Hervé Villemade in 2008 - We love his new "What's Up?" (courtesy of Wine Terroirs)

New Arrivals from the Loire Valley, Featuring the Joyous & Juicy 2018s and the Chinons of Patrick Lambert!

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2018 is a great vintage in the Loire Valley and finally, after many good but very small harvests, a year of good quantity as well, to the great relief of many beleaguered growers, with comparisons to years such as 1989, 1990 and even 1947. As the delicious whites and vibrant reds for early drinking begin to arrive, here is a brief overview of the vintage according to many growers we spoke with over the winter.

But first - Hervé Villemade's delicious new Pét Nat, the 2018 What's Up? has just arrived in NY - it's a mouthwatering blend of Grolleau, Pinot D'Aunis and Menu Pineau that will perfect your picnics this summer. It's a small production so don't delay...

The winter of 2017 - 2018 was more "normal" than recent years with periods of very cold weather that are helpful in cotrolling insect pests. The spring was early and warm, in a troubling pattern that has led to recent disastrous losses to April frosts in 2016 and 2017. Fortunately there was not a late hard freeze and the flowering proceeded well despite periods of rain, which continued into the early summer, causing intense outbreaks of mildew. This was especially difficult for organic and biodynamic growers who do not use systemic treatments, but losses were moderate and the  weather turned sunny by the midsummer. Unlike the heatwave of 2003, however, the temperatures were warm but not extreme, with the sunshine continuing into mid-October, particularly benefitting the late-ripening Cabernet Franc and the production of sweet wines from Chenin. What struck us most in tasting was that, although alcohol levels were a bit higher, the wines possessed good freshness as well. The 2018 reds at Domaine Baudry for example were deep, dark and complex but with lovely acidity and brightness. As Chris Kissack points out in his excellent website thewinedoctor.com - "the vigernons could not ask for more perfect conditions. And the vines were happy too, no doubt grateful for the reserve of groundwater which had built up during those persistent spring rains" - which explains the brightness and balance in this very ripe vintage. It is perhaps only in the Pays Nantais that we notice a bit less acidity, in the 2018 Muscadets, but the quality of the fruit is so beautiful that  the wines remain of superb quality.

In today's email you will find 2018 reds, whites and sparkling rosés  from Touraine that are perfect examples of this wonderful vintage, as well as new arrivals from Patrick Lambert in Chinon. Lambert's estate is around the corner from that of his friend and mentor Bernard Baudry - his 2018 Chinon Rosé and Chinon Gourmandise are absolutely delicious and are sensational values, and the two 2015s are superb examples of great farming and traditional winemaking in Chinon - they are all highly recommended!

Lambert, Patrick 2015 Chinon Vieilles Vignes

The delicious Chinon Vieilles Vignes of Patrick Lambert is from 55-year-old vines on sandy clay soils over limestone. Hand harvested and fermented with wild yeasts, as are all of Lambert's wines, the Vieilles Vignes gets 12 months of aging in old barrels. The wine shows a deep red/black color and ripe blackberry and strawberry aromas with pepper, earth and citrus. The palate is deep and ripe, showing earthy blackberry and strawberry compote with prune and bitter chocolate and firm structure. This is a complex, old-fashioned Chinon that will accompany roast chicken and anything off the grill, served a bit cool. Age for five to ten years for a mature experience. And at $16.99 it's a fabulous value! David Lillie

  • red
  • 17 in stock
  • $16.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Lambert, Patrick 2015 Chinon L'Ame d'Antan

This beautiful Chinon is from 65 to 70-year-old vines in sandy clay soils over limestone in Sonnay, near Cravant. The wine ages for 18 months in old barrels, less than 200 cases are made. The 2015 Ame D'Antan shows a deep black/garnet color with elegant aromas of ripe black raspberry and red currant with hints of violet, prune, citrus and crushed stone. The palate is dense but bright, with a silky texture, showing earthy, ripe strawberry confit with black raspberry and licorice with firm mineral acidity and a bit less tannin than the 2014. Good length with lingering berry and mineral flavors. Delicious now, it will age beautifully, probably best 2023 to 2035+ David Lillie

  • red
  • 17 in stock
  • $23.99

  • Organic

Bonhomme, Pierre-Olivier 2018 Vin de France Le Telquel

This "poil dur" is wagging its tail again in 2018, showing the extra ripeness of this great vintage in the Loire Valley, with juicy aromas of blackberry, rose, spice and citrus. It's Gamay with a bit of Cabernet Franc in this vintage, with an extra layer of ripeness, and nice density of bright blackberry fruit, a bit floral and spicy. Quite refreshing with good length of lush berry fruits and citrusy acids in the finish. Serve a bit cool with charcuterie, chicken and pork - just delicious!  David Lillie

  • red
  • 47 in stock
  • $17.49

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Tue-Boeuf 2018 Vin de France Vin Rouge Gamay

2018 is a great vintage for the reds from Clos du Tue-Boeuf and the first to arrive is the vibrant Vin Rouge - 100% Gamay from organic parcels near les Montils -  whole bunch carbonic maceration fermentation followed by four or five months in tronconic vats. The wine shows exuberant aromas of raspberry and cherry; the palate is round and ripe with lush fruit balanced by bright acidity and with the earthy/mineral character always present in the Tue-Boeuf reds. This is a lovely Gamay that will drink beautifully served cool over the next few years. Enjoy!

  • red
  • 23 in stock
  • $19.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Villemade, Herve 2018 Cheverny Rouge

(60% Pinot Noir, 40% Gamay grown on sandy clay and flint soils over limestone in Cellettes, Chitenay and Fougères sur Bièvre, AOC Cheverny; 15-day whole cluster fermentation, aged in old barrels) 2018 is another great vintage for this light and lovely Cheverny Rouge from Hervé Villemade; slight reduction then very pretty aromas of plum, strawberry and blood orange with rose and white pepper; tart cherry and chalky raspberry/strawberry fruit on the palate, light but sappy and long with earthy citrus and berry fruits in the refreshing finish. This is a delightfully natural thirst-quenching red - serve cool with any chicken or pork dish, charcuterie and mild cheeses. DL

  • red
  • 14 in stock
  • $19.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Bonhomme, Pierre-Olivier 2017 Vin de France La Tesniere (Menu Pineau)

Menu Pineau, also known as "Arbois" is described in Wine Grapes  (J. Robinson et al.) as "an old variety from the Val de Loire named after its similarity to Gros Pineau (Chenin Blanc)...although it has nothing to do with the village called Arbois in the Franche-Comté." It is an offspring of Gouais Blanc, along with many other European grapes, and is "a little more rustic, but less acid than Chenin Blanc," according to Thierry Puzelat. The 2017 La Tesnière Blanc by Pierre-Olivier Bonhomme is from organically-grown vines, 75% Menu Pineau and 25% Chenin Blanc, in this great parcel that abuts the Clos Roche Blanche in Touraine. Bright pale gold color. Subtle aromas of grapefruit, pear, dried herbs, stone and caramel. The palate is austere and stony, with firm acidity and flavors of hazelnut, citrus, baked apple, earth and brown spice. A really fascinating wine and a great pairing with sushi, grilled fish with fennel, lemon chicken, aged goat cheeses and much more. Highly recommended to lovers of unique natural wines.

  • white
  • 3 in stock
  • $24.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Tue-Boeuf 2018 Touraine Vin Blanc

The Puzelat brothers at the Clos du Tue-Boeuf produced a lovely Sauvignon Blanc in 2018, from organic grapes with almost no SO2 added - it's naturally delicious! The wine shows ripe aromas of pear, fig, almond, lemon confit, fines herbes and stone. The palate is ripe and round but balanced by firm acidity and mineral flavors framing the ripe white fruits. The finish is long and juicy with bright acidity and chalky minerals. This will accompany just about anything this summer from fish to chicken to pork, and great with any mild cheeses. David Lillie

  • white
  • 18 in stock
  • $19.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur
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Lambert, Patrick 2018 Chinon Rosé

This delightful Chinon Rosé comes from Patrick Lambert's 6 hectares of organic vines in Cravant, around the corner from his friend and mentor, Bernard Baudry. Hand harvested from 20-year-old Cabernet Franc vines on gravel and sandy clay soils over limestone. The 2018 shows lovely aromas of wild strawberry, raspberry, citrus and rose; the palate is ripe and pretty with raspberry, citrus and stone flavors with nice density and texture, a bit more weight and ripeness than the 2017, with juicy acids, berry flavors and minerals in the finish. This is drinking beautifully now and will open up nicely through the spring and summer and will keep well into 2020. This is a fabulous value and highly recommended. DL 

  • Out of Stock
  • rosé
  • 0 in stock
  • $13.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Lambert, Patrick 2018 Chinon Gourmandise

"Gourmandise" is a beautiful Spring cuvée from Patrick Lambert, made from young Cabernet Franc vines grown on sandy gravel soils near the Vienne. The wine shows a bright black/red color with lush high-toned aromas of crushed strawberry and black raspberry, with hints of citrus and pepper. The palate is supple and bright with luscious black raspberry and red currant fruit, quite lush and full-bodied in this superb vintage for the Loire but still with refreshing  acidity. Serve this lovely wine quite cool with charcuterie and grilled chicken, pork or burgers, it's a perfect light summer red! DL

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $13.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Bonhomme, Pierre-Olivier 2018 Vin de France Le Telquel 1.5L MAG

This "poil dur" is wagging its tail again in 2018, showing the extra ripeness of this great vintage in the Loire Valley, with juicy aromas of blackberry, rose, spice and citrus. It's Gamay with a bit of Cabernet Franc in this vintage, with an extra layer of ripeness, and nice density of bright blackberry fruit, a bit floral and spicy. Quite refreshing with good length of lush berry fruits and citrusy acids in the finish. Serve a bit cool with charcuterie, chicken and pork - just delicious!  David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $38.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Villemade, Herve 2018 Vin de France Sauvignon Blanc

Hervé Villemade's 2018 Sauvignon Blanc hits the spot with classic Loire Valley aromas of exotic tropical fruit and invigorating flavors of lemongrass, ripe pear, and nectarine. The palate is supple and quite ripe in 2018 but remains balanced with a flinty, mineral quality that adds a refreshing tang and texture to this versatile wine. Perfect for sipping on a warm day with a variety of foods, I like this with grilled shrimp garnished with snap peas and summer vegetables. Amanda Bowman 

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $17.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Villemade, Herve 2018 Vin de France Pet Nat Rosé What's Up?

Just arrived is Hervé Villemade's very delicious Pet Nat Rosé What's Up? Made from Grolleau, Pineau D'Aunis and a bit of Menu Pineau for added zing, this is an absolutely delicious wine for gulping with abandon all summer. Don't delay in grabbing some, and thank you Hervé, for this bubbly pink treat!

  • Out of Stock
  • rosé sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $19.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Mosse 2018 Vin de France Pet Nat Moussamoussettes

The Moussamoussettes is back! A Chambers Street favorite, this years rendition is a blend of Grolleau Gris and Gamay. The 2018 is totally dry with flavorful and vibrant strawberry and tart cherry fruit. A rejuvenating Pet-Nat from our friend Agnes and René Mosse.

  • Out of Stock
  • rosé sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $21.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur