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Now that the temperatures are cooling off, what could be better than trying new Bordeaux wines? We are excited to offer a line-up of new and old producers (all at least practicing organic farming) with a philosophy of terroir-driven winemaking, displaying a traditional structure of fruit, tannin and minerality.
Château Massereau: Château Massereau in Barsac was built in the 16th century and managed to avoid industrialization and mass production throughout the years, as was common in Bordeaux. In 2000, the Chaigneau family bought the estate and continued the tradition of making distinct Bordeaux of great minerality and structure. After finding old vines of Cabernet Franc, the family used selection massale to replant new vines, and also planted some Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Merlot à Queues Rouges. The estate totals 10-hectares of vines and covers several parcels located in Barsac, Graves and in the Bordeaux Supérieur appellation. Farming organically, and proponents of traditional winemaking techniques, the estate has never used chemicals in the vineyards and does not fine, filter or cold stabilize the wine. They use native yeast and only a minimal amount of sulfur. For some of their cuvées, barriques are used but no more than a third comes from new oak (with the exception of the Graves cuvée where new oak is used but with no trace on the wine). The resulting wines are elegant with precise minerality, balanced fruits and a great finesse.
La Grave (Paul Barre): Located in Fronsac, just a few miles south-west of the Pomerol appellation, the estate is about 8 hectares of mostly Merlot (85%) and Cabernet Franc (15%) averaging 20-years-old, planted on soils of mixed gravel and sand, overlooking the Dordogne river. Certified biodynamic since 1998, the estate uses a very limited amount of copper and sulfur, and horses for plowing. Managing the estate as a familial enterprise, Paul Barre strives to express minerally-driven wines with limited use of new barrels (up to 25%) ensuring that the wines show a beautiful structure of fruits and tannin with bright acidity.
Château Bellisle Mondotte: Château Bellisle-Mondotte is an estate located in Saint-Émilion with renowned neighbors La Mondotte and Le Tertre Rôteboeuf. The estate is a 4.5-hectare south-facing vineyard of mostly 35-year-old Merlot (80%) and Cabernet Franc (20%), planted on mixed clay and limestone soils. Winemaker Jean-Marie Bouldy, known for his work at Château Bellegrave in Pomerol, continues his tradition of working organically with minimal cellar intervention - the wine is fermented in concrete tanks, undergoes malolactic fermentation in barrels and stays on the lees for a few months with some batonnage. Aging is in a combination of oak barrels (1/3 new oak), and in stainless steel tanks, creating wines of precision and minerality with a superb finish. The Château received its organic certification in 2013.
Clos du Jaugueyron: This 7-hectare estate, owned by Michel Théron and his wife, covers parcels in Cantenac and Arsac in the Haut-Médoc, and Margaux, on gravel, sand, and clay soils. The domaine received its Demeter certification in 2008 and has never used any chemicals or pesticides in the vineyards. With minimal intervention in the cellar, the grapes are fermented in whole clusters with native yeast. Use of new oak is limited to 25% and there is minimal racking with some batonnage. The resulting wines are terroir-driven with elegance and beauty.
Château Cartier: This second label of Château Fonroque, located in Saint-Émilion, has been certified organic since 2006 and biodynamic since 2008. The philosophy of the domaine is to make expressive mineral wines through their terroir. Winemaker and owner Alain Moueix applies the lunar calendar to various farming techniques and does not use any chemical treatments, allowing the vineyards to be lush with flora. Cartier is 100% Merlot from 35-year-old vines planted on limestone clay soils; with the grapes harvested by hand and macerated slowly with native yeast fermentation. The estate does not pump or use filtration and new oak is used up to 40% to impart some additional structure to the wine.
Château Maison Blanche: Château Maison Blanche is a 32-hectare estate located in the appellation of Montagne-Saint-Émilion with mostly 45-year-old Merlot (and a bit of Cabernet Franc) on clay, chalk and gravel soils. Certified organic since 2009 and biodynamic since 2013, the estate stopped using chemical treatments starting in 2005. With low yields, use of native yeast, a combination of old and new oak, and little addition of sulfur at bottling, the wines showcase fantastic terroir-driven structure with bright acidity and superb minerality.
And don't forget our existing line-up of wonderful organic and/or biodynamic Bordeaux wines! Caroline Coursant
The 2010 Château Bellegrave is something serious. Not an outright meaty wine, it's savory in more of an alluring, herbaceous, mint-and-tobacco way. An hour open reveals a nose of red fruit, flavors of dark minerals and plum, and a bracing structure of lean edges and good acidity. The crucial stuffing, the attractive, semi-plump middle, forms after three hours or so of air. At this point, the wine's aromas and flavors have expanded, too. Dashes of extra-dark cocoa and dried cherries hum under more pungent and lasting aromas of black pepper, leather and smoke. A subtle, bitter kiss of ground espresso and an even subtler peck of mint give pleasurable nuance to a palate of dates, plum, and red currants. No cellaring needed, drink this today - just open it at 5 if your meal begins at 8. David Hatzopoulos
A delicious Bordeaux at a great price - Château Massereau is an estate situated in Barsac, approximately 30km from Bordeaux, that practices organic farming and is fully committed to natural wine-making, using minimum amount of sulfur when devatting. A blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot planted on alluvial soils, the grapes are fermented for a long time (10 weeks) in concrete vats and then aged for 16 months in neutral barriques before a 10-year elevage in the bottle before release. On the nose, the wine is complex with a bouquet of dark berry, plum, cedar, violet, and tobacco. On the palate, the wine is lifted by its beautiful acidity and displays great density and soft tannins. Perfect for your holiday festivities, the wine will fantastically pair with braised rosemary lamb shoulder, roasted turkey with gravy, and red-skin mashed potatoes. Caroline Coursant
Château Massereau, an estate located in Barsac, has been farming organically since its acquisition by the Chaigneau family in 2000. Made from Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot planted on alluvial soils, the wine ferments in concrete vats and is raised in new barriques for 18 months with minimal addition of sulfur when devatting. The new oak is "white roasted", leaving no flavors of new oak on the wine. Fresher than its 2010 vintage, the wine displays a bouquet of juicy red plums, dark and red berry, and tart cassis notes with menthol, rose petals and cedar undertones. With a beautiful structure of great acidity, precise minerality and good tannins, the wine is complex and vibrant. A great wine to drink now, this wine will pair fantastically with hamburgers, brisket, beef bourguignon, lamb shanks and hard and blue cheeses. Caroline Coursant
A delicious wine from Paul Barre in Fronsac, next to Pomerol and St. Emilion. Applying biodynamic principles since 1990, the estate has been certified Demeter since 1998 with no pesticides and herbicides used on the vineyard. A blend of mostly Merlot, Cabernet Franc and a touch of Malbec, the wine displays a bouquet of ripe dark plums, cassis, leather, earth and menthol notes. With bright acidity and grippy tannins, the wine has a bold structure with a persistent finish. You may drink it now by decanting it for a few hours, or age it for several years (around 10 years). Pair this Bordeaux with rich meals, such as boeuf bourguignon, lasagna, lamb slouvaki, or Korean beef stew. Caroline Coursant
Château Cartier, the second label of Chateau Fonroque, makes vibrant and mineral Saint-Émilion. Certified organic and biodynamic, the estate does not use any chemicals in the vineyards and follows the lunar calendar. From 35-year-old vines planted on a mix soil of limestone and clay, the wine undergoes long maceration, with no pumping or filtration, and is aged in oak (30% new) for 16 months. With a bouquet of juicy dark and red plums, ripe red currant, purple flowers and wooden notes, the wine is full of energy with bright minerality and great acidity. Luscious with smooth tannins, the wine will pair fantastically with grilled beef, lamb shank, and roasted pork. Caroline Coursant
Michel Théron's 2015 Haut-Médoc is remarkably terroir-driven yet approachable in its youth, even in this ripe vintage. The blend is 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, and 5% Cabernet Franc from the classic gravel and sandy soils of the Médoc. Michel's vineyards are farmed using strict organic and biodynamic methods and his precise work in the cellar elevates each variety for a pure expression of Haut-Médoc. He uses up to 25% of new oak which is well integrated and lends structure without dominating. Aromas of crushed violets, saddle leather, and spiced red cherry cascade on the nose. The palate is supple with grippy tannins, flavors of ripe plum, game, brown spice, and dark chocolate on the finish. A lovely wine that should be decanted if drinking now but will evolve over the next decade. Amanda Bowman
“Nout” is a pure-fruited and grippy Margaux that is mainly sourced from Michel Théron’s younger vines of Merlot planted in the sandy soils of Macau; the remainder is Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Michel’s judicious use of more new oak for this cuvée lends structure to the blend; elevating the earthy, graphite mineral notes of the Cabernet and softening the sapid berry fruit of the Merlot for a refreshing and exquisitely textured Margaux (especially in the lean 2014 vintage). The aromas offer lovely strawberry and blood orange notes with mellow tones of cocoa, thyme, ash, and earth. The palate is silken and buoyed by bright acidity and powdery tannins. Flavors of dried red currants, citrus, and pepper play out on a long mineral finish. A great value Margaux that is drinking now and will only get better with time in the bottle. Amanda Bowman
The Clos du Jaugueyron Margaux is Michel Théron's top wine and a monument to traditional, old-school winemaking. The blend is dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from his parcel of old vines with some Merlot and a bit of Cabernet Franc planted on sand and gravel. All of his parcels are biodynamically farmed and he has never used synthetic treatments of any kind. This unfailing attention to detail in the vineyard carries over to his cellar work, which is precise and masterful. The wine is aged mostly in new wood for up to 18 months before spending another year resting in cuve. The 2014 is built to age but shows wonderfully hedonistic aromas already. Complex notes of sage, violets, and campfire mingle with graphite, coffee, and dark chocolate on the nose. The palate offers powdery, mouth-coating tannins, bright acidity, and cool mineral inflections beneath supple flavors of bitter chocolate, thyme, and plum. Decant 1-2 hours if drinking now or hold for 5-8 years (at least). Amanda Bowman
Maison Blanche always makes great wines and this 2014 Saint Émilion is no exception. A blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc from at least 45-year-old vines planted on clay, the wine is aged for several months in oak with some low percentage of new oak, and with minimal addition of sulfur at bottling. On the nose, the bouquet is complex and enticing with dry violets, crushed plums, ripe dark berries, dry earth, brown tobacco and cedar notes. On the palate, the wine is exciting with bright energy from the acidity and minerality and grippy tannins. To drink now or cellar it for several years (+7 years), the wine will show wonderfully with the traditional holiday meals of roasted lamb and ham, and spare ribs, braised beef, or classic steak. Caroline Coursant
Le Colombier de la Métairie is Maison Blanche's second label. Certified organic and biodynamic, this wine is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc from about 45-year-old vines located in Montagne, Saint-Émilion, Pomerol and Libourne. The soils are clay-based, with a subsoil of limestone and gravel. Fermented with native yeast, the wine is aged for 15 months in cement vats and old barrels with minimal sulfur added before bottling.