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Mostly Pinot Auxerrois with some Pinot Noir in the mix, this is a methode ancestrale "Pet Nat" from Laurent Barth... a wine we never knew existed since most of it is sold in Europe and Laurent keeps a fair amount at home to share with friends. The wine spends 18 months sur latte (sur lie) before disgorging. A fascinating and singular wine, with a beautiful creamy texture and subtle aromas of red berries, citrus and minerals that continue on the elegant, refreshing palate. This is one of the most delicious Pet Nats of France - rarely available, don't delay!
A lovely little dry Gewurztraminer from Florian and Mathilde Beck-Hartweg. Floral and crisp, textbook Gewurz.
A gently sparkling, hazy Pet-Nat from Philippe Brand. Le Bidule is a blend of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and 10% direct press Pinot Noir. Low alcohol and as the French say, "digeste," in that it has nice texture and goes down quite smoothly. This will be a great Pet-Nat to have on the table during the holidays, as the bubbles are not aggressive yet the wine is still light on its feet and very refreshing and palate cleansing.
A fresh and forward liter bottle of Pinot Blanc, sort of a classic Alsatian dry white, perfect for salads, cheese, tarte flambée, or on its own as an apero. A touch of orchard fruit on the palate and nice acidity overall.
La Mandoline is a new wine combining all the white grapes at Philippe's fingertips. Pinot Blanc, Riseling, Muscat, Sylvaner, Pinot Gris (with skin contact), and a touch of Gewurztraminer from parcels in Kefferberg on clay and limestone soils. the wine is dry but floral, with nice ripeness in the mid-palate, and is tasting great at the moment! Aging was for 36 months in large barrel, and wine was bottled without filtration or added SO2.
This is a lovely Beaujolais from the Chignard family, better known for their Fleurie "Les Moriers." As with much of Julienas the bedrock of "Beauvernay" is diorite, rather than granite, locally called "roches bleues." It's an interesting terroir of volcanic origin with more clay and rich in magnesium, giving complex well-structured wines. Possessing the ripe fruit and lush palate of the 2022 vintage in Beaujolais, the Julienas "Beauvernay" shows a pretty red/black color, with elegant, a bit restrained aromas of black raspberry and black cherry with violet, blood orange, earth and stone, which should open up nicely over the next few years. It's ripe and sapid but with lively acidity and well proportioned. Tart cherry, plum and red currant fruit with saline minerals, earth and spice coat the palate and continue in the earthy finish. Quite lovely now, especially with a long decant, this should soften and gain complexity with three to five years of aging, drink till 2028.
The step-son of Georges Descombes, Damien Coquelet has worked alongside him since early childhood. Damian's 2016 Chiroubles VV is a beautiful wine showing bright aromas of ripe raspberry, morello chery, violet and citrus, really quite pretty. There is a lively mineral attack on the palate with earthy plum, cherry and raspberry fruit that is sappy, earthy and long. Quite lovely now, this should really sing after a few years of cellaring. Highly recommended! David Lillie
Georges Descombes has created another superb Morgon in 2020 - not as bright perhaps as the 2014 (pictured) but with a similar balance of alcohol (13%), freshness and very ripe sappy fruit. The wine shows a bright, vivid red/black color with earth, violet and citrus notes mingling with lovely raspberry and blackberry aromas. The palate is ripe, silky and well-structured with fresh, velvety raspberry, cherry and blackberry fruit, with earth and mineral notes bringing texture and length to the sappy, lingering finish. This is a beautiful Morgon to serve cool with farm chicken, grilled pork and lamb, cow cheeses and charcuterie over the next 4 - 5 years. David Lillie
2020 was the first vintage of "L'Aube à Javernières" and the first Desvignes wine to not be 100% cru Morgon, coming from a parcel of 20 to 30-year-old vines in deep clay soils on the edge of Javernières, just below the Cote du Py hill. The grapes are harvested by hand and the winemaking is consistent with most of the Desvignes wines, undergoing semi-carbonic fermentation and aged in concrete with no punchdowns. The 2022 is a fresh and exuberant expression of Gamay with beautiful ripeness, showing red fruit and cool herbs on the nose, backed by earthy acidity that creates wonderful tension and a long finish that makes it a versatile pairing partner. Absolutely delicious and a great value for anyone who loves serious Beaujolais!
The 2022 Desvignes Morgon "Cote de Py" is from 2.2 hectares of parcels on the Côte du Py, which is famous for its roche pourrie or "rotten rock" of manganese-rich, decomposed schist and its structured, long-lived wines. The vines are around 70 years old and have a cooler NE exposure at the top of the hill. They are certified-organic and harvested by hand. Generally around 50% of the bunches are left whole with the other 50% destemmed and put together into closed concrete vats for a partly carbonic fermentation; maceration is 13-14 days with a submerged cap and no punchdowns. The 2022 Côte du Py was aged in concrete egg for 10 months. This is a beautiful wine showing a bit more density and black fruits than the Javenieres. The color is a deep black/red with light rim. The aromas are deep and elegant - blackberry, black cherry, earth and licorice with mineral, sous-bois and citrus notes. The palate is dense and deep with black fruit liqueur, ripe and well structured with firm tannins. Black fruits, firm acicity and mineral flavors merge in the long finish - a wine to cellar for five years and then enjoy until 2035, but the tannins are supple and the sapid fruit makes this enjoyable young as well. Lovely wine. David Lillie
Claude-Emannuelle and Louis-Benoit are the seventh generation of winemakers at Desvignes and the domain was one of the first in Morgon to "estate-bottle" beginning in 1955. "The spirit of our vinification is between the Beaujolais carbonic maceration and a Burgundy vinification," she says. The parcel "Javernieres," on the lower southeast corner of the Cote de Py, is considered by the Desvignes as their best terroir. Here the thicker topsoil with more clay and iron oxide gives a more generous wine. The 2022 seems a bit softer and more generous that the "Cote de Py" showing a deep red/garnet color, with aromas of black raspberry, cherry and strawberry, floral and elegant. The palate is beautifully textured with chalky red and black fruits with floral, spice and citrus notes. This has an elegant and full-bodied roundness, but with the acidity and tannin to allow long-term aging. Serve a bit cool and enjoy now, best after 3 to 5 years and then until 2035+ David Lillie
2022 Desvignes "Aux Pierres" - 2020 was the first vintage from this new parcel in the historic lieu-dit of Javernières at the foot of the famous Côte du Py hill. "Aux Pierres" comes from this 0.57-hectare plot of 90-year-old vines on a steep, east-facing slope. The soils are iron-rich, red clay with schist, pyrite and decomposed volcanic rocks. The wine is aged in 30-hectoliter concrete egg for 10 months. The Desvignes family considers "Aux Pierres" to be a true vin de garde. While we loved the austere elegance and depth of the 2021 "Aux Pierres," it has taken a more "solaire" and generous vintage to bring out the greatness in these old vines and this unique terroir. "It has a very complex mineral-driven bouquet with dark cherries, tea-leaves and crushed stone, floral scents emerging with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins. This is very pure in style, beautifully balanced with a satin textured finish that is one of the most caressing you will find this vintage. Outstanding." - Neal Martin Vinous. We couldn't agree more - cellar for 5 years then drink until 2040 - or open a few days in advance, recork, then enjoy!
Jean-Paul Brun's Chardonnay comes from 35 year-old vines grown on sandy clay and limestone soils in the southern Beaujolais and is raised in stainless steel (no oak). Bright aromas of peach, apricot, lemon zest, and thyme lead to flavors of pure white fruits, juicy lime, crisp orange blossom, subtle herbal undertones, and a long chalky finish. Paired with salad, seafood,chicken, goat milk cheeses, or nothing at all, this is a beautiful choice and great value in white Burgundy!
L'Ancien comes from Jean Paul Brun's home village of Charnay in the southern Beaujolais. The vines range in age from 40 to 60 years old and are planted on slopes sporting the area's signature sandy clay-limestone soils, featuring the particular local "dorée" or "golden" limestone that is laden with iron. These older vines have always been farmed organically and harvested by hand and yield small, thick-skinned Gamay berries. As for all Terres Dorées reds, the vinification is traditional Burgundian rather than the normal carbonic maceration in Beaujolais. The 2022 shows a bright deep red color. The aromas are high-toned and ripe with red currant, raspberry and wild strawberry, quite bright and floral. The palate shows lush, ripe berry fruits backed by citrusy acidity, quite refreshing. The finish is long and sappy with bright red fruits and tart acidity - stock-up on this crowd-pleasing Beaujolais!
100% Gamay. Always our favorite Nouveau! The Terres Dorées L'Ancien vines are Jean Paul's oldest vines at 40-60 years old. They grow on the sandy clay-limestone hills in his home village of Charnay in the southern Beaujolais and yield small, thick-skinned berries. The farming is organic and harvest manual. The earliest harvest of these vines goes into his Nouveau. Unlike any other Nouveau out there, there is no carbonic maceration (true for all of his Gamays). The bunches are destemmed, the fruit crushed and fermented with native yeasts in tank, notably with no chaptalization; it is aged briefly, though longer than most Nouveaux, and bottled in time to land in the states by the third Thursday in November. The 2023 version shows lovely aromas of ripe cherry and blackberry with citrus and floral notes; the palate is dense, sappy and ripe with deep red and black fruits and hints of earth, citrus and cocoa. This is a seriously delicious Nouveau and bodes well for the 2023 vintage wines to come...
Paul-Henri Thillardon began with 3 hectares of family vineyards in 2008, then acquired 2 hectares in Chénas, always worked with organic/biodynamic methods and has been certified organic since 2011. Vinifications here are semi-carbonic, with a long maceration but gentle extraction. "Vibrations" is an assemblage of all of the domaine's Chénas parcels, including some fruit from their top site, "Chassignol", bottled with zero So2 additions. Pretty, ethereal aromas of juicy, red berry fruit and high-toned floral notes, combine with subtle, flinty-mineral notes. Light-bodied and vibrant, with lots of energy from the lively acidity and bright red-fruit flavors, and supple tannins. Drinking very well now, and should continue to evolve over the next 3-5 years. Punchy, racy fun with saucisson before dinner, but with enough earthy soul to shine magret of duck. This is sensational Chénas and “Vibrations” is an apt name for the cuvée—it’s just humming and strumming with energy!
The 2010 Château Bellegrave is something serious. Not an outright meaty wine, it's savory in more of an alluring, herbaceous, mint-and-tobacco way. An hour open reveals a nose of red fruit, flavors of dark minerals and plum, and a bracing structure of lean edges and good acidity. The crucial stuffing, the attractive, semi-plump middle, forms after three hours or so of air. At this point, the wine's aromas and flavors have expanded, too. Dashes of extra-dark cocoa and dried cherries hum under more pungent and lasting aromas of black pepper, leather and smoke. A subtle, bitter kiss of ground espresso and an even subtler peck of mint give pleasurable nuance to a palate of dates, plum, and red currants. No cellaring needed, drink this today - just open it at 5 if your meal begins at 8. David Hatzopoulos
The second label to Chateau Fonroque, Chateau Cartier sees none of the estate's Cabernet Franc. The Merlot that goes into this wine comes from under the limestone plateau of St.-Emilion, picked from biodynamically farmed vines on the limestone-clay and silty clay soils of the slopes and bottom-slopes. All fruit is picked by hand. The wine was fermented naturally and aged in a mixture of 75% barrel and 25% concrete vats. A very impressive partner to Fonroque, mimicking the minerally character that the estate is known for. The nose delivers scents of dark flowers and rich baked fruit - strawberry, cherry, blueberry. The palate shows deep red and black cherry and plum, with accents of warm cedar and herbs. There is great minerality, which lends the wine a structure of supreme freshness, but a textural softness making the wine quite delicious now. The 2019 vintage was unusually hot in mid-summer so harvest was early - "the result was a rich, harmonious wine with a silky texture. Its classicism makes 2019 one of our best vintages" says the Fonroque/Cartier website.
Alice, Julien's daughter, is the inspiration for the name of this wine, which is a selection from six parcels on south facing clay/limestone slopes in the domaine, fermented and aged in used 500L barrels ("Barriques") for 16 months. A blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc, the wine has fantastic balance and smooth integrated tannins, partly from the fruit and partly from the barrel aging, with nice subtle flavors of oak here. There's no reason not to open it now to have with a satisfying meal, but of the Chateau Brandeau wines, it is the most suited for aging over the next 5 years. As a fan of 2019 Bordeaux reds, I'll be putting some away to have when dinner calls for Bordeaux in a few years! -EL
A perfect treat for Thanksgiving - a Bordeaux that drinks like a Beaujolais! Banzai is a tasty, pure Merlot expression from clay and limestone soils in Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux. The grapes are carefully destemmed and see a short and light maceration for 7-8 days, in what is called 'infusion style,' meaning there is no pumping over or any kind of aggressive agitation of the skins and juice, which are allowed to ferment with less extraction (less grippy tannins). It's Merlot, so it's ripe enough and has plenty of material to maintain an ideal medium-bodied expression, but it's also light in a way, not in the glass necessarily but on the palate and in terms of drinkability. For $18 it's a no-brainer as a perfect medium bodied and silky red. No intervention during fermentation or aging, with small addition of SO2 at bottling.
Julien likes to dance, I learned this the night I met him. No wonder he has a wine with people dancing on the label, and also no wonder that it's a carbonic maceration "glou glou" style blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon that you would never guess could taste this gulpable. If you want to have the stamina to dance all night while drinking wine, this is your bottle! The grapes come from sandy soils on top of clay, and Julien liked the idea of doing carbonic maceration with whole clusters to preserve all of the fresh fruit notes and come out with a very light-bodied red. What's nice is that because of the grape varieties employed here, the wine has lots of flavor and doesn't come across as thin or devoid of character. Quite the contrary, it stands out, maybe as the funky one, but would you rather listen to funk or classical when you're dancing? -EL
Château Fonroque is a superb certified biodynamic and organic estate near Saint-Émilion. Owned by the Moueix family since 1931, the estate is a proponent of traditional wine-making techniques with hand harvesting, spontaneous yeasts, and limited use of new oak. An elegant Bordeaux with precise minerality, the wine is a blend of Merlot (80%) and Cabernet Franc (20%) of 35-year-old vines planted on limestone soils with some portions of clay on the hillside of the vineyard. The wine is fermented with native yeast in concrete vats and then aged in oak (with 30% new), keeping the freshness of the vintage. The resulting wine is a Bordeaux with energy and tension, bright calcareous minerality, great acidity and grippy tannin. On the nose, the bouquet is complex and lively with crunchy cranberry and black cherry, tart dark berries, dried tobacco leaves, Moroccan spices, earth, purple flower and savory notes. Drinking beautifully now, pair this wine with classic fare, such a steak, roasted rack of lamb, duck breast and full-flavored cheese, or age it for an additional 15 years.
Chateau Micalet, with a few hectares in the commune of Lamarque was classified "Cru Artisan" by Feret in 1893. Acquired by the Fedieu family in 1972 the estate was enlarged slightly, never using herbicides, and with a new generation the conversion to organic agriculture was started in 2006. The estate now has 10 hectares on deep beds of gravel, planted at 8,000 pieds/hectare; the normal blend is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot - and 7% Petit Verdot, a grape the Fedieus feel is particularly important. The grapes are harvested by hand and undergo a 3 to 4 week fermentation, the wine ages in barrique, 30% new. The nose on the Haut Medoc has dark plummy cassis fruit, with hints of vanilla and baking spice. Young leather notes and dark gravel tones as well. A little floral with dark violets and roses. The palate has deep, lush black cherry. Graphite and iron on the tongue give an earthy glimmer. Medium acid and soft tannin, but great density at its core and terriic length. Drink up - this is a sensational value for a very good Haut-Medoc!
65% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec. Harvest by hand, natural fermentation, and zero new oak. Château Cru Godard’s vines grow on southerly exposed hillsides adjacent to the Saint-Emilion appellation, geographically closer to Bergerac than to the city of Bordeaux. The wine is fermented by indigenous yeast in stainless steel tanks and is then matured 50% in tank and 50% in used barriques that have seen two passages. The 2019 has a dark ruby robe. The nose offers aromas of sweet black fruits, tobacco, and cocoa. The mid-weight palate has soft flavors of black cherry, cassis, blackberry, and coffee framed by savory earth notes and fine-grained tannins. A great value!
"Chateau Ferriere was certified organic in 2015 and biodynamic in 2018. It is one of the rare Classified Growths to be biodynamic certified, not only in its vineyard, but also in the cellar. Ferriere develops its own wild yeast starter culture, avoids any input during vinification and limits the addition of sulfur to the strict minimum. 20% of the wine is aged in small ovoid concrete vats, developed by the property in 2012, and the biggest part of the ageing takes place in oak barrels. Born of this approach are wines that are more mineral, fresh and vibrant that fully express the terroir, without embellishment nor artifice." - Ferriere website "The 2016 Ferriere is a dense, full-bodied wine that will need a few years in bottle to shed some of its tannins. Old vines imbue the 2016 with a palpable sense of power and resonance that comes through in the wine's dark, somber personality. Blackberry, smoke and gravel are some of the notes that build as the 2016 opens in the glass." - Vinous 2018 The wine is drinking beautifully in 2023, but a decant is advised, or cellar and enjoy until 2040+
This over-achieving but little known Saint-Emilion is situated southwest of the town of Saint-Emilion, just below Ch. Magdelaine, on the steep slope of limestone with clay and sandy soils that descends from the plateau. The vines are partly in a natural amphitheatre, facing south with great sun exposure and protection from north winds. The estate was purchased from the Moueix family in 2004 by Denise and Stephen Adams and is now certified organic and Biodynamic. The blend is roughly 95% merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc, aging is 50% in new barrels, 30% in one year-old barrels and 20% in concrete egg and anfora. This complex and elegant Bordeaux will be perfect with fall and winter meals, and it would be a great hoilday gift as well. "It has a beautiful nose, very pure and bright, showing limestone freshness with taut, tense, black-cherry fruit. The palate shows a minerally, defined, taut fruit expression, with black cherry stone, black plum and damson, wrapped in a keen texture and underpinned by nicely grained tannins. Fresh, reserved, very structured, with ripeness but also tense elegance. Pure, cool and very long. Well done." The Wine Doctor
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 2019 shows a dark garnet color and lovely aromas of ripe cassis and blackberry with floral, cedar, brown spice and stone, really quite pretty. The palate is elegant and well-structured with deep cassis and red fruits over firm acidity with earth and mineral flavors. The wine is powerful but nicely balanced, with terrific length. This is a real Bordeaux of terroir that is delicious now especially if decanted many hours in advance or opened the night before. Serve with a steak or griled pork - cellaring for ten to fifteen years will create a lovely mature wine. David Lillie
Chateau La Grolet has been certified organic and Biodynamic since 2000. Double Guyot pruning, spontaneous winter grass cover. Soil tillage during the spring, every other row ploughed. Treatments combining small quantities of Bordeaux mixture with herbal teas such as horsetail or nettle. The blend is 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet-Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet-Franc, 5% Malbec. The Hubert family's great farming creates this sensational value Bordeaux which is truly a subtle, complex and profound wine. The 2021 shows a bright garnet color and very pretty aromas of wild berries, violet and rose petal. The palate is really lovely with pure black raspberry and cassis fruit in a light, elegant frame - at 12% alcohol the wine is quite pure and refreshing, a perfect Bordeaux for summer sipping or with lighter grilled foods. Serve a bit cool and enjoy!
One half of the vineyard of Château Haut-Bages Libéral is located on the historic plateau of Bages (gravelly soil), while the other half directly overlooks the Gironde on a limestone hill. The presence of limestone in the vineyard brings a touch of freshness and minerality to the style of the wine, making it unique within the Pauillac appellation. Since the 2000s, biodiversity has been at the heart of all the viticultural practices at Château Haut-Bages Libéral. The plots are surrounded by hedges and trees of various species, and they are gradually planted in the heart of the vines. The soils are covered by permanent grassing or by seedlings (rye, mustard, clover, broad beans, lupines, etc.). The estate is certified organic since 2019 and Biodynamic since 2021. The 2019 is a gorgeous wine, complex and powerful with a more fresh and mineral character than most "modern" Bordeaux. Decant if drinking now, or cellar and enjoy until 2040+
Claire Villars-Lurton (G & C Lurton of Ferriere, Haut-Bages Liberal and Durfort-Vivens) has dramatically elevated the quality of this unknown Margaux, achieving organic certification in 2016 and Biodynamic certification in 2018. The 2019 is 54% Cabernet-Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 6% Petit-Verdot. 12 months ageing: 60% in barrels and 40% in ovoid tanks. The vintage is characterised by the elegance of the tannins, thanks to an exceptional late season where hot days alternated with cool nights. 2019 Château La Gurgue is marked by an exuberant nose of black fruits, the wine is ample with a beautiful finish and a lot of freshness. Perhaps the greatest value in Margaux!
The Chateau Micalet Haut-Medoc "Origine" is from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and 20% Petit Verdot grown on deep beds of gravel in Lamarque. The Fedieu family created this wine to be a slightly lighter and more ready-to-drink version of their Haut-Medoc, with a shorter cuvaison and without aging in wood. The Origine has a beautiful nose, with ripe blackberries, dried blueberries and an elegant combo of orange peel and clove. On the palate, the wine is full and bold, with black pepper, dark cherry and a zesty accent of cassis and plum peel. Structurally, the wine shows just enough generous texture, a mineral zing, and medium acid. A fantastic buy at under $20! David Hatzopoulos
This year's Quintessence from the famille Hubert's estate in the Cotes de Bordeaux is composed of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon from beautiful biodynamically farmed vines on clay limestone soils. The nose is dense and ripe on opening, showing ripe cassis, blackberry and raspberry, with hints of warming spice. With time open, the wine shows increasingly complex aromatic qualities, with more tobacco and earth coming through by hour 4 or 5. On the palate, the fruit is again ripe and dense, with cassis liqueur, ripe blackberry, and black cherry balanced by bristly tannins and limestone minerality on the long finish. After some time open, the palate leans more towards cacao and earth, but the ripe fruit remains dominant. A pleasure now with butter basted rib eye steak or roast beef, it will certainly improve over the next 10 to 15 years...
Biodynamic farming, native yeasts, wild fermentations, great 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. The 2021 has just arrived in NY - we'll taste it this Saturday, Oct 21st at the store, from 4 till 7pm....
'Sous la Velle' faces due east and is another parcel high above the valley. The vines average sixty years old though some are as old as ninety. This is a show-stopping wine. The nose and palate show lemon curd, white flowers, and limeade, with accents of buttery croissant and spice. The limestone here adds power and presence, aided by incredible acidity. This is absolutely top class white Burgundy and not to be missed. It was a bit more reserved on the nose, clearly this will age beautifully and as the only white that seemed a bit reserved overall (yet clearly showing fantastic potential), we'd recommend putting this one down for a little while.
'Sous la Velle' faces due east and is another parcel high above the valley. The vines average sixty years old though some are as old as ninety. This is a show-stopping wine. The nose and palate show lemon curd, white flowers, and limeade, with accents of buttery croissant and spice. The limestone here adds power and presence, aided by incredible acidity. This is absolutely top class white Burgundy and not to be missed. It was a bit more reserved on the nose, clearly this will age beautifully and as the only white that seemed a bit reserved overall (yet clearly showing fantastic potential), we'd recommend putting this one down for a little while.
What a difference 2 kilometers makes! Bruno Dangin's Crémant de Bourgogne is made from 100% Pinot Noir from organically farmed vines in Molesme, located just beneath the southern border of Champagne's Aube.The limestone rich soils are the same as those of their pricier neighbor to the north. Boasting a fine bead and soft mousse and aromas of red fruits and autolyse, one would be hard pressed to spot the difference. The palate offers great depth, pure pinot fruit, and a suave, layered, persistent finish. This is a great value in bubbles and will grace the holiday table nicely. John McIlwain
From the Bouchard bros, a fabulous textbook Chablis even from such a hot vintage! Lovely minerality and yellow apple/citrus aromas on the nose. The palate bursts with juicy lemonade with a chalky undercurrent. An elegant finish clocking in at 12.5%, truly excellent! Giselle Hamburg
The Guillemot-Michel "Une Bulle" comes from a tiny parcel of old vine Chardonnay on limestone with red clay, high in iron. The wine is a Pet-Nat (Methode Ancestrale) that is bottled after a short period of fermentation, leaving enough sugar in the wine for the fermentation to continue and create the desired bubbles. The wine is aged in bottle on the lees for around 18 months, then riddled and disgorged and re-bottled with a bit more "Une Bulle." The result is a very delicious aged Pet-Nat showing honeyed aromas of pear and white peach with hints of almond, marzipan and brioche. On the palate the mousse is soft and creamy with flavors of peach and quince with lime-flower and minerals and a long finish of white fruits, citrus peel and firm acidity. This is a delightful wine to sip by itself or pair with mild cheeses, patés and terrines, fruit desserts.. David Lillie
We're extremely happy to have the wines of Guillemot-Michel back at Chambers Street! Along with Jean and Gautier Thevenet, and Julien Guillot at Vignes du Maynes, they are making white Burgundies with more depth and minerality than anything comparably priced in the Cote D'Or. The cool, low-yielding 2021 vintage takes us back to the style of the superb old-fashioned Macon wines of Jean Thevenet at Domaine de la Bongran. The 2021 "Quintaine" shows a lovely bright gold color with aromas that open with o hint of botrytis, followed by very floral ripe, slightly honeyed exotic fruits, with earth and mineral notes, just beautiful! The palate is ripe and generous but dry, with cool acidity and perfect structure. White and yellow fruits, citrus and minerals coat the palate leading into another hint of botrytis in the long finish. Serve this gorgeous wine with full-flavored fish dishes, chicken and white meats, goat cheeses or just sip and enjoy. Warning! This is not a bland, acidic, light-bodied Macon Chaardonnay - it's a remarkably complex, full-bodied, slightly botrytized wine with fabulous density and length....
Created in 2017, this cuvee is issued from grapes in the "Champ-Rond" vineyard, vinified in amphora of 800 liters. The 65 year-old vines are grafted on "Riparia Gloire de Montpellier" an old root-stock obtained in 1880, giving very low yields with magnificent small grapes, of a deep gold color. The 2021 Retour a la Terre presents the exotic notes typical of the domaine with an extra dimension of expression due to the respiration of the amphora. The small grapes of "Champ-Rond" ripen beautifully without a high degree of alcohol - they are picked on the last day of the harvest, and the elevage in amphora gives the wine a great purity. The wine shows elegant floral, white fruit, apricot, lemon and stone aromas. The palate is round, dense and silky with fabulous length and perfect acidity. This is a superb white Burgundy that is delicious now and will cellar beatifully for fifteen to twenty years. Highly recommended! David Lillie
The Jobard Rully "En Villerange" is from a 2 hectare parcel of 70 year-old vines on a well-exposed slope facng south-south-east with clay/limestone soils. Bright, light gold color. This is aromatically quite complex and pretty with pear, stone fruits, citrus, melon and lime-flower with a hint of oak. Opens up beautifully with aeration. The palate is racy and elegant with perfect stony acidity under white fruits, citrus, peach and mineral flavors. Very delicious and refreshing now, or after 3 to 5 years of cellaring. This is a great value in white Burgundy and very versatile at the table! (we can't resist including Claudie's list of suggested pairings: Soufflé au beaufort, Volaille en sauce blanche, Jambon persillé, Blanquette de veau, Viandes blanches, Lapin à la moutarde, Terrine de saumon, Pâtés, terrines, rillettes, Filets de volaille en sauce, Crabe, gambas vapeur, Cuisses de grenouilles, Moules à la crème) And please invite me...
As easy as it is to forget the quality of Auxey-Duresses Blanc, it's just as easy to overlook the sensational quality of Domaine Lafouge. The Auxey-Duresses Blanc Les Hautés (from the lieu dit situated next to Les Vireuils in Meursault) displays a fine balance of white floral aromas (acacia and honeysuckle) with white orchard fruits on the nose. The palate is racy and mineral with pear and nectarine fruit vying for attention with a good degree of mineral cut. This is pretty and a fine value in white Burgundy.
Generally considered the greatest of Chablis' Premier Cru vineyards, Montée de Tonnerre is one of only two that share the same hillside and exposition with the Grand Crus. While it may not have all the breadth and power of those vineyards, it nonetheless produces wines of great intensity that can be aged for many years.
"Vaillons" is one of the best-known of the great Chablis sites and rightly so. The hill rises high and steep above its neighbors, looking down over "Les Pargues" and "Forets" to the east, and the wine the site produces has a similar feeling of power and presence.
Importer note from Martine's Wines: "From a well-situated plot, this 0.13-hectare parcel of vines was planted in 1996 at the top of the vineyard and is located on the Chassagne side. There is no trimming on this site and it is plowed by horse. Aged 16 months in 350 L oak barrels, 50% new. Unfiltered."
Les Frionnes is a Premier cru located south of the town of Gamay, between Saint Aubin and Chassagne Montrachet. Thibault Morey has good company here with neighbors like Lamy and Prudhon. Average vine age is 40 to 60 years old. The wine is aged for 10 months in 228 and 350 L oak barrels, 30% new and 70% two-year-old barrels.
Seichii's Hautes Cotes de Beaune Blanc is from a small vineyard in the village of Nantoux, slightly north-west of Pommard. The vineyard is biodynamically farmed and harvest is by hand with careful selection. Aging is in barrel for about a year, and bottling is without fining or filtration and with a minimal addition of SO2.
Beaune 1er Cru "Les Coucherias" is a steep parcel high on the slope, on the site of an old quarry and much of the sub-soil is limestone tailings, permitting root penetration and drainage, with a topsoil of mixed clay and limestone "marnes blanches." In biodynamic agriculture since 1979, the vineyard is a south-facing semi-circle—a very warm spot giving a full, ripe wine. (tasted from a 12 year-old barrel) Light gold/brass color. Lovely aromas of pear, quince, lime-flower and ripe citrus. The palate is elegant and supple, with white fruits, almond, citrus and caramel framed in firm acidity and mineral flavors, showing good ripeness but finishing with firm stony acidity. Lovely wine. Delicious now, this should age gracefully till 2035 and beyond.
Located toward the bottom of the slope beneath Beaune Grèves and adjacent to Les Cents Vignes, Clos des Mariages is a mix of young and very old vines planted in clay and limestone soils. The lovely 2022 Blanc shows high-toned aromas of lime-flower, melon, pear, wet stone and honeysuckle. The palate is light and silky with pear, apple and citrus flavors with chalky minerals and herbal notes in the refreshing finish. Superb in 2022, the wine combines lush, lovely fruit with bright acidity and a real mineral presence. Delicious now, but in 5 - 10 years it will be quite special. David Lillie
About a kilometer or two northwest of the Beaune 1er Crus, La Grande Chatelaine is a cooler site with soils comprised of clay over limestone. The 2022 Clos de la Grande Chatelain is 90% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Blanc and Pinot Beurot. This is a great vintage for the Grande Chatelaine - it's classy and elegant wine with fresh cool-toned aromatics of white flowers, nectarine, rainwater, and pear skin. The medium-bodied palate is a little warmer toned offering flavors of nectarine, white peach, and crushed herb with a fairly savory finish. Beautiful wine, and a very elegant pairing with Thanksgiving dinner.
Seguin-Manuel has flown under the radar for many years, making really pretty elegant Burgundies in both colors. They farm organically, use a minimum of new oak and produce wines that speak of their origins. This is an excellent Bourgogne Blanc (Chardonnay) that is not marked by new oak notes, and has a very balanced mid-palate with some weight and good acidity.
A non-vintage blend from parcels in Avize, Cramant, Oger, and Oiry Sourced from Chardonnay vines between 20 and 50 years in age. Comprised of two vintages, the older of the two aged in wood, while the newer vintage is aged in tank. Above all Terroirs is a testament to the expression of chalk.
Charme Noir is a new offering from Champange Ponson, who we have come to trust for outstanding quality at very affordable prices. A blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, and Pinot Noir, from estate vineyards farmed organically in the Petite Montagne 1er Cru. A fantastic value, with nice cut and a touch of richness and a broad mid-palate.
A blend of Pinot Noir (50%), Chardonnay (25%), and Pinot Blanc (25%) from organically farmed vines grown in Kimmeridgian soils in Celles-Sur-Ource in the Aube. Initial fermentation is with indigenous yeast in tank, and the wine spends 30 months on the lees before disgorgement. There's a lot of character to this well-priced Champagne that makes for a fine aperitif, as well as having the stuffing to enjoy with roasted fish, chicken, or strong cheeses.3/gl dosage. John McIlwain
Aurélien Laherte decided to retool his previous Brut Rosé Ultradition Champagne and focus on one exclusively made from Pinot Meunier. This Champagne combines 60% immediately pressed Meunier blended with 30% macerated Meunier and 10% still red Meunier (most rosé Champagnes only opt for one of these methods of production). This wine has a deep salmon robe with delicate flavors of wild cherry, salty plum, dried tarragon, and a sharp streak of chalky minerality. A Champagne with both finesse and structure, you can serve this as an aperitif or pair this with lighter meats or a rare filet mignon!
Vincent Laval's Les Hauts Chèvres Blanc de Noirs bottling comes from a parcel on the western portion of the slope of Cumières. Formerly comprised of Pinot Noir from very old vines (which have since been replanted), the wine is now made from venerable Pinot Meunier vines planted between 1931 and 1947 in the same lieu-dit. One could call this a "serious" Pinot Meunier, without the sometimes unbridled character the variety sometimes displays, due to the old vines and longtime organic farming of the dedicated Laval family, but that would understate the sheer deliciousness of the wine, which should only grow as the structural and fruit elements knit. -JCM
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 chalky rather than the clays of other portions of the village. This is a particularly powerful blanc de blancs. Don't hesitate to age for 10 or more years, as tastings with Vincent have shown that Les Chênes is a particularly long-lived wine and a magnificent expression of singular terroir. -JCM
Vincent Laval's wines are simply outstanding. Located in the warm village of Cumières in the southern Montagne de Reims, this Domaine is so tiny that, without a tip-off, you'd never know it existed. The Lavals have been farming organically since 1971, making their Domaine one of the longest standing organic Domaines in the region. Their "basic" (though, trust us, there's nothing basic about it) Cumières is generally 50/50 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The grapes are harvested very ripe. enabling the wine to find balance without the addition of a dosage. We can't find the words to lavish sufficient praise upon this wine. The bubbles are perfectly fine and creamy, the aromas rich, earthy, and pretty, the palate broad yet chiseled, and the finish mouth-coating and mineral-driven.
The rare Saignée rosé is a Brut Nature offering from Laval, a 50/50 blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
From the Grand Cru village of Verzenay on the northern slope of the Montagne de Reims, this is a Blanc de Noir of Pinot Noir, disgorged in February '23, with zero dosage. 18 mg/l total sulfites, 2072 bottles produced.
A perpetual cuvée comprised of 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay from Verzy, farmed organically (certified), and fermented in used barrel. Aged 40 months sur latte.
The Pommard "Les Vignots" is from south-facing vines situated on the Montagne de Pommard, in a terroir of clay-marl. These 35 year-old vines grow in high elevation, about 330 meters above sea-level. (The name stems from a parcel of vines remaining on this site that survived a desvastating insect attack that destroyed much of the Burgundy vineyard in the 1700s) The grapes are hand harvested and undergo a long fermentation in stainless steel tanks, punched-down and vatted for 18-25 days. The wine ages in a cold cellar on lees in barrels, 30% of which are new. The 2020 is a deep purple/red in the glass with aromas of plum and black cherry with some earth and pepper notes. The palate is big, earthy and nicely textured with dark cherry, plum and black raspberry, full-bodied but balanced with nice acidity. This is certainly a big wine for Burgundy, drinking well now but benefits from some air - it will come together nicely with a few years in the cellar. Jeff DiLorenzo
Importer tech info: "Located on the southern end of Beaune, bordering the 1er Crus, on mostly clay soils. 40-year-old vines. Produced in two tanks, whole cluster in one tank, 100% destemmed in another. Three-week maceration. Aged 12 months on lees in stainless steel."
Importer tech note: "From two plots planted in 1980 totaling .45 hectares. The grapes are partly destemmed, followed by cold maceration for ten days and by vatting for 3 to 6 weeks and frequent pumping over. Aged between 12 and 15 months in oak barrels (20% new)."
100% Pinot noir. Organic. 60-year-old vines. It sees 25% whole cluster and 16 months in 33% new oak. David Croix begin his winemaking career straight out of viticulture school when he took over the reigns at Camille Giroud (as well as working with Guy Roulot), when he was just 24 years old. In 2016 he quit his day job to focus entirely on his own small domaine, which he purchased back in 2005.
100% Pinot Noir. Organic. sourced from the brown clay and Jurassic limestone terroir known as "Corton limestone." As with many clay-rich sites, this bottling sees more stems—40% whole-cluster in this case.
The Claudie Jobard Beaune 1er Cru "Les Epenottes" is a mix of young and old vines in stony iron-rich soil over the limestone next to Pommard "Les Epenots." The wine shows a bright deep red color with aromas of ripe black cherry and earth with game and floral notes. The palate is dense with lush black fruits, earth, mint and stone flavors and a chalky texture. This can be enjoyed now but a few years of cellaring should open this up drmatically as the material is there, enjoy until 2038. 13% alcohol. DL (Serve with roast lamb, pork or beef, gamebirds, farm chicken)
Claudie made a tiny quantity of this wine due to the low yeilds in 2021, from old vines in three parcels - En Boeuf, La Combotte and Vaumuriens. The wine shows a relatively light red/garnet color with bright aromas of black cherry, raspberry, violet and earth, subtle and very pretty. Darker fruit, spice and earth notes emege on the palate which is dense but not at all heavy, wrapped in firm mineral flavors and well-structured but supple tannins, with terrific length. 13% alcohol. This very elegant Pommard can be enjoyed now but should really sing after five years of cellaring. DL (Serve with duck, farm chicken, rabbit, charcuterie)
Pierre Fenals has slowly patched together a collection of vineyards in Burgundy, with some tiny plots he owns and others he manages and farms. L'Etrange is Pinot Noir, with a touch of Aligoté and Gamay, fermented with native yeasts and vinified and bottled without the addition of sulfur. Opened recently with friends, this was ready to go, with bright red fruit, and perfect acidity! -EL
The Perrin Aloxe-Corton "Les Boutieres" is from a parcel at the southern tip of Aloxe-Corton, bordering Chorey and Savigny-les-Beaune. The name refers to an ancient road that continued up though Savigny and Pernand-Vergelesses used by mule-drivers carrying "boutes' - goat-skins filled with wine, (sometimes from Etruria and Campania (!) as early as the 2nd century BC). One of the best known village level Aloxe sites, these vines are planted in quite deep clay soils full of iron oxide (red mud that sticks to your shoes). This is a classic Boutieres, with vivid red fruit and a meaty salty character somewhat obscured at present by vigorous tannic structure. The color is quite dark, deep ruby, garnet, it has aromas of small red fruits (raspberry, strawberry, cherry) and black fruits (blackcurrant, blackberry). Its accents intensify with air: jams and fruits in brandy, pistachio, prunes, truffle, cinnamon. It's by no means unapproachable but 4-6 years in the cellar will bring everything into high definition. Serve with red meats, grilled or in sauce, roasted poultry, game, without forgetting soft and washed-rind cheeses: Epoisses, Ami du Chambertin, Livarot...
This excellent parcel is a continuation of the Corton hill, adjacent to the Corton 1er Crus. The Perrin "Joyeuses" shows a brilliant garnet with purplish reflections. Raspberry, cherry, candied or brandy and ripe fruit fill the bouquet. We also encounter spicy notes (clove), coffee or cocoa. On the palate, we find all the finesse of the fruit aromas with good structure and just the right amount of tannins. Serve with jambon cru, rabbit, beef, and feathered game and mild-flavored cheeses such as Vacherin, Reblochon, Cîteaux, etc. Best after 4 to 6 years in the cellar, but delicious now as well.
The Perrin Ladoix "Briquottes" is from another part of the quarries that used to cover this slope, just below the 1er Cru "Les Grechons" - the stone was cut into "briques" that were wrapped in paper and put between the bed covers in the winter. Beautiful garnet color with purplish reflections. On the nose, the bouquet opens with very floral, bright red fruits (raspberry, strawberry, blackcurrant) and jam. On the palate, we find an elegant light body with all the finesse of the fruits with silky tannins and a chalky texture with a bit of earth and minerals, finishing with firm acidity and sappy berry fruits. This red Ladoix will go well with beef, poultry and game birds, served a bit cool. Delicious now but best 2025 - 2030.
Celine Perrin's 2022 Bourgogne Rouge is a delightful wine showing a bright red/garnet color with floral high-toned cherry, strawberry and raspberry aromas. From 70 year-old Pinot Noir vines in and around Ladoix. There is sappy cherry fruit on the palate with plum skin, citrus, earth and mineral flavors that continue in the refreshing finish. This is a remarkable value - a beautiful, refreshing light-bodied Pinot Noir with gorgeous fruit, purity and length!
The Pernand-Vergelesses vineyard "Les Belles Filles" is a northern extension of the 1er crus "Iles des Vergelesses" and "En Carradeux," facing east and always giving a bright, refreshing style of Pinot Noir. 2021 is a refreshing change frm the previous three unusually hot dry years - the wine shows lovely ripeness with aromas of tart cherry, raspberry and violets with earth, smoke and mineral notes. There are sappy red and black fruits on the palate in a bright mineral frame with a long, lively finish. This is an elegant, very pretty Pinot Noir that will be lovely, served cool, with chicken and pork dishes, charcuterie and mild cheeses.
Aux Fournaux is a gently sloping, southwest-facing vineyard bracketed by the Les Lavières and Vergelesses premier crus, whose rocky iron-rich marl and limestone soils produce Burgundies with a fine balance of earthiness and elegant fruit. Rapet farms 50+ year old vines from both the lower part of the slope and the premier cru portion of the climat. This 'village' Aux Fournaux shows expressive aromas of black cherry, violets, woodsmoke, black currant, and Lapsang Souchong: the palate is ferrous and mineral with bright acidity providing lift to the layered, spicy dark fruit, game, and earth flavors.
The Rapet Bourgogne Rouge "En Bully" is from a tiny vineyard high on the back-side of Corton, at an altitude of 350 meters on the slope facing les Hautes-Côtes on the locality named La Grande Corvée de Bully. The soil here is limestone marl with a shallow top-layer, always giving a bright and pretty style of Pinot. The 2021 is just delicious, a bit lighter and brighter than the previous three vintages, showing a vibrant red color and very floral aromas of ripe, crushed berries, rose petal and earth. The palate is beautifully balanced with velvety cherry and raspberry fruit with mineral, earth and citrus notes that linger in the refreshing, sappy finish. Just a delightful red Burgundy - serve a bit cool and enjoy!
From the premier cru portion of the vineyard. The 2021 Rapet Savigny-Les-Beaune Aux Fournaux is a lovely wine from a decidedly difficult vintage, giving old-fashioned wine of Terroir. While yields were low, deft vignerons captured beautiful fruit character and fine terroir expression. On the nose there are aromas of dark berries, black cherries, hedge fruits, with background notes of black tea, dried orange peel, and hints of brown sugar. The medium weight palate shows very pure flavors of black fruits, game, and pungent, ferrous earthiness framed by ripe though, somewhat rustic tannins on a building finish. There is good energy here and the powerful flavors should integrate with the structure in the mid-term and drink beautifully for the next 5-12 years. ("Outstanding" from Burghound)
Jean-Claude Rateau has a large parcel in the 1er Cru Les Bressandes on a steep slope facing east with pebbly clay/limestone soils*, conducted in biodynamic farming since 1979. . Even with the minimal extraction practiced at the estate, the 2017 Bressandes shows a dense red/black color and aromas of black cherry and ripe strawberry, quite deep with sous-bois, violet, graphite and citrus. The palate is dense and chalky, but remains elegant and silky with blackberry, earth, cocoa and minerals with terrific length of red currant, earth and juicy acidity. This is a beautiful wine that will give great pleasure in its youth - it's a bit softer than the 2016 - and should be a superb mature wine as well, perhaps until 2035 and beyond. David Lillie
Jean-Claude Rateau has a large parcel in the 1er Cru Les Bressandes on a steep slope facing east with pebbly clay/limestone soils, conducted in biodynamic farming since 1979. The soil is warm and well-drained giving ripe, structured wines. There is a 21-day cuvaison with manual cap-punching followed by 18 months in old barrels. The 2020 is a superb wine that will age beautifully. The aromas are deep and complex with black fruits, earth, violets and spice. The palate is ripe and intense, elegant and beautifully balanced with red and black fruits, earth and saline mineral flavors. "Precise" is the word that came to mind, a great expression of this terroir, showing a bit more like a Grèves or Teurons in this vintage. Certainly interesting to taste now but best after five years of cellaring, and for many years after that. A great Burgundy for the cellar at a reasonable price! David Lillie
(This wine is just beautiful, not heavy, fragrant, supple. long - it will be on our table for Thanksgiving, along with the Chevalerie "Breteche.") Located toward the bottom of the slope beneath Beaune Grèves and adjacent to Les Cents Vignes, Clos des Mariages is a mix of young and very old vines planted in clay and brown limestone soils. "This fertile soil gives wines that are open and joyous, with delicate spice notes, giving great pleasure in their youth and capable of long-term aging." (J-C Rateau) Indeed the 2022 Clos des Mariages seems a bit fuller than the 2020 and 2021 but showing lovely brightness and balance, really a superb wine with gorgeious aromas, showing a bright mélange of black cherry, strawberry, red currant and raspberry with hints of spice, citrus, licorice and violet. The palate is very elegant showing dense, chalky fruit, sappy and ripe but with firm acidity and mineral flavors that continue in the very long, juicy finish. This is absolutely delicious now and should drink well continuously over the next ten to fifteen years. Beautiful wine! David Lillie
Jean-Claude says this wine, sourced from lieux-dits Beaux Fougets (clay soils) and Bons Feuvres (iron-rich soils) on the Pommard side of Beaune, always shows aromas of "cerises noires" (black cherries). The 2022 has a dark ruby, verging on purple robe. The ripe, lush nose is super-pretty with plummy dark fruit aromas with notes of violet, cassis, and spice box. The palate also tends towards black fruits (there's that black cherry!) but with lovely lightness and balance with savory herbal notes, and a brooding earthiness beneath the ripe, exuberant fruit. This showed a bit lighter than the "Mariages" and "Prevoles" but in a delightful and elegant way - give this a bit of aeration and it will be a very satisfying bottle with coq au vin or perhaps braised duck legs.
From vines grown in the calcareous clay soils of "Les Reversées" premier cru, toward the bottom of the hill in the center of the slope next to "Les Teurons," and below "Clos de la Mousse," exposed east and slightly north (hence "reversées" - wrong side of the hill.) Mostly young vines, massale selection from the Clos des Epenaux. Tjhe 2022 shows generous black cherry, boysenberry, notes of cherry pit and anise on the nose. Ripe mid-weight palate, lighter than "Bressandes," with 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 balanced and mineral palate-coating finish.. The purity of fruit and earth notes are finely balanced and this is an excellent Burgundy for the mid-term.
The 2022 Beaune Les Prévoles (a lieu-dit below 1er Cru Chouacheux and les Tuvilains) is the most structured and dense of the Rateau Beaune "village" reds, which shows beautiful ripe aromas of cherry and black raspberry with rose, earth, citrus and brown spice. The palate is chalky and sapid, showing the ripeness of the 2022s, with lush berry fruits enveloping firm acidity and mineral flavors. Really a lovely wine and quite delicous now, full enough for grilled meats, as well as chicken and pork dishes and cheeses such as morbier, tomme de savoie. This should benefit from a bit of aging but is quite beautiful as a young wine, drink until 2035.
From a small parcel of 50 year-old vines in AOC Hautes-Côtes-de-Beaune, certified Biodynamic, "lyre ouverte" pruning. The wine shows a bright medium red/garnet color and very floral aromas of berry fruits - crushed raspberry, cranberry and strawberry, quite pretty and beautifully light and fresh, even in 2022, with a bit of orange peel and spice. The palate is bright, and light to medium-bodied with sappy tart cherry and strawberry fruit, finishing with juicy acidity and an firm core of saline minerals. The wine is quite elegant, refreshing and beautifully balanced at 12.5% alcohol - it's a perfect Pinot for casual dinners with family and friends. Enjoy!
(not certified organic, but we still love it.) A lovely rosé of Pinot Noir from Pierre Bart in Marsannay, the 2022 shows a bit more weight than usual in this very pretty vintage of ripe, forward fruit. Bright pink color. Subtle hints of red currant and strawberry, floral and mineral. The palate shows nice density and a silky texture with sappy berry fruits, blood orange and stone supported by refreshing acidity, finishing with elegant mineral, citrus and strawberry flavors long and quite delicious. Please open this young wine in advance if drinking now, or even put some aside for next year....
From vines in the upper part of the Clos (Lieu-dit "Montiotes Hautes") Terroir pebbly clay/limestone, 50% of the vines are 70+ years-old, 50% were replanted in 2011. (The exact position is a bit unclear on the Beteta maps, which put the Chantal Lescure vines running across "Dix Journaux" into "Montiotes Hautes" (?) just below Meo-Camuzet and above Guyon, De Montille and Prieuré-Roch)
The 2022 "Pur Pinot Noir" is a beautiful Bourgogne Rouge produced by the talented Stephane Magnien at his small estate in Morey-Saint-Denis, from two small parcels in the lieu-dit "Gué" below the village, one planted in 1960 the other in 2009, aging for 10 months in large barrels and cuve inox, bottled unfined and unfiltered. The 2022 shows a bright deep red color and exuberant aromas of ripe strawberry, red currant and cherry - lush, earthy, meaty and floral. The palate is dense with vibrant black cherry and black raspberry fruit lifted by bright acidity, sappy and long. The finish is a bit firm and tight at the moment (10/12/23) with a nice mineral kick at the end, as the wine has just arrived in NY. Give this some time open if drinking now, or a year or two in the cellar. This is a classic Bourgogne rouge to enjoy over the next five years, at a quite reasonable price - grab a case or two for real Pinot Noir pleasure - don't delay! David Lillie
The Perrin Hautes-Cotes de Nuits is from vines in and around Ladoix, including the "Clos des Fourches," a tiny parcel above Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru "Clos de la Marechale." Another wine that yielded major dividends over the course of a few hours, this started out all cherry skin and white pepper. But with time in the glass, the fruit turned juicy and round and the white pepper subsided, showing allspice, black pepper and a dusty and compelling mineral note with raspberry, cherry, licorice, and violet. Again, terrific value here.
The Gevrey-Chambertin by Jean-Claude Rateau is from two small parcels in "Aux Etelois" (below Grand Cru Griottes) and "les Epointures" (below 1er Cru Clos Prieur) on the more fine and aromatic side of Gevrey, south of the village. Organic and biodynamic farming, minimal extraction and minmal SO2. (Our samples didn't arrive in time for today's offer, but our impressions last January were " SUPER!! Deep, dense, floral, unique...")
From 3 parcels in the village of Rablay from vines aging from 15-90 years old. Plateaus of sandy soil and gravely soils of quartz over schist. The blend is assembled in stainless steel tanks before fermentation. Alcoholic and Malolactic fermentation occur naturally, without the use of temperature control, and the wine sees no sulfur whatsoever until a tiny addition at the bottling. This is a fun and truly singular expression of Chenin. At times there are hints of pear and lime flower, then it unfolds into sharp minerals and crispy acidity, and these two elements of fruit and stones continue to intermingle. It’s lean, but dense and round as well. -EL
The Patrick Baudouin Anjou Rouge "La Fresnaye" is from an unusual parcel on a vein pf limestone bedrock in the midst of the volcanic and schist soils of the Anjou Noir. The 2015 is quite a treat to drink now, here's a 2019 revue from the Wine Doctor: This is 100% Cabernet Franc (maybe with some Grolleau) sourced from 0.9 hectares of vines, picked at a yield of 39 hl/ha. It was destemmed, vinified in cuve with a gentle infusion rather than active extraction, followed by malolactic fermentation and élevage in small used barrels. It is quite charming and fresh on the nose, with notes of smoky crushed cherry skins. An appealing palate, fresh and pure, smoky with cherry and blackcurrant skin, and a very complete finish."
From vines in Ardenay (Anjou Noir) on volcanic rock, schist, shale and sandstone. 100% de-stemmed. 40-day ambient yeast fermentation with maceration by infusion. Aged 12 months on the lees in Burgundian oak barrels (2-4 years old). Racked and aged another 4 months in tank before bottled. Minimal SO2 additions.
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 over 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 cement with almost no added SO2. We have to go back to 2014 for a similar wine to the 2021, at 12% alcohol, with a lovely bright color and beautifully floral red berry fruits. After a day open, complex earth, mineral, herbal and vegetal notes emerge. The palate is fresh and relatively light but with good density of red and black fruits with firm acidity and chalky mineral notes, showing the classic limestone terroir in Saint-Louans. Delightful, and very versatile at the table, serve a bit cool with just about anything. David Lillie
From 35 to 40 year-old vines on gravel and sandy soils with a bit of clay near the Vienne river in organic agriculture. Hand harvested, fermented with wild yeasts, ages for 8 to 10 months in cement vats, minimal addition of SO2 only prior to bottling. This "basic" cuvée from Bernard and Matthieu Baudry has gotten more and more "serious" as the vines age, giving a wine that is delightful to drink young, but that shows surprising complexity and mineral character as well. In the 2022 vintage, the wine is a sheer delight, an excellent vintage for this lovely wine. It showed a beautiful bright red/black color with bright rim with vibrant, lush aromas of cassis, red currant and raspberry - perhaps prettier than the darker fruits in the 2018 - 2020 vintages? The palate is dense with deep, vibrant blackberry and raspberry fruit, with earth and minerals, bright and balanced given the roundness and ripeness of the vintage. This is a delicious Chinon to drink a bit cool over the next five to eight years. Quantities get smaller for this wine every year, so don't delay in trying this very special Super Delicious Cabernet Franc!
Florian and Clement Berthier are the fifth generation at this estate based in the Coteaux du Giennois, also producing wines in Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé and Menetou-Salon. From the estate's vineyards in the Coteaux du Giennois, just downstream from Pouilly-Fumé, they produce this lovely single-vineyard Sauvignon Blanc from vines in clay/silex soils. The wine shows a vibrant nose of minerals, citrus, white flower and pear, with a dense, elegant palate showing hints of gooseberry, lemon zest, white fruits and minerals with a clean refreshing finish. This is an excellent alternative to the nighboring wines of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, at a modest price.
This is a light and lovely expression of Pineau d'Aunis from Pierre-Olivier Bonhomme, from vines near the Cher river on clay with silex in organic and biodynamic farming. Aged in old futs and demi-muids, bottled without filtration, minimal SO2. The 2022 shows a pretty light red color with subtle aromas of ripe raspberry, citrus, white pepper and violets, really pretty. A touch deeper than the 2021, it nonetheless delivers on the Pineau D'Aunis promise of peppery and bright rustic flavors. Lip-smacking acidity and a beautifully refreshing finish of minerals, earth and pretty red fruits. This is a delightfully refreshing version of Pineau d'Aunis - serve cool!
This "poil dur" is wagging its tail again in 2022, showing the ripeness and balance of this good vintage in the Loire Valley, with juicy aromas of blackberry, rose, spice and citrus. It's Gamay with a bit of Cabernet Franc in this vintage, with an extra layer of ripeness, and nice density of bright blackberry fruit, a bit floral and spicy. Quite refreshing with good length of lush berry fruits and citrusy acids in the finish. Serve a bit cool with charcuterie, chicken and pork - just delicious! David Lillie
Menu Pineau, also known as "Arbois" is described in Wine Grapes (J. Robinson et al.) as "an old variety from the Val de Loire named after its similarity to Gros Pineau (Chenin Blanc)...although it has nothing to do with the village called Arbois in the Franche-Comté." It is an offspring of Gouais Blanc, along with many other European grapes, and is "a little more rustic, but less acid than Chenin Blanc," according to Thierry Puzelat. The 2022 La Tesnière Blanc by Pierre-Olivier Bonhomme is from organically-grown vines, 75% Menu Pineau and 25% Chenin Blanc. The wine shows a bright pale gold color, with subtle aromas of grapefruit, dried pear and apple, dried herbs, nettle, lemon peel, stone and caramel. The palate is austere and stony, with firm acidity and flavors of hazelnut, citrus, baked apple, earth and brown spice. A really fascinating wine and a great pairing with sushi, grilled fish with fennel, lemon chicken, aged goat cheeses and much more. Highly recommended to lovers of unique natural wines.
The 2022 Bonnefoy "Dacite" is from 100% clay-granitic soil of the GRANO-DIORITE A DACITE type. This granite, unique in our region, comes from a block of rock from the Monts du Forez, which peaked in the primary era at more than 8,000 meters. A rare phenomenon, this DACITE contains calcium. This rock erodes, giving infertile, grainy soils with low clay content for the region (about 25%)." This lovely wine shows very floral, raspberry and minty aromas with a velvety, supple palate of pretty berry fruits. Serve this quite cool this summer, in the style of a delicious old-fashioned Beaujolais...
The 2022 Bonnefoy "Dacite" is from 100% clay-granitic soil of the GRANO-DIORITE A DACITE type. This granite, unique in our region, comes from a block of rock from the Monts du Forez, which peaked in the primary era at more than 8,000 meters. A rare phenomenon, this DACITE contains calcium. This rock erodes, giving infertile, grainy soils with low clay content for the region (about 25%)." This lovely wine shows very floral, raspberry and minty aromas with a velvety, supple palate of pretty berry fruits. Serve this quite cool this summer, in the style of a delicious old-fashioned Beaujolais...
The Gilles Bonnefoy "Gamay sur Vulcan" is from 15 to 30 year-old vines, 50% on basalt soils, 50% on granit/clay soils on the slopes of an ancient volcano. Hand harvested with low yields, the grapes are de-stemmed and undergo a short fermentation with native yeasts. The wine is lightly filtered and bottled with minimal SO2. The color is a warm purple, with lighter violet edges. Nose is plush red and black berries, a minerally smoke, black tea, with an airy, grassy aroma. Palate has tart cherries and plums, a flash of limestone, and a hint of rich, woodsy earth develops on a long, engaging finish. The wine's structure, crisp but juicy, makes it incredibly drinkable. Complex and fresh, serve with a slight chill, and drink this summer.
The 2022 Cote du Forez "Migmatite" from Gilles Bonnefoy at Les Vins de la Madone is a extraordinary Gamay from 50 year-old vines in a unique parcel of granite/clay soils very rich in mica. The grapes are hand-harvested with yields of only 25 hl/ha, followed by whole cluster fermentation with native yeasts. Aging is in cuve inox, with a light filtration and the wine is bottled with minimal SO2, per Demeter Biodynamic rules. The wine shows a deep black/purple color with elegant aromas of ripe black fruits, very floral and fresh. The palate is fabulously deep, dense and velvety with lush black fruits above a very present saline mineral character that lifts the vibrant black fruits in the long refreshing finish. Just a beautiful wine and perfect with grilled foods this summer, charcuterie and cheeses or just sipped cool by itself. This is the most "serious" of Gilles' wines to be offered this year - put a few in the cellar as the wine should develop nicely over the next 3 to 5 years. Highly recommemded!
The 2022 Gilles Bonnefoy "Memoire de Madone" is made from old vines of a local Gamay grown on volcanic soils (basalt) in the Côtes de Forez (upper Loire east and a bit south of Lyon). The grapes are harvested by hand, partially de-stemmed and undergo a 15-day fermentation with wild yeasts. The wine shows a bright black/purple color with deep aromas of blackberry and black currant with hints of violet, stone and citrus. The palate is dense but light on its feet with a firm backbone of mineral flavors and earthy acidity under the blackberry and black raspberry fruit, with herbal and citrus notes. This is the most dense and structured of Bonnefoy's Gamays, and will benefit from decanting or a few hours aeration, serve with grilled pork, coq au vin, full-flavored cheeses. David Lillie
The delicious 2022 Gilles Bonnefoy Rosé is made from Gamay grown in both volcanic and clay/granit soils in the Côtes du Forez (upper Loire, east and a bit south of Lyon). The grapes are hand-harvested and ferment with wild yeasts, half is rosé de saigné, half is direct press. The wine shows a bright pink color and pretty floral aromas of raspberry and strawberry, with hints of citrus, spice and white peach. The palate is light and crisp but with nice density and saline minerals under the red fruits, finishing with good length of stone, citrus and berry fruits. Serve as a refreshing aperitif or with salads, grilled meats, seafood and goat cheeses. This should open up nicely over the summer and drink well through 2024. lovely wine and a great value! David Lillie
The beautiful Roussanne from Gilles Bonnefoy is from 20+ year-old vines (partly massale selection from Quenard in Savoie) grown on the steep south face of the volcano of Purchon. Bonnefoy farms these young vines carefully, keeping yields very low to promote concentration and harvesting late (Roussanne takes a long time to ripen fully) and by hand. Native yeast fermentation takes place in used barrels; the wine ages in the same. In the glass, the Roussanne is pale and shows a very expressive nose of white flowers, green herbs, and a touch of orchard fruits. Given the freshness of the nose, the palate is surprisingly and lusciously dense and complex, with pear, peach, citrus and herbal notes as well as long and broad minerality. A great expression of Roussanne on unique Volcanic terroir. Only 3000 bottles produced.
The Bonnefoy 2022 "Sauvignons" is 60% Sauvignon Gris and 40% Sauvignon Blanc (massale selection) grown in basalt soils on the east face of the volcano of Purchon. Farming is certified organic and Biodynamic, all harvests are by hand, and Gilles Bonnefoy has a low-intervention approach in the cellar, where he eschews additives or new oak. The nose shows flinty stone and ripe citrus notes that continue on the palate, which shows further notes of gooseberries and a slight tropicality. There's nice density and length here, making it a quite serious expression of Sauvignon, distinguished by its long and dense mineral finish. A lovely wine that should definitely not be served too cold: this is Sauvignon with real substance.
Fred Lallier is now in charge at Domaine Bregeon and is doing great work at this important estate - one of the leaders in the return to quality in Muscadet. Certified organic, the 2022 Muscadet is from average 40 year-old vines in Gabbro terroirs in and around Gorges - it shows distinctive aromas associated with this terroir - pear, stone, petrol, anise and mushroom, with lovely white fruits in this ripe vintage with hints of lemon confit and wet stone. The palate is round and ripe, framed in firm acidity and mineral flavors, with stone fruits, earth, almond, anise and citrus that continue in the long finish. This is a lovely Muscadet in a riper style that is quite delicious now and should open up nicely over the next five years. Please decant or open an hour in advance. David Lillie
From a 2 ha plot located fairly high on the slope, just below the Peu Muleau with more clay, and shallow soils closer to the Turonian yellow tuffeau. In the right hands, 2018 was a superb vintage for Loire Valley reds and the Busardieres was extraordinary at last winter's tasting, showing an incredibly elegant melange of dark fruit and mineral flavors with great purity and length, in the same mold as the Baudry Croix Boissée. If drinking now, please give it a lengthy decant or open the day before, best to wait 5 years then enjoy until 2040 and beyond. David Lillie
(In the fall of 2023, this wine is really singing and will be wonderful for Thanksgiving!) Bretêche (Domaine de la Chevalerie is the only estate claiming this vineyard name) is the easternmost vineyard, a rented plot on the border of Ingrandes-de-Touraine. On the southwestern exposed upper part of the mid-slope, the vines are planted on a meter-deep heavier clay with high mica content above the Turonian yellow tuffeau. The vines, biodynamically farmed, are between 25 to 55 years old. More powerful than Busardières with broader tannins, the wine maintains a great freshness. Hand-harvested and destemmed, the grapes are macerated for up to 20 days and aged in large used barrels in the magnificent underground cave dug into the yellow tuffeau for roughly 8 to 10 moths. The wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered. 2014 is considered a great classic vintage in the Loire for Cabernet Franc, and it is indeed very good at Domaine de la Chevalerie, with fruit a little darker than the 2015 (this opposite to a lot of other estates in the region). Ruby purple in the glass this cuvée as usual has more freshness, tension and a little austerity - 2014 enhances these typical quality of the wine! More open than the 2015, the nose has distinctive black cherry, elderberry notes, Chinese badiane and spearmint. The palate is still deliciously youthful barely showing any evolution, with lean and brilliant acidity, and oolong-like tannins. It is already very-well structured and poised, not angular at all. Decant it 2 hours and serve it in Bordeaux glasses, or keep it 20 years or so - I would say it will reach another plateau by 2025. Enjoy it with a duck magret, the juice reduced with a touch of raspberry vinegar, or sweetbreads in a madeira sauce. 100% Cabernet Franc. Pascaline Lepeltier
(Arrives 5/9) Peu Muleau is located on the upper part of the hill in Bourgueil, just below the forest, on Cenozoic eolian sands with iron, clay and altered limestone tuffeau. The vines are around 35 years old, and farmed biodynamically. The maceration lasts less than 20 days. Aging is done in a mix of tank and large used barrels with less and less oak. This is the earliest drinking single-vineyard cuvée, always on the raspberry and wild violet with very supple tannins, but you can keep it up to 10 years without a problem. Peu Muleau is always more linear than Les Galichets - it does not have the same clay-gravel flesh, dancing on its feet with great elegance. The 2015 shows a bright red color and aromas that are more earth than fruit with subtle raspberry, strawberry, citrus and spice. The palate is a lovely blend of earth and red fruits, fairly tight but quite elegant with firm acidity and mineral flavors blending with raspberry and violet in the finish. Warning - not a fruit bomb and best suited to those who like some rocks in their wine. Best to decant or cellar 3 - 5 years. David Lillie
The Chevalerie "Galichets" vineyard is on mid-slope Turonian limestone with clay and alluvial sand and gravel topsoil, rich in silex; the vines average about 60 years of age - similar to the "Chevalerie" parcel but a bit lower on the slope, giving a wine that is more open and easy for early drinking. The 2015 vintage is excellent, with a bit more ripeness and lower acidity than 2014, while retaining the core of minerals and acidity always found in the Chevalerie wines. The aromas of black raspberry and blackberry fruit are ripe and floral. The palate is dense and silky, very mineral with ripe red and black fruits and a clean vibrant finish. Still quite youthful, but drinking beautifully now. David Lillie
The "home" vineyard also produced a superb wine in 2018, perhaps les dense and dark than the Busardières, but more expressive of the very old vines and the limestone below and beatifully balanced. La Chevalerie, between the Galichets and the winery, is slightly higher on the slope, with more clay on the top part. The Turonian tuffeau is not even three feet below. The oldest vines date from 1903 and 1922, the average being 75 years. The sandier part of the plot goes into the Galichets. This cuvée is a perfect introduction to the more “serious” tuffeau driven bottlings of the domaine. You still get the flesh and texture brought by the sand, you also pick up the racy, salty and fresh acidity typical of the tuffeau. The fruit becomes more blue with distinctive herbal notes. The Caslots have farmed this parcel since 1640! The 2018 will be great fun to enjoy in its youthful intensity, but best to wait 5 to 8 years then drink until 2040..
The brand new Domaine de la Chevalerie "Bulle de Fort" is a direct press rosé Petillant Naturel, 100% Cabernet Franc and just incredibly delicious!! Warning, this is not a wimpy pale pink rosé - it shows a deep cherry-red color and a ripe full-bodied palate with beautiful deep red currant/raspberry fruit, a real wine of terroir with bubbles! Really quite sensational, can't wait to bring some home. This will accompany the entire Thanksgiving meal...
Domaine Dauny in Crézancy has been organic since 1964 - Nicole and Christian are the twelveth generation at the estate! The Dauny Clos du Roy is from 40 year-old vines in this famous limestone vineyard. The 2022 has a pale, lemon yellow robe. On the nose it shows ripe stone fruit and golden apple aromas with notes of greengage and Meyer Lemon zest. The mid-weight palate is supple and balanced framed by a salty sense of minerality, with fresh, mouthwatering acidity on a medium long, succulent, slightly herbaceous finish. This was a fine pairing with squash crudo with pistachios, olive oil, and mint and better still with pan roasted chicken breast stuffed with herbed goat cheese and chard. Though for those who are looking for a fresh summer aperitif, not to worry--the 2022 holds plenty of charm.
(Arrives Tues 8/8) The wines of the Domaine de Reuilly are getting better and better - the 2022 Rosé of Pinot Gris is from vines in organic and biodynamic farning, fermented with wild yeasts. The color is a lovely pale onion skin, the aromas are floral and pretty with gooseberry, peach, dried apricot and citrus peel, really lovely. Light berry, peach, green tea and stone flavors on the palate are dense and creamy but framed in firm acidity. With good ripeness, but subtle and balanced, this unique rosé will accompany a wide variety of foods, from oysters with vinaigrette, fish, grilled pork and chicken and Asian foods, and it's lovely to sip by itself! David Lillie
(NY Times Twenty Under $20 for Thanksgiving) Made from organically farmed vineyards on the edge of the Touraine territory, this racy and energetic Sauvignon Blanc is the baby brother to the Foucher Sancerre Le Mont. Yet another astonishing Loire value from Maison Foucher.
(10 cases left of the 2018 Prestige) 2018 brings us another great Cuvée Prestige from Stéphane Guion in Bourgueil, whose domaine has been certified organic since the 1960s. From vines averaging 45 years old on thin topsoils of sandy clay over limestone (tuffau jaune) in Benais, a terroir that produces some of the most elegant and age-worthy Bourgueils. 2018 is a great vintage for Loire reds, despite the very warm and humid spring that brought attacks of mildew. The summer was perfect, warm and dry, without spikes of heat, and the soils retained enough moisture to bring freshness to the very ripe grapes. Tasted with Stéphane in February 2020, the 2018 Prestige showed elegant intensely perfumed aromas of red and black fruit liqueurs. The palate was complex and earthy, very calcaire, dense but not heavy with beautifully supple ripe red and black fruits, with a long finish of saline and mineral flavors quite present below the sappy fruit. We look forward to a more thorough tasting after the wine rests from its voyage, but it's quite clear that this will be delicious to drink as a young wine, and - although it may seem crazy to cellar a $17 wine for 20 years - those that do will be rewarded with a unique expression of this great terroir. I'm hoping to live to be 100 to have that experience myself! David Lillie (2010 Prestige 10/28/23 - Red/black color with red rim; aromas of crushed berries, red currant, earth, minerals; palate sapid, dense, black fruits and soil, firm acidity, terrific length of fruit/mineral/acid...)
From 70-80 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). 18-month élevage ; 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. This is the terroir giving the most elegant and age-worthy Bourgueils and 2018 is a magnificent vintage for this wine! Tasted July 2022, the wine showed a deep red/black color and lush aromas of ripe cassis and black raspberry with hints of brown spice and oak. The palate is a lovely combination of ripe black fruits and bright acidity, dense and supple with graphite and saline minerals under the deep fruits in the very long finish. Forward enough to enjoy now, this will need time to unfold its mysteries and will be a very complex and beautiful mature wine, best to wait 5 years then drink until 2042 and beyond.
2019 brings us another superb wine from Stéphane Guion in Bourgueil, whose domaine has been certified organic since the 1960s. The new Cuvée Authentique replaces the Cuvée Prestige (we're not sure why?) coming from vines averaging 50 years-old on thin topsoils of sandy clay over limestone (tuffau jaune) in the parcels "Grand Mont," "les Marquises," le Vlaudons," "le Maupas," "les Caveries," "Petit Mont" and "Chavannes," terroirs that produces some of the most elegant and age-worthy Bourgueils. 2019 was another hot, dry year in the Loire Valley, but light rains in September and early October brought balance to the grapes, producing wines that are ripe and generous, with firm acidities and moderate alcohol. Tasted in France last February the 2019 Authentique showed gorgeous aromas of red and black fruits with floral, earth and herbal notes, quite pretty and ripe. The palate showed deeper black fruits, earth, spice and stone with the intense mineral character and firm acidity always present in Stephane's wines, with a moderate 13% alcohol, and a fabulous cool and sapid mineral finish. This superb wine will benefit from a long decant or a few years in the cellar, it should open up beautifully in five years or so, enjoy until 2040+ David Lillie
This is another beautiful wine from the shy and affable Stéphane Guion who is quietly making some of the best wines in Bourgueil. His 2020 Cuvèe Candide (Formerly Domaine) is from not-so-young (15 to 40 year-old) vines, on clay/limestone terroir in Benais and is equal to the superb 2018 and 2019 perhaps even better! The balance is just perfect at 12% alcohol. The wine shows a deep, vivid black/red color with bright rim with intense, pure aromas of cassis, black raspberry and blackberry confit (a little bighter than the 2019), stone and violets - very deep and ripe but still bright with earth and minerals as well. The palate is medium-bodied, finely textured, sappy and very fresh with firm acidity and chalky, saline mineral flavors framing the very pure blackberry and black cherry liqueur fruits, which continue in the long chalky finish, which somehow remains light and balanced. Great wine! Drink now, served cool, with grilled chicken and pork, charcuterie, green vegetables and mild cheeses, or hold 5 to 8 years for a velvety mature experience. This is a brilliant wine, especially given the ridiculous price - enjoy! David Lillie
The 2021 Guion Bourgueil Rosé shows plenty of minerality, with stone fruit, a hint of spring strawberries (think more tart, less fruity), tangerine, and spice. This is a very complex dry rosé, showing earthy red fruits and stone flavors that are still developing in its second year. Really tastes of the limestone terroir and the Guion's 50 years of organic farming, with a long finish and ample acidity and freshness. Thanks to Stéphane for another great vintage of his super-refreshing Rosé!
Stéphane has made his first ever methode traditionnelle sparking rosé from Cabernet Franc vines in a new parcel on clay/limestone soils in Benais. We can't say that it's equal to the Marie-Courtin "Indulgence," but it's a delightful wine! The color is a pretty very pale pink with subtle aromas of raspberry and earth; the palate is refreshing and dry, but not too dry, with a creamy mousse and classic Cabernet Franc berry fruit and mineral flavors that linger in the finish. $15.99! (The label commemorates (?) a monstrous wolf or wolves who attacked hundreds of people around the village of Benais in Bourgueil in 1693, if we believe the folk-tale. Google "La Bête de Benais" for many accounts in French and English)
2018 Le Haut-Lieu Moelleux 1er Trie: 12.6% alc; 79 g/l RS; 3.8 g/l total acidity; pH 3.37 The 2018 dessert wines from Huet are superb - this delicious Le Haut Lieu will be a perfect ending to your Thanksgiving....
2018 Le Mont Moelleux 1er Trie: 12.5% alc; 95 g/l RS; 3.6 g/l total acidity; pH 3.45
Arnaud Lambert is based in Brézé, in the heart of the Saumur appellation. He makes a series of excellent still and sparkling wines from Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc planted in quite porous chalk soils mixed with clay and sand. He has been certified organic since 2012. His sparkling wines are a perpetual source of incredible value and this latest edition of the Cremant de Loire from Brézé is no different. 75% Chenin and 25% Chardonnay, this is all Meyer lemon and peach pit earthiness on the nose, with little bits of dried honeycomb around the edges. More stone fruit on the palate, with toasted hazelnuts and Melba toast in the finish, with lovely salty mineral notes. This is terrific for the price. Drink up and open a second. Sam Ehrlich
This beautiful Chinon is from 70 year-old vines in clay soils over limestone in Sonnay, near Cravant. The wine ages for 18 months in old barrels, less than 200 cases are made. 2018 is a great vintage for Ame D'Antan, which 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 2025 to 2035+. Highly recommended. DL
The delicious Chinon Vieilles Vignes of Patrick Lambert is from 55 - 60 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 is deep and ripe in 2018, showing earthy blackberry and strawberry compote with prune and bitter chocolate and firm structure. 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. David Lillie
The wines of Patrick Lambert have been a staple in our shop for some time now. His wines are classic, expressive, and made exclusively from his organically farmed estate. The 'Deuzelles' is selected from his 25-30 year old vines planted on gravel, clay with limestone and silex, and sandy soils. The juice is fermented in concrete vats for 15-18 days, then aged in old barriques for 3 to 6 months. This is one of the best values I can find for excellent Cabernet Franc. This bottling is denser and more concentrated than the 'Gourmandises' but just as pleasurable and easy-drinking. The nose has notes of blackberry and raspberry bramble, freshly turned soil, and savory herbs, and the on the palate the wine is juicy with supple tannins. This was lovely when I tasted it on day one, and even better on day two, so if you have the time, give this some air before you enjoy!
(Arrives 4/28) This delightful Chinon Rosé comes from Patrick Lambert's 6 hectares of organic vines in Cravant, around the corner from his friend and mentor, Bernard Baudry. Hand harvested from 25-year-old Cabernet Franc vines on gravel and sandy clay soils over limestone. The 2021 shows lovely aromas of berry fruits with citrus and rose; the palate is silky and ripe with raspberry, cherry, citrus and stone flavors with nice density and texture, with juicy acids, berry flavors and saline minerals in the finish. This is drinking beautifully now and will be delicious through the summer and into 2024. This is a fabulous value and highly recommended. David Lillie
"Gourmandise" is a beautiful "drink young" cuvée from Patrick Lambert, made from Cabernet Franc vines grown on sandy gravel soils near the Vienne. The wine shows a bright black/red color with lush high-toned aromas of crushed strawberry and black raspberry, with hints of citrus and pepper. The palate is supple and bright with luscious black raspberry and red currant fruit, quite lush and full-bodied in this superb vintage for the Loire but still with refreshing acidity. Serve this lovely wine quite cool with charcuterie and grilled chicken, pork or burgers, it's a perfect quaffing Cab Franc to drink over the next year or two... David Lillie
(Arrives 7/13) Jo Landron's Fief du Breil is from a beautiful walled vineyard sloping towards the Sèvre, with clay, sand and quartz stones over a bedrock of orthogneiss. The vines average 40 to 50 years of age, the vineyard is certified organic and biodynamic and gives very low yields. In the dense and well-strctured 2017 vintage the wine was aged 30 months sur-lie. This beautiful Muscadet needs aeration or decanting, then shows aromas of grapefruit skin, pear, lime-flower, candied citrus and almond. The palate is perfectly balanced and intensely mineral - showing ripe white fruits, almond, anise and stone flavors with firm acidity and pronounced flavors of stone and saline mineral. This is a bit more forward than the granite and gabbro-based based wines - really superb as a young wine served with shellfish, grilled fish and white meats. As usual with great Muscadet it will age beautifully and pair with monkfish, lobster and aged goat cheeses. 2017 is a great vintage for this superb Muscadet - don't miss it! David Lillie
This is a fresh and friendly, direct press of Chardonnay, which is aged for 6 months in fiberglass tanks. I think of it as the perfect salad or grilled cheese wine. It is clean, unoaked, with subtle orchard fruit on the nose, crisp finish, a bit like what you'd expect from a Chardonnay mixed with what you'd expect from a Muscadet. Pleasant, stony and well balanced. -EL
"The “la Chaintrée” bottling from Clotilde Legrand is raised in older barrels for three years prior to bottling The 2017 is the “new release” of this excellent Saumur-Champigny, coming in at fourteen percent octane and delivering a deep and refined aromatic constellation of dark berries, cassis, cigar wrapper, a beautiful base of tuffeau chalky soil tones, juniper berry and upper register smokiness. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, elegant and shows off superb depth in the mid-palate, with fine focus and grip, ripe, buried tannins, seamless balance, great soil signature and a very long, energetic and complex finish. This is truly great Saumur-Champigny! It is certainly approachable at six years of age, but it is still fairly chewy on the backend and its plateau of peak maturity is still several years down the road." We have enjoyed the Legrand Chenins and we can't wait to try this very serious Saumur-Champigny!
A delicious, mineral-driven Pet-Nat from Pascal Potaire, "Les Capriades" is all Chardonnay in the '22 vintage. Touraine's limestone soils are on full display in this bottling. Aromas of crushed seashells and lemon zest will have you craving oysters on cue. The body is crackling with vibrant, tart acidity and a crunchy mineral texture that ushers the citrus notes over to a beautiful sweet note that rounds everything into a powerful finish. A wonderful, complex and delicious wine that we highly recommend.
Made only in exceptional vintages, the Luneau-Papin "Excelsior - Clos des Noelles" is one of my favorite Muscadets, usually a bit rounder than the granite-soil "L D'Or" but always aromatically complex and with great intensity and length. The massale-selection vines were planted in 1936 on a terroir of "micaschistes a deux micas," (lieu-dit "La Plecisiere") exposed full south. The grapes are hand-harvested and undergo a slow wild yeast fermentation with 20 months of aging on the lees. The 2020 shows subtle, complex aromas of citrus, lime-flower, melon, pear, mint, almond and stone. The palate is silky, crystalline and dense, a bit softer than the 2018, with white fruits, almond, smoke and wet stone with excellent length of pear, minerals and firm acidity. Please decant if drinking now, serve with any elegant seafood dish. Cellar five to fifteen years and serve with richer fish dishes, white meats, rabbit. Beautiful wine!
The 2019 Roussignoux 3 is the third release of Sauvignon Blanc from the 2019 vintage. After aging in barrel for over a year, Christophe moved this wine into fiberglass tank, where it rested for an additional 2 years. Some flor clearly developed at a certain point during the aging, giving the wine a fascinating oxidative profile. This wine is mind-bogglingly bizarre, a trip to drink, and generally very hard to compare to anything else in the wine world. There is a dense mineral core, notes of butterscotch and orchard fruits, herbs, and stones. Totally dry, with plenty of acid to help it wear the 14.5% alc. without any sense of heat or power. We do think it's qualitatively delicious, beguiling, and a wine that keeps bringing us back for another sip.
The 2019 Roussignoux 3 is the third release of Sauvignon Blanc from the 2019 vintage. After aging in barrel for over a year, Christophe moved this wine into fiberglass tank, where it rested for an additional 2 years. Some flor clearly developed at a certain point during the aging, giving the wine a fascinating oxidative profile. This wine is mind-bogglingly bizarre, a trip to drink, and generally very hard to compare to anything else in the wine world. There is a dense mineral core, notes of butterscotch and orchard fruits, herbs, and stones. Totally dry, with plenty of acid to help it wear the 14.5% alc. without any sense of heat or power. We do think it's qualitatively delicious, beguiling, and a wine that keeps bringing us back for another sip.
The Rossignoux2 is the second release of Sauvignon Blanc from the 2020 vintage. This one was aged a bit longer than the Roussignoux"1" but is still similarly fresh, with subtle tropical fruit on the nose, and delicate acidity. The extra time on the lees in Christophe's hobbit cave has given more density to the wine, and calmed down the sharp, grassy notes of the Sauvignon Blanc. Instead, there is more of a stone fruit profile and less pronounced citrusy aromatics.
Christophe Foucher's La Lunotte 2021 "Printemps" appears to be all his grapes from this tiny harvest vinified together as an orange wine or rosé. The color is orange/pink with inriguing aromas of blood orange, red currant, rose, brown spice, apricot... The palate shows bright acidity with hints of orange zest, wild strawberry, pear and apricot with very firm acidity in the clean mineral finish. 11.5% alcohol, zero SO2. It drinks like a tonic of some sort, at times while sipping this you might forget that you're drinking wine! A unique and delicious natural wine, which of course is what we expect from Christophe Foucher!
The 2019 "Tango Atlantico" is a dense and delicious blend of Cabernet Franc and Cot grown on clay/limestone with flint soils next door to the Clos Roche Blanche, showing the ripeness and depth of this very good vintage for Loire reds. The wine shows ripe blackberry aromas, deep yet fresh with floral and herbal hints, cocoa and spice. The palate is dense with blackberry and black raspberry fruit, with firm acidity, earth and mineral notes in the long finish. Reminiscent of the CRB "Pif," serve a bit cool with grilled meats and full-flavored cheeses, enjoy over the next 3 to 5 years.
Pierre Morin makes this lovely red Sancerre from a small parcel in Bue on Kimmeridgian "terres blanches" soils. The 2019 "Bellechaume" is a beautiful glass of Pinot Noir with a unique mineral backbone imparted by the Kimmeridgian soils. The aromas are of ripe black cherry and berries with earth, bitter chocolate, citrus and minerals, quite complex and Burgundian. There is delicious ripe cherry on the palate, which is sapid and long with lovely earth and mineral notes.Fuller bodied and structured from the hot vintage. This is delicious now, especially with some aeration, but will obviously drink well for another 5 to 8 years. Enjoy!
(Arrives Feb 21) Domaine D'Orfeuilles is known for the high concentration of flint in their clay/limestone soils, which one finds in the parcel of "Les Coudraies." The 2019 is a lovely "sec-tendre" somewhat in the style of the Pinon "Silex" or "Trois Argiles" having a bit of residual sugar to offset the wine's firm acidity. At a very modest 12% abv, the 2019 shows acidity in spades alongside it's hallmark flinty minerality and herbaceous nose rendering the RS as more of a juicy lemonade profile. Absolutely lip smacking and poundable in the best sense: at this price, an excellent party wine! Giselle Hamburg
(Arrives Feb 21) The 2020 Domaine d'Orfeuilles Vouvray "Silex" was vinified dry, highlighting the intense mineral flavors and chalky texture of Chenin Blanc in clay/limestone soils with a high content of silex. It's a pale straw in the glass with a nose that's delicate at first but hints at some hidden power layered beneath the surface. At 14% abv it's certainly robust and assertive with a sleek minerality coupled with firm acidity that suggests aging potential, while it doesn't feel overly hot. There's balance and texture and it would be great with seafood or lighter chicken dishes and provides phenomenal value at the price point! Jeff DiLorenzo
100% Melon de Bourgogne. Briords is a 3-hectare lieu-dit in the cru of Château Thébaud. These vines are the estate's oldest plot, planted from massale selection 60-70 years ago. The sandy clay soils are rich in granite de Thébaud, a type differing from granite de Clisson in in its higher feldspar and clay content; it is cooler, holds water well and ripens the fruit more slowly. The farming is certified-biodynamic and the vineyard work including harvest is manual. 2022 was a vintage of heat and sunshine but with frost in the spring that lowered yields. Much needed light rains in August enabled the grapes to ripen properly, and an early harvest brought in perfectly ripe fruit with somewhat lower acidities than usual. The 2022 "Briords" showed beautifully last winter in Angers - wonderfully elegant and round with terrific density and length. - vivid aromas of dried pear, bitter lemon, anise and herbs with surprising hints of exotic fruit backed with earth and mineral notes. The aromatic ripeness is more restrained on the palate which shows beautifully supple and dense pear and ripe apple fruit with adequate acidty, quite round and ripe, and finishing with nice grip and mineral flavors that linger on the palate. This is a beautiful "Briords," reminding me of 2009 - irresistible now and over the next 8 to 10 yeaars, but not for long-term aging. Of course serve with oysters and grilled fish, this full-bodied Briords wil also accompany lobster, scallops, chicken and white meats. Highly recommended! David Lillie
100% Melon de Bourgogne. Classic Muscadet on granite. The core of the "La Pépie" Sur Lie bottling is the 10-hectare heart of the Pépière estate, which is part of the Clisson cru in the tiny commune of Pépière near the winery; there is also a significant percentage of their cru Château Thébaud fruit, as well as some purchased fruit from a nearby organic farmer friend in the mix. Farming is certified-organic and the harvest by hand. The 2022 "La Pépie" shows a very pale gold color and ripe floral aromas of dried pear, quince, fines herbes, grapefruit and stone. The palate is round and refreshing, a bit softer than usual, with wet stone, pear, tart citrus, almond and mineral flavors. The finish is long and clean with citrus, a hint of anise and saline minerals. This is a round and refreshing Muscadet, with a bit more weight and density due to the warm, dry conditions in 2022 that will be perfect with oysters, grilled fish, roast chicken, Asian foods and mild goat cheeses. Thanks to Gwénaëlle and Rémi for another delicious "Pépie!"
(Last of stock) We're ecstatic to have another vintage of this superb new Muscadet from Pépière. The product of an exchange of juice with Fred Lailler at Domaine Bregeon from a tiny parcel of old vines on Gabbro bedrock with clay rich in quartz. The wine undergoes a slow fermentation and is then aged 36 months on the lees. (Marc Ollivier considers this a favorite of Pepiere's bottlings, along with the Château-Thébaud.) The 2019 Gorges is a complex, dense and beautifully structured wine, with a bit more brightness and acidity than than the superb 2015. The Gabbro terroir brings unique aromas showing almond, smoke and petrol notes in addition to stone, pear, quince and mushroom. The palate is dense and intensely mineral with ripe pear and quince, earth, almond, anise and citrus notes, with stone, lemon peel and white fruits lingering in the very long finish. If drinking young please give the wine a lengthy decant to release the unique character of this wine - best to wait at least 5 - 6 years before opening, then enjoy until 2042 and beyond. David Lillie " The 2019 Gorges from Domaine de la Pépière is simply outstanding, offering up a vibrant and already very expressive bouquet of breadfruit, lemon, sweet leesy tones, briny marine notes, lemongrass and a beautiful base of minerality from the basalt soils of this vineyard. On the palate the wine is zesty, full-bodied and mineral-driven in personality, with an outstanding core of fruit, a fine spine of acidity, excellent focus and balance and a very long, complex and extremely classy finish. This is a great young Muscadet!" VFTC
The Château Thébaud comes from old vines in vineyards with great terroir on slopes overlooking the river Maine. The granite here (Granite de Château Thébaud, oddly enough) is fissured and permeable by the vine roots which have access to water during dry spells and absorb micro-nutrients along the way. 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2014 here were among the best of the vintage in Muscadet and the 2019 will stand out as well due to the combination of density and minerality with the firm acidity and great ripeness of this very good vintage year for Muscadet. Our tasting in February revealed a superb Muscadet, not marked by the heat of the vintage, showing crystalline white fruit and stone flavors with firm acidity, fantastic purity, density and length. Of course this will offer briliant drinking as a young wine, but try to put some away for ten years at least. "On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, focused and complex, with marvelous depth at the core, superb soil undertow, zesty acids and a very long, poised and beautifully balanced finish. This is drinking quite nicely today, albeit, with far more complexity to come with extended cellaring. A fine, fine bottle" VFTC
Muscadet for Thanksgiving? Yes, if it's the beautiful, ripe and perfectly balanced 2022 Gras Moutons! Les Gras Moutons is a great parcel on gneiss, in layers that permit a deep penetration by the vines, with sandy clay and amphibolite stones. The vines are at the top of a hill and on the south facing slope overlooking the Maine. (The name, by the way, does not refer to fat sheep, despite their presence on the label, but rather in local dialect, to the hilltop vineyard site.) This terroir produces lovely, classic Muscadet to drink young or after short-term cellaring of 5 to 10 years. The 2022 shows a bright very pale gold color. The nose is subtle but complex with a lovely melange of peach, pear, melon, lemon verbena, dried herbs and wet stone. Tha palate is marked by a nice bitter minerality underlying white fruits and citrus flavors. The finish is pure, clean and refreshing, perfectly balanced at 12% alcohol. This is a lovely Muscadet to enjoy with shellfish, fish and chips, fish in sauce and white meats over the next 10 years. Try to save a few - we're drinking the last of our 2018s which are fantastic...! David Lillie
From the estate's website: "This is the renaissance of a cuvée created by my great-grandfather - a dry wine from our oldest parcel, planted in 1945 on soils of silex noir and vinfied in our oldest foudres - old 'tonneaux' from Porto purchased by my grandfather. We're using the label from the 1950s as well as the name of the cuvée - the famous 'Buvéz du Bon Pinon.' The fermentation lasted 2 to 3 months with only wild yeasts, which participate in the effect of 'terroir.' The fermentation was stopped by chilling the juice, followed by a soutirage, the wine then aged for 5 months in the old tonneaux. Aging potential of 15 to 20 years, serve with shellfish, oysters, cold fish, vegetable terrines, choucroute de la mer, rillettes and rillons." 7 grams/liter RS, 13.5% alcohol. This superb and elegant Vouvray is quite a contrast from the more open and expressive 2020 Sec. The "Buvez du Bon Pinon" is all elegance and depth, but quite closed, and just slightly opening on day two. The aromas are deep and creamy with subtle white peach, quince, earth, almond and stone, really needs time... The palate is dense and full with white and yellow fruits blending with earth, almond, anise and mineral notes. The wine is showing density and perfect balance but will need many years to really emerge - like the Huet Le Mont Sec, for example, give it ten years before drinking if possible - or a 12 hour decant if drinking now. Of course it's delicious today but try to wait... David Lillie
The 2020 Pinon Vouvray "Les Trois Argiles" is from average 40 year old vines in three east facing parcels, Mortier, Vau Cheavreau and Les Fosses Rouges. The soils are shallow clay and sandy clay over the limestone (lower Turonien). Many old vines remain, planted by Julien's great-graandfather, Camille, and new plantings are done by massale-selection. Organic farming, of course, with manual harvesting in successive "tries" sorted by hand to select the best grapes, vinification in barrel with wild yeasts, aging in barrel or foudre with minimal racking or SO2. The clay soils usually give a denser and less aromatic wine wine than those from silex soils, capable of aging for 30 years or more. As we have been friends of the Pinons for more than 40 years, and are somewhat biased in our enthusiasm for their wines, we will let Loire expert Chris Kissack (the Wine Doctor) describe the 2020 "Les Trois Argiles:" "It does not seem so expressive on the nose today though (compared to the Silex Noir) but the palate is much more convincing. It shows a dense and compact character, with a rich core of extract and dense fruit, layers of white peach and orange peel, fragrant but solidly compacted, lifted only by the vigorous acids and bright mineral veins I find cutting through the middle. A great demi-sec, with confident and forceful structure, which needs time to come out of its shell. The residual sugar is 20 g/l, and the alcohol is 13.4%." 2020 was the last vintage produced by Francois and Julien together. Francois always felt that their vineyards, being slightly higher and cooler than most of Vouvray, produced grapes with slightly more acidity, that benefitted from the presence of residual sugar. The 2020 "Trois Argiles" might be called Sec-Tendre or Demi-Sec, but at any rate, it's a magnifient wine! David Lillie
The grapes for "Les Déronnières" from Julien Pinon (first made in 2014) used to be included in the Silex Noir, but this wonderful vineyard, the Pinon's best parcel on a hill-top directly above their cellar, much deserves to be bottled on its own. The very thin topsoil is clay with silex over Turonian limestone, and the beautiful exposure gives ripe fruit that is normally vinified as a demi-sec, but in recent vintages the RS level has been below 10 gr/l making it dry, in Vouvray anyway. The 2022 finished with just 1 gram RS and 4.5 grams acidity, making this bone-dry but dense and beautifully balanced "Deronnieres" showing elegant aromas of lime-flower, dried pear, lemon zest and stones. The palate is very dense and ripe, saline and mineral with round white fruits, citrus and herbal notes with fabulous length. A great dry Vouvray with fantastic minerality which is a versatile "food wine" to enjoy now, but don't forget that this wine will age forever....save some for the next generation!
100% Chenin Blanc. Pinon chooses vines from more clay-forward parcels for its annual sec bottling. They average 45 years old and have been certified organic since 2007. The bunches are harvested by hand, rigorously sorted and direct-pressed slowly and gently. The juice flows by gravity into underground tanks for a spontaneous native-yeast fermentation that lasts 2-3 months and stops naturally in the cold cellar. The wine is aged on its fine lees for 4-5 months in a range of old oak, from 500-liter demi-muids to 20-hectoliter foudres. The 2022 Sec is indeed very dry with 2 grams/liter RS and a brisk 4.6 grams acidity, and shows aromas of citrus confit, almond, green tea, stone, anise and white fruits. The palate has vibrant acidity with saline mineral flavors, and good density, with green apple and lemon zest, finishing with firm acidity, citrus, apple and wet stone. Give this young wine some aeration (!) or a few years in the cellar then serve with shellfish and oysters, grilled fish, vegetable terrines, seafood choucroute, rillons and rillettes (you may have to go to Touraine for those..) And try to hide some for 20 years or more as we've tasted 40 to 50 year-old Pinon Sec that was fantastic.
François and Julien Pinon make some of the finest sparkling wines in the Loire Valley. The superb Brut Non-Dosé comes from 45 year-old Chenin Blanc vines on Turonien limestone with topsoils of clay with silex, from four parcels; Les Haut de Terne, Les Hauts de Mortiers, Chopet and Les Planches Favettes. The 2018 was hand-harvested in three passes in order to select the best grapes, with two additional selections - on a "table de tri" and again before the press. Thus the best and ripest grapes are selected, enabling this cuvée with no addition of sugar, as in a Champagne Brut Nature. Aged sur-lies for more than 3 years. This beautiful wine shows elegant aromas of ripe white and yellow fruits, floral and earthy with almond and bitter lemon. The palate is creamy and dense, round and ripe but with firm underlying acidity, with almond, earth and mineral notes lingering in the long finish. Enjoy it now for its beautiful depth and balance, but peak drinking will be 2032 - 2050. A profound Chamapgne of Chenin! David Lillie
This classic dry Chenin is the perfect sparkling wine for Thanksgiving! The Chenin's of Pinon are some of the best in Vouvray due to their impeccable farming, diversity of clay, limestone, and silex soils, and deliberate, albeit low-intervention, cellar work. The Vouvray Brut comes from 45 year-old vines that are hand-harvested during the first pass of the season. It is made in the traditional method with two to three years resting on the lees before disgorgement with a 6 g/l dosage. The 2019 Brut is a delightful wine showing elegant aromas of quince, pear, brioche, citrus and mint, bright and fresh, but with more ripeness and density in this excellent vintage. The palate shows an elegant mousse with superb density and weight, with flavors of white fruits, quince, peach and honey with firm chalky acidity, and finishing with white fruit, almond and mineral notes, quite clean and refreshing. Lovely wine, and capable of long aging. (Please serve in a white wine glass, not a flute, in order to enjoy the complex aromas...)
50% Cot and 50% Grolleau, organically farmed in Vouvray by Julien Pinon, partially from very old vines of Cot planted by Julien's great-grandfather. This is an elegant and very delicious Pet Nat that will accompany just about anything and is delightful as an aperitif by itself. The aromas are quite pretty with ripe raspberry, strawberry and red currant with hints of rose and blood orange. The palate is fresh and creamy with raspberry and tart strawberry with a nice mineral kick and sappy fruit in the refreshing finish.
Pineau D'Aunis is perfectly light and bright for your turkey dinner! Sébastien Cornille's lovely 2022 "Guinguette" is made principally from Pineau d’Aunis, with Gamay, sourced from 30+year-old vines in biodynamic farming. It undergoes semi-carbonic maceration for 20 days in tank before the Pineau d’Aunis is pressed off to be aged in neutral barrique and the Gamay in tank. The 2022 Guinguette is a superb "vin de soif" offering bright aromas of peppery raspberry, cherry and violets, quite ripe and generous in this warm vintage. The palate shows light but sappy raspberry, plum and red currant fruit with chalky minerals, spice and citrus. The finish is long and refreshing. Serve this lovely wine slightly chilled with charcuterie, of course, grilled pork and lamb, bluefish (?) and mild cow cheeses. David Lillie Surprisingly vibrant and bright aciditity for such a warm vintage, showing a fruity nose of berries and cherries with baking spice and a lively body with crunchy cherries and zesty currants. Exactly the kind of wine to drink on a riverside barge whilst dancing to accordion music and nibling on cheese and charcuterie... a French Guinguette! Giselle Hamburg
The cuvée "La Pause" comes from a plot Laurent Saillard originally rented since 2011 from Catherine Roussel of the famed natural wine domain, Clos Roche Blanche. These Touraine vines were planted in 1978, and have been organically farmed since 1991, and biodynamically farmed since Saillard took them over. This is a clean and naturally made Gamay with forward fruit and great acidity. The 2022 is pure a delicious, perfect for the holiday feast. Don't get just one bottle, you'll regret it!
The Source du Ruault "Coulée D'Aunis" is from a beautiful south-facing vineyard near the Loire river on Turonian limestone with clay. The 2019 shows a lovely light gold color and aromas of dried pear, lemon zest, anise, lime-flower, almond and stone, very bright and vibrant. There is very firm chalky acidity on the palate, really a scintillating texture with white fruits, citrus, herbal and stone flavors. The finish is long and extremely mineral, almost bitter, with brisk acidity lingering on the palate. Give this a decant or open the night before if drinking now, serve this bright and vibrant Chenin with shellfish, a full-flavored ceviche, baked cod. Beautiful now, five to ten years of cellaring will be very interesting...
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. The wine shows a dense red/black color with aromas of raspberry and cassis liqueur, ripe, quite pure and bright. The palate has a soft velvety attack but there is acidity to balance, with pretty red and black fruits that are ripe and intriguing. Serve this quite cool with roast chicken, grilled pork and lamb, tagines and charcuterie. This is a lovely Saumur-Champigny and an excellent value...
La Porte Dorée - the Golden Gate - is without a doubt one of the best expressions of dry Romorantin with Hervé Villemade's Les Acacias. This cuvée comes for 80% from a specific vineyard called "Porte Dorée" : there is more clay, the soil is cooler, the limestone is closer. The oldest vines are 60 years old. Because of the late ripeness of this plot, and its concentration, it is always aged in barrels to tame the powerful acidity and help with the aromatic development. The 2020 "Porte Dorée" is superb, powerful and dry, with firm acidity, showing complex aromas of pear, citrus, lime-flower, white pepper, almond. The palate shows ripe pear, quince, citrus, almond and intense mineral flavors that coat the mouth and are very dense and long. This is a very young wine that will benefit from decanting or 3 to 10 years of cellaring. 14.5% alcohol, 1.46 gr/L RS, 17 gr/L SO2.
La Porte Dorée - the Golden Gate - is without a doubt one of the best expressions of dry Romorantin with Hervé Villemade's Les Acacias. This cuvée comes for 80% from a specific vineyard called "Porte Dorée" : there is more clay, the soil is cooler, the limestone is closer. The oldest vines are 60 years old. Because of the late ripeness of this plot, and its concentration, it is always aged in barrels to tame the powerful acidity and help with the aromatic development. The 2020 "Porte Dorée" is powerful and dry, with firm acidity, showing complex aromas of pear, citrus, lime-flower, white pepper, almond. The palate shows ripe pear, quince, citrus, almond and intense mineral flavors that coat the mouth and are very dense and long. This is a very young wine that will benefit from decanting or 3 to 10 years of cellaring. 14.5% alcohol, 1.46 gr/L RS, 17 gr/L SO2.
Tessier's 2021 "Le Point du Jour" is a beautiful expression of Cheverny, a blend of 20% Gamay and 80% Pinot Noir from the oldest vines of the estate planted on two types of terroir, clay and sand and sandy clay over limestone. Hand-harvested, the grapes are vinified in 80% whole-cluster, macerated for 2 weeks or so before being aged in a mix of barrels, demi-muids and foudres. Aging was longer this year, the wine was blended in January and bottled in July, unfiltered with minimal sulfur dioxide. With yields of only 15 hl/ha in the frost-damaged 2021 vintage, the wine is light and low in alcohol (12%) and bone-dry, really bright and pretty, showing tart cherry with wild strawberry and pomegranate, hints of cinnamon and almond, and refreshing acidity. Serve cool, enjoy over the next five years.
The 2021 Tessier Cour-Cheverny is 100% Romorantin from vines grown on sandy clay soils over limestone. The wine goes through the malo and is vinified and aged in vats. This is a beautiful Cour-Cheverny showing the leaner profile of the 2021 vintage, with less ripeness than the 2020, with lower alcohol and a more mineral and bright citrus profile. The wine shows distinctive aromas of pear and citrus fruit, lime-flower, toasted almond and hints of spice, really quite lovely. The palate is scintillating and dry with citrus, pear, herbal, stone and nut flavors, with nice ripeness and density and firm refreshing acidity. The finish is very long, with mineral, citrus and pear flavors that linger on the palate. Perfect as an aperitif or serve with full-flavored fish and chicken dishes, Asian foods, and especially with mild cheeses like Morbier or Raclette, or goat cheeses from the Loire. This will be very interesting with 2 to 4 years of cellaring as well. Lovely wine and a great value! 12.5% alc, 0.54 g/l RS, 37 mg/l total SO2.
We're happy to have "les Sables" back in stock, even if it's only a few bottles! This beautiful, rich but dry Romorantin from Tessier is from 25 to 40 year-old vines on sandy clay soils with silex. The wine ages 10 months in tronconic wooden vats and 5 months in cement and was bottled with minimal SO2. This is a rare and beautiful wine, quite concentrated and incredibly vibrant, with lower alcohol and higher acidity in the very difficult 2021 vintage which gave disastrous yields. The nose is complex, with a lot of pear drops, lime zest, wild flower honey, almond and stone. It is in fact quite aromatic for a Romorantin. On the palate, there is a lot happening, mostly mineral, herbal and citrus flavors and the tangy, acidity has such a backbone. It is really lifted for such a dense wine. Get creative, as this unique wine is a great food pairing for a full-flavered fish or shellfish preparation, or with rabbit and other white meats. We have 6 bottles!? Best to hold for 3 - 5 years. (12.5% alc, 0.54 gr/l RS, 8 mg/l SO2.)
In the western Sologne, Philippe and now his son Simon Tessier are making some of the best example of Cheverny blanc, highly versatile with a lift and an elegance due to the sandy clay soil over limestone. In 2022 the blend is 70% Sauvignon blanc and rose, 20% Orbois (Menu Pineau), 10% Chardonnay. 2022 was a warm vintage with drought, so this bottling has more texture and glycerol than usual, without loosing its Loire Valley character. Even if the blend is dominated by the Sauvignon, there is no caricatural expression: it is more a variation on grapefruit zest, sage, and white flowers. The flavors on the palate show notes of pear, apple blossom, anis, lemon zest with a nice subtle bitterness. In this vintage, it is definitely more a Fall bottle than a brisk summery wine, which is perfect! Serve it in a larger glass, let it open for a little bit and serve it with some black sea bass or of course some goat cheese with an arugula salad dressed with halzenut oil. (23 mg/L SO2, 13.5% alc, 1.61 gr/L RS)
This will disappeaar quickly on your table for Thanksgiving! Philippe and now Simon Tessier are making really delicious wines from their organic vineyards in Sologne. Under the Cheverny AOC, they make white and red, but also rosé : the sandy clay soil as well as the grapes (2/3 Pinot Noir and 1/3 Gamay) are perfectly suited for the style. Of course, don't expect a boring, insipid, pale salmon whitish rosé. There is always some serious depth and length in their wine! With the 2022 as in 2020 and 2019, you have on top more texture and power than usual: the warm summer led to ripe, concentrated berries. - the wine is ripe but bone-dry at 13.5% alc, under .5 gr/L RS. This bottling is more aromatic than usual, with notes of dried rose, pink grapefruit and pomegranate. The attack is creamy and rich, but the wine quickly balances out the alcohol but a really nice bitter edge of pomelo, and the acidity kicks in at the end. It is the type of rosé that can pair really with pretty much anything, and that will have the texture you want when the days will start to be chilly. Serve it in a white wine glass and pair it with what you be pleased to cook, be it some fried squids with spicy aioli, a chana masala or any kind of cheese. (16 gr/L total SO2 - what a pleasure to enjoy a pure and delicious rosé with almost no sulfur!)
Toc is a pun for Côt, one of the single-variety cuvées made by Simon and Philippe Tessier in their organic estate of Sologne. Côt, or Malbec, is one of the grapes authorised in the Cheverny AOC but as the appellation has to be a blend, the wine is declassified in Vin de France - one of the meanings of Toc in French is "fake stuff." Vinified like all the other reds in semi-carbonic maceration for 15 days or so, then aged in 500 liter barrique for 8 months, this bottling has a juicy, plush texture balancing really well the natural high acid spine of the variety. Dark purple - the usual colour of Malbec - the 2022 has a lovely bouquet of violet, blueberry, blackberry liqueur, dried thyme and a pinch of funk. On the palate, the attack is lush and bright, with blackberry and cherry fruit, then the vibrant acidity appears, and plays with the gentle tannins, finishing with terrific length of ripe, chalky fruit. Despite this ripeness it is not heavy at all, but quite refreshing and lively so serve quite cool. Delicious wine and highly recommended. Probably best if opened the day before and re-corked.
Thierry and Jean-Marie Puzelat make this outstanding Sauvignon Blanc from a one hectare parcel in Pouillé, with sand and gravel over limestone, giving very low yields. An intense and beautiful wine in 2022, with aromas of lemon peel, pear, dried herbs, lime flower and pine resin. The palate is dense and ripe with dried white fruits, lemon oil and earth backed by firm acidity. Beautifully structured and very long, this is an outstanding and unusual Sauvignon Blanc to serve with fish or chicken in sauce and full-flavored goat cheeses. Delicious now, the wine should be very interesting with 5 to 10 years of cellaring. Highly recommended. (The name literally translated is "squalid bush" but we hope it refers rather to the limestone of Pouillé...?)
Airy and concentrated at the same time with so much richness yet steel-like precision and laser-like acidity. Yes this is a wine that will induce many a metaphor. There is a lime streak smothered in minerality along with piquant and stern acidity to enable long ageing. LF
Hervé Villemade's 2022 Sauvignon Blanc showed beautifully tasted last February in Angers - the wine really 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 quite ripe in 2022 but remains 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.
Claudie Jobard makes this lovely wine from 50 - 60 year-old vines on a south-east facing slope of pebbly clay/limestone soils near the Chateau de Rully in the Côte Chalonnaise between Mercurey and Bouzeron. Organic farming. Bright red/garnet color. The wine shows bright vivid aromas of morello cherry and raspberry, with floral, blood orange, spice and earth notes. There is nice depth of sapid fruit on the palate - black raspberry and cherry - with earth, minerals and citrus. The fruit lingers on the refreshing and very long mineral finish. This is a lovely Pinot Noir for current drinking that will deepen and soften over the next three to five years. (Serve with any grilled meat, especially lamb or duck, roast chicken and mild cheeses, full flavored fish) David Lillie
We love rosés from Cassis - a great location and terroir for wine despite the chic little town and hordes of tourists! In a vineyard dating back to the 13th century, situated a few hundred metres from the Mediterranean, the Domaine du Bagnol produces one of the most elegant of rosés. Part Grenache, giving structure and weight and part Cinsault, giving delicate red fruit and spice aromas, this pale salmon-colored wine is a refreshing treat!
From a 1.75 hectare single vineyard called "Fontanieu", north facing, on a slope near la Cadiere d' Azur on a unique red clay soil over limestone that naturally provides a mineral tension and raciness complemented by notes of nutmeg and violet. Aged in large foudre, 4,000 bottles produced. The 2016 Fontanéou shows a dark black/purple color and aromas of ripe blackberry and back cherry liqueur with smoky garrigue, citrus peel, violet and cocoa. The palate shows supple, spicy black fruits, bitter chocolate, garrigue, black olive and spice - quite ripe but surprisingly well-balanced with cool, earthy acidity. The finish is long with sappy black fruits and mineral flavors - a beautiful Bandol for current drinking that will soften nicely with 5 to 15 years of cellaring. David Lillie
Grenache, Gamay, Trousseau
Gewurztraminer, Grenache Blanc, Vermentino, Chardonnay, Savagnin
Mourvèdre, Grenache, Gamay
Gewurztraminer with gentle skin contact, very fresh and not intensely floral.
All Savagnin with 6 months infusion style skin contact, and a small percentage of wine from 2020 vintage wine included. Aging in neutral oak barrels.
Grenache Blanc, Vermentino, Viognier
Formerly known by the parcel name, 'Cote de Feule,' this is a red from majority Ploussard (Poulsard) with 15% Trousseau and 5% Savagnin. About half of the grapes go through whole cluster, and the rest a long and slow 6 month maceration.
Note from Domaine du Gringet: "An AOP Vin de Savoie Ayse white made from the estate's hillside vines, i.e. the white marl of "La Paille," the limestone scree of "Chez Edouard," as well as the red marl and clay loaded with iron alumina of "Le Feu." It was aged for 18 months in ovoid concrete tanks. It is adorned with a specific label chosen by Valérie, and designed by the cartoonist Michel Tolmer, well known in the French wine world."
'Monsieur Gringet' is Gringet in all of its chiseled, alpine brilliance. While the 'Eponyme' 2020 (bottled by JF Ganevat) was an ethereal and contemplative expression, 'Monsieur Gringet' is a proclamation! Obviously age-worthy from it's acidity and mineral length, it's also a very present wine, firing on all cylinders, and making you wonder if maybe Gringet is the most exciting grape in the Savoie. Michel Tolmer's illustration on the label clearly depicts the best setting for the wine, being shared amongst friends in a jovial setting, but elevated and nerdy food pairings are limitless with this bottle (as many talented chefs who have worked with Belluard's wines can attest). All in all, it's a great bottle of wine, and an homage to a very humble and passionate man. A memorable white wine, not to be missed.
After running one of the most important wine restaurants in Paris (Le Café de la Nouvelle Mairie), Nicolas Carmarans decided to sell off his business to go back to his roots and revive the vineyards of his grand-parents in Le Bruel, a little hamlet lost in Aveyron. 5th largest department in France, Aveyron is one of the most isolated, mostly populated by sheep and pasture. Yet in the medieval time this was one of the most important vineyard in the country, on the path to Santiago-di-Compostella. Starting in 2002 and rehabilitating slowly but surely the terraces and the vineyards, Nicolas put back the Pays d'Entraygues on the map! His wines are just soulful and delicious. Maximus is an invigorating expression of Fer Servadou from high altitude vineyards on granitic slopes. Vinified in whole-cluster and semi-carbonic maceration in stainless steel with a short aging (8 months), the wine bursts with pomegranate, wild strawberry and blood orange zest, without loosing its medicinal undertones (gentiane, thai basil and pepper). 2022 being a warm vintage, the wine shows lovely density and ripeness, yet keeps its vibrating tension and slight grippy tannins making it so drinkable! It is a very versatile wine : pop it up with pizzas, tacos, soy-marinated tuna, or enjoy it by itself! 100% Fer Servadou.
Almost every year, winemakers and friends Nicolas Carmarans and Bruno Duchene make this special bottling, only available in 1.5L Magnum. Selected from their favorite barrels, it's a blend of Grenache from Duchene's vineyards in Collioure and Fer Servadou from Nico's vineyards in the Aveyron. A shoe-in for Thanksgiving, as Duchene's Grenache is always acid forward, never overpowering, and the gamey and fresh character of the Fer Servadou is a perfect compliment. A special wine that is in many ways bottled with friends and feasts in mind. Serve with a chill!
Near the town of Manicle, Micky and his uncle tend to their small family domaine. Cuvee Fleurus is 100% Altesse from young vines on clay and limestone soils, pressed direct and fermented and aged in stainless steel. Though Altesse can easily take on a fruity profile, with ripe orchard fruit notes and roundness on the palate, Micky's approach was meant to guard freshness and present a style of Altesse that would be suitable for an apero. We think he nailed it with this cuvee, which does develop softer and rounder notes after several hours open, but on opening resembles Jacquere more than Altesse!
Vin de Savoie of Gamay, Pinot Noir, and Mondeuse, farmed organically by Marie & Florian Curtet. The 36 year old vines are planted to Mossiac limestone and have an exposure that ranges from west to southwest. In 2018, whole bunch fermentation was done for 4-5 weeks before pressing. Afterwards, the wine was aged on the lees in concrete tanks for 11 months, then lightly filtered before bottling. Only a touch of SO2 is added. The wine has a black core with light magenta edges. The first night open, the nose was full of tart blueberries and red cherries, and the palate echoed those aromas, but with a salty edge. Structurally, it was sparky and vibrant, with very little tannin, instead relying on a beam of acidity for definition. On the second night, the nose has become floral, with dark roses, crushed raspberry, blackberry, and blueberry. The palate expresses obvious pomegranate, raspberry, and black cherry flavors, followed up by a lingering hint of graphite. On the second night, there is more tannin, on the gums and on the back of the tongue. The acidity has softened. Two different sides to a wine - both delicious. Marie and Florien definitely know what they're doing. David Hatzopoulos
This is 100% Jacquere from 3 sites in the village of Apremont. Vine age is between 60 and 70 years. Wine is fermented with native yeasts, 1/3 in 2-3 year old barriques, and 2/3 in tank, with zero sulfur during vinification. Aged for 8 months before a light filtration and bottling. The 2022 Silice Blanc from Domaine des Ardoisières is a light, vibrant lemon color in the glass. It is in many ways, a quintessential Savoie white, and for many wine enthusiasts who are hooked on Savoie wines, this (or one of the other Ardoisieres wines) was the "gateway" wine. Perfectly mineral, with wet stones and almost under-ripe stone fruit on the nose, with a mineral profile on the palate, with a touch of body balanced by fantastic Alpine acidity.
(Arrives March 7th) I’ve been told on great authority than one really can’t call yourself a “serious” wine shop if you don’t have a Bergerac (and by extension a Pécharmant, its age worthy sibling). That it should be bio, goes without saying. And with the arrival of Domaine des Costes 16 Pécharmant we are down to serious business, friends! The new release is a grand expression, indeed. The robe is a dark ruby hue. The nose is reserved on opening, but with air (a quick decant) beautiful notes of plum, African violet, black tea, cassis, and loamy soil emerge, beyond this is are wisps of baking spices and cigar box. The palate is ripe and structured with black currant and cherry stone vying with blackberry and gunpowder tea flavors for prominence; yet with time in the glass an elemental ripeness emerges to counter the firm—albeit ripe—tannins and tangy mineral core. And while this is young, there’s plenty of joy here and even more in store if you are patient and have a cool dark space to squirrel away a couple of bottles, or perhaps a case. And while this may not display the shiny gloss of our friends downstream in Bordeaux, there’s a lot to like here and a tremendous opportunity to sock away a true vin de garde at glou glou prices. Fabulous with hanger steak with black-eyed pea salad and braised greens, but this could just as agreeably pair with guineafowl or cèpes en papillote or truffled potato gratin. Highly recommended. John McIlwain
Nicole and Jean-Marc Dournel’s Cuvée Domaine is a classic blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon that is vinified with native yeasts in tank and then is aged in the traditional large-format barrels of the Bergerac region. Aromas of cherry liqueur, cedar, and a hint of pipe tobacco rise from the glass. On the palate it is fresh with ripe, high-toned red raspberry coming forward before retreating, allowing layers of smoke, toasted earth, and dried flowers to take the stage. This is a serious and well- structured wine that is a unique and different version of an excellent Bordeuax. Decant or open well in advance, or cellar 5 to ten years.
(Arrives March 7th) The 2019 "Tradition" is another beautiful wine from Domaine des Costes, certified organic since 2007. The wine shows an earthy red/garnet color, with intriguing aromas of black raspberry, cassis, earth, roast meat and spice. The palate is dense and richly textured with deep red currant and cassis fruit, with tobacco and earth with a very firm mineral presence on the tongue and a very long finish of red currant, minerals and firm acidity. All this for $15.99! Bravo to the Dournel family for this beautiful big little wine...
This delicious Cremant is 100% Chardonnay from vines ranging from 5 - 50 years old, on Lias-era clay over Bajocien limestone. The wine is aged 18 months sur lattes, with no dosage.
Perhaps the more intriguing and curious of the two whites from Donneurs de Temps, 'Les Anges' combines a textured layer of Savagnin that sees a little over a week of maceration, with the balance of direct press Chardonnay. Notes of stone fruit and quince, with a dense and broad mid-palate, not fat or waxy, but nonetheless textured and layered. // Translation from label: "Chardonnay and Savagnin grapes, harvested on the 20th and 22nd of September, 2019. The Savagnin, after being destemmed, was macerated for 11 days and then aged in cuve for 11 months. The Chardonnay was pressed directly and aged in barrel."
This is a regional specialty of the Jura, taking partially fermenting grape must and introducing a Marc du Jura, or grape eau de vie, which preserves some sugar and brings the alc. up to about 18%. It's a similar approach to Pineau des Charentes, but with a Jura twist! Delicious, peculiar, with more wine-like energy and freshness compared to many Macvins I've had that seem more tired or typical. An ideal pairing for any salty or savory dessert, among many many pairing possibilities. // Translation from label: "Our liqueur was made with 2 parts must from Savagnin grapes, and 1 part eau de vie (Marc) that we distilled over a wood fire. Put into incredible bottles (bouteilles rocambolesque) with the help of my friend Jean-Jacques on the 12th of December."
Like all of the wines from David and Veronique Dupasquier, this Roussette de Savoie (Altesse) was fermented and partially aged in undergound concrete vats, then aged on the fine lees for a year in large foudre before spending 18 months in bottle. The robe shows golden straw in the glass and offers vivid aromas of white flowers, mint, dried mango, and faint oxidative notes of walnut. The palate is supple and dynamic with a coiled mineral core beneath layers of ripe apricot, orange peel, and toasted almond. A beautiful introduction to the appellation!
100% Altesse (locally called Roussette) that comes from the steep Marestel Cru situated high above Jongieux on the western side of Mont du Chat; Marestel is one of four appellations within the winding Roussette de Savoie AOC. The steep, southwestern facing slope provides abundant sun exposure for the vines, which aids the ripening in the cool mountain clime. The yields from this site are low and provide very concentrated fruit. The grapes are harvested meticulously by hand and fermented wtih native yeasts in concrete vat before aging on the fine lees in large foudres for a year. After bottling, the wine spends 18 months resting in glass before market release. The palate is characteristically full with distinct flavors of mint, lemon zest, almond, and wildflower honey. This is a bold and fascinating wine that should only improve with age.
Jacquere from the Savoie is generally delicate and light with crisp, citrusy acid and powdery minerality. Though there is no lack of acidity here, the wine is more mellow than some and acid isn't all that defines its profile. A thought-provoking wine for the price!
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. Thomas Finot now says there is about 3-4 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."The color is a glimmering yellow, with dashes of green. The nose is warm, with a little smoke, grilled yellow apricot, and crumbled Provencal herbs. The palate here is beyond lovely - one where the flavors and the structure of the wine cannot be separated. When the wine hits the tongue, there is a literal second where it is light and simple, but it immediately grows. A rich and tender palate with lemons, orange zest, apricot, and minerals. Long finish, ends with herbs and green tea.
From the no-man's land between the Rhône and the Savoie (Isère, to be specific) comes this delicious Mondeuse, which shows the classic aromas and flavors of the grape: the herbal, black pepper, graphite notes we sometimes find in Syrah, with the high-toned earthiness and crunchy acidity of the light reds of cool-climate eastern France. The nose offers blackberry and blackberry seeds, and purple flower petals. The palate is soft, velvety but with a firm finish. Open and pretty aromatically, with some rusticity but low alcohol and graceful on the palate.
Nicolas Gonin planted a parcel of Jacquere near the town Saint-Marcel, on jurassic limestone terroir, in 2015. This new bottling, the Jacquere-Altesse, seems to be the first cuvee from Gonin that utilizes some of these young vines. It's a new addition to the lineup! A local grape to the Savoie region, Jacquere is known to produce fresh, mineral wines, with generally balanced or low alcohol. We usually think of Jacquere as the Melon de Bourgogne of the Savoie, as a clean Jacquere with a touch of alpine influence can resemble a Muscadet from the Atlantic coast. Different settings, but the grapes both seem to carry the mineral character of the terroirs so well. This is Jacquere from Gonin's young vines, blended with Altesse, which typically brings more ripe, orchard fruit and roundness.
This Roussette de Savoie (Altesse) is from vines that France Gonzalvez is converting to organic (in 2nd year of conversion). At 11% alc, it's remarkably fresh and zippy for an Altesse, with fantastic mineral length. // France's Notes: "Direct press, fermented and aged in 600L barrels with native yeasts and minimal sulfur of 1g at bottling. Pale straw in colour with hints of milky green. The nose expresses a subtle and refined potpurri of flowers, spices, discreet oak and smoke with notes of toast, mayflower, pear, rhubarb, ginger and graphite. The palate is saline yet round, graceful and balanced."
France says this is a wine of meditation, we find it's so charming and tasty that meditation is not necessary! A Vin de France blend of Gamay from Savoie (in conversion to organic certification) and organic certified Gamay from Beaujolais (France's home region) that is juicy and mineral, with nice lift and ready to drink! // France's Notes: "10 days carbonic maceration, native yeasts, fermentation in concrete with minimal 1gm sulfur at bottling. A raspberry robe with hints of mahogany and mauve. The nose skews more compote like with floral, spice, herbaceous notes underscored by graphite, Damascus rose, bitter orange, cumin and laurel. The palate balances acidity with a generous body and ripeness. A true "wine of meditation". /
The Chignin Bergeron (Roussanne) is a medium bodied, acid-forward expression from certified organic vineyards in the Savoie. // France's Notes: "Native yeasts, direct press, fermentation in concrete with minimal 1gm sulphur at bottling. A deep golden hue with amber reflections. The nose combines notes of elegant oak with refined fruit, herbaceousness and spices such as flint, musk, lemon confit, angelica, dried apricots, iris root and cardamon. The palate is taut with a fine balance of energy and minerality with a suave ripeness." // Jeff's notes!: Beautiful Roussanne with some richness but still fresh and airy. Great depth and a mineral streak that gives balance, with precise acidity and lovely texture.
Inouie is Savoie Gamay from certified organic vineyards, aged in amphora, and worthy of a decant or a bit more time in the bottle (it just arrived about a month ago). We love the deep tones of the wine, and the soft feel of the tannins! // France's Notes: "Mountain Gamay, mineral and intensely fruity. Semi Carbonic maceration with native yeasts, aging in amphora and minimal 1gm sulphur at bottling. A clear raspberry hue with mauve reflections. The nose is fresh and lively with notes of flowers, spice and herbaceousness such as soot, matchstick, peony, strawberry, marshmallow, cumin and chicory. The palate is balanced between roundness and energy underscored by a juicy ripeness."
A direct press of certified organic Jacquère from Apremont, 'Jour Blanc' is an exhiliratingly fresh and lifted white wine. The wine was bottled with 1g of S02 at bottling, after a short aging in cement (bottled in January '23).
Miss Mond is France Gonzalvez's mystifying Mondeuse at 9.5° alc! Rustic flavors, Syrah-like profile on the nose (no surprise since Mondeuse is a grandparent of Syrah), but the body is lithe, super light and fresh... It's hard to describe, but we hope we did a good job. Drinking it is better than reading about it! // France's Notes: "100% Mondeuse. The wine was bottled with 1g of S02 at bottling, after a short fermentation in barrel with native yeasts (bottled in January '23). Garnet in hue with mauve and violet reflections, the nose is spicy and floral with notes of damp earth, violets, cassis, blueberry, Sichuan pepper, nutmeg and laurel. The palate is balanced between it's roundness and linear acidity, ripeness and structure."
A lovely, balanced Pinot Noir from vines in conversion to organic certification. 10.5% alc. This Pinot Noir is light bodied, fresh and energetic with brambly raspberry and dark cherry fruit and a hint of earthiness. It has some cool herbs and lively acidity, making it a delicious red you can chill and enjoy with or without food.
The Clos du Gravillas Minervois "Sur La Lune" is a marriage of Carignan, Syrah and Cinsault on the lunar terroir of Cazelles. Vinified and aged in vats to give a tender and supple side. Deep and fresh at the same time, it smells of "garrigue." The wine shows a dark red/purple color with aromas of ripe berry fruits - black raspberry, blueberry - with citrus peel, floral notes, garrigue and licorice, really lovely. The palate is deep and ripe but nicely balanced with red and black fruits, minerals and firm acidity. Each grape contibutes beautifully to this classic Languedoc red that is not over-extrracted or tannic, that can accompany grilled meats, stews, tagines and full-flavored cheeses. Terrific wine and a great value. David Lillie
"Our orange wine is a dry macerated Muscat (3 to 4 weeks) which combines the notes of Earl Gray tea, orange blossom and apricot. Perfect with roasted squash or mushrooms accompanied by smoked bacon. Very interesting with an apricot tagine. Also goes well with full-flavored cheeses such as raclette, Mont d’Or, tartiflette," "One of the greatest dry muscats in the world" said Decanter magazine. The high praise is warranted, as it strikes a captivating balance of subtle fruit - think lychee, citrus peel, and pear - with delicate floral aromatics that suggest walking through a breezy meadow in full bloom. Then just when you think you have this wine pinned down you get a rush of chiseled minerality on the palate, a welcome twist that gives it lift and balance while still retaining its airy weightlessness. On the second day there was an added layer of complexity, with some honey and deeper apricot fruit peeking through. The acidity is in perfect balance and even on the third day it was still singing, suggesting some aging potential. While it's not a heavy, powerful orange wine, it's equally compelling as it seems to shift in the glass from sip to sip - definitely a bottle worth contemplating over.
Sous les Cailloux, des Grillons, means "under the rocks, crickets" - made from Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Grenache, and Terret noir, a red wine, frank and fresh—red fruit, fluidity and a touchof tannin. 8 days skin time for this blend of all our red varietals, aging in tank only. In St. Jean, the soil is only white gravel ; in our youngest vineyard, under these rocks innumerable crickets find shade from the scorching Mediterranean sun. At night they comeout to play (and during the day, they are under the rocks). The color is a vivid red/black, with fresh aromas of red currant, plum skin, rose and citrus, quite pretty. The palate is cool and silky with earthy plum, black raspberry fruit with hints of licorice and minerals with a nice chalky texure in the finish with refreshing acidity. Perfect hamburger wine! Or with grilled veggies, serve cool and enjoy!
The Unexpected. A surprising full dry white wine--fresh but mineral and very complex Grenaches (plus a bit of Maccabeu) fermented and aged (10 months) on lees in 500L barrels. Floral, herbal, stone, white peach, dried pear aromas. The palate is dense and mineral with more stone flavors than fruit, with a beautiful finish. Forceful enough to enjoy with good canned sardines, mackerel or veal blanquette, a rare match for organic goat cheese, surprising with Apple Crumble!
The 2022 Clos du Gravillas "Douce Providence" is a real treasure of the south of France - Muscat St. Jean de Minervois made with Muscat Petits Grains. Beautiful, delicate aromas of white rose petal, lime flower, citrus. The palate is silky and supple and lightly sweet with flavors of apricot and peach, hints of green tea, coconut and minerals, finishing with ripe citrus and refreshing acidity. Serve quite cool, yum!
"A dry, light, original and refreshing white made with Terret Gris. We love this native Languedoc grape variety which thrives on our limestone soil on the Cazelles plateau. To reinforce its mineral side, it is vinified and aged in a sandstone egg and earthen amphoras. Rather floral aromas and marine iodine or ocean breeze with ripe pear and melon. The palate has more ocean spray and juicy fruit complemented with some savory garrigue. Perfect with shellfish, lean fish and lemon chicken... (of course there's a play on words here as "emmenez-moi au bout de la terre" is "take me to the end of the earth.")
Wow, this may be the most refreshing wine ever made! The Clos du Gravillas "Happy" is made from tiny grapes of Terret Gris that are macerated on Muscat skins, creating a fun, fresh, citrusy treat! Superaromatic out of the gate with aromas of spearmint and orange blossom. The palate is floral yet herbaceous with notes of mandarin and kumquats. Exuberant and a party in a glass!
The 2022 Clos du Gravillas "I'm Alive!" is a "claret" - a very light red, perfect for summer, made from Picpoul Blanc, Gris, Noir and Cinsault, co-fermented. The color is a light, bright vermillion red. Delicate high-toned aromas of raspberry, cranberry, citrus, rose and white pepper. Tart cherry, raspberry and citrus flavors on the palate with a hint of tannin and nice sappy length of cherry fruit. Really refreshing and delicious, and too easy to drink, perfect for a picnic on a hot day or with any light cuisine. Serve quite cool and enjoy!
The Clos du Gravillas "Jour de Teuf" is a vibrant Pet-Nat mad from Muscat Petits Grains grown in the rocky limestone vineyards of the Haut Minervois. The grapes are picked a bit unripe, then bottled after an initial fermentation with about 17 grams/liter of residual sugar, which then ferments and finishes dry with beautiful sparkle. This is a joyous and lively pet-nat, a hazy straw in the glass with just a touch of sweetness balanced by vibrant acidity. There's some apple fruit and a hint of earth but endless refreshment. Upon tasting we were all in agreement that this would be a perfect aperitif, or an ideal "breakfast wine" for all you bibulous brunch lovers.
Ancient grapes Piquepoul gris, Terret gris and Carignan blanc. Our newest quest, to find the true Languedoc white Wine. Plantation sourced from a conservatory of lost pink varietals in the Minervois. Plus a newly acquired Carignan Blanc vineyard. this elegant and complex wine opens with aromas of hazelnut, white peach, lime flower and minerals with a hint of spice. The palate is silky and dense with stone, citrus, white peach and pear, finishing with citrus, mineral, melon and earth notes with terrific length. Beautifull now, we suspect this will age gracefully. Pair with any full-flavored fish or ceviche, white meats and mild cheeses or just sip and enjoy.
From organically certified vineyards, 1 ha dedicated to Petit Manseng and 1 ha to Petit Courbu, permaculture-pioneer Peio Espil offers a very unique interpretation of Irouléguy Blanc as he is one of the few growing grapes on Trias limestone, a soil so hard he had to use dynamite to plant the vines. No tilling, use of ewes to graze the spontaneous vegetation and compost the soils leads to balanced yields of very concentrated grapes. Harvested almost at the same time despite the fact Petit Courbu is usually an earlier ripening grape than Petit Manseng (Petit Courbu has usually dense cluster and thinner skin berries, but not at Ilarria thanks to the farming), both see some skin maceration (6 hours or so for the Petit Courbu, 12-14 hours for the Petit Manseng) in order to extract aromatic compounds and structure, the musts are blended right away, and fermented spontaneously, with malolactic always occurring, something very rare for the region! Long fermentations are preferred for texture. A little bit of sulfites are used after the fermentation when the wine needs to be racked from inox to demi-muids from tonnellerie de l’Adour. Then the wine stays untouched on its fine lees with racking if needed. The wine is aged up to 18 months, and doesn’t need to be filtered before bottling. Sulfites are adjusted at this time for a total round 45ppm. With moderate alcohol, it has a surprising density with so many layers: a very complex nose of passion fruit, chamomile, yellow plum and smoked salt, the palate is very savory with a saline quality, and more dried hawthorne and thai basil leaves. It is a salivating wine with so much to give, that you want to sip on it little by little. Enjoy it today in large Burgundy glass or keep it for 10 years. For pairing, a rabbit agnolotti with dried sage or a cauliflower panna cotta with crab meat flesh and grapefruit segment.
The 2019 Pure M is a beautiful natural wine with zero added SO2, 100% Malbec from a small parcel in biodynamic farming on "Calcaires a Asteries" typical of the plateau of Saint-Emilion. Two year élevage in 1200 liter Taransaud foudre without fining, filtration or SO2, 1600 bottles produced. The wine shows complex, pure, lush aromas of cassis, blackberry and prune with hints of tobacco, spice and earth. The palate is silky and bright with ripe cassis, blackberry and blueberry fruit backed by refreshing acidity. Mineral and ripe berry fruit flavors linger in the long finish. Serve this cool with any grilled meats, and it's balanced enough for veggies and lighter meat dishes as well. Just delicious and highly recommended! David Lillie
The 2020 Jonc Blanc "Fleur" is a gorgeous and complex wine from 45% old-vine Semillon (70+ years old), Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris from Franck and Isabelle Pascal in Bergerac, Biodynamic farming on limestone with clay and sandy soils, vinification without additives, aging for 18 months on the lees in cuve inox, bottled with a small addition of SO2, 20mg/l total. The 2020 Fleur is a lovely wine showing floral aromas of ripe citrus, melon and pear; the palate is ripe, supple and refreshing with ripe white fruits, quite generous and backed with firm acidity and saline/mineral flavors in the very long finish. Far from the typical varietal Sauvignon, this is a rich complex white of great character that willl acccompany cheeses and white meats and is a delicious aperitif.
The delicious 2020 Jonc Blanc "Fruit" is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec from a parcel on limestone of Castillon in biodynamic farming with legumes, cereals and pollinators between the vnes. There is a cool pre-fermentation maceration, then fermentation with wild yeasts for 30 days, followed by 18 months in cuve and old foudre, bottled unfined, unfiltered with zero added SO2. Pure Juice!. Red/black color with bright rim. The wine shows lovely deep aromas of earth and violet with black raspberry, red currant, cassis, plum, licorice and spice. One really senses the terroir. The palate is full and supple with bright acidity, earth and mineral flavors under the vibrant, dark fruit. This is simply delicious, especially for those who love natural wines. (As with most zero sulfur wines, it's best consumed on the day opened) To call it a wine of terroir is a huge understatement! Serve cool and enjoy over the next three years with charcuterie, burgers, grilled chicken and pork. David Lillie
For lovers of natural, skin contact wines - “PURE S” : 100% Semillon. Boulbènes terroir on a limestone base: a mixture of limestone sands and silts with a little clay. Aging in 18hl Stockinger casks for 2 years, zero additives. Production : 2400 bottles. Tasting: the boulbènes on limestone of the plateau of Vélines are illustrated by very marked salty notes and give the wine a great minerality. A white wine that transcends the natural power of Semillon and expresses itself with fantastic length. To decant imperatively!" Yes, the wine is a bit orange, showing a deep bronze/gold color. Floral, herbal, roasted citrus, exotic fruit and apricot notes. The palate shows skin tannin, ripe melon, apricot, almond and citrus peel with intense mineral flavors and firm acidity - just a fabulous natural wine in the 2020 vintage! Zero sulfur added. David Lillie
This delicate natural pét-nat is made with mostly Cabernet Sauvignon (70%) and a smaller portion of Sémillon (30%), and shows a lovely pink-orange color in the glass. The mousse is very delicate, but at a quite high pressure, and on the palate herbal, red fruits, tea, and crushed strawberries are evident, with white fruits from the Semillon. WARNING - Open over a sink as the high pressure cases a bit of overflow when opened!
Wow, this a superb natural wine - 100% Gros Manseng from three vintages, 2018 - 2020, grown on a clay/limestone terroir (calcaire de Castillon). Elevage in 1800 liter Stockinger foudre. This is a more northern version of this grape of southwest France with aromas of exotic fruit, pineapple and herbs. The palate is vibrant with almond, pear and apricot fruit, and finishes with saline minerals. Zero added SO2, 36 btls for the US, enjoy!
The 2021 Laguerre Le Ciste Blanc is comprised of 30% Grenache, 20% Marsanne, 20% Rolle, 20% Roussanne and 10% Macabeu. Showing an intensely mineral nose with aromas of citrus and garrigue, with hints of stone fruits from the Marsanne and Roussanne, the palate also exudes an intense stoniness with flavors of citrus, herbs, bitter melon and white peach. Bright acidity enlivens it's full body leading to a long, concentrated and complex finish. For lovers of white Chateauneuf du Pape at a fraction of the price!
The 2022 Laguerre Eos Blanc is just a beautiful wine, from 60% Grenache Blanc, 30% Maccabeu and 10% Vermentino grown in Eric's high altitude vineyards on granitic soils. The aromas are elegant and distinctive with white flowers, pear, meyer lemon and stone. The palate shows the granite soils with a dense mineral/acid backbone under sapid white and citrus fruits, finishing with peach, lemon and intense mineral flavors, bright and refreshing with terrific length. Wow, all this for $15.99! Highly recommended. David Lillie
The 2022 Cuvée LAG Orange, a 10 day maceration of Grenache Gris and Maccabeo that's just delighful, but frankly more pink than orange! The aromas are surpisingly delicate and complex with citrus peel, peach, spice and rose. The palate is well structured with a bit of skin tannin (not too much) with peach skin, orange peel and dried white fruits, finishing with firm acidity and a very long spiced fruit finish. Delicious wine and a great pairing with full-flavored seafood and vegetable dishes.
The 2022 Laguerre Eos Rosé is light and fresh, made from Grenache Gris and Grenache Noir and it's really delicious! It shows a pretty, pale pink color with subtle aromas of rose and raspberry. The palate is bright, silky and round with lovely red and yellow fruit flavors, quite crisp and long. This is a complex, refreshing and delicious rosé and a sensational value! David Lillie
Eric Laguerre's parcels for this cuvée are planted on plateaus fringed with flowering "ciste" bushes and wind swept trees. The Pyrénées loom in the distance and the afternoon sun reflecting off the decomposed granite gives his vineyards a sort of shimmering quality. Eric's bottling of "Le Ciste" is a faithful interpretation of each of these elements plus Grenache, Syrah, Carignan and Mourvèdre - some de-stemmed and some fermented on whole-clusters, separately, then aged for a year in barrel before being blended together in fiber tank. The 2021 has all of the bold flavor and texture of grapes that were allowed to fully ripen without any worry about lost acidity. At his altitude and with the help of granitic soils, Eric has little reason to pick early; his wines are vibrant and always have a marvelous backbone of mineral acidity. This is his fullest wine, with rich tannins and brooding flavors of fresh thyme, black pepper, bitter chocolate, and blood orange buoyed by ripe cherry. And while this is a handy and humble "grab n' go" for barbecues, Moroccan-themed dinners, etc., this wine has all of the potential to make us giddy and glad that we saved a few for 2030.
From their high-elevation vineyards on granite soils, the Laguerre family made this delicious new Syrah with minimal extraction - "This is a lovely light red made with 100% syrah that shows a translucent rubi color. Delicate aromas of young black fruit with a touch of black pepper, high acidity and notes of blackberries with a medium, savory and a little spicey finish. A wonderful great value chillable red that will not leave you indifferent!" Laura Tejuca
(80% Grenache, 20% Syrah grown in the Roussillon on very high-altitude vineyards of decomposed granite. Hand-harvested in small crates, yields of 18 hl/ha) Bright aromas of tart cherry and blackberry, with dark chocolate and floral notes, very pure. The palate is dense but not heavy with cherry and red-currant fruit with acidity that coats the mouth. Very long finish for a wine at this price, quite elegant with nice tannic structure. This will go very well served cool with grilled meats and will benefit from short-term cellaring. An interesting wine that really shows the influence of the granite soils. On day two there is lovely red raspberry and the tannins have softened a bit, still with bright acidity and terrific length. A fabulous value!
Clos Marie-Louise/Château Lapuyade is a beautiful biodynamic estate deep in the hills of Jurançon, south of Pau. Their wines are harvested by hand, fermented with wild yeasts and aged in old barrels purchased from Yquem and Haut-Brion. Their 2019 Petit Manseng is a gorgeous wine and a sensational value. The wine needs a bit of air to open up, then shows deep floral honeyed apricot, candied citrus, stone, spice and caramel aromas with sweet fruit on the palate—lemon oil, exotic fruit and brown spice lifted by very firm acidity. Terrific length. With a few days open, more exotic fruit, pineapple and lychee emerge and the wine softens into something wonderful. An outstanding Jurançon moelleux that will accompany fois gras, patés, cheeses, fruit desserts and is fabulous on its own. (About 70 gr/liter RS)
The Cuvée Dentelle from our biodynamic friends at Chateau Lapuyade in Jurançon is one of the rare dry Jurançon that is made from 100% Petit Manseng, in this case from 45 year-old vines always tended in organic and biodynamic farming, it's a tiny special production in the best vintages - we're fortunate to get 5 cases. The 2021 shows a bright gold color and beautiful aromas of lemon confit, apricot, almond, exotic fruit and brown spice. The palate is dense and round with dried pear, citrus, apricot, hay and mineral flavor. The finish is very long with firm acidity under ripe white fruits, citrus and stone. Lovely wine! Serve with foie gras, fish in sauce, Asian foods, goat chesses and patés. Sensational now and should be very interesting in ten years. David Lillie The 21 vintage skews herbaceous and mineral, with a full body and flavors of ripe melon, citrus marmalade and dried herbs. GH
Clos Marie-Louise/Château Lapuyade is a beautiful biodynamic estate deep in the hills of Jurançon, south of Pau. Their wines are harvested by hand, fermented with wild yeasts and aged in old barrels purchased from Yquem and Haut-Brion. This bottle, based on the two better white grapes of Jurancon, Gros and Petit Manseng, seriously over delivers in terms of complexity for the price. You'll find aromas of pineapple, citrus, peach and caramel apple on the nose, along with a light oakiness that would not work for all white wines, but fits perfectly with this one. The palate is essentially dry... but leaves an enticing sense of sweetness that makes it an excellent choice for cheeses, especially the sheep's milk cheeses of the Pyrenees. Flavors of lemon confit, stone, pineapple and oak are backed by very firm acidity. Note: Those with the patience to keep this bottle around for a few days, re-corked in the fridge, will be rewarded with an awesome display of rich, complex exotic fruit. This wine is absolutely sensational! DL The 22 vintage shows surprising notes of herbs, white rocks and dried flowers whilst underscored by ripe melon , rocky minerality and citrus marmalade on a full bodied frame. GH
From Michéle and Yves Gros at Domaine Les Fouques, this is the new Pétillant Rosé! Pale hued, perfumed and floral on the nose, with peaches and stone fruit on the palate. Méthode Traditionelle, Extra Brut, with great acidity and a refreshing chalky finish. Eben Lillie
Domaine les Fouques has been certified Biodynamic (Demeter) for 30 years, and also raises sheep, ducks, chickens and guinea-hens on their old-fashioned mixed-use farm. The La Londe "Cuvee L'Estelle" is their best rosé from old vines of Grenache 49% Cinsault 36% Syrah 11% Rolle 4%. Unlike the majority of Provençal rosés, it is made naturally with wild yeasts, giving a more subtle expression of fruit and terroir. The 2022 is a subtle and beautiful wine showing a very pale salmon pink color and aromas of peach skin, orange peel, rose, earth and raspberry, very pretty and folral. The palate is elegant and silky with stone and saline mineral flavors beneath very subtle red and yellow fruits, wild strawberry, hints of spice and citrus peel. The high percentage of white grapes brings delicacy and freshness. The finish is refreshing and long with nice density and perfectly balanced at 13% alcohol. This is a lovely rosé of terroir that will drink beautifully over the next three years. Serve with grilled fish, pork and chicken, salade Niçoise, or just sip by itself. David Lillie
The beautiful 2020 Les Fouques "Estelle" Rouge is 71% Syrah, 22% Grenache, 4% Carignan, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, certified Biodynamic (Demeter). Tucked away in the Vallons des Borels, the estate illustrates biodiversity at its finest: vines, forests of eucalyptus, pines, even wild boars share a spatial harmony on the property. Harmony is key in a wine like the Cuvée L’Estelle - on the nose, there is a lovely mélange of black cherry, spiced plum, rose, smoke and candied ginger. The palate is rich and ripe, with soft tannins and fresh fruit. The finish is the highlight of the wine: a back and forth medley of red fruit, black currant, smoke and earth. A wonderful accompaniment to grilled meats ths summer....
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) David Lillie
Ludwig Bindernagel, a favorite of ours from the Jura, currently works with the newly-minted Lulu label. However, when he first came to the region in the early 2000s, he produced wines as Les Chais du Vieux Bourg, the domaine he had purchased. ‘BB1,’ though it may sound technical, or even scientific, stands for ‘Baby One,’ as it was the first cuvée Lulu ever created. It is a blend of Chardonnay and Savignin, and produced in a topped-up, or ouille, style. Hints of crisp apple and salt on the nose, with a delicate, slightly floral and oxidative character. Zingy on the palate, with pear, cured lemon, white pepper and salt. Incredibly balanced - neither the Savagnin or the Chardonnay steals the show in the glass. Spot on, Lulu! Bring on the Comte! -DH
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!
Frisson des Cimes started as an all Mondeuse cuvée, but the 2019 employs Pinot Noir and Gamay as well, giving the wine a lovely, energetic lift. More floral and light on its feet than their other red, the "Autrement Rouge," this would be great with light meals, vegetarian fare, or on its own.
Thierry Navarre's Cuvée Olivier is a blend from old vines of Carignan, Grenache, and Syrah in Thierry’s 12-hectare practicing organic estate situated in the AOC of Saint-Chinian, grown in brown schist soils that give density to the finished wine. 2021 is an excellent vintage for the "Olivier" with earthy dark fruits, quite supple and long with elegant tannins. On the nose it is deep and complex with dusty dark plum, boysenberry, pink peppercorn, sage, lemon oil, and clementine zest. The palate is poised and structured, leaning towards more smoky and mineral flavors but is balanced by fresh fruit. Blackberries, citrus, and savory herbs come to mind on the finish that lingers on the palate. On day two the palate is beginning to open up with more fruit redolent of pomegranate seeds and minerals. Drink now or cellar for 10 to 15 years. Truly a great wine, perfect with grilled meats, tagines and stews and a fantastic value.
From a vineyard co-planted with old varieties - Ribeyrenc Blanc, Grenache Gris and Clairette du Languedoc - Thierry Navarre makes his unique and delicious "Lignières." It's a delighful wine with slightly spicy and floral aromas of white peach, lemon peel, almond, pear and honeysuckle, dry and dense on the palate, but nicely round and ripe, with mineral, herbal and stone fruit flavors with firm acidity - really lovely, a great aperitif or serve with fish or chicken in sauce, salads, sheep and goat cheeses. Three cheers for Thierry Navarre for making such a delicious, distictive and unusual wine from historic varieties. David Lillie
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 a cousin of Cinsault. Thierry's Oeillades grows on the rugged mountainsides above Roquebrun in Saint-Chinian. The 2020 shows an intriguing light orange/purple-tinged color in the glass. The nose offers abundant ripe plum, red currant and peach aromas with delicate notes of lavender, cardamom and dried rose petals. The palate is light and wonderfully lifted with savory flavors of dried cherry and red currant, very sapid and pure, with earth, herbal tea, and refreshing exotic citrus on the finish. This is an unusual and quite delicious rosé (with a bit of Ribeyrenc this year) with plenty of aromatic complexity and crunchy acidity to pair with a variety of dishes or to savor by itself - highly recommended!
A note from our friend Mike Foulk: "Mècle is Nicolas's latest super-rare, vieux cépage that he has brought to light. A cousin of Persan, it was widely cultivated in the Isère before phylloxera, mainly in Saint-Chef (where Nicolas is located) and Saint Savin (near Bourgoin-Jallieu-the full name de Mècle de Bourgoin). As far as I know, Nicolas is the only person to cultivate and vinify this grape, aside from familial plantings in backyards (likely where Nicolas got cuttings)." /// An old wine text, "Le Vignoble," published in 1878 by Henri Bouschet and a long list of other authors, says this about Mecle: "Its cluster, with beautiful grains, dark black, produces a wine of rich color, characterized by a little stiffness and a lot of fullness. The Mècle de Bourgoin is highly esteemed in this locality because of its good vigor, its rusticity and the rich color it produces. The hillsides of Saint-Savin, a short distance from Bourgoin, are almost exclusively planted with Mècle and produce a very black, solid wine, highly sought after by local consumption and even by trade. For several years, this variety of vine has spread, and its cultivation has extended to neighboring vineyards; we found it in Crémieu and in a few localities on the left bank of the Rhône, around Morestel. In our opinion, this grape variety produces, in the region where it is found, wines of better quality than those of Corbeau [aka Douce Noir or Bonarda] and Martelet, which are sometimes associated with it and which are much inferior to it. It would be preferable to grow the Mècle alone or to mix it with at most a tenth of a good variety of white grape, which would give its wine the finesse and strength that it is somewhat lacking." -- this one is 100% Mecle.
This is a beloved staple at Chambers Street! Domaine de Pajot is located in Southwest France overlooking the capital of Armagnac, a region more well known for their brandy than table wines. The entire estate is certified organic, grown over rolling hills of mostly sand and fine silt soils, vines interspersed with hazelnut trees. 'Les Quatre Cépages' is a blend of 35% Sauvignon Blanc, 35% Colombard, 20% Ugni-Blanc, 10% Gros-Manseng . Fermented and aged in stainless steel, this wine is dry, crisp, and well balanced. Pajot is our go-to pick for your event, pleasing everyone at a moderate price, or for enjoying at home as an aperitif or with fish and chicken dishes.
The 2021 Pibarnon Rosé is drinking gorgeously now and will improve even more over the next few years - grab some now as of course the price goes up for the 2022. This wine has a wonderful ability to combine elegance, power, class, and distinction. A blend of Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Grenache, the wine shows peach-y and stone fruit notes on the nose, mingling with the savory earth and iodine character of good Bandol Rosé. The palate offers silky textures, a certain voluptuousness, and a lovely balance of acidity to full ripe fruit.
"Les Brûlées" comes from Fabrice Dodane's vineyard planted on a hill rich with limestone near his cellar in Mathenay. The palate of the wine is dense and textured with powerful mineral acidity. An expressive wine that is drinking well now but should continue to evolve over the next decade. The 2018 is a little "bigger" than the 2020, as '18 was a warmer year overall, but this was also the first vintage that Fabrice approached with the intention of long aging in barrel. The 2018 was bottled in early '23 at the same time that the 2020 was bottled. Fabrice was fully aware that he could not survive waiting 4-6 years for his sous-voile wines, but was still passionate about long elevage for the whites, and the development of this wine, though nuanced at the moment, is impressive. We look forward to more estate-aged bottles like this!
"Les Brûlées" comes from Fabrice Dodane's vineyard planted on a hill rich with limestone near his cellar in Mathenay. The palate of the wine is dense and textured with powerful mineral acidity that finishes with a lingering salty nuttiness. An expressive wine that is drinking well now but should continue to evolve over the next decade. -AB
Château Renard is from a parcel of Chardonnay planted in 1985 on limestone and clay soils. The wine is aged 22 months in a mix of 500L and 600L barrels and is made in the topped-up, or ouillé, style of winemaking. On the nose it is crisp and clean with delicate aromas of apricot, lime flower, almond skin, and tropical mango. The palate is much more intense with luscious, juicy green apple, cashew, sea salt, and tangy minerals. Long, textured, and a hint nutty on the finish, this would be perfect pairing with many different kinds of foods, especially roasted poultry. -TG
Les Dalles is a mixed-variety parcel, though the grape varieties change with soil, in this case it's Melon à Queue Rouge planted in 2017 on limestone with white marl soils. There has been an ongoing geeky debate about whether or not Melon à Queue Rouge is just a synonym for Chardonnay, or an ancient and distinct variety. We're going with the happy medium of "it's most likely an ancient strain of Chardonnay" that might be an old mutation, but is clearly similar! Fabrice has worked with the grape for many vintages and his are probably the most memorable MQR wines we've tried over the years.
This is a clean and delicious Poulsard/Ploussard from Domaine de Saint Pierre. The wine is super pale in the glass, herbal, aromatic, forward, and full of wild strawberry fruits. About 10 years after Fabrice first started producing the Petit Curoulet, the 2022 is reportedly one of the best yet! Though we can at times be wary of reduction in young Poulsard wines, the Saint Pierre wines have consistently been both age-worthy and immediately charming (if anything just in need of a decant when opened young).
Made from 100% Pinot Noir, traditionally vinified in old, very large oak barrels, this is Arbois at its purest. The nose is a bouquet of spicy, floral aromas along with bright red cherry, and brown spice. The palate is silken, with beautiful fruit and spice balanced by a touch of earth and piercing, chalky minerality. Decant and serve cool with roast chicken, root vegetables, or charcuterie. -TG
This is an enchanting, old school oxidative Savagnin that spent 36 months sous voile. As Stephane explained to me earlier this year, the "finesse of oxidation starts in the vines. If your grapes are diluted the oxidation has no finesse." The Tissot vineyards are farmed meticulously, that we know, but this remark was not so much to praise his own farming but to point out that not all oxidative wines are alike. There is painstaking and dedicated work that goes into obtaining ideal grapes for oxidative wines, and this dedication to great farming has resulted in a beautiful wine, that we would highly recommend to any fan of Vin Jaune who is also a fan of exquisite white wines.
Stephane has been borderline obsessed if not at least intrigued and fascinated with amphoras for many years now, and has several in his posession. One can assume that he has the largest amphora collection in the Jura! He began acquiring them between 2005-2010, with some of his first releases in 2009. His approach to the 'Savagnin En Amphore' has typically employed some skin inclusion during aging in amphora, usually between 3-6 months, and the wine is finished in neutral barrel with topping up. We enjoy its spicy, exotic orange peel notes on the nose, and the very pleasant and integrated level of tannins from the skins. // Note on the 2019 from Camille Riviere, Stephane's New York importer: "Fruit comes from parcel en Spois, planted on triassic clay. Hand destemmed, then maceration 60% Amphore (420L clay pot above ground made by now retired clay pot maker Alain Berthéas, who was established in the Rhone. Made with Italian clay, and cooked at 1000c) & 40% Qvevri (lined with wax, because cooked at 700c, so more porous = reductive environment). After 5 months of maceration, the grapes are pressed and the elevage is done in barrels (always topped up) and amphore. Bottled unfined, unfiltered, no sulfur added. Rich & concentrated."
An abiding staff favorite from Stéphane Tissot's biodynamic estate in Arbois, this crémant is a blend of 50% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 5% each of 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. Not long ago Stéphane elevated the quality of the wine with a portion aged in barrel and he tries to increase the barrel fermentation on the Cremant each year. At this point he may be close to 100% at the rate he was going!
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 2016 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, apricot, red currant, rose and deep berry confit with citrus, brown spice, minerals and earth. Beautiful wine - great to sip by itself or serve with fruit desserts and chocolate. Highly recommended. DL
Made from equal parts Grenache, Carignan, Mourvèdre and Syrah from Domaine du Traginer's organic vineyards on the steep slopes high above Banyuls-sur-Mer. A later picking gives a bit more alcohol than the "regular" cuvée, and a bit more density and ripeness. Dark red/black color with aromas of ripe blackberry and black-cherry with hints of citrus, rose, earth and licorice. The palate is supple, dense and ripe, elegant and a bit tight, and with a cool quality to the dark fruit due to good balancing acidity. Complex flavors of blackberry, tart cherry, prune, thyme and licorice linger in the long food-friendly finish. Decant if possible or hold for five years, drink until 2035 A great glass of wine! Serve with duck, coq au vin, steak, strong cheeses.
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 Vermentino from low-yielding vines, on steep slopes of schistes above the Mediterranean. Tasted in January of 2023, the 2019 Blanc was showing beautifully with aromas of pear, apricot and citrus with hints of white flowers, stone and spice that continue on the palate which is round, dense, very mineral and long with good acidity, complex and delicious. Serve with a fish stew, fish in sauce, white meats and a wide variety of cheeses. Beautiful wine! David Lillie
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 Petits Grains grown in Traginer's organic/biodynamic 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. The 2021 version is just fantastic, there will definitely ba a bottle of this in my fridge all summer. Serve not too cool, as an apéritif or with desserts of peach, apricot, pear and melon. David Lillie
The new Traginer CaracTerre is made from 25% each of Grenache Noir, Carignan, Mourvedre and Syrah which undergoes a one month fermentation in tronconic foudres, with no added SO2, followed by 10 months in cuve inox. The CaracTerre is a bit lighter in body than the "Vielli Foudre" cuvée, but with beautiful vibrant blackberry/black raspberry fruit. This is a lovely Collioure to serve a bit cool with grilled meats this summer.
This superb wine is made from Grenache Gris, Grenache Noir, Grenache Blanc and Muscat, from a solera dating back to 2000, aged 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 Cuvée Cécile Brut Nature is made from Rolle (aka Vermentino) and Cinsault, aged 18 months on the lees and bottled unfiltered. The wine shows fine bubbles with a pale copper hue and a creamy texture. The nose is redolent with notes of melon, white rocks and herbs whilst the palate has a dry, savory finish with flavors of orange peel, apricot and citrus. Serve this refreshing Provençal "bulles" as an aperitif or with fish, white meats and fruit desserts.
The Domaine Turenne "Cuvée Apollon" is a more "serious" Bandol style Rosé made from Mourvedre and Grenache that ages for 6 months in 600-liter acacia barrels before bottling. The wine shows aromas of citrus, white peach and apricot, with a full bodied palate, round and silky, finishing with firm acidity, mineral and white fruit flavors. Drink this lovely rosé over the next few years with white meats, farm chicken, veal milanese and tajines...or sip happily by itself.
This new wine from Philippe Benezet at Domaine Turenne is a bit of Provençal history, made with all the estate's red grapes, with no SO2 added. "Really nice" says Eben from last winter's tasting "he enivions to be what rosé used to be like in Provence 100+ years ago. Before sulfur, before the obsession with paleness." Darker rose color, cherry and little red fruits, very fresh, a bit oxidative, fascinating and delicious.
Cécile and Philippe Bénézet produce lovely organic wines on soils of sandstone with clay and limestone pebbles ("gravoches") northeast of Bandol in Provence. The cuvée "Bastien" is made from old vines of Carignan with Mourvedre and Syrah, hand harvested, fermented with wild yeasts, semi-carbonic, with minimal addition of SO2. The 2022 "Bastien" shpws aromas of blackberry and black raspberry with pepper, earth and floral notes. The palate is nicely textured with mineral notes below black fruits, citrus, spice, licorice and earth. Relatively light-bodied but with lovely density of sappy fruit. This is a delicious and versatile Provençal red that will accompany grilled meats, roast chicken, charcuterie and full-flavored cheeses. David Lillie
Domaine Turenne, northeast of Bandol in Provence, produces this lovely rosé from 40% Cinsault, 50% Grenache and 10% Syrah, certified organic. The terroir is a unique bed of limestone and sandstone debris with small stones called "Gavroches" which bring a pronounced minerality and good drainage to the vines. The grapes are harvested by hand and fermented with wild yeasts. The 2021 "Camille" is a pretty, very pale pink/orange color with aromas of wild strawberry, raspberry, rose and citrus, with a hint of stone fruits as well. The palate is light and elegant with subtle berry fruits, a hint of citrus and stone, and has nice density and length. This is a light and lovely rosé for all year enjoyment, sipped by itself or with grilled fish, white meats, salade Niçoise and mild cheeses - and it's a fabulous value!
The 2021 Domaine des Amphores Detour Blanc is a beautiful blend of 60% Clairette from 50 year-old vines, with Marsanne and Roussanne grown on granit soils in Chavannay, just south of Condrieu. The nose is fresh, floral and lively with notes of grapefruit, tangerine, nectarine, white peach, honeysuckle and acacia. The palate is ripe and full but with nice saline minerals, with citrus confit, dried fruits, pear, apple and honeysuckle. There is more Roussanne in the blend this year, bringing freshness and terrific length to the clean and mineral finish, making this a lovely apéritif wine and a great combination with appetizers, full-flavored fish dishes, white meats, salads and mild cheeses. Just a delicious wine and a fabulous value!
The Domaine des Amphores Condrieu is 100% massale-selection Viognier from 0.5 hectares on poor granite-based soils at 250 metres on "La Côte" at Chavanay. The 2022 La Côte has a pale yellow gold robe. The nose offers a subtle and intriguing mélange of toasted nuts, acacia flower, apricot, honey, pear, stone and a hint of spice. The palate shades savory with a granitic spine and roasted peach, and green almond flavors on a sleek and mineral palate. Quite ripe and unctuous but with a pleasing stony core that continues with good freshness in the long and complex finish. This is a less exotic and exuberant expression of Condrieu, but perfect for the table—think skate with brown butter, halibut or roasted chicken with fricasséed morels!
The 2022 Domaine des Amphores Syrah "Les Iris" is from vines in Chavanay, just outside the Saint-Joseph zone, tended organically since planting, in the early 90's, and now Biodynamic as well. The wine shows a deep red/black color with bright rim, with complex aromas of blackberry, black raspberry and blueberry, ripe and lush with hints of violet, black olive and licorice, but with nice freshness as well. The palate shows dense black fruits, plum skin, licorice and smoke, deep but fresh and balanced at 13% alcohol. Terrific length of black and blue fruits, minerals and firm acidity - a beautiful wine at a bargain price! Serve a bit cool with grilled meats, chicken, lentil stew, full-flavored cheeses. David Lillie
From Veronique, Philippe and Remi Grenier at Domaine des Amphores, certified organic and Biodynamic. 80% Roussanne, 20% Marsanne on granite soils in "Le Monteillet" at 300 metres altitude. Fermented and agd in anfora and vat in 2022 rather than wood. The wine shows a bright gold/bronze color, subtle aromas of exotic fruits, apricot, white peach, citrus peel, hazelnut and wet stone. The palate is ripe, dense and elegant with a delicate character to the stone fruits and mineral flavors, textured and earthy, finishing with floral white peach, minerals and firm acidity, with a lovely freshness to the ripe fruit and stone flavors in the finish. "drink with scallops, trout, foie gras, chicken in cream sauce, blanquette of veal, raclette, Rigotte de Condrieu cheese,” say the Greniers. Lovely wine! David Lillie
We love Condrieu, but Viognier from other regions can often be cloying and uninteresting. This example from the Grenier family in Chavanay, however, is elegant and outstanding. It comes from Viognier vines just south of the Condrieu AOC, always tended organically, certified since 2002, and Biodynamic since 2016. .The 2022 "Les Iris" shows a bright gold color with subtle aromas of earth, citrus, white flowers, stone fruits, spice and tea, really lovely and quite complex. The palate is ripe but balanced and very mineral with apricot, earth, nectarine, lemon zest and hazelnuts. This junior Condrieu ia a real wine of terroir that beautifully expresses the granite soils. Delicious as an aperitif, or serve with a full flavored ceviche, asian foods, farm chicken.
The new release of vin rouge from Balazu des Vaussières, the 2019 "Cuvée Flamboyant," is a field blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvedre and Carignan. The wine spent about 3 years in vat with zero added SO2. The estate is certified organic and Biodynamic and uses no copper sulfate (the "organic" treatment against mildew) in the vines, nor SO2 in vinification. Pure juice! The wine shows a dense red/black color with vivid aromas of black cherry, boysenberry, licorice, earth and smoke. The palate is dense and deep with black cherry liqueur, earth and mineral flavors with very firm acidity. The finish is long and intense with earth, stone and bitter black fruits, coffee. licorice and citrus. Decant if drinking now... After a few days corked in the fridge, the wine has gained in complexity with black fruits anise, licorice, fennel, mineral and sous-bois flavors in the long finish. On day 4 the wine has come together nicely, just delicious, really Supernatural! David Lillie
Warning - Natural Wine! Delicious, complex, fascinating and a bit unusual...Although within the Tavel appellation, Nadia and Christian Charmasson have long rejected the rules of the AOC in favor a "Vin de France" classification. Balazu des Vaussières is a completely natural estate, using zero additives in winemaking and zero chemcials, and no copper sulfate in the vines - thus living soils that produce vibrant living wines. The 2022 “Sept Syllabes” was made with Grenache, Mourvedre and Cinsault - it’s a direct press rosé with a short maceration and no added SO2. The wine spent approximately 7 months in vat before bottling. The wine shows a deep pink/garnet color with very ripe cherry and red currant aromas, floral and quite pretty. The palate is ripe and round with dense, sapid cherry and raspberry fruit., supple and long. Slightly squeaky in the finish, but overall this is a unique and delicious rosé for lovers of natural wine!
This new wine from Franck Balthazar is from young vines at 370 metres on "Les Pres" near Saint-Peray. "The 2021 shows bright red, purple tone robe; the bouquet is very pure, shows pepper-licorice, violets. The palate bears floral, crystalline black fruit, blue fruit, holds fine powder tannins; it’s not especially profound, but runs along well, gathers a light accumulation of matter towards the finish." drinkrhone
Franck Balthazar is one of the few truly organic and natural producers in the northern Rhone and, like the Gonons, he practices whole-cluster fermentations with wild yeasts and ages in old (5 years and older) large barrels. The "Chaillot" cuvée is from vines planted in 1914, with a percentage from "Mazards" planted in 1960. There is an approximately 18 month elevage and the wine is bottle unfined and unfiltered with a very small dosage of SO2.
Domaine Barou has been organic since the 1970s and also produces cherries, apricots and peaches. The Saint-Joseph vines are in Limony, on thin soils of decomposed granite over the bedrock. Shallow plowing ("griffage") is done in the summer, with rye and clover growing between the rows in winter. The grapes are 80% de-stemmed, fermentations are with wild yeasts, aging is primarily in old barrels. .The 2022 Saint-Joseph shows a deep black/red color with bright rim and gorgeous aromas of blackberry and blueberry liqueur with violet and earth, very floral and pretty. The palate shows a beautiful melange of red and black fruits - very lush, and supple and framed in perfect, bright acidity. The finish is soft and sapid and shows bright acidity, herbal and mineral flavors. This is absolutely delicious now but has the structure to age nicely for five to eight years. A sensational value and highly recommended! David Lillie
The beautiful 2022 Barou Saint-Joseph Blanc is 50 % Marsanne, 50% Roussanne grown on decomposed granite soils at the top of the slope in Charnas (Saint-Joseph), overlooking the Rhone. There is a "macération pelliculaire" of 10 to 12 hours followed by fermentation in barrique at low temperature. The wine ages for 9 months in barriques, 10% new. The wine shows a bright golden color and pretty floral aromas with peach, pear, hazelnut and honey. The palate is round and supple but nicely balanced in 2022 with peach, almond and mineral notes and a long ripe smoothly textured finish. Serve with asparagus, seared scallops, trout, white meats and Asian foods.
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 2022 Vin de Pays Marsanne is a simply superb everyday wine! Light bronze/gold color. This needs a few minutes to open up, then shows bright aromas of pear and peach, almond, lime-flower, lemon peel, smoke and hay, really quite pretty. Ripe stone fruits on the palate, primarily peach and dried pear with lemon, spice and saline mineral flavors with refreshing acidity. Beautiful finish with white and yellow fruits and minerals. The 2022 is round and lush but nicely balanced - serve this lovely wine as a superb aperitif or 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 Vin de Pays Syrah "Petit Colorado" is from 20 year-old vines grown on decomposed granite soils on the high plateau overlooking the Rhone, just above the AOC Saint-Joseph. "Dark red/purple color. Aromas of ripe cherry and blueberry with herbal, minty notes. Ripe and fresh on the palate with crunchy red fruits and discreet tannins. The wine is aerien. Drink within 2 to 3 years, serve with a charcuterie board or in summer, slightly chilled, as an accompaniment to grilled meats" says the Barou website. We say yummy, lush and delicious and a sensational value!
Patrick and Christophe Bonnefond make very pure, concentrated wines (both Condrieu and Côte-Rôtie) with the top cuvées, Rochains and Côte Rosiers, both adjoining La Landonne on either side, built for long aging. "very dark red, black centre to the robe. Smoked bacon, cordite, lines of shiny blackcurrant fruits show on the nose, which has a pure strength. There is good immediate thrust on the palate, which goes directly, has rich appeal. There is slight grilling, and a firm, packed foundation. It lengthens solidly. This is masculine, is a promising, well charged Rôtie." (drinkrhone.com) Enjoy until 2035 - 2040.
The 2020 Bonnefond "Colline de Couzou" is 80% on northern sector schist in Rozier, Côte Rozier and Les Rochains, 20% southern sector loose granite from Tupin, Coteaux de Semons. "dark red; licorice, black cherry airs in an upright nose, has a clear tone, some blueberry mystery. The attacks strikes well - good dark fruits line the palate, are fresh, purposeful, carry depth. It holds well, the length good, the finale lip smacking. Its tannins come forward, are noticeable and ripe. 14°. “It’s silky, has bel balance,” C Bonnefond. (drinkrhone) Drink over the next 20 years.
This is a crowd-pleasing big and brawny Chateauneuf-du-Pape made from 70 to 100 year-olld grenache vines. "very dark red, black-hued robe; the bouquet is bold, up front, carries a savoury intensity, a handsome swirl of blackberry and black cherry fruit, discreet floral undertones. The palate shows instant richness, a juicy, fulsome nature, with its sweetness nicely judged. It rolls along well, and finishes with a sympathetic curve, lightly powdered tannins, is a genuine, expressive Châteauneuf with the plump virtues of the Grenache well on display. Its openness will please." Drink until 2045, decanting advised..
Judging from the 2020 CDPs that we've tasted, the vintage appears to be one of lovely, pure fruit, elegance and balance, not as "big" as the 2019s but having the ability to drink smoothly as young wines and to age for 20 to 30 years as well. Here is drinkrhone on the Charvin 2020: "dark red; an elegant curve runs across the nose, mulberry, raspberry jelly, laurel, thyme, dried herbs, the fruit very pure. The palate is sensuous, flows well, is articulate, bears Burgundian refinement, velvet tannins, is very stately. There’s a serene, gossamer, real stylish increase in depth, essence, running into a really good finish where the juice circulates freely, is bursting with life, energy, blood-iron, herbal notes, local ID on the aftertaste. This is pure, feathery, with good inner content, good balance, gives great access to its terroir, is STGT wine (Soil To Glass Transfer) 'It does things softly; I am happy because the impression that it accentuates is the living side of the wine in the last few years,' Laurent Charvin. Drink from 2025 - 2048/2050."
The Laurent Charvin "Le Poutet" is made from average 50 year-old vines (some are 90 years-old!) of 80% Grenache with Mourvedre, Syrah and Carignan in vineyards that abut Chateauneuf-du-Pape - Maucoil in the northwest and Campovin and Boislauzon in the northeast. The soils are sandy clay/limestone with galets stones. The grapes undergo a 15 to 20-day whole bunch fermentation with daily pumping-overs, the wine then spends 18 months in concrete vat and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. The resulting wine is equal to many Châteauneuf-du-Pape, offering complex aromas of garrigue and spicy red fruits with the structure to evolve and drink well over ten to fifteen years. The 2021, tasted at the store, is really lovely with gorgeous floral aromas of strawberry and blackberry and vibrant, supple black fruits on the palate with round juicy tannins - delicious already but with enough brightness and structure to provide beautiful drinking over the next five to ten years. This is truly "gouleyant" and should be purchased by the case!
Carignan from older vines, lovely nose, balanced medium body.
Sabbra Cadabra is a blend of Grenache and Carignan, that is fresh, bright and very charming in the 2021 vintage. Sylvain Boutee has been producing lovely wines from small parcels he tends by hand, and they are always great values. This vintage of Sabbra Cadabra stood out as a particularly lovely expression, fully a southern-Rhone wine, but with gracefulness, and a lighter expression than might be expected.
The delicious Clos des Boutes "Le Pluriel" is made from Carignan, Syrah and Grenache grown in the "galets roulés" soils of the Costieres de Nimes. Hand harvested into small baskets, fermented with wild yeasts with minimal extraction, aging in vat. This is a fresh, delicious, easy-drinking wine with pure, lovely aromas of cherry and blackberry. The palate is supple and sapid with gorgeous red fruits balanced by refreshing acidity - a simple but superb product of great Biodynamic farming!
This is a beautiful Gigondas Rosé from our organic friends at Clos du Joncuas. Pretty bright pink/orange color, aromas of raspberry, tart cherry, blood orange, peach skin and rose. Full palate with silky raspberry, peach, citrus and mineral flavors and firm acidity, beatifully balanced and refreshing. Long finish with tart cherry, peach, earth, and citrusy acids. This gorgeous rosé is still young – it should open up nicely over the next two to three years. It's elegant and delicious now and very food-friendly – serve with grilled fish and white meats, salade nicoise, vegetarian dishes and Provençal foods. A great rosé to enjoy all year-round!
Clos du Joncuas, founded in 1920 by Pierre Auguste Chastan, has always farmed with natural methods and has been officially organic since 1980. Currently run by sisters Dany and Carole Chastan, the estate's Gigondas vines are on slopes below the Dentelles de Montmirail on soils of clay with dolomite and gypsum over the limestone of the Dentelles and average 40 to 90 years old. 80% Grenache with Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah, whole cluster fermentation in vat with 12 months aging in large old barrels. 2020 is a great vintage at the Clos du Joncuas, a bit brighter and more elegant than the 2019, with high-toned black fruit, mineral, spice and licorice aromas. The palate is elegant and fresh showing deep supple black fruits with hints of graphite, garrigue and brown spice. A few days after opening, the wine has deepened impressively with pure blackberry, bitter chocolate and licorice aromas, great density on the palate with black fruit liqueur, red currant, earth and anise. A beautiful wine! Drink this over the next 10 to 15 years, it will give elegant early drinking, served a bit cool. David Lillie
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 2020, more elegant than the opulent 2019 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, stews and tagines and will develop nicely over the next 10 - 15 years. Highly recommended and a great value! David Lillie
Clos du Joncuas (Domaine la Garancière) Seguret Blanc (50% Clairette, 25% Roussanne, 25% Viognier, always organically farmed, wild yeast fermentation, aged in enamel vat) Floral dried pear, apricot, hay, thyme aromas. Ripe pear, stone, caramel, lemon on the palate. A big, ripe wine with a round supple palate but with good acidity that will pair with fish stews, shellfish, pork and chicken dishes as well as full-flavored goat cheeses. An outstanding value and highly recommended. David Lillie
This is a beautiful Gigondas Rosé from our organic friends at Clos du Joncuas. Pretty bright pink color, aromas of raspberry, tart cherry, blood orange, peach skin and rose. Full palate with silky raspberry, peach, citrus and mineral flavors and firm acidity, beatifully balanced and refreshing. Long finish with tart cherry, peach, earth, and citrusy acids. This gorgeous rosé is still young – it should open up nicely over the next two to three years. It's elegant and delicious now and very food-friendly – serve with grilled fish and white meats, salade nicoise, vegetarian dishes and Provençal foods. A great rosé to enjoy all year-round!
This blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Mouvedre comes from old vines in “Le Planis,” planted just after the Second World War in the Southern Rhone. Creve Coeur’s Pablo Hocht created the Domaine in 2010, with a commitment to organic and Biodynamic farming. His recent vintages have been rich and ripe: just what one wants in Southern Rhone red. The wine undergoes a four-week whole-cluster vinification with wild yeasts followed by 12 months in used barrels. An inky delight in the glass, the aromatics are hedonistic and bold, full of black fruit, olive and smoke. The palate is dense and dark with firm acidity, and opens up to a generous gift of cassis, dried fruit, mint, and black pepper, with some nice brightness. The grippy tannins provide a good energy to the minerals at play, and it gives a peak into what this wine will look like in a few years’ time - five years in the cellar and this modestly price wine will really sing. Surprisingly structured so perfect with grilled meat, tagines, reblochon or other soft cheeses.
Pablo Hocht of Domaine de Creve Coeur has 3 hectares of 60+ year-old vines in Seguret on sandy limestone marl soils, 60% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre and 10% Syrah. As with his lovely Sablet, the Seguret is certified biodynamic, fermented slowly with wild yeasts with the stems included. Aging is partly in one to five year-old barriques, partly in vat. In other words, great farming and old-fashioned winemaking, similar to that of the Gonons in Saint-Joseph. The 2021 Seguret shows a deep red/black color and aromas of blackberry liqueur, black cherry and plum, with earth, garrigue, black pepper and cocoa - dark and rich but with a vibrant freshness. The palate is dense and round with a supple, grainy texture, a bit softer than the Sablet this year, with ripe blackberry and black plum liqueur, quite floral and showing the high percentage of Mourvedre, with hints of chocolate, citrus, licorice and provencal herbs. The bright acidity balances the wine and makes it food-friendly. The finish is long with cool acidity and earthy black fruits. Serve this beautiful Seguret a bit cool after a decant of a few hours or cellar five to ten years. Great with stews and tagines, grilled meats and game.
The new 2021 "Pachamama" from Pablo Hocht is a vibrant and elegant Seguret from Grenache and Syrah vines on an east-facing slope of limestone marl. The wine shows a bright red/black color with very pretty blackberry/blueberry fruit, very fresh and pure. The palate is deep and supple with ripe black fruits balanced by bright acidity with a mouth-watering finish. Beautiful wine - serve this summer with grilled foods, slightly chilled and cellaring of 5 to 10 years will be very interesting.
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 2022 is a deep crimson/purple with some dense plum and blueberry fruit but still lifted and fresh, with a hint of black cherry and cooling herbs. The palate is broad and supple with fine tannins and some good spice, a perfect companion with roasted meats or stews. On day two it was holding up well, even more integrated and showing beautifully for such a reasonably priced wine! It's certainly a crowd-pleaser and an outstanding value.
The young Pablo Hocht makes beautiful wines at his Biodynamic estate in Seguret (southern Rhone) - his "Rosé du Coucou" is a refreshing direct-press rosé made with old vines of 60% Grenache and 40% Cinsault. The 2022 shows a very pale rose skin color with floral aromas of raspberry, peach, citrus and stone. The palate is very light, silky and elegant with subtle raspberry fruit with hints of melon, orange rind, spice and earth, finishing with terrific length of mineral flavors and refreshing acidity. This is a very lovely wine at a great price!
Wow, Pablo Hocht's new Seguret Blanc is a classy and delicious wine! Made from Grenache Blanc, Picpoul, Marsanne, Roussane and Viognier, Biodynamic farming, vinification and aging in old barrels. The aromas are subtle and complex with almond, citrus, pear, stone, exotic fruit, all in a bright and balanced style. The palate is ripe and really pretty with the Picpoul providing firm acidity underlying the lovely fruit and mineral flavors, finishing with nice ripeness, refreshing and delicious! This is a delightful wine, serve quite cool, enjoy! David Lillie
Laure and Dimitri's Cornas comes from a one hectare parcel of Syrah that is located just above the Chaillots vineyard. These are the sole vines that they did not plant themselves, so they are currently 30 years old and grown on decomposed granitic soils. Fermentation is in an unlined concrete tank, with a mix of de-stemmed grapes and whole clusters. Extraction is intentionally very gentle, with no pump overs. This wine sees the most aging, compared to their Saint-Joseph and their Saint-Peray whites. Here, the wine ages 15-18 months in 228 and 400L neutral barrels, and is then re-assembled in concrete before bottling. The 2020 Cornas is elegant and burgundian in style, with sublte blackberry and red fruit profile, complimented by lavender and eucalyptus notes. This is definitely more acid and freshness than sappiness or richness, though it should still age beautifully for 5-10 years. The finish is mineral with herbs, stones and violets. Though I love a rich and concentrated Syrah, this style of elevated fresh wine with obvious depth is really nice. Serve at cellar temp or at least below room temperature.
From a half-hectare of Syrah vines near Mauves in the Saint-Joseph appellation, on granite and alluvial gravel from the massif central. Vines were planted by Laure and Dimitri in 2014 with massale selections from Lilian Berillon. Leaves are removed, and due to increasing heat in the area, they are using more whole clusters than in previous vintages. The wine is fermented in a small stainless tank and moved to 228 and 400l barrels for 8 months of aging before being bottled just before the Summer. This is a vibrant red with notes of crushed wild berries, and plenty of freshness and acidity, with a touch of grit and earthiness. A soulful Syrah, less about concentration or dark purple tones, more about herbs, mint and earth. It's a high energy wine, ideal for drinking now, partly from the approach of Laure and Dimitri and complimented by the fresh conditions of the 2021 vintage.
Though Laure and Dimitri do work a total of 1.5 hectares of Syrah in Cornas and Saint-Joseph, their home in Saint-Peray is where they focus their energy, with 4 hectares of vines of Roussanne and Marsanne that they planted at 500m altitude, overlooking the Rhone Valley. Their plantings are roughly 70/30 to Roussanne and Marsanne, and this, the first white they produced, is reflective of that ratio. A beautifully dense white, with notes of lemon verbena and stone fruits on the nose, medium-weight with great balance and a mineral core that keeps the Roussanne's softer acidity in check. This is a white to serve at cellar temp, not too cold, as the delicate mouthfeel and subtle aromatics are best expressed this way. A fantastic example of the charm of Northern Rhone whites. I recently was discussing with a customer and friend the question of why Roussanne hasn't received the same esteem as Viognier, which with it's spice and price can sometimes be polarizing. Perhaps a good St. Joseph white won't age as well as a Condrieu, but we love Roussanne over here and are happy to have such an exemplary one (albeit with a touch of Marsanne) in the Lorient Saint-Peray.// Grapes are harvested by hand carefully and transferred to the chai within 30 minutes of pick, and pressed directly to preserve freshness. Juice is put in stainless steel tanks and cold-settled to avoid excessively heavy lees, then fermentation is in 228 and 400L barrels, accompanied by a peid de cuve that they started 10 days before harvest directly from the same parcel. After aging in barrel, the wine is assembled in tank, usually in the Spring, for additional aging before bottling. -EL
The Saute-Mouton is the second white that was produced at Domaine de Lorient, highlighting a larger percentage of Marsanne. There is an immediately enticing nose on opening, with notes of orange marmalade and fresh ginger. The wine has medium weight, perhaps a similar level of roundness on the palate to their other Saint-Peray white (which is majority Roussanne), but this has a noticeably more pronounced sharpness and herbaceous character, which is to be expected with Marsanne playing the starring role. I kept thinking about what it reminded me of, and realized it had a striking resemblance to some Silvaners I've had from Holger Koch or Stefan Vetter! A beautiful and quite addictive wine, that plays inside and outside of the Northern-Rhone white category. -EL
And now for something completely different... While tasting at Domaine des Amphores with Philippe and Véronique Grenier a few years ago, we noticed a small barrel with "Mornen Noir" scrawled on the front in chalk. A grape apparently native to the area between the Rhone and Loire rivers south of Lyon, it had been grown by Philippe's grandfather Louis - now the Greniers and a few other growers in Chavanay are once again making wine from this ancient variety. Possibly related to Chasselas and/or Mondeuse, the grapes yield a bright vibrant wine with black fruit flavors and low alcohol. The 2022 is fascinating, showing vibrant aromas of blackberry and blueberry with violet and stone. The palate is a bit lighter than a Syrah, and very mineral, with bright flavors of blackberry and red currant that blend nicely with earth, licorice and stone flavors in the sapid finish. Beautiful wine! We've just received 60 bottles of this rare juice, guaranteed to stump your sommelier friends in a blind tasting!
Made from hand-harvested young vines of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault, the "Romanins" is singing in 2022! Notes of crushed raspberries and currants on the nose, with lively acidity on the palette with a touch of red apple skin. There are some predictable Rhone characteristics of blackberry, garrigue and leather, but these are all flavor profiles that are quite subtle and playing the background to the fresh and balanced red fruits and acidity. This lovely, great value Côtes-du-Rhône would be terrific with a wide variety of foods, as the hearty Rhone flavors and the balanced alcohol (13.5%) make it extremely versatile. Serve slightly chilled. (Bottled with minimal SO2, not fined or filtered.)
At about 900 ft elevation in the Ventoux, the Julliens have Grenache and Counoise in a parcel sheltered from the mistral surrouded by pines and garrigue that yields this delicious, supple wine that's a fabulous pairing with any grilled meat or stews. The sandy clay limestone soils are plowed only around the foot of the vine with vegetation maintained between the rows. The grapes are hand-harvested and ferment naturally with no additives, aging is in concrete vat, minimal SO2 is added before bottling without fining or filtration. The 2022 "Estaillades" is deep and dense with aromas of garrigue and red/black fruits, with blackberry and cherry liqueur and a bit of licorice and menthol on the full, chalky palate. Delicious now and will drink beautifully over the next 3 - 5 years. This serious Rhone red is a great value! David Lillie
(90% Grenache averaging 75 years of age, with 10% Syrah, Mourvèdre, Bourboulenc, from sandy and galet stone soils) "...dark red colour. The nose leads with a stylish aroma of blackberry, mixed in with dried herbes de Provence, a note of rose petal, licorice. It will open and vary well. The fruit swishes around the palate well, has a blueberry-blackberry axis, with good, ripe, live tannins wrapped around it. This is a really genuine Châteauneuf with good heart and serious length, a proper from the ground up wine with some delicate aromatics involved." drinkrhone
Domaine Bernard and Fabrice Gripa is one of the top estates in Saint-Joseph and Saint-Peray, with the whites being particularly stylish and well-made. The Saint-Peray Les Pins is from 35 year-old vines on both granite and limestone soils, approximately 75% Marsanne, 25% Roussanne. It's a treat to have an older vintage of this wine in magnum, drinking perfectly now and just in time for Thanksgiving! Here's the drinkrhone review: "shiny yellow robe. The nose gives a fat aroma of flan, apricot, has a ripe fruit presence, with some of the sun’s rays in its slightly baked nature. Oak rides alongside. It’s a big start, demanding of patience. The palate is also on a large scale, is properly structured, holds abundant richness and a real wheel of gras towards the finish. There are salty late notes in with apricot, ginger fabric. This is really well presented wine for la bonne table, with sunshine length. It ends with great purity. 14.5°. Drink through 2025.
70-80% Marsanne, 20-30% Roussanne, av age 35 yrs from limestone & granite soils "shiny yellow robe; the nose is busy, shows peach, apricot, is gently open, has a pleasing roundness. The palate is calm, well styled, comes with a dried fruits flavour, discreet freshness, carries good detail. Airborne, graceful St-Péray here." drinkrhone Tasted at CSW, the wine showed lovely peach, pear, citrus and floral aromas with saline minerals under the fresh white and yellow fruits on the palate, silky and round, with a hint of oak. Lovely wine to drink over the next 6 to 10 years, quite delicious!
This little-known wine from Bernard and Fabrice Gripa is one of the most delicious and fascinating white wines of the Northern Rhône. From 50 to 60 yeal-old vines in Saint-Peray, on granite soils, 60% Roussanne and 40% Marsanne. "fine yellow robe; the bouquet is assured in depth, reserved still, has a camomile tea, toasted nuts, peach tone, a hint of anis de Marseille, good opening to come. The palate is floral, elegant, has dainty acidity, with stylish gras that is centrally placed. It’s a balanced, high grade St-Péray, ends really trimly, great precision there. It’s extremely attractive..." In our experience, The Gripa "Les Figuiers" cellars beautifully - enjoy until 2041, but don't hesitate to drink now with full flavored seafood dishes, white meats, sushi, etc, beautiful wine!
Isabelle and Arnaud Guicharde make this lovely Rhone red on their beautiful estate which is certified organic since 2008 and Biodynamic since 2013. Made from Grenache and Syrah, their style here is cool stylish fruit on the palate - blackberry with hints of prune, blueberry and Provencal spices. The finish is long with earthy red fruits and spicy acidity. This is a great value in a complex, balanced Rhone red.
The 2020 La Florane is 85% Syrah, 15% Grenache grown at 1200 ft of altitude in the village of Saint-Maurice - it's a Southern Rhone Syrah with Northern Rhone style and superb elegance and length. Mostly old vine Syrah in Biodynamic farming on clay/limestone and galets roulés soils. "full red robe; the bouquet is wide, well sustained, serves an aroma of incense, spiced plum, cloves in the picture. There is freshness through the palate, which runs directly with crisp plum fruited content, sustains its firm richness well, finishes with some good mineral thrust. Drink from 2023, allowing time for the rocky late notes to infuse a little more. It carries very good ferrous-iron minerality, typical of its terroir" says drinkrhone.
The "Guillaume de Rouville" from La Florane is made with Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne, Clairette and Bourboulenc grown in Biodynamic farming in the village of Saint-Maurie at 1200 ft in altitude. This is a Rhone white of great elegance that really impressed at our recent tasting with subtle herbal and white fruit aromas and a silky subtle palate with fabulous balance and length - this will pair beautifully with a full-flavored fish preparation, white meats as well. "a good ensemble of stylish gras and fresh length, very accomplished, a wine for a bonne table" says drinkrhone - well worth trying!
An homage to the Lienhardt harvest team, this is a delicious light red that is perfect for the end of Summer! From organic grapes grown in the Gard (Rhone Valley), maceration is partial carbonic for about a week, with a gentle press afterwards. Aging is for 8 months in concrete eggs. The blend is Syrah with Grenache Blanc and a small amount of Viognier, but it sort of reminds us of a good Passetoutgrain! Serve chilled.
(Retasted in June 2023, the wine is showing even better with gorgeous fruit and fabulous length!) Produced since 1915 this is the historic cuvée of Chateau de Manissy, retaining the ancient label and the ancient methods of production, now enhanced by Biodynamic farming. Similar in style to the Tavel 'Vintage" at Domane L'Anglore, the wine is a blend of Grenache, Clairette and Cinsault that undergoes a 24 to 48 hour maceration on the skins and then a cool fermentation with wild yeasts for about 2 weeks. The wine ages in old barrels for 9 to 12 months. This is a true Rosé of gastronomy that will drink beautifully for ten years or more. Showing a slightly darker hue than the 2020 vintage, it exudes bright aromas of pomegranate, red flowers and spice with a silky, cool palate and a light red wine feel, with flavors of red currant, tart cherry and saline minerals. "Can live 10 to 20 years if well cellared, drink with melon & cured ham salad, grilled meats, magret de canard (duck breasts), veal meatballs, white meats, chicken breast, guinea fowl with mushrooms & chestnuts" says the estate, or just sip by itself on a summer evening...
Tavel, the deliciously complex Grenache-based rosé famously espoused by AJ Liebling, is well suited for the table as well as a light quaff on the patio. A darker pink than your typical salmon-hued wines of Southern France with a palate to match, Tavel, if you'll forgive the idea, is a more "serious" rosé. The certified organic and Biodynamic 2022 Manissy 'Cuvée des Lys' is dark-fruited with ripe raspberry, cherry and garrigue on the nose, with the spicy warmth of sun-kissed Grenache on the lush, medium-bodied palate followed by a hint of pleasing tannic bitterness on the finish. Despite it's more serious nature, the Manissy Tavel remains refreshing and easy drinking but the savory richness makes it a rosé especially suited for grilled meats, big flavors like tapenade, and sheep's milk cheeses on a late summer night. (Grenache, Clairette, Cinsault, Bourboulenc, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Picpoul, Carignan from sandy, clay and galet stone soils,)
Moulin-Tacussel produces great examples of traditional CDP with whole-bunch fermentations and aging mostly in concrete vats and old 600-liter barrels. While the estate is a bit under the radar, the quality has remained reliably excellent and the 2020 Tradition is a really outstanding wine. It's made from 70% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, 2-3% Cinsault, 2-4% Counoise, 2-5% Muscardin & Vaccarèse from 9 plots across the appellation, average age about 45 years-old. "dark red; the nose has local density, is broad, broods in its lair, takes in oxtail, a mound of deep plum fruit, a prune aroma, with pine and cedar on board. The palate is charged with oily, profound content, has pockets of freshness, spark, along its trail, generates a rocky, resolute finish. Marks for character here, a good, rather wild ride. It’s very genuine garrigue inspired wine, traditional, STGT Châteauneuf with robust, persistent length, thick menthol on the aftertaste. The tannins require another four years or so – there is no hurry here. From 2025, decanting essential. Drink until 2047-49" DrinkRhone
From old vines of Grenache planted in 1929 and in the '40s, along with a small percentage of Mourvedre planted in 1967, this is the definition of an old-school Chateauneuf-du-Pape. In most vintages this wine is aged for about 3 years, in a combination of concrete and large old barrels. Pesticides have never been used in the vineyards, fermentation is always with native yeast, and there is no use of new oak. Whole clusters are employed in a semi-carbonic maceration that lasts 30-40 days, so there is certainly the presence of tannins and earth, but also brightness and purity of fruit. A flattering review of the wine has likened it to Barolo and Barbaresco, and in truth it is a fair comparison. The whispy, high-toned fruit and acid, blending with firm and well developed tannins, the need for a proper decant... all of these details do give this humble Chateauneuf a Nebbiolo-like quality.
We consider Domaine Pierre André to be one of the greatest estates in Châteuneuf-du-Pape. Organic since 1980 (one of the first in the AOC) and Biodynamic since 1992. The red is 90% Grenache with Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Vaccarèse, Counoise, Muscadin and Picpoul. Some parcels are over 100 years old, with the average vine age around 65 years. Tasted with Jacqueline in January, the wine was quite remarkable, showing a relatively light red/garnet color with lovely aromas of tart cherry, red currant, rose and violet. The plate was supple, not heavy, with complex red fruits, earth and minerals with silky fresh tannins, finishing with terrific length of red currant and berries. "Un gourmandise" said Jacqueline and we couldn't agree more - but obviously built to age as well. David Lillie (CSW Price $53.99)
The 2021 Rousset Saint-Joseph is from a one-half hectare parcel of 35 to 70 year-old vines in "Les Rivoires" on the lower slope in Tournon, a cool, very steep, late-ripening terroir with clay, sand and stones over firm granite. Aged 12 months, 30% foudre, 70% 1 to 5 year-old barrels.This is prime Saint-Joseph terroir (the Gonons have vines in "Rivoires" as well) giving a dense well-structured wine that is enjoyable young, as most of the grapes are de-stemmed, and that will drink well over the next ten+ years. The 2021 vintage has produced a brighter more floral style than the 2020, with a nicely balanced 13% alcohol. We love the review in drinkrhone: "quite a dark red; this has a country style aroma, wild blackberry, licorice, black pepper, is genuine. The palate gives a cool stream of black cherry fruit, is tasty and natural, with appealing purity, feels hand made, and is silky, elegant on the finish. It’s very fine, very bonny, aromatic St Jo, the balance good - most joli it is." Yes, most joli it is - quite delicious now, but put a few away to drink in 8 to 10 years as well. David Lillie
This is an oustanding Marsanne from vines planted in 1933 and 1965, aged in 10% new, 90% 1 - 3 year-old 400 liter barrels, 8 months on the lees, no batonnage. The 2021 Vieilles Vignes is an outstanding wine showing elegant aromas of white peach and plum, lemon zest, stone and oak; the palate is beautifully structured with the density, mineral flavors and firm acidity of the low yielding 2021 vintage. The finish is lovely with stone, white and yellow fruits, citrus zest, long and very elegant, really showing the old vines. Open well in advance or cellar 3 to 5 years, allowing the oak to fully integrate, then enjoy until 2035. (About 80 cases made) Pair this beautiful wine with full-flavored fish and chicken dishes and goat cheeses, or as the Roussets suggest, with rock fish, veal marengo and mushroom risotto! David Lillie
Les Picaudières is perhaps the best vineyard in Crôzes-Hermitage, formerly owned by Raymond Roure and now tended by Stéphane Rousset. It's a steep slope of granite terraces, isolated in an oak forest facing due south and protected from the wind. (In the opinion of Livingston-Learmonth in "Wines of the Northern Rhône" wine from Les Picaudières is "certainly better" than many Hermitage from the eastern part of the hill.) The vines range from 20 to 80 years-old. The grapes are hand-harvested and mostly de-stemmed. The wine ages 16 months, 40% in foudre, 60% in burgundy barrels, 1 to