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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. Bastide Blanche farms with organic and biodynamic methods and makes a particularly delicious direct-press rosé, fermented with only wild yeasts. A full-bodied wine with complex red fruits, spice and hints of citrus, this is the perfect match for salade niçoise, grilled tuna and grilled meats.
'Mont Blanc' is named for the snow-capped mountain 30km away from Dominique's winery. This cuvée is built to age, but that requires personal discipline. 100% Gringet from vines planted at 450m elevation, the 2015 was aged for three years on the lees before disgorgement. The delicate nose offers elegant floral aromas and comes across as quite austere at first. Within an hour the nose blossoms with generous notes of honeysuckle, orange zest, almond skins and orchard fruits. The palate has exquisite cut with powerful minerals driving fresh pear and apple flavors. An excellent vintage that should shine in 2-3 years. Amanda Bowman
"Le Feu" comes from Dominique's oldest, low-yielding Gringet vines planted on steep, iron-rich slopes at 450m above sea level. The 2017 shows a touch riper than the 2016, with a greater concentration of aromas and flavors. The nose shows deft notes of wild herbs, verbena, and orange peel. The palate offers fleshy peach interspersed with stone, fresh sage, honey and citrus all buoyed by incredibly well-knit acidity. A powerful vintage that is delicious in its youth but should age gracefully. Amanda Bowman
Nico's father, Claude, planted the vines of Fer Servadou that go into this cuvée that bears his name. Classic Carmarans, which means gritty, elegant, wild and in this case, more medium than light-bodied. ~Eben Lillie
Nico's father, Claude, planted the vines of Fer Servadou that go into this cuvée that bears his name. Classic Carmarans, which means gritty, elegant, wild and in this case, more medium than light-bodied. ~Eben Lillie
A beautiful, pure expression of Malbec, this comes from a limestone parcel that Julien Ilbert is very fond of. 20% of the fruit is whole cluster (not carbonic maceration) and the wine is aged in cement. It has a vibrant nose, with bright red cherry fruit and a little spice on the palate. Very light tannin, and a fresh mineral finish. This may not be as dark as some expect from Malbec, but it's definitely a hearty wine nonetheless. For me it's a perfect all-weather wine, substantial enough to satisfy in the winter months, and fresh and lively enough to serve with a slight chill when the grills come out in the summer.
100% Malbec (known in Cahors as Auxerrois). The vines are 40 years old, grown on clay and limestone soils at an elevation of 320m. Fermentation and aging take place in small tanks."The Splendid Antidote to the Heat of the Causse" is the amusing and appropriate name of this refreshing rosé. (The Causse is the high limestone plateau around Cahors, which gets brutally hot in the summer.) The wine shows a pretty pink/orange color and aromas of ripe cherry, raspberry and cassis with citrus and spice. There are creamy cassis, raspberry and citrus flavors on the palate which shows lovely ripeness and density, with hints of orange peel, earth and brown spice that continue in the long finish. This is quite delicious and a great value - as are all the wines from Jean-Pierre and Julien Ilbert at Combel-la-Serre. DL
"Fontanilles" comes from ancient vines of Carignan, Syrah, and Grenache Noir grown in Mediterranean bedrock and limestone scree in the Corbieres AOC. Magali Terrier works this plot using biodynamic methods and uses her intuition and deep knowledge of the local climate to pick at the perfect moment before Carignan becomes too ripe and austere. All de-stemmed, this blend showcases the softer side of Carignan, and with the addition of Syrah and Grenache, the 2017 is a virtual trip to the Mediterranean. Aromas of violets and peppery spice lead to flavors of cocoa, thyme grown on windswept hills, with a bitter orange peel on the finish. A wonderfully balanced wine from the Languedoc that is made to enjoy now with a variety of food. As the weather warms up, this will be our BBQ go-to! Amanda Bowman
"Mus'Cachou" is an off-dry expression of Muscat produced from grapes grown biodynamically on the schist terroir of Roussillon's Agly Valley. Extremely aromatic, this wine shows bright lychee, crushed sweet grape, and freshly pressed orange juice. The palate is dense and honeyed with mandarin orange, candied almond, and fig; opulent at first, the wine finishes with clean bitter orange and fresh acidity. Open after dinner with a cheese course that features highly flavorful cheese like Roquefort or Gorgonzola, or with fruit or cheese-based desserts. This natural, low-sulfur, off-dry wine shows best immediately after opening, and should be served quite cool. Ben Fletcher
Carignan Blanc, Macabeu, and Grenache Blanc. This is a full bodied white, with lovely viscosity and creamy undertones. If you crave the feeling of a rich, white Burgundy, but don't want Chardonnay, this is an excellent choice.
According to the hefty Wine Grapes book (Robinson/Harding/Vouillamoz), there was a total of about 2 hectares (5 acres) of Verdesse in the world as of 2008. Thanks in part to our friend Thomas Finot, the number is now between 3 - 4 hectares. Thomas started with an old plantation of about 2 ares (200 square meters, or .05 acres) and now has about 1.5 hectares, mostly of younger vines he planted. Verdesse is a grape that, according to Thomas, is green for a long time, and typically ripens late, gaining a golden and amber color at the "very last moment." From Thomas' experience, Verdesse typically rests with a small amount of sugar, and has a good deal of richness. The grapes were harvested in October and the wine rests at 8 grams of residual sugar. Luckily Verdesse has acid for days, so the effect is more of delicate richness and ripe stone fruit, and the sugar is barely perceptible. A fascinating white and a great opportunity to taste a truly obscure and rare variety. -Eben Lillie
This is Grenache Blanc, fermented in concrete, and aged in barrique. It is full bodied, with some weight, but also very balanced and fresh. Probably worth decanting just to open it up. EL
Carignan, Syrah and Grenache, fermented in concrete and aged in tank. A perfect medium-bodied summer red. Very drinkable, but hearty and structured as well. EL
Grenache blanc, with nice orchard and stone fruit on the nose. Aged in stainless steel, to preserve freshness. A nice southern French white that will hold up next to grilled veggies and BBQ fare this summer. EL
Sybil Baldassarre's first vintage of Faugères Blanc "Rocalhas" is 60% Grenache Blanc, 30% Roussanne and 10% Marsanne. Just arrived in the US for the first time, this unique natural wine shows aromas of lemon oil, almond, lime flower and wet stone. The palate is dense and full wtih flavors of ripe pear and apple, candied citrus, almond, stone and caramel, with a long sappy finish of ripe citrus, anise, pear and saline minerals. Serve with bouillabaisse, grilled shrimp or lobster, grilled vegetables, full flavored cheeses. Congratulations to Sybil on this delicious natural wine - organic farming, mininal SO2. (And we enjoy the love-making ladybugs on the label) David Lillie
The 2016 Faugères Blanc "Rocalhas" from La Graine Sauvage was made from 70% Grenache Blanc with equal parts Roussanne and Marsanne. The vintage 2016 gave a brighter wine with a bit more acidity and less concentration than the 2015. The aromas are bright and pretty with ripe pear, apricot, lemon confit, fines herbes and wet stone. The palate is dense, supple and mineral but with bright acidity with flavors of dried pear, garrigue, lemon and saline minerals. Nice length of earth and citrus flavors lingers on the palate. Lovely wine and a great food pairing for any complex fish preparation, chicken in sauce, sushi....
This is an extraordinary Vermentino, from old vines on high altitude schiste soils in Faugères, from organic farming and made with zero added sulfur by the enthusiastic and talented Sybil Baldassarre. The 2017 vintage began well with grapes in perfect condition, but then drought set in, lowering yields and forcing an early harvest. The resulting wine is quite full and rich but retaining good acidity, with elegant aromas of thyme and garrique with white fruits. The palate is clean, very mineral and saline with apricot, white fruit and almond flavors, well balanced and very long. The wine is a great achievement of good farming and talented winemaking, a white from the south of great elegance and complexity that will shine at the table. Like all of the Graine Sauvage wines, it is highly recommended. David Lillie
Delicious, dry Cidre from Normandy!
The 2016 Pure M is a beautiful natural wine with zero added SO2, 100% Malbec grown on "Calcaires a Asteries" typical of the plateau of Saint-Emilion. Two year elevage in 1200 liter Taransaud foudre without fining, filtration or SO2, 1600 bottles produced. The wine shows complex, pure, lush aromas of cassis, blackberry and prune with hints of tobacco, spice and earth. The palate is silky and bright with ripe cassis, blackberry and blueberry fruit backed by refreshing acidity. Mineral and ripe berry fruit flavors linger in the long finish. Serve this cool with any grilled meats, and it's balanced enough for veggies and lighter meat dishes as well. Just delicious and highly recommended! David Lillie
Wow, this a superb natural wine - 100% Gros Manseng grown on a clay/limestone terroir (calcaire de Castillon). Elevage in 1800 liter Stockinger foudre for 18 months, 200 cases produced. 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, 48 btls for the US, enjoy! David Lillie
The superb 2016 Jonc Blanc Pure T is 100% Merlot grown in a terroir of green clay on powdery limestone and fossilized oyster shells, elevage in 1200 liter Taransaud foudre for two years, bottled with no fining or filtration with zero added SO2. Pure Juice. Fabulous balance between richness, concentration and freshness, with the limestone soil bringing saline flavors. The color is a deep black with very floral aromas of cassis and blackberry. The palate is dense, deep and chocolately but still bright and balanced with terrific length. Beautiful wine! David Lillie
Isabelle and Franck Pascal make this beautiful natural wine (formerly known as "Classik") from Cabernet and Merlot grown on their Biodynamic estate near Felines, in Bergerac. The wine is aged sur-lie 12 months in barrel, and is bottled without filtration or added sulfur. The color is a dark red/black; the wine shows bright, vivid aromas of ripe cassis and boysenberry liqueur with earth, musk, violet and graphite. The palate is lush, ripe and vibrant with cassis, prune, chocolate, earth, stone and licorice lifted by firm, cool acidity that continues in the long, bright and sapid finish. Wow, delicious! Serve with grilled pork or beef, a daube provencal, strong cheeses and charcuterie or cellar for 5 to 8 years.
This is a lovely Biodynamic white made from Sauvignon, Semillon and Sauvignon Gris by Isabelle and Franck Pascal, whose great vineyard work and natural vinifications are producing outstanding wines on their clay/limestone terroir near Bergerac. No SO2 is used except a tiny addition before bottling. The 2016 Les Sens du Fruit shows lovely aromas of lime-flower, spiced pear, melon, almond and honeyed citrus. The palate is round and ripe with stone and earthy flavors underlying ripe pear and creamy lemon fruit and is backed by firm acidity. The finish is long, ripe and refreshing. This is a complex and delicious natural wine that will shine with shellfish, a platter of cheeses or a fish or chicken in sauce, just delicous! David Lillie
Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris from Franck and Isabelle Pascal in Bergerac, Biodynamic farming, vinification without additives, aging for 18 months on the lees in cuve inox. This is a new addition to our Jonc Blanc lineup, and a really lovely, crisp white. Not too tropical, offering melon and stone fruit aromas, with lovely ripe pear on the palate with herbal and mineral flavors in the long finish. This is a fantastic value and a wine of great character that's perfect for the summer, served with fish in sauce, chicken and mild cheeses! EL
The 2017 Jonc Blanc "Fruit" is actually a blend of 2016 reserve Cabernet Sauvignon in foudre with 2017 Malbec and Merlot - a tiny production because of the devastating frost which wiped out most of the 2017 crop. The wine shows ripe cassis aromas with round very pretty berry fruits on the palate. Serve this lovely natural wine a bit cool with cheeses, charcuterie and grilled chicken or pork. Zero added SO2.
Grenache Blanc, over a month of skin contact, yielding a rustic "orange" wine, that we would recommend paired with food. Serve lightly chilled, as too much cold will mute the subtle fruit and intensify the tannins. Eben
All Syrah with no SO2 added. Vibrant and lifted, with subtle tannin. Eben
The 2018 La Bernarde Rosé is a delicious 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 pretty aromas of peach and raspberry with citrus and floral hints. The palate is light, with a silky texture and nice 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 this summer.
"Le Ciste" is named after a flowering bush that grows around the Laguerre's steep, organic vineyards in Saint-Martin de Fenouillet. The 2017 is made from equal parts Marsanne, Roussanne, Rolle (Vermentino), Grenache Blanc and a small addition of Macabeu. Each parcel is hand-harvested, the grapes are fermented separately with native yeasts and raised in used demi-muid. This superlative cuvée is a fascinating showcase of the Roussillon's mighty terrior. The acidic soils of decomposed granite give this wine excellent mineral tension that deepens with time in bottle. Aromas are intricately woven with notes of bright lemon oil, verbena, sage, and salty seashells. The palate is supple and round with generous flavors of pear, white flowers, thyme, and almond framed by pure mineral acidity. This is a fantastic wine that is delicouis now but will develop a beautiful honeyed texture and rich flavors after 5-10 years in bottle. Eric recommends pairing this with sardines on toast, goat cheeses, and roasted chicken. Amanda Bowman
"Le Ciste" is named after a flowering bush that grows around the Laguerre's steep, organic vineyards in Saint-Martin de Fenouillet. The 2016 is a layered blend of de-stemmed and whole cluster Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, and Mourvèdre from soils of decomposed granite and gneiss. The grapes are harvested by hand, fermented separately and aged for 12 months in barrel, then assembled in fiber tank before bottling with minimal added sulfur. This vintage is evocative of the 2014 with softer, finer tannins compared to the robust 2015. The aromas are complex and redolent of savory herbs (thyme, garrigue), game, black peppercorn, blood orange, and dark chocolate. The palate is balanced with mouth-coating, powdery tannins, dried herbs, black pepper, and an energetic, long mineral finish from the granite soils. Best served with a slight chill alongside grilled meat, charcuterie, cheese, or veggies roasted with Moroccan spices. This is drinking well now, but should be even better in 5-8 years. Amanda Bowman
Eric Laguerre's "Eos Rouge" is an elegant blend of 80% Grenache from 40-year-old gobelet-trained vines, with some Carignan and Syrah from soils of decomposed granite, gneiss, and some veins of quartz. Like "Le Passage," the grapes are fermented in fiber tanks with native yeasts for about two weeks, then aged in concrete. The beautiful 2018 shows bright aromas of cherry, strawberry and black raspberry with hints of blueberry and musk from the Syrah, quite pretty and pure. The palate shows a potpourri of ripe red and black fruits, with earth, cocoa and spice in a refreshing frame of cool acidity and mineral flavors. The high altitude and the primarily granite soils give Eric's wines a bright and vibrant character that makes them great pairings with a wide variety of foods - we loved it with a grilled burger from grass-fed beef, but grilled pork and chicken would be great as well. This is one of the best values in the store and perfect with summer menus - thanks to Eric and Corinne Laguerre for thier great organic farming and delicious, affordable wines! 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. Their 2015 Petit Manseng is a gorgeous wine and a sensational value. The wine needs a bit of air to open up, then shows deep floral honeyed apricot, candied citrus, stone, spice and caramel aromas with sweet fruit on the palate—lemon oil, exotic fruit and brown spice lifted by very firm acidity. Terrific length. With a few days open, more exotic fruit, pineapple and lychee emerge and the wine softens into something wonderful. An outstanding Jurançon moelleux that will accompany fois gras, patés, cheeses, fruit desserts and is fabulous on its own.
The 2017 Mondeuse comes from a small, biodynamic estate cradled in the hills of Bugey where Guillaume Lavie worked the western-exposed vines facing the Dent du Chat Mountain in Savoie. The first vintage we tasted from this winery was the 2016 which was as bright and clear as an Alpine lake. His follow-up vintage affirms our initial impression that Lavie just gets it. The 2017 was fermented whole cluster for two weeks then pressed into barrel for aging. A touch riper than the '16, silky tannins coat the palate and bear the lush fruit with marvelous levity. The finish is lengthy with peppery spice and river stone. Serve with a slight chill alongside charcuterie, game birds, or strong, creamy cheeses. Amanda Bowman
The 2017 Roussette (Altesse) is wonderfully round and supple with great balance of ripe fruit and crisp acid. The wine spends 11 months (half in barrel and half in cuve) on its lees before bottling with around 20mg/L of added sulfur. The nose is fresh and almost tropical with bright aromas of mountain herbs and tangy citrus. The honeyed palate carries its weight with grace and all the pedigree of the Bugey AOC. There is a satisfying interplay of orchard fruits, white flowers, and savory minerals on the finish, and a nascent flavor of beeswax that we expect will deepen after 3-5 years in the bottle. A lovely example of Roussette that we highly recommend! Amanda Bowman
From Michéle and Yves Gros at Domaine Les Fouques, this is the new Pétillant Rosé! Pale hued, perfumed and floral on the nose, with peaches and stone fruit on the palate. Méthode Traditionelle, Extra Brut, with great acidity and a refreshing chalky finish. Eben Lillie
Domaine les Fouques has been certified Biodynamic (Demeter) for over 20 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 Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, and Rolle. Unlike the majority of Provençal rosés, it is made naturally with wild yeasts, giving a more subtle expression of fruit and terroir. The 2018 is a subtle and beautiful wine showing a very pale pink color and aromas of peach skin, orange peel, rose, earth and raspberry. The palate is elegant and silky with stone and saline mineral flavors beneath peach, wild strawberry, brown spice and citrus peel. The finish is refeshing and long with nice density. 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
"L'Aubigue" is a generously round and fruit-driven rosé made from Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, and Vermentino grown on soils of clay and schist near Hyères in Provence. Yves Gros and his family have been practicing Biodynamic agriculture at the domaine since 1991, and this meticulous care for their soils shows in the exquisite mineral depth of this cuvée. The 2018 is a beautiful salmon color and offers complex aromas of peach skins, wild flowers, brown spice, and grapefruit pith. The palate is supple 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, hinting at a nascent complexity that should reveal itself after a few years of cellaring. Another fantastic vintage that we will happily sip alongside salads, mild cheeses, and ceviche this summer! Amanda Bowman
Carignan and Mourvedre, with less than a day of maceration, yielding a SUPER fresh and zingy, very light red. Tangy and refreshing, with none of the tartness that is the common downside to these light red/dark rosé-style offerings in the market. Drink cool or cold, and make sure to save some for Thanksgiving! ~Eben Lillie
100% Malbec from the South-West of France (the wine is Vin de France, but it's technically Cahors). Charlotte and Louis Perot are off to a great start with their young domaine, L'Ostal. This is an elegant, dark expression, with freshness and honesty. A very pure, natural wine, that should develop nicely with another 5 or so years in the bottle, or over the course of the night if opened soon. Proof that not every natural red is a juicy, light, glou glou wine. It's just as possible to have a dark, savory and supple red, as long as the vineyards are yielding high quality fruit, and the winemakers are careful with maintaining good acidity. Eben
I first met Charlotte Perot last February, at a wine fair in France, where she was nestled in a corner, quietly pouring her wines. I was curious to taste the L'Ostal wines, as we rarely see dynamic, natural wines coming out of Cahors. The wines were fascinating... dark and full of flavor, yet vibrant at the same time, with fresh acidity balancing luscious black fruit. Though technically not Cahors (Charlotte and her husband Louis bottle their wines as Vin de France), they spent time learning from Simon Busser, one of our favorite Cahors producers, and the wines speak of the region. Icare is actually a collaboration wine, blending Louis and Charlotte's Malbec and Merlot from west of Cahors, with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from the illustrious Jeff Coutelou in the Languedoc. For any fan of no-sulfur wines who occasionally prefers a wine with dark fruit and full body, this is a MUST! A great beginning for a young domaine that shows a lot of promise. Eben
"Caminarèm," from winemaker Guilhem Dardé, is a blend of equal parts Cinsault, Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Carignan from the Terrasses du Larzac AOC. The vines range in age from 20 to 100 years old and are planted in basalt soils. The grapes are hand harvested, de-stemmed, fermented with native yeasts, then assembled and matured in various sized barrels for a year before bottling. The 2017 shows a deep ruby color in the glass. The nose is effusive with savory notes of sage, white pepper, blood orange and rosewater. The palate offers the firm, tightly-knit tannins of youth, but with some air (and especially on the second day), shows deep, brooding layers of dusty minerals, snappy red currant, citrus, and salty plum on the long, persistent finish. This is a beautiful wine that has great balance of fruit and acid. Decant if drinking now or save for 2025-2030. Amanda Bowman
"En Marge" is from a high-elevation vineyard of that name on limestone soils in Camplong, in the Haut-Minervois, 100% Syrah. The wine was aged for three years in old barrels and vat and was vinified and bottled with zero SO2. The 2015 shows a deep garnet color in the glass and offers classic aromas of black pepper, funk, and blue fruits with more complex aromas of dusty minerals, dark chocolate, and fennel. Well-knit tannins give a silken texture to the rich and supple palate while flavors of ripe blue fruit, sarsaparilla, and dried herbs emerge on the finish. A terrific natural wine for the table alongside grilled meats or mildly spiced Indian dishes. Amanda Bowman
The 2017 "Alchimie" is a direct-press rosé of Syrah grown in a high-altitude parcel with limestone soils in Camplong, above Félines-Minervois. This is a robust, natural rosé that has some structure and serious depth: a tiny amount of residual sugar adds body and versatility with food. "Alchimie" combines notes of ripe red cherry and raspberry with complementary savory earthy character and limestone minerality. Try this wine chilled with spicy Mediterranean and Asian dishes, like Moroccan tagine, chicken or pork shawarma, or even a Thai curry. Ben Fletcher
Laure Boussu and Julien Audard created their Domaine in 2012 and now control 4 hectares of vines in the Haut-Minervois, above La Livinière. Laure and Julien approach winemaking from an agro-ecological and biodynamic standpoint: they practice minimal intervention, and sulfur is rarely added during the vinification process. The cuvée “Acceptation” is a blend of Cinsault and Carignan from purchased fruit in Biodynamic farming, as they lost a large percentage of their crop to mildew. The 2018 vintage is a ripe, intensely aromatic one. Floral perfume and fresh fruit dominate the nose. The palate shows pinpointed acidity along with vibrant blackberry and cherry fruit. Pair with escargot if you can (the best friend to Cinsault) or a braised lamb dinner. John David Crosby
"Haiku" is a blend of mostly old vines of Carignan with a small amount of Grenache, grown on limestone soils in the Haut-Minervois near Cassagnoles. The 2018 deftly condenses all of the ripeness from the warm growing season into a plush offering of succulent red fruit with soft velvet tannins underscored by bright citrus acidity. There is a rustic character to the aromas: worn leather, game, and some funk mingled with earthy spice and hearty mountain herbs. This is a bottle that is charming for its simplicity, but we expect it will gain complexity with 2-3 years in the cellar. Serve cool if drinking now and try pairing with charcuterie, sheep and goat's cheeses, or tagines. Amanda Bowman
Thierry Navarre's Cuvée Olivier is a blend from old vines of Carignan, Grenache, and Syrah in Thierry’s 12-hectare practicing organic estate situated in the AOC of Saint-Chinian, grown in brown schist soils that give density to the finished wine. On the nose it is deep and complex with dusty dark plum, boysenberry, pink peppercorn, sage, lemon oil, and clementine zest. The palate is poised and structured, leaning towards more smoky and mineral flavors but is balanced by fresh fruit. Blackberries, citrus, and savory herbs come to mind on the finish that lingers on the palate. On day two the palate is beginning to open up with more fruit redolent of pomegranate seeds and minerals. Drink now or cellar for 10 to 15 years. Truly a great wine, perfect with grilled meats, tagines and stews and a fantastic value.
Thierry Navarre's touchstone "Laouzil" is a blend of equal parts Grenache, Carignan, and Syrah from old vines planted on brown schist ("Laouzil" in the local dialect) soils in the rugged mountains of Roquebrun (Saint-Chinian). The grapes are de-stemmed and aged in neutral barrel before bottling with minimal sulfur. The 2017 has a beautiful robe of deep red/black. The nose shows decadent aromas of spiced plums, blackberry patch, sage, and deeper notes of espresso. The palate is creamy with fine powdery tannins. Perhaps a bit softer than the 2016, with less high-toned acidity, but wonderfully balanced and accessible for drinking now. Flavors of black fruits, peppercorn, and savory herbs cling to a core of dense minerals on the long, persistent finish. This is a fascinating wine of terroir that Thierry says will be perfect in 5 years (though it is delicious now). Amanda Bowman
From a vineyard co-planted with old varieties - Ribeyrenc Blanc, Grenache Gris and Clairette du Languedoc - Thierry Navarre made the 2017 "Lignières." It's a delighful wine with slightly spicy and floral aromas of almond, pear and honeysuckle, dry and dense on the palate with mineral, herbal and dried stone fruit flavors - really lovely, a great aperitif or serve with fish or chicken in sauce, salads, sheep and goat cheeses. David Lillie
Oeillades is an ancient Languedoc variety, probably related to Cinsault. Thierry Navarre, who is proud of his vineyards of "forgotton varieties," produces Terret and Ribeyrenc as well as this lovely light-bodied Oeillades. The 2018 has pretty high-toned red-currant, boysenberry, black plum, violet, spiced citrus and smokey aromas, quite fresh and appealing. The palate has red currant, blackberry and plum fruit, it's light to medium-bodied, but with lovely ripeness and depth with refreshing acidity and good sappy length. Good intensity of fruit but low alcohol, 12%, which makes it very food-friendly. Serve cool with charcuterie, burgers, grillled chicken and pork and mild cheeses. Highly recommended and a great value! David Lillie
Every few years Thierry Navarre makes a new batch of his late-harvest "Vin de Grenache" - this version is outrageous - it's an oxidative orange wine (!) showing a dark orange color and aromas of dried fruits - apricot and prune - brown spice, walnut, honey and wildflowers with slightly sweet palate of ripe black cherry, dried apricot, brown spice and minerals. Serve with dried fruits and nuts, strong cheeses or just enjoy by itself - only 36 bottles for the US, please 3 btl maximum purchase. David Lillie
A nice, very crisp white from Gascogne. Sauvignon Blanc, Ugni Blanc, Columbard and Gros Manseng. Hand-harvested, certified organic, with subtle tropical and citrus notes.
Another fantastic Altesse from Frank Peillot! The 2017 is radiant with vibrant yellow fruits from the sunny growing season. The texture is just waxy enough to hint to the golden honey years ahead of it with some bottle aging. For now, taut minerals usher the succulent orchard fruits and mountain herbs over to a long crisp and saline finish. Pair with pork chops, hard cheeses, or fried chicken. Amanda Bowman
Though we generally love Mondeuse from each of its provinces, there is something inexpressible about tasting a bottle from the sub-Alpine region of Bugey. The vineyards of Montagnieu are perched high above the Rhône Valley, a fact evident from the distinctly Rhône-esque aromas that rise from the glass. The 2017 is seductively perfumed with tree bark, black pepper, campfire smoke, and violets. The bramble fruit character that we typically find on the nose and palate is a little more reticent, which is surprising for this sunny vintage. Yet the palate is energetic and taught, with crunchy tannins and snappy red currant flavors that grip the palate. An excellent choice for charcuterie, sheep's milk cheese, or roasted chicken. Amanda Bowman
Alexandre Durand makes this elegant Languedoc red from Grenache, Carignan and Mourvedre orgnaically grown in high altitude parcels on schiste soils in Faugères. Wild yeast fermentation, with no extraction and no added SO2. The 2018 Velvet Underschiste is a complex and very pretty wine with intriguing aromas of black cherry and blackberry with a bit of mint and citrus. The palate is ripe and dense, but with cool acidity, showing spicy black cherry and red currant fruit with firm acidity and a lovely earth and mineral core. Bravo to Alex for this delightful wine.... David Lillie
"100% Mourvèdre, from the highest altitude and oldest vines of the estate; 50+ year old vines; indigenous yeasts; Fermented and aged in 50% 3000 L Stockinger oak barrels and 50% terracotta amphorae; Aged for 1 year before release; This is a rare, small production “Grand Rosé” from the highest altitude vineyards in all of Bandol. A complex and serious rosé that will age gracefully for decades." The wine shows a very pale pink/onion-skin color with intriguing aromas of peach, red currant, earth, citrus and stone. The palate is dense and very mineral with hints of stone fruits, red currant, brown spice and citrus, quite complex and elegant. This will benefit from long decanting or a few years in the cellar.
A collaboration between our good friend Eric Texier, and a biodynamic farmer named Cyril Cuche, this is a spicy and juicy red from the Gard, in southern France. Cyril’s family owns a massive chunk of land, which he has been working organically and biodynamically for over a decade. The estate has always practiced polyculture with wild forest, grains, vines, and more, all contributing to the biodiversity. Without any winemaking experience, Cyril turned to Eric Texier to help produce a wine with wild yeast fermentation and no added SO2. This is their first vintage working together and the wines are great! Fresh, zingy, and hearty too. Rhone flavors, but with light body and very chillable.
The Ratapoil Macvin is a blend of Chardonnay and marc, produced in 2010 at 17.5 % alcohol. "A deguster a l'aperitif ou en fin du repas."
This charming, low-alcohol sparkler hails from the tiny appellation of Bugey (across from the Mont du Chat in Savoie). At 8% ABV this delicately sweet and exquisitely balanced pét-nat is the breakfast of champions, a companion while you prepare a feast, or the perfect solution to tricky dessert parings. The 2018 is a blend of Gamay and Poulsard. The wine pours a pleasing shade of magenta in the glass and offers up vivid aromas of purple wild flowers, raspberry patch, and mouth-watering grapefruit zest. The palate is light and fresh with flavors of sweet strawberries, raspberries, and crunchy blueberries on the attack then finishes with thirst-quenching mineral acidity. A purely enjoyable bottle at a great value. Serve chilled alongside fruit tarts, dark chocolate, or with tangy cheeses. Amanda Bowman
The 2014 Domaine Tinou Jurançon Cuvée Tradition is made from Petit Manseng and Gros Manseng, grown in Serge Hondet's beautiful vineyard near Lasseube, certified organic since 1964. The soils are essentially sandy clays with stones and gravels from the Pyrenees, over the local limestone, "Calcaire de Lasseube." The wine shows lovely pale gold color, vivid aromas of lemon, pineapple, honeysuckle, stone and brown spice, elegant and subtle. Creamy lemon, pear and stone flavors on the palate, balanced by citrusy acids. 62 grams of RS per liter, but seems dryer. Lovely finish of lemon, exotic fruit and minerals. Serve this lovely wine with foie gras, patés, full-flavored cheeses and lemony desserts or just sip by itself. Highly recommended. Don't worry about the low price - this is a sensational dessert wine that will really please a crowd on Thanksgiving!
From a vineyard with East exposition on old degraded Lias soil. There's a touch of orange citrus, and a nice balance of rusticity and subtle bitterness, with some cereal character.
The vines for the Sursis are found in Chateau Chalon. Tissot purchased this parcel in 2007. "Sursis" means "on parole," and Tissot will keep producing this wine as long as the vines give him grapes. Lias type clay. A shorter elevage than other whites (only 12 months), as Stephane felt that a longer aging would lose tension. Toasty, with pure fruit on palate and a lovely evolution in the mouth. Briny and bright, with lemons and herbs. Orange zest, star anise... Structure and fleshiness. Eben
From Stéphane Tissot's Biodynamic vineyard in Arbois, named for Stéphane's father, Andre "DD" Tissot. This is a delicious blend of Trousseau, Poulsard, and Pinot Noir co-fermented in 2000L foudres. Serve slightly chilled and enjoy with a variety of cheeses, roasted chicken, or on its own!
The Crémant rosé from Stéphane Tissot’s biodynamic estate in Arbois is fantastically refined, structured, and fully-dry. This is a blend of directly-pressed Pinot Noir, Trousseau, and a bit of Poulsard. The robe shows a vibrant pink hue with orange flecks in the glass. The nose offers aromas of crushed raspberries, delicate quince, orange blossom, and ripe strawberries. The palate is lush and fruit-forward, yet dry with a fine mousse, minerals, and subtle notes of brown spice. We love this sparkler for its ability to strike a perfect balance between complexity and easy enjoyment. This is unequivocally the Champagne of beers of Crémant. Amanda Bowman
The Indigene is a special Crémant that starts in the same way as the basic Cremant, with a blend of 50% Chardonnay / 40% Pinot Noir / 5% Poulsard / 5% Trousseau. The difference here is that 60% of the wine is fermented and aged in barrel, and most notably, that Stephane uses his Vin de Paille* as the liqueur de tirage for the second fermentation. As far as Stephane knows (and he KNOWS Jura), he is the only producer doing this in the region. So, it's zero dosage, but using this special wine that is aging in his attic gives a level of complexity and richness that is not achieved with the entry-level Cremant. A spectacular Cremant, and due to some harvest issues in 2017, probably the only Tissot bubbles we'll get to drink in 2019. Eben Lillie *https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_wine - for an article explaining vin de paille
The Clairets' make what we would consider "natural" wine, yet varietal character (and terroir) seem to shine through so vividly. This is classic Trousseau, with dark, velvety, flower petal notes on the nose, sweet, high-toned berry fruits, balanced by a hint of funk, and blackberry fruit and seeds. Les Corvées is high altitude vineyard on terroir of clay and limestone. Decant and serve lightly chilled.
"Cul du Brey" is a blend of equal parts Trousseau, Petit Béclan, and Syrah from selection massale vines planted in limestone scree and gray marl. The grapes are de-stemmed by hand and put into vat for semi-carbonic maceration for three weeks. The 2016 shows a pretty raspberry color and offers vivid aromas of violets, white pepper, bergamot, and licorice. The palate has retained some gas, so Pascal suggests against aeration or long decants. Even so, the mid-palate is etched with grippy tannins, flavors of red currant, spice, savory herbs, and cherry. A lovely red for the summer! Amanda Bowman
An outstanding and unusual white made by Jean-François Deu at the organic/biodynamic estate, Domaine du Traginer (Mule-driver) in Banyuls and Collioure. Made from Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris and Malvasia from low-yielding vines, on steep slopes of schistes above the Mediterranean. Tasted in January of 2018, the 2014 Blanc was showing beautifully with aromas of pear, apricot and citrus with hints of white flowers, stone and spice that continue on the palate which is round, dense, very mineral and long with good acidity, complex and delicious. Serve with a fish stew, fish in sauce, white meats and a wide variety of cheeses.
This is a gorgeous Banyuls Blanc, that is to say a Vin Doux Naturel (at 17% alcohol) made from Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris and Muscat grown in Traginer's organic vineyards above Banyuls. Beautiful aromas of lime flower, apricot, citrus, pear and almond. Very floral. The palate is deep and medium-sweet with candied citrus, apriot and stone flavors and terrific length. Serve not too cool, as an apéritif or with desserts of peach, apricot, pear and melon. Absolutely delicious! David Lillie