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We've been fortunate to come across many estates in the Loire Valley which farm organically and make beautiful wines but have remained relatively unknown outside their region due to their modesty and disdain for self-promotion. The three estates featured today are firmly in that category, each one making lovely wines that offer great value to the consumer, and while they take great pride in their work, they seem quite happy to exist a bit apart from the commercial wine world as we know it.
Domaine Guion in Benais (Bourgueil) has been organic since 1965, one of the first in France to receive certification. Stephane took over from his parents in 1990 and has been quietly making brilliant wines that age beautifully (25 to 30 years for the Cuvée Prestige and Cuvée Deux Monts) through careful organic farming and old-fashioned vinifications with zero additives and minimal sulfur. Stephane prefers a high level of acidity in his wines to presrve freshness and enhance aging, thus even in 2014 and 2015 the wines have great ripeness but are balanced with firm earthy acidity. Our tasting in February with Stephane was one of the greatest of our winter trip with each wine from the 2014 and 2015 vintages showing beautifully.
Domaine du Fresche in La Pommeraye (Anjou) has been in the Bore family for six generations. Alain Bore took over from his parents in 1989 and converted the estate to organic farming beginning in 2000. Yields here are kept quite low and picking is done by hand with many passes through the vines seeking optimum ripeness. We've just received the first of the 2015 Anjou reds as well as the 2014 Anjou-Villages and a lovely sweet Chenin Blanc "Cuvée Vieille Sève (Anjou Coteaux de la Loire). Here the style leans more towards supple, forward fruit while retaining good freshness and balance. The 2015 Anjou Gamay is particularly delicous with delightful fruit - perfect served quite cool on a warm summer day...
Domaine Parentiere in Vallet (Muscadet Sèvre et Maine) Michel and Guilhaume Ménager produce lovely Musacdet and Gros Plant (aka Folle Blanche) on their tiny estate near Vallet, which they have tended organically for more than 30 years. The sub-soil is gabbro, a type of basalt, that gives a unique aromatic quality to the wine, quite different from wines produced on the normal granite or gneiss/schiste soils of Muscadet. The Ménagers have always harvested by hand and never chaptalize, producing wines that are light, refreshing and very "mineral" in character. The 2014 vintage is particularly good here offering two unique and delicious wines that are sensational values.
A delicious demi-sec Chenin Blanc from Alain and Christine Bore! Honey-tinged and luscious on the nose with baked peaches, mango, pineapple, lime zest, heather, red delicious apple skin, and tangerine. Mellow and round on the palate, but balanced with exotic tropical fruits, lemon meringue, salty pineapple, honey, and Marcona almond. Tropical fruit and grapefruit endure on the finish, along with a sweetness that is never cloying. Pair with all kinds of dessert, but a summery fruit tart would be best! Tim Gagnon
The Parentière Fraîcheur Iodée de L'Atlantique, which roughly translates as "Atlantic sea-spray" is made from Gros Plant (aka Folle Blanche) grown on gabbro soils near Vallet in the Muscadet Sèvre et Maine region. Domaine de la Parentière is a tiny estate which has been practicing organic agriculture for more than 30 years—the grapes are hand-harvested and fermented with wild yeasts and the wines are never chaptalized, remaining light, mineral and refreshing. The 2014 is a bit softer than usual and shows intriguing aromas of ripe melon, bitter lemon, almond, fresh herbs and stone. The palate is lively and light at 10.2% alcohol with pear, citrus, melon and stone flavors with a fresh lemony finish. This will be very refreshing on a hot day, especially with oysters, prosciutto and melon, terrines, salads and fried fish, etc, etc. Did we say this is an amazing value?
This is another beautiful wine from the shy and affable Stephane Guion who is quietly making some of the best wines in Bourgueil. His 2015 Cuvèe Domaine is from young (15 to 40 year-old) vines on clay/limestone terroir in Benais and is one of the finest he has made, certainly equaling the delicious 2014 in a riper style. The wine shows aromas of blackberry confit, dark chocolate and violets - very deep and ripe but still bright with ripe raspberry and earthy hints as well. The palate is medium-bodied and fresh with firm acidity and chalky, saline mineral flavors framing the ripe red and black fruits, which continue in the long earthy finish. Drink now, served cool, with grilled chicken and pork, charcuterie, green vegetables and mild cheeses, or hold 5 to 8 years for a velvety mature experience. This is a beautiful wine that transcends its price and at 12% alcohol shows that ripeness, even in a vintage like 2015, can be achieved without high alcohol. Thanks to Stephane Guion!
(Last of Stock!) From 15 to 40 year-old vines on clay/limestone soils in Bourgueil, in organic agriculture since 1965. This is always one of the best values in the store and the 2014 happily rivals the 2009, 2010 and 2012 vintages for absolute awesomeness, especially at 11.99! Beautiful red/black color. Lovely deep red currant and blackberry aromas with violets, pepper, earth, bitter chocolate, licorice and leafy notes. The palate is round and supple with deep berry fruit framed in firm chalky acids, earth flavors and saline minerals. Terrific length - this is just a superb young Bourgueil! At 12% alcohol it's beautifully structured and delicious to drink now, and will be even better in 5 to 10 years. Thanks to the Guion family for two generations of organic farming and great wines at modest prices! Serve cool with chicken, pork, charcuterie and full-flavored fish dishes as well...
From 40 to 80 year-old vines on clay over limestone soils around Benais in Bourgueil. Certified organic since 1965! By now the great work of Stephane Guion needs no introduction to CSW customers, but the quality of his 2014 Cuvée Prestige deserves special attention. The wine is perfectly balanced, with the high acidity and mineral content always present in Stephane's wines framed by precisely ripe and supple fruit with depth and elegance. The aromas show raspberry and blackberry liqueur with hints of dark chocolate, earth and licorice, ripe but bright. Supple, ripe berry fruits on the palate with fine tannins and citrusy acids, deep and intense but forward and delicious now. This wine will drink beautifully over the next 20 years or longer and is highly recommended.
50 years of organic farming and great traditional winemaking give this refreshing, perfectly balanced rosé from our friend Stephane Guion in Bourgueil. The wine shows bright strawberry/raspberry aromas with citrus, rose and earth. Raspberry, blood orange, melon and earthy flavors on the bone-dry palate which is framed in firm acidity and saline minerals. This is a real rosé of terroir, dry and balanced at 12% alcohol which needs a bit of time to open up. Drink now and through 2017, with seafood, roast chicken, grilled pork and charcuterie.
Alain and Christine Bore, the sixth generation of the family at the Domaine du Fresche, produce beautiful certified organic wines on their estate at La Pomeraye, Anjou. The 2015 Anjou Gamay is a fabulous "vin de soif" (easy-drinking, thirst-quenching wine) which shows lovely aromas of ripe raspberry and red-currant with black pepper, violet and citrus. The palate is dense and ripe with red-currant and blackberry fruit but light on its feet with refreshing acidity and perfectly balanced at 12.5% alcohol. A bit deeper and more "serious" than the 2014, this is a simply delicious Gamay to serve quite cool with charcuterie, chicken, grilled pork and mild cheeses and it's a fabulous value at $11.99!
Alain and Christine Bore, the sixth generation of the family at the Domaine du Fresche, produce beautiful certified organic wines on their estate at La Pomeraye, Anjou. The 2015 Anjou Rouge is a delightful Cabernet Franc to drink cool with any casual meals this summer. Lovely aromas of blackberry and raspberry with violet and rose; the palate is light and supple with lovely berry fruits and refreshing acidity. This is a delicious everyday red to serve cool with chicken, pork, veggies, patés and mild cheeses. Fabulous value!
This is a full-bodied and very delicious Cabernet Franc from our organic friends Alain and Christine Bore at Domaine du Fresche in Anjou. The wine shows intense aromas of blackberry liqueur with hints of black pepper, bitter chocolate, roast meats and licorice. The palate is very ripe and supple with blackberry and black-cherry fruit framed in firm acidity. The finish is long with mineral and berry flavors with juicy acidity. Great for current drinking, served cool, or short-term cellaring. Serve with anything grilled, charcuterie and full-flavored cheeses.
The Domaine du Fresche is a certified organic estate in Anjou producing delightful, fresh, vivacious wines from Chenin, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Gamay and Grolleau. This lovely rosé of Grolleau and Pinot Noir comes from hand-harvested fruit and is vinified with wild yeasts giving pretty aromas of ripe red currant, blood orange and strawberry. The palate shows silky, pure fruit - red currant with hints of watermelon and citrus and finishes with round red fruits and juicy acidity. A lovely wine and a great value. Thanks to Alain and Christine Bore at Domaine du Fresche!
Organic farming on Gabbro soils, hand harvetsing and wild yeast fermntations with no chaptalization produce light, very mineral flavored wines at Domaine Parentiere. The 2014 Muscadet Vieilles Vignes shows intriguing aromas of citrus, ripe melon, almond, anise and stone, quite typical of Muscadet from Gabbro soils. Pear, melon, citrus, and stone flavors continue on the palate with an earthy finish of meyer lemon and firm acidity. At 11.4% alcohol it's light but full-flavored, perfect with oysters of course, but will accompany sole, flounder, cod and richer fish like monk and halibut as well, not to mention roast chicken and mild cheeses. A fabulous value!