Chinon, Old and New - Featuring Baudry Domaine 2010!

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The arrival of the 2010 Baudry Chinon Cuvée Domaine is really a reason to rejoice. This small production from Bernard and Matthieu is one of my favorite house reds, with the added bonus that it ages beautifully as well. While it must be said that this vintage is not as ready to drink as in past years, it is a wonderfully balanced and complex Chinon and a superb value at the price. Decant or open the night before if drinking now, cellar five to ten years for peak enjoyment. Our second shipment of the Baudry's magnificent 2010 Les Grezeaux has also arrived, and if this superb wine is not in your cellar, it should be. The gravel terroir also makes this gorgeous wine a great delight when young! Moving backwards in time we are offering the unique 2004 Chinon Les Roches from Alain and Jerome Lenoir. This tiny estate in Beaumont produces one of the most old-fashioned wines in the appellation, giving us a delicious glimpse of Chinons from before the war. While 2002 was a truly great vintage for white wines in the Loire, the reds have always seemed to be under-achievers. The 2002 Olga Raffault Les Picasses gets more and more interesting as it ages, with one of the most secondary flavor profiles of any recent Chinon. The first vintages we bought from Olga Raffault were 1987 and 1988, two somewhat difficult vintages that were difficult to sell - "where's the fruit?" said the critics. And then, fortunately,  came 1989,  the greatest vintage for Loire reds since 1947.  Any chance to obtain a few more bottles should be taken advantage of. While 1990, being the second warm dry year, produced wines with a bit less acidity and balance, the wine is aging well and it too will bring great pleasure to lovers of old Chinon. While we may be singing to the choir, we think that fine Chinon is one of the worlds greatest wines to cellar, regardless of price! (Please 2 - bottle max per person on the 89 and 90. Hopefully the Raffaults will keep the small quantities coming in. All wines discount 10% with a 12-bottle purchase)

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Baudry 2010 Chinon Les Grézeaux

2010 is a great vintage for Les Grezeaux, perhaps even better than the superb 2009. Baudry's two cuvees on predominantly gravel terroirs, Les Granges and Les Grezeaux, seem perfectly balanced in this less-ripe vintage, and the old vines in Les Grezeaux have yielded a beautiful wine. The aromas are complex and lovely with floral red and black fruits, the palate is balanced, earthy and long with ripe strawberry, cherry and black fruits that are persisitant and balanced with a super refreshing finish. Les Grezeaux is a precocious wine, always enjoyable in its youth, and yet there is acidity and structure here that will allow long term aging, as the happy owners of the great 1989 – still drinking beautifully – can attest to. This wine is very highly recommended – it will bring great pleasure for many years and is a beautiful example of the great work being done by Bernard and Matthieu Baudry and family. (Case price $23.39 per bottle)

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  • red
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  • $29.99

Baudry 2009 Chinon Le Clos Guillot

The Clos Guillot is a superb parcel on a limestone slope in the commune of Chinon with clay and "tuffeau" soils. Fermentation in wooden cuves with pigeages, 12 months of aging in two to five year-old barriques. A Burgundian style of Chinon, the 2009 has gorgeous red currant, black fruit and kirsch aromas with floral hints. The palate is deep, round, supple and fresh with a lovely finish. This is a superb, elegant bottle of Chinon, perhaps best in 5 to 15 years. "A dynamite wine in the making" says John Gilman in The View from the Cellar, "in perfect balance and only requires some time alone in the cellar to really blossom. A superb wine."

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  • $29.99

Baudry 2009 Chinon La Croix Boissée

From a small south facing hillside parcel of clay over limestone. Long fermentation in wooden cuves, 18 month aging in one to three year-old barrels. Less extraction than in previous vintages and longer wood aging. Complex black fruit aromas, floral red and black fruits on the palate. Slight oak, firm tannins with chalky red fruits on the long finish. A great Chinon that will age beautifully!

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  • red
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  • $39.99

Breton, Catherine et Pierre 2010 Chinon Beaumont

The Breton's Chinon Beaumont is from old vines on  limestone parcels in the commune of Saint-Louans, home of some of the greatest terroirs of Chinon. Possessing the earthy and mineral qualities of clay/limestone Chinon, this wine is more structured than usual and will benefit from 5 to 8 years of aging. The palate is dense but lean with beautifully integrated ripe fruit and and stimulating acidity. This is the best Beaumont the Bretons have made and would happily satisfy the thirst of Gargantua! Highly recommended.

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  • red
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  • $26.99

Lenoir, Alain et Jerome 2004 Chinon Les Roches

Alain Lenoir and his son Jerome produce this beautful old-fashioned Chinon on about 3 hectares, near les Picasses, just east of Beaumont. The soils are very thin, only 4 to 8 inches of clay and sand above the limestone "tuf" and the vines range from 50 to 100 years old, replaced as needed mostly by marcotage. Hand-harvesting of course (the vines are ajacent to the cave) with wild-yeast fermentations and about three years of aging in old barrels and foudres. The wine is bottle unfiltered and kept for an additional few years before sale, thus the 2004 is the current release. The wine has very complex mature aromas of strawberry and blackberry confit with hints of earth, ash, smoke and game. Really a great nose of the earthiest Chinons. The palate has dense blackberry and red currant fruit, with game and mineral flavors but is relatively light in weight with ample acidity. This will benefit from another few years in bottle. A bit of a rustic finish perhaps, but really a lovely wine that is full of character. Thanks to the Lenoirs for continuing the old ways and to importer Guilhaume Gerard for bringing small quantities to the US.

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  • $23.99

Raffault, Olga 2002 Chinon Les Picasses

On our first visit to Domaine Raffault, a push-pin was put on New York on the world map to show their first export to the US, Olga told a few off-color jokes and Ernest kept bringing older and older bottles from the cellar. I remember thinking how the less than great vintages showed beautifully — light, fragrant, complex, gamey, vegetal? and delicious. 2002, while a great vintage for whites, was a bit less successful for reds in the Loire. The 2002 Les Picasses seemed a bit light on release, but time has revealed a lovely Burgundian Chinon, with pretty citrus, plum and strawberry aromas, with hints of smoke, leather and wet earth. Soft and lovely on the palate with nice depth of gamey, chalky red fruits, tobacco and spice. Lovely, and it will just keep on going...

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  • red
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  • $34.99

  • Organic

Raffault, Olga 1990 Chinon Les Picasses

Another great vintage for the Raffault "Les Picasses," 1990 was the second of two hot, dry summers, producing wines that were lush, round and very ripe but lacking the perfect balance of the 1989s. Having said that, many people have preferred this vintage to 1989, finding it more velvety and forward. 

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  • red
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  • $67.99