The tiny cellar at Chateau Planquette

Planquette: Real Wine from the Medoc! Affordable 2010 Burgundies!? Guion, Baudry, Rousset and More!

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Early in last winter's trip to France, Eben and I left our lovely biodynamic friends the Huberts in Bourg and Blaye and ventured across the Gironde to the grand chateaux of the Haut-Médoc and their neatly herbicided vineyards. Pressing north through the rain and sleet past Saint-Éstephe, the castles and vineyards gave way to farms and fields, interspersed with vines around the towns of Saint-Christoly and Saint-Yzans. Here, on high ground of gravel and clay over the limestone plateau, we found two long-time organic estates doing great work in the vineyard, producing elegant wines from Cabernet and Merlot that we are proud to offer at Chambers Street. The first to arrive is Didier Michaud's Chateau Planquette. M. Michaud farms 1.7 hectares in Saint Yzans and Couqueques, equal parts Cab and Merlot with a small percentage of an old strain of Petit Verdot, organic since 1978. The grapes are hand-harvested in small baskets and undergo a long fermentation with wild yeasts, with no attempt to extract - "more of an infusion" says M. Michaud, followed by two years in old barriques. There are no additives or corrections except for a small addition of sulfur - the finished wine is analyzed at 3 mg/liter total SO2. Certified organic by Ecocert and labeled simply "Planquette" Vin de France - we hope you try it! -DL

Other recent arrivals include the return of Stephan Guion's lovely Bourgueils.  These are the last 30 cases of his wonderful 2010 Prestige - if you'd like a wine that will cellar brilliantly for 20 to 30 years at $12.99, pick-up a case before it's gone. Also featured this week: the last remaining 2010 Burgundies from Lafouge, Billard, Bouvier and Magnien; the last inventory of the lovely 2010 Chinon Cuvée Domaine from Baudry; the return of Domaine Rousset in Crozes-Hermitage, and two lovely lush reds from the south of France, perfect for barbeques...

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Guion 2011 Bourgueil Cuvée Domaine

Another lovely cuvèe Domaine from Stephane Guion, this version a little softer and more supple than the 2010. Pretty floral raspberry/strawberrry aromas, the palate has berry fruits with the firm, earthy acidity always present in Stephan's wines. Good length and balance, this will get better over the next few years and is one of the greatest values in the store. Serve cool. (Organic farming since the 1960s, hand-harvested, wild-yeast fermentation.)

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $11.99

Lafouge 2010 Auxey-Duresses Rouge

One of our favorite, if somewhat unknown domains of Burgundy, Jean Lafouge and his son Gilles make classic, balanced, beautiful Burgundies at affordable prices. Their village level Auxey-Duresses is always lovely and a great value — here's John Gilman's review of the 2010: "The 2010 Auxey "villages" from Domaine Lafouge will drink very well indeed with only a few years of bottle age and shows off the great purity and transparency of the vintage. The young and classy nose offers up scents of cherries, a touch of quince woodsmoke, gamebirds, incipient notes of sous bois and a gently spicy topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, fullish, pure and nicely structured, with good mid-palate depth, moderate tannins and a long, tangy and soil driven finish. Best 2015 to 2030."

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  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $26.99

Lafouge 2010 Auxey-Duresses 1er Cru Les Duresses

Lovely cherry and blackfruit aromas, hints of earth and citrus, fairly full on the palate, very chalky with good acidity and length. As with the La Chapelle, this is enjoyable now but will benefit from a few years in the cellar and will keep nicely another 10 — 15 years. Highly recommended.

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  • red
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  • $33.99

Billard 2010 Bourgogne Cuvèe Milliane Vieilles Vignes

Domaine Gabriel Billard is owned by Laurence Jobard and her sister Mireille. Their four hectares of parcels in and around Beaune and Pommard have a very high percentage of old vines. While not organic, only natural composts are used, with minimal treatments in the vines and regular light tilling ("griffage") and wild-yeast fermentations, of course, with approximately 20% new barrels depending on the cuvée. This excellent Bourgogne Rouge is from old vines adjacent to Pommard. Elegant aromas of tart cherry and black fruits with hints of licorice and dried flowers, the palate is medium bodied with red currant and cherry fruit with good balancing acidity and terrfic length. This is a great value in red Burgundy — while it's drinking well now, it will benefit from decanting or a few years in the cellar.

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  • red
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  • $23.99

Billard 2010 Beaune 1er Cru Les Epenotes

This wine is delightful in 2010. Beautiful high-toned red fruit aromas lead to a balanced and elegant palate with fabulous intensity and length. Drink it now for it's youthful exuberance or hold five years. Lovely wine!

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  • red
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  • $39.99

Billard 2010 Pommard 1er Cru Les Charmots

From eighty-plus year-old vines in this great Pommard premier cru vineyard. Showing the strength of this great vintage in Burgundy, the wine shows fabulously complex aromas of red and black fruits. The palate is dense and structured, while remaining light on its' feet and well-balanced. Very long and very elegant, this wine is built to last and represents fabulous value in this great vintage.

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  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $51.99

Bouvier, René 2010 Bourgogne Le Chapitre

Le Chapitre is a tiny vineyard in Chenove, north of Marsannay, bravely resisting the sprawl of Dijon. A well-known site in the Middle Ages, the soil here is similar to mid-slope in Marsannay and gives a lovely, earthy light-bodied Burgundy. The 2010 is a bit brighter than the 2009, with lovely red-currant and strawberry/cherry aromas. The palate is medium-bodied, very elegant and dense, needs time to open. A day later the fruit has deepened to earthy black cherry with a bit of roasted character in the fruit, very mineral and long. Reminds me of the Roty "Pressonnier," with terrific length, while remaining balanced. A Burgundy with real character at a reasonable price. Hold three to five years for peak drinking.

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  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $22.99

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.

  • Out of Stock
  • red
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  • $26.99

Rousset 2009 Crozes-Hermitage

From hillside vineyards in Erôme, Gervans and Crozes, mostly granite with some limestone/clay, average age 45 years, aged 30% in foudre, 70% in 1–to–7 year-old Burgundy barrels. Lovely, ripe aromas of herbal red fruits with smoky blackberry. The palate is full but not heavy, blackberry with licorice and spice. Good length. An excellent Crozes that will drink well over the next five years.

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  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $18.99

Rousset 2011 Saint-Joseph

From 60 year-old vines in "Les Rivoires" on the lower slope in Tournon, granite soils. Aged 12 months, 30% foudre, 70% 2 to 5 year-old barrels. Gorgeous, cool blackberry and blueberry fruit, very elegant with hints of musk and menthol. Really pretty. The palate is medium-bodied with good acidity and length, red and balck fruits with citrus and earth. This wine will be superb served quite cool this summer, or hold for 5 to 8 years for a mature experience.

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $24.99

Rousset 2011 Crozes-Hermitage Blanc Traditionnel

From 60 year-old Marsanne vines on a steep granite slope adjacent to Les Picaudieres. Creamy lemon and exotic fruit aromas with white fruits and hay. The palate is firm and full with mineral notes and earthy white fruits. Terrific length with good acidity. This is lovely now but will probably be best in 3 to 5 years — really a great value!

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

Le Temps des Cerises (Prufer) 2011 Vin de Table Fou du Roi

We think Axel Prufer in Saint Chinian is one of the most successful southern vignerons we know at making low alcohol, fresh, vibrant wines in the Languedoc. 2011 Fou du Roi is a blend of Grenache, Carignan, and Cinsault that is made using "carbo" (carbonic maceration: a practice common in the Beaujolais that yields a fresh and fruit-forward wine). The wine is "pure jus" or without any additions of sulfur. The nose offers pure red fruits and the palate is pretty and complex, showing ripe, spicy flavors of the south but rendered very cleanly and delicately and at 12% alcohol. A lovely warm weather red that tastes best with a light chill. -msb  

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $22.99

Mas Coutelou 2011 Vin de France "A Touch of Class in a Glass"

In all honesty, we rebelled against the label and we rebelled against the name, but when we tasted the wine, we had to buy it. Comprising the Syrah that used to go into Coutelou's "Les Vignes Hautes" bottling, this wine is deep, spicy, juicy, and balanced, with sweet toned black fruits such as blackberry and black plum. The grapes are grown on red clay and quartz soil... and no you'll never mistake it for a Syrah from the Rhône. This wine is also "pur jus," or no added sulfur. We surmise that it would pair very well with an outdoor barbeque. -msb

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $18.99