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Last winter we were asking Matthieu and Bernard Baudry about their favorite growers in Chinon (we always need more Chinon!) and they immediately suggested their friend Patrick Lambert, whose domain is around the corner from them, on the hill of Sonnay in Cravant. Luckily, Patrick was showing his wines at the organic show "La Levée de la Loire" in Angers the following week, as it turned out right next to our friend Stéphan Guion from Bourgueil. The two growers are quite similar in their quiet and friendly personalities and in their wine-making as well, both practicing exemplary organic farming, hand harvesting and completely traditional vinifications. The Patrick Lambert estate (as opposed to Pascal Lambert) dates back to 1990, but was restructured in 2005, as Patrick "downsized" to 6 hectares of the best terroirs. The soils are plowed or left with grasses, according to the parcels and the estate is certified organic by Ecocert. Vinifications are traditional with wild yeasts and the wines age either in vat or in small old barrels in his cold cellar cut into the limestone hillside. Needless to say, our tasting with Patrick was fantastic and we are ecstatic to have a new supplier and new friend in Chinon. We think that all of Patrick's wines are delicious, but of particular note are the two old-vine cuvées the "Cuvée Vieilles Vignes" and the "L'Ame d'Antan." These are unique old-school Chinons that are great expressions of the soils of Cravant.
It has come to our attention that a few of our customers have not yet purchasesd any of the beautiful 2014 Chinons form Domaine Bernard Baudry. This is a sad situation, as these are some of our favorite French wines of the 2014 vintage and are certainly among the very best produced at the estate over the last twenty years. The Baudry's mastery of the farming and vinifications in their different parcels is truly exceptional - we are reminded of the work of Pierre and Jean Gonon in Saint-Joseph - and the resulting wines are superbly complex and elegant. We list our current inventory - each wine is oustanding - and note that only 4 cases remain of the "Les Grézeaux." Please Note: Customers interested in the 2014 "La Croix Boissée Rouge" should email their requests to us as the quantity available will be tiny in this vintage. DL
This beautiful Chinon is from 65 to 70 year-old vines in sandy clay soils over limestone in Sonnay, near Cravant. The wine ages for 18 months in old barrels, less than 200 cases are made. The 2014 Ame D'Antan shows a deep black/garnet color with elegant aromas of ripe blackberry and strawberry with hints of violet, prune, citrus and crushed stone. The palate is dense but bright, with a silky texture, showing pure blackberry fruit with earth and licorice with firm mineral acidity. Good length with lingering berry and mineral flavors. Delicious now, it will age beautifully, probably best 2020 to 2030+. Highly recommended. DL
(Last of stock) This delightful Chinon Rosé comes from Patrick Lambert's 6 hectares of organic vines in Cravant, around the corner from his friend Bernard Baudry. Hand harvested from 20 year-old vines on gravel and sandy clay soils over limestone. The wine shows lovely aromas of wild strawberry, raspberry and rose; the palate is ripe and pretty with raspberry, citrus and stone flavors with nice density and texture, with juicy acids, berry flavors and minerals in the finish. This is drinking beautifully now and will keep nicely well into 2018. Only 120 cases made - it's a fabulous value and highly recommended. DL
The Chinon "Les Deuzelles" from Patrick Lambert is 100% Cabernet Franc from 20 year-old vines on a mix of gravel, clay and sandy soils over limestone. Fermentation with wild yeasts is followed by 6 to 8 months aging in cuve, stainless or cement. Despite being from the very warm 2015 vintage, the Lambert "Deuzelles" is a quite earthy old-fashioned Chinon showing aromas of strawberry, red currant, citrus and earth. The palate is similarly earthy with red fruits, citrus and soil flavors balanced by bright acidity. This is a fabulous value and should be served cool with roast chicken, pork dishes, charcuterie and mild cheeses.
The delicious Chinon Vieilles Vignes of Patrick Lambert is from 55 year-old vines on sandy clay soils over limestone. Hand harvested and fermented with wild yeasts, as are all of Lambert's wines, the Vieilles Vignes gets 12 months of aging in old barrels. The wine shows a deep red/black color and ripe blackberry and strawberry aromas with pepper, earth and citrus. The palate shows earthy blackberry and strawberry compote with prune and bitter chocolate with firm citrusy acids. This is a complex, old-fashioned Chinon that will accompany roast chicken and anything off the grill, served a bit cool. Age for five to ten years for a mature experience. And at $14.99 it's a fabulous value!
From 25 to 30 year-old vines on gravel and sandy soils over clay near the Vienne river. This "basic" cuvée from Bernard and Matthieu Baudy has gotten more and more "serious" as the vines age, giving a wine that is delightful to drink young, but that shows surprising complexity and mineral character as well. The wine shows aromas of ripe raspberry and strawberry with hints of earth, stone, pepper and herbs. The palate is quite mineral with firm stony acids underlying lush berry fruits, and is beautifully balanced at 12% alcohol. Quite structured for "les Granges," this is delicious now, served cool, with roast chicken, white meats, charcuterie and mild cheeses and will imporve with 3 to 5 years of aging.
We're very excited about the arrival of the superb 2014 Chinon "Cuvee Domaine" from Bernard and Matthieu Baudry. All Cabernet Franc of course, a blend of 75% from a parcel in St. Louans, where the thin clay/limestone soils give earthy well-structured wines, with 25% from gravel soils near Cravant, giving supple fruit and freshness. Organic farming, wild-yeast fermentation, aging in 5 to 10 year-old wooden vats and casks. Tasted from barrel in February of 2016 the wine was quite beautiful , if a bit closed, showing lovely pure red fruit aromas with a supple, ripe palate, very deep and long and framed in perfect earthy acidity. Upon arrival in NY (October 2016), the wine is singing, with aromas of wild strawberry and red currant with white pepper, earth and cocoa. The palate is fresh and balanced with pretty red fruits, earth and citrus notes, really long and lovely. This will be a superb and unique Chinon, both to drink young and for cellaring of fifteen to twenty years. Serve cool with roast chicken, pork dishes, charcuterie, green vegetables and mild cheeses. Highly recommended. DL (Those who want a bit of the mature experience should: open the bottle, taste - yum - re-cork and put in fridge; wait three days, enjoy!) Featured in the NY Times "20 Wines Under $20" 01/12/17
(Tasted in January 2016) From 50 to 60 year-old Cabernet Franc vines on a gravel soil over sandy clay and limestone at the bottom of the hill of Sonnay in Cravant. Aged 12 months in 3 to 5 year-old barrels. The 2014 is certainly one of the greatest "les Grézeaux" from this wonderful estate! Beautiful deep red/black color, lush, complex palate of ripe dark fruit with perfect balance and fabulous length, with cool acidity lifting the fruit. As always the "les Grézeaux" is enjoyable young as the gravel soil gives a wine with a silky texture, but it ages beautifully as well, as anyone with the 1989 can tell you. This is a must for any lover of Chinon!
Le Clos Guillot is a beautiful south-east facing vineyard, just east of the town of Chinon, above the Clos de l'Olive and adjacent to Le Chêne Vert. The upper slope of the parcel is clay over limestone (the lower part has sand and gravel over the rock, which permitted a tiny separate production from franc de pied vines, now mostly deceased) and the vines are young, planted from 1993 to 2000. Fermentation in wooden cuves, 12 months of aging in two to five year-old barriques, 9 additional months in unlined cement vats. We have been buying this wine since it's first production in 2000 – it's one of the most elegant and Burgundian of Chinons. In 2014, the Baudrys produced superb wines with perfect balance and lovely, pure fruit. Their precise vinifications, matched to each different terroir, with no new oak, minimal sulfur, and elevage of the right length and in the right barrel, foudre or vat, gave elegant and delicous results. The 2014 Clos Guillot is a black/purple color with red rim, showing intense aromas of red currant, boysenberry, blackberry, fines herbs, citrus and stone with hints of dark chocolate and musk. The palate shows bright, lush, sappy red and black fruits with bright acidity lifting the flavors and coating the palate with citrusy red fruits, saline minerals and wet stone. Beautiful wine! Case quantities are possible, but don't delay. DL