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We love rosés from Cassis - a great location and terroir for wine despite the chic little town and hordes of tourists! In a vineyard dating back to the 13th century, situated a few hundred metres from the Mediterranean, the Domaine du Bagnol produces one of the most elegant of rosés. Part Grenache, giving structure and weight and part Cinsault, giving delicate red fruit and spice aromas, this pale salmon-colored wine is a refreshing treat!
From a 1.75 hectare single vineyard called "Fontanieu", north facing, on a slope near la Cadiere d' Azur on a unique red clay soil over limestone that naturally provides a mineral tension and raciness complemented by notes of nutmeg and violet. Aged in large foudre, 4,000 bottles produced. The 2016 Fontanéou shows a dark black/purple color and aromas of ripe blackberry and back cherry liqueur with smoky garrigue, citrus peel, violet and cocoa. The palate shows supple, spicy black fruits, bitter chocolate, garrigue, black olive and spice - quite ripe but surprisingly well-balanced with cool, earthy acidity. The finish is long with sappy black fruits and mineral flavors - a beautiful Bandol for current drinking that will soften nicely with 5 to 15 years of cellaring. David Lillie
Grenache, Gamay, Trousseau
Gewurztraminer, Grenache Blanc, Vermentino, Chardonnay, Savagnin
Mourvèdre, Grenache, Gamay
Gewurztraminer with gentle skin contact, very fresh and not intensely floral.
All Savagnin with 6 months infusion style skin contact, and a small percentage of wine from 2020 vintage wine included. Aging in neutral oak barrels.
Grenache Blanc, Vermentino, Viognier
Formerly known by the parcel name, 'Cote de Feule,' this is a red from majority Ploussard (Poulsard) with 15% Trousseau and 5% Savagnin. About half of the grapes go through whole cluster, and the rest a long and slow 6 month maceration.
Note from Domaine du Gringet: "An AOP Vin de Savoie Ayse white made from the estate's hillside vines, i.e. the white marl of "La Paille," the limestone scree of "Chez Edouard," as well as the red marl and clay loaded with iron alumina of "Le Feu." It was aged for 18 months in ovoid concrete tanks. It is adorned with a specific label chosen by Valérie, and designed by the cartoonist Michel Tolmer, well known in the French wine world."
'Monsieur Gringet' is Gringet in all of its chiseled, alpine brilliance. While the 'Eponyme' 2020 (bottled by JF Ganevat) was an ethereal and contemplative expression, 'Monsieur Gringet' is a proclamation! Obviously age-worthy from it's acidity and mineral length, it's also a very present wine, firing on all cylinders, and making you wonder if maybe Gringet is the most exciting grape in the Savoie. Michel Tolmer's illustration on the label clearly depicts the best setting for the wine, being shared amongst friends in a jovial setting, but elevated and nerdy food pairings are limitless with this bottle (as many talented chefs who have worked with Belluard's wines can attest). All in all, it's a great bottle of wine, and an homage to a very humble and passionate man. A memorable white wine, not to be missed.
After running one of the most important wine restaurants in Paris (Le Café de la Nouvelle Mairie), Nicolas Carmarans decided to sell off his business to go back to his roots and revive the vineyards of his grand-parents in Le Bruel, a little hamlet lost in Aveyron. 5th largest department in France, Aveyron is one of the most isolated, mostly populated by sheep and pasture. Yet in the medieval time this was one of the most important vineyard in the country, on the path to Santiago-di-Compostella. Starting in 2002 and rehabilitating slowly but surely the terraces and the vineyards, Nicolas put back the Pays d'Entraygues on the map! His wines are just soulful and delicious. Maximus is an invigorating expression of Fer Servadou from high altitude vineyards on granitic slopes. Vinified in whole-cluster and semi-carbonic maceration in stainless steel with a short aging (8 months), the wine bursts with pomegranate, wild strawberry and blood orange zest, without loosing its medicinal undertones (gentiane, thai basil and pepper). 2022 being a warm vintage, the wine shows lovely density and ripeness, yet keeps its vibrating tension and slight grippy tannins making it so drinkable! It is a very versatile wine : pop it up with pizzas, tacos, soy-marinated tuna, or enjoy it by itself! 100% Fer Servadou.
Almost every year, winemakers and friends Nicolas Carmarans and Bruno Duchene make this special bottling, only available in 1.5L Magnum. Selected from their favorite barrels, it's a blend of Grenache from Duchene's vineyards in Collioure and Fer Servadou from Nico's vineyards in the Aveyron. A shoe-in for Thanksgiving, as Duchene's Grenache is always acid forward, never overpowering, and the gamey and fresh character of the Fer Servadou is a perfect compliment. A special wine that is in many ways bottled with friends and feasts in mind. Serve with a chill!
Near the town of Manicle, Micky and his uncle tend to their small family domaine. Cuvee Fleurus is 100% Altesse from young vines on clay and limestone soils, pressed direct and fermented and aged in stainless steel. Though Altesse can easily take on a fruity profile, with ripe orchard fruit notes and roundness on the palate, Micky's approach was meant to guard freshness and present a style of Altesse that would be suitable for an apero. We think he nailed it with this cuvee, which does develop softer and rounder notes after several hours open, but on opening resembles Jacquere more than Altesse!
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
This is 100% Jacquere from 3 sites in the village of Apremont. Vine age is between 60 and 70 years. Wine is fermented with native yeasts, 1/3 in 2-3 year old barriques, and 2/3 in tank, with zero sulfur during vinification. Aged for 8 months before a light filtration and bottling. The 2022 Silice Blanc from Domaine des Ardoisières is a light, vibrant lemon color in the glass. It is in many ways, a quintessential Savoie white, and for many wine enthusiasts who are hooked on Savoie wines, this (or one of the other Ardoisieres wines) was the "gateway" wine. Perfectly mineral, with wet stones and almost under-ripe stone fruit on the nose, with a mineral profile on the palate, with a touch of body balanced by fantastic Alpine acidity.
(Arrives March 7th) I’ve been told on great authority than one really can’t call yourself a “serious” wine shop if you don’t have a Bergerac (and by extension a Pécharmant, its age worthy sibling). That it should be bio, goes without saying. And with the arrival of Domaine des Costes 16 Pécharmant we are down to serious business, friends! The new release is a grand expression, indeed. The robe is a dark ruby hue. The nose is reserved on opening, but with air (a quick decant) beautiful notes of plum, African violet, black tea, cassis, and loamy soil emerge, beyond this is are wisps of baking spices and cigar box. The palate is ripe and structured with black currant and cherry stone vying with blackberry and gunpowder tea flavors for prominence; yet with time in the glass an elemental ripeness emerges to counter the firm—albeit ripe—tannins and tangy mineral core. And while this is young, there’s plenty of joy here and even more in store if you are patient and have a cool dark space to squirrel away a couple of bottles, or perhaps a case. And while this may not display the shiny gloss of our friends downstream in Bordeaux, there’s a lot to like here and a tremendous opportunity to sock away a true vin de garde at glou glou prices. Fabulous with hanger steak with black-eyed pea salad and braised greens, but this could just as agreeably pair with guineafowl or cèpes en papillote or truffled potato gratin. Highly recommended. John McIlwain
Nicole and Jean-Marc Dournel’s Cuvée Domaine is a classic blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon that is vinified with native yeasts in tank and then is aged in the traditional large-format barrels of the Bergerac region. Aromas of cherry liqueur, cedar, and a hint of pipe tobacco rise from the glass. On the palate it is fresh with ripe, high-toned red raspberry coming forward before retreating, allowing layers of smoke, toasted earth, and dried flowers to take the stage. This is a serious and well- structured wine that is a unique and different version of an excellent Bordeuax. Decant or open well in advance, or cellar 5 to ten years.
(Arrives March 7th) The 2019 "Tradition" is another beautiful wine from Domaine des Costes, certified organic since 2007. The wine shows an earthy red/garnet color, with intriguing aromas of black raspberry, cassis, earth, roast meat and spice. The palate is dense and richly textured with deep red currant and cassis fruit, with tobacco and earth with a very firm mineral presence on the tongue and a very long finish of red currant, minerals and firm acidity. All this for $15.99! Bravo to the Dournel family for this beautiful big little wine...
This delicious Cremant is 100% Chardonnay from vines ranging from 5 - 50 years old, on Lias-era clay over Bajocien limestone. The wine is aged 18 months sur lattes, with no dosage.
Perhaps the more intriguing and curious of the two whites from Donneurs de Temps, 'Les Anges' combines a textured layer of Savagnin that sees a little over a week of maceration, with the balance of direct press Chardonnay. Notes of stone fruit and quince, with a dense and broad mid-palate, not fat or waxy, but nonetheless textured and layered. // Translation from label: "Chardonnay and Savagnin grapes, harvested on the 20th and 22nd of September, 2019. The Savagnin, after being destemmed, was macerated for 11 days and then aged in cuve for 11 months. The Chardonnay was pressed directly and aged in barrel."
This is a regional specialty of the Jura, taking partially fermenting grape must and introducing a Marc du Jura, or grape eau de vie, which preserves some sugar and brings the alc. up to about 18%. It's a similar approach to Pineau des Charentes, but with a Jura twist! Delicious, peculiar, with more wine-like energy and freshness compared to many Macvins I've had that seem more tired or typical. An ideal pairing for any salty or savory dessert, among many many pairing possibilities. // Translation from label: "Our liqueur was made with 2 parts must from Savagnin grapes, and 1 part eau de vie (Marc) that we distilled over a wood fire. Put into incredible bottles (bouteilles rocambolesque) with the help of my friend Jean-Jacques on the 12th of December."
Like all of the wines from David and Veronique Dupasquier, this Roussette de Savoie (Altesse) was fermented and partially aged in undergound concrete vats, then aged on the fine lees for a year in large foudre before spending 18 months in bottle. The robe shows golden straw in the glass and offers vivid aromas of white flowers, mint, dried mango, and faint oxidative notes of walnut. The palate is supple and dynamic with a coiled mineral core beneath layers of ripe apricot, orange peel, and toasted almond. A beautiful introduction to the appellation!
100% Altesse (locally called Roussette) that comes from the steep Marestel Cru situated high above Jongieux on the western side of Mont du Chat; Marestel is one of four appellations within the winding Roussette de Savoie AOC. The steep, southwestern facing slope provides abundant sun exposure for the vines, which aids the ripening in the cool mountain clime. The yields from this site are low and provide very concentrated fruit. The grapes are harvested meticulously by hand and fermented wtih native yeasts in concrete vat before aging on the fine lees in large foudres for a year. After bottling, the wine spends 18 months resting in glass before market release. The palate is characteristically full with distinct flavors of mint, lemon zest, almond, and wildflower honey. This is a bold and fascinating wine that should only improve with age.
Jacquere from the Savoie is generally delicate and light with crisp, citrusy acid and powdery minerality. Though there is no lack of acidity here, the wine is more mellow than some and acid isn't all that defines its profile. A thought-provoking wine for the price!
According to the hefty Wine Grapes book (Robinson/Harding/Vouillamoz), there were a total of about 2 hectares (5 acres) of Verdesse in the world as of 2008. Thomas Finot now says there is about 3-4 hectares total. 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."The color is a glimmering yellow, with dashes of green. The nose is warm, with a little smoke, grilled yellow apricot, and crumbled Provencal herbs. The palate here is beyond lovely - one where the flavors and the structure of the wine cannot be separated. When the wine hits the tongue, there is a literal second where it is light and simple, but it immediately grows. A rich and tender palate with lemons, orange zest, apricot, and minerals. Long finish, ends with herbs and green tea.
From the no-man's land between the Rhône and the Savoie (Isère, to be specific) comes this delicious Mondeuse, which shows the classic aromas and flavors of the grape: the herbal, black pepper, graphite notes we sometimes find in Syrah, with the high-toned earthiness and crunchy acidity of the light reds of cool-climate eastern France. The nose offers blackberry and blackberry seeds, and purple flower petals. The palate is soft, velvety but with a firm finish. Open and pretty aromatically, with some rusticity but low alcohol and graceful on the palate.
Nicolas Gonin planted a parcel of Jacquere near the town Saint-Marcel, on jurassic limestone terroir, in 2015. This new bottling, the Jacquere-Altesse, seems to be the first cuvee from Gonin that utilizes some of these young vines. It's a new addition to the lineup! A local grape to the Savoie region, Jacquere is known to produce fresh, mineral wines, with generally balanced or low alcohol. We usually think of Jacquere as the Melon de Bourgogne of the Savoie, as a clean Jacquere with a touch of alpine influence can resemble a Muscadet from the Atlantic coast. Different settings, but the grapes both seem to carry the mineral character of the terroirs so well. This is Jacquere from Gonin's young vines, blended with Altesse, which typically brings more ripe, orchard fruit and roundness.
This Roussette de Savoie (Altesse) is from vines that France Gonzalvez is converting to organic (in 2nd year of conversion). At 11% alc, it's remarkably fresh and zippy for an Altesse, with fantastic mineral length. // France's Notes: "Direct press, fermented and aged in 600L barrels with native yeasts and minimal sulfur of 1g at bottling. Pale straw in colour with hints of milky green. The nose expresses a subtle and refined potpurri of flowers, spices, discreet oak and smoke with notes of toast, mayflower, pear, rhubarb, ginger and graphite. The palate is saline yet round, graceful and balanced."
France says this is a wine of meditation, we find it's so charming and tasty that meditation is not necessary! A Vin de France blend of Gamay from Savoie (in conversion to organic certification) and organic certified Gamay from Beaujolais (France's home region) that is juicy and mineral, with nice lift and ready to drink! // France's Notes: "10 days carbonic maceration, native yeasts, fermentation in concrete with minimal 1gm sulfur at bottling. A raspberry robe with hints of mahogany and mauve. The nose skews more compote like with floral, spice, herbaceous notes underscored by graphite, Damascus rose, bitter orange, cumin and laurel. The palate balances acidity with a generous body and ripeness. A true "wine of meditation". /
The Chignin Bergeron (Roussanne) is a medium bodied, acid-forward expression from certified organic vineyards in the Savoie. // France's Notes: "Native yeasts, direct press, fermentation in concrete with minimal 1gm sulphur at bottling. A deep golden hue with amber reflections. The nose combines notes of elegant oak with refined fruit, herbaceousness and spices such as flint, musk, lemon confit, angelica, dried apricots, iris root and cardamon. The palate is taut with a fine balance of energy and minerality with a suave ripeness." // Jeff's notes!: Beautiful Roussanne with some richness but still fresh and airy. Great depth and a mineral streak that gives balance, with precise acidity and lovely texture.
Inouie is Savoie Gamay from certified organic vineyards, aged in amphora, and worthy of a decant or a bit more time in the bottle (it just arrived about a month ago). We love the deep tones of the wine, and the soft feel of the tannins! // France's Notes: "Mountain Gamay, mineral and intensely fruity. Semi Carbonic maceration with native yeasts, aging in amphora and minimal 1gm sulphur at bottling. A clear raspberry hue with mauve reflections. The nose is fresh and lively with notes of flowers, spice and herbaceousness such as soot, matchstick, peony, strawberry, marshmallow, cumin and chicory. The palate is balanced between roundness and energy underscored by a juicy ripeness."
A direct press of certified organic Jacquère from Apremont, 'Jour Blanc' is an exhiliratingly fresh and lifted white wine. The wine was bottled with 1g of S02 at bottling, after a short aging in cement (bottled in January '23).
Miss Mond is France Gonzalvez's mystifying Mondeuse at 9.5° alc! Rustic flavors, Syrah-like profile on the nose (no surprise since Mondeuse is a grandparent of Syrah), but the body is lithe, super light and fresh... It's hard to describe, but we hope we did a good job. Drinking it is better than reading about it! // France's Notes: "100% Mondeuse. The wine was bottled with 1g of S02 at bottling, after a short fermentation in barrel with native yeasts (bottled in January '23). Garnet in hue with mauve and violet reflections, the nose is spicy and floral with notes of damp earth, violets, cassis, blueberry, Sichuan pepper, nutmeg and laurel. The palate is balanced between it's roundness and linear acidity, ripeness and structure."
A lovely, balanced Pinot Noir from vines in conversion to organic certification. 10.5% alc. This Pinot Noir is light bodied, fresh and energetic with brambly raspberry and dark cherry fruit and a hint of earthiness. It has some cool herbs and lively acidity, making it a delicious red you can chill and enjoy with or without food.
The Clos du Gravillas Minervois "Sur La Lune" is a marriage of Carignan, Syrah and Cinsault on the lunar terroir of Cazelles. Vinified and aged in vats to give a tender and supple side. Deep and fresh at the same time, it smells of "garrigue." The wine shows a dark red/purple color with aromas of ripe berry fruits - black raspberry, blueberry - with citrus peel, floral notes, garrigue and licorice, really lovely. The palate is deep and ripe but nicely balanced with red and black fruits, minerals and firm acidity. Each grape contibutes beautifully to this classic Languedoc red that is not over-extrracted or tannic, that can accompany grilled meats, stews, tagines and full-flavored cheeses. Terrific wine and a great value. David Lillie
"Our orange wine is a dry macerated Muscat (3 to 4 weeks) which combines the notes of Earl Gray tea, orange blossom and apricot. Perfect with roasted squash or mushrooms accompanied by smoked bacon. Very interesting with an apricot tagine. Also goes well with full-flavored cheeses such as raclette, Mont d’Or, tartiflette," "One of the greatest dry muscats in the world" said Decanter magazine. The high praise is warranted, as it strikes a captivating balance of subtle fruit - think lychee, citrus peel, and pear - with delicate floral aromatics that suggest walking through a breezy meadow in full bloom. Then just when you think you have this wine pinned down you get a rush of chiseled minerality on the palate, a welcome twist that gives it lift and balance while still retaining its airy weightlessness. On the second day there was an added layer of complexity, with some honey and deeper apricot fruit peeking through. The acidity is in perfect balance and even on the third day it was still singing, suggesting some aging potential. While it's not a heavy, powerful orange wine, it's equally compelling as it seems to shift in the glass from sip to sip - definitely a bottle worth contemplating over.
Sous les Cailloux, des Grillons, means "under the rocks, crickets" - made from Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Grenache, and Terret noir, a red wine, frank and fresh—red fruit, fluidity and a touchof tannin. 8 days skin time for this blend of all our red varietals, aging in tank only. In St. Jean, the soil is only white gravel ; in our youngest vineyard, under these rocks innumerable crickets find shade from the scorching Mediterranean sun. At night they comeout to play (and during the day, they are under the rocks). The color is a vivid red/black, with fresh aromas of red currant, plum skin, rose and citrus, quite pretty. The palate is cool and silky with earthy plum, black raspberry fruit with hints of licorice and minerals with a nice chalky texure in the finish with refreshing acidity. Perfect hamburger wine! Or with grilled veggies, serve cool and enjoy!
The Unexpected. A surprising full dry white wine--fresh but mineral and very complex Grenaches (plus a bit of Maccabeu) fermented and aged (10 months) on lees in 500L barrels. Floral, herbal, stone, white peach, dried pear aromas. The palate is dense and mineral with more stone flavors than fruit, with a beautiful finish. Forceful enough to enjoy with good canned sardines, mackerel or veal blanquette, a rare match for organic goat cheese, surprising with Apple Crumble!
The 2022 Clos du Gravillas "Douce Providence" is a real treasure of the south of France - Muscat St. Jean de Minervois made with Muscat Petits Grains. Beautiful, delicate aromas of white rose petal, lime flower, citrus. The palate is silky and supple and lightly sweet with flavors of apricot and peach, hints of green tea, coconut and minerals, finishing with ripe citrus and refreshing acidity. Serve quite cool, yum!
"A dry, light, original and refreshing white made with Terret Gris. We love this native Languedoc grape variety which thrives on our limestone soil on the Cazelles plateau. To reinforce its mineral side, it is vinified and aged in a sandstone egg and earthen amphoras. Rather floral aromas and marine iodine or ocean breeze with ripe pear and melon. The palate has more ocean spray and juicy fruit complemented with some savory garrigue. Perfect with shellfish, lean fish and lemon chicken... (of course there's a play on words here as "emmenez-moi au bout de la terre" is "take me to the end of the earth.")
Wow, this may be the most refreshing wine ever made! The Clos du Gravillas "Happy" is made from tiny grapes of Terret Gris that are macerated on Muscat skins, creating a fun, fresh, citrusy treat! Superaromatic out of the gate with aromas of spearmint and orange blossom. The palate is floral yet herbaceous with notes of mandarin and kumquats. Exuberant and a party in a glass!
The 2022 Clos du Gravillas "I'm Alive!" is a "claret" - a very light red, perfect for summer, made from Picpoul Blanc, Gris, Noir and Cinsault, co-fermented. The color is a light, bright vermillion red. Delicate high-toned aromas of raspberry, cranberry, citrus, rose and white pepper. Tart cherry, raspberry and citrus flavors on the palate with a hint of tannin and nice sappy length of cherry fruit. Really refreshing and delicious, and too easy to drink, perfect for a picnic on a hot day or with any light cuisine. Serve quite cool and enjoy!
The Clos du Gravillas "Jour de Teuf" is a vibrant Pet-Nat mad from Muscat Petits Grains grown in the rocky limestone vineyards of the Haut Minervois. The grapes are picked a bit unripe, then bottled after an initial fermentation with about 17 grams/liter of residual sugar, which then ferments and finishes dry with beautiful sparkle. This is a joyous and lively pet-nat, a hazy straw in the glass with just a touch of sweetness balanced by vibrant acidity. There's some apple fruit and a hint of earth but endless refreshment. Upon tasting we were all in agreement that this would be a perfect aperitif, or an ideal "breakfast wine" for all you bibulous brunch lovers.
Ancient grapes Piquepoul gris, Terret gris and Carignan blanc. Our newest quest, to find the true Languedoc white Wine. Plantation sourced from a conservatory of lost pink varietals in the Minervois. Plus a newly acquired Carignan Blanc vineyard. this elegant and complex wine opens with aromas of hazelnut, white peach, lime flower and minerals with a hint of spice. The palate is silky and dense with stone, citrus, white peach and pear, finishing with citrus, mineral, melon and earth notes with terrific length. Beautifull now, we suspect this will age gracefully. Pair with any full-flavored fish or ceviche, white meats and mild cheeses or just sip and enjoy.
From organically certified vineyards, 1 ha dedicated to Petit Manseng and 1 ha to Petit Courbu, permaculture-pioneer Peio Espil offers a very unique interpretation of Irouléguy Blanc as he is one of the few growing grapes on Trias limestone, a soil so hard he had to use dynamite to plant the vines. No tilling, use of ewes to graze the spontaneous vegetation and compost the soils leads to balanced yields of very concentrated grapes. Harvested almost at the same time despite the fact Petit Courbu is usually an earlier ripening grape than Petit Manseng (Petit Courbu has usually dense cluster and thinner skin berries, but not at Ilarria thanks to the farming), both see some skin maceration (6 hours or so for the Petit Courbu, 12-14 hours for the Petit Manseng) in order to extract aromatic compounds and structure, the musts are blended right away, and fermented spontaneously, with malolactic always occurring, something very rare for the region! Long fermentations are preferred for texture. A little bit of sulfites are used after the fermentation when the wine needs to be racked from inox to demi-muids from tonnellerie de l’Adour. Then the wine stays untouched on its fine lees with racking if needed. The wine is aged up to 18 months, and doesn’t need to be filtered before bottling. Sulfites are adjusted at this time for a total round 45ppm. With moderate alcohol, it has a surprising density with so many layers: a very complex nose of passion fruit, chamomile, yellow plum and smoked salt, the palate is very savory with a saline quality, and more dried hawthorne and thai basil leaves. It is a salivating wine with so much to give, that you want to sip on it little by little. Enjoy it today in large Burgundy glass or keep it for 10 years. For pairing, a rabbit agnolotti with dried sage or a cauliflower panna cotta with crab meat flesh and grapefruit segment.
The 2019 Pure M is a beautiful natural wine with zero added SO2, 100% Malbec from a small parcel in biodynamic farming on "Calcaires a Asteries" typical of the plateau of Saint-Emilion. Two year élevage 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
The 2020 Jonc Blanc "Fleur" is a gorgeous and complex wine from 45% old-vine Semillon (70+ years old), Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris from Franck and Isabelle Pascal in Bergerac, Biodynamic farming on limestone with clay and sandy soils, vinification without additives, aging for 18 months on the lees in cuve inox, bottled with a small addition of SO2, 20mg/l total. The 2020 Fleur is a lovely wine showing floral aromas of ripe citrus, melon and pear; the palate is ripe, supple and refreshing with ripe white fruits, quite generous and backed with firm acidity and saline/mineral flavors in the very long finish. Far from the typical varietal Sauvignon, this is a rich complex white of great character that willl acccompany cheeses and white meats and is a delicious aperitif.
The delicious 2020 Jonc Blanc "Fruit" is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec from a parcel on limestone of Castillon in biodynamic farming with legumes, cereals and pollinators between the vnes. There is a cool pre-fermentation maceration, then fermentation with wild yeasts for 30 days, followed by 18 months in cuve and old foudre, bottled unfined, unfiltered with zero added SO2. Pure Juice!. Red/black color with bright rim. The wine shows lovely deep aromas of earth and violet with black raspberry, red currant, cassis, plum, licorice and spice. One really senses the terroir. The palate is full and supple with bright acidity, earth and mineral flavors under the vibrant, dark fruit. This is simply delicious, especially for those who love natural wines. (As with most zero sulfur wines, it's best consumed on the day opened) To call it a wine of terroir is a huge understatement! Serve cool and enjoy over the next three years with charcuterie, burgers, grilled chicken and pork. David Lillie
For lovers of natural, skin contact wines - “PURE S” : 100% Semillon. Boulbènes terroir on a limestone base: a mixture of limestone sands and silts with a little clay. Aging in 18hl Stockinger casks for 2 years, zero additives. Production : 2400 bottles. Tasting: the boulbènes on limestone of the plateau of Vélines are illustrated by very marked salty notes and give the wine a great minerality. A white wine that transcends the natural power of Semillon and expresses itself with fantastic length. To decant imperatively!" Yes, the wine is a bit orange, showing a deep bronze/gold color. Floral, herbal, roasted citrus, exotic fruit and apricot notes. The palate shows skin tannin, ripe melon, apricot, almond and citrus peel with intense mineral flavors and firm acidity - just a fabulous natural wine in the 2020 vintage! Zero sulfur added. David Lillie
This delicate natural pét-nat is made with mostly Cabernet Sauvignon (70%) and a smaller portion of Sémillon (30%), and shows a lovely pink-orange color in the glass. The mousse is very delicate, but at a quite high pressure, and on the palate herbal, red fruits, tea, and crushed strawberries are evident, with white fruits from the Semillon. WARNING - Open over a sink as the high pressure cases a bit of overflow when opened!
Wow, this a superb natural wine - 100% Gros Manseng from three vintages, 2018 - 2020, 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, 36 btls for the US, enjoy!
The 2021 Laguerre Le Ciste Blanc is comprised of 30% Grenache, 20% Marsanne, 20% Rolle, 20% Roussanne and 10% Macabeu. Showing an intensely mineral nose with aromas of citrus and garrigue, with hints of stone fruits from the Marsanne and Roussanne, the palate also exudes an intense stoniness with flavors of citrus, herbs, bitter melon and white peach. Bright acidity enlivens it's full body leading to a long, concentrated and complex finish. For lovers of white Chateauneuf du Pape at a fraction of the price!
The 2022 Laguerre Eos Blanc is just a beautiful wine, from 60% Grenache Blanc, 30% Maccabeu and 10% Vermentino grown in Eric's high altitude vineyards on granitic soils. The aromas are elegant and distinctive with white flowers, pear, meyer lemon and stone. The palate shows the granite soils with a dense mineral/acid backbone under sapid white and citrus fruits, finishing with peach, lemon and intense mineral flavors, bright and refreshing with terrific length. Wow, all this for $15.99! Highly recommended. David Lillie
The 2022 Cuvée LAG Orange, a 10 day maceration of Grenache Gris and Maccabeo that's just delighful, but frankly more pink than orange! The aromas are surpisingly delicate and complex with citrus peel, peach, spice and rose. The palate is well structured with a bit of skin tannin (not too much) with peach skin, orange peel and dried white fruits, finishing with firm acidity and a very long spiced fruit finish. Delicious wine and a great pairing with full-flavored seafood and vegetable dishes.
The 2022 Laguerre Eos Rosé is light and fresh, made from Grenache Gris and Grenache Noir and it's really delicious! It shows a pretty, pale pink color with subtle aromas of rose and raspberry. The palate is bright, silky and round with lovely red and yellow fruit flavors, quite crisp and long. This is a complex, refreshing and delicious rosé and a sensational value! David Lillie
Eric Laguerre's parcels for this cuvée are planted on plateaus fringed with flowering "ciste" bushes and wind swept trees. The Pyrénées loom in the distance and the afternoon sun reflecting off the decomposed granite gives his vineyards a sort of shimmering quality. Eric's bottling of "Le Ciste" is a faithful interpretation of each of these elements plus Grenache, Syrah, Carignan and Mourvèdre - some de-stemmed and some fermented on whole-clusters, separately, then aged for a year in barrel before being blended together in fiber tank. The 2021 has all of the bold flavor and texture of grapes that were allowed to fully ripen without any worry about lost acidity. At his altitude and with the help of granitic soils, Eric has little reason to pick early; his wines are vibrant and always have a marvelous backbone of mineral acidity. This is his fullest wine, with rich tannins and brooding flavors of fresh thyme, black pepper, bitter chocolate, and blood orange buoyed by ripe cherry. And while this is a handy and humble "grab n' go" for barbecues, Moroccan-themed dinners, etc., this wine has all of the potential to make us giddy and glad that we saved a few for 2030.
From their high-elevation vineyards on granite soils, the Laguerre family made this delicious new Syrah with minimal extraction - "This is a lovely light red made with 100% syrah that shows a translucent rubi color. Delicate aromas of young black fruit with a touch of black pepper, high acidity and notes of blackberries with a medium, savory and a little spicey finish. A wonderful great value chillable red that will not leave you indifferent!" Laura Tejuca
(80% Grenache, 20% Syrah grown in the Roussillon on very high-altitude vineyards of decomposed granite. Hand-harvested in small crates, yields of 18 hl/ha) Bright aromas of tart cherry and blackberry, with dark chocolate and floral notes, very pure. The palate is dense but not heavy with cherry and red-currant fruit with acidity that coats the mouth. Very long finish for a wine at this price, quite elegant with nice tannic structure. This will go very well served cool with grilled meats and will benefit from short-term cellaring. An interesting wine that really shows the influence of the granite soils. On day two there is lovely red raspberry and the tannins have softened a bit, still with bright acidity and terrific length. A fabulous value!
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 2019 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. (About 70 gr/liter RS)
The Cuvée Dentelle from our biodynamic friends at Chateau Lapuyade in Jurançon is one of the rare dry Jurançon that is made from 100% Petit Manseng, in this case from 45 year-old vines always tended in organic and biodynamic farming, it's a tiny special production in the best vintages - we're fortunate to get 5 cases. The 2021 shows a bright gold color and beautiful aromas of lemon confit, apricot, almond, exotic fruit and brown spice. The palate is dense and round with dried pear, citrus, apricot, hay and mineral flavor. The finish is very long with firm acidity under ripe white fruits, citrus and stone. Lovely wine! Serve with foie gras, fish in sauce, Asian foods, goat chesses and patés. Sensational now and should be very interesting in ten years. David Lillie The 21 vintage skews herbaceous and mineral, with a full body and flavors of ripe melon, citrus marmalade and dried herbs. GH
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. This bottle, based on the two better white grapes of Jurancon, Gros and Petit Manseng, seriously over delivers in terms of complexity for the price. You'll find aromas of pineapple, citrus, peach and caramel apple on the nose, along with a light oakiness that would not work for all white wines, but fits perfectly with this one. The palate is essentially dry... but leaves an enticing sense of sweetness that makes it an excellent choice for cheeses, especially the sheep's milk cheeses of the Pyrenees. Flavors of lemon confit, stone, pineapple and oak are backed by very firm acidity. Note: Those with the patience to keep this bottle around for a few days, re-corked in the fridge, will be rewarded with an awesome display of rich, complex exotic fruit. This wine is absolutely sensational! DL The 22 vintage shows surprising notes of herbs, white rocks and dried flowers whilst underscored by ripe melon , rocky minerality and citrus marmalade on a full bodied frame. GH
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 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
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....
The Cuvée Aubigue Blanc from Les Fouques is made from 80% Rolle (Vermentino) with 10% Clairette and 10% Ugni Blanc. It's a delicious, full-flavored Provençal white with complex aromas of apple and pear liqueur and hints of dried flowers, almond and herbs. The palate is round and ripe with white fruits, candied citrus and dense mineral and stone flavors with good acidity. A great aperitf or accompaniment to full-flavored fish dishes and asian foods. Certified Biodynamic (Demeter) David Lillie
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
A blend of mostly Gamay (about 80%), with Pinot Noir and Mondeuse from vineyards in the commune of Chautagne de Serrieres and Cellier des Pauvres. Though they will likely make a bit less of the 'Autrement' in the future, this is their homage to the first "natural" wine that Jacques Maillet produced, back in 2003. It is an expression of the Savoie, and reflects Maillet's philosophy of cultivating healthy vineyards without the use of chemicals, and producing authentic wines that show the potential of the region. Like their other reds, maceration is whole cluster, without pump over or punch down, 9 months lees aging, and a light filtration and only 1g/hl (hectoliter) of SO2 at bottling. Delicious wine!
Frisson des Cimes started as an all Mondeuse cuvée, but the 2019 employs Pinot Noir and Gamay as well, giving the wine a lovely, energetic lift. More floral and light on its feet than their other red, the "Autrement Rouge," this would be great with light meals, vegetarian fare, or on its own.
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. 2021 is an excellent vintage for the "Olivier" with earthy dark fruits, quite supple and long with elegant tannins. 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.
From a vineyard co-planted with old varieties - Ribeyrenc Blanc, Grenache Gris and Clairette du Languedoc - Thierry Navarre makes his unique and delicious "Lignières." It's a delighful wine with slightly spicy and floral aromas of white peach, lemon peel, almond, pear and honeysuckle, dry and dense on the palate, but nicely round and ripe, with mineral, herbal and stone fruit flavors with firm acidity - really lovely, a great aperitif or serve with fish or chicken in sauce, salads, sheep and goat cheeses. Three cheers for Thierry Navarre for making such a delicious, distictive and unusual wine from historic varieties. David Lillie
Thierry Navarre is one of the few people who still grow Oeillades - a nearly extinct grape that has a long history in the Langudedoc and is thought to be a cousin of Cinsault. Thierry's Oeillades grows on the rugged mountainsides above Roquebrun in Saint-Chinian. The 2020 shows an intriguing light orange/purple-tinged color in the glass. The nose offers abundant ripe plum, red currant and peach aromas with delicate notes of lavender, cardamom and dried rose petals. The palate is light and wonderfully lifted with savory flavors of dried cherry and red currant, very sapid and pure, with earth, herbal tea, and refreshing exotic citrus on the finish. This is an unusual and quite delicious rosé (with a bit of Ribeyrenc this year) with plenty of aromatic complexity and crunchy acidity to pair with a variety of dishes or to savor by itself - highly recommended!
A note from our friend Mike Foulk: "Mècle is Nicolas's latest super-rare, vieux cépage that he has brought to light. A cousin of Persan, it was widely cultivated in the Isère before phylloxera, mainly in Saint-Chef (where Nicolas is located) and Saint Savin (near Bourgoin-Jallieu-the full name de Mècle de Bourgoin). As far as I know, Nicolas is the only person to cultivate and vinify this grape, aside from familial plantings in backyards (likely where Nicolas got cuttings)." /// An old wine text, "Le Vignoble," published in 1878 by Henri Bouschet and a long list of other authors, says this about Mecle: "Its cluster, with beautiful grains, dark black, produces a wine of rich color, characterized by a little stiffness and a lot of fullness. The Mècle de Bourgoin is highly esteemed in this locality because of its good vigor, its rusticity and the rich color it produces. The hillsides of Saint-Savin, a short distance from Bourgoin, are almost exclusively planted with Mècle and produce a very black, solid wine, highly sought after by local consumption and even by trade. For several years, this variety of vine has spread, and its cultivation has extended to neighboring vineyards; we found it in Crémieu and in a few localities on the left bank of the Rhône, around Morestel. In our opinion, this grape variety produces, in the region where it is found, wines of better quality than those of Corbeau [aka Douce Noir or Bonarda] and Martelet, which are sometimes associated with it and which are much inferior to it. It would be preferable to grow the Mècle alone or to mix it with at most a tenth of a good variety of white grape, which would give its wine the finesse and strength that it is somewhat lacking." -- this one is 100% Mecle.
This is a beloved staple at Chambers Street! Domaine de Pajot is located in Southwest France overlooking the capital of Armagnac, a region more well known for their brandy than table wines. The entire estate is certified organic, grown over rolling hills of mostly sand and fine silt soils, vines interspersed with hazelnut trees. 'Les Quatre Cépages' is a blend of 35% Sauvignon Blanc, 35% Colombard, 20% Ugni-Blanc, 10% Gros-Manseng . Fermented and aged in stainless steel, this wine is dry, crisp, and well balanced. Pajot is our go-to pick for your event, pleasing everyone at a moderate price, or for enjoying at home as an aperitif or with fish and chicken dishes.
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.
"Les Brûlées" comes from Fabrice Dodane's vineyard planted on a hill rich with limestone near his cellar in Mathenay. The palate of the wine is dense and textured with powerful mineral acidity. An expressive wine that is drinking well now but should continue to evolve over the next decade. The 2018 is a little "bigger" than the 2020, as '18 was a warmer year overall, but this was also the first vintage that Fabrice approached with the intention of long aging in barrel. The 2018 was bottled in early '23 at the same time that the 2020 was bottled. Fabrice was fully aware that he could not survive waiting 4-6 years for his sous-voile wines, but was still passionate about long elevage for the whites, and the development of this wine, though nuanced at the moment, is impressive. We look forward to more estate-aged bottles like this!
"Les Brûlées" comes from Fabrice Dodane's vineyard planted on a hill rich with limestone near his cellar in Mathenay. The palate of the wine is dense and textured with powerful mineral acidity that finishes with a lingering salty nuttiness. An expressive wine that is drinking well now but should continue to evolve over the next decade. -AB
Château Renard is from a parcel of Chardonnay planted in 1985 on limestone and clay soils. The wine is aged 22 months in a mix of 500L and 600L barrels and is made in the topped-up, or ouillé, style of winemaking. On the nose it is crisp and clean with delicate aromas of apricot, lime flower, almond skin, and tropical mango. The palate is much more intense with luscious, juicy green apple, cashew, sea salt, and tangy minerals. Long, textured, and a hint nutty on the finish, this would be perfect pairing with many different kinds of foods, especially roasted poultry. -TG
Les Dalles is a mixed-variety parcel, though the grape varieties change with soil, in this case it's Melon à Queue Rouge planted in 2017 on limestone with white marl soils. There has been an ongoing geeky debate about whether or not Melon à Queue Rouge is just a synonym for Chardonnay, or an ancient and distinct variety. We're going with the happy medium of "it's most likely an ancient strain of Chardonnay" that might be an old mutation, but is clearly similar! Fabrice has worked with the grape for many vintages and his are probably the most memorable MQR wines we've tried over the years.
This is a clean and delicious Poulsard/Ploussard from Domaine de Saint Pierre. The wine is super pale in the glass, herbal, aromatic, forward, and full of wild strawberry fruits. About 10 years after Fabrice first started producing the Petit Curoulet, the 2022 is reportedly one of the best yet! Though we can at times be wary of reduction in young Poulsard wines, the Saint Pierre wines have consistently been both age-worthy and immediately charming (if anything just in need of a decant when opened young).
Made from 100% Pinot Noir, traditionally vinified in old, very large oak barrels, this is Arbois at its purest. The nose is a bouquet of spicy, floral aromas along with bright red cherry, and brown spice. The palate is silken, with beautiful fruit and spice balanced by a touch of earth and piercing, chalky minerality. Decant and serve cool with roast chicken, root vegetables, or charcuterie. -TG
This is an enchanting, old school oxidative Savagnin that spent 36 months sous voile. As Stephane explained to me earlier this year, the "finesse of oxidation starts in the vines. If your grapes are diluted the oxidation has no finesse." The Tissot vineyards are farmed meticulously, that we know, but this remark was not so much to praise his own farming but to point out that not all oxidative wines are alike. There is painstaking and dedicated work that goes into obtaining ideal grapes for oxidative wines, and this dedication to great farming has resulted in a beautiful wine, that we would highly recommend to any fan of Vin Jaune who is also a fan of exquisite white wines.
Stephane has been borderline obsessed if not at least intrigued and fascinated with amphoras for many years now, and has several in his posession. One can assume that he has the largest amphora collection in the Jura! He began acquiring them between 2005-2010, with some of his first releases in 2009. His approach to the 'Savagnin En Amphore' has typically employed some skin inclusion during aging in amphora, usually between 3-6 months, and the wine is finished in neutral barrel with topping up. We enjoy its spicy, exotic orange peel notes on the nose, and the very pleasant and integrated level of tannins from the skins. // Note on the 2019 from Camille Riviere, Stephane's New York importer: "Fruit comes from parcel en Spois, planted on triassic clay. Hand destemmed, then maceration 60% Amphore (420L clay pot above ground made by now retired clay pot maker Alain Berthéas, who was established in the Rhone. Made with Italian clay, and cooked at 1000c) & 40% Qvevri (lined with wax, because cooked at 700c, so more porous = reductive environment). After 5 months of maceration, the grapes are pressed and the elevage is done in barrels (always topped up) and amphore. Bottled unfined, unfiltered, no sulfur added. Rich & concentrated."
An abiding staff favorite from Stéphane Tissot's biodynamic estate in Arbois, this crémant is a blend of 50% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 5% each of Poulsard and Trousseau. The interplay between the dry, mineral complexity and rich generosity make this an incredible Champagne-alternative. Opulent aromas of raw honey and baked red apple lead to flavors of tangy yellow fruit, crisp apple, toasted almond, and quince on the persistent finish. Not long ago Stéphane elevated the quality of the wine with a portion aged in barrel and he tries to increase the barrel fermentation on the Cremant each year. At this point he may be close to 100% at the rate he was going!
Grenache, Grenache Gris and Carignan, aged for six years or more in ancient barrels, bottled without fining or filtration. Jean-François Deu at Domaine du Traginer makes elegant, complex and beautifully balanced Banyuls at his organic and biodynamic estate. The 2016 Banyuls Grand Cru shows fabulous aromas of burnt orange, prune, lemon peel, rose, earth and aged cheese...for starters. Very deep and complex. The palate is ripe and a bit sweet, but refreshing and balanced by bright acidity with prune, apricot, red currant, rose and deep berry confit with citrus, brown spice, minerals and earth. Beautiful wine - great to sip by itself or serve with fruit desserts and chocolate. Highly recommended. DL
Made from equal parts Grenache, Carignan, Mourvèdre and Syrah from Domaine du Traginer's organic vineyards on the steep slopes high above Banyuls-sur-Mer. A later picking gives a bit more alcohol than the "regular" cuvée, and a bit more density and ripeness. Dark red/black color with aromas of ripe blackberry and black-cherry with hints of citrus, rose, earth and licorice. The palate is supple, dense and ripe, elegant and a bit tight, and with a cool quality to the dark fruit due to good balancing acidity. Complex flavors of blackberry, tart cherry, prune, thyme and licorice linger in the long food-friendly finish. Decant if possible or hold for five years, drink until 2035 A great glass of wine! Serve with duck, coq au vin, steak, strong cheeses.
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 Vermentino from low-yielding vines, on steep slopes of schistes above the Mediterranean. Tasted in January of 2023, the 2019 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. Beautiful wine! David Lillie
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 Petits Grains grown in Traginer's organic/biodynamic 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. The 2021 version is just fantastic, there will definitely ba a bottle of this in my fridge all summer. Serve not too cool, as an apéritif or with desserts of peach, apricot, pear and melon. David Lillie
The new Traginer CaracTerre is made from 25% each of Grenache Noir, Carignan, Mourvedre and Syrah which undergoes a one month fermentation in tronconic foudres, with no added SO2, followed by 10 months in cuve inox. The CaracTerre is a bit lighter in body than the "Vielli Foudre" cuvée, but with beautiful vibrant blackberry/black raspberry fruit. This is a lovely Collioure to serve a bit cool with grilled meats this summer.
This superb wine is made from Grenache Gris, Grenache Noir, Grenache Blanc and Muscat, from a solera dating back to 2000, aged in small, very old barrels. Complex aromas of citrus, tea, prune, flowers and caramel. The palate is balanced, with a pretty melange of citrus, white fruits, earth and secondary flavors, very long and lifted by nice acidity. A gorgeous vin doux naturel that will accompany aged cheeses, figs and foie gras, and it's sensationally beautiful by itself. Really a unique and delicious wine. DL
The Domaine Turenne Cuvée Cécile Brut Nature is made from Rolle (aka Vermentino) and Cinsault, aged 18 months on the lees and bottled unfiltered. The wine shows fine bubbles with a pale copper hue and a creamy texture. The nose is redolent with notes of melon, white rocks and herbs whilst the palate has a dry, savory finish with flavors of orange peel, apricot and citrus. Serve this refreshing Provençal "bulles" as an aperitif or with fish, white meats and fruit desserts.
The Domaine Turenne "Cuvée Apollon" is a more "serious" Bandol style Rosé made from Mourvedre and Grenache that ages for 6 months in 600-liter acacia barrels before bottling. The wine shows aromas of citrus, white peach and apricot, with a full bodied palate, round and silky, finishing with firm acidity, mineral and white fruit flavors. Drink this lovely rosé over the next few years with white meats, farm chicken, veal milanese and tajines...or sip happily by itself.
This new wine from Philippe Benezet at Domaine Turenne is a bit of Provençal history, made with all the estate's red grapes, with no SO2 added. "Really nice" says Eben from last winter's tasting "he enivions to be what rosé used to be like in Provence 100+ years ago. Before sulfur, before the obsession with paleness." Darker rose color, cherry and little red fruits, very fresh, a bit oxidative, fascinating and delicious.
Cécile and Philippe Bénézet produce lovely organic wines on soils of sandstone with clay and limestone pebbles ("gravoches") northeast of Bandol in Provence. The cuvée "Bastien" is made from old vines of Carignan with Mourvedre and Syrah, hand harvested, fermented with wild yeasts, semi-carbonic, with minimal addition of SO2. The 2022 "Bastien" shpws aromas of blackberry and black raspberry with pepper, earth and floral notes. The palate is nicely textured with mineral notes below black fruits, citrus, spice, licorice and earth. Relatively light-bodied but with lovely density of sappy fruit. This is a delicious and versatile Provençal red that will accompany grilled meats, roast chicken, charcuterie and full-flavored cheeses. David Lillie
Domaine Turenne, northeast of Bandol in Provence, produces this lovely rosé from 40% Cinsault, 50% Grenache and 10% Syrah, certified organic. The terroir is a unique bed of limestone and sandstone debris with small stones called "Gavroches" which bring a pronounced minerality and good drainage to the vines. The grapes are harvested by hand and fermented with wild yeasts. The 2021 "Camille" is a pretty, very pale pink/orange color with aromas of wild strawberry, raspberry, rose and citrus, with a hint of stone fruits as well. The palate is light and elegant with subtle berry fruits, a hint of citrus and stone, and has nice density and length. This is a light and lovely rosé for all year enjoyment, sipped by itself or with grilled fish, white meats, salade Niçoise and mild cheeses - and it's a fabulous value!