Chambers Street Wines Awards Starts Now! (Loire Edition)

11/26/2007 -

Welcome to the annual CSW awards season. There have been so many great wines that have come and gone this year we are feeling a bit contemplative and want to memorialize them somehow, and, of course, sell more wine-so here is the first of many e-mails about the most rewarding wines of the year that deserve an award.

The first award goes to the best Loire Red of the Year - There have been so many memorable Loire Reds this year (2006 Clos Roche Blanche l'Arpent Rouge, 2005 Baudry Clos Guillot, 2006 Clos de Tue Boeuf Rouillon, 2005 Breton Clos Senechal, 2005 Clos Roche Blanche Cot, 2005 Roches Neuves Terres Chaudes, 2003 Clos Rougeard "Le Bourg", & Puzelat KO Clos de la Roche) but the one that stands out in our mind is the 2005 Bernard Baudry Chinon "La Croix Boissée." From Baudry's best site this is an amazing wine. So rich, so layered, so pure and concentrated but not concentrated, in a grotesque circus-sideshow type of way. Incredibly ripe and sweet tannins with exceptional length. Obviously young and grapey but really fun to drink now and will provide contemplative and meditative drinking for years to come.

The second award goes to best Loire White of the Year - There were so many great ones this year (2005 Chidaine Montlouis Clos de Breuil, Pinon Vouvray Petillant NV, 2005 Pepiere Granite de Clisson, 2005 Belliviere Caligramme, 2004 Cazin Cour Cheverny "Rennaissance", 2005 Huets across the board, 2005 Foreau's across the board 2005 Bossard Expression de Granite, 2005 Chidaine Vouvray Les Argiles & Closel Savennieres "Clos du Papillon") but the one that stands out was the one I got a small measly sip of, the 2006 Vatan Sancerre. But what a sip this was. Airy and concentrated at the same time with so much richness yet steel-like precision and laser-like acidity. Yes this is a wine that will induce many a metaphor. There is a lime streak smothered in minerality along with piquant and stern acidity to enable long ageing.

The third award goes to the Loire Sparkler of the Year and this year it was no contest. The 2002 Huet Petillant Brut is a smoking bottle of pure Chenin goodness. This Champagne look-a-like is toasty, biscuity, yeasty and full of apples, baking spices and pears. The mousse is so fine it tastes like it should be some $300 tete de cuvèe from some huge luxury goods company . . .but wait a second its not. It's an organic, biodynamic, hand harvested, 4 years lees aged kick-ass value. Would love to stick this in a blind tasting of vintage Champagne.

The fourth award goes to the Loire Wacky Red Blend of the Year is the 2006 Clos de Tue Boeuf "La Guerrerie." This is a blend of 75% Cot and 25% Gamay and definitely earns its wacky wine moniker. Very earthy with extremely bright fruit. Despite its brightness it is definitely on the dark berry fruit side of things. This is very full bodied due to the high content of Cot but the Gamay softens it and makes it accusable. At CSW we taste a lot of wacky Loire red blends due to owner, David Lillie's, obsession with the region but the Guerrerie has reigned supreme in 2006 and 2004. Get it before it gets you.

The fifth award goes to a combined Loire Wacky/ Desert/Red Wine of the Year and yes, only one wine can be so deserving of this award and that is . . .drumroll please . . yes the 2005 Domaine de la Belliviere "Aurore d'Automne" which is a slightly botryized/slightly dried Rose Pineau d'Aunis/Grolleau. From yields that are 10hl/ha on clay/limestone soil this is all hand harvested and cared for like their first born. This might be the one of the ALL TIME strangest desert wines to grace the shelves of Chambers Street Wines and we have had a lot. But forgetting all the strangeness and mystery around this wine, it is some alluring and sexy juice. Rust-colored wine with amazing aromas of honey, plum and red fruits. Decadently rich in the mouth with great acidity with flavors of white raisin, citrus and spice. Outrageously complex and ripe with a never-ending finish. Really compelling and original juice.

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