Get 10% off the purchase price with every order of 12 bottles or more of still wine not already on sale. The savings add up!
Candela Prol, highly experienced certified wine educator and friend of the shop, is available for tastings and training for private and corporate events. For rates and other inquiries, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org .
*Offsite events are contracted to and coordinated by a 3rd party, and are in no way affiliated with Chambers Street Wines.
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
One of the great red wines of the Loire Valley, the Baudry Chinon Les Grézeaux is from a unique parcel of old vines near the bottom of the slope in Sonnay (near Cravant-les-Coteaux) on a bed of gravel over a base of clay, sand and limestone. (Harvested by hand, fermented with wild yeasts and aged in 3 to 5 year-old casks.) Les Grézeaux always has an elegant silky texture and wonderful freshness, combined with the ability to age beautifully in good vintages. While not as big as 2015 and 2016, the 2017s at Baudry have wonderful purity and freshness in a medium-bodied frame that accentuates the beauty of the fruit and the underlying minerality. The 2017 Les Grézeaux has lovely raspberry and strawberry fruit with earth, musk and spice. Pretty floral red fruits on the palate with vibrant acidity framed by flavors of graphite and stone. Becomes deeper and velvety with a few days open — really a lovely blend of fruit and terroir with nice balance. Enjoy it now or in 10 to 15 years...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.
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 2017 La Tesnière Blanc by Pierre-Olivier Bonhomme is from organically-grown vines, 75% Menu Pineau and 25% Chenin Blanc, in this great parcel that abuts the Clos Roche Blanche in Touraine. Bright pale gold color. Subtle aromas of grapefruit, pear, dried herbs, 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.
Pierre-O was able to source some Melon de Bourgogne grapes from Coteaux d'Ancenis (from an up and coming winemaker named Philippe Chevarin). Known for stony and mineral expressions closer to Nantes, where Muscadet is produced, the soils and inland climate of Ancenis provide a bit of a rounder expression of Melon. Still subtle on the nose and mineral from start to finish, there's nice weight in the mouth, expanding the possibilities of pairings well beyond oysters and shellfish! EL
Pierre-Olivier has made a simply delicious (and just a bit peculiar) Touraine Sauvignon Blanc. The wine shows a pale bronze color with aromas of ripe pear, lime flower, gingerbread and honeysuckle. Dry but with lovely ripe pear and apple on the palate framed in firm acidity, with stone, saline mineral flavors. It's both crisp, but also round and tropical, with almost an oxidative touch. All in all, there's a lot of character in this inexpensive wine - enjoy by itself or with any fish, chicken or white meat dish, great with goat cheeses and Asian foods as well.
This "poil dur" is wagging its tail again in 2018, showing the extra ripeness of this great 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
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.
We're big fans of the Caslot family at Domane de la Chevalerie, who make soulful Bourgueils from organic vineyards on their varied terroirs. The Chevalerie vineyard is on mid-slope Turonian limestone with clay and alluvial sand and gravel topsoils, rich in silex; the vines average about 60 years of age. The 2014 vintage in Bourgueil and Chinon is excellent and the 14s at Domaine de la Chevalerie are absolutely superb! This wine is a fabulous mix of fruit and minerals, perfectly balanced and with terrific length: dense black/red color, with aromas that blend soil, stone and black-raspberry fruit with hints of cocoa and violet. The palate is dense and supple and intensely mineral - a blend of stone and cool red fruits lifted by firm acidity, with the bright fruit continuing in the long mineral finish. This is a beautiful Bourgueil that can be enjoyed now with roast chicken, pork dishes, even a steak - or hold for ten to fifteen years for a mature experience. It's a faulous value at $19.99 - congratulations to the Caslots! David Lillie
Francois Chidaine has been one of the leading proponents of biodynamic farming in the Loire valley and has had a profound influence on the resurgence of Montlouis. Les Choisilles is vinified dry, from parcels of 30 to 90 year-old vines on clay and silica soils over limestone "tuffeau." The soils are kept covered with beneficial plants growing in the rows and only organic composts are used. Fermentation of Les Choisilles can last up to six months, with wild yeasts, no malo-lactic, aging on the lees in large barrels. The 2017s at Chidaine are studies in terroir with the young wines showing intense acidity and mineral flavors eclipsing, for now, the elegant white and yellow fruits that coat the palate. Though delicious now, served with grilled fish, fish and chicken in sauce and shellfish, the Les Choisilles will open nicely over the next ten to fifteen years and should be considered for the cellar. David Lillie
2016 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
In 2017 Domaine du Closel lost 90% of their fruit to a devastating frost, but were able to purchase organic grapes from an estate on the other side of the Loire, on a great terroir of shale, to make this lovely Chenin. The wine shows ripe quince and pear aromas with floral hints, while the palate is ethereal and quite dry with firm acidity and saline mineral flavors under the subtle fruit. This will pair nicely with oysters and delicate seafood preparations, and should develop well with five to ten years of aging.
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.
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.
Domaine Dauny in Crézancy has been organic since 1964 - Nicole and Christian are the 12th generation at the estate! The Dauny Clos du Roy is from 40-50 year-old vines in this famous limestone vineyard. The palate is round, ripe and balanced with white fruit, herbal and mineral flavors backed by crisp acidity. The finish is long with dried pear, stone and anise flavors. This is a lovely Sancerre from an excellent vintage that will accompany almost any seafood dishes, chicken and white meats as well.
This offering from Deboutbertin is 100% Grolleau from a parcel on Schiste and sandstone, from vines that were planted in 1950. The vineyard is tiny, at 25 ares (a bit more than a half-acre), and yields are quite low, at about 20hl/ha. There's a hint of "barnyard" on the nose, with plenty of the vibrant fruit on the palate. Relatively dark in the glass, but super easy to drink! Serve with a slight chill. Arrived July 2019 / Best if opened after Summer 2019 EL
This is a very limited cuvée from Stephanie and Vincent. All Cabernet Franc from old vines. No SO2 added. EL
The 2016 Roche aux Moines from Tessa Laroche is a superb Chenin Blanc showing elegant aromas of pear and quince with limeflower and citrus, quite complex and pretty. The superb shist terroir of "Roche aux Moines" is fully captured in this wine which has fabulous depth of white fruit and mineral flavors with very firm acidity and citrus, anise and stone in the long finish. Wonderful now with a full-flavored fish dish, this wine will cellar beatifully for twenty years and more. David Lillie
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
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!
100% Cabernet Franc. The six-hectare Grande Vignolle lieu-dit sits on a chalk cliff on calcareous clay soils, set back from the Loire River on a high plateau. The vines are 35-40 years old and lie at the northern limit of the Saumur-Champigny appellation. The fruit is hand-harvested, destemmed and fermented with natural yeasts in steel tank, with a maceration of approximately 2 weeks. The wine is aged in steel tank and is bottled unfiltered. Always a juicy and delicious Saumur-Champigny, the 2017 Grande Vignolle shows ripe crushed black raspberry fruit with floral and earthy notes, quite pretty! The palate is vibrant with firm acidity below lush berry fruits with a refreshing, bright finish. This is a great charcuterie pairing or with grilled chicken and pork and soft cow cheeses - enjoy it now served a bit cool and celaring of five to eight years would be interesting. David Lillie
Domaine Vincent Gaudry, located in Sury-en-Vaux, has been organic and Biodynamic certified beginning in 1993. The 2017 "Melodie des Vieilles Vignes" is from 50-plus year-old vines on clay/limestone soils, and is fermented naturally with wild yeasts. This is an outstanding Sancerre showing elegant aromas of ripe pear, quince, almond, citrus and lime-flower, really quite lovely. The palate is fresh and lively with dried pear, flint, smoke and herbal flavors, very silky and elegant and happily unlike most modern Sancerres. The stone and subtle fruit flavors continue in the refreshing finish, making this a superb food wine with anything from oysters to grilled fish and fish and chicken in sauce. And Crottin de Chavignol, of course. Highly recommended and a good value! 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
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
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!
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
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
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 2015 Ame D'Antan shows a deep black/garnet color with elegant aromas of ripe black raspberry and red currant with hints of violet, prune, citrus and crushed stone. The palate is dense but bright, with a silky texture, showing earthy, ripe strawberry confit with black raspberry and licorice with firm mineral acidity and a bit less tannin than the 2014. Good length with lingering berry and mineral flavors. Delicious now, it will age beautifully, probably best 2023 to 2035+ David Lillie
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 is deep and ripe, 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. And at $16.99 it's a fabulous value! David Lillie
"Gourmandise" is a beautiful Spring cuvée from Patrick Lambert, made from young 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 light summer red! DL
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 20-year-old Cabernet Franc vines on gravel and sandy clay soils over limestone. The 2018 shows lovely aromas of wild strawberry, raspberry, citrus and rose; the palate is ripe and pretty with raspberry, citrus and stone flavors with nice density and texture, a bit more weight and ripeness than the 2017, with juicy acids, berry flavors and minerals in the finish. This is drinking beautifully now and will open up nicely through the spring and summer and will keep well into 2020. This is a fabulous value and highly recommended. DL
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
"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
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
The superb Luneau-Papin "L d'Or" is from 45 year-old Melon de Bourgogne vines on a parcel of "Granite a deux micas" in Vallet on a south-facing slope. The wine shows a pale gold color and aromas of pear, green apple, almond, lemon confit, lime-flower and wet stone. The palate is dense and crystalline with saline acidity underlying flavors of dried pear, anise, flint and citrus zest with hints of melon and almond. The finish is long with silky pear and earthy citrus fruit and lingering saline acidity. This is very similar to the superb 2014 - it's a breathtaking Muscadet to drink now with oysters, grilled lobster, broiled fish, roast chicken and goat cheeses, it will go through a marvelous evolution over the next twenty years and accompany fish in sauce, chicken with morels and older goat cheeses.
The Mosse family is making superb natural wines in Anjou, and the 2017 Vin de France Rouchefer is a classic example. From a 1.6 ha parcel of massale selection vines in soils of clay and quartz over schistes, the wine is produced with minimal SO2 (total 20mg/l) and is aged in barrel. The wine shows beautiful floral aromas of quince, pear, citrus and stone. The palate is full and elegant without being heavy, and the lovely fruit is backed by firm acidity and mineral flavors - a real Chenin of terroir that will accompany a wide range of seafood and chicken dishes and mild cheeses. Serve cool, but not too cold, over the next ten to fifteen years. David Lillie
La Paonnerie is a Biodynamic estate in Anjou, producing all their wines totally naturally with zero additives. The 2015 Jacquerie is from Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon grown on schistes of Ancenis and bottled with zero added sulfur. The wine shows ripe red currant and black raspberry aromas that are quite complex, very earthy and meaty. That palate shows ripe black fruits, with earth and mineral flavors and firm tannins, with a bit of earthy funk in the finish. It's a complex and fascinating Anjou red that will appeal to lovers of natural wines. David Lillie
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
In 2017 yields were so low due to frost and mildew that all the grapes of the domaine were used in this single cuvee - Gamay, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vinified together. The vines are grown on sandy granite soils at 1200 ft altitude in the Roannaise, in organic and Biodynamic farming. The grapes are hand-harvested into 30 kilogram baskets, pressed, pigeage by foot, and zero sulfur or other additves are used. The Picatier Un Jour, Picatier Toujours shows bright aromas of ripe raspberry with hints of earth, meat, pepper and citrus. On the palate there is vibrant black raspberry fruit with floral, earth, mineral and citrus flavors, quite natural but not "mousy" with firm citrusy acids in the finish. This needs food - bring on the charcuterie, rillettes and rillons, grilled pork and lamb to enjoy with this fascinating natural wine. David Lillie
Malbec is known as Côt in the Loire Valley, and this wine, simply labelled: "In KO we trust" is a strong example of what this formidable grape is capable of in the region. It is definitely not as dark, ripe or fruity as the typical Argentina offering, but what it lacks in overripe fruit and new oak it makes up for in elegant tannic structure, and an ample amount of finesse. It's nice to drink now with any late summer grilled foods, and has enough acidity and grip to be a prime candidate for a few years of bottle age.
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
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!
This is a dry Chenin Blanc from Nicolas Réau, who has 7 hectares in Anjou. There's great density to the wine, and a clean, mineral finish. Vines were planted in 2003 on 3 hectares of clay/limestone terroir. The wine was aged for 6 months in old wood with the lees, and vinified with minimal sulfur. I find this to be a really classic expression of Chenin Blanc, with subtle texture and richness, balanced by crisp acidity. Perfect with a variety of cuisines, and showing nice evolution over several days open. Eben
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
Sebastien Cornille's lovely 2018 "Guinguette" is made from a blend of 70% Pineau d’Aunis, 20% Gamay and 10 % Cabernet Franc 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 2018 Guinguette is a superb "vin de soif" offering bright aromas of peppery raspberry, cherry and violets, a bit riper than the 2017. 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
The 2017 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 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 drink beautifully over the next three to five years. Lovely wine and a great value! David Lillie
"La Porte Dorée" is from 40 to 90 year-old Romorantin vines grown on clay soils with limestone bedrock. The juice undergoes a long, slow alcoholic fermentation and malolactic fermentation, and the wine ages in old foudres and barriques. Minimal SO2 is added before bottling. This is a very young wine that will benefit from decanting or 3 to 10 years of cellaring. Serve now with fish or chicken in a cream sauce and with a wide variety of full-flavored cheeses. Lovely wine!
The lovely 2018 Tessier Cheverny Blanc is 80% Sauvignon Blanc with 10 % each of Menu Pineau and Chardonnay, farmed organically since 1998 and made with minmal SO2. Aromatically, there are a lot of textbook Sauv Blanc notes, but is still far from the intensely grassy and tropical, lychee-driven aromatics of many a yeasted Sauvignon across the globe. What the Cheverny Blanc also has is a bit of texture. It's refreshing, but also broad in the mouth, evolving quite a bit as it's open. It's a wine that will disappear quickly thanks to it's crisp drinkability, but will also reward those who take a moment to pay attention.
Always a treat, this year's iteration of the Tessier rosé is a bit darker than the 2017, which was all Pineau D'Aunis. This time around, it's a blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir, with more concentrated fruit than the pale and subtle 2017, but the essential backbone of minerality and fresh acidity is there. Flavors of Ocean Spray Cranberry, and a bit of hibiscus, and wet stones. With fried, grilled and otherwise salty foods, this should be perfect!
The delicious 2018 Tessier Chevery Rouge is from 15 to 40 year-old vines of Pinot Noir, Gamay and Cot grown in sandy clay soils. Wild yeasts, of course, and aging in old barrels with minimal SO2 added, bottled unfiltered. The yields were low again in 2018, but the fruit achieved perfect ripeness in this excellent vintage, showing deep cherry and raspberry with plum, rose, citrus and brown spice. The palate is round, ripe and refreshing with chalky spiced berry fruits, plum skin and mineral flavors, ending with sappy red fruits and firm acidity. Serve cool with charcuterie, chicken and pork dishes and a wide variety of cheeses. David Lillie
The Tessier Cheverny Rouge "Le Point du Jour" is made from Pinot Noir and Gamay grown on an east-facing slope of clay/limestone soils. The wine shows lovely ripe aromas of black raspberry, blackberry and spice with violet and citrus. There is a lovely melange of black fruits on the palate that is lush and round but still quite fresh with good density and length. Serve quite cool with charcuterie, grilled meats and mild cheeses - great on a picnic or summer cookout, drink over the next three or four years. David Lillie
A new offering from the Tessiers, 100% Pineau D'Aunis. The name is a reference to the lesser known name for Pineau D'Aunis, Chenin Noir. Philippe planted the vines 7 years ago and had problems with weather in the first few years of potential production, so this is the first time the red was made. Still young, and showing some volatile acidity (that should be less present with 6 or more months in the bottle) there are darker fruit notes than we usually expect from Pineau D'Aunis. There's not as much bright red fruit here, but nonetheless a very expressive nose, with spice, and notes of crushed violets. We're looking forward to trying this once it's been stateside for a bit.
50% Pinot Noir, 50% Gamay from a small parcel of clay and flint soils over limestone of Blois. 2018 is a great superb for the reds from Jean-Marie and Thierry Puzelat at Clos du Tue-Boeuf as the wines show ectraordinary ripeness while retaining lovely balance and freshness. The 2018 Rouillon shows bright, floral tart plum, raspberry and wild strawberry aromas with citrus and earth. The palate is ripe and sappy with wild strawberry, plum skin, earth and spice. The finish is long with citrus and mineral flavors and a bit of tannin. Irresistible now, this should be very interesting after a few years in the cellar. Zero or minimal SO2. David Lillie
100% Gamay on clay and flint over limestone, organic and biodynamic farming. The 2018 La Butte shows a level of ripeness never seen before in this wine with bright, deep strawberry and raspberry aromas with pretty floral notes. Quite dense red fruits on the palate, supple and textured, really lovely with the lush fruit lifted by refreshing acidity. This is just plain yummy and will accompany just about anything. David Lillie
The Puzelat brothers at the Clos du Tue-Boeuf produced a lovely Sauvignon Blanc in 2018, from organic grapes with almost no SO2 added - it's naturally delicious! The wine shows ripe aromas of pear, fig, almond, lemon confit, fines herbes and stone. The palate is ripe and round but balanced by firm acidity and mineral flavors framing the ripe white fruits. The finish is long and juicy with bright acidity and chalky minerals. This will accompany just about anything this summer from fish to chicken to pork, and great with any mild cheeses. 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 and with the earthy/mineral character always present in the Tue-Boeuf reds. This is a lovely Gamay 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.
(60% Pinot Noir, 40% Gamay grown on sandy clay and flint soils over limestone in Cellettes, Chitenay and Fougères sur Bièvre, AOC Cheverny; 15-day whole cluster fermentation, aged in old barrels) 2018 is another great vintage for this light and lovely Cheverny Rouge from Hervé Villemade; slight reduction then very pretty aromas of plum, strawberry and blood orange with rose and white pepper; tart cherry and chalky raspberry/strawberry fruit on the palate, light but sappy and long with earthy citrus and berry fruits in the refreshing finish. This is a delightfully natural thirst-quenching red - serve cool with any chicken or pork dish, charcuterie and mild cheeses. DL
Just arrived is Hervé Villemade's very delicious Pet Nat Rosé What's Up? Made from Grolleau, Pineau D'Aunis and a bit of Menu Pineau for added zing, this is an absolutely delicious wine for gulping with abandon all summer. Don't delay in grabbing some, and thank you Hervé, for this bubbly pink treat!
What started many years ago as a hodge podge homage to the Renault R12 (a notoriously unhip car from the 1970s) has become a delicious success for winemaker Olivier Lemasson, and his Vins Contés project in the Loire Valley. The blend is known to change, as it's essentially put together based on what fruit Olivier and his friends are able to harvest. This year, it's Grolleau and Côt (Malbec). Very fun to drink, with red fruit and full flavor, balanced acidity and minimal tannin. A perfect red for heralding in the Summer. Eben Lillie