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Le Clos Guillot is a beautiful south-east facing vineyard, just east of the town of Chinon, above the Clos de l'Olive and adjacent to Le Chêne Vert. The upper slope of the parcel is clay over limestone (the lower part has sand and gravel over the rock, which permits a tiny production from franc de pied vines) and the vines are young, planted from 1993 to 2000. Fermentation in wooden cuves, 12 months of aging in two to five year-old barrels (most purchased in Burgundy and untreated with sulfur), 9 additional months in unlined cement vats. We have been buying this wine since it's first production in 2000 – it's one of the most elegant and Burgundian of Chinons. In the low-yielding 2016 vintage Le Clos Guillot is particulary elegant and age-worthy, showing floral aromas of Italian plum, black cherry and blackberry. The palate is perfectly balanced, dense and deep but not fat with elegant chalky black fruit and mineral flavors that continue in the very long finish. A bottle opened a day before showed more complex, floral aromas, but a tighter palate - of course this wine can be enjoyed young but peak drinking will be 2027 - 2045+. Given the reasonable price, this belongs in your cellar! (Normal case discounts apply) Another Bravo! to Matthieu and Bernard Baudry... David Lillie
The lovely 2017 Chinon "Cuvee Domaine" from Bernard and Matthieu Baudry is 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. Tasted from barrel in February of 2019 the wine was quite pretty showing lovely pure red fruit aromas with a supple, ripe palate, very deep and long and framed in perfect earthy acidity. The palate is fresh and balanced with pretty red fruits, earth and citrus notes, really long and lovely. This will be a superb and unique Chinon, both to drink young and for cellaring of fifteen to twenty years. Serve cool with roast chicken, pork dishes, charcuterie, green vegetables and mild cheeses. Highly recommended. DL
This rare and delicious Pineau d'Aunis is from 40 to 60 year-old vines on heavy clay soils in the Coteaux-du-Loir. Yields are extremely low, giving good concentration to this wine from a delicate grape. Long fermentation with pigeage, aged 12 to 18 months in old barrels. The 2017 shows dense bright red-currant fruit with plum, violet and earth framed in quite firm acidity. Don't be in any hurry to drink this vibrant young wine - best perhaps 2025 to 2035 - serve with charcuterie, lamb terrine, guinea hen, full-flavored cheeses.
Fred Lallier is now in charge at Domaine Bregeon and doing great work at this important estate - one of the leaders in the return to quality in Muscadet, now in conversion to organic farming. The 2017 Muscadet is from Gabbro terroirs in and around Gorges - it shows distinctive aromas associated with this terroir - stone, petrol and mushroom, as well as citrus, anise and white fruits with floral and herbal notes. The palate is dense and complex with citrus, earth, pear and anise followed by terrific length with firm acidity and mineral flavors. Lovely now, this will improve nicely over the next 3 to 5 years, and is an interesting contrast to the granite-based wines of their neighbor, Marc Ollivier at Pépière. 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 2018 Bregeonnette is from vines on both schist and granite soils and is a beautiful example of a young, vibrant Muscadet from organic farming.
The Chevalerie "Diptyque" is from sand and gravel soils in Bourgueil, producing a wine to drink young, served cool - 100% Cabernet Franc, of course. The 2015 is particularly good, with lovely aromas of black raspberry and crushed strawberry with hints of violet, mint, pepper and earth. The palate is balanced, ripe and pretty with supple black raspberry and red currant fruit in a bright frame, a bit softer and more forward than the 2014. Serve a bit chilled with charcuterie, chicken and pork dishes and mild cheeses. DL
"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 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." - Domaine du Closel. 2014 is a great vintage for Loire whites, combining excellent ripeness with bright acidity and great balance - the Clos du Papillon shows beautiful aromas of ripe pear and quince with honeysuckle, lime-flower and dried herbs with hints of smoke and earth. The palate is superb, very ripe and dense with white fruits, citrus, almond and stone with very firm lemony acidity and mineral flavors. The finsih is very long with bitter lemon and saline minerals. Drinking beautifully now, this should age well, peak drinking perhaps 2020 to 2025 and beyond. David Lillie
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 beautiful 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.
Grown on a 1/4 hectare parcel on a slope of clay over limestone where there is enough sand to discourage phylloxera, the vines are now 15 years-old and produce this distinctive wine, quite saline and with intriguing complexity. Drink this lovely Chinon, served cool, over the next five years.
This is a superb "les Picasses" from Jean, Etienne and Pascale de Bonnaventure at Chateau de Coulaine, who have been practising organic and biodynamic agriculture since taking charge in 1988. The parcel is at the top of the vineyard with southern exposure, on the classic clay/limestone "tuffeau" in Beaumont-en-Veron. This quite dense and powerful Chinon is aged in one-third new barrels and barrels of one and two wines.The wine shows a dark red/black color with beautiful aromas of ripe strawberry and black-raspberry with earth, citrus and spice, really deep and pretty. The palate is quite dense and a bit more round and open than the more austere 2014, with dark berry fruits framed in a touch of oak. The fruit is elegant and deep and the wine finishes with black fruits, earth, firm acidity and elegant tannins. This is a "serious" Chinon of terroir that will drink well young and will age beautifully as well, best 2022 to 2040.
Chateau de Coulaine is producing a ripe and vibrant Chenin Blanc from a south-facing slope just across the Vienne from Coulaine (AOC Touraine) with interesting terroir of granitic gravel and fossils over white limestone. The 2016 "Les Pieds Rotis" is a dry but very ripe and full-bodied Chenin, with beautiful white fruit, earth and citrus flavors. The wine went through malolactic fermentation, and finished quite dry at only 1.8 grams RS. Aging is in 2 to 8 year-old 400 liter foudres and minimal SO2 is used. It's a great apéritif or serve with white meats, Asian food and mild cheeses.
This is a delicious fresh wine from Chateau de Coulaine, a 12-hectare estate operated by Jean and Pascale de Bonnaventure, which has been certified organic since 1997 and uses biodynamic practices as well. This 100% Cabernet Franc wine comes from the youngest vines near the Chateau, along the Vienne river, grown on clay/limestone and sandy clay soils. Harvested by hand, the grapes are macerated at cold temperatures and aged in concrete vats with little extraction and fining. Sulfur is added at minimal dosage at bottling. The nose shows a pretty aromatic bouquet of dark and red cherry, dark raspberry, strawberry, violet, chocolate, dark tobacco and savory notes. The palate is vibrant with fresh acidity and silky tannins with a very pretty finish. A wine full of energy, drink it over the next few years with light fare such as grilled pork chops, roasted chicken and mild cheeses. Caroline Coursant
The wines of Denis Jamain at the Domaine de Reuilly are getting better and better - his 2018 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
We know that we're not supposed to like off-dry or demi-sec rosés, but this wine is so delicious we're going to drink it anyhow, served with grilled foods, Asian foods, mild cheeses or sipped by itself as a yummy aperitif on a warm summer day. Mostly Cabernet Franc, it's bursting with lovely red-currant and berry fruit with just enough sweetness to make it go down oh so easy. And it's a sensational value at $12.99!
Guy Bossard has been an inspiration for many growers in the region and is still producing superb wines, while in (semi) retirement, with the new owner Fred Niger Van Herck. The Domaine de l'Ecu 2017 "Granite" is particularly outstanding, amazingly elegant with a wonderful combination of delicacy and depth. The wine shows beautiful floral aromas of lemon peel, dried pear, wet stone and lime-flower with hints of almond and anise. The palate is dense and very long in this difficult but ripe vintage with intense stony flavors, pear, citrus and earth. A bit more open and accessible than some vintages of Granite but with ample structure and acidity for aging — perhaps best 2022 to 2035. Serve this summer with oysters, cod and sole, then with richer dishes after the wine matures. Bravo to Guy and Fred!
This is a full-bodied and very delicious Cabernet Franc from our organic friends Alain and Christine Bore at Domaine du Fresche in Anjou. "Red wine for cellaring, powerful and rich" says the back label, and indeed this is a ripe and well-structured Cabernet Franc that is delicious now and will benefit from five to ten years of aging. The wine shows a deep red/black color and aromas of ripe blackberry and strawberry liqueur with hits of violet, black pepper and citrus. The palate is supple and dense but balanced by bright acidity under the ripe berry fruits. Serve cool with roast chicken, stews and grilled meats and put a few in the cellar for five or ten years. David Lillie
This is a gorgeaous Sancerre Rouge, a product of Vincent Gaudry's wonderful biodynamic farming. Wild yeast fermentation, aging 12 months in used barrels. The wine shows lovely aromas of tart cherry, violet and spice, with a vibrant mineral character on the palate from the limestone soils. The fruit is sappy and dense but not heavy, with plum skin, black cherry and earthy flavors. The finish is long with bright chalky red fruits and refreshing acidity. Drink now, served quite cool, with roast chicken, grilled meats, veal tartare and mild cheeses or hold for five to ten years for a mature experience. This is a delicious Pinot Noir from a great terroir in Sancerre and it would be a great choice for Thanksgiving! David Lillie
Philippe Gilbert makes beatiful wines in Menetou-Salon, which abuts Sancerre, including lovely rosé and red from Pinot Noir and superb Menetou-Salon blanc from Sauvignon Blanc, certified Biodynamic by Demeter. The living soils are evident in this lovely wine, showing elegant aromas of pear, fig, citrus peel, lime flower, anise and stone. The palate is very mineral with firm chalky acidity unerlying pear, almond, citrus, stone and herbal flavors. This is a great pairing with any mild fish preparation and goat cheeses and it's far superior to most Sancerres in this price range. 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 2018 vintage makes this 100% Pinot Noir rosé a sheer ease and pleasure to drink.
Upon visiting Fernand Girard back in the early 90s we were happy to find someone who harvested by hand and fermented with wild yeasts - a rarity in Sancerre at the time and still sadly in the minority today. More than 20 years later we are still happy to feature the Sancerre produced by Fernand and Alain Girard, coming from their 2.5 hectare plot on a steep slope in Chaddoux on stony clay over limestone soils. This is a classic Sancerre in a more mineral style that will accompany a wide variety of seafoods, chicken dishes and white meats, and it's a good value as well.
The appearance of this beloved little Pet-Nat means that it is officially summer. "Rosa, Rose, Rosam" is a blend of Gamay, Cabernet Franc, Grolleau, and Côt from the talented Damien Delecheneau in Touraine. The vines are around 80 years old and were planted in the clay and limestone soils by Damien's great grandfather. The 2018 shows a bit more ripeness than past vintages, but the exquisite lacy minerals and delicately balanced flavors of wild strawberry, sour cherry, and plump raspberry are as charming as ever. Amanda Bowman
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.
2016 brings us another great Cuvée Prestige from Stéphane Guion in Bourgueil, whose domaine has been certified organic since the 1960s. From vines averaging 50 to 70 years old on classic soils of clay over limestone. 2016 was a very difficult vintage in the Loire Valley with many growers suffering huge loses to f rost on the 27th of April, followed by periods of intense mildew attacks until early July that further lowered yields. Weather in the summer and fall, however, was near perfect with dry sunny conditions prevailing and just the right amount of rain in September. Comparisons can be made to the 2002 and 2010 vintages. The 2016 Guion Prestige shows wonderful brightness and balance with lovely high-toned aromas of strawberry compote with floral, herbal and musky notes, with hints of roast coffee and bitter chocolate. There is intense material on the palate which is elegant and ripe with fine tannins, with bright strawberry and cherry fruits encased in brisk, very earthy acids. A brilliant wine that needs five years or more in the cellar, peak drinking perhaps 2023 to 2040. If drinking now decant well in advance or open/taste/re-cork two or three days beforehand. 1989 and 1990 tasted recently at the domaine were fantastic — given the low price, this is one of the world's great values to cellar. Thank you, Stéphane! (Arrives Monday March 4th)
This is another beautiful wine from the shy and affable Stephane Guion who is quietly making some of the best wines in Bourgueil. His 2017 Cuvèe Domaine is from young (15 to 40 year-old) vines on clay/limestone terroir in Benais and is simply delicous, a bit softer and more foward than the vibrant 2016. The wine shows aromas of raspberry and red currant liqueur, violets and citrus - very ripe but still bright with earthy hints as well. The palate is medium-bodied and fresh with firm acidity but more supple than usual for the Cuvée Domaine, with chalky, saline mineral flavors framing the ripe red and black fruits, which continue in the long earthy finish. 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 beautiful wine that transcends its price point - Thanks to Stephane Guion! David Lillie
Huet's Vouvray "Le Mont" is one of the great white wines of the world, especially in the Demi-Sec and Moelleux iterations, and 2002 is a classic vintage for sweet wines in the Loire. There is an extraordinary balance between vibrant fruit, perfect acidity and a firm mineral core that makes this wine delicious now or in twenty years.
Forward and open which is unusual for Constance. Beautifully knit palate and very long with exceptional purity and at least 50 years ahead of it. DL
Le Mont is a 19 acre vineyard just above the Loire with a pebbly, "green" clay and silex soil over the limestone. The 2017 Le Mont Demi-Sec was the hit of our tasting at Racines NY, showing smoky mineral notes with pear, citrus peel, almond and wet stone aromas. The palate shows earthy white fruits with intesnse mineral flavors with great freshness and density, not showing much sweetness. The finish is long and earthy with quince, stone and citrusy acids. Serve now with very saline oysters or grilled fish, best to cellar, drink until 2050 and beyond... David Lillie
La Haute Tradition is a beautiful Muscadet from our friend Jo Landron that is rarely seen in the US. The grapes are from old vines in the "Les Houx" vineyard on iron-rich clay over subsoils of orthogneiss with quartz, giving a dense powerful Muscadet that is aged for about a year in wooden foudres.The wine shows elegant aromas of lemon peel, stone, ripe pear, almond, anise and honeysuckle. While it's similar to Jo's superb Fief du Breil, the palate shows more ripeness - quite round and full for a Muscadet, with sapid white fruits, citrus, anise and licorice, with terrific density backed by firm acidity. The finish is long and lovely with with bitter lemon, pear, anise and stone. This is a superb Muscadet that should be opened well in advance or decanted if drinking now, or cellar five years then drink until 2035. Serve with fish in sauce, grilled lobster (!), veal, roast chicken and goat or sheep cheeses. David Lillie
Amphibolite - a metamorphic stone generally formed from gabbro or basalt, with a high concentration of iron and magnesium, prevalent in the vineyard, over a bedrock of gneiss. The wine from this vineyard is low in alcohol (normally about 11 - 12%) and high in acidity and mineral salts. Bottled after 4 months sur-lie aging and retaining a bit of CO2 from the fermentation, the Cuvée Amphibolite is refreshing, stimulating and a perfect complement to shellfish and light seafood dishes. Tasted in January 2019, the 2018 Amphibolite showed more white fruit aromas than usual with notes of dried pear, lemon zest, lime-flower, wet stone, fines herbes , almond and white pepper. The palate remains vibrant and mineral with bitter lemon, white fruit and stone flavors with surprising density at about 12% alcohol. Terrific length with citrus, pear and mineral salts in the finish. Pair with oysters and other shellfish, grilled fish, chicken dishes and goat cheeses - or just sip by itself on a hot day. David Lillie
"Caradras" is a rare and lovely sight, only made in the best vintages, we've not had the pleasure of drinking this wine since 2015! The new release was well worth the wait. The 2018 is 88% Cab Franc and 12% Cot from various parcels on silex and clay within Quentin Bourse's estate. Bourse describes himself as "neurotic" because he is highly meticulous in the vineyards as well as the cellar (during harvest he employs 1 person per hectare to ensure only the best bunches are selected). Neurotic or not, his fastidiousness pays off in the marvelous expressions of his 2018s. This is exquisitely balanced and wonderfully textured. The fruit was selected from parcels with various vine ages in order to give extra dimension and concentration to the flavors and structure. The nose offers dusty plum, soil, cocoa, and blue bramble fruit. The palate is lively and lifted by crunchy acidity framing the ripe high-toned blue fruits, juicy plum flesh, and earthy spices. This is drinking well now but could age for at least 3-5 years. Amanda Bowman
Quentin Bourse took over a friend’s estate in Azay-le-Rideau after working with many producers in the Loire Valley (notably Domaine Huet in Vouvray) just in time for the 2013 vintage. The estate was already certified biodynamic and covers 12 hectares on clay over silica. Traditionally this rosé is made from 100% Grolleau, but the 2018 edition has a touch of direct-press Gamay from vines planted in 1964. The addition of Gamay brings sophisticated structure and concentrated tannins to this vintage - making it one of the best we've tasted in years. The palate has exquisite texture with crisp, mineral acidity and invigorating flavors of tart raspberry, cranberry, and fresh cucumber. It still comes in a crowd-friendly liter format, an ideal go-to for the warm days ahead! Amanda Bowman
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 36 months of aging on the lees. The 2015 shows subtle, complex aromas of bitter lemon, lime-flower, melon, pear, mint, almond and stone. The palate is silky, crystalline and dense with white fruits, lemon zest, almond, smoke and wet stone with fabulous length of pear, minerals and taut 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! David Lillie
A good candidate for aging, this is Luneau-Papin's only cuvee on a granite subsoil (granit a deux micas) having a different character than the granite soils in Clisson or Château Thébaud. Vintages going back to 1989 of the L d'Or are superb now, but this very young 2016 would be perfect today with a filet of sole. The wine shows elegant aromas of salt air, almond, pear, melon and lemon peel. The palate is very mineral and silky with pear, stone, bitter lemon - a bit austere, finishing with earth, mineral and citrus notes. A beautiful wine of terroir - serve with oysters and grilled fish, céviche of scallops - hold for five years then drink with lobster and fish in sauce, drink till 2038. David Lillie
A lovely Saint-Nicolas de Bourgueil from an estate doing fabulous organic vineyard work and natural low or no-sulfur vinifications; 40 year-old massale-selection vines in a parcel of gravel/clay soils, aged in cement vat and in old barrels. This is a lovely version of the Mortier "les Graviers" showing pretty, ripe blackberry and red currant aromas, with plum, violet and citrus, with a generous dose of earth and funk. The palate is round and supple but with bright acidity, showing lush berry fruits that continue in the long finish with earth and citrus. Delicious now, served cool, with chicken, rabbit and pork dishes, chacuterie and mild cheeses. Age for five to eight years for a more earthy and complex experience. DL
The Moussamoussettes is back! A Chambers Street favorite, this years rendition is a blend of Grolleau Gris and Gamay. The 2018 is totally dry with flavorful and vibrant strawberry and tart cherry fruit. A rejuvenating Pet-Nat from our friend Agnes and René Mosse.
Our first 2018 comes from our friends Rémi, Gwénaëlle and Marc at Domaine de la Pépière - the 2018 "Cuvée Pépie." This first bottling of "Pépie" shows a bit more apple and pear fruit and a softer palate than normal, as 20 - 30% of the juice went through the malo-lactic conversion. It's a delicious Muscadet in a rounder style which will be a great match for any seafood and white meat dishes this spring and summer
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
The Domaine de la Pépière Château Thébaud "Clos des Morines" comes from old vines in a beautiful vineyard sloping down towards the river Maine. The granite here (granite de Château-Thébaud) is fissured and permeable by the vine roots which have access to water during dry spells and absorb micro-nutrients along the way. The grapes are hand harvested, fed into the press by gravity and undergo a one to two month fermentation with wild yeasts. The wine ages "sur-lie" for 30 months with regular battonage, contributing to the complex aromatics and richness of the wine. The 2015 Chateau Thébaud is a gorgeous wine, showing a bright pale gold color with ripe aromas of candied citrus, melon, pear, honeysuckle, wet stone, almond and licorice. The palate is silky and quite rich for a Muscadet, with white and yellow fruits, citrus and mineral flavors, with hints of anise and licorice emerging, with the firm acidity in the background. This very young wine is delicous now, but please decant or open well in advance. This reminds me of the 2009, which is drinking beautifully in 2018. Serve with oysters and fish such as sole, cod and halibut, white meats as well, great with goat cheeses. Highly recommended! David Lillie
This lovely wine clearly illustrates the difference between the granite and gneiss terroirs in Muscadet. Gras Moutons, a great parcel on gneiss with clay and amphibolite stones, produces lovely, classic Muscadet. A wine to drink over the next 5 to 8 years, it has a more herbal and floral bouquet than the granite-based wines and the palate, although refreshing and bright, is softer and more open. In 2017 the majority of the grapes were lost to frost, but the portion that remained made a beautiful wine showing pretty herbal, citrus, and white fruit aromas. The palate is elegant and bright with pear, quince, lime-flower and lemon backed by silky lemony acidity and mineral flavors. Perfect with oysters, mild flavored fish and chicken dishes and goat cheeses. David Lillie
The grapes for this new cuvée from Francois Pinon 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 soil is clay over Turonian limestone, and the beautiful exposure gives ripe fruit that is normally vinified as a demi-sec. In 2017 the potential alcohol was not too high, so the Pinons vinified it as a dry wine, with 5.6 grams rs/liter. The wine shows elegant aromas of lime-flower, dried pear, lemon zest and stones. The palate is very saline and mineral with round white fruits, citrus and herbal notes with impressive density and length. A great dry Vouvray with fantastic minerality that will age beautifully! Normally thought of as a fish wine, the flavors and texture of this wine will make it pair beautifully with poultry and white meats as well. Highly recommended. David Lillie
The 2017 Trois Argiles has 17 grams of residual sugar, but more than enough acidity to balance that out. Coming from the heavier clay soils, this wine is slightly deeper and broader than the Silex Noir (black flint) with a rounder palate. Notes of citrus and orchard fruit, with white blossom, honey, and slight hints of candied ginger. A beautiful pairing with poached fish. Oskar Kostecki
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. The fermentation lasts 4 to 6 weeks without added yeast or sugar. 2015 is a beautiful year for this wine as the good weight and density of the vintage are balanced by firm acidity, contributing to the elegance and structure of this cuvée. The wine shows aromas of citrus peel, pear, green apple brioche, fines herbes, white flowers and stone, really quite elegant. The palate is creamy and dense, with pear, parsnip(?), stone, anise, mineral, herbal and bitter lemon flavors on the palate. (Sorry for the overwrought description, but the wine is extraodinary!) The mousse is fine and refreshing and there is fabulous length of white fruits and stone flavors lingering in the finish. This very young wine is superb now but is a great candidate for extended aging - for twenty years or more - a few years ago we tasted a 1976 Pinon Brut that was sensational! This is very highy recommended! David Lillie
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. 2014 was an excellent 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 2014 Raffault Picasses shows a bright, red/black color with aromas of morello cherry, red currant, blackberry and prune with hints of licorice, earth and black pepper. The palate shows silky tannins and sappy red and black fruits with chalky minerals and firm acidity. Earthy prune, plum and cherry fruits linger in the long finish. Please decant two to three hours in advance if drinking now, then serve a bit cool with roast chicken, pork or lamb. This will sing a different song after 6 to 8 years of aging, best perhaps 2026 - 2040. DL
The Domaine cuvée from Olga Raffault is made up mostly of young vines from the Barnabes vineyard, planted on sandy soils right by the Loire River. This is a fresh and easy-drinking Chinon, displaying notes of red cherry, black cherry, raspberry, plum, crushed violet, cracked black pepper, and green bell pepper. Very approachable with soft, medium tannins, this a great wine to drink while the Picasses is maturing. Oskar Kostecki
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 2018 is round and ripe and simply delicious, quite crisp and refreshing showing lovely bright pink color, hints of raspberry and strawberry fruit, ripe but 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!
From 25 - 30 year-old Chenin Blanc vines in a mid-slope parcel of thin clay and silex soils on limestone, yields of 25 hl/ha, certified organic with biodynamic methods as well, fermented and aged in 4 to 6 year-old barriques. Sébastien Cornille has quickly become one of the finest producers of Loire Valley Chenin Blanc on his 7 hectare estate in the Coteaux du Loir and Jasnières. The 2015 Jasnières "Clos es Molières" is an astonshing dry Chenin showing a bright pale gold color and subtle aromas of pear, dried herbs, almond, citrus and white pepper. The palate is dense but crystalline and intensly mineral with white fruits, almond, citrus and stone flavors that continue in the scintillating finish. Serve now with an elegant shellfish or fish preparation or hold for ten to fifiteen years and serve with fish or chicken in sauce. Beautiful wine! David Lillie
This is a beautiful Chenin Blanc from Sébastien Cornille at Domaine de la Roche Bleue, from 30 year-old vines on slopes and terraces of clay and silex over limestone, certified organic farming with biodynamic methods. The 2017 L'Orée de la Berterie shows lovely ripe aromas - peach, pear, and kiwi with almond, honeysuckle, lime-flower and mineral notes. Dried peach and pear, citrus peel, stone and herbal notes on the palate with terrific density and a quite firm citrus and mineral finish. This is an outstanding and mineral young Chenin that will open up over the next three to five years, and might be quite interesting at ten to fifteen years or age - it's a superb value as well. Serve with ceviche of fluke, fish in sauce, roast chicken and mild cheeses. DL
100% Chenin Blanc, from 10 - 30 year-old vines on slopes of clay/silex soils on limestone, certified organic. Slow pressing of whole clusters; long fermentations, most in 4 to 6 year-old barriques, the younger vines in cuve inox; elevage in 6 year-old barrels. The Roche Bleue 2017 Jasnières Sec shows pale bronze color with beautiful aromas of pear, lime-flower, quince and honeysuckle with hints of chalky stone, anise and citrus peel. The palate seems light in body but is quite intense with dried pear, anise , bitter lemon and saline, chalky minerals that continue in the long finish with firm citrusy acids. This is a crystalline, complex dry Jasnières that will benefit from decanting and should age well for ten to fifteen years. Serve now with shellfish, grilled fish, roast chicken and goat cheeses or age to serve with richer dishes. Lovely wine! DL
This is for sure the most dynamic and peculiar little white we have under the $15 price point here at Chambers Street. Chenin Blanc, with about a week of skin contact and no sulfur added. The maceration is purely to give the yeast food and keep it productive, and not for color or to say they are making an "orange wine." As Jeremy Menard explains, he did an experiment with two vats, with the exact same juice from the same day of harvest and the same press. One vat had the juice with no skins (in typical fashion), and in the other, he left some skins with the juice. About a week later, the vat with the skins had fermented completely dry, and was quite happily moving along with malolactic fermentation, whereas the one without skins hadn't even finished its sugars yet. It's never a race to have a finished wine at Domaine Sablonnettes, but it is a sign of how the Menard family is constantly developing their approach in the cellar, so they can successfully make honest, natural wines. Young at the moment (tasted just after arriving in New York in late July), there are pleasant aromas of orchard fruits (apples and pears) and orange zest. A great mineral finish, which is no surprise given Chenin's ability to transmit soil into the glass, and the impeccable and longtime organic farming at Sablonnettes. Ripe, dry Chenin that should be fantastic in a few months and even better in 2019 or beyond. EL
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, dark chocolate and earth. The palate is firm and elegant with an earthy texture, and a core of stony, mineral flavors, a bit austere, showing pretty blackberry and cassis fruit with bitter chocolate, citrus and minerals 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, or cellar for five to ten years. David Lillie
2018 is a great vintage for the reds from Clos du Tue-Boeuf and the first to arrive is the vibrant Vin Rouge - 100% Gamay from organic parcels near les Montils - whole bunch carbonic maceration fermentation followed by four or five months in tronconic vats. The wine shows exuberant aromas of raspberry and cherry; the palate is round and ripe with lush fruit balanced by bright acidity. This is a simply joyous wine that will drink beautifully served cool over the next few years. Enjoy!
Domaine Vacheron is one of the few organic and Biodynamic estates in Sancerre. The 2018 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 2015 or 2016 due to the sunny condions and low rainfall in 2018. The palate is silky and crisp, showing stone and mineral flavors that underly ripe 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.
"1 Litre à boire d'une traite" - A bottle to drink in one go - We think the message makes things pretty clear: this is a fresh, fun bottle of Gamay that is dangerously easy to drink. Mineral, with spicy red fruits and well worth a light chill. A bovine beverage that's "Vachement Delicieux!" EL
Chardonnay and Menu Pineau. Super tasty, fresh, but as with other wines of Hervé's that contain a bit of Chardonnay, there is no fear of ripeness and texture. Great acidity and some fleshy character. Not bracingly dry, it should pair well with a variety of foods, even dishes with spice or a cream base. Eben Lillie