Private Collection: French Wine

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Rousset 2015 Saint-Joseph

From a one-half hectare parcel of 60 year-old vines in "Les Rivoires" on the lower slope in Tournon, a cool, late-ripening terroir with clay, sand and stones over firm granite. Aged 12 months, 30% foudre, 70% 2 to 5 year-old barrels. Although normally overshadowed by the Rousset's superb Crozes "les Picaudieres," the 2015 Saint-Joseph is a great wine of terroir and one of the better Saint-Josephs we've tasted from this vintage. The wine shows a dark black/red color with deep aromas of blackberry and blueberry liqueur with plum, earth and smoke - quite ripe but with nice brightness as well. The palate is quite dense and supple with ripe black fruits and hints of blueberry, dark chocolate, black olive and roast meats  which continue in the long finish with pronounced mineral flavors and firm acidity. The Rousset Saint-Joseph is normally somewhat austere and tightly structured when young, but the 2015 will be quite delicious as a young wine if decanted for a few hours. Despite the more forward aspect, there is plenty of structure here for aging, best perhaps 2020 to 2030.  David Lillie

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Breton, Catherine et Pierre 2010 Bourgueil Clos Senechal

This is frequently our favorite Bourgueil from Pierre and Catherine Breton and in this great vintage for Loire reds, it really sings! Subtle, fresh aromas of chalky strawberry and raspberry, with hints of violets, citrus and earth. On the palate the fruit is in the background, with earth, chalk and pencil lead to the fore with firm but supple acids. Very mineral and saline, with the fruit lingering in the long finish. Can be enjoyed now for it's elegant, earthy character, but this will be a beautiful mature wine, perhaps similar to the 2002 — really subtle and lovely but definitely not a "fruit bomb." Highly recommended.

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Breton, Catherine et Pierre 2010 Bourgueil Les Perrieres

One of our favorite Loire Valley reds is the Pierre and Catherine Breton Bourgueil Les Perrieres, and we have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the 2010. As opposed to the heavier and more forward 2009, the 2010 is lighter and medium-bodied, perfectly balanced with earthy, bright acidity and obviously built to last — a "grand vin!" From 70+ year-old vines in mid-slope on soil of clay and silica over limestone. Deep black/red color; elegant aromas of black fruits, earth and mint, subtle and beautiful. Intense fruit on the palate but not at all heavy — blackberry, red currant, black pepper, bitter chocolate and mint with a hint of oak, framed in cool acidity with a tannic structure that will carry this wine for twenty years or more. Powerful and complex yet balanced and elegant at 12.5% alcohol. This beautiful wine comes from the Bretons long experience with this parcel, their 30 years of organic and biodynamic farming and a masterful vinification and élevage, with minimal SO2, which allows great terroir expression and ageability. I will be putting this wine in my cellar, along with my 2010 Baudry Croix Boissee, and, if I can afford it, a 2010 Clos Rougeard, for a nice tasting in 2034! (Some details: Hand harvested into small boxes; 7 day cool maceration, wild yeast fermentation in oak vat without addition of SO2, progressively warmer over 15 days; no chaptalization, minimal extraction — one pumping over, no cap punching; aged in 10% new, 90% one-year-old barrels for two years with one racking; bottled after 2 1/2 years on a "flowering" day.) DL

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Cazin, Francois 2002 Cour-Cheverny Cuvée Renaissance

This is a truly fantastic vintage for Cazin's off-dry Romorantin. In '02, there is some botrytis but no malolactic fermentation, which means that the wine is rich, aromatically very complex, and possessed of such high acidity that the sweetness is barely noticeable. In other words, the essence of balance. A long finish that coats your mouth with mineral flavors makes this wine ultra-compelling. -msb

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Cazin 2009 Cour-Cheverny Cuvée Renaissance

Cazin's 2009 cuvèe Renaissance is simply superb! In this ripe vintage, the 17 grams per liter of sugar have balanced the wine and the aromatics are lovely, showing honeyed ripe white and yellow fruits. Even with the lower than usual acidity, this wine should keep well and may be extraordinary with 10 years or more of aging.

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Closel (Château des Vaults) 2014 Savennières Clos du Papillon

"The Clos du papillon is a small valley at mid slope, beautifully exposed southwest to the light of the Loire. There are schist, rhyolite but also quartz. The topsoil layer is very shallow (60 cm) which provides excellent drainage for rainwater. The vine growing conditions are difficult, forcing it to develop its roots deep in the rock cracks to draw nutrients. The climate in that parcel allows for a level of highly advanced maturity, with grapes that concentrate aromas under the action of botrytis.  The body and the very long finish make the Clos du Papillon a gastronomic wine to accompany lobster, scallops, smoked fish, Turbots, Saint Peter. It is also interesting with delicate white meats such as veal or capon, along with truffles or mushrooms. Classic mountain cheeses like old Salers, or 5 to 6 years old Comté are equally delicious with this great Savennières." -  Domaine du Closel.  2014 is a great vintage for Loire whites, combining excellent ripeness with bright acidity and great balance - the Clos du Papillon shows beautiful aromas of ripe pear and quince with honeysuckle, lime-flower and dried herbs with hints of smoke and earth.  The palate is superb, very ripe and dense with white fruits, citrus, almond and stone with very firm lemony acidity and mineral flavors. The finsih is very long with bitter lemon and saline minerals. Drinking beautifully now, this should age well, peak drinking perhaps 2020 to 2025 and beyond. David Lillie

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Closel (Château des Vaults) 2014 Savennières La Jalousie

This year we're featuring Chenin Blanc in our Thanksgiving email with two great choices from the Loire Valley. These beautiful  wines are great food pairings due to their unique combination of ripe fruit, firm acidity and saline minerals that complement the full-flavored dishes of the holiday table. The 2014 La Jalousie is a particularly great choice as the vintage gave  the wine luscious ripeness while retaining the bright acidity so important for balance and freshness.

Evelyn de Pontebriand took over her parents’ estate in 2001 after a long career teaching French literature all over the world. As a lover of all things botanical, it did not take long for her to convert the estate to strictly organic farming and she continues to experiment with different vineyard management techniques in her quest to highlight Savennière's austere terroir. Her work in the cellar is very traditional with fermentations occurring naturally with indigenous yeasts and SO2 is used in miniscule doses only if needed. The Chenin Blanc vines from the La Jalousie parcel are 15-20 years old and are planted in sandstone and decomposed quartz schist soils. On the nose it shows classic Savennières aromas of stone fruits, papaya, mango, and waxy citrus fruits. The palate is quite full-bodied and offers luscious tropical fruit anchored by minerals and more juicy citrus. The 2014 is the finest La Jalousie in many years - beautifully balanced and delicious now, but would be interesting to taste in 5-10 years! Tim Gagnon 

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Closel (Château des Vaults) 2015 Savennières Clos du Papillon

The 2015 Clos du Papillon has just arrived in NY - it promises to be a great vintage for this wonderful Savennières, certainly one of the top wines of the appellation. We will post a tasting note ASAP, meanwhile here is information from the domain's website:

"The Clos du papillon is a small valley at mid slope, beautifully exposed southwest to the light of the Loire. There are schist, rhyolite but also quartz. The topsoil layer is very shallow (60 cm) which provides excellent drainage for rainwater. The vine growing conditions are difficult, forcing it to develop its roots deep in the rock cracks to draw nutrients. The climate in that parcel allows for a level of highly advanced maturity. With grapes that concentrate aromas under the action of Botrytis. The Clos du papillon is harvested in two selections : The first selection during the « Fresh Fruit aroma » period and the second one later with some botrytis during the « cooked fruit, quince and smoked aromas » period. Both selections are put in barrels and assembled 16 months later. The wine then remains a few months in vats. This assemblage of the two styles of grapes results in a full bodied wine, with a citrus finish on very first attack, followed by sensations of ripe and exotic fruit with a very distinguished touch of bitterness or toasted almonds on the finish. The long aging on the lees gives it a nice smoothness. The « brandy » nose is characterized by aromas of evolution. The body and the very long finish make the Clos du Papillon a gastronomic wine to accompany lobster, scallops, smoked fish, Turbots, Saint Peter. It is also interesting with delicate white meats such as veal or capon, along with truffles or mushrooms. Classic mountain cheeses like old Salers, or 5 to 6 years old Comté are equally delicious with this great Savennières."

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Domaine Aux Moines 2015 Savennieres Roche Aux Moines

This is a superb Savennières-Roche aux Moines, reminding me a bit of the old-fashioned style with it's intriguing herbal, honeyed white fruit aromas. The palate shows the more modern style, with lovely ripeness of white fruits, pear and quince, backed by firm acidity and the wonderful stony mineral character of Savennières, with terrific length. This is a fascinating wine and highly recommended.  David Lillie

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Ecu (Bossard & Van Herck) 2014 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Granite

The Domaine de l'Ecu "Granite" is always among the greatest of Muscadets and a testament to the heroic efforts of Guy Bossard - certified organic in 1975 and Biodynamic in 1998. Frequently a bit musty and closed in it's youth, the 2014 Granite shows surprisingly ripe aromas of dried pear, lime-flower, candied almond, citrus and stone. (On day two, the aromas have become more elegant, complex and quite beautiful) There is ample cool acidity on the palate framing the complex white fruits, stone, citrus and almond flavors that continue on the long very mineral finish. This is a great vintage for Granite - absolutely wonderful now and over the next fifteen years or more...

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Luneau-Papin 2015 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Excelsior

Made only in exceptional vintages, the Luneau-Papin "Excelsior - Clos des Noelles" is one of my favorite Muscadets, usually a bit rounder than the granite-soil "L D'Or" but always aromatically complex and with great intensity and length.   The massale-selection vines were planted in 1936 on a terroir of "micaschistes a deux micas," (lieu-dit "La Plecisiere") exposed full south. The grapes are hand-harvested and undergo a slow wild yeast fermentation with 36 months of aging on the lees. The 2015 shows subtle, complex aromas of bitter lemon, lime-flower, melon, pear, mint, almond and stone.  The palate is silky, crystalline and dense with white fruits, lemon zest, almond, smoke and wet stone with fabulous length of pear, minerals and taut acidity.  Please decant if drinking now, serve with any elegant seafood dish. Cellar five to fifteen years and serve with richer fish dishes, white meats, rabbit. Beautiful wine!  David Lillie

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Pepiere 2013 Muscadet Sevre et Maine Monnieres-Saint Fiacre

Domaine de la Pépière has produced this lovely Cru Communal, in the new appellation Muscadet Monnières-Saint Fiacre from old vines on gneiss terroir with topsoils of sand and gravel, formerly part of the Cuvée Eden and Gras Moutons. Slow two month fermentation followed by 24 months of aging on the lees.  This is a scintillating Muscadet from a somewhat difficult year, showing aromas of bitter lemon, apple, pear, white pepper and herbs. The palate is austere and bright with stone, citrus and white fruits that continue on the mineral-infused finish. This is a great success for the vintage and is a perfect, and very elegant accompaniment to oysters, grilled fish and baked cod and flounder or any mild fish you can name, roast chicken too! Even better, cellar this wine for ten or more years to reveal its depth and complexity.

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Pépière 2015 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Clos Briords V V

(First produced in 2008, this great Muscadet is made from a three hectare parcel of old massale-selection vines (all over 60 years old, with a high percentage much older) on a slope above the Maine. The bedrock is Granite de Château Thébaud, a fissured rock that allows the vines to penetrate deeply, with ideal thin topsoils of clay, with sand and gravel allowing good drainage.) The 2015 vintage was a great relief to vignerons in the Loire and elsewhere as generally sunny, dry weather brought an ample harvest with good yields for the first time since 2010. In the words of Remi Branger: "For a description of the 2015 vintage, we had a quite beautiful growing season and dry weather in August (the grapes were lacking a bit of water), then at the end of August we had rain, but a bit too much, and this swelled the grapes. Fortunately the grapes stayed healthy and the harvest was beautiful, on September 10th, with good acidity, but a bit less concentration than in 2014. The 2015 Briords has developed well - personally, I find it quite fine and precise." Fine is a good description for the 2015 Briords. It shows subtle aromas of white fruits - pear and apple, nice ripeness,  with wet stone and herbal notes. The palate is predominantly minerals with citrus and stone flavors, dried pear and thyme, with good length, quite focused and very elegant, with a crystalline structure and very firm acidity in the finish. At 12% alcohol, the wine has lovely balance and will drink beautifully young - it should develop the secondary aromas and flavors of mature Muscadet at 5 to 8 years and drink well for another 10 years. Thanks to the team at Pépière for another lovely Clos des Briords!

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Pépière 2017 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Briords Vieilles Vignes

(Last of stock!) First produced in 1988, this great Muscadet is made from a three hectare parcel of old massale-selection vines (all over 60 years old, with a high percentage much older) on a slope above the Maine. The bedrock is Granite de Château Thébaud, a fissured rock that allows the vines to penetrate deeply, with ideal thin topsoils of clay, with sand and gravel allowing good drainage.)  The warm winter and early spring of 2017 in much of France brought early development to the vines, followed by a hard freeze at the end of April that killed the developing leaves and grapes. Losses were high in many parts of France, especially in the Loire Valley, and hot, dry summer weather further lessened the yields. Fortunately the quality of the resulting wines, is frequently outstanding as is the case with the superb 2017 Domaine de la Pépière "Briords." The harvest started two weeks early, on the 29th of August, bringing in ripe grapes with a lovely balance of maturity and acidity. The aromas are classic Briords, with white fruits, citrus rind, almond and stone with hints of white pepper and anise. The palate shows nice ripeness and density, a bit closed, with wet stone and citrus and very firm acidity underlying the tart white fruits. This is a tight and classy Briords that will need a decant if drinking young, preferably wait three to five years and drink until 2035(?).  David Lillie

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Ganevat 2005 Côtes du Jura Savagnin Cuvée Prestige

In keeping with everything else great about Ganevat is the fact he does not use any cultured yeast in the winery. While many producers of sous voile wines use selected yeast to lend a more "oxidative" character to the wine, Ganevat works with only what voile develops naturally. For those unfamiliar with this style of wine-making, "sous-voile" refers to a layer of yeast that covers the top of the wine while it's in cask and allows a very slow transference of oxygen to the wine. Ganevat's cuvèe Prestige offers intense savory aromas of walnut skin and chicken stock mingling with a fascinating mustiness. All the ripeness and concentration of the vintage comes out on the palate with its yellow fruit notes and high acidity. This is a must-drink for all serious Jura enthusiasts. -msb

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Descombes, Georges 2011 Morgon Tres Vieilles Vignes "Vermont"

This special cuvée of Morgon (3,000 bottles) was made from vines more than 100 years old - the last vintage before replanting - and the wine was aged in one and two year-old barrels.

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Bagnol 2019 Cassis Rosé

We love rosés from Cassis - a great location and terroir for wine despite the chic little town and hordes of tourists. The 2019 Domaine du Bagnol has just arrived, here's an assessment from importer Neal Rosenthal: "The dynamic Sébastien Genovesi describes 2019 as a beautiful harvest, one for which a sorting table was virtually unnecessary, and his family’s domaine produced 15% more wine than in the similarly warm and dry 2018. Domaine du Bagnol’s rigorous vineyard practices (organic-certified since 2014) and careful, precise cellar work have resulted in wines of increased harmony and complexity with each passing year, and this vintage of their Cassis Rosé represents a new pinnacle for a justly beloved cuvée. Comprising 50% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, and 20% Mourvèdre, the rose-petal-colored 2019 was pressed directly and rapidly (in under two hours) to extract as little color as possible, and the bottled wine contains only 20 milligrams per liter of total sulfur—a factor which contributes to its gorgeous purity of texture and precise, intense evocation of limestone soil. "

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Clos du Rouge Gorge (Cyril Fhal) 2013 VdP des Côtes Catalanes Vieilles Vignes

90% Carignan, 10% Grenache, from  70 to 100 year-old vines on north and east facing slopes on terroir of gneiss. Yields of 15 to 20 hl/ha. Light foot pressing, whole bunch fermentation in wooden vats. Light extraction at low temperature, no pumping over or cap punching, 12 months in 500 liter barrel and old barriques. Bottled unfiltered, by gravity, total SO2 less than 20 mg/liter. Wild aromas of blackberry, black cherry, violet, musk, mint, spice and earth. The palate is intense with black fruit, spice, cocoa and mineral flavors backed by very firm acidity. This has tightened up since bottling - decant many hours if serving now - a profound wine that will drink best perhaps 2020 - 2030.

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  • Organic
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Garon 2010 Côte-Rôtie La Sybarine

From 25 year-old vines in the parcels "Goutay" and "Mollard" on the Cote Blonde with mostly decomposed granite soils. 100% Syrah, 9,000 vines per hectare, 80 % destemmed, aged in two to eight year old barrels. This is only the second vintage for La Sybarine, a cuvee that shows the more forward fruit of these parcels on granite. The aromas are lovely, mostly blackberry and strawberry confit with violet and citrus notes along with hints of grilled bacon. The palate shows lush red fruits with blood orange and floral notes, lifted by good acidity. The finish is long with deep fruit confit ending with dark earthy mineral acids. This is a beautiful Côte-Rôtie to drink young and over the next ten years, and it's a sensational value.

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Garon 2010 Côte-Rôtie Les Rochins

From fifteen to twenty year-old vines, planted at 10,000 vines per hectare, in the lieu-dit "les Rochins" a very steep parcel next to La Landonne and Cote Rozier on shist soils with iron and clay, giving dark, full-bodied wines that need time. The wine shows deep, creamy blackberry and black cherry liqueur, with herbs, brown spice and hints of smoked meat and vanillin. The palate is very full, round and deep with creamy berry fruit that coats the mouth. Not hot or forced, at 13% alc, it benefits from the acidity and brightness of the 2010 vintage. There is some oak presence that needs to integrate — perhaps wait five to seven years before drinking.  Says Livingston-Learmonth in DrinkRhône "There is flamboyant fruit on the finish. Great potential, a Grand Vin whose balance is good, has a very good foundation...Proper good wine." Need we mention that other top Côte-Rôties will retail for $150 to $300?

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Gripa 2015 Saint-Peray Les Figuiers

This little-known wine from Bernard and Fabrice Gripa is one of the most delicious and fascinating whites of the Northern Rhône. From 50 to 60 yeal-old vines in Saint-Peray, 60% Roussanne and 40% Marsanne.

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Laguerre 2015 Côtes du Roussillon Le Ciste Blanc

(On Sale through June 9th Was $17.99)  Eric Laguerre's "Le Ciste," (named after a flowering bush in and around his vineyards) is certainly one of the most distinctive whites of the Roussillon. Grown in Eric's high-elevation vineyards on acidic soils of decomposed granite, the wine is made from Marsanne, Roussanne, Rolle (Vermentino), Grenache Blanc and Maccabeu. Yields are about 20 Hl/Ha, harvesting is by hand in small baskets, fermentation (wild yeasts) and aging is in small barrels. Complex aromas of lemon oil, thyme, hay and white fruits—a lovely melange with contributions from each variety and especially showing the Marsanne and Roussanne in 2015. The palate is dense, stony and saline with herbal, citrus, almond and white fruit flavors. The finish is long with mineral acids and white fruits that linger on the palate. Complex and distinctive as a young wine, this will accompany grilled fish as well as fish and chicken in sauce and goat cheeses, and should develop nicely with a few years of cellaring. Really a Grand Cru of the Roussillon and a great value! DL 

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  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Laguerre 2016 Côtes du Roussillon Le Ciste Blanc

"Le Ciste" is named after a flowering bush that grows around the Laguerre's steep, organic vineyards in Saint-Martin de Fenouillet. The 2016 is made from equal parts Marsanne, Roussanne, Rolle (Vermentino), Grenache Blanc and a small addition of Macabeu. Each parcel is hand-harvested, the grapes are fermented separately with native yeasts and raised in used demi-muid. This superlative cuvée is a fascinating showcase of the Roussillon's mighty terrior. The acidic soils of decomposed granite give this wine excellent mineral tension that deepens with time in bottle. Aromas are intricately woven with notes of bright lemon oil, verbena, sage, and salty seashells. The palate is supple and round with generous flavors of pear, white flowers, thyme, and almond framed by pure mineral acidity. This is a fantastic wine that is delicouis now but will develop a beautiful honeyed texture and rich flavors after 5-10 years in bottle. Eric recommends pairing this with sardines on toast, goat cheeses, and roasted chicken. Amanda Bowman

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  • white
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  • $19.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Levet 2009 Côte-Rôtie Chavaroche

Mostly from Petite Serine planted in the 1950s on Chavaroche, a superb parcel of granite and schist soils with clay and sand (just west of Cote Brune) a very warm terraced plot sheltered from the north wind. Whole-bunch fermentation, aged one year in old barrels, one year in 15% new, 85% old casks. The 2009 Chavaroche is a magnificent Côte-Rôtie with surprising structure and acidity for the vintage - in fact Nicole Levet suggests drinking the 2010 before the 2009. Superb, elegant nose of deep black fruits, stone and game with hints of cocoa. (Albert Dervieux-Thaise once told me that a good Côte-Rôtie should smell like "le ventre d'un lièvre chaud" (the gut of a warm hare) This is not that rustic, but definitely has distinctive aromas). The palate is bursting with stony blackberry fruit, with brown spice, citrus, smoke and licorice. This seems softer than the 2010 to me but there is ample lifting acidity and freshness to carry the wine into old age. This is a big, gorgeous Côte-Rôtie that will be a joy to drink over the next 15 to 20 years!

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Levet 2017 Côte-Rôtie La Chavaroche

100% Syrah, 60% from Chavaroche (1940s), 40% from Mollard, Côte brune, Côte Blonde (1978-80), whole bunch fermentation, 3 week vinification in 50 hl concrete vats, cap is immersed, twice daily pumping overs, held at 29°C aged 30% new, 70% used oak casks, barrels 24 months.

From Importer Neal Rosenthal: "The crown jewel of the Levet family’s holdings is a 1.2-hectare parcel of old vines at the very summit of the great La Chavaroche vineyard, and the wine they summon from this dizzying slope is among the most iconic in our entire portfolio. Always arrestingly wild, “La Chavaroche” possesses an unmistakable musk: a warm-animal profile that feels somehow ancient and unknowable, a sort of profound riddle of terroir." Drink over the next 20 to 30 years.

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Paris, Vincent 2015 Cornas La Geynale

The Vincent Paris Cornas "La Geynale" is 85% from the top of La Geynale, including vines from 1910, 15% from Tezier. 80 - 85% whole bunch fermentation, with wild yeasts, aged in 2 - 10 year-old casks. This is one of the top Cornas of 2015.

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Rousset 2009 Crozes-Hermitage Les Picaudieres

(From a steep terraced vineyard in Gervans, granite with some clay/limestone, vines averaging 60 years-old, certainly one of the best sites in the appellation. Aged 16 months, 30% foudre, 70% burgundy barrels, new to 7 year-old) Fabulous aromas of black fruits with hints of olive, smoke and garrigue. The palate is dense, not heavy, with a core of mineral acidity that lifts the fruit. Great balance for a 2009 and obviously built to age. Peak drinking perhaps at 5 to 15 years. Highly recommended.

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  • red
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Rousset 2015 Crozes-Hermitage Blanc (Old Vine Marsanne)

From 60 to 90 year-old vines in the hillside vineyards of "les Vedias" and "Tout" in Erome, decomposed granite with clay and gravel - great terroir producing this serious but overlooked wine from the Rousset family.  The Rousset Crozes Blanc is outstanding in 2015 and is one of the finest white wine values in the store! It's an intense and delicious Marsanne showing elegant aromas of lemon, stone, dried pear, almond, apricot and hay - really lovely. The palate is dense, mineral and balanced by firm acidity with citrus, pear, grilled almond, anise and herbal flavors, with a long stone and citrus finish. Delicious in its youth, this will benefit from a few years in the cellar and should be quite interesting in 2025. Serve with white meats, full-flavored fish dishes or provençal fish soup and a wide variety of cheeses. David Lillie 

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  • white
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Rousset 2015 Crozes-Hermitage Les Picaudières

Les Picaudières is perhaps the best vineyard in Crozes-Hermitage, formerly owned by Raymond Roure and now tended by Stéphane Rousset. It's a steep slope of granite terraces, isolated in an oak forest facing due south and protected from the wind. (In the opinion of Livingston-Learmonth in "Wines of the Northern Rhône" wine from Les Picaudières is "certainly better" than many Hermitage from the eastern part of the hill.) The vines range from 20 to 80 years-old. The grapes are hand-harvested and mostly de-stemmed. The wine ages 16 months, 40% in foudre, 60% in burgundy barrels, new to 5 year-old.  "Les Picaudières 2015  was harvested on September 21st,  after a very dry period in late August. The vines profited from the rains in September to finish the maturation" said Stéphane, givng grapes in perfect condition at 13% alcohol. The 2015 shows a deep red/black color with elegant aromas of blackberry, black cherry, bitter chocolate, black olive earth and menthol. The palate shows bright berry liqueurs with deeper earthy black fruits , black pepper, cocoa and mineral flavors with ample tannins and a long saline finish of black fruits and firm acidity. This is a superb northern Rhône Syrah that can be enjoyed young, especially with grilled foods, but best to wait five to ten years and drink until 2035 and beyond. Highly recommended.   David Lillie

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Texier 2011 Côte-Rôtie Vieilles Vignes

(Note from 2013) Eric Texier's Côte-Rôtie is always one of the finest, especially to those who appreciate a traditional whole-cluster fermentation and aging in old barrels. The 2011 shows highly perfumed crushed raspberry and red currant, very floral with animal notes, graphite and menthol. Dense blackberry and blueberry on the palate, with stone, animal, floral and citrus with a firm finish of stony acidity. On day two the wine has tightened and firmed-up showing good structure for a 2011. Not for long-term aging perhaps, but ten to fifteen years from now this should be extremely pretty. 2012 should be excellent here as well, but prices will be higher...

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Texier 2011 Cotes du Rhone Brezeme

Eric Texier has once again produced an elegant and delicious Syrah from his vines in Brézème — lovely black and blueberry aromas with  hints of violet, olive and musk with a soft and supple palate. A bit rounder than the bright 2010 but perhaps more delicious and enjoyable young, with lovely fruit clinging on the soft but long finish...yum!

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