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Anjou last year, Vin de France this year (the mystery of the Appellation board!), this is Chenin Blanc from Anjou, whether or not it's on the label. Dense, and crystalline, witn mint flower and and cooked apples on the nose, a touch of honeysuckle and vanilla on the palate. Stones, herbs, and a touch of refreshing salinity in the super long finish. This is truly a young wine, and a big expression of Chenin. A fascinating bottle to have over several days. One really gets the sense that this young Thomas Batardiere is getting very comfortable and connected with his vineyards.Drink now with a proper decant or put it away for a while! Eben Lillie
The Baudry Chinon "Domaine" is always one of our favorite reds from the Loire Valley and it's a sensational value as well. All Cabernet Franc of course, a blend of 75% from a parcel in St. Louans, where the thin clay/limestone soils give earthy well-structured wines, with 25% from gravel soils near Cravant, giving supple fruit and freshness. Organic farming, wild-yeast fermentation, aging in 5 to 10 year-old wooden vats and casks with minimal added SO. The 2014 "Cuvée Domaine" was a sensational wine and really built to age, while the 2015 is a bit more round and forward, and even more delicious for current drinking. The wine shows a deep red/black color and beautiful aromas of ripe red and black fruits with hints of earth, roast meat, black pepper and violet. The palate is dense and sapid with supple strawberry and blackberry liqueur and mineral flavors lifted by bright acidity. The fruit is quite ripe but the wine is well balanced at 12.5% alcohol. This is a superb "Domaine" that is a bit less structured than the 2014 - it's delicious now and will be singing in 2027 as well. Highly recommended. David Lillie
From 60 year-old Cabernet Franc vines on a gravel soil over sandy clay and limestone at the bottom of the hill of Sonnay in Cravant. Aged 12 months in 3 to 5 year-old barrels. Dark black/purple color with quite floral blackberry and strawberry aromas, with a bit of earth, spice and citrus. Very silky and supple on the palate ("We don't extract anymore" said Matthieu) with stony black fruits, meaty, chalky and long. Good acidity in the finish with graphite and velvety black fruits, quite elegant and closer to the 2014 in style than the other cuvées. This is a lovely "Les Grézeaux" and is highly recommended for early drinking or ten to fifteen years of cellaring. David Lillie
Stéphane Orieux's father Joseph converted the estate to organic agriculture back in 1967, and Stéphane has continued (now certified by Ecocert) the great vineyard work of his father. The grapes are hand-harvested, fermentations are with wild yeasts and minimal sulfur is used. The 2017 Bregeonnette is from vines on both schist and granite soils and is a beautiful example of a young, vibrant Muscadet from organic farming. The aromas are classic Muscadet: pear, green apple, citrus, fresh herbs and wet stone with floral hints. The palate is refreshing with subtle white fruits and citrus with hints of mineral and almond, with firm citrusy acids in the finish. This is a delicious and versatile Muscadet to serve with shellfish and white fish such as cod, haddock and sole and it's a nice aperitif as well. David Lillie
From old vines of Cabernet Franc on the clay/limestone upper slopes in Benais (Grandmont) and Restigné (Le Peu Muleu), it is fermented, aged and bottled without the use of sulfur dioxide, according to the winemaking principles of Jules Chauvet. 2015 is a great vintage for the Nuits D'Ivresse which shows lush aromas of red currant, black raspberry, violets, earth and black pepper. The palate is ripe and dense with strawberry and raspberry confit, balanced by citrusy acids. The finish is tart and juicy and very long with firm acidity and saline minerals. This is a beautiful young Bourgueil, with zero added SO2 - carafe if drinking now, best to wait three to five years and we think longer cellaring would be interesting, even without the sulfur! David Lillie
This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
Stéphanie, Emmanuel and Pierre Caslot are the current proprietors of this 400 year-old estate in Bourgueil. With excellent parcels on all the varied terroirs of Bourgueil they produce delicious old-school wines with great organic farming and natural vinifications with low sulfur. "Grand Mont" is one of the greatest sites in Bourgueil - a south facing slope on turonian limestone with shallow sandy clay soils, rich in mica. Though not considered a great vintage, the 2011s from the best sites in Bourgueil are turning out beautifully, such as the Breton "Les Perrieres" and the Chevalerie "Grand Mont." Denser and more opulently fruited than the 2012, the 2011 "Grand Mont' shows a deeper, darker color and ripe aromas of blackberry, black plum, violet, earth, game, and blood orange. The palate is round and supple with quite earthy red and black fruits with a lovely finish of dense red fruits, earth and citrusy acids. I would drink this sooner than the 2012 - delicious now with a long decant, best perhaps 2023 - 2030. Beautiful wine. David Lillie
Stéphanie, Emmanuel and Pierre Caslot are the current proprietors of this 400 year-old estate in Bourgueil. With excellent parcels on all the varied terroirs of Bourgueil they produce delicious old-school wines with great organic farming and natural vinifications with low sulfur. "Grand Mont" is one of the greatest sites in Bourgueil - a south facing slope on turonian limestone with shallow sandy clay soils, rich in mica. Wines from this vineyard are built to age and this rare bottling from Domaine de la Chevalerie is a beautiful example. 2012 Loire reds are not big wines, but they have lovely bright fruit and are beautifully balanced with refreshing acidity. The 2012 "Grand Mont" shows elegant aromas of black raspberry and strawberry with violet, earth, dark chocolate, citrus and game. The palate shows sliky tannins and complex red and black fruits - beautifully balanced with bright acidity and mineral flavors. This is really elegant and Burgundian, very long and built to last. Open the day before if drinking now, this will be a beautiful mature wine. David Lillie
The 2015 Clos du Papillon has just arrived in NY - it promises to be a great vintage for this wonderful Savennières, certainly one of the top wines of the appellation. We will post a tasting note ASAP, meanwhile here is information from the domain's website: "The Clos du papillon is a small valley at mid slope, beautifully exposed southwest to the light of the Loire. There are schist, rhyolite but also quartz. The topsoil layer is very shallow (60 cm) which provides excellent drainage for rainwater. The vine growing conditions are difficult, forcing it to develop its roots deep in the rock cracks to draw nutrients. The climate in that parcel allows for a level of highly advanced maturity. With grapes that concentrate aromas under the action of Botrytis. The Clos du papillon is harvested in two selections : The first selection during the « Fresh Fruit aroma » period and the second one later with some botrytis during the « cooked fruit, quince and smoked aromas » period. Both selections are put in barrels and assembled 16 months later. The wine then remains a few months in vats. This assemblage of the two styles of grapes results in a full bodied wine, with a citrus finish on very first attack, followed by sensations of ripe and exotic fruit with a very distinguished touch of bitterness or toasted almonds on the finish. The long aging on the lees gives it a nice smoothness. The « brandy » nose is characterized by aromas of evolution. The body and the very long finish make the Clos du Papillon a gastronomic wine to accompany lobster, scallops, smoked fish, Turbots, Saint Peter. It is also interesting with delicate white meats such as veal or capon, along with truffles or mushrooms. Classic mountain cheeses like old Salers, or 5 to 6 years old Comté are equally delicious with this great Savennières."
2015 is a beautiful vintage for the superb Savennières of Domaine du Closel. La Jalousie shows subtle, complex aromas of citrus peel, pear, almond, stone , lime-flower and honeysuckle which follow through on the perfectly balanced palate. The fruit is lush and ripe but there is great acidity and minerality as well - the wine is elegant and very delicious in its youth, - serve with fish in sauce, scallops, monkfish, chicken in sauce and mild cheeses. Lovely wine! DL
2014 is a beautiful vintage for the Clos de Turpenay, a vineyard of clay/limestone on a well-exposed slope that has been in vines since the 13th century. The current vines were planted in massale selection about 50 years ago and generally give a very structured wine that ages well. As with the best of the 2014 Chinons, The Clos de Turpenay shows a beauriful combination of supple ripe fruits, freshness, and great terroir expression. The aromas are complex and pretty - black raspberry, cassis and strawberry, quite fresh, with earth, pepper, rose and citrus. The palate is a lovely mix of red and black fruits with earth, sous-bois, citrus and chalky mineral flavors that continue in the long sappy finish. This is a subtle and elegant Chinon - carafe 1 to 2 hours in advance or cellar 15 to 20 years. Serve with stews, Guinea hen with peaches (!), salade magret de canard, roast chicken.
This Cabernet Franc from Chateau de Coulaine is a lovely wine. Coming from 15-year old organically farmed grapes planted on yellow tuffeau stone and sandstone, the wine displays a nice structure of minerality, acidity and elegant tannin. The grapes are fermented with native yeast and aged in large oak barrels with small addition of sulfur at bottling. With a beautiful bouquet of pyrazine, black raspberry, dark cherry, white pepper, rose and savory notes, the wine has a fine energy with a luscious texture. Enjoy this wine with duck, grilled meat, stews or nutty cheeses. Caroline Coursant
Beautiful dense and long expression of Chenin Blanc from around the Anjou appellation. Eben Lillie
Alain and Christine Boré produce delicious organic wines on their estate in Anjou that are sensational values for everyday enjoyment. Their 2016 Anjou Blanc (Chenin) is superb, with lovely aromas of dried pear, fresh herbs, hay, earth and honey. The palate is round and supple but nicely balanced with firm acidity, showing green apple, pear, stone and citrus flavors that continue in the long finish. A bit "drier" and more mineral tasting than the previous two vintages, this is a simply delicious Chenin that will accompany seafood, grilled or in sauce, chicken, goat cheeses, etc...
Vincent Gaudry began organic and biodynamic farming in 1993 and the results show beautifully especially in his vibrant 2017s. The "Constellation du Scorpion" is from silex soils over limestone and is fermented and aged in old barrels. The wine shows subtle aromas of almond, lime-flower, grapefruit and stone - very fresh and bright. There is a very mineral attack on the palate with flint and earth flavors, grilled almond, dried pear, blood orange and apricot with a saline, mineral aspect in the finish which is elegant, clean and long with lingering white fruits. This is a young and racy Sancerre that will accompany oysters, shellfish, grillled fish and white meats this summer. This should develop beautifully with three to five years of cellaring - it's an outstanding Sancerre and a great value at this price. David Lillie
A very soft, pretty and fresh rosé from certified biodynamic producer Philippe Gilbert. Menetou-Salon has the classic clay and limestone soils of the Loire Valley, and produces beautiful Pinots that rival and sometimes surpass those of its neighbor, Sancerre. High-toned minerality combined with the ripe, rosy-red fruit notes of the warm 2017 vintage makes this 100% Pinot Noir rosé a sheer ease and pleasure to drink.
If you have a sweet tooth, this Chenin is for you! Bonnezeaux is one of a few sweet wine appellations in the Loire Valley, where grapes are required to be over-ripe, and are sometimes affected by noble rot. "Le Malabé" has about 130 grams of residual sugar, but I honestly thought it was about 80g when I first tasted this wine, thanks to the high acidity and the ample minerality that the schiste soils provide. Just bringing the wine to the nose, one is greeted with honey, quince and with some subtle sweet spice aromas that tickle the senses. On the palate, it's dense, ripe and absolutely delicious. Francois from Grandes Vignes mentioned to me that 2013 was OK for reds in the Loire, very good for their dry Chenin Blanc, and exceptional for the sweet wines. Case in point! Drink now if you're craving sometime sweet, or age for decades. Eben Lillie
Chenin Blanc fermented and aged in amphora with no sulfur added. It's not a common occurrence, but we're very happy to have the opportunity to share this unique wine. The nose is floral, and stony, with hints of stone fruit, but the really fascinating aspect of the wine is the texture. Just letting the wine sit on the palate, I experienced earthiness (possible, but rare for a white wine), crystalline acidity, density in the mid-palate, and a long, mineral finish. Highly recommended for Chenin aficionados and those who are interested in the growing category of amphora wines. Eben Lillie
From 80 year-old vines in "Petits Monts" and "Grand Monts" towards the top of the slope above Benais, facing roughly south-west, clay over Turonien limestone (tuffeau, craie micacée). This is the terroir giving the most elegant and age-worthy Bourgueils. 18 month elevage ; 40% in cuve inox, 20% in one new 400 liter barrel, 20% in one-year and 20% in two-year old barrels, assembled two months before bottling. Tasted in February 2016, the wine was fairly closed and tight, with deep, pure black fruits and perfect balance. This will be a sensational mature wine, best to wait eight to ten years, or more, then drink until 2040.
When we started with Stéphane Guion, selling the 2005 Cuvée Prestige, we referred to the Revue Vin de France article on this unknown domaine - "These are not fashionable wines, due to the dynamic acidity, but for those who love the flavors of terroir they are a priority discovery that are a credit to the Loire." Indeed, organic farming going back to 1965, and a regimen of shallow plowing that keeps soil ph low, gives Stephane's wines a unique bright acidity and high mineral content underlying the beautiful fruit of his old vines. And in 2015 there was gorgeous fruit in Chinon and Bourgueil, despite the late rains that softened the wines at some estates. The 2015 Cuvée Prestige, from forty to eighty year-old vines in parcels around Benais, is a vibrant, joyous wine that shows a bright deep garnet color and elegant, ripe aromas of strawberry and red currant liqueur with hints of violet, dusty stone and black pepper. The palate is sapid and ripe but lifted by refreshing acidity, with lush berry liqueurs, saline minerals and citrus. The finish is long with lingering sappy fruit, earthy acidity and spice. Thanks to the Guion family for this soulful and delicious wine! (Aging potential of twenty to thirty years, but it's so delicious now that leaving it in the cellar will be difficult.) David Lillie
From 15 to 40 year-old vines on clay/limestone soils in Benais, in organic agriculture since 1965. The 2016 vintage shows quite deep red/black color with bright aromas of ripe black raspberry, black cherry, pepper, earth and clove. The palate is sapid and bright, with the firm acidity always present in Guion's wines. The black raspberry and red currant fruit is light and bright, at 12% alcohol, and the finish is refreshing and mineral. This young and vibrant wine will benefit from decanting well in advance (or opening the night before). Serve cool with charcuterie, roast chicken, pork chops and burgers. Thanks to Domaine Guion for two generations of organic agriculture and natural winemaking! DL
A great vintage for Huet's sweet wines — lacking the high sugars of 1997 but ripe enough and with perfect acidity which will carry them a long way. The Le Mont 1er Trie is just beginning to open up and would be great fun to drink now, but better yet, put it away for another 20 years and find a reason for living! 67 gr/l RS, 5.9 gr/l acid, 12.5 % alc. ("de très longue garde" says the Huet website!)
Forward and open which is unusual for Constance. Beautifully knit palate and very long with exceptional purity and at least 75 years ahead of it. DL
85 grams/liter RS, 12.8 % Alc 50% Passerillage, 50% Botrytis. A lovely, balanced Moelleux that will age nicely, peak drinking probably 10 to 30 years away. Yummy now if you can't wait, a great wine.
We are very proud to offer the beautiful wines of Lise and Bertrand Jousset, whose goal is to make "living wines" from living soils and healthy vines in a balanced environment. All of their wines share a vivacity and natural complexity making them a joy to drink - due to great farming and careful vinifications with minimal intervention and minimal or zero added sulfur. The Montlouis "Singulier - Clos aux Renards" is a dry Montlouis made from 60 to 80 year-old Chenin vines on clay soils called "Aubuis" over Turonian limestone. All cellar functions are by gravity without pumping, fermentation is in two and three year-old 400 and 600 liter barrels. This is a wonderfully elegant Chenin Blanc showing a bright pale-gold color and beautiful aromas of creamy citrus, dried pear, fresh herbs, stone and smoke. There is an impression of sweetness but the palate is dry with ripe pear, peach and apricot fruit with stone and mineral flavors, chalky texture and fabulous length. Beautiful now, it will develop nicely with ten to fifteen years of cellaring. David Lillie
Lise and Bertrand Jousset began the "Exilé" project with fruit purchased from nearby friends who share their commitment to organic farming. The "Exilé" rose is a pétillant made from 100% Gamay and it's one of our favorites. The 2016 is decadent with coastal aromas of salty pineapple core, fleshy melon, almond skins, and lilac. At 12% it is almost completely dry with a lacy mineral structure framing rich flavors of bosc pear, creamy pineapple, and subtle hints of white tea and orange peel. The finish is long and fabulously mineral. Serve with salade niçoise, cheese, or as a life-affirming aperó after a long day. Amanda Bowman
Rose á Lies is a beautiful Petillant Naturel Rosé from Lise and Bertrand Jousset in Montlouis-sur-Loire. Made from 40 year-old organic Gamay and Grolleau vines grown on sand and silex soils over limestone. Fermented in used barriques, the wine is bottled at 15 grams of sugar and finishes at less than 5 grams. The wine has toasty aromas of red currant and raspberry with creamy red fruits on the palate balanced with bracing acidity. The finish is clean, refreshing and long - a perfect Pet Nat for any special or everyday occasion!
"Mosquito" scratches that itch for a sublime bottle of thirst-quenching bubbles. The 2017 is made from Muscat grapes that Domaine Danjou-Banessy (Roussillon) generously gifted to the Jousset's after they lost most of their harvest to hail and frost. This is a pet-nat made by friends to share with friends. At 12% it's just a touch off-dry with aromas of exotic orange citrus, nutmeg, salty peach and honeycomb. There is a touch of Chenin Blanc which lends flavors of juicy pear and tart acidity. Try it with tangy goat cheeses, salads, or on its own. Amanda Bowman
This beautiful Chinon is from 65 to 70 year-old vines in sandy clay soils over limestone in Sonnay, near Cravant. The wine ages for 18 months in old barrels, less than 200 cases are made. The 2014 Ame D'Antan shows a deep black/garnet color with elegant aromas of ripe blackberry and strawberry with hints of violet, prune, citrus and crushed stone. The palate is dense but bright, with a silky texture, showing pure blackberry fruit with earth and licorice with firm mineral acidity. Good length with lingering berry and mineral flavors. Delicious now, it will age beautifully, probably best 2020 to 2030+. Highly recommended. DL
The delicious Chinon Vieilles Vignes of Patrick Lambert is from 55 year-old vines on sandy clay soils over limestone. Hand harvested and fermented with wild yeasts, as are all of Lambert's wines, the Vieilles Vignes gets 12 months of aging in old barrels. The wine shows a deep red/black color and ripe blackberry and strawberry aromas with pepper, earth and citrus. The palate shows earthy blackberry and strawberry compote with prune and bitter chocolate with firm citrusy acids. This is a complex, old-fashioned Chinon that will accompany roast chicken and anything off the grill, served a bit cool. Age for five to ten years for a mature experience. And at $14.99 it's a fabulous value! DL
This delightful Chinon Rosé comes from Patrick Lambert's 6 hectares of organic vines in Cravant, around the corner from his friend Bernard Baudry. Hand harvested from 20 year-old Cabernet Franc vines on gravel and sandy clay soils over limestone. The 2017 shows lovely aromas of wild strawberry, raspberry, citrus and rose; the palate is tart and pretty with raspberry, citrus and stone flavors with nice density and texture, with juicy acids, berry flavors and minerals in the finish. This is drinking beautifully now in a tart and refreshing style but will soften nicely through the spring and summer and will keep well into 2019. Only 120 cases made - it's a fabulous value and highly recommended. DL
From a superb hillside vineyard on orthogneiss with clay and quartz stones. A great vintage for Jo's Fief du Breil! Yes, the aromatics are a bit more pronounced than in more austere vintages, and there is more presence of citrus and white fruits on the palate, but the wine retains a superb mineral character and the finish is brisk and very long. Simply a great Muscadet — drinking this alongside the Pepiere Clos des Briords would be a great lesson in the terroirs of the Pays Nantais! Tasted in February 2016, the wine is still youthful although the aromas are opening a bit, with intense minerality on the palate and fabulous length. Delicious now, this will be fabulous in 2025! Brisk enough for oysters and clams, perfect with cod, sole and flounder, complex enough for monkfish and swordfish - hurry down to Blue Moon Fish at the Greenmarket this Saturday!
The Moussamoussettes is back! A Chambers Street favorite, this years rendition is a blend of Grolleau Gris, Gamay and Cabernet. Flavorful and vibrant, pulsing with ripe red berry fruit, yet still totally dry. A rejuvenating Pet-Nat from our friend Agnes and René Mosse.
For those who want a dryer style wine on Thanksgiving, this lovely Muscadet is opening up nicely and has the right weight and density to match the turkey and sides. (And the superb new 2015 Luneau-Papin "Vera Cruz" would be lovely as well) The Domaine de la Pépière Château Thébaud "Clos des Morines" comes from old vines on a beautiful vineyard sloping down towards the river. The granite here is fissured and permeable by the vine roots which have access to water during dry spells and absorb micro-nutrients along the way. 2009 and 2010 here were among the best of the vintage in Muscadet and the 2012 is outstnding as well from this somewhat difficult low-yielding vintage. More austere than the previous vintages, the 2012 shows subtle aromas of dried pear, herbs, citrus, almond and stone, quite subtle and elegant. The palate has excellent weight and concentration with firm acidity, without the forward fruit of the 2009 - very tight and mineral in style with terrific length. Fabulous served now with oysters, ceviche of cod, flounder and sole, and grilled fish, This should age beautifully for 20 years and more. Highly recommended. Tasted again in December of 2016, this beautiful Muscadet is beginning to open up a bit, with lovely fruit appearing in the aromas and palate, really drinking well, though obviously a wine that will benefit from another five years of aging, best perhaps 2022 - 2030.
Beginning in 2005, Domaine de la Pépière has produced this cuvée from a small parcel of 50 to 110 year-old vines within the Pepiere vineyard. Originally called "Granite de Clisson" after the unique bedrock in the vineyard, Marc has changed the name to "Clisson" to agree with the new INAO Cru Communal classification. The granite is covered with gravel and clay with large stones, ensuring good drainage and deep penetration by the roots into the fissures in the bedrock, bringing the mineral elements indispensable to this wine.Tasted in France in January 2018, the wine showed a pale gold color with lovely aromas of dried pear, quince, almond, lemon-confit and stone, ripe but quite fresh. The palate was quite dense, showing firm acidity and mineral flavors supporting white fruits, citrus, anise and almond, with terrific length. This is an excellent "Clisson" with attractive forward fruit for early drinking as well as firm structure for aging of fifteen to twenty years or more. David Lillie
Domaine de la Pépière has produced this superb Cru Communal, in the new appellation Muscadet Monnières-Saint Fiacre from old vines on gneiss terroir with topsoils of sand and gravel, formerly part of the Cuvée Eden and Gras Moutons. Slow two month fermentation followed by 24 months of aging on the lees. Similar in style, but a bit softer and more aromatic than the lovely 2015 Clisson, the Monnières-Saint Fiacre shows a bit more fruit in the lovely aromas of pear, citrus, herbs and stone. The palate is round and ripe with pretty white fruits, citrus, stone and herbal flavors, and the finish is round and supple with white fruits and minerals. This is a gorgeous Muscadet to drink over the next ten years with everything from oysters to sole, cod and monkfish, even with lobster.
100% Chenin Blanc. Pinon's only still, white, demi-sec wine in this very difficult and short vintage in which the estate lost 75% of its harvest. The "Le 2016" replaces the usual Trois Argiles, Silex Noir and Les Deronnières bottlings, with fruit from a range of those and other parcels. The vines average 40 years in age, are certified-organic and were hand-harvested from October 10-18. Fermentation took place spontaneously with natural yeasts and lasted 2-3 months in wood vats. The wine was aged 4-5 months on its fine lees in old tonneaux (large oak barrels) and gently filtered before bottling in April 2017 with 22.4 grams/liter of residual sugar (with pH 3.07). Total production of Le 2016 was 1600 cases (a yield of only 11 hl/ha). The wine shows lovely aromas of lime-flower, honeyed citrus, dried white fruis and earth. Firm lemony acidity and mineral flavors underlie ripe white fruits and lemon confit. The finish is very long with citrus,honey, pear and stone . Technically a Demi-Sec, the wine is balanced by the bright citrusy acids and will pair well with charcuterie, fish in sauce and white meats. Cellar for twenty to thirty years to create a fabulous mature Vouvray. David Lillie
From a plot of very old Chenin Blanc vines, François' Brut NV is kept on the lees for 18 months before bottling. It has pretty apple, pear, floral and toasty flavors with good acidity balancing the fruit. The current cuvée is from 2014 and it's one of their best ever - a bit riper than usual with round but well defined fruit—a great alternative to Champagne, it's delicious as an apéritif before the meal or afterwards with apple pie. This is a great choice during the holidays - a real crowd-pleaser at a great price, before, after or during the meal!
Les Picasses is one of the greatest vineyards in Chinon - a south-facing slope of clay over porous limestone that retains water and nutrients, nourishing the vines. While the wine is amply fruited and enjoyable young, it has firm acidity and structure for long-term aging, up to 30 years and more depending on the vintage. 2012 was a quite successful vintage for Loire reds, which generally showed vibrant fruit, fresh acidity and moderate alcohol. Not a "big" vintage but one of very pretty, well-balanced wines. The 2012 Raffault "Les Picasses" is a surprisingly full-bodied wine, showing ripe strawberry, blackberry, and cooked prune with a fabulous earthy core of stone and mineral flavors. The palate is dense with blackberry, prune, citrus, earth, licorice and cocoa with a long fresh finish. Ripe and forward enough to drink now with anything from roast chicken to steak, the 2012 should age beautifully, perhaps best 2020 to 2030 and beyond...? David Lillie
The Olga Raffault Chinon rosé has gotten better and better over the past few years, perhaps it's their move towards organic farming and the fine work of Sylvie Raffault and her husband Eric de la Vigerie. 100% Cabernet Franc, 10-hour maceration and slow wild-yeast fermentation. The 2017 shows a bit more ripeness than the 2016 but remains crisp and refreshing showing lovely bright pink color, hints of raspberry and strawberry fruit, very dry and balanced on the palate with a bit of peach and red berries in the finish with bright saline acidity. "Particulièrement gouleyant" it says on the label and we couldn't agree more! (Quantities are limited on this beautiful rosé - don't delay!)
From 25 - 30 year-old Chenin Blanc vines in a mid-slope parcel of thin clay and silex soils on limestone, yields of 25 hl/ha, certified organic with biodynamic methods as well, fermented and aged in 4 to 6 year-old barriques. Sébastien Cornille has quickly become one of the finest producers of Loire Valley Chenin Blanc on his 7 hectare estate in the Coteaux du Loir and Jasnières. The 2015 Jasnières "Clos es Molières" is an astonshing dry Chenin showing a bright pale gold color and subtle aromas of pear, dried herbs, almond, citrus and white pepper. The palate is dense but crystalline and intensly mineral with white fruits, almond, citrus and stone flavors that continue in the scintillating finish. Serve now with an elegant shellfish or fish preparation or hold for ten to fifiteen years and serve with fish or chicken in sauce. Beautiful wine! David Lillie
(On Sale through June 9th Was $19.99) This is an extremely dry and bright Chenin Blanc from Sébastien Cornille at Domaine de la Roche Bleue, from 30 year-old vines on slopes and terraces of clay and silex over limestone in the Coteaux du Loir, certified organic farming with biodynamic methods. The wine shows subtle, high-toned aromas of citrus, stone, pear, almond and fines herbes. The palate is lean and bright with dried pear, citrus and mineral notes with very firm acidity. Warning - this is a vibrant, high-acid Chenin! Serve with oysters, grilled fish and goat cheeses or cellar for ten to fifteen years. David Lillie
100% Chenin Blanc, from 10 - 25 year-old vines on a slope of clay/silex soils on limestone, certified organic. Slow pressing of whole clusters; long fermentations, most in 4 to 6 year-old barriques, the younger vines in cuve inox; elevage in 6 year-old barrels. More austere than the 2015 vintage, the 2016 Jasnières Sec from Sébastien Cornille is now opening up nicely, showing intriguing aromas of dried pear, pineapple, lime-flower, honey and stone. The palate is lean and mineral with citrus, dried apple and pear, wet stone and fines herbes. The finish is bone dry, mineral and long with firm acidity. Serve this scintillating Chenin Blanc with oysters, grilled and fried seafood, white meats and goat cheeses. Cellaring of five to ten years will reval a locely mature wine... David Lillie
This beautiful Saumur-Champigny is from a walled vineyard of old vines in Varrains, certified organic and worked with biodynamic methods as well. The wine shows a deep black/red color and ripe aromas of red currant and blackberry with earth, roast meat and citrus framed in a bit of oak, quite lovely. The palate shows lush, textured blackberry and black cherry fruit with earth and bitter chocolate backed by firm acidity that continues in the long finish. Delicious now served with a coq au vin, grilled steak or pork stew, this will age gracefully over the next ten to fifteen years.
This is a lovely Chenin Blanc from our organic friends at La Source du Ruault. Ripe but subtle aromas of pear, apple, citrus, lime-flower, hay and earth lead to the palate which is very mineral, with ripe lemony white fruits, almond, stone and herbal flavors and a very long intense chalky finish. A beautiful and very young Chenin that is scintillating and delicious now, best after a few days open or ten years in the cellar. Highly recommended! David Lillie
Jean-Noêl Millon at La Source du Ruault has 13 hectares on turonian limestone in Saumur-Champigny, organic since 2007 and using biodynamic methods. The "regular" Saumur-Champigny is from younger vines on clay and sandy soils over the limestone; the wine is hand harveted, fermented with wild yeasts, aged in stainless steel vat and bottled with zero or minimal sulfur depending on the vintage. The 2015 is a beautiful wine and a superb value, showing lovely aromas of ripe raspberry and strawberry with violet, orange peel, pepper and brown spice. There is a nice chalky density on the palate with lush berry fruits, earth, citrus and spice with a juicy, supple finish balanced with firm acidity. This delicious and versatile wine will accompany chicken and pork dishes, grilled foods, charcuterie and full-flavored cheeses. Serve cool and enjoy! David Lillie
South of Saumur and west of Chinon (but legally in Anjou) is the sleepy village of Oiron where Benoit Blet at Domaine des Terres Blanches makes superb wines on an interesting terroir of sandstone(grès) under sandy clay topsoils. "Les Hautes Bruyères" is from old vines of Cabernet Franc; the wine undergoes a long slow fermentation with wild yeasts and is then gravity-fed into small 2 to 5 year-old barrriques for 18 months of aging. This is a unique and delicious Cab Franc that shows an opaque black/red color and intriguing aromas of ripe black raspberry and plum with hints of mint, citrus and earth. The palate is ripe and supple with an earthy texture, showing pretty blackberry and cassis fruit with bitter chocolate, citrus and mineral flavors that linger on the long finish. A bit different from either an Anjou or Chinon red, the Hautes Bruyères will accompany a variety of poultry and pork dishes and will be great with grilled foods this summer, served a bit cool. David Lillie
Gamay de Bouze "the first red-juiced Gamay to be observed, in the village of Bouze, near Beaune, in the nineteenth centrury" says Jancis Robinson. Whatever it is, the resulting wine from Benoit Blet at "Les Terres Blanches" is quite delicious, showing bright aromas of black currant liqueur with dark chocolate and mint and herbs with earthy, slightly gamey bright black fruits on the palate with hints of cocoa. Very refreshing with nice length of bright berry fruits and mineral flavors in the finish. This is a lovely and distinctive Gamay - serve cool with charcuterie, chicken and pork dishes and burgers off the grill. (And it's tied with Donneurs du Temps for label of the year!)
Domaine Vacheron is one of the few organic and Biodynamic estates in Sancerre. The 2017 is from 30 to 50 year-old vines on both chalk and silex hillside parcels. The grapes are hand-harvested, the fermentation is wth wild yeasts and the wine is aged in tank. The wine shows a pale bronze color and subtle armoas of pear, quince, lime-flower and stone with a bit more ripeness than the 2016. The palate is silky and crisp, showing stone and mineral flavors that underly white fruits, citrus peel, almond and mineral flavors, leading to a very clean, long and refreshing finish. Light enough to pair well with oysters, this will accompany any mild flavored fish or chicken dish and goat cheeses.
Sauvignon Blanc has been grown in Quincy at least since the 15th century and produces a particularly distinctive wine on the gravel and silex soils of the Domaine de Villalin's vineyard "Les Grands Vignes." The estate is clearly the finest in Quincy, farming with organic methods, plowing (sometimes with horses), harvesting by hand and fermenting with wild yeasts. The 2017 has just arrived (March 1st 2018) and benefits from aeration, then shows subtle aromas of pear and quince with tart citrus and herbal notes. The palate is refreshing and bright with white fruits, gooseberry, fig and citrus flavors framed in firm acidity. If drinking now, open an hour in advance if possible - this should open up nicely by late spring for delicious drinking with a wide variety of fish and chicken dishes, salads and goat cheeses.
Hervé Villemade's 2017 Sauvignon Blanc hits the spot with classic Loire Valley aromas of exotic tropical fruit and invigorating flavors of lemongrass, ripe pear, and nectarine. The palate is supple and balanced with a flinty, mineral quality that adds a refreshing tang and texture to this versatile wine. Perfect for sipping on a warm day with a variety of foods, I like this with grilled shrimp garnished with snap peas and summer vegetables. Amanda Bowman