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Bastide Blanche 2021 Bandol Rosé
Some of the most elegant rosés in the world come from the varied limestone terroirs of Bandol, along the Mediterranean, where Mourvedre is the primary cepage blended with Grenache and Cinsault. The wines often take 2 to 5 years or more to reach maturity, so we're happy to have the 2021 Bastide Blanche which is showing beautifully in 2023. The estate farms with organic and biodynamic methods and makes a particularly delicious direct-press rosé, fermented with only wild yeasts. There is plenty of elegance and structure that you'd expect from a Bandol rosé, but it's still bright and full of energy - our colleague Mariko referred to it as a "happy Bandol," which is an apt description. The fruit is subtle but pretty and the minerality is sleek and stony, with great acidity that would make this a hit at any barbecue. It's an incredible value for a very serious rosé.
Camin Larredya 2020 Jurançon Grains des Copains
Formerly called Costat Darrèr, "Les Grains des Copains" is a great introduction to the style of the domaine and how Jean-Marc Grussaute is capturing the concentration of the sugar with remarkable elegance. In 2020 this wine is 100% Petit Manseng grown by his neighbors (Pedeflus, Lacazette and Vignau) - they have another job and are tending their small plots for pleasure. The goal of this wine is to offer a delicious, refreshing moelleux in the way it was done last century at a fantastic price for value. Hand-harvested, picking was done of the ripe, dried grapes (no botrytis) from Oct 25 to Nov 10, the grapes are slowly pressed to extract aroma and structure from the Manseng. Vinification and aging, partly sur-lie, happens in small barrels and foudres. Volcanic sulfur is used with parsimony and the wine is sterile filtered. "Les Grains des Copains" is a delicious candy, a pure gourmandise with a little more concentration than usual. If you like orange marmalade, membrillo paste, cinnamon and lily of the valley, you will love this nose. Once again, the sweetness seems swallowed by the acidity, leaving the palate fresh and ready for another glass. Enjoy it today or keep it 5 years. A pan-sautéed foie gras with apple-cider reduction, a passion fruit panna cotta or a mild blue-cheese would make some great pairing. 100% Petit Manseng, 60 g RS.
Combel-La-Serre 2020 Cahors "Au Cerisier"
(Arrives April 6th) 100% Malbec. "Au Cerisier" comes from a single 1.2-hectare plot at 350 m. altitude, next door to a cherry orchard for which the Ilberts named this bottling. The certified-organic vines average 40 years old and are planted on red and yellow clay soils over limestone bedrock. This is a quite serious Cahors showing a dark red/black color and beautifull black raspberry and blackberry fruit aromas with hints of dark chocolate, violet and stone. The palate is supple and dense, quite elegant and not tannic, very full-bodied but not heavy and really showing the clay/limestone terroir, with a long finish of bright red and black fruits. Drink now with a long decant with a steak or stew, best to cellar five to ten years. This was oustanding at the March 2023 tasting - it's a lovely Cahors and highly recommended! David Lillie
Curtet, Marie & Florian 2018 Savoie Autrement Rouge
Vin de Savoie of Gamay, Pinot Noir, and Mondeuse, farmed organically by Marie & Florian Curtet. The 36 year old vines are planted to Mossiac limestone and have an exposure that ranges from west to southwest. In 2018, whole bunch fermentation was done for 4-5 weeks before pressing. Afterwards, the wine was aged on the lees in concrete tanks for 11 months, then lightly filtered before bottling. Only a touch of SO2 is added. The wine has a black core with light magenta edges. The first night open, the nose was full of tart blueberries and red cherries, and the palate echoed those aromas, but with a salty edge. Structurally, it was sparky and vibrant, with very little tannin, instead relying on a beam of acidity for definition. On the second night, the nose has become floral, with dark roses, crushed raspberry, blackberry, and blueberry. The palate expresses obvious pomegranate, raspberry, and black cherry flavors, followed up by a lingering hint of graphite. On the second night, there is more tannin, on the gums and on the back of the tongue. The acidity has softened. Two different sides to a wine - both delicious. Marie and Florien definitely know what they're doing. David Hatzopoulos
Danjou-Banessy 2020 Cotes Catalanes Rouge La Truffiere
Carignan and Grenache Noir, between sixty and eighty years old. Planted in black slate-rich soils and aged two years in barrel. A beautiful Burgundy hue in the glass with red berries and flowers on the nose. The elegance of this wine, and the translucence in the glass remind of Burgundy Pinot Noir more than anything Carignan or Grenache-related. The flavors are of the South, with some garrigue and subtle herbs, but the prettiness is the major factor here. This is a lovely and serene wine made with a careful hand.
Deux Anes 2021 Corbières Premier Pas
Blend of Carignan and Grenache grape. Age of Vines: 20-35 years old. Yields: 45 hl/ha. 1600 cases produced. Soil: red Mediterranean type, scattered with limestone. Vinification Method: The premier pas is the lightest wine Magali makes, a whole cluster fermentation in stainless steel tanks. A pigeage occurs & fermentation lasts two or three weeks. Only natural yeast is used, and the wine is fermented and aged in the same tanks under temperature control. The wine is bottled without ?ning or ?ltration.
Domaine de La Borde 2019 Arbois Pupillin Cote de Caillot Chardonnay
Juilen Mareschal is one of the only people to make wine in the Côte de Caillot, right outside of Pupillin. Working organically with .25 hectares of 35-year-old vines planted in Bajocian limestone on the top of steep slopes at 600m in elevation, he crafts serious Chardonnay in the ouille style, showcasing the true terroir of the site. The wine ferments naturally with indigenous yeasts and is raised in old, 1200L barrels. In terms of taste it would appeal to seasoned Chablis and Mersault drinkers with complex fruit and walnut aromas, and an excellent structure anchored by a piercing mineral core.
Domaine de La Borde 2020 Arbois Pupillin 'Plous'saperlipopette'
A serenipitous "mistake," this is a partial carbonic maceration Poulsard. The name essentially means “oh shit” like a happy accident, because he was surprised at how good the wine came out.
Domaine de l'Aitonnement 2021 IGP Vin des Allobroges 'Dark Side'
The '21 Dark Side is 100% Mondeuse, the grape that was once planted so densely on the slopes of Aiton. In the glass, the color is of a glowing, translucent plum. The nose has very expressive floral aromas, with freshly cut stems of violets and dark roses. Great Mondeuse moodiness on the nose, with fresh black pepper, cinnamon, dates and blackberries - a very foresty and earthy bouquet. Flavors are of crisp raspberries and blueberries, with a salty undertone, ending with the telltale grassiness that Savoie's star red grape is known for. Structurally mineral and precise, with great acidity and just a dash of tannin. Serve with a bit of a chill and this will be your favorite red this summer, I promise! Awesome for grilled meats on a hot day, no doubt. -DH
Domaine de l'Aitonnement 2021 IGP Vin des Allobroges 'Nebula'
For Mondeuse die-hards this bottle is a must - even if there is some Douce Noir involved! Slightly more classic in expression than the '21 Dark Side from Maxime Dancoine, his '21 Nebula has a denser, plumper profile than it's lighter counterpart, the it's color is still clean and fresh. The nose has healthy, plummy dark stone fruit and a graphite-focused mineral expression. The floral smells are also more dramatic in this wine - with ripe smells of sweet red roses. On the tongue, juicy blackberry, raspberry and orange peel swirl around a core of tense briney coolness. Killer acidity, with the celebrated earthy tannic structure that the best Mondeuse can offer. The wine ends with a sweet kiss of blueberry. Wow. -DH
Faillenc Sainte Marie 2021 Corbières
This delightful estate uses one-third Syrah, one-third Grenache and one-third Cinsault in their Corbières Rouge, grown on limestone/clay soils in the foothills of Mont Alaric, certified organic since 2007. The wine shows aromas of blackberries, ripe plums, and tiny wild blueberries, as well as notes of balsam wood. Like all the best Languedoc offerings, there's a wild edge here with a bit of funk that is tempered by juicy sleekness. Its excellent balance and wealth of ripe tannins make it a natural at the table - serve with a stew or grilled meats, a coq au vin with farm chicken or guinea hen, and full-flavored cow cheeses.
Finot, Thomas 2020 Coteaux Grésivaudan Étraire la Dhuy
Étraire de la Dhuy is a rare grape from the Vallé du Grésivaudan in the Isère, with only about 6 hectares currently in production. The 2020 Finot Étraire de la Dhuy is from a parcel of 70 year-old massale selection vines, with some new plantation, only 60 btls were available for the US. AKA Étraire de l'Aduï. According to Wine Grapes "DNA parentage analysis suggests a parent-offspring relationship between Étraire de l'Aduï and Persan. Indeed, both varieties belong to the Sérine ampelographic group."
Jonc Blanc Solera Vin de France Pure M Manseng
(Arrives 5/16) Wow, this a superb natural wine - 100% Gros Manseng from three vintages, 2018 - 20200, grown on a clay/limestone terroir (calcaire de Castillon). Elevage in 1800 liter Stockinger foudre. This is a more northern version of this grape of southwest France with aromas of exotic fruit, pineapple and herbs. The palate is vibrant with almond, pear and apricot fruit, and finishes with saline minerals. Zero added SO2, 24 btls for the US, enjoy!
La Bernarde 2022 Côtes de Provence Rosé "Hauts du Luc"
The La Bernarde "Les Hauts du Luc" a very dry and refreshing blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvedre, Rolle (Vermentino) and Syrah. Certified organic and fermented with wild yeasts, the grapes are grown in a high-altitude vineyard on limestone with clay and stones. The Cinsault is very present in the subtle aromas of peach and raspberry with citrus, spice and floral hints. The palate is light, with a silky texture and firm mineral flavors underlying the fresh red fruit, peach and citrus flavors. This is a lovely and versatile wine that will be a delicious aperitif or accompaniment to fish, white meats and lighter grilled foods. At $19.99 this a good value - pick-up a few cases for your spring/summer sipping!
Laguerre 2014 IGP Côtes Catalanes Oxy (5 years sous voile)
Eric has once again made a small quantity of "Oxy" - his extraordinary Grenache Blanc that spends five years sous-voile. The current vintage is 2014 (we think) - for any lover of Vin Jaune, or anyone making chicken with vin jaune and morels, this is a must buy! The wine shows lovely herbal, stone, citrus peel and strong oxidative aromas. The oxidation is less apparent on the palate which is extremely elegant and of course shows an intense minerality, with flavors of lemon zest, stone and dried pear, finishing with terrific length. Superb and unique wine! (No added SO2) David Lillie
Clos Marie-Louise/Château Lapuyade is a beautiful Biodynamic estate deep in the hills of Jurançon, south of Pau. Their wines are harvested by hand, fermented with wild yeasts and aged in old barrels purchased from Yquem and Haut-Brion. Château Lapuyade produces a complex, ripe, exotic style of "Sec" and the lovely 2020 is no exception. Produced from Petit Manseng and Gros Manseng, the wine shows a bright gold color; ripe aromas of exotic fruit, lemon zest, almond, honeysuckle and hay; the palate is ripe and round with spiced pear, buttery lemon, earth and mineral flavors; very bright citrusy acidity in the finish with hay and minerals. This will evolve nicely re-corked in your fridge or with five to ten years of cellaring. Not for everyone perhaps, this is really a unique and intense bottle of Jurançon! Serve with chicken or fish in sauce, full-flavored cheeses, patés and Asian foods.
Produced by Jeremy and Isabelle Decoster in the Alpine region of Bugey. From hand-picked, organically farmed Chardonnay and Roussette (Altesse), planted at 500 meters above sea level. From soils of limestone and marl, above a granitic subsoil. Clear, with a very faint yellow hue. The nose has lemons, cucumber, and snap peas. A great floral aroma grows after the wine is open for an hour. The palate has salt, cured lemons, and crushed, zingy limestone. Green papaya and clementine, and a long, semi-bitter finish. The palate is medium bodied, balanced by wonderful acidity. -DH
Les Fouques 2022 Côtes de Provence La Londe "Cuvée 'Estelle"
(Arrives June 1st) Domaine les Fouques has been certified Biodynamic (Demeter) for 30 years, and also raises sheep, ducks, chickens and guinea-hens on their old-fashioned mixed-use farm. The La Londe "Cuvee L'Estelle" is their best rosé from old vines of Grenache 49% Cinsault 36% Syrah 11% Rolle 4%. Unlike the majority of Provençal rosés, it is made naturally with wild yeasts, giving a more subtle expression of fruit and terroir. The 2022 is a subtle and beautiful wine showing a very pale salmon pink color and aromas of peach skin, orange peel, rose, earth and raspberry, very pretty and folral. The palate is elegant and silky with stone and saline mineral flavors beneath very subtle red and yellow fruits, wild strawberry, hints of spice and citrus peel. The high percentage of white grapes brings delicacy and freshness. The finish is refreshing and long with nice density and perfectly balanced at 13% alcohol. This is a lovely rosé of terroir that will drink beautifully over the next three years. Serve with grilled fish, pork and chicken, salade Niçoise, or just sip by itself. David Lillie
Les Fouques 2020 Côtes de Provence La Londe "Estelle" Rouge
The beautiful 2020 Les Fouques "Estelle" Rouge is 71% Syrah, 22% Grenache, 4% Carignan, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, certified Biodynamic (Demeter). Tucked away in the Vallons des Borels, the estate illustrates biodiversity at its finest: vines, forests of eucalyptus, pines, even wild boars share a spatial harmony on the property. Harmony is key in a wine like the Cuvée L’Estelle - on the nose, there is a lovely mélange of black cherry, spiced plum, rose, smoke and candied ginger. The palate is rich and ripe, with soft tannins and fresh fruit. The finish is the highlight of the wine: a back and forth medley of red fruit, black currant, smoke and earth. A wonderful accompaniment to grilled meats ths summer....
Les Fouques 2022 Côtes de Provence Cuvée l'Aubigue Rosé
Year after year, Yves Gros, Christelle and Jacques at the Biodynamic Domaine les Fouques make our favorite Provençal rosés. This is what they say about the 2022 Cuvee Aubigue: "Cinsault 62% Grenache 15% Syrah 17% Cabernet Sauvignon 4% Rolle 2%, (alcohol 12.5%) "Very pale pink color with melon nuances. The first aromas are concentrated, evoking ripe yellow fruits such as apricot and peach. After swirling, it's flat peach with white flesh, subtly enhanced by spices of white pepper and ginger. The palate is imposing, well structured, ample; dominated by notes of white peach but also by fresh citrus which reinforces the iodized side of this cuvée and gives it a certain freshness on the finish." We say... "the palate is round and refreshing with a dense mineral core. Flavors of peach, strawberry, and nectarine coalesce over cool herbal notes akin to licorice. The finish is suave and awash with citrus and stone. A wonderfully versatile wine, this is lovely to sip by itself and will be a seriously delicious pairing with salads, full-flavored fish dishes, chicken and grilled pork all summer and all year...complex, subtle, refreshing and delicious - buy it by the case as we do run out from time to time...
Les Granges Paquenesses 2020 Côtes du Jura Trousseau 'Libellules'
'Libellules' is a tasty and very forward Trousseau from blue and grey marl soils on a south-facing slope in Poligny. A lovely cherry color in the glass, with notes of strawberry and red cherry on the nose. The palate is ripe and friendly, perhaps not screaming "JURA!" but it is very charming and in many respects a great way to entice newcomers to the region and its special wines. Notes of plums, cassis and fresh green herbs circling around a center of cool minerality.
Lulu Vigneron (Ludwig Bindernagel) 2019 Côtes du Jura BB1 Chard/Savagnin
Ludwig Bindernagel, a favorite of ours from the Jura, currently works with the newly-minted Lulu label. However, when he first came to the region in the early 2000s, he produced wines as Les Chais du Vieux Bourg, the domaine he had purchased. ‘BB1,’ though it may sound technical, or even scientific, stands for ‘Baby One,’ as it was the first cuvée Lulu ever created. It is a blend of Chardonnay and Savignin, and produced in a topped-up, or ouille, style. Hints of crisp apple and salt on the nose, with a delicate, slightly floral and oxidative character. Zingy on the palate, with pear, cured lemon, white pepper and salt. Incredibly balanced - neither the Savagnin or the Chardonnay steals the show in the glass. Spot on, Lulu! Bring on the Comte! -DH
(Arrives May 12) The 2021 Pibarnon Rosé is drinking gorgeously now and will improve even more over the next few years - grab some now as of course the price goes up for the 2022. This wine has a wonderful ability to combine elegance, power, class, and distinction. A blend of Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Grenache, the wine shows peach-y and stone fruit notes on the nose, mingling with the savory earth and iodine character of good Bandol Rosé. The palate offers silky textures, a certain voluptuousness, and a lovely balance of acidity to full ripe fruit.
Rouquette 2011 Monbazillac Chateau La Rouquette 500ml
(Arrival Mar 7th) The Dournel family produces this lovely Monbazillac under the Chateau La Rouquette label. Consider it a good Sauternes in everything except price, perhaps slightly less sweet. The 2011 is very elegant, fine and complex, with aromas of ripe white fruits, peach and lime flower. Supple, round and with medium sweetness on the palate with perfect acidity, the fruit is fresh and pretty, not at all heavy, really a delightful wine to sip by itself or with fruit desserts, patés and vegetable terrines.