The Cellar of a True Wine Devotée - Part Two

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French Wine! Read the list and you can tell that this is from someone who really cares about wine; trophy is in the mind of the beholder.

While the volume of labels is large, the quantities of each wine is small. To avoid disappointment, go to the listing of the article on the website. If you refresh the page, you will see live inventory.

Foreau (Domaine du Clos Naudin) 2005 Vouvray Demi-Sec

13.9% alcohol with 20 grams of residual sugar. A superbly elegant Vouvray that is drinking beautifully now. Subtle and lovely exotic fruit, citrus and honey aromas with hints of red fruits (reminiscent of the Chidaine "Les Bournais"). The palate is perfectly balanced with great acidity and mineral character holding up the sweet fruit. A great apéritif, or serve with lobster or perhaps with a great mild cheese or lemony desert... Highly recommended.

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  • $149.99

Huet 1996 Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux 1er Trie

A great vintage for Huet's sweet wines — lacking the high sugars of 1997 but ripe enough and with perfect acidity which will carry them a long way. The Le Mont 1er Trie is just beginning to open up and would be great fun to drink now, but better yet, put it away for another 20 years and find a reason for living! 67 gr/l RS, 5.9 gr/l acid, 12.5 % alc. ("de très longue garde" says the Huet website!)

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Huet 2005 Vouvray Cuvée Constance 500ml

Forward and open which is unusual for Constance. Beautifully knit palate and very long with exceptional purity and at least 75 years ahead of it. DL

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Huet 2005 Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux 1er Trie

85 grams/liter RS, 12.8 % Alc 50% Passerillage, 50% Botrytis. A lovely, balanced Moelleux that will age nicely, peak drinking probably 10 to 30 years away. Yummy now if you can't wait, a great wine.

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Bouchard, Cedric 2010 Champagne Infloresence Blanc de Noirs Val Vilaine R

This is an extremely pretty wine with luxurious yet delicate, creamy texture and notes of red and purple fruits on the nose. There's almost a quality of raspberries and cream about the wine in spite of its dryness, cut, and lingering minerality. As is often the case with Cédric Bouchard's wines, this feels effortlessly, perfectly dry but not overly austere. The wine is from a vineyard called "Val Vilaine" in Polisy, just a few kilometers away from Celles-sur-Ource where Cédric is based. Less than 1.5 hectares, the vineyard is owned by Cédric's father but worked by Cédric himself. Trust us; you want to drink this. (disgorged April, 2012)

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Dosnon and Lepage, 750ml NV Champagne Aube Avirey-Lingey Recolte Noire Brut

A new outfit, Dosnon and Lepage own two hectares in Avirey-Lingey and source the remaining fruit from surrounding vineyards. Their philosophy is open — the vines are worked organically, they are relying more and more on indigenous yeasts for fermentation, sometimes the wine goes through malo sometimes not, sometimes they employ batonnage sometimes not. The Blanc de Noire is from grapes entirely from Avirey-Lingey and based on 2005 fruit, and is done in barrel. This is a striking wine teeming with brazen Pinot Noir character — ardent, spicy, muscular, fragrant, fruity — pulled off with confidence and polish and a bright acidity lending to a great creamy finish.

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Gimonet, Pierre 2004 Champagne Brut Pr. Cru Blancs Fleuron

Gimonet's style avoids ultra-concentration in exchange for precision, focus and detailed elegance. The wine is a blend of fruit from Cramant, Chouilly and Cuis, and has all the refined detail expected from this producer balanced by an inviting touch of creaminess. Impossible to overstate the profundity here.

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Larmandier-Bernier NV Champagne 1er Cru Terre de Vertus Blanc de Blanc

A great no-dosage Champagne, given an extra dimension from Larmandier's great Biodynamic work in the vineyard. Remarkably elegant and mineral on the palate, this is a wine-lover's Champagne that's far more satisfying than those more expensive brand-name tete-de-cuvees... From www.larmandier.com: No blending for this single-cru Champagne: Chardonnays only, coming from the vineyard plots of Les Barillers and Les Faucherets situated mid-slope in Vertus. One terroir only and one vintage only: 2006. The natural alcoholic fermentation (natural yeast) and the malolactic fermentation begin spontaneously in our wooden big casks and our temperature-controlled vats. The wines are left on their lees during the winter. If the year merits it, this non-blended Cuvée will be bottled with other terroirs and other vintages. Then the bottles are taken down into our cellars and horizontally stacked. The second fermentation and the maturation 'on laths' quietly take place in the coolness of our cellars. All the bottles are disgorged manually 3 to 6 months before being marketed. This wine is non dosé (no sugar added), in order to respect its purity from beginning to end.

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Marguet Père and Fils 2002 Champagne Brut Grand Cru

2002 is a stellar vintage for Champagne — marked by great quality and concentration, balance, harmony, and longevity. Marguet is a small up-and-coming producer who mainly sources fruit from organic grand cru and premier cru sites. Quality grapes and meticulous cellar work make for great wines. The 2002 bottling is 70 percent Chouilly Chardonnay and 30 percent Pinot Noir from Bouzy. This wine is available and forthcoming with bountiful fruit — red, citrus, pit, it seems to have it all. Vinified entirely in enameled tanks, this is a pure expression of 2002 fruit — and a total steal. RSG

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Bertrand Gautherot-Vouette et Sorbée NV Champagne NV Blanc d'Argile

All Kimmeridgian soil is chalk, but not all chalk is Kimmeridgian. This special geological arc gives us Chablis and touches into the southern part of Champagne, which is mostly planted to Pinot Noir. However, lucky for us geeks, Vouette et Sorbee makes one of the few 100% Chardonnay Champagnes grown on Kimmeridgian soils. Eh? Chablis with bubbles? This wine is for all those eager to explore the meaning of "terroir." Biodynamic farming, primary fermentation with entirely indigenous yeast, no fining, no filtration, minimal sulfur, no dosage, all riddling and disgorging is done by hand.

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Beudon 2006 Valais Dole Les Vignes dans le Ciel

This is the most unusual Pinot Noir and Gamay blend I have ever tried. From 2006, the wine shows some evolution with a savory, raisin-y note to the nose and rich, ripe fruit on the palate. I realize that these are not descriptors we normally like associated with our Gamay and Pinot blends, but this wine is extremely complex, its ripeness and secondary notes complemented by an herbal edge that adds character to the wine. Trust me on this one... -msb

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Dupasquier 2008 Savoie Mondeuse

Our exploration of Dupasquier's wines is just beginning. We know that we like what we've tasted thus far. Located in the Jongieux sub-region of the Savoie, Dupasquier benefits from a south facing, extremely warm vineyards that give the wines great ripeness for a relatively cool climate. This wine is fermented in tank and aged in foudre with sulfur only at bottling. Though the domaine is not certified organic, they do not use chemicals. This Mondeuse has dark blackberry and black currant notes with beautiful integration of fruit and tannins. According to the winemaker, this is their best vintage of Mondeuse... EVER! -msb

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Bois de Boursan 2005 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvèe Felix

A lovely nose of soil components, florality, garrigue, black and green olive and dark cherry and cassis. The palate was big, rich and structured with lovely grippy tanins. A great fruit soak on the finish lingers for what seems like minutes. This has years to go but was great to get s snapshot where this wonderful CDP is right now. LF

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Macle 2007 Côtes du Jura Blanc

Macle is a mysterious and highly praised producer in Chateau-Chalon. The wines are hard to come by, very traditional, and ideal for the ardent Jura fanatic. The blend here is 85% Chardonnay and 15% Savagnin. The nose is marked by the unmistakable tang of voile, nutty and funky, and crying out for Comte. The palate is rich with very high acidity. Again, this bottle, from an iconic producer, is highly recommended for Jura white wine lovers. -msb

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Puffeney 2000 Arbois Vin Jaune

One of the most unique and rare wines in the world offering complex nuttiness, salinity, and intense acidity. Decant and serve with a great cheese....

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Tissot 2000 Arbois Vin Jaune

Vin Jaune is made from late harvest Savagnin grapes, a white variety linked to Traminer. It shares many similarities with Sherry, but it is not a fortified wine. This slightly oxidized Vin Jaune from Tissot is one of the most aromatic and completely explosive examples I have ever tasted. It is loaded with an array of nuances like dried apricots, rocksalt, carmalized walnuts and a tinge of residual sugar. Pair this with Comte, Morbier, really just about any cheese imaginable. RB

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Tournelle 2008 Arbois Fleur de Savagnin

Pascal Clairet of Domaine de la Tournelle broke his leg in numerous places at the beginning of the 2007 harvest, leaving his wife, Evelyne, to oversee the harvest and vinification. He loved the resulting Savagnin and praised the vintage for being ideal. The wine spends some months under the traditional veil of yeast, but not as long as many "sous voille" Savagnins, meaning that the voille flavors are relatively mild. The complex and compelling nose offers orange peel, quince, anise, and almond flesh along with penetrating minerality and high acidity. If you like to taste earth and stones, here's your wine! -msb

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La Dame de Montrose 2004 St. Estephe

This is a very rich and powerful five year old Bordeaux made up of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 15% Merlot that will be improving over the next 5 years and drinking for the next ten years. It is a deep, dark red, rich bouquet, good ripe tannins, lots of cassis fruit and long aftertaste. This is a wonderful steak on the barbeque wine and at $30 it is a Bordeaux you can just open another bottle of. Great deal on a wonderful Red Bordeaux. I love 2004 Montrose but it needs 5-10 years of bottle age and it costs about twice as much.

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Mas Jullien 2004 Coteaux du Languedoc

What a treat to taste Olivier Jullien's top cuvee with a bit of age! This Languedoc wine is a blend of Carignan, Mourvedre, and Syrah, cultivated on the Terrasses du Larzac, an arid, high-altitude, rocky limestone terroir that is viewed as one of the best in the region. Jullien's wines have an air of majesty; they speak of their place of origin and age very well. The '04 shows some evolution, with earth and dried herbs on the nose. '04 is a great vintage for balance in the Languedoc, which this wine exemplifies. The tannins here aren't shy, so treat this wine as you would a Bordeaux and reach for lamb or beef when serving. Fabulous. -msb

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Dard & Ribo 2007 Saint-Joseph

From 45 to 60 year-old vines, near Tournon, Vion and St-Jean-de-Muzols, much on lower slopes with richer soils. Harvesting is very late, the grapes are whole-bunch fermented with no attempts to extract. The 2007 has lovely, complex and ethereal aromas on a light, well-balanced frame. Not for long-term aging, this is a subtle, pretty wine to be served cool that will delight you with it's finesse and purity...

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Usseglio, Pierre 2007 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Mon Aieul

Mon  Aieul is Grenache 95% and Syrah 5% from vines over 80 years old. Aged 14-16 months in concrete, and bottled unfiltered.

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Vieux Donjon 2005 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

14 hectares of vines; one red (and one white) produced. The Chateauneuf is Grenache 70%, Syrah 10%, Mourvedre 10%, and 5% Counoise and others. Aged 18 months in cement and large barrels, and bottled unfiltered.

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Baudry, Bernard et Mathieu 2007 Chinon Franc de Pied

The ungrafted vines in the lower portion of the Clos Guillot are surviving despite premature word of their demise... The vines are now 13 years old and still give a small quantity of this unique wine, which is lower in alcohol and leans more toward blackberry, with herbal notes, in the aromas, and has a slightly more earthy finish. Beautiful stuff, 7 cases are available.

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Baudry, Bernard et Mathieu 2007 Chinon Les Grézeaux

Les Grezeaux is a parcel of 50 year-old vines at the base of the Coteaux de Sonnay on gravel soil over clay and silex. The wine ages in 3 to 5 year-old barriques for 12 months. The 2007 has gorgeous pure high-toned fruit aromas with a dense but refreshing palate of raspberry and strawberry confit ending with hints of chocolate. Supple and forward enough to drink young, due to the influence of the gravel, it will age beautifully for 10 to 15 years or more. (The 1989 is lovely now, and though the 2007 is lighter, the good acidity should contribute to long aging).

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Bossard-Thuaud (Guy Bossard) NV Vin Mousseux de Qualité Methode Traditionelle

Made from Chardonnay, Gros-Plant, Melon de Bourgogne and Cabernet Franc. Superb Biodynamic farming. Racy aromas of lemon, stones and yeast, hints of red fruits, super-clean, mineral palate with some weight on the finish. A great value for New Year's Eve — a unique and delicious sparkling wine from the King of Muscadet, Guy Bossard!

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Breton, Catherine et Pierre 2004 Chinon Les Picasses

This was showing tight, earthy and minerally but had a lovely core of dark fruit. There was a long detailed finish and astonishing purity to this wine. Great sweet, ripe tannin. Love '04 in Chinon. LF

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Breton, Catherine et Pierre 2006 Chinon Beaumont

Lush, very ripe raspberry/cassis aromas which carry through on the palate with notes of pepper and musk, balanced by bright acidity. A big wine that will benefit from a year or two in the cellar and should drink well for another 5 years or so. An excellent value, but very little of this wine is available, so don't delay...

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Breton, Catherine et Pierre 2007 Bourgueil Franc de Pied

Ungrafted vines on a sandy soil in Bourgueil produce this lovely and elegant wine. It has slightly lower alcohol then normal, and bright acidity bracing the pure, dark blackraspberry fruit. Drink over the next 2 — 3 years — bravo to the Bretons! (synthetic cork). DL

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Tue-Boeuf 2009 Cheverny

The 2009 reds at Clos du Tue-Boeuf are insanely delicious with lush fruit balanced by bright acidity. The Cheverny Rouge is a Gamay/Pinot Noir blend with very pretty strawberry aromas. Serve cool with anything this summer — grab some soon, there's very little available for the US....

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Foreau (Domaine du Clos Naudin) 2004 Vouvray Sec

"Remarkably full and fleshy with 13.5% alcohol and 4 grams of residual sugar" says importer Neal Rosenthal "...outstanding length with vibrant freshness and a classic and classy minerality."

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Guion 2008 Bourgueil Cuvée Domaine

Very pretty and bright red fruit aromas (strawberry, cherry, red-currant), medium bodied, very well balanced. Refreshing, with lovely pure fruit, avoids the excess concentration and acidity of some 2008 Loire reds. This wines tastes of the soil! A beautiful and well-priced Cabernet Franc that shows the benefits of two generations of organic farming, hand harvesting, wild yeasts, and minimal sulfites — bravo to the Guions! Currently ON SALE as the 2009 has just arrived in our warehouse, about 10 cases are available at this crazy price!

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Huet 1995 Vouvray Clos Du Bourg Demi-Sec

Earthy secondary aromas are beginning to compete with the pretty wet stone and honeyed, lemon/pineapple fruit. Good weight on the palate with lightly sweet citrus fruit and good mineral acidity. A lovely wine in mid-life, but not exactly a crisis.....

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Huet 1997 Vouvray Clos du Bourg Moelleux 1er Trie

A great Clos du Bourg Moelleux, bursting with exotic fruit aromas. The palate is fat but with good mineral character beneath. Less acidity than 1996 but enough to keep it for quite a while and quite a bit more sugar. Drink now for the ripe exuberant fruit but I would not be surpised if this cellars well too...

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Huet 2007 Vouvray Le Mont Demi-Sec

This is a beautiful Demi-Sec with lovely exotic fruit aromas, creamy lemon and stone on the palate backed up with great chalky acidity. Highly recommended.

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Huet 2008 Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Demi-Sec

2008 is a great vintage for moelleux and demi-sec Vouvray as the high acidity of the vintage gives fabulous brightness and balance to the extra sweetness. "A vintage with high acidity but great ripeness, unusual, not since 1893, it was a trick to balance the alcohol and the sugar." - Noel Pinguet.  Tasted in February of 2009, the Huet Le Haut Lieu Demi-Sec showed beautifully with pretty aromas of quince, grapefruit, earth and lime-flower, balanced with very firm acidity and a lovely finish of mineral and citrus flavors. 27 grams of RS, aout 13% alcohol. Highly recommended. David Lillie  (This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.)

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Luneau-Papin 1995 Muscadet Sevre et Maine Le "L" d'Or

This is a lovely fully-mature wine from a good if not great vintage for Muscadet. While it lacks the forward, riper quality of the 1997 and the weight and acidity of the sensational 1996, this still provides a delicious experience. The lemony aromas are starting to broaden with mushroom and earth, the palate is delicate but framed by saline mineral and bitter stone flavors. Drink this lovely wine while you're waiting for the 2002 — serve with an elegant fish preparation in a mild sauce...

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Luneau-Papin 1997 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Le "L" d'Or

A great bottle of Muscadet from this rather warm year in the Loire Valley. More forward than other vintages, but with enough acidity and minerality to balance the fruit. Ripe white and exotic fruit aromas with some secondary earth and mushroom hints. The palate is full with buttery lemon and stone flavors with good finishing acidity. Highly recommended.

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Pepiere 2009 Muscadet Sevre et Maine Clos des Briords

Another great vintage for Clos des Briords, truly one of the greatest values in the world. A very young wine with floral, herbal and citrus aromas and a stony, nutty palette that's very closed at the moment. Good acidity and a very, very long finish. Drink it now if you must or wait 10 years or so for a transcendental experience.... Bravo to our friend Marc Ollivier, as usual. 40 Ha/Hl, 12.4 degrees. DL

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Raffault, Olga 1985 Chinon Les Picasses

1985 was a vintage for Loire reds that American reviewers happily called "green and herbaceous" and in this case they were right! However, as is often the case with less sunny vintages in the Loire, the wine has improved steadily over the years and showed beautifully at our dinner with the Raffaults last fall.

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  • $79.99

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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  • $34.99

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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  • Organic
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  • $29.99

Bachelet 2007 Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes

The 2007 Gevrey Chambertin Vieilles Vignes is from vines aged 60-70 years. It is very dark and full flavored, robust yet elegant. It has spice and power and great balance, Chambertin is one of the most powerful of all Burgundies and this Gevrey hints at how great they can be. This wine is deep and rich and sappy and has lots of dry extract and stuffing, dominated by black and blue fruits. This is a wonderful wine to cellar and watch develop, as it will get better and better over the next few years, soon reaching a plateau of lovely maturity. This wine is in beautiful balance and has bright fruit, and great concentration. jbt

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Burguet, Alain 2006 Gevrey-Chambertin Tradition

Burguet seems to improve with every vintage — amazing, since the wines were always very, very good. This is really classic Gevrey.

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  • $39.99

Cadette (Domaine de la) 2007 Bourgogne Vezelay La Chatelaine

Quoting from David Schildknecht's wonderful review in The Art of Eating "At 12 percent alcohol this wine is sheer refreshment, yet there is palpable richness, and at the table the wine's flavors create complexity as worthy of higher math as of haute cuisine...." Chardonnay from Kimmeridgian soils, organically farmed, this would be a lovely choice for Thanksgiving!

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Chevillon, Robert 2006 Nuits St Georges Chaignots

Nuits meets Vosne — a meaty and stuctured wine with some extra elegance from the great master of Nuits St Georges.

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