A Crazy Long List of Interesting Wines, Part 1

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From two fine cellars belonging to true wine lovers, a mash up of fine wine from France, Italy, Spain, CA, Misc....Something for everyone!

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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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Bourdy 1998 Chateau-Chalon Arlay

What can one say about the '98 when all one has tasted are the '03 and the '37? The '37 was stunning, totally golden in the glass with complex, savory dried fruit aromas. The texture was incredibly soft and the flavors lingered for a very long time. The '03 was none to shabby either. Patience is rewarded with these wines. -msb

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Ganevat 2009 Côtes du Jura Blanc Trousseau Cuvée Plein Sud

Slightly darker in color and more full-bodied than Poulsard, this Trousseau from Ganevat offers fennel, plum, and high-toned sweet cherry fruit on the nose and palate. After time in the decanter, the wine is supple in texture with great acidity. A perfect choice for your next roast chicken. -msb

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Peillot 2006 Bugey Mondeuse

A beautiful wine that is full of contradictions. It appears almost black in color, but is packed with earthy rustic red fruits. The mouth feel is distinctly rich, but at the same time medium bodied. Not tannic, and not surprisingly an ideal accompaniment to a roasted chicken. Peillot feels that this is the best Mondeuse he has made and we urge you to try it....

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Prevost (La Closerie) NV (2006) Champagne Les Beguines

Prévost has 2 hectares of 40+ year old Pinot Meunier vines in a vineyard called Les Beguines located in Gueux, just west of Reims, and produces about 13,000 bottles. This is a superb Champagne of terroir, grapes grown without herbicides or pesticides, fermented with wild yeasts, with no dosage or filtration. This is rich and intense Champagne that can complement many foods and meats. Prévost, a former employee of Selosse, did not put the vintage date on the bottle, but it is all 2006 fruit. This bottling was disgorged October 2008.

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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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Cayrou 1985 Cahors

A beautiful mature Cahors released directly from the estate's cellars; the aromatics are a dead give away of a wine with ample age, giving an integrated mixture of sweet blackberries, dampen earth, farmyard and tobacco ash. The palate is balanced with a nice spine of acids which carry the flavors to a long, seamless, sweet palate-coating chalky-mineral tinged finish with virtually no tannins left in sight. Lovely stuff. cb

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Clos Siguier 2006 Cahors

On the lighter side of Cahors, this is a beautiful, juicy, elegant mouthful of currant fruit, earth and berries. The wine can do nothing but make you smile and forget about the bailout plan, rescue bill, or whatever name they have for it this week. LF

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Larredya 2006 Jurançon Au Capceu

A beautiful and complex dessert wine from an excellent small producer in Jurançon. Petit Manseng is the grape of this lovely wine with lush, sweet exotic fruit balanced by serious earth and minerality. Savor with fruit or a lemon tart at the end of a meal, or with Foie gras...

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Larredya 2008 Jurançon Sec A L'Esguit

This great estate in Jurancon is in conversion to Biodynamic farming and is making sensational wines at reasonable prices. The 2008 A L'Esguit has beautiful exotic aromas of honeyed citrus fruits with spice and floral notes. Waves of creamy ripe fuit on the palate somehow manage to finsh with fairly dry minerality. A great match for patés or vegetable terrine, cream or vegetable soups and of course foie gras or ripe cheeses...

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Terres Dorées (Jean-Paul Brun) 2009 Côte de Brouilly

Jean-Paul has 2 parcels of 50 year-old vines on a steep section of the Cote with a south-east exposition at about 1,000 ft of altitude. (No, I didn't tilt the camera...) The thin soil is almost entirely stones of granite with a high iron content. (A more interesting terroir than the thicker, damper soils of Brouilly.) This is a gorgeous wine! Lovely, ripe black and red fruit aromas with a touch of cocoa and spice. The palate is deep but balanced by refreshing acidity, with a silky, slightly grainy texture. A beautiful Beaujolais for current drinking and over the next few years. Highly recommended! "Contains very little sulfite," says the label "store in a cool place and consume rapidly after uncorking" We haven't noticed any problem keeping this wine, but consuming rapidly after uncorking will be easy... DL

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Bellivière 2009 Vin de Table Les Giroflées Rose

Here's a magnificent rosé of Pinot D'Aunis from the hard-working Eric Nicolas. Yes, it's a little sweet, but don't let that deter you. The fruit is floral, ripe strawberries, cranberries and spice with a complex underlying minerality. This will complement just about anything and just where is the Coteaux-du-Loir anyway...? "when an exciting producer like Éric Nicolas of Domaine de Bellivière issues a ripe, rich, balanced, lightly sweet rosé like Les Giroflées, I am willing to fly my rosé flag high, even in January." Eric Asimov Jan 2011

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Guion 2005 Bourgueil Cuvée Prestige

We're down to the last few cases of Guion's cuvèe Prestige, with the lovely 2007 arriving soon. The 2006 has vibrant strawberry/raspberry aromas and a full palate balanced by earthy acidity. Named as one of the Best Wines of France 2010 by the Revue Vin de France, which says "These are not fashionable wines, due to the dynamic acidity, but for those who love the flavors of terroir they are a priority discovery... that are a credit to the Loire" We agree, and the price makes this one of the best values anywhere. Don't hesitate to cellar some of this terrific Bourgueil — we tasted the 1996 and the 1985 on our recent visit and they were drinking beautifully!

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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 2005 Vouvray Petillant Brut

A great sparkling wine from Domaine Huet, elegant, with fine bubbles and lovely, slightly honeyed apple, white fruit and bitter citrus flavors. a joy to drink, even without the word Champagne on the label...

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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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Pépière (Marc Ollivier) 2005 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Granite de Clisson

A dozen growers in the Muscadet who have vines on the granit of the Massive Armoricain have created the Granite de Clisson label to create a "Grand Cru" of Muscadet. This is Marc Ollivier's first release from this group, which comes from a 1.2 hectare (2 acre) parcel of vines 60 to 90 years old at the Domaine Pépière. The grapes were hand-harvested, (as always for Marc) and fermented with wild yeasts; the wine was aged on the lees for 24 months. The wine is currently quite austere, with subtle hints of exotic fruits, fennel and flowers, the palate is mineral, almost salty, and quite intense. Drink now with a grilled sole or wait a few months for it to open up, after which it should develop nicely for another 15 to 20 years. DL

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Hidalgo, Emilio NV Jerez Marques De Rodil Palo Cortado Reserva Especial

This is a reserve Palo Cortado bottling. It is full-bodied and quite structured with a lovely butterscotch oxidative character and a crunchy saline finish. There’s a fantastic sweet and savory balance here. In the relative scheme of things, a great value! Pair with roasted pork. cb

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Lopez de Heredia 1970 Rioja Gran Reserva Tondonia

Youthful color with nose of dark fruits. Very primary, animal nose but with some serious fruit. Palate was deep and very concentrated and also youthful. Amazing that this is over thirty years old. Really mouthfilling and lacey with a great finish. This is showing great but has ALOT of time to get better. LF

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Lopez de Heredia 1987 Rioja Tondonia Gran Reserva Blanco

From a fairly warm and dry year, this wine was aged for nine and a half years in barrels with racking happening twice a year. The wine was then aged a further few years in the bottle. Harvest was on October 13th. Alcohol is 12% abv. The wine shows notes of nut-skin, beeswax, quince, and citrus skin with crystalline acidity. A stellar Gran Reserva once again. cb

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Lopez de Heredia 1991 Rioja Bosconia Gran Reserva

Soil, soil and more soil. Husky structure and flavors of mushroom and rye-like savory notes and an intense brooding mineral character. It has been uniformly praised by the critics (see John Gillman and Josh Raynolds) and, with the last bottle I tasted, I joined the chorus. cb

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Rioja Alta 2001 Rioja Vina Ardanza Reserva Especial

This is only the 3rd vintage that the Ardanza has been classified as "Reserva Especial" during the long history of the La Rioja Alta winery. The other two vintages were 1964 and 1973. That being said, this cuvee lives up to expectations and is a testament to a fantastic vintage. Ardanza is full-bodied, sweet, tangy and savory, with strawberry/plum fruit, mushroom, and notes of herbs from the generous helping of garnacha in the blend. On the palate it is well structured with gorgeous velvety tannins and excellent balance and length. As the great wines of Rioja do, this will surely cellar very well and would stand up to just about any food that you could throw at it. I specifically would pair this with game-birds with a sweet and savory sauce. cb

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