Jacques Maillet strikes a memorable pose.

Savoie, Autrement - 2015s from Domaine Jacques Maillet

With each new year, we bid adieu to winemakers who have decided to retire, with hopes that their legacies will be carried on, either by daughters and sons, or by talented apprentices and stagiaires who have absorbed the know-how and philosophy of their predecesors, and are comitted to continuing in a like-minded fashion. Sometimes we're lucky and the transition is seamless. Other times, not so, and we discover that old vines have been torn up to plant international varieties, or a new marketing director has been hired to change the direction of the estate and "modernize" production. Luckily, in the case of Domaine Jacques Maillet, it is the former. Maillet's apprentice, Florian Curtet, has been working full time at the domaine for the last four years, and his partner, Marie, joined last year, after spending a year working with another of our favorite Savoie producers, Gilles Berlioz. More on their wines later this year, but for now, we celebrate the last vintage from our friend, Jacques Maillet. 

Maillet's history in the vines spans back to the early 90's, when he first decided to make wine. At the time, he didn't have enough money to start out on his own, so he joined the local co-op, and applied for a loan to get started. Though he was interested in organic and bio-dynamic farming from the start, the banks refused to give him a loan unless he worked conventionally (regular use of pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers), so he had no choice but to comply. Towards the end of the 90's, Maillet developed a debilitating illness - which he attributes to his exposure to chemicals, fungicides, and pesticides over a period of nearly 10 years - and it took him a full 3 years to recover.  At that point, he vowed never to touch chemicals again, and decided to work on his own, with biodynamic principles at the core of his vineyard work. He began his new project with a small parcel of Gamay, Pinot Noir, and Mondeuse. Since he had very little money at the start, he worked out a deal with the co-op, allowing him use of their press, and one tank for fermentation and elevage (aging). He made his first wine as a red blend, and called it "Autrement," which is French for "in another way." Luckily it was a success, and Maillet was eventually able to acquire parcels of Jacquere, Altesse, and Mondeuse vines that are close to 100 years old. All of the vines are farmed without pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers, are certified organic, and practicing biodynamic. Maillet pays close attention to the lunar calendar, and he uses tea and plant extracts to create treatments that help to naturally protect the vines from diseases and parasites. His winemaking is always with indigenous yeast and without filtration, and sulfur use is limited to a very small amount at the bottling, when necessary.

2015 was a great vintage for Maillet, maybe not for quantity, but surely for quality and longevity. Reds are ripe and structured - the Mondeuse is a baby! - and the whites are crisp, clean and mineral, but still exhibit a level of maturity to the fruit that is characteristic of the vintage. We're happy to offer the wines, along with some magnums for those special occasions or for aging, if you have the will power! Whenever you do open a bottle, raise a glass to Jacques, and his many years of hard work that helped to put natural wines from Savoie on the map!

Maillet, Jacques 2015 Vin de Savoie Chautagne Jacquere

Crispy, clean, fresh... a few adjectives that jump to mind when I think about this electric little Jacquere from Jacques Maillet. It's a joyful white wine, with subtle herbal undertones, and a touch of salinity that pair perfectly and keep us coming back for another glass. It's not a "simple" wine, but it is definitely simple to drink.   Eben Lillie

  • white
  • 18 in stock
  • $18.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Maillet, Jacques 2015 Vin de Savoie Chautagne P'tit Canon

A blend of Jacquere and Altesse. I think of this wine as the Muscadet of the Savoie. It's crisp and clean, with acidity that would definitely please fans of Loire Valley whites. Graceful and subtle citrus and white flower aromas, with stone fruit on the palate and a very mineral finish. It might be most suitable in the warmer months of the year, but fans of high-acid whites will surely beg to differ. Eben Lillie

  • white
  • 20 in stock
  • $21.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Maillet, Jacques 2014 Rousette de Savoie Altesse "Autrement"

We recently opened the 2014 and were pleased to find it's tasting better than ever! Classic white fruit, honeysuckle, and floral notes on the nose, and really nice balance between the acidity and the sun-kissed fruit that is now mellowing out and giving way to a drier and more mineral side of the wine. Maybe a touch softer than the 2015, so perhaps not as worthy of cellaring, but drinking now would be a treat, and I'm sure a few more years will do it well.   Eben Lillie

  • white
  • 10 in stock
  • $24.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Maillet, Jacques 2015 Rousette de Savoie Altesse "Autrement"

This Roussette de Savoie is from a tiny parcel of old Altesse vines. The nose is expressive, with  flowers and white fruits aplenty. On the palate there's ripe orchard fruit, and a pleasant roundness that balances out the fresh acidity. This is a wine that has great versatility. It's great for drinking now with a wide variety of foods, from spicy asian cuisines to local cheeses, and will reward your patience if you decide to put some bottles away. With the minerality, acidity and the ripeness of the fruit in 2015, this surely has a great life ahead of it.   Eben Lillie

  • white
  • 12 in stock
  • $27.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Maillet, Jacques 2015 Savoie Autrement Rouge

This is Maillet's blend of Pinot Noir, Gamay and Mondeuse (turns out, before the AOC was created for Savoie, reds in the region were often blended like this). The vines are around 50 years old on average, and yields are anywhere from 15 to 35 hl/ha (hecto-liters per hectare). Deep and dark on the nose with sultry blackberry and black licorice notes alongside more delicate aromas of strawberry seeds, pomegranate, and savory herbs. The palate is quite fresh and is a bit more straightforward than in years past, with dark berries, smoked meats, white pepper, and a juicy acidity. The finish leans towards the earthy, savory side, making me think that this would be perfect with gamier foods such as venison or lamb. Serve cool and decant. Tim Gagnon

  • red
  • 18 in stock
  • $20.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur
  • red
  • 5 in stock
  • $47.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Maillet, Jacques 2015 Savoie Pinot Noir Chataugne

Jacques Maillet is a "grower" in every sense of the word. In 2003, after suffering from a serious illness connected with conventional farming, he reduced the size of his already tiny domaine in order to stop selling his grapes to the local co-op and to begin farming organically. Years later, his wines seem to get better with every vintage. His 2015 Pinot Noir is simply gorgeous. The nose opens with bright, sappy cherry, strawberry liqueur, rose petal, tangerine, and a hint of underbrush. Lithe and lively on the palate, it offers sweet, juicy red raspberry, citrus, smoke, anchored by an intense mineral core. This is no doubt one of Jacques’ most serious wines; structured, long, a bit crunchy, and very elegant. I have a feeling that this would age well over the next 3-5 years, and it is certainly showing beautifully now. Tim Gagnon

  • red
  • 18 in stock
  • $31.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur
  • red
  • 6 in stock
  • $66.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Maillet, Jacques 2015 Savoie Mondeuse Terroir des Pauvres

It's almost as if it were meant to be that Maillet left us with this Mondeuse as his last! Typically the most structured and dark of Maillet's red offerings, 2015 provided ideal conditions to fully express the depth and potential of these selection massale vines (many of which are over 100 years old!). In the glass, it looks more like Syrah than anything we typically see from the Savoie. Vibrant wild blackberry aromas on the nose, with black cherry and cola notes on the palate, and a finish with notable tannic structure and mineral length. We'd recommend decanting a bit in advance or holding this wine for up to 10 years.  Eben Lillie

  • red
  • 16 in stock
  • $33.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur
  • red
  • 6 in stock
  • $74.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur
Feb 24 2017
Memories in Future Tense - Aged Australian Classics
Yes, Virginia, there is terroir and balance in Aussie wines. Once upon a time Down Under, before points, heavily extracted wines, and even heavier, deep-punted bottles, there were growers dry-farming very old, ungrafted vines on interesting soils. From the sandy clay loams of Barossa to the terra ro
Feb 23 2017
Ai Valloni from Boca, and other wines from Alto Piemonte
We are excited to have visitors from Boca: Anna Sertorio and Andrea Marzo, owners of the organic vineyard called Ai Valloni. After the war, Ai Valloni was one of just a few producers who held on as the land under vine in Boca (and throughout Alto Piemonte) shrunk dramatically, the result of a combin
Feb 22 2017
Côtes du Jura Savagnin, Trousseau and Poulsard  from Domaine Pont de Breux, Salins-les-Bains
We were lucky enough to meet and taste with Jean-Charles Maire at Domaine du Pont de Breux in the Spring of 2013 and we are sad to present the last wines produced at the estate before his death in 2015. From the estate description by Jean-Charles: "The domaine was created in 1992, situated in the co
Feb 20 2017
Wine from the Venetian Lagoon
My wife and I love Venice, and we keep going back. Some people understand, and others think we’re crazy because Venice is so thoroughly overrun with tourists that it can be really trying.                   But if you pick the right t
Feb 19 2017
52nd Annual CSW -  Louis/Dressner Tasting and Benefit for Partners-in-Health, Sunday March 12th at Racines NY, 3:00 - 7:00pm!
Please join us on Sunday, March 12th, as Chambers Street Wines, Louis/Dressner Selections and David Bowler Wines present 18 of the finest estates in France and Italy at a tasting to benefit Partners-in-Health. "We go. We make house calls. We build health systems. We stay." This is a great opportunit
Feb 18 2017
Rhys is the Place: Ethereal Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Anderson Valley
Rhys Vineyards produces an exquisite range of single-vineyard Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays, and Syrahs from California. There is a precise minerality, focused elegance, and most importantly, definite sense of place that one finds in these wines. Without question, Rhys produces some of the best wines in
Feb 17 2017
A Midwinter Spanish Mixed Case, Starring Brilliant New Voices from Toro + 2015ers from Silice Viticultores and Envínate!
Three of the most fascinating wines I have tasted this year are from Toro (yes, Toro!), a winegrowing region located in the west of Castilla y León that dates back to Roman times, fed by the regal Duero River shortly before it flows into Portugal. Toro's terroir is varied and laudable, combining wel
Feb 16 2017
All Tomorrows' Parties - A Cellar of Ridge ATP
“In terms of the grandeur of its bold, dominant, powerful red wines (often the equals of some of the most famous grands crus of Europe)—also in terms of the pioneering experimentation by its prestigious winemaker-partner, Paul Draper—this is one of the most important vineyards in the United States.”
Feb 15 2017
Gringet For President 2017*
With the way things are going, I think that is something we can all get behind, especially when the Gringet grapes are in the hands of Dominique Belluard. In 1988, Dominique took over his family’s 10-hectare estate, nestled in the village of Ayse in the Savoie region of France, in the foothills of t
Feb 10 2017
New Arrivals From Nicolas Gonin!*
The first couple months of the year are a flurry of activity when it comes to restocking our shelves. For some reason, this seems to be when the bulk of new vintages from my favorite producers in eastern France make their way stateside, and today’s offer is case in point. We’ve long been fans of th