple, sapid and ripe with blackberry liqueur, red currant, bitter chocolate and stone. The finish is long with saline mineral flavors and firm acidity. The "Energies" is an elegant glass of Bordeaux that is lovely now with grilled meats, stews and full-flavored cheeses. Or cellar for ten years as this should age beautifully. Congratulations to the Huberts for this beautiful natural wine!
Biodynamic farming, native yeasts, wild fermentations, good value –all phrases not typically associated with Bordeaux. Yet, each year the Hubert family provides us with just that in their staple cuvee from the Côte de Blaye. The Cru Bourgeois is a blend of mostly Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and a bit of Malbec. Generously aromatic owing to the rich clay soils in which it is grown, there's ripe red fruit, black currant, and spice, with supple tannins and an undercurrent of chalky minerality. This is a great addition to the dinner table alongside grilled meat or sipped on its own. Amanda Bowman
(From half-bottle.) Though not considered a legendary vintage for Yquem, the 1981 has plenty of verve and class to recommend it. The nose shows apricot, orange marmalade, honey and brunt sugar and notes of vanilla. The palate is rich though, perhaps not as unctuous as more lauded vintages, offering flavors of burnt orange, crème brulée, pineapple, and honey. This is mature yet still has plenty of energy and freshness provided by the still lively acidity which carries through on the long and pleasingly bitter finish. John McIlwain
A rarity we see all too infrequently. We recommend decanting ahead for maximum enjoyment.
This is the eight vintage of the Hubert family's "Blanc Bonhomme"which seems to get better every year. The vines are now 12 years old, 50% Sauvignon Blanc and 50% Semillon, certified organic and Biodynamic. The grapes are hand-harvested in the early morning, pressed gently, fermented with native yeasts and the wine is aged partly in new oak, mostly in cement vats. Only 650 cases are made. The 2017 shows elegant pear, lemon, herbal and dried flower aromas, with pear, citrus and chalky mineral flavors on the palate. A bit less ripe than previous vintages, this really shows the terroir with crisp acidity, lovely white fruit, a hint of pineapple and oak and stony flavors in the finish. Really a lovely, balanced and food-friendly wine - serve with anything from oysters to grilled fish to roast chicken. David Lillie
Domaine Anne Bavard-Brooks is located in Puligny-Montrachet and has been organic and biodynamic since 2005. The "La Combe" vineyard is in the village of Puligny with 35 year-old vines on silt and clay soils over limestone, 200 cases made. The palate is round and dense with flavors of pear, fines-herbes, almond, citrus, honeysuckle and brown spice. The finish is long and ripe with citrus and stone flavors that linger. This is a quite complex and well-balanced Burgundy that will accompany a wide variety of seafood and poultry dishes and mild cheeses. Drinking beautifully now, this will cellar nicely over the next 5 years or more.
The De Moors suffered terrible loses due to frost and hail in 2016 and 2017 - They have been aided by friends in the south and have made delicious "Vendangeurs Maqué" wines, this one with Grenache Blanc from Julie Brosselin and Eric Pfifferling, Viogniers from Gérald Oustric and Gramenon, Roussanne from Eric Texier and Clairete from Pierre Pradel.
The Montmains vineyard lies on the left bank of the Serein River a bit south of Vaillons. The 2015 has a ripe nose redolent of white flowers, orchard fruit, and citrus oil. The palate offers ripe golden apple, and Meyer lemon flavors underlain with subtle notes of sea spray and dusty minerality on a persistent finish. John McIlwain
Located on the right bank of the Serein, Montée de Tonnerre is one of the more structured premier crus, distinctly mineral and long-lived. The 2015 Duplessis Montée de Tonnerre is a classic expression from the site. Crushed herbs, lime zest, flint, and sea spray on the effusive nose. The palate shows incisive minerality with pungently saline character offset by cool-toned apple and citus notes. this is deeply stony with driving energy on an impressively long and palate-staining finish. Excellent now with a quick decant, better still in 3-5 years. John McIlwain
Located on the left bank of the Serein, the name Vaugiraut derives from “Vaul Girault,” which means Girault's valley, likely the name of a local owner. Aged entirely in cuve (stainless steel tank), Duplessis' 2015 Vaugiraut offers pretty aromas of white flowers, honeysuckle, white peach, and crushed herbs. The palate displays flavors of white peach, citrus, and salt with hints of green tea and quinine on the stony, precise finish. John McIlwain
A blend of 57% Puligny villages with 43% Puligny 1er Truffière. Nexe Flore is a play on words, per Allen Meadows, of next floor, implying a step up from the Puligny villages tout court. John McIlwain
A new wine from Julien Guillot at the Clos des Vignes du Maynes, the 2016 Macon "Clos Fourneau" is 85% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Gris. The wine shows floral, honeyed aromas of pear, white peach and candied citrus. Ripe stone fruits on the palate are wrapped in bright citrusy acids with chalky mineral flavors that continue in the finish with lemon and stone. Try this with melon and prosciutto or a full flavored fish such as halibut or monkfish. This will improve with a long decant or three to five years in the cellar.
Julien Guillot of the Clos des Vignes du Maynes, makes this lovely Mâcon-Villages from certified organic parcels - 50% from Viré-Clessé, the rest from Chardonnay and Montbellet, on Bathonian limestone with clay, rich in silica. The 2016 Mâcon-Villages shows a lovely pale gold color, with aromas of pear, almond, grapefruit and green apple. The palate is refreshing and elegant with refreshing acidity and flavors of pear, stone, almond and creamy lemon. The finish is silky and long with ripe white fruits and wet stone flavors. This is a superb white Burgundy and a far cry from the normal negoce Macon wines. This versatile and delicious Chardonnay will accompany almost anything from the sea as well as white meats, Asian foods and mild cheeses. Julien compares this vintage to 2010, which he opened for us last winter (Jan 2018) The wine was vibrant and delicious with terrific length, showing that cellaring this wine is a great option. David Lillie
From a north-facing parcel fairly high on the slope next to Meursault Les Vireuils. Subtle, rather delicate aromas of lime-flower and citrus, with white fruits, stone and honeysuckle. The palate is fresh and bright with mineral flavors predominating, with pear, lemon peel and herbal notes, quite pure and refreshing. The opposite of an oaky fruit-bomb, this is a light and lovely Chardonnay of terroir that will accompany shellfish, sole, flounder, cod and young goat cheeses.
From 2.5 hectares of younger vines, farmed organically and fermented with native yeasts in steel tank. The 2016 Moreau-Naudet Petit Chablis is bright and floral, with aromas of jonquil, honeysuckle, apple blossom, Meyer lemon, rainwater. White orchard fruits, lemon oil, Golden Delicious apple, and salt on the palate. Ripe, but racy. Long, succulent, and snappy on an incisively mineral finish. Lovely! Always an over-performer of a Petit Chablis. Moreau-Naudet is a wonderful domaine whose great farming results in terrific wines. A splendidly fresh aperitif and just fabulous with a salad of white beans, red onions, spring lettuces, and Spanish tuna packed in oil. John McIlwain
Jean-Claude Rateau makes lovely Biodynamic wines in the Hautes Côtes de Beaune in his east-facing vineyard of clay/limestone and marne soils. Quite racy and bright even in 2017, the wine shows subtle aromas of lemon, almond, stone, spiced pear and apple. Intense, very mineral palate with pear, citrus and stone flavors and terrific length. The antithesis of fat, oaky Chardonnays, this food friendly wine will accompany everything from oysters and grilled seafoods to roast chicken and mild cheeses. Delicious now or cellar for 5 to 8 years. This is a real Chardonnay of terroir and a great value! David Lillie
This beautiful Pouily-Fuissé is from old vines in the Clos on hard limestone with very thin silty clay topsoil. Certified organic farming, long slow fermentations with wild yeasts and aging in large oak barrels, none new. The wine shows bright aromas of pear, lemon confit, herbs and stone. The palate shows creamy white fruits and citrus flavors with firm very chalky acidity and a hint of oak. The wine is beautifully balanced and refreshing, drinking wonderfully now, but it will improve with 5 to 8 years of aging. This is a lovely White Burgundy, comparing favorable at the price with wines from the Cote d'Or.
This is a superb, subtle and very mineral Chardonnay from a replanted parcel at the very top of the Clos, abandoned since 1896, with thin clay soils rich in iron over limestone. A great terroir, never chemically treated and worked in biodynamic farming by Alain and Julien Guillot. The 2015 "les Chassagnes" is a beautiful wine, a bit fuller than the 2014 but still quite racy and stony with hints of white fruits, spice and honey. The palate is silky and crystalline - all minerals with subtle citrus and white fruits, very long and elegant. Highly recommended! David Lillie
From 40 to 80 year-old massale-selection Chardonnay vines high on the slope in Cruzille on limestone with a great deal of calcium carbonate crystal (aragonite) with thin topsoils of clay and silica, never treated with chemicals, certified biodynamic. Fermentation is in 600 liter barrels with wild yeasts, aged 10 months sur-lie without racking, no SO2 until a small dosage (10 - 20 mg/l) before bottling. The 2016 "Aragonite" is a superb, well structured white Burgundy that will age beautifully. The wine shows elegant aromas of pear, lemon confit, lime-flower, toasted almond and stone, really lovely. The palate is intensely mineral and framed in firm acidity, with white fruits, citrus, spice and stone flavors. The living soils of the Clos give this wine an extra dimension of acidity and saline minerals that will contribute to a long life for this lovely wine, perhaps best 2025-2035, but it's delicious as a young wine as well. Highly recommended. David Lillie
Mineral is a vintage-dated blend of Chardonnay from two particularly chalky lieux dits within the grand cru villages of Cramant and Avize, with the grapes from Bionnes (Cramant) vinified in demi-muid and Le Champ Bouton (Avize) vinified in tank and blended in equal parts.Sea spray, peach skin, grapefruit peel on the nose. Bright and fresh on the palate with good cut, incisively mineral with pungent chalk notes on the long driving finish. Delicious now, perhaps better still with a few years to allow the structural elements knit. John McIlwain
Tasted in January 2017 at the estate. Complex aromas of lychee, candied pear, citrus, beautiful palate of yellow fruits, minerals, citrus, caramel with fabulous length. (This shipment disgorged in June 2017)
The 1998 Ambonnay Brut has long been a staff favorite and this disgorgement does not disappoint. Brillliant, golden yellow in color and showing a finely-beaded mousse, this offers one of the two most expressive aromatic profiles of this current Beaufort lineup. Aromas of Mirabelle plums, toasted hazelnuts, and crème brulée transition to notes of Jonagold apples, cinnamon, and wild flowers. The palate is generous and expansive and carries tones of brazil nuts, greengages, and irises that crescendo to a fine, zippy finish. This is complex and delicious Champagne! David Salinas
A sensational mature Champagne from André Beaufort - the estate converted to organic agriculture in the early 70's and makes brilliant, full-bodied Champagnes that are among the most "vinous" being made today. Medium golden yellow in color and sporting a discrete mousse. The nose is quite floral with tones of cherry blossoms, apple blossoms, and irises before touches of quince and fresh baguette. The palate is concentrated with a spherical yet laser-like focus that offers notes of lemon sorbet, tart lemon custard, and apple pie, underlined by a fine minerality that persists through to a rounded, savory finish. Really a very pretty and lovely wine. This medium-bodied Champagne is made of approximately 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay and was disgorged in March 2017 after 14 years of sur-lie aging, illustrating the Beauforts' commitment to releasing mature wines.
The 2006 Ambonnay Brut Grand Cru shows subtle mature aromas of pear, almond, marzipan and citrus, very earthy with hints of exotic fruit and spice and wet stone. Give this some time to open up. The palate shows a delicate, creamy mousse with complex earthy white fruits, herbal notes and mineral flavors with nice acidity in the finish. A lovely wine of contemplation. (Disgorged June 2017)
"Really superb, subtle, long. Quiet nose. Winy. Seems like old school white Burgundy. Very serious..." Anonymous notes from Beaufort dinner, Jan 2017 (Disgorged April, 2017)
For those of a classical bent who prefer not to shop at the big Champagne houses, André Beaufort is a wonderful alternative. Longtime organic farming and extended lees-aging produce rich wines of uncommon detail and complexity. The 2010 Ambonnay offers aromas of white flowers, orange peel, bergamot, and chalk on the nose. Bright acid, salted plum, citrus oil, and a fine line of sapid minerality on the supple and rich palate. This shows a fine interplay between power, tension, and a suave, supple finish. This is one heck of an Ambonnay and a fine bottle of Beaufort! (Disgorged June 2017) John McIlwain
The new Beaufort Polisy Reserve Brut Nature NV is from the 2014 vintage and was disgorged in November of 2017. (Organic farming since 1971, wild yeast fermentations, minimal SO2.) This lovely Champagne shows a pale gold/bronze color with aromas of brioche, pear, lime flower, apricot and vanilla with a bit of brown spice and anise. Full, soft mousse on the palate with creamy pear, citrus, stone and herbal flavors, with hints of raspberry and red currant emerging. A bit soft and ripe for a Brut Nature, at 12% alcohol, but well balanced with refreshing acidity in the finish. Serve with a ceviche of squid or scallop, fish in sauce, goat cheeses or perhaps with berry or citrus desserts. David Lillie
We're fans of the Champagnes of Beaufort for a number of reasons. The farming at this historic Domaine is impeccable and the winemaking is classical and refreshingly old school. The 2013 base Ambonnay Grand Cru in handy half bottle is a pocket-sized example of Beaufort's distinctive character. Aromas of ginger, brioche, ripe golden fruit and almond lead to similar flavors on the elegant, generous and honeyed palate which finishes with beautifully firm acidity and mineral flavors. This has the brightness and acidity to accompany oysters and shellfish, but enough weight and grip to serve with grilled fish, caviar and goat cheeses. Also, please note that while the label reads "Polisy" it is in fact the Ambonnay Grand Cru Reserve. Amanda Bowman
Les Beaux Regards is a blend of two parcels of Chardonnay in Ludes on the northern slope of the Montagne de Reims planted in 1964 and 1970. The loamy clay soils produce a Champagne more vinous in character, rather than exclusively taut and chalky. The 2014 displays lemon and apple blossom and stone fruit aromas, with delicate notes of spice and citrus peel following. The palate is distinctly nervy and racy, with overtly stony notes, cool notes of orange oil and lemon balm and a long tangy, expressive finish. There's a penetrating minerality here matched by equally vivacious fruit. Delicious! (Dosage 3g/l., disg. 01/18) John McIlwain
The Rive Gauche bottling from Bérêche is 100% Pinot Meunier from vines planted in 1969 in the north facing parcel Le Misy in Port-á-Binson near Mareuil-le Port in the Marne. The north-facing slopes and old vines keep in check Meunier's tendency to over-exuberance, preserving the mineral expression of the variety. The 2014 exhibits floral, citrus peel, stone fruit scents on the nose with aromas of acacia blossom, peach skin, and marzipan dominating. The palate is ripe, but racy, with flavors of white peach, orange oil, ginger, and salted plum on a mouth-watering, driving, insistent finish. For fans of the Rive Gauche bottling, this is more linear than the generous 2013 edition, but a compelling expression of this terroir. (3 grams dosage/ disgorged 10/17) John McIlwain
Made from 100% Pinot Noir planted in 1971 in Les Maillons, a lieu-dit located in Barbonne-Fayel, whose soils are made up of chalk and heavy red clays. From his cellars in Congy, located to the southwest of the Côte des Blancs, Olivier Collin produces serious, vinous, Champagnes of terroir. His "Les Maillons" bottling is one such wine. The 2013 is ripe, dense, rich, and complex. With a faint copper hue, and fine bead; the nose is redolent of ripe red fruits, such as sour cherry, pomegranate, and wild raspberry. The palate is concentrated, stony, and bracingly dry. The power and poise of this wine are impeccably balanced, and this should knit beautifully with 5-10 years in the cellar. John McIlwain
100% Pinot Meunier from the single parcel La Ruedes Noyers, farmed biodynamically, fermented in barrel. The 2013 Coteaux Blanc from Benoît Déhu has a lovely nose combining aromas of fresh stone fruit, sea spray, salted plum, and spice. The palate is racy and ripe with good richness (for a Coteaux Champenois). Flavors of fresh apricot, Rainier cherry and citrus peel vie with mineral notes for attention on a long sapid finish. This is a lovely Coteaux with just the right tension between the bright fruit notes and savory character. Delicious! John McIlwain
100% Pinot Meunier, fermented in barrel with native yeasts bottled with low sulfur. From the Rue des Noyers parcel. Violets and hedge fruits on the nose. Brambles and black raspberry on the palate with spice notes and a distinctly stony energetic finish. This has great lift and drive and is fascinating to taste alongside the Coteaux Blanc and Champagne from the same parcel. Le terroir parle! John McIlwain
Entirely Pinot Meunier, this is a notably unique rosé. It's incredibly vinous and is wine — serious wine — before it's rosé or Champagne. But as a saignée Champagne it has delicacy and poise, and yet is serious and structured. It's most curiously savory — our flavor associates included soft cheese, herbs, ferns, sausage, and spices. It is wonderfully dry with chalky minerality on the finish. Not a party Champagne, but one for serious consideration and engagement. Worth contemplation by any serious wine or Champagne lover. MSB
From the "Les Clos" parcel, this wine contains all seven legal Champagne grapes, field-blended, farmed biodynamically, and vinified in barrel as its own cuvée. The wine has lots of savory notes, hazelnuts, and the edgy rusticity of Pinot Meunier, which comes through in handsome spades. The fruit is rose-hip-red, and the wine finishes with textured, dry minerality. All our eyes got big and wide and happy when we tasted this! WOW. JBT
If ever there were an argument that portions of Cumières merit Grand Cru status, Laval's Les Chênes makes a convincing case. The amphitheater-shaped vineyard is something of a sun trap and produces Champagnes of power and precision in Vincent's able hands. Made up of 100% organically farmed Chardonnay from the eponymous lieu-dit on the eastern side of the village (near the bottom of the slope down by the river), where the soils are chalk rather than the clays of other portions of the village. This is a particularly powerful blanc de blancs. While the nose offers tropical fruit and citrus aromas, the midweight, sinewy, and broad palate is pungently mineral, displaying notes of salt, green tea, and quinine on a driving, powerful, persistent finish. This is certainly delicious now, but tastings of previous vintages of Les Chênes lead one to believe there is plenty ahead for the patient. John McIlwain
Benoit Marguet is a true believer in the power of biodynamics to change not only wine but the vineyard and life for the better. He is passionate about the relationship between the vigneron, the vines, and his wines. His vineyards are plowed by horse, fermentation is with native yeasts, his wines see little to no sulfur, and his viticulture shows clearly in the finished wines. Les Bermonts is a blanc de blancs from vines planted in 1952 in the grand cru Ambonnay, unusual as the village is more notable for Pinot Noir. Les Bermonts is deeply chalky and mineral, displaying the characteristic power of Ambonnay, while also showing an incisive minerality, which drives the wines. The 2012 is deeply pitched with pungent quinine, lemon rind, salt, and iodine notes on a full-bodied, tightly-coiled palate. This shows citrus blossom and chalk on the nose, while the broad palate is saline, textured, and savory. With air, nearly kaleidoscopic layers of citrus and green apple fruit and chalk flavors reveal themselves on a long, elegant, precise and vibrant finish. The 2012 will benefit from time in the cellar and is a compelling expression of the terroir of the Montagne de Reims. John McIlwain
The inaugural release of biodynamic vigneron Benoît Marguet's Coteaux Champenois Blanc, the 2015 was aged for 19 months in barrel. Bosc pear, lemon blossom, honeycomb on the nose. The palate is textured and waxy with good acidity lending freshness and brightness to a rich, layered finish redolent of nectarine, lemon curd, and acacia honey. With time in the glass, a deep minerality is revealed. This is magnificent Coteaux Champenois and a great expression of Ambonnay terroir. Bravo Benoît! John McIlwain
Benoît Marguet has long been one of our favorite vignerons. Not only is he passionate about biodynamics and terroir, but one can't overlook the fact that his wines are positively delicious. Imagine our delight when he opened a bottle of his Coteaux Champenois for us in Ambonnay last year! Dark ruby robe. Effusively aromatic displaying aromas of violets, Morello cherry, and Pinot spice. The palate offers waves of bright cherry and red plum fruit, with notes of black tea and spice, deftly framed by ripe tannins and fresh acidity. This shows great poise and balance between gorgeous ripe fruit and a pungent, nearly saline sense of minerality. Wonderful now, but this should really blossom with 5-7 years in the cellar. John McIlwain
An organically-farmed Blanc de Noirs from the eponymous lieu-dit in the premier cru village of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ. The wine is a notable expression of this terroir, as Fabrice Pouillon reveals by vinifying with only the natural sugars from perfectly ripe Pinot Noir, in addition to only utilizing the indigenous yeasts present in the must. He accomplishes this by chilling unsulfured grape must in tank to a temperature low enough to prevent spoilage or fermentation. This must is then used for the secondary fermentation, as well as for the dosage after disgorgement, rather than cane sugars or MCR. The resulting wine is layered and supple with a fine bead, displaying red fruits, blood orange peel, and spices, expressing the vinous character of Pinot Noir grown in the clays of the Grande Vallée de la Marne. John McIlwain
Aurelien Suenen is one of the bright young stars of the Côte des Blancs, whose Champagnes seem to improve with every new release. His 2014 based Oiry Blanc de Blancs is a beauty. Wines from the village 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 with 1 g/l dosage. The 2014 is brisk, briny, and fresh on the nose with aromas of yuzu, Meyer lemon, quinine, and chalk dominating. The palate is chiseled, taut and very dry with racy acidity and an energetic driving finish. Suenen continues to grow with each vintage and this new line up of village designated Champagnes are particularly exciting. The 2014 will make a fine aperitif and shiny brightly with crudo or sashimi. John McIlwain
From .38 HA biodynamically farmed vines averaging over 40 years old, high on the hillside of Corton. Traditionally the most powerful and stern of the stable of red Corton lieu-dits at Chandon de Briailles. 80% whole cluster fermentation. There’s a fair bit of reduction to this initially, but with a long decant this recedes to reveal aromas plummy black fruit, animale funk, black tea, and fresh-turned earth. In the mouth ripe red/black fruit flavors mingle with pungent minerality on the vibrant mid-weight palate. There is good sap and firm, but ripe tannins supporting the fruit on the long, substantial finish. This has real class and should be sensational after 10-15 years in the cellar. John McIlwain
Certified organic and farmed with biodynamic methods, Domaine Chevrot is one of the gems of Maranges. The lieu-dit Sur le Chêne is a south-facing plot on gravelly limestone on the eastern side of the appellation. The fruit from the 50-60 year old vines is hand-harvested, fermentation is 50% whole cluster, and the wine aged for 11 months in 15% new oak. The 2014 has aromas of red fruits, black tea, and orange peel with hints of smoke and spice. The medium weight palate balances red cherry and raspberry flavors with earthy notes and medium-grained tannins on a medium long finish. This offers a nice balance of fruit and Maranges minerality at an affordable price point. Decant now before serving or cellar for 5-9 years. -John McIlwain
High-toned, floral and fresh with bright red fruit notes and zesty acidity. A wine of energy and lift rather than mass, this racy Bourgogne shows the buoyant nature of the difficult, but excellent 2016 vintage. Pablo Chevrot and his family make beautiful and fairly-priced Burgundy in every vintage, and are a great domaine for value. Enjoy with roasted chicken, fricasséed mushrooms, tempura, or milder cheeses. John McIlwain
This Pinot Noir rosé is a blend of the saignée from villages and 1er cru fruit in Maranges, a straight pressing of Hautes Côtes de Beaune fruit, and pellicular maceration of fruit from Hautes Côtes de Beaune. Pale pink, effusive on the nose with aromas of cherry blossom (of course), wild strawberry, cherry, and chalk. Palate is ripe, racy and juicy. Ripe stone fruit and savory herbal notes lend interest. Lip-smacking finish. This is nearly incandescent with bright fruit and crackling energy. A fabulous rosé for an aperitif or with dinner outdoors on a warm Summer evening. John McIlwain
Ripest red cherry and wild strawberry on the nose. Silken with ripe red fruits on a medium-weight palate, with a long, bright chalky finish. Simply lovely. Drink and hold. John McIlwain
The Pernand-Vergelesses vineyard "Les Belles Filles" is a northern extension of "Iles des Vergelesses" and "En Carradeux" facing east and usually producing an elegant, very pretty light-bodied Burgundy. In 2015, the hot, dry conditions gave this vineyard (and others in Auxey-Duresses for example) their moment in the sun with wines of balance and firm acidities but showing the ripeness of the vintage. The 2015 "Belle Filles" is quite beautiful, beginning with the usual floral tart cherry and raspberry aromas found in this wine; with aeration, the aromas deepen into earthy black cherry with hints of licorice and graphite. The palate shows ripe black cherry and strawberry fruit with earth and mineral flavors, quite dense and deep but still light on its feet and balanced with firm acidity. Three days later, the wine is really singing with terrific depth and length of black fruits and saline minerals. This is a great vintage for "Belles Filles." Decant well in advance if drinking now, best to cellar five to eight years and drink till 2033. David Lillie
Generous black cherry, boysenberry, notes of cherry pit and anise on nose. Ripe mid-weight palate, ripe black fruits, hints of iodine and iron and other soil beneath supple structure. Succulent acidity and savory mineral notes offset the ripeness and lend energy and drive on a rich, palate-coating finish. This has good punch, even if it's more generous than I associate with very young Rateau. The purity of fruit and earth notes are finely balanced and this is an excellent Burgundy for the mid-term. A fine pairing with braised chicken thighs with mustard, tarragon, and shallots. A great value from the pioneer of biodynamic Burgundy! John McIlwain
When life gives you lemons (or the worst frost in decades) you make a cuvée from your lieux-dits most devastated by Mother Nature, whic is exactly what Rateau did with the 2016 vintage. Fortunately the resulting Cuvée Ronde is delicious! Strawberry, pomegranate, crushed herbs and beetroot on the nose. On the racy, lithe palate flavors of wild strawberry, red currant, chalk, and raspberry seed, vie for attention with savory notes of thyme, freshly turned soil, and black tea on a lifted, fresh, cool-toned, succulent finish. Not a bruiser, but there’s loads of charm, sap, and detail here. Old-fashioned in the best sense and a vibrant expression of 2016. Try this with grilled salmon or roasted chicken. John McIlwain
Jean-Claude Rateau makes this lovely, light-bodied Burgundy from a small parcel of 50 year-old vines in AOC Hautes Côtes de Beaune, certified biodynamic, "lyre ouverte" pruning. The 2016 shows a bright red/garnet color, with very pretty aromas of tart cherry and raspberry with hints of rose, spice and violet. The palate is light but sapid and beautifully flavored with bright cherry, red currant and raspberry fruit supported by fresh acidity. There is excellent length of berry fruits, mineral flavors and citrusy acids in the finish. This is an elegant Pinot Noir to serve cool with chicken and game birds, fish in sauce, grilled pork and mild cheeses - just delicious! David Lillie
From vines planted in Santenots du Bas dating from as far back as the 1920s. The 2015 Nicolas Rossignol Volnay Santenots makes a convincing case for the virtues of this sunny vintage. The wine has a dark ruby robe and a nose redolent of black cherry, red cherry, lavender, exotic spices, and violets. The medium weight palate shows good sap and ripe tannins with concentrated cherry and raspberry flavors overlying a dense core of minerality. There's terrific density and persistence on a long, detailed, layered finish without any sense of excessive weight, which marks some of the wines of the vintage. Great Santenots! John McIlwain
From 50 year old vines in four parcels below the village of Volnay. Cherry pit, iron, and spice box with notes of black tea on the nose, freshly turned soil and violets emerge with air. There is a deft interplay between the bright hedge fruit and stony earth notes on the detailed, mid-weight palate. This is a fine Bourgogne, with enough savory elements in relation to the charm of the fruit to warrant a few years in the cellar. John McIlwain
From multiple parcels averaging 50 years old. The 2016 Volnay Vieilles Vignes from Joseph Voillot is marked by the precision and lift of the vintage. The nose is high-toned offering aromas of ripe red fruits, red currant, and Morello cherry, with hints of iron and stone. The palate displays a deep mineral core with waves of ripe cherry and raspberry fruit framed by discreet wood and a lifted, persistent finish. The intensity, depth, and complexity is impressive for village level wine and this will age beautifully over the next 7-15 years and beyond. John McIlwain
Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 2016 (From Barrel) 35+ year-old vines 20% new oak .Touch of reduction. Deeply aromatic, freshly turned earth, roses, violets, stone fruits, animale, notes of forest floor. Tightly wound and knit. There's almost too much going on and all of it's interesting. Dense, verging on sinewy on palate, taut, structured, muscular. Deep fruit core of black and blue fruits, great ripeness and sap. Vibrant energy coiled within. This is tightly would and will take time. Perfect ripeness and very Bonnes Mares. Fine breed and energy. Masculine and majestic. Hold 12-15+ years. Great potential. John McIlwain
40+ year-old vines. Adjacent to Mazoyères on the Gevrey side of the the village. One of the cooler locations with a long ripening period. 15% new oak in 2016. This is a step up in class from the village level wines with a similar intensity, if different character than Les Millandes premier cru. Effusively perfumed with aromas of violets, hedge fruits, cassis, black tea and baking spices, mustard seed, and turned earth on the nose. The mid-weight palate is a bit cooler-toned than Millandes, with mouth-watering pure berry fruits and tangy minerality. Great persistence and sap on a finely-detailed, articulate, classy finish. This verges on cerebral, were it not for the equipoise between earthy and fruit notes. Doesn't shout, but speaks eloquently in paragraphs. A great Cheseaux that should age effortlessly! John McIlwain
45+year-old vines in clay limestone soils. 15% new oak. The 2016 Arlaud is a sensational expression of Les Millandes. On the nose it offers pure-fruited, pretty aromatics with ultra-ripe (not over-ripe) pure cherry and violet aromas. Coltish and nervous on the palate, this shows great energy, ripe fruit flavors, with a tactile mineral spine, ripe tannins, generous fruit, and long, driving mineral finish. This is excellent. Beautiful after-aromas and a good amount of the "peacock's tail." Lovely now, but this has the elements to age for 10-15 years and beyond. John McIlwain
60+year-old vines planted in a walled clos on Chambolle side of Morey beneath Bonnes Mares and Clos de Tart. 15% new oak.More structured, deeper-pitched, and masculine than Les Millandes. Pure plummy, black cherry fruit with sauvage/animale elements. Frank, ferrous minerality within. Great density and agility. You can taste the proximity to Sentiers and Bonnes Mares. This is dynamite! Nearly painfully long, stony, palate-staining finish. This isn't a wine to enjoy in its callow youth, but will reward 12-15+ years in the cellar. Patience is a virtue here. John McIlwain
Domaine Bart in Marsannay made no rosé in 2016 due to the very low yields, so we're very glad to have this lovely Pinot Noir available again from the 2017 vintage. The wine shows a bright pink color and pretty aromas of ripe cherry, raspberry, rose and citrus. The palate shows ripe strawberry and raspberry fruit with earth and mineral notes, as befits the limestone terroir of Marsannay. The finish is long and refreshing. This is light enough to serve with fish dishes and salads but has the depth and complexity to accompany grilled foods this summer.
From a .41 hectare parcel planted in 1940 and 1984. Les Vaucrains is situated upslope of the premier crus Les St. Georges and Les Cailles in the middle portion of Nuits St. Georges. The soils are a blend of brown clay, limestone, sand, and rock producing vigorous, powerful, and elegant wines of great ageablity. Vigneron Christoph Drag says of the climat, “the fat clays make it hard to work the earth.” Domaine Chauvenet’s 2014 Vaucrains has a darker robe than Les Perrières. The nose is effusive, offering a kaleidoscopic mélange of black fruit aromas, cassis, brown spices, game and iron; over time notes of crushed blackberry, grilled meat, and wet stone emerge. On the palate the wine is medium-bodied and supple, offering flavors of ripe blackberry, Italian plum, iodine, game, and wood smoke on a long, layered, and mouth-watering finish. There is plenty of power and intensity here, without a sense of weight; deft acidity offers a sense of lift and freshness. This is a beautiful and complex Vaucrains and exciting wine in the making, with a sensational interplay of pure, ripe fruit and savory minerality. While one could enjoy this now, it has the structure and balance to age harmoniously for years. John McIlwain
Also known as Henri Felettig, this tiny domaine is run by brother and sister Gilbert and Christine Felettig, The domaine dates from 1970 and has a fine lineup of premier crus and village wines in Chambolle-Musigny as well as small holdings in Vosne Romanée and Nuits St. Georges. The wines are aromatically fine, pure-fruited, and terroir specific.
From the lieux-dits Les Chalendins and Aux Jachées. The 2014 Vosne-Romanée from Domaine Gilbert et Christine Felettig offers great value in a village where affordable is (at best) a relative term. The nose offers an array of attractive floral and dark fruit aromas leaning more towards hedge fruits than orchard fruits. On the palate the wine offers wild blackberry and raspberry flavors on a succulent spicy and tangy finish. A lovely Vosne for the mid-term cellaring and a tremendous value for the appellation. Quite tasty now, with air; better still in 5-7 years and beyond. A solid choice for Peking duck and certainly a treat with a perfectly cooked hamburger. John McIlwain
The vines are in the lieu-dit "Queue de Hareng" below an old quarry at the top of the slope in Brochon, next to Fixin 1er Cru "la Perrière," on shallow red/brown soils of mountain silt and limestone pebbles over the limestone bedrock. Organic farming, wild-yeast fermentations with minimal SO2. The 2015 Jane et Sylvain Côte de Nuits-Villages is a superb and unusual Burgundy showing intense aromas of ripe strawberry and cherry with rose leaf, brown spice and herbal notes as well as dusty stone and mineral smells which are typical of this vineyard. With aeration the aromas become more pure and fruit-driven and the palate shows lovely black cherry, strawberry and red currant fruit, quite dense and ripe, with a finish that's extraodiarily long and pure. Decant 4 to 6 hours in advance if drinking now or cellar for 3 to five years and drink till 2027. Highly recommended for those who enjoy some minerals in their Burgundy!
This lovely Gevrey by our organic friends, Jane et Sylvain, is 45 to 60 year-old vines, certified organic, mostly in En Pallud (below 1er Cru les Corbeaux). The 2015 shows very pretty high-toned ripe strawberry and raspberry fruit with violet, soil, graphite and citrus peel. The palate is dense and balanced, with a mineral aspect missing in most modern Burgundies, with supple ripe cherry and strawberry fruit with citrus and herbal notes. The finish is very long with red fruits, spice, citrus and saline minerals. This is a lovely old-fashioned Burgundy that is delicious now and should age nicely, best perhaps 2022 - 2030.
Jane et Sylvain have a superb, tiny parcel of Gevrey 1er Cru "Fonteny," high up in the southwest corner, separated from Grand Cru Ruchottes by a dirt track, certified organic. Beautifully balanced for a 2015 and built to age, the wine shows subtle, complex black fruits with hints of spice, citrus and earth. The palate is supple and well-structured with red and black fruits backed by firm acidity and mineral flavors that continue in the long finish. Certainly enjoyable now with a long decant, best held for five to eight years then enjoy until 2035. Lovely wine. David Lillie
Jane et Sylvain: A refreshingly unpretentious name for a small organic estate in Gevrey-Chambertin. Their Bourgogne Rouge is from a parcel that has never been chemically treated and always tended organically. Yields were very low in 2016 in most of Burgundy - Jane and Sylvain lost most of their Bourgogne Rouge to mildew and hail, but the small quantity produced is outstanding, showing a deep red/black color and lovely aromas of ripe black cherry and blackberry with violet, earth, citrus and spice. The palate is sappy and dense, but balanced with firm acidity, at 13% alcohol, showing chalky black fruits, earth and mineral flavors that continue in the long finish. Decant or open in advance if drinking now, best to cellar three to five years. This is a serious Bourgogne Rouge at a great price!
Les Faconnières, planted in 1948, is located beneath Clos St. Denis. 50% whole cluster. This is always the most stylish of Virgile Lignier's premier crus. More floral and denser on the palate than Les Chenevery, with a good deal of the class of the grand crus. The 2015 is effusively perfumed with heady aromas of black and red hedge fruits, wild cherry, and spice. The palate is distinctly mineral, framing lush flavors of sweetly ripe cherry and blackberry, with notes of game and mustard seed on a tense, vibrant finish. As with others of Lignier-Michelot's 2015s, the effusive ripeness in underlain by good structure and bodes well for long-term cellaring. John McIlwain
Les Faconnières, planted in 1948, is located beneath Clos St. Denis. 50% whole cluster. This is always the most stylish of Virgile Lignier's premier crus. More floral and denser on the palate than Les Chenevery, with a good deal of the class of the grand crus. The 2015 is effusively perfumed with heady aromas of black and red hedge fruits, wild cherry, and spice. The palate is distinctly mineral, framing lush flavors of sweetly ripe cherry and blackberry, with notes of game and mustard seed on a tense, vibrant finish. As with others of Lignier-Michelot's 2015s, the effusive ripeness is underlain by good structure and bodes well for long-term cellaring. John McIlwain
Like the rest of the 2015 Lignier-Michelot lineup, the Clos de la Roche combines beautiful soaring aromatics with beautiful pure fruit, and a savory sense of earthiness. The nose is explosively perfumed with beguiling aromas of ripe black cherry, red plum, violets, exotic spices, and roasted game. Supple palate shows impressive concentration, with dark fruit flavors, and layers of minerality on a long, driving finish. This has a all the elements to age effortlessly and should reward 10-15 years in the cellar and beyond. John McIlwain
This a wonderful expression of Les Sentiers, aromatically expressive and layered. There are bright aromas of black cherry, raspberry, violets, woody herbs, and game on the nose. The mid-weight palate initially shows brambly black fruits, and pungent soil flavors. With time in the glass notes of dark cherry and cherry pit appear along with a savory ferrous minerality and spice notes. The tension between fruit and earthiness is compelling and will gain in complexity with time in the cellar. More expressive on the second day. If enjoying now, decant for several hours or revisit in 7-10 years and enjoy for the decade following. John McIlwain
Les Sentiers is located beneath the Bonnes Mares grand cru, north of the village and shares similar soils. The wines, while layered and elegant, are more muscular and velvety, rather than silken and high-toned. The 2015 vintage is effusively perfumed, with aromas of black cherry, wild raspberry, violets, forest floor, and iron. The mid-weight palate is ripe and supple with dark fruits, game notes, and a pungent minerality, girded by firm, ripe tannins and great freshness on a long, complex, rising finish. This is really lovely and will reward 5-10 years cellaring. A beautiful expression of Sentiers! John McIlwain
The young and very talented Stéphane Magnien is producing delicious, old fashioned Burgundies from his beautifully tended vineyards in and around Morey-Saint-Denis. The estate has never used herbicides and uses a plowing regimen designed to force the roots deeper into the limestone bedrock. The "village" wine is always one of my favorite recommendations in Burgundy due to its elegance, balance, lovely fruit and great value. The 2015 is particularly beautiful, showing a bit more depth and ripeness than the excellent 2014, with aromas of blackberry and strawberry liqueur, violet, brown spice, orange peel, smoke and earth. The palate is dense, but not over-ripe, with earthy black fruits, bitter chocolate, citrus and spice with a core of firm acidity and mineral flavors. Quite delicious as a young wine, this ripe and elegant Morey-Saint-Denis will be at its best from approximately to 2022 to 2030. Those looking for value in a 2015 red Burgundy should consider buying a case of this lovely wine. David Lillie
From two premier crus, Les Gruenchers and Clos Baulet, mid slope in Morey Saint-Denis, giving a slightly fuller wine than Faconnieres. As with all of Stephane's parcels, there is a high percentage of old vines of "pinot tordu." The wine is more structured due to the deeper clay soils and gets less pigeage. The 2015, tasted in January 2017, was less aromatic than the Faconnières with very deep ripe red and black fruits, with herbal and mineral flavors and terrific length. This will need time in the cellar but should be a superb mature wine. David Lillie
From two small parcels in "Aux Eletois" (below Grand Cru Griottes) and "les Epointures" (below 1er Cru Clos Prieur) on the more fine and aromatic side of Gevrey. The midweight palate is lithe, racy, and offers up vibrant flavors of dark fruits, crushed herbs, game, and salty soil notes. Great lifted acidity and core of minerality overlain by an assortment of wild berry fruits. This is another great example of the combination of perfume, pure fruit, and detailed earthiness that is a hallmark of the 2016 vintage. Great tension and verve and a bargain at the price. Wonderful with veau aux champignons. John McIlwain
Anjou last year, Vin de France this year (the mystery of the Appellation board!), this is Chenin Blanc from Anjou, whether or not it's on the label. Dense, and crystalline, witn mint flower and and cooked apples on the nose, a touch of honeysuckle and vanilla on the palate. Stones, herbs, and a touch of refreshing salinity in the super long finish. This is truly a young wine, and a big expression of Chenin. A fascinating bottle to have over several days. One really gets the sense that this young Thomas Batardiere is getting very comfortable and connected with his vineyards.Drink now with a proper decant or put it away for a while! Eben Lillie
The Baudry Chinon "Domaine" is always one of our favorite reds from the Loire Valley and it's a sensational value as well. All Cabernet Franc of course, a blend of 75% from a parcel in St. Louans, where the thin clay/limestone soils give earthy well-structured wines, with 25% from gravel soils near Cravant, giving supple fruit and freshness. Organic farming, wild-yeast fermentation, aging in 5 to 10 year-old wooden vats and casks with minimal added SO. The 2014 "Cuvée Domaine" was a sensational wine and really built to age, while the 2015 is a bit more round and forward, and even more delicious for current drinking. The wine shows a deep red/black color and beautiful aromas of ripe red and black fruits with hints of earth, roast meat, black pepper and violet. The palate is dense and sapid with supple strawberry and blackberry liqueur and mineral flavors lifted by bright acidity. The fruit is quite ripe but the wine is well balanced at 12.5% alcohol. This is a superb "Domaine" that is a bit less structured than the 2014 - it's delicious now and will be singing in 2027 as well. Highly recommended. David Lillie
From 60 year-old Cabernet Franc vines on a gravel soil over sandy clay and limestone at the bottom of the hill of Sonnay in Cravant. Aged 12 months in 3 to 5 year-old barrels. Dark black/purple color with quite floral blackberry and strawberry aromas, with a bit of earth, spice and citrus. Very silky and supple on the palate ("We don't extract anymore" said Matthieu) with stony black fruits, meaty, chalky and long. Good acidity in the finish with graphite and velvety black fruits, quite elegant and closer to the 2014 in style than the other cuvées. This is a lovely "Les Grézeaux" and is highly recommended for early drinking or ten to fifteen years of cellaring. David Lillie
Stéphane Orieux's father Joseph converted the estate to organic agriculture back in 1967, and Stéphane has continued (now certified by Ecocert) the great vineyard work of his father. The grapes are hand-harvested, fermentations are with wild yeasts and minimal sulfur is used. The 2017 Bregeonnette is from vines on both schist and granite soils and is a beautiful example of a young, vibrant Muscadet from organic farming. The aromas are classic Muscadet: pear, green apple, citrus, fresh herbs and wet stone with floral hints. The palate is refreshing with subtle white fruits and citrus with hints of mineral and almond, with firm citrusy acids in the finish. This is a delicious and versatile Muscadet to serve with shellfish and white fish such as cod, haddock and sole and it's a nice aperitif as well. David Lillie
From old vines of Cabernet Franc on the clay/limestone upper slopes in Benais (Grandmont) and Restigné (Le Peu Muleu), it is fermented, aged and bottled without the use of sulfur dioxide, according to the winemaking principles of Jules Chauvet. 2015 is a great vintage for the Nuits D'Ivresse which shows lush aromas of red currant, black raspberry, violets, earth and black pepper. The palate is ripe and dense with strawberry and raspberry confit, balanced by citrusy acids. The finish is tart and juicy and very long with firm acidity and saline minerals. This is a beautiful young Bourgueil, with zero added SO2 - carafe if drinking now, best to wait three to five years and we think longer cellaring would be interesting, even without the sulfur! David Lillie
This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
Stéphanie, Emmanuel and Pierre Caslot are the current proprietors of this 400 year-old estate in Bourgueil. With excellent parcels on all the varied terroirs of Bourgueil they produce delicious old-school wines with great organic farming and natural vinifications with low sulfur. "Grand Mont" is one of the greatest sites in Bourgueil - a south facing slope on turonian limestone with shallow sandy clay soils, rich in mica. Though not considered a great vintage, the 2011s from the best sites in Bourgueil are turning out beautifully, such as the Breton "Les Perrieres" and the Chevalerie "Grand Mont." Denser and more opulently fruited than the 2012, the 2011 "Grand Mont' shows a deeper, darker color and ripe aromas of blackberry, black plum, violet, earth, game, and blood orange. The palate is round and supple with quite earthy red and black fruits with a lovely finish of dense red fruits, earth and citrusy acids. I would drink this sooner than the 2012 - delicious now with a long decant, best perhaps 2023 - 2030. Beautiful wine. David Lillie
Stéphanie, Emmanuel and Pierre Caslot are the current proprietors of this 400 year-old estate in Bourgueil. With excellent parcels on all the varied terroirs of Bourgueil they produce delicious old-school wines with great organic farming and natural vinifications with low sulfur. "Grand Mont" is one of the greatest sites in Bourgueil - a south facing slope on 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. 2012 Loire reds are not big wines, but they have lovely bright fruit and are beautifully balanced with refreshing acidity. The 2012 "Grand Mont" shows elegant aromas of black raspberry and strawberry with violet, earth, dark chocolate, citrus and game. The palate shows sliky tannins and complex red and black fruits - beautifully balanced with bright acidity and mineral flavors. This is really elegant and Burgundian, very long and built to last. Open the day before if drinking now, this will be a beautiful mature wine. David Lillie
The 2015 Clos du Papillon has just arrived in NY - it promises to be a great vintage for this wonderful Savennières, certainly one of the top wines of the appellation. We will post a tasting note ASAP, meanwhile here is information from the domain's website: "The Clos du papillon is a small valley at mid slope, beautifully exposed southwest to the light of the Loire. There are schist, rhyolite but also quartz. The topsoil layer is very shallow (60 cm) which provides excellent drainage for rainwater. The vine growing conditions are difficult, forcing it to develop its roots deep in the rock cracks to draw nutrients. The climate in that parcel allows for a level of highly advanced maturity. With grapes that concentrate aromas under the action of Botrytis. The Clos du papillon is harvested in two selections : The first selection during the « Fresh Fruit aroma » period and the second one later with some botrytis during the « cooked fruit, quince and smoked aromas » period. Both selections are put in barrels and assembled 16 months later. The wine then remains a few months in vats. This assemblage of the two styles of grapes results in a full bodied wine, with a citrus finish on very first attack, followed by sensations of ripe and exotic fruit with a very distinguished touch of bitterness or toasted almonds on the finish. The long aging on the lees gives it a nice smoothness. The « brandy » nose is characterized by aromas of evolution. The body and the very long finish make the Clos du Papillon a gastronomic wine to accompany lobster, scallops, smoked fish, Turbots, Saint Peter. It is also interesting with delicate white meats such as veal or capon, along with truffles or mushrooms. Classic mountain cheeses like old Salers, or 5 to 6 years old Comté are equally delicious with this great Savennières."
2015 is a beautiful vintage for the superb Savennières of Domaine du Closel. La Jalousie shows subtle, complex aromas of citrus peel, pear, almond, stone , lime-flower and honeysuckle which follow through on the perfectly balanced palate. The fruit is lush and ripe but there is great acidity and minerality as well - the wine is elegant and very delicious in its youth, - serve with fish in sauce, scallops, monkfish, chicken in sauce and mild cheeses. Lovely wine! DL
2014 is a beautiful vintage for the Clos de Turpenay, a vineyard of clay/limestone on a well-exposed slope that has been in vines since the 13th century. The current vines were planted in massale selection about 50 years ago and generally give a very structured wine that ages well. As with the best of the 2014 Chinons, The Clos de Turpenay shows a beauriful combination of supple ripe fruits, freshness, and great terroir expression. The aromas are complex and pretty - black raspberry, cassis and strawberry, quite fresh, with earth, pepper, rose and citrus. The palate is a lovely mix of red and black fruits with earth, sous-bois, citrus and chalky mineral flavors that continue in the long sappy finish. This is a subtle and elegant Chinon - carafe 1 to 2 hours in advance or cellar 15 to 20 years. Serve with stews, Guinea hen with peaches (!), salade magret de canard, roast chicken.
This Cabernet Franc from Chateau de Coulaine is a lovely wine. Coming from 15-year old organically farmed grapes planted on yellow tuffeau stone and sandstone, the wine displays a nice structure of minerality, acidity and elegant tannin. The grapes are fermented with native yeast and aged in large oak barrels with small addition of sulfur at bottling. With a beautiful bouquet of pyrazine, black raspberry, dark cherry, white pepper, rose and savory notes, the wine has a fine energy with a luscious texture. Enjoy this wine with duck, grilled meat, stews or nutty cheeses. Caroline Coursant
Beautiful dense and long expression of Chenin Blanc from around the Anjou appellation. Eben Lillie
Alain and Christine Boré produce delicious organic wines on their estate in Anjou that are sensational values for everyday enjoyment. Their 2016 Anjou Blanc (Chenin) is superb, with lovely aromas of dried pear, fresh herbs, hay, earth and honey. The palate is round and supple but nicely balanced with firm acidity, showing green apple, pear, stone and citrus flavors that continue in the long finish. A bit "drier" and more mineral tasting than the previous two vintages, this is a simply delicious Chenin that will accompany seafood, grilled or in sauce, chicken, goat cheeses, etc...
Vincent Gaudry began organic and biodynamic farming in 1993 and the results show beautifully especially in his vibrant 2017s. The "Constellation du Scorpion" is from silex soils over limestone and is fermented and aged in old barrels. The wine shows subtle aromas of almond, lime-flower, grapefruit and stone - very fresh and bright. There is a very mineral attack on the palate with flint and earth flavors, grilled almond, dried pear, blood orange and apricot with a saline, mineral aspect in the finish which is elegant, clean and long with lingering white fruits. This is a young and racy Sancerre that will accompany oysters, shellfish, grillled fish and white meats this summer. This should develop beautifully with three to five years of cellaring - it's an outstanding Sancerre and a great value at this price. David Lillie
A very soft, pretty and fresh rosé from certified biodynamic producer Philippe Gilbert. Menetou-Salon has the classic clay and limestone soils of the Loire Valley, and produces beautiful Pinots that rival and sometimes surpass those of its neighbor, Sancerre. High-toned minerality combined with the ripe, rosy-red fruit notes of the warm 2017 vintage makes this 100% Pinot Noir rosé a sheer ease and pleasure to drink.
If you have a sweet tooth, this Chenin is for you! Bonnezeaux is one of a few sweet wine appellations in the Loire Valley, where grapes are required to be over-ripe, and are sometimes affected by noble rot. "Le Malabé" has about 130 grams of residual sugar, but I honestly thought it was about 80g when I first tasted this wine, thanks to the high acidity and the ample minerality that the schiste soils provide. Just bringing the wine to the nose, one is greeted with honey, quince and with some subtle sweet spice aromas that tickle the senses. On the palate, it's dense, ripe and absolutely delicious. Francois from Grandes Vignes mentioned to me that 2013 was OK for reds in the Loire, very good for their dry Chenin Blanc, and exceptional for the sweet wines. Case in point! Drink now if you're craving sometime sweet, or age for decades. Eben Lillie
Chenin Blanc fermented and aged in amphora with no sulfur added. It's not a common occurrence, but we're very happy to have the opportunity to share this unique wine. The nose is floral, and stony, with hints of stone fruit, but the really fascinating aspect of the wine is the texture. Just letting the wine sit on the palate, I experienced earthiness (possible, but rare for a white wine), crystalline acidity, density in the mid-palate, and a long, mineral finish. Highly recommended for Chenin aficionados and those who are interested in the growing category of amphora wines. Eben Lillie
From 80 year-old vines in "Petits Monts" and "Grand Monts" towards the top of the slope above Benais, facing roughly south-west, clay over Turonien limestone (tuffeau, craie micacée). This is the terroir giving the most elegant and age-worthy Bourgueils. 18 month elevage ; 40% in cuve inox, 20% in one new 400 liter barrel, 20% in one-year and 20% in two-year old barrels, assembled two months before bottling. Tasted in February 2016, the wine was fairly closed and tight, with deep, pure black fruits and perfect balance. This will be a sensational mature wine, best to wait eight to ten years, or more, then drink until 2040.
When we started with Stéphane Guion, selling the 2005 Cuvée Prestige, we referred to the Revue Vin de France article on this unknown domaine - "These are not fashionable wines, due to the dynamic acidity, but for those who love the flavors of terroir they are a priority discovery that are a credit to the Loire." Indeed, organic farming going back to 1965, and a regimen of shallow plowing that keeps soil ph low, gives Stephane's wines a unique bright acidity and high mineral content underlying the beautiful fruit of his old vines. And in 2015 there was gorgeous fruit in Chinon and Bourgueil, despite the late rains that softened the wines at some estates. The 2015 Cuvée Prestige, from forty to eighty year-old vines in parcels around Benais, is a vibrant, joyous wine that shows a bright deep garnet color and elegant, ripe aromas of strawberry and red currant liqueur with hints of violet, dusty stone and black pepper. The palate is sapid and ripe but lifted by refreshing acidity, with lush berry liqueurs, saline minerals and citrus. The finish is long with lingering sappy fruit, earthy acidity and spice. Thanks to the Guion family for this soulful and delicious wine! (Aging potential of twenty to thirty years, but it's so delicious now that leaving it in the cellar will be difficult.) David Lillie
From 15 to 40 year-old vines on clay/limestone soils in Benais, in organic agriculture since 1965. The 2016 vintage shows quite deep red/black color with bright aromas of ripe black raspberry, black cherry, pepper, earth and clove. The palate is sapid and bright, with the firm acidity always present in Guion's wines. The black raspberry and red currant fruit is light and bright, at 12% alcohol, and the finish is refreshing and mineral. This young and vibrant wine will benefit from decanting well in advance (or opening the night before). Serve cool with charcuterie, roast chicken, pork chops and burgers. Thanks to Domaine Guion for two generations of organic agriculture and natural winemaking! DL
A great vintage for Huet's sweet wines — lacking the high sugars of 1997 but ripe enough and with perfect acidity which will carry them a long way. The Le Mont 1er Trie is just beginning to open up and would be great fun to drink now, but better yet, put it away for another 20 years and find a reason for living! 67 gr/l RS, 5.9 gr/l acid, 12.5 % alc. ("de très longue garde" says the Huet website!)
Forward and open which is unusual for Constance. Beautifully knit palate and very long with exceptional purity and at least 75 years ahead of it. DL
85 grams/liter RS, 12.8 % Alc 50% Passerillage, 50% Botrytis. A lovely, balanced Moelleux that will age nicely, peak drinking probably 10 to 30 years away. Yummy now if you can't wait, a great wine.
We are very proud to offer the beautiful wines of Lise and Bertrand Jousset, whose goal is to make "living wines" from living soils and healthy vines in a balanced environment. All of their wines share a vivacity and natural complexity making them a joy to drink - due to great farming and careful vinifications with minimal intervention and minimal or zero added sulfur. The Montlouis "Singulier - Clos aux Renards" is a dry Montlouis made from 60 to 80 year-old Chenin vines on clay soils called "Aubuis" over Turonian limestone. All cellar functions are by gravity without pumping, fermentation is in two and three year-old 400 and 600 liter barrels. This is a wonderfully elegant Chenin Blanc showing a bright pale-gold color and beautiful aromas of creamy citrus, dried pear, fresh herbs, stone and smoke. There is an impression of sweetness but the palate is dry with ripe pear, peach and apricot fruit with stone and mineral flavors, chalky texture and fabulous length. Beautiful now, it will develop nicely with ten to fifteen years of cellaring. David Lillie
Lise and Bertrand Jousset began the "Exilé" project with fruit purchased from nearby friends who share their commitment to organic farming. The "Exilé" rose is a pétillant made from 100% Gamay and it's one of our favorites. The 2016 is decadent with coastal aromas of salty pineapple core, fleshy melon, almond skins, and lilac. At 12% it is almost completely dry with a lacy mineral structure framing rich flavors of bosc pear, creamy pineapple, and subtle hints of white tea and orange peel. The finish is long and fabulously mineral. Serve with salade niçoise, cheese, or as a life-affirming aperó after a long day. Amanda Bowman
Rose á Lies is a beautiful Petillant Naturel Rosé from Lise and Bertrand Jousset in Montlouis-sur-Loire. Made from 40 year-old organic Gamay and Grolleau vines grown on sand and silex soils over limestone. Fermented in used barriques, the wine is bottled at 15 grams of sugar and finishes at less than 5 grams. The wine has toasty aromas of red currant and raspberry with creamy red fruits on the palate balanced with bracing acidity. The finish is clean, refreshing and long - a perfect Pet Nat for any special or everyday occasion!
"Mosquito" scratches that itch for a sublime bottle of thirst-quenching bubbles. The 2017 is made from Muscat grapes that Domaine Danjou-Banessy (Roussillon) generously gifted to the Jousset's after they lost most of their harvest to hail and frost. This is a pet-nat made by friends to share with friends. At 12% it's just a touch off-dry with aromas of exotic orange citrus, nutmeg, salty peach and honeycomb. There is a touch of Chenin Blanc which lends flavors of juicy pear and tart acidity. Try it with tangy goat cheeses, salads, or on its own. Amanda Bowman
This beautiful Chinon is from 65 to 70 year-old vines in sandy clay soils over limestone in Sonnay, near Cravant. The wine ages for 18 months in old barrels, less than 200 cases are made. The 2014 Ame D'Antan shows a deep black/garnet color with elegant aromas of ripe blackberry and strawberry with hints of violet, prune, citrus and crushed stone. The palate is dense but bright, with a silky texture, showing pure blackberry fruit with earth and licorice with firm mineral acidity. Good length with lingering berry and mineral flavors. Delicious now, it will age beautifully, probably best 2020 to 2030+. Highly recommended. DL
The delicious Chinon Vieilles Vignes of Patrick Lambert is from 55 year-old vines on sandy clay soils over limestone. Hand harvested and fermented with wild yeasts, as are all of Lambert's wines, the Vieilles Vignes gets 12 months of aging in old barrels. The wine shows a deep red/black color and ripe blackberry and strawberry aromas with pepper, earth and citrus. The palate shows earthy blackberry and strawberry compote with prune and bitter chocolate with firm citrusy acids. This is a complex, old-fashioned Chinon that will accompany roast chicken and anything off the grill, served a bit cool. Age for five to ten years for a mature experience. And at $14.99 it's a fabulous value! DL
This delightful Chinon Rosé comes from Patrick Lambert's 6 hectares of organic vines in Cravant, around the corner from his friend Bernard Baudry. Hand harvested from 20 year-old Cabernet Franc vines on gravel and sandy clay soils over limestone. The 2017 shows lovely aromas of wild strawberry, raspberry, citrus and rose; the palate is tart and pretty with raspberry, citrus and stone flavors with nice density and texture, with juicy acids, berry flavors and minerals in the finish. This is drinking beautifully now in a tart and refreshing style but will soften nicely through the spring and summer and will keep well into 2019. Only 120 cases made - it's a fabulous value and highly recommended. DL
From a superb hillside vineyard on orthogneiss with clay and quartz stones. A great vintage for Jo's Fief du Breil! Yes, the aromatics are a bit more pronounced than in more austere vintages, and there is more presence of citrus and white fruits on the palate, but the wine retains a superb mineral character and the finish is brisk and very long. Simply a great Muscadet — drinking this alongside the Pepiere Clos des Briords would be a great lesson in the terroirs of the Pays Nantais! Tasted in February 2016, the wine is still youthful although the aromas are opening a bit, with intense minerality on the palate and fabulous length. Delicious now, this will be fabulous in 2025! Brisk enough for oysters and clams, perfect with cod, sole and flounder, complex enough for monkfish and swordfish - hurry down to Blue Moon Fish at the Greenmarket this Saturday!
The Moussamoussettes is back! A Chambers Street favorite, this years rendition is a blend of Grolleau Gris, Gamay and Cabernet. Flavorful and vibrant, pulsing with ripe red berry fruit, yet still totally dry. A rejuvenating Pet-Nat from our friend Agnes and René Mosse.
For those who want a dryer style wine on Thanksgiving, this lovely Muscadet is opening up nicely and has the right weight and density to match the turkey and sides. (And the superb new 2015 Luneau-Papin "Vera Cruz" would be lovely as well) The Domaine de la Pépière Château Thébaud "Clos des Morines" comes from old vines on a beautiful vineyard sloping down towards the river. The granite here is fissured and permeable by the vine roots which have access to water during dry spells and absorb micro-nutrients along the way. 2009 and 2010 here were among the best of the vintage in Muscadet and the 2012 is outstnding as well from this somewhat difficult low-yielding vintage. More austere than the previous vintages, the 2012 shows subtle aromas of dried pear, herbs, citrus, almond and stone, quite subtle and elegant. The palate has excellent weight and concentration with firm acidity, without the forward fruit of the 2009 - very tight and mineral in style with terrific length. Fabulous served now with oysters, ceviche of cod, flounder and sole, and grilled fish, This should age beautifully for 20 years and more. Highly recommended. Tasted again in December of 2016, this beautiful Muscadet is beginning to open up a bit, with lovely fruit appearing in the aromas and palate, really drinking well, though obviously a wine that will benefit from another five years of aging, best perhaps 2022 - 2030.
Beginning in 2005, Domaine de la Pépière has produced this cuvée from a small parcel of 50 to 110 year-old vines within the Pepiere vineyard. Originally called "Granite de Clisson" after the unique bedrock in the vineyard, Marc has changed the name to "Clisson" to agree with the new INAO Cru Communal classification. The granite is covered with gravel and clay with large stones, ensuring good drainage and deep penetration by the roots into the fissures in the bedrock, bringing the mineral elements indispensable to this wine.Tasted in France in January 2018, the wine showed a pale gold color with lovely aromas of dried pear, quince, almond, lemon-confit and stone, ripe but quite fresh. The palate was quite dense, showing firm acidity and mineral flavors supporting white fruits, citrus, anise and almond, with terrific length. This is an excellent "Clisson" with attractive forward fruit for early drinking as well as firm structure for aging of fifteen to twenty years or more. David Lillie
Domaine de la Pépière has produced this superb Cru Communal, in the new appellation Muscadet Monnières-Saint Fiacre from old vines on gneiss terroir with topsoils of sand and gravel, formerly part of the Cuvée Eden and Gras Moutons. Slow two month fermentation followed by 24 months of aging on the lees. Similar in style, but a bit softer and more aromatic than the lovely 2015 Clisson, the Monnières-Saint Fiacre shows a bit more fruit in the lovely aromas of pear, citrus, herbs and stone. The palate is round and ripe with pretty white fruits, citrus, stone and herbal flavors, and the finish is round and supple with white fruits and minerals. This is a gorgeous Muscadet to drink over the next ten years with everything from oysters to sole, cod and monkfish, even with lobster.
100% Chenin Blanc. Pinon's only still, white, demi-sec wine in this very difficult and short vintage in which the estate lost 75% of its harvest. The "Le 2016" replaces the usual Trois Argiles, Silex Noir and Les Deronnières bottlings, with fruit from a range of those and other parcels. The vines average 40 years in age, are certified-organic and were hand-harvested from October 10-18. Fermentation took place spontaneously with natural yeasts and lasted 2-3 months in wood vats. The wine was aged 4-5 months on its fine lees in old tonneaux (large oak barrels) and gently filtered before bottling in April 2017 with 22.4 grams/liter of residual sugar (with pH 3.07). Total production of Le 2016 was 1600 cases (a yield of only 11 hl/ha). The wine shows lovely aromas of lime-flower, honeyed citrus, dried white fruis and earth. Firm lemony acidity and mineral flavors underlie ripe white fruits and lemon confit. The finish is very long with citrus,honey, pear and stone . Technically a Demi-Sec, the wine is balanced by the bright citrusy acids and will pair well with charcuterie, fish in sauce and white meats. Cellar for twenty to thirty years to create a fabulous mature Vouvray. David Lillie
From a plot of very old Chenin Blanc vines, François' Brut NV is kept on the lees for 18 months before bottling. It has pretty apple, pear, floral and toasty flavors with good acidity balancing the fruit. The current cuvée is from 2014 and it's one of their best ever - a bit riper than usual with round but well defined fruit—a great alternative to Champagne, it's delicious as an apéritif before the meal or afterwards with apple pie. This is a great choice during the holidays - a real crowd-pleaser at a great price, before, after or during the meal!
Les Picasses is one of the greatest vineyards in Chinon - a south-facing slope of clay over porous limestone that retains water and nutrients, nourishing the vines. While the wine is amply fruited and enjoyable young, it has firm acidity and structure for long-term aging, up to 30 years and more depending on the vintage. 2012 was a quite successful vintage for Loire reds, which generally showed vibrant fruit, fresh acidity and moderate alcohol. Not a "big" vintage but one of very pretty, well-balanced wines. The 2012 Raffault "Les Picasses" is a surprisingly full-bodied wine, showing ripe strawberry, blackberry, and cooked prune with a fabulous earthy core of stone and mineral flavors. The palate is dense with blackberry, prune, citrus, earth, licorice and cocoa with a long fresh finish. Ripe and forward enough to drink now with anything from roast chicken to steak, the 2012 should age beautifully, perhaps best 2020 to 2030 and beyond...? David Lillie
The Olga Raffault Chinon rosé has gotten better and better over the past few years, perhaps it's their move towards organic farming and the fine work of Sylvie Raffault and her husband Eric de la Vigerie. 100% Cabernet Franc, 10-hour maceration and slow wild-yeast fermentation. The 2017 shows a bit more ripeness than the 2016 but remains crisp and refreshing showing lovely bright pink color, hints of raspberry and strawberry fruit, very dry and balanced on the palate with a bit of peach and red berries in the finish with bright saline acidity. "Particulièrement gouleyant" it says on the label and we couldn't agree more! (Quantities are limited on this beautiful rosé - don't delay!)
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
(On Sale through June 9th Was $19.99) This is an extremely dry and bright 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 in the Coteaux du Loir, certified organic farming with biodynamic methods. The wine shows subtle, high-toned aromas of citrus, stone, pear, almond and fines herbes. The palate is lean and bright with dried pear, citrus and mineral notes with very firm acidity. Warning - this is a vibrant, high-acid Chenin! Serve with oysters, grilled fish and goat cheeses or cellar for ten to fifteen years. David Lillie
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. More austere than the 2015 vintage, the 2016 Jasnières Sec from Sébastien Cornille is now opening up nicely, showing intriguing aromas of dried pear, pineapple, lime-flower, honey and stone. The palate is lean and mineral with citrus, dried apple and pear, wet stone and fines herbes. The finish is bone dry, mineral and long with firm acidity. Serve this scintillating Chenin Blanc with oysters, grilled and fried seafood, white meats and goat cheeses. Cellaring of five to ten years will reval a locely mature wine... David Lillie
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.
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
South of Saumur and west of Chinon (but legally in Anjou) is the sleepy village of Oiron where Benoit Blet at Domaine des Terres Blanches makes superb wines on an interesting terroir of sandstone(grès) under sandy clay topsoils. "Les Hautes Bruyères" is from old vines of Cabernet Franc; the wine undergoes a long slow fermentation with wild yeasts and is then gravity-fed into small 2 to 5 year-old barrriques for 18 months of aging. This is a unique and delicious Cab Franc that shows an opaque black/red color and intriguing aromas of ripe black raspberry and plum with hints of mint, citrus and earth. The palate is ripe and supple with an earthy texture, showing pretty blackberry and cassis fruit with bitter chocolate, citrus and mineral flavors that linger on the long finish. A bit different from either an Anjou or Chinon red, the Hautes Bruyères will accompany a variety of poultry and pork dishes and will be great with grilled foods this summer, served a bit cool. David Lillie
Gamay de Bouze "the first red-juiced Gamay to be observed, in the village of Bouze, near Beaune, in the nineteenth centrury" says Jancis Robinson. Whatever it is, the resulting wine from Benoit Blet at "Les Terres Blanches" is quite delicious, showing bright aromas of black currant liqueur with dark chocolate and mint and herbs with earthy, slightly gamey bright black fruits on the palate with hints of cocoa. Very refreshing with nice length of bright berry fruits and mineral flavors in the finish. This is a lovely and distinctive Gamay - serve cool with charcuterie, chicken and pork dishes and burgers off the grill. (And it's tied with Donneurs du Temps for label of the year!)
Domaine Vacheron is one of the few organic and Biodynamic estates in Sancerre. The 2017 is from 30 to 50 year-old vines on both chalk and silex hillside parcels. The grapes are hand-harvested, the fermentation is wth wild yeasts and the wine is aged in tank. The wine shows a pale bronze color and subtle armoas of pear, quince, lime-flower and stone with a bit more ripeness than the 2016. The palate is silky and crisp, showing stone and mineral flavors that underly white fruits, citrus peel, almond and mineral flavors, leading to a very clean, long and refreshing finish. Light enough to pair well with oysters, this will accompany any mild flavored fish or chicken dish and goat cheeses.
Sauvignon Blanc has been grown in Quincy at least since the 15th century and produces a particularly distinctive wine on the gravel and silex soils of the Domaine de Villalin's vineyard "Les Grands Vignes." The estate is clearly the finest in Quincy, farming with organic methods, plowing (sometimes with horses), harvesting by hand and fermenting with wild yeasts. The 2017 has just arrived (March 1st 2018) and benefits from aeration, then shows subtle aromas of pear and quince with tart citrus and herbal notes. The palate is refreshing and bright with white fruits, gooseberry, fig and citrus flavors framed in firm acidity. If drinking now, open an hour in advance if possible - this should open up nicely by late spring for delicious drinking with a wide variety of fish and chicken dishes, salads and goat cheeses.
Hervé Villemade's 2017 Sauvignon Blanc hits the spot with classic Loire Valley aromas of exotic tropical fruit and invigorating flavors of lemongrass, ripe pear, and nectarine. The palate is supple and balanced with a flinty, mineral quality that adds a refreshing tang and texture to this versatile wine. Perfect for sipping on a warm day with a variety of foods, I like this with grilled shrimp garnished with snap peas and summer vegetables. Amanda Bowman
Certified organic, from a limestone terroir rich in seashells, with iron-rich soil, just below the 1er Cru Clos des Miglands. Very low yields, 80% de-stemmed, wild-yeast fermentation, one-year aging in 40% new fine-grained barrels, bottled by gravity, no fining or filtration. The 2016 Marcoeurs shows subtle aromas of black cherry with plum skin, earth, graphite and hints of violet and citrus. The palate is very mineral and saline with flavors of earth and tart black cherry that are intense and long, finishing with firm acidity. This shows the intensity of the 2016 Burgundies and is delicious now with a long decant, or cellar for five years and enjoy until 2030. David Lillie
From the biodynamically farmed high altitude Les Sous Roches lieu-dit on the northwest slope in Monthélie composed of thin stony clay soils over limestone. 2016 is a great vintage for the Monthelie "Les Sous Roches" from Alain and Isabelle Hasard showing the classic structure and density of this excellent vintage. The wine shows vibrant aromas of fraise des bois and cherry liqueur with earth, mint and citrus. The palate is dense and sapid with bright blackberry and black cherry fruit, spice, earth and firm acidity. Impressive length with sappy balck fruits, mineral flavors and refreshing acidity. Delicious now if a bit intense - perhaps open the night before and re-cork - best to cellar 5 years and drink until 2030+. Serve with mushroom pappardelle, roast veal, grilled meats. David Lillie
Julien Guillot of the Clos des Vignes du Maynes has made a superb Macon Rouge in 2016, from organic grapes, and vinified without SO2. The wine shows a quite dense black/red color with aromas of ripe blackberry, candied cherry, violet, citrus and white pepper. The palate is dense but balanced and sapid with blackberry and cherry fruit lifted by firm acidity. The finish is very long with saline minerals and berry fruits and refreshing acidity. This is a somewhat intense but beautiful and complex Gamay that will be superb with grilled foods this summer and should develop nicely over the next few years. David Lillie
Authentique et Véritable, this is Julien Guillot's take on a low-alcohol wine that is known as "piquette" in France. It's essentially wine-lite, made from a combination of water and pomace from grapes that have been pressed for wine. The tradition of producing a wine like this goes back to Ancient Greek and Roman times, when this type of wine would be given to farmers and workers to drink during their work day. Though it's a disappearing tradition, old winemakers will still talk about the daily bottle of piquette for the harvesters. It's very low in alcohol, and completely gulpable. Serve cold!
This special cuvée is a commemoration of eleven hundred years of winemaking, the vineyards in the Clos des Vignes du Maynes having been planted around AD 900 and wine first produced for the Abbey of Cluny around 910. This "medieval" wine is a field blend of Chardonnay, Gamay and Pinot Noir, including the old varieties Gamay Petit Grain and Pinot Fin. The grapes were transported in carts pulled by Charolais bulls, then pressed by foot, vinified and aged without sulfur and bottled by hand in the spring. The 2016 Cuvée 910 was a bit awkward on arrival last winter, but has settled down to sing it's light and lovely song. The wine is showing a light red/garnet color. There's a bit of reduction then lovely raspberry and wild strawberry aromas with hints of citrus, spice and rose. The palate shows subtle cherry and raspberry fruit with floral, stone and citrus flavors. The finish is long, sapid and intriguing with bright berry fruits, earth and saline notes - quite lovely and a good match with fish in sauce, white meats, charcuterie, mild cow cheeses. NO added SO2, best consumed the day opened. David Lillie
Made from Gamay Petit Grains planted in 1953, grown on a limestone parcel high in magnesium, in the Clos des Vignes du Maynes in Cruzille, organic since 900 AD, now certified biodynamic. The energetic Julien Guillot vinifies his reds without sulfur or additives of any kind, producing complex, mineral, elegant wines that transcend their appellation. The 2015s here are extraordinary, showing the elegance, purity and balance typical of the estate with the wonderful ripeness of the vintage. The wine shows gorgeous red and black fruit aromas with cranberry, earth, stone and musk and hints of mint, chocolate and spice. The palate is bright and intense with balckberry, citrus, stone and earthy flavors, that continue on the very long mineral finish. Always one of the greatest Gamays produced anywhere, the 2015 Manganite is a young wine that will benefit from decanting or five to fifteen years in the cellar. Highly recommended! DL
The Vignes du Maynes "Cuvée Auguste" is a superb Burgundy made from massale selection Pinot Fin planted in 1964. The parcel, high on the slope in Cruzille, is on Bathonian limestone with a great deal of calcium carbonate crystal (aragonite) with thin topsoils of clay and silica. Yields of 20 hl/ha, semi-carbonic and normal alcoholic fermentations, with zero additives, bottled under nitrogen. Yields were quite low in 2016, but as with much of Burgundy, the 2016 Cuvee Auguste is a classic, well structured wine that should age beautifully. The wine shows beautiful aromas of tart cherry, rose, earth, orange peel and spice. The palate is dense and earthy with a core of deep berry fruit, silky and elegant with notes of citrus, licorice and roast meat. The finish is long and sapid with chalky minerals, citrus, spice and berry fruits. This is a gorgeous living wine - decant a few hours if drinking now or cellar five to ten years or more. A very small quantity is available of this rare and beautiful wine. David Lillie
If you'll forgive, the flight of fancy, Savoie whites tug at the heartstrings. A snowmelt swollen mountain stream overflowing its banks and washing thru a meadow of wildflowers fresh. Shimmering afternoon sunlight thru leaves, a suspicion of a breeze, Springtime in the glass! John McIlwain
This is a white blend, marrying Roussane, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Rolle (Vermentino), and Bourbelenc. It's medium - full bodied for a white, with notes of apple compote and baking spice. A prime candidate for wine drinkers who typically prefer reds, and truly a unique expression of the region's diverse grape varieties. Eben Lillie
All things being relative, this cuvée made me reconsider every wine that I have previously described as balanced. "Le Feu" comes Dominique's oldest, low-yielding Gringet vines planted on steep, iron-rich slopes at 450m above sea level. Incredibly well-knit acidity adds energy and freshness to wild herbal flavors that form a continuous loop across the palate. This wine is luminous. Amanda Bowman
"QV d'Etoiles" is 100% Chardonnay from 35-year-old vines planted in the fossilized "star" scattered soils of the l'Étoile AOC. This appellation is famous for it's incredibly long-lived oxidative wines and vin jaune, but this bottling is made in a topped-up (ouillee) style, making this one of the more fascinating cuvées from Ludwig "Lulu" Bindernagel. The aromas are heady with vivid notes of comté and toasted walnuts. Even though the nose hints at oxidative flavors, the body is energetic with fine minerality, bright lemon zest and a persistent salty finish. Only 900 bottles of this vintage were made so we are excited that it's still around to enjoy with some bottle age. Amanda Bowman
All Carignan Blanc from Sylvain Boutée. I am a fan of Carignan Blanc, for the fresh, crisp character it has on opening, and the fullness it develops after breathing for a while. It may be silly to suggest decanting a wine as inexpensive as this, but I've always been impressed with this wine after about an hour open, so it can't hurt! Eben Lillie
Each year the Andrieu family chooses the best grapes of the vintage for their Cuvée Courtiol. In 2015 it's predominantly Mourvedre from bush-trained, 30 year-old vines grown on beautiful schist vineyards in Faugères. The grapes are hand-harvested into small crates, and as always, the fermentation is long and slow with indigenous yeasts then bottled with no fining, filtration or added SO2. Deep red/black color in the glass, like the "Tradition" the 2015 has less "sauvage" aromas than past vintages. Elegant notes of plum, cherry liqueur, violets and roasted herbs develop on the nose as the wine aerates. The palate shows dense blackberry fruit with hints of tart cherry, anise seed and bitter chocolate framed by firm, earthy tannins. This is a beautiful natural wine that the Andrieu family recommends holding for 5-10 years or decant two hours before drinking if you don't want to wait! Amanda Bowman
While we’ve always loved Clos Fantine due to their impeccable farming, thoughtful cellar work, and the wines’ wild soulfulness, we’re especially enamored by the juicy and pure 2016 Tradition. This cuvée is a harmonious blend of de-stemmed Carignan, Syrah, and Grenache vinified separately in large vats with indigenous yeasts, then assembled and aged in cement before bottling with no sulfur. Slightly more polished than previous vintages, this year is singing, with a nose that is bursting with aromas of wood smoke, baked red apple skins, citrus and garrigue. The wine shows a deep purple in the glass. The palate is lifted by cool minerality and structured with powdery tannins with flavors of juicy plum, cinnamon spice and dried herbs on the finish. This is a satisfying wine that would pair beautifully with grilled sausages and wild rice. Amanda Bowman
"Valcabrières" is made from ancient white grapes native to the Languedoc called Terret Blanc and Terret Gris. The vines are planted gobelet style (bush vines) in horizontal black schist and are around 100 years old. The big bunches are resistant to disease and thrive in the windy and warm climate of Faugères. All of Clos Fantine's wines are vinified in large vats with ambient yeasts, which means that fermentation times will vary each year. For example, the 2016 vintage finished at the same time as the 2017, so the two vintages were blended together and bottled without SO2. The robe is a hazy lemon drop color in the glass. The nose offers tangy grapefruit peel aromas with faint notes of ripe melon, dried herbs and stone. The mid-weight palate is etched with salty minerals, bright acidity, tropical melon, and savory leesy notes on the finish. We enjoyed this with a plate of fried chicken recently, but it pairs nicely with summer vegetables and goat cheeses too. Best served chilled and consumed the same day it's opened. Amanda Bowman
From young Jura newcomer Guillaume Gilet, this is Chardonnay from organic vineyards that overlook the town of Arbois. Very fresh, with notes of lemon curd, cantelope, apples and herbs. Guillaume uses no SO2 during winemaking (sometimes bottling with none added) and tries to preserve some natural CO2 gas to protect his wines in the absence of SO2. This blows off within a few minutes, so decanters are not necessary. There's a driving mineral spice that shines through the finish, and an overall very clean and pure natural wine. Eben Lillie
100% Braucol from a parcel planted in soils rich with clay, limestone and gravel, which Stéphane Lucas pressed after 12 days of maceration, fermented with native yeasts, and aged for 10 months in stainless steel tanks with minimal added sulfur. If you enjoy Cabernet Franc from the Loire, then you might enjoy this Braucol for its fresh bramble fruit flavors, earthiness, and mineral structure without all the weight. Highly recommend with a slight chill. This should be perfect alongside goat cheese, sausages, or hearty lentils. Amanda Bowman
As the story goes, Abouriou was discovered growing on the walls of ruined castle in the South-West of France in the mid-1800s. It's cultivated in small amounts in the Cotes du Marmadais appellation, not far from Bordeaux. Either a grandparent or half-sibling of both Merlot and Cot (Malbec), it's a darker skinned variety, with gamey flavor and a touch of spice. We love this expression from Elian da Ros, who is admittedly more famous than the appellation he calls home. It's medium bodied, not over-extracted, and a nice introduction to a very rare cepage.
Roi des Lézards is all Carignan, from vines ranging from 35 - 75 years, aged in a combination of 1500 L Austrian Stockinger barrels, and 500 L used barrels. This is a significant bottle of Carignan, offering dark, purple fruit and good grip. The famous French term "garrigue" immediately comes to mind, even from smelling the wine. Used to describe the aromas typical of the shrubs and fauna of the Mediterranean, such as Thyme, Rosemary and Lavender, one couldn't find a better descriptor for the flavor profile of this wine. This vintage is a touch lighter and more balanced than the '13 so it could be enjoyed on it's own, but will likely be best on the dinner table with grilled meats and veggies, or other hearty fare. Eben Lillie
From 85 year old vines of Grenache gris and Grenache blanc, with a small amount of Maccabeu from a 75 year old parcel. Fermented and aged for 9 months in Austrian oak vat (12 hl Stockinger) and smaller used barrels. This is a really fascinating white that has been creating quite a little buzz here at Chambers St. Notes of lemon curd, marzipan and herbs, envoloping in mouth...with mineral cut in the finish, and a touch of spice that lingers after each sip. A must for fans of interesting and unique white wines. Eben Lillie
According to the hefty Wine Grapes book (Robinson/Harding/Vouillamoz), there were a total of about 2 hectares (5 acres) of Verdesse in the world as of 2008. As of my conversation with Thomas Finot in June, the number is now between 3 and 4 hectares total. Thomas started with an old plantation of about 2 ares (200 square meters, or .05 acres) and now has about 1.5 hectares, mostly of younger vines he planted. Verdesse is a grape that, according to Thomas, is green for a long time, and typically ripens late, gaining a golden and amber color at the "very last moment." From Thomas' experience, Verdesse typically rests with a small amount of sugar, and has a good deal of richness. The grapes were harvested in October and the wine rests at 8 grams residual sugar. Luckily Verdesse has acid for days, so the effect is more of delicate richness and ripe stone fruit, and the sugar is barely perceptible. A fascinating white and a great opportunity to taste a truly obscure and rare variety. -Eben Lillie
Jean-François and his sister Anne took some estate Chardonnay and blended it with Muscat from Alsace to make this limited release white. *Note: there's a crown cap but it's not sparkling. Eben Lillie
J'en Veux is a relatively new cuvée from the Jean-François Ganevat, but it already seems like a classic. The idea with this wine is to celebrate the grapes of the Jura that are unknown and not allowed by the appellation. In no particular order, it's a blend of l’Enfariné, Corbeau, Gueuche, Portugais Bleu, Gouais, Beclan, Petit Beclan, Argant, and Seyve-Villard. Vines are "franc de pied"(ungrafted) and the vinification is a form of carbonic maceration, with grapes put into barrel one by one and fermentation in the berries. There's no pump-over, punching down or pressing so the resulting wine is bright, pretty and light bodied. Enjoy with a slight chill.
Poulsard from the Côte de Feule vineyard in Pupillin. Several other growers we admire have some plots here, such as Granges Paquenesses, Domaine de la Borde, and we're quite certain Houillon and Overnoy as well (it's a pretty well known vineyard site in Pupillin). The hue of this red is still very light, but there's a deeper burgundy shade and a bit more material than the Ploussard bottling from Patrice. Fresh, vibrant, and beguiling. Eben Lillie
Isabelle and Franck Pascal make this beautiful natural wine from Cabernet and Merlot grown on their Biodynamic estate near Felines, in Bergerac. The wine is aged sur-lie 12 months in barrel, and is bottled without filtration or added sulfur.The 2015 vintage has a dark robe. The nose displays the generosity of the vintage with aromas of ripe blackberries, black currants, and Italian plums with hints of cedar and graphite. The palate is rich, ripe, and deft with a good tension between the beautiful fruit and deep earth notes on a long, persistent, lifted finish. Fabulous with a grilled hanger steak, better still with magret of duck and strong cheeses. This is a tremendous value and should improve over 5-8 years. Delicious! John McIlwain
The 2015 Pure "T" is another beautiful natural wine from Franck Pascal and Isabelle Carles at Jonc Blanc! Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grown on shallow soils over limestone ("Calcaire de Castillon"), two year elevage in 18 hl Stockinger foudres, bottled without fining or filtration and with zero added SO2. The wine shows a very deep black/purple color with lush, vibrant aromas of cassis and blackberry with brown spice citrus, violet and black pepper. The palate is supple and rich but with bright acidity, showing ripe cassis fruit, with earth, coffee, cocoa and sappy fruit liqueur. The finish is lush, complex and long. This is a superb natural Cabernet, a joyful wine to serve slightly cool with grilled foods, stews and charcuterie, or just to sip by itself late at night with a good book.... Highly recommended. David Lillie
This is a lovely Biodynamic white made from Sauvignon, Semillon and Sauvignon Gris by Isabelle and Franck Pascal, whose great vineyard work and natural vinifications are producing outstanding wines on their clay/limestone terroir near Bergerac. No SO2 is used except a tiny addition before bottling. The 2016 Les Sens du Fruit shows lovely aromas of lime-flower, spiced pear, melon, almond and honeyed citrus. The palate is round and ripe with stone and earthy flavors underlying ripe pear and creamy lemon fruit and is backed by firm acidity. The finish is long, ripe and refreshing. This is a complex and delicious natural wine that will shine with shellfish, a platter of cheeses or a fish or chicken in sauce, just delicous! David Lillie
A beautiful natural wine from Isabelle and Franck Pascal at Jonc Blanc. Always a blend of Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, raised in large 1500L barrels. The 2016 is super aromatic, with cocoa and earth on the nose, a deep purple hue in the glass with rich silky blackberry fruit. For anyone who is searching for natural wines but prefers to drink Cabs, Malbecs and the like, this is the wine for you! Biodynamic farming, no sulfur added... it's a natural wine through and through (yes not every natural wine is 11% alc. carbonic Gamay!). Just fresh enough to drink on it's own, this will be a knockout with a light chill and paired with grilled food this summer. Eben Lillie
The vineyards of Jonc Blanc were hit by a devastating freeze in April of 2017. From parcels that were 100% lost, the tiny secondary berries were harvested to make this amazing sparkling rosé! Yields were 6.5 hl/ha at 11% alcohol; bottled at 25 grams of RS per liter, it has turned into a beautiful almost dry Bulles Rosé. The wine shows intriguing aromas of wild strawberry, tart cherry, rose, orange peel and brioche. The palate is creamy, light and pretty with tart cherry, rose-water, citrus and melon with a soft, refreshing finsh...could I have another glass? DL
This is probably the meatiest red we have from Julie Brosselin in the Languedoc. All Syrah, with lovely dark fruit balanced with a bit of tang and freshness. Silky, rich and deep. No SO2 added.
Syrah and Carignan blend with no SO2 added. Vibrant and lifted, with subtle tannin. (On Sale through June 9th Was $17.99)
The 2015 comes from Catherine Hannoun's parcels of gray marl in Pupillin. Sometimes she makes this cuvée sous-voile but this vintage is topped-up for a fresher style that is fermented with native yeasts in stainless steel then raised in neutral barrel for over a year. An age-worthy Chardonnay with fascinating aromas of spicy redcurrant, honey, and melon. Like the Savagnin, it is quite compact at first and takes some time to open up, but once it does, complex flavors of tropical melon, blackberry, and honey unfurl on a bed of spicy mineral acidity. It should be interesting to see how this evolves with a few years in the cellar. Amanda Bowman
This delightful wine from our new friends Meryl and Géraldine at "La Vrille et le Papillon" was imported for Chambers Street. We're pleased to see that it was the highest-ranked choice in the New York Times Thanksgiving wines article!! It's a light and lovely Viognier from the Ardeche that shows bright floral aromas of lemon, lime-flower, peach, mint and stone, really quite pretty. There is a bit of petillance on the palate with creamy citrus, peach, apricot and hay. Light and refreshing, with citrus, stone and yeasty flavors in the finish, this is a delightful and food-friendly wine!
We're happy to have another vintage of this delicious Merlot from Meyrl and Géraldine Crozier in the Ardeche - in the hills just west of the Rhône river, near Montelimar. The 2016 Chapeau Melon shows a dense black/garnet color and aromas of ripe blackberry and cassis, with floral and earthy notes. The palate is dense but not heavy with bright blackberry, cherry and cassis fruit backed by firm acidity and with flavors of soil and stone. This is a lovely natural Merlot of terroir that will be a great pairing with grilled foods this summer. Serve cool - it's a great value and is made with little or no SO2 for those who want to avoid additives in their wine...
Z Blanc is 100% Viognier grown by Géraldine and Meryl Crozier at La Vrille et le Papillon in the Ardeche. This is a lovely natural Viognier that shows a slightly cloudy pale gold color and a bit of reduction when first opened, then lovely very floral aromas of lime-flower, lemon, earth and pear. The palate is light and pretty with citrus, herbal and pear flavors; the finish is refreshing and long with white fruits and minerals. Organic farming, unfiltered and bottled with minimal SO2. David Lillie
Geraldine and her brother Meryl Crozier have a lovely estate situated just west of the Rhone river in Ardeche. The "Z" Rouge is a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Merlot and shows wild rose and black fruit aromas with wafts of gravel, earth, and blood orange. The palate is light but complex and supple with dense plum and cool blackberry fruits, anise and earth that linger on the long finish. An excellent natural wine that is perfect with a slight chill and served with just about anything right off the grill. Amanda Bowman
"Le Ciste" is named after a flowering bush that grows around the Laguerre's steep, organic vineyards in Saint-Martin de Fenouillet. The 2016 is made from equal parts Marsanne, Roussanne, Rolle (Vermentino), Grenache Blanc and a small addition of Macabeu. Each parcel is hand-harvested, the grapes are fermented separately with native yeasts and raised in used demi-muid. This superlative cuvée is a fascinating showcase of the Roussillon's mighty terrior. The acidic soils of decomposed granite give this wine excellent mineral tension that deepens with time in bottle. Aromas are intricately woven with notes of bright lemon oil, verbena, sage, and salty seashells. The palate is supple and round with generous flavors of pear, white flowers, thyme, and almond framed by pure mineral acidity. This is a fantastic wine that is delicouis now but will develop a beautiful honeyed texture and rich flavors after 5-10 years in bottle. Eric recommends pairing this with sardines on toast, goat cheeses, and roasted chicken. Amanda Bowman
Another delicious wine from the affable and talented Eric Laguerre, from organic Syrah, Carignan and Grenache vines grown on granite soils high in the mountains of the Roussillon. The palate is refreshing and dry with hints of raspberry, strawberry, watermelon, almond and stone. Eric's great farming, his natural vinification and the high-altitude granite terroir produce this lovely, inexpensive rosé. Highly recommended!
"Le Ciste" is named after a flowering bush that grows around the Laguerre's steep, organic vineyards in Saint-Martin de Fenouillet. The 2016 is a layered blend of de-stemmed and whole cluster Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, and Mourvèdre from soils of decomposed granite and gneiss. The grapes are harvested by hand, fermented separately and aged for 12 months in barrel, then assembled in fiber tank before bottling with minimal added sulfur. This vintage is evocative of the 2014 with softer, finer tannins compared to the robust 2015. The aromas are complex and redolent of savory herbs (thyme, garrigue), game, black peppercorn, blood orange, and dark chocolate. The palate is balanced with mouth-coating, powdery tannins, dried herbs, black pepper, and an energetic, long mineral finish from the granite soils. Best served with a slight chill alongside grilled meat, charcuterie, cheese, or veggies roasted with Moroccan spices. This is drinking well now, but should be even better in 5-8 years. Amanda Bowman
"Le Passage" is a hardy blend of 65% Syrah (de-stemmed) and 35% Carignan from Eric Laguerre's highest parcel (1,700 feet), on soils of decomposed granite. The grapes are pressed into fiber tank for fermentation with native yeasts, then aged in concrete with minimal added SO2. This cuvee is fuller-bodied than his "EOS Rouge," with the high-quality of his low-yielding Carignan on full display. The robe shows a deep purple in the glass with enticing aromas of lavender, blood orange, and plum aromas. The dense palate has a silky texture with supple, bitter cocoa tannins. The flavors of blackberry, stone, and plum finish with a fresh citrus acidity that is especially delicious when served with a chill. Drink now or save for 2-3 years for a more mature experience. Amanda Bowman
"Eos Blanc" is a rewarding discovery for anyone seeking an intriguing wine of terrioir at an affordable price. Eric Laguerre's vineyards are planted at high-altitude in Saint-Martin de Fenouillet, where the acidic soils are composed of gneiss and broken-down granite with some pockets of quartz. This composition forms a sturdy backbone of dense minerality and abundant freshness to this "entry-level" cuvée -- a testament to Eric's excellent farming. The 2017 is made from direct press juice, aged in neutral demi-muid for about eight months with minimal added S02 before bottling. The wine shows pale gold in the glass and immediately charms with bright citrus aromas that evolve into notes of ripe pear, hazelnut, garrigue, and warm apricot skins on the palate. This was the first vintage that the Laguerres harvested in August due to the extreme heat in 2017. Despite this, the wine drinks pure and fresh with an invigorating mineral acidity that lingers on the herbal finish. A fantastic every day wine with potential to age 3-5 years, though we're happily drinking this now with or without salad and goat cheeses. Amanda Bowman
Eric Laguerre's "Eos Rouge" is an elegant blend of 80% Grenache from 40-year-old gobelet-trained vines, with some Carignan and Syrah from soils of decomposed granite, gneiss, and some veins of quartz. Like "Le Passage," the grapes are fermented in fiber tanks with native yeasts for about two weeks, then aged in concrete. The 2017 is strikingly pure-fruited, with vibrant strawberry and red cherry aromas underpinned by earthy spice, red-currant, and bitter chocolate notes. The peppery tannins and mineral acidity from the high mountain clime form its exquisite structure (Eric says that after 2 years in bottle, you might think it's Pinot Noir). This is a balanced wine that should pair wonderfully with grilled sausages, lentils, or goat cheeses. Open an hour before serving if drinking now, or hold for up to 10 years. Amanda Bowman
This is a superb Jurançon Moelleux, harvested in late December, about 90 grams/liter of residual sugar. Wonderfully complex aromas of apricot, candied citrus, flowers and exotic fruit with a hint of vanillin. Lemon confit, apricot, brown spice and chalky acids on the palate. A young wine that is gorgeous now but perhaps best in five to ten years. With more acidity than Sauternes, this is a great match for foie gras, lemon tarts and strong cheeses, and for apple and mince pies on Thanksgiving! Absolutely superb! (The wine improves for weeks, re-corked in the fridge.)
Domaine les Fouques has been has been certified Biodynamic (Demeter) for over 20 years, and also raises sheep, ducks, chickens and guinea-hens on their old-fashioned mixed-use farm. La Londe is their best rosé from old vines of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, and Rolle. Unlike the majority of Provencal rosés, it is made naturally with wild yeasts, giving a more subtle expression of fruit and terroir. The 2017 is a beautiful wine, lighter and brighter than the 2016 in style. The wine shows a lovely pale pink/salmon color with elegant aromas of wild strawberry, raspberry, peach and rose with hints of spice. The palate shows creamy raspberry, peach and red currant fruit with citrus peel and mineral flavors. The finish is long and refreshing with berry fruits, citrus and firm acidity, just lovely. This wine will gain complexity over the next six months and will drink beautifully through 2019. Highly recommended and a great value! David Lillie
Primarily Grenache, with Syrah, Cinsault and Cabernet, this biodynamic red from Provence shows deep plum and blackberry fruit aromas with earth, citrus and Provençal herbs. The palate is ripe and supple with dense black fruits, prune and brown spice lifted by bright acidity. In some vintages this wine can be a bit austere and tannic when young, but the 2014 is bursting with fruit and absolutely delicious for current drinking. Serve with grilled meats and stews, a daube niçoise perhaps, and full-flavored cheeses. Great value!
The Cuvée Aubigue Blanc from Les Fouques is made from 80% Rolle (Vermentino) with 10% Clairette and 10% Ugni Blanc. It's a delicious, full-flavored Provençal white with complex aromas of apple and pear liqueur and hints of dried flowers, almond and herbs. The palate is round and ripe with white fruits, candied citrus and dense mineral and stone flavors with good acidity. A great aperitf or accompaniment to full-flavored fish dishes and asian foods. Certified biodynamic (Demeter), wild-yeast fermentation. (The wine received a well-deserved gold medal at the 2017 Concours des Vignerons Independants)
100% Chardonnay on clay and limestone in Pupillin, vinified for 6 months in large foudres. This is a joyful bottle with a fine mousse bursting with aromas of dry hay, iris, toasted hazelnut, Comté, and baked orchard fruit. The palate has an elegant frame of mineral acidity. Flavors are gently oxidative with floral undertones, ginger, and cherry pit. A delicious bottle to serve with raclette, Peking duck, or on its own! Amanda Bowman
A delicious blend of 60% Jacquere and 40% Altesse (Roussette). Marie and Florian pick grapes from a early ripening parcel of Altesse, and a mature parcel of Jacquerre, and harvest, press and vinify together, as they like the harmony that is achieved through co-fermentation. I love the electric side of this wine, paired with the subtle texture that develops with some aeration. Drink now or hold. Light filtration before bottling, minimal SO2 added. Eben Lillie
A blend of mostly Gamay (about 80%), with Pinot Noir and Mondeuse from vineyards in the commune of Chautagne de Serrieres and Cellier des Pauvres. Though they will likely make a bit less of the 'Autrement' in the future, this is their homage to the first "natural" wine that Jacques Maillet produced, back in 2003. It is an expression of the Savoie, and reflects Maillet's philosophy of cultivating healthy vineyards without the use of chemicals, and producing authentic wines that show the potential of the region. Like their other reds, maceration is whole cluster, without pump over or punch down, 9 months lees aging, and a light filtration and only 1g/hl (hectoliter) of SO2 at bottling. Delicious wine! Eben Lillie
The Chautagne is a blend of Gamay and Mondeuse (about 70/30) from the commune of Motz. Maceration is whole cluster for a period of about 6 weeks, without pigeage (pushing down of the cap) or remontage (pumping over), so it's more a gentle infusion than an extraction. The wine is aged on the lees for approximately 9 months. Florian mentioned that the old vines of Gamay produce less - and often less concentrated - grapes, but they are always more "gouleyant" (roughly translated, it means "tasty" or "really good"). All in all a very tasty, complex, and harmonious expression of Gamay and Mondeuse. Eben Lillie
Fresh tasty Jacquere from Marie and Florian Curtet! This is a perfect aperitif/salad/snack wine, definitely on the higher acid side. I always liken Jacquere (especially from Maillet - and now the Curtets) to Melon de Bourgogne, because it reminds me so much of the stony, mineral wines from Muscadet in the Loire Valley. Drink now or stock up for warmer weather, as this is a perfect thirst quencher. Eben Lillie
Wow! A Pinot Noir that truly stands out. I did NOT guess this was Pinot when I tasted it, instead thinking it was their old vines Mondeuse. In any case, I was impressed. Marie and Florian are impressed too, but maybe less surprised. As they say, Pinot Noir has a a particular graphite quality (describing the minerality in the mouthfeel) due to the Molasses soil in their region. Combined with a small and very ripe harvest, this is a rich and expressive Pinot! Ripe cherry, blackberry, and spice, with plenty of fruit and a long mineral finish framing it all. It's only 13%, so it's not "big," it just has a lot of character! Eben Lillie
Le Blanc is the only white Coutelou made in 2016 and it is the first of his whites we've carried at Chambers Street. This is a fresh and summery blend of 40% Macabeu, 30% Grenache Gris, 20% Clairette, 10% Muscat à Petits Grains from parcels planted near the seaside. Lifted floral aromas, lemon pith, and pleasantly leesy notes mingle with tangy ripe fruits. The palate is full and round from the Macabeau but there is an energetic freshness from the Clairette to buoy the rich stonefruit flavors. The finish is refreshing with a lingering note of bitter almond. This is a bottle we'll be happy to revisit all summer long. Amanda Bowman
Olivier Jullien is one of the brightest lights in the Languedoc. His farming and cellar work are meticulous and his wines express their terroir beautifully. His 2017 rosé, blend of Cinsault, Carignan and Mourvèdre, combines ripe fruit. wild savory notes with an incisive minerality. Dark pink robe and midweight on the palate with aromas of watermelon, raspberry, spice, and garrigue on the nose. Good density and drive with deep ripe watermelon, red fruits, limestone, salt flavors on the palate. More gourmandaise than glou glou, but compelling and an excellent companion to bitter salad greens with salumi and Parmigiano Reggiano. John McIlwain
This beautiful Languedoc red is from very old vines of Grenache, Carignan and Syrah grown in Thierry Navarre's mountainside vineyards in Saint-Chinian. The 2015 Olivier is a bit lighter and more elegant than previous vintages, showing lovely aromas of morello cherries, red currant and plum with notes of earth, pepper and brown spice. Nice ripeness on the palate with red and black fruits balanced by bright acidity with mineral flavors that continue on the long juicy finish. This is a big Languedoc red that is light on it's feet - nice with a coq au vin as well as heftier stews and grilled meats. Decant well in advance if drinking now or open the night before - or cellar for five to ten years. Thanks to Thierry Navarre for his beautiful natural wines that are great values! DL
Thierry Navarre's touchstone "Laouzil" is a blend of equal parts Grenache, Carignan, and Syrah from old vines planted on brown schist ("Laouzil" in the local dialect) soils in the rugged mountains of Roquebrun (Saint-Chinian). The grapes are de-stemmed and aged in neutral barrel before bottling with minimal sulfur. The robe is a lovely red/black in the glass. The wine shows seductive aromas of spiced plums, dried rosemary, and deeper notes of coffee and dry earth. The rich palate is bursting with black fruit flavors, peppercorn, and savory herbs with a structured texture of dense minerals and bright acidity on the long, persistent finish. This is a fascinating wine of terroir that Thierry says will be perfect in 5 years (though it is delicious now). Amanda Bowman
An almost extinct grape grown in the Languedoc, in southern France, Ribeyrenc has been preserved mostly due to the work of Thierry Navarre and his father before him. It’s thin-skinned and yields a fresh and vibrant red wine that could easily pass for a dark rosé. Fresh, floral, and unlike anything else! EL
Thierry Navarre is one of the few people who still grow Oeillades - a nearly extinct grape that has a long history in the Langudedoc and is thought to be an old cousin of Cinsault. Thierry's Oeillades grows on the rugged mountainsides above Roquebrun in Saint-Chinian. The 2017 shows a beautiful wild strawberry and purple-tinged color in the glass. The nose offers abundant strawberry and orange aromas with delicate notes of lavender, cardamom and dried rose petals. The palate is light and wonderfully lifted with flavors of ripe strawberry, herbal tea, and refreshing exotic citrus on the finish. A balanced rosé with plenty of aromatic complexity and crunchy acidity to pair with a variety of dishes. We recently enjoyed this with Mediterranean-inspired fried food - a highly recommended pairing! Amanda Bowman
Lledoner Pelut is a relatively unknown variety, related to Grenache (and known as Garnacha Peluda in Spain). Philippe Wies farms Lledoner Pelut and Grenache Noir in the Catalan hills of France, in a special part of the Languedoc-Roussillon region with soils of decomposed black schist. Philippe finds 2013 to be much like 2017, which was a warm year that didn't require long aging. The wine was ready after 8 months in large Alsatian barrels (Philippe is originally from Alsace) and was then moved to fiberglass tank for one month before bottling. Thanks to a very gentle vertical press (that Philippe built by hand), there is very little extraction here. It's 13.5%, with lovely finesse and a touch of funk. No SO2 added. (On Sale through June 9th Was $18.99) EL
Grenache from schist soil in Maury, nestled near the Pyrenees mountains. Loustics is from an arid north-facing parcel, and always has a nice freshness to it. The shist soils don a particular mineral aroma and finish to the wine, blending well with the natural tannin to give some rustic character to the wine. In the end, it's an easy drinking, gentle and a bit "sauvage" expression of Grenache. Drink with a slight chill. No SO2 added. (On Sale through June 9th Was $16.99)
80% Chardonnay and 20% Savagnin grown near Salins-les-Bains on Kimmeridgian soils, organic since 1992. The 2015s were made by the capable Emilie Gerard who has taken over from Jean-Chalres Maire. 12 month sous-voile elevage in old barrels. Slightly oxidative aromas of lime-flower, dried pear, spiced citrus and almond, quite complex and pretty. The plate shows dried herbs, quince, citrus peel, spice and pear with saline mineral flavors and form acidity. The finish is long with sharp mineral flavors that linger on the palate. Lovely wine - serve with sole almondine, chicken in cream sauce, aged Comté and full-flavored goat cheeses. David Lillie
80% Pinot Noir and 20% Trousseau grown near Salins-les-Bains on Kimmeridgian soils, organic since 1992. The 2015s were made by the capable Emilie Gerard who has taken over from Jean-Chalres Maire. The 2015 Tradition shows aromas of strawberry liqueur with hints of blackberry, cherry, earth and rose. The palate is quite firm and dense, with saline mineral flavors and earthy black fruits. This is a unique and delicious Jura red that's lovely now, and should age nicely for 8 to 10 years. DL
"Les Travers de Marceau" is a blend of 30% Mourvedre, 30% Syrah, 25% Carignan, 15% Cinsault planted at the highest elevation in the Saint-Chinian AOC. This appellation is divided by its soil composition - in the north, the soils are rich in schist, in the south there is only heavy limestone and clay soils. Jean-Marie Rimbert's vineyards are in Berlou, in the north western half of the AOC. This soil composition and high elevation give his much-beloved wines a light, early drinking quality. The nose offers complex, exotic aromas of dried apricot, tree bark, savory spices, and undercurrents of crushed blueberry and pomegranate. The palate is silky and dusted with mineral acidity. Flavors of dense blue fruit and umami spices give way to star-anise and hints of fennel on the finish. This pairs perfectly with saucisson, cassoulet, and goat cheeses. Amanda Bowman
"Les Brûlées" comes from Fabrice Dodane's vineyard planted on a hill rich with limestone near his cellar in Montigny. 2015 was the first vintage for this cuvée and Fabrice's first experiment with making white wine with zero added sulfur -- we think it's an applause-worthy success. The seductive aromas of smoky gun flint and yellow apple skins mingle with lightly oxidative notes of walnuts and comté. On the palate the wine is dense and textured with powerful mineral acidity that finishes with a lingering salty nuttiness. An expressive wine that is drinking now but should continue to evolve over the next decade. Amanda Bowman
This is a crisp and vibrant rose from the French island of Corsica. From 25-year-old vines of Niellucciu which (per J. Robinson) is a red grape native to Corsica and is genetically identical to Sangiovese. The vines are planted in schist and limestone soils and are farmed using strict organic and some biodynamic treatments. Thomas Santamaria meticulously selects the grapes for this rosé during his first pass through the vines that will later be used to to make his Patrimonio Rouge cuvée . Like all of his wines, he allows the rosé to ferment with native yeasts in stainless steel with minimal added sulphur. The wine shows a lovely light pink in the glass with fresh aromas of ripe strawberries, peach skins, red cherry and stone. The palate is light and thirst-quenching with crunchy acidity and flavors of tart cherry, stone fruit and a slight note of bitter herbs on the finish. This is a classic and refreshing Mediterranean rosé that should pair wonderfully with grilled vegetables or salad Niçoise. Amanda Bowman
Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvedre, and Vermentino! Yep. that's right. And no sulfur added? And gulp-ably delicious, but with those bold flavors of Provence? Yes, please.
Due to a very high percentage of Mourvedre in the blends, Bandol gives some of the world's most compelling and age-worthy Roses, wines that can age for decades. Terrebrune, a domaine close enough to the Mediterranean that the ocean can be seen from the vineyards, is no exception. Unlike the neighbor's vineyards, Terrebrune's are planted on Triassic era subsoil with burnished orange topsoil, which gives the wine a depth and minerality all its own. With a few years of age, this wine is a rare treat. The nose offers fresh, saline notes, as well as pretty peachy fruit. The palate broadens over the course of an hour open and offers richness and length. This is an adult Rosé, but crisp, fresh, and more classic than in some past vintages. Put this wine next to a meal of shellfish or a platter of crostini with Tapenade and watch it shine.
From clay/limestone soils in the Jura, south-west from Arbois. West exposition. Definitely deserving of a decant, this is a fantastic deal for a Chardonnay that has a real sense of place. (On Sale through June 9th, was $19.99)
This is a beautiful ouillé (topped up i.e. NOT oxidative) Savagnin from young winemaker Eric Thill in the Jura. Eric is originally from Alsace and finds Savagnin reminds him of Sylvaner a bit. I see the resemblance, as his Savagnin has nice stone fruit aromas, and impressive density on the palate. A real treat and a unique expression of the variety. (On Sale through June 9th, Was $23.99)
The 2014 Domaine Tinou Jurançon Cuvée Tradition is made from Petit Manseng and Gros Manseng, grown in Serge Hondet's beautiful vineyard near Lasseube, certified organic since 1964. The soils are essentially sandy clays with stones and gravels from the Pyrenees, over the local limestone, "Calcaire de Lasseube." The wine shows lovely pale gold color, vivid aromas of lemon, pineapple, honeysuckle, stone and brown spice, elegant and subtle. Creamy lemon, pear and stone flavors on the palate, balanced by citrusy acids. 62 grams of RS per liter, but seems dryer. Lovely finish of lemon, exotic fruit and minerals. Serve this lovely wine with foie gras, patés, full-flavored cheeses and lemony desserts or just sip by itself. Highly recommended.
Finally we've convinced Serge Hondet to send us a little of his lovely Jurançon Sec, made from 85% Gros Manseng and 15% "Laousset," a rare variety with only a few hectares still in production. The estate is certified organic since 1964! The wine shows a very pale gold color with subtle aromas of pear and apple with more exotic fruits emerging and hints of hay, stone and white pepper. The palate is fairly dense and sapid with spiced pear and mineral flavors, raw almond, citrus and hay. It seems delicate and powerful at the same time, with nice length and firm acidity. Serve with full-flavored fish dishes, chicken, pork and mountain cheeses. Lovely wine. David Lillie
An exceptional, terroir-driven Chardonnay from the heavy clay soils of Stéphane Tissot's Mailloche vineyard. The 2015 is wonderfully fresh and characteristically spicy with invigorating lemon citrus, smoky flint, salted almond skin and golden apple on the complex nose. The palate is powerful yet feels light on its feet with a firm backbone of spicy mineral acidity, flavors of orange citrus, nutmeg with bitter almond on the long finish. I recently enjoyed this with mushroom risotto but it should be fantastic with chicken and swiss cheeses as well. It would be interesting to revisit this wine in a few years. Amanda Bowman
2016 was a difficult year for red wine in the Jura, but you wouldn't know it by Tissot's Trousseau Singulier. Elegant, concentrated and fresh with fine tannins -- this is a masterful Trousseau from one of Jura's best. 80% of the grapes come from young vines of selection massale Trousseau from the famous Sous Curon site. The vines yield few but big bunches for a fruity character with snappy acidity. The remaining grapes come from older vines grown on Liassic clay. All de-stemmed and fermented for one month in open tank with a few gentle pump-overs, then aged in 600 L demi-muid. The nose offers pretty notes of wild strawberry, blood orange, and earthy spice. Polished tannins elevated by bright and cool brambly fruit flavors make this marvelous on its own or perfect for cheeses, charcuterie, mushrooms or poultry. Amanda Bowman
An abiding staff favorite from Stéphane Tissot's biodynamic estate in Arbois, this crémant is a blend of 55% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir and 10% Poulsard and Trousseau. The interplay between the dry, mineral complexity and rich generosity make this an incredible Champagne-alternative. Opulent aromas of raw honey and baked red apple lead to flavors of tangy yellow fruit, crisp apple, toasted almond, and quince on the persistent finish. A versatile wine that keeps getting better every time we open a bottle (which is often). Amanda Bowman
Grenache, Grenache Gris and Carignan, aged for six years or more in ancient barrels, bottled without fining or filtration. Jean-François Deu at Domaine du Traginer makes elegant, complex and beautifully balanced Banyuls at his organic and biodynamic estate. The 2008 Banyuls Grand Cru shows fabulous aromas of burnt orange, prune, lemon peel, rose, earth and aged cheese...for starters. Very deep and complex. The palate is ripe and a bit sweet, but refreshing and balanced by bright acidity with prune, red currant, rose and deep berry confit with citrus, brown spice and earth. Beautiful wine - great to sip by itself or serve with fruit desserts and chocolate. Highly recommended. DL
An outstanding and unusual white made by Jean-François Deu at the organic/biodynamic estate, Domaine du Traginer (Mule-driver) in Banyuls and Collioure. Made from Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris and Malvasia from low-yielding vines, on steep slopes of schistes above the Mediterranean.
This is a gorgeous Banyuls Blanc, that is to say a Vin Doux Naturel (at 17% alcohol) made from Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris and Muscat grown in Traginer's organic vineyards above Banyuls. Beautiful aromas of lime flower, apricot, citrus, pear and almond. Very floral. The palate is deep and medium-sweet with candied citrus, apriot and stone flavors and terrific length. Serve not too cool, as an apéritif or with desserts of peach, apricot, pear and melon. Absolutely delicious! DL
Jean-Francois Deu makes beautiful wines on his biodynamic estate in Collioure, including this outstanding 2015 Rosé "Le Gourmand." The wine shows a pretty pink/orange color, with aromas of red currant and strawberry with hints of prune, orange peel, rose and spice. The palate is round and ripe with deep black cherry and strawberry liqueur, but nicely balanced by firm acidity and has beautiful length. Serve this full-bodied rosé with grilled chicken and pork or with an appetizer of olives, cheeses and charcuterie. Lovely wine! DL
Equal parts Grenache, Carignan, Mourvedre and Syrah from the steep schist terraces of Banyuls-sur-Mer, this is a pure and concentrated expression of this dramatic coastal stretch of the Roussillon. Dark black red color. Lush aromas of blackberry, black plum, bitter chocolate, licorice, earth and brown spice. The palate is dense, ripe and supple with blackberry, strawberry compote, earth, licorice, ginger and spice, with cool citrus and red currant in the long finish. This is a beautiful Collioure that will accompany a steak, grilled meats, stews, grilled vegetables and tagines. Highly recommended. DL
The Traginer Banyuls Rimage (Vin Doux Naturel) at 17% alcohol is an insanely delicious wine as an apéritif or with deserts of chocolate or fruit (figs especially) and goat cheeses. The 2016 shows a deep black/red color and vivid aromas of ripe blackberry, prune, licorice, violets, bitter chocolate and earth. The palate is ripe and lush with blackberry, citrus and cocoa, but very bright and refreshing as well, just delicious. It finishes with citrusy acids and black fruits that linger on the palate - serve cool and enjoy! DL
This superb wine is made from Grenache Gris, Grenache Noir, Grenache Blanc and Muscat, aged for 15 years in small, very old barrels. Complex aromas of citrus, tea, prune, flowers and caramel. The palate is balanced, with a pretty melange of citrus, white fruits, earth and secondary flavors, very long and lifted by nice acidity. A gorgeous vin doux naturel that will accompany aged cheeses, figs and foie gras, and it's sensationally beautiful by itself. Really a unique and delicious wine. DL
The Domaine Turenne "Antoine" is an extraordinary Provençal white made with 50% Vermentino and 50% old vines of Petite Clairette du Var, dating from 1903! Organic farming, hand harvesting and wild yeast fermentations. Pale gold color with green hints; aromas of almond, pear, hay, lemon zest, verveine, anise...you get the idea. The palate is very mineral and dense, with firm acidity, showing anise, white fruit liqueur, stone and citrus, supple and long, really a lovely wine and a great value! This versatile wine will accompany shellfish and grilled fish, white meats, salads, goat cheeses and much more... David Lillie
This subtly structured Chardonnay is a fantastic introduction to the world of skin contact whites. Here, the skins are kept with the juice until fermentation is finished, at which point there is a press, and then aging. This is not actually a very long period of maceration, but it's enough to lend a faint orange hue to the wine and it's evident from the mouthfeel that the wine has some structure to it. When I first opened this wine, I was expecting the textural characteristics and the flavors I've associated with orange wines in the past, but I was surprised by how beautifully aromatic the wine was. I forgot about the orange wine bit, and just let the Chardonnay do the talking, with flowers, earth, spice, and orchard fruit all intermingling on the nose. Really a unique wine in the layers to the experience, and recommended for those who are curious about skin-contact whites (aka orange wines), but don't necessarily want to dive all the way in. Eben Lillie
This is a fresh, zippy Chardonnay from Gerard and Christine Villet in Arbois, this is the perfect salad wine! From vines that Christine's father planted in the 1970s, there are some subtle orchard fruit notes on the nose, and great acid on the palate. As is typical of the Villet Chardonnay offerings, the wine is not made in a sous-voile style, but vinified traditionally, so no oxidative notes. For fans of un-oaked Chardonnay, this comes highly recommended. Eben Lillie
A few years back, Luc and Marie at Zelige-Caravent decided to make a blanc de noirs from a healthy harvest of Cinsault grapes. They were happy with the wine and have continued to make it each year. There is no color here, save a subtle opacity to the wine. Lovely floral and spicy nose, full bodied for a white, and unlike anything else on the shelf! ... Side note: Marie hand paints every label with this wine, so each bottle is different! (On Sale, was $19.99)
The 2012 “Cuvée Millepertuis” from Christian and Nadia Charmasson at Balazu des Vaussieres is made from Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Carignan, which undergoes an approximately two month carbonic maceration, followed by pressing and 3 years in vat (no wood). The wine shows a deep black/red color and complex earthy aromas of black cherry and blackberry from old-vine Grenache, with a cool, fresh aspect, a real product of living soils. The palate is complex and beautiful with dense black cherry, blackberry, earth, citrus, rose, cocoa and licorice with a long tart, earth and mineral finish. Anyone who appreciates natural wines should try this! Our thanks to Christian and Nadia for their beautiful work... David Lillie
The Balazu des Vaussieres 2013 Rouge “Dent de Lion” was made with Syrah, Mourvedre, Carignan, Cinsault and Grenache with 25% of Grenache Blanc and Clairette. No chemicals are used in the vines and no additives are used in the winemaking - a long carbonic maceration followed by pressing and three years in vat. Even though it was a root day when we visited last winter, the wine showed exuberant aromas of red currant, blackberry, plum, violet, spice, cocoa and orange peel, bringing a smile to our faces. The palate shows a cool, light aspect, a bit similar to the L'Anglore reds, with dense, brambly red currant and blackberry lifted by bright acidity and a bit of tannin, with spicy berry fruits lingering in the finish. This is a beautiful natural wine, serve cool and enjoy! David Lillie
The 2015 “Vin Libre” is predominantly Grenache Blanc and Clairette with Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier and Bourboulenc. A complex and elegant wine of the south, at 14% alcohol, the wine shows a deep gold/hay color with complex aromas of peach skin, dried flowers, lemon confit, earth and brown spice. The palate is dense and ripe with white peach and pear, citrus, mineral and earthy flavors. There is a bit of skin tannin and firm acidity in the very long finish. This is an extraordinary and soulful natural wine from the stony soils of Tavel and Roquemaure - perfect with bouillabaisse with aioli, monkfish in sauce and white meats, or just sip and contemplate. Highly recommended. On the label of the Blanc and Rosé is the Berber Flag from North Africa (Nadia’s heritage) with the symbol of the free man and three colors representing Berbers who lived by the sea, in the mountains and in the desert. David Lillie
One of the few "natural" winemakers in the northern Rhône, Frank Balthazar is certified organic and vinifies with wild yeasts and minimal sulfur, even producing a cuvée of Cornas without SO2. The Cuvée Casimir Balthazar is from 25% old vines in "Les Mazards" and younger vines in "La Légre." Balthazar's Cornas are aromatically beautiful with silky, pure fruit and terrific length and are never heavy or over-extracted. The 2016 Casimir shows a dense red/black color, with very fragrant blackberry, cassis aromas with violet and stone and hints of spice, quite exuberant and open for a 2016. The palate is supple, ripe and ready, lush and medium-bodied, with soft tannins surrounding lovely pure black fruits with a core of minerals, earth and berry fruits. This is extremely delicious now - drink over the next eight to ten years. DL
We're very happy to once again have Cornas from Franck Balthazar in the store - organic farming, no nonsense vinifications with low or zero sulfur - some of the best work in the Northern Rhone. As we haven't gotten to the note, here's it is from our friend JLL at Drinkrhone "There is sultry promise on the nose, airs of crushed black fruits, roast beef depth, keen lines of cassis-blueberry, a wee note of smoked bacon. There are great shafts of fine sunlight in the bouquet. The palate is coolly fruited, has real wavy elegance, is sumptuous and sustained, This is very belle (rather than beau), super fine, well balanced, comes with some tannic cut and depth, delivered with a velvet glove. The attack is up and live, holds great fruit; it lengthens with brio, has a finely mineral tune in closing, violets on the aftertaste. The mineral comes along by stealth. There is great transparency of terroir in this STGT Cornas. From mid-2020. 2034-36" "...great shafts of sunlight in the bouquet" I'll drink to that! (STGT stands for Soil To Glass Transfer!)
The Barou family family makes delicious wines, and grows cherries and apricots on their mixed-use organic estate in Charnas, in the northern section of the AOC Saint-Joseph. Their 2015 Vin de Pays Marsanne is a simply superb everyday wine! Light bronze/gold color. Aromas of almond, lime-flower, honeysuckle, lemon peel and hay, really quite pretty. Ripe stone fruits on the palate, primarily peach and dried pear with lemon, spice and saline mineral flavors with good balancing acidity in the long finish. Serve this lovely wine with chicken, full-flavored fish, mild cheeses and Asian foods. This is a unique and delicious wine and an extraordinary value - highly recommended!
The Barou family makes delicious wines, and grows cherries and apricots on their mixed-use organic estate in the hills around Saint-Joseph and Condrieu. Their 2016 "Rendez-Vous" is 100% Marsanne grown in granite soils. The grapes are 80% de-stemmed and then macerated on the skins for 10 to 12 hours. The fermentation is in barrels at low temperature followed by nine months of aging in 4 to 5 year-old barriques. The wine shows a pale gold color and pretty aromas of citrus, lime-flower, spiced pear, almond and hay. The palate shows nice freshness with ripe pear, quince, almond and citrus fruits supported by firm acidity, finishing with refreshing fruit and mineral flavors. This is a well-balanced and food friendly Marsanne that will pair with fish in sauce, Asian foods and chicken and pork dishes. It's a nice aperitif as well and a sensational value! David Lillie
(On Sale through 6/9 Was $12.99) This delicious Syrah is from 30 to 40 year-old vines in the "Les Vernes" vineyard near Charnas (Saint-Joseph). The grapes are 80% de-stemmed and undergo a two-day cold maceration followed by an 18-day fermentation. The wine ages for 9 months in 4 and 5 year-old barrels. The wine shows a deep red/black color and aromas of ripe blackberry and blackcurrant with hints of mint, violet, spice and meat. There is lovely ripe blackberry and blueberry fruit on the palate with nice focus and depth, framed in firm acidity and finishing with good length and mineral flavors. Thanks to Emmanuel and Marie-Agnès Barou for this lovely wine which is one of the best values in the store! David Lillie
Blonde is a wine that Andréa Calek has produced for many years now. At times it's been bubbly, other times still. This time around, it's a still wine, made from Viognier. There's a delicate lemony note on the palette, with some herbs (cloves and allspice), and nice density. There's a subtle funky quality that floats around, but never settles into an actual fault or flaw. All in all a very balanced and enjoyable expression of a oft-underappreciated grape. Eben Lillie
The 2015 "La Guigasse" is a beautiful CDP in an old-fashioned style, from a parcel with very old vines on sandy soils next to Pignan. The aromas are very floral and complex with bright cherry and raspberry but with a dark meaty, spicy side as well. This lacks a bit of the finesse of the Grand Pin but has old vine intensity, and will need some time. There are deep berry fruits on the palate, quite dense and with firm tannins, with earthy mineral notes. Terrific length and weight, not as immediately enjoyable as the Grand Pin, but give it 5 years to open, then drink until 2035.
Clos de la Bonnette is a relatively new estate - their first vintage was 2009 - but they have great terroir in Condrieu (and a small parcel in Cote-Rotie) and are one of the few truly organic domaines in the AOC. The 2016 "Legende Bonnetta" is a superb Condrieu showing a pale gold/bronze color and subtle aromas of apricot, almond, peach, iris and stone, really quite lovely. The palate has a saline, mineral introduction, then elegant stone fruits, white flowers, citrus, almond and stone - quite rich but with firm acidity and a very mineral finishwith citrus and white fruits. This is a beautiful Condrieu that is all about the terroir rather than the winemaking or elevage. "It's the only Condrieu I can drink" says Eric Texier. Lovely now, better with 3 to 5 years of aging. David Lillie
Clos de la Bonnette is one of the few organic estates in Condrieu and Cote Rôtie. This lovely Syrah is from old vines on granite with clay soils in Tartaras, above Ampuis. A real wine of terroir, the 2016 VV shows very earthy aromas of black raspberry with violet and roast meat with cool mint and stone. The palate also shows a very earthy and mineral character with a lovely mix of black and blueberry fruit with hints of citrus. This junior Cote-Rôtie will be perfect with grilled lamb and pork and is light enough to pair well with roast chicken and vegetarian dishes.
This is a special red from Clos des Boutes, made from 100% Carignan. Medium bodied, with bright crushed berry fruit, and a touch of herbs/spice characteristic of Carignan. Served slighlty chilled, this is a lip-smacking and very fun wine to drink! Eben Lillie
80% Grenache with Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah, on Triassic clay/limestone soils, always farmed organically. Whole cluster fermentation in vat with 12 months aging in large old barrels. Although we love this beautifully old-fashioned, organic wine in every vintage, Dany and Carole Chastan have made perhaps their best wine ever in 2015! The wine shows deep aromas of blackberry, dark chocolate, prune, garrigue, musk and citrus, quite focused and elegant. The palate is pure, supple and balanced, even at 15% alcohol, with dense blackberry, tart cherry, red currant, spice, earth and minerals, with tart red fruits, minerals and citrus in the very long finish. This is a superb Gigondas that can be enjoyed immensely now with a steak, pork or lamb chops, Morrocan tagines and full-flavored cheeses. Cellar 10 to 15 years for a mature experience. This is a superb wine and a great value - thanks to Carole and Dany for their great farming and traditional winemaking!
2015 is a great vintage for Dany and Carole Chastan at the Clos du Joncuas, and their 2015 Esprit de Grenache is simply outstanding. Since 1900 the estate has been farmed organically and the winemaking here is completely traditional with whole-cluster fermentations and aging in old foudres. Tasted at the estate in January of 2017, the wine showed dense elegant black fruit aromas with licorice and earth. The palate is pure and long with deep blackberry flavors with olive, earth, citrus and bitter chocolate - just fantastic! As with all the 2015s here, the wine is delicious in its youthful fruit and intensity, but ten to fifteen years of aging will reveal a truly great southern Rhone Grenache. Very highly recommended! DL
70% Grenache, with Carignan, Syrah and Mourvèdre, always farmed organically, hand harvested, whole-cluster wild yeast fermentation, aged in cement vat, un-fined, unfiltered. The 2015 Seguret shows a very dark red/black color, with aromas of ripe cherry and strawberry liqueur, prune, earth, stone and provençal spices. The palate is quite dense and supple with black berry, prune and earth with red currant and floral notes backed with firm citrusy acids, very saline and long in the finish. This is a big, solid wine that has opened up nicely over the past year, becoming softer, velvety and complex - just delicious! It will accompany steaks, chops and burgers, a daube niçoise, tagines and full flavored cheeses. It's a fabulous value for drinking over the next five years. David Lillie
50% Clairette, 25% Roussanne, 25% Viognier, always organically farmed, wild yeast fermentation, aged in enamel vat. Subtle aromas of dried pear, lime-flower and stone. Ripe pear, peach, stone, herbal and citrus flavors on the palate. This is a bit brighter and more balanced than the 2015 - really a delicious "food" wine that will pair with a wide variety of full-flavored fish and shellfish dishes, white meats, Asian cuisines and goat cheeses.
From 80% Grenache with Syrah and Mourvedre, grown on gravelly limestone terraces, always farmed organically, whole-cluster fermention and aged in concrete vats. Dany and Carole Chastan have made another superb Vacqueyras in 2016, a bit brighter than the opulent 2015 version, showing dark black/red color and bright aromas of blackberry, black olive and licorice with plum skin, garrigue, violet and bitter chocolate. This young wine is showing deep black fruits with firm acidity and terrific length with chalky mineral notes, earth, citrus and olive. This will be fantastic with grilled foods this summer and will improve over the next few years - drink happily until 2030. Highly recommended and a great value! David Lillie
This beautiful Cotes du Rhone from Pablo Hocht at Creve Coeur is made from 60 to 70 year-old vines of Grenache, with an interesting mix of semi-carbonic and traditional fermentations with whole-cluster and de-stemmed grapes. The wine shows aromas of ripe strawberry and cherry liqueur with garrigue and meaty notes. The palate is deep and ripe with lush cherry and berry fruits, earth and spice - supple and round with good length of sappy black fruits and firm acidity. This is a perfect match for grilled foods this summer served cool - it's a lovely wine and a great value! David Lillie
The Creve Coeur "Coucou" is a beautiful direct-press rosé made with old vines of 60% Grenache and 40% Cinsault. THe wine shows a lovely pale pink/orange color with floral aromas of candied strawberry and cherry fruit. The palate is silky and elegant with nice density of raspberry fruit with hints of melon and citrus, finishing with mineral flavors and refreshing acidity. This is a lovely wine at a great price! David Lillie
(From 60 to 70 year-old vines in "Le Planis," 80% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre) The 2016 Creve Coeur Sablet has all the elements we love in sothern Rhone wines: organic/biodynamic farming, old school fermentation in foudre and concrete, stem inclusion. Dark-toned, nearly heady aromatically, with black and blue fruits, lavender, blackberry, cherry pit on the nose. Dense purple robe. Plum, cassis, blackberry, black pepper and garrique on the palate. Real sense of the structural elements from the stems and limestone soils. Medium tannins and good poise for a decidedly southern wine. Long finish. Good energy for the concentration with a fine core of minerality within. Fabulous with pan-roasted lambchops and sheep's milk cheese. Delicious now, but should gain in complexity with time in the bottle. John McIlwain