Fabulous 2014 Bourgueils from Domaine de la Chevalerie, and the 2009 "Busardieres!"

9/24/18 -

One of our geatest tastings in France last winter was with Stephanie Caslot of Domaine de la Chevalerie in Bourgueil, which included the 2014 and 2015 vintages of each cuvee from this oustanding Biodynamic estate. The 2015s were lovely wines with ripe, complex fruit in a full and failry soft style - they will be delicious when young and for medium-term cellaring. The 2014s, on the other hand, were vibrant, perfectly balanced wines possessing beautiful, deep black fruits, firm, cool acidity and beautiful mineral and earthy flavors, perfectly expressing the terroir of each parcel. In other words, sensational wines that bear a close stylisitc resemblance to the lovely 2014s from Bernard and Matthieu Baudry in Chinon. (Please Note: All wines arrive by October 1st)

2014 began well in Bourgueil and Chinon, with no spring frosts and good weather during the flowering, with a warm month of June developing the fruit. The mid-summer, however was wet and cool with mildew setting in, and by the end of August the vintage looked quuite poor. But as growers often say, "September makes the wine," and in this case a perfect sunny month of September produced grapes with perfect ripeness, bright acidity and tannins that are firm but not overbearing. The 2014s from Domaine de la Chevalerie are simply outstanding and will bring a smile to any lover of Loire Valley reds - I will be putting them all in my crawl-space (not really a cellar) and I suggest that you do the same - you will thank me in five, ten or twenty years!

Parcels of Domaine de la Chevalerie, Bourgueil

"Wine has no value unless it is shared" says the Caslot family at Chevalerie. And in fact during our visits to the Salon des Vins de Loire (going back more than 25 years!) we would always stop by the Chevalerie booth, where instead of coats and ties and careful sipping, there would be a crowd of happy drinkers, enjoying the old vintages always offered by the Caslots. I found the wines a bit rustic back then, but with the new generation came organic and  biodynamic agriculture and great work in the cellar, producing elegant wines that clearly express the different terroirs of Bourgueil, making this estate one of the leading producers of red wines in the Loire.

A sad note: Pierre Caslot (pictured above) passed away on October 25th 2014, we quote a remembrance in Jim's Loire: "Pierre was a larger than life character, full of fun and generously wanted to share his passion for wine and life itself, conscious that he was part of a 400-year-long family tradition. He lived long enough to know that 2014, his last vintage, would be a good one and to see the harvest finished."

The Unstoppable Stephanie Caslot!
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