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We're proud to be working with these two outstanding estates, both among the first in France to practice organic and biodynamic agriculture. New shipments have just arrived from both of these great domaines, just in time for your holiday festivities!
The Guillot family's Clos des Vignes du Maynes has been in production since the original plantation by the monks of Cluny in 910 AD. The estate's vines have never been treated with modern herbicides, pesticides or chemical fertilzers as Pierre Guillot began organic agriculture immediately upon purchasing the property in 1954. Vinifications for the reds are semi-carbonic, without SO2. Whites are pressed slowly, in a wooden press from 1895, aging is sur-lie in old barrels. Both whites and reds are bottled without, or with minimal SO2, depending on the vintage. We're particularly happy to offer the 2016 vintage of Julien's unique and delicious Mâcon Rouge Cuvée 910, a field-blend from old varieties of Pinot Noir, Gamay and Chardonnay, made exactly as wines were made 1100 years ago by the Abbey of Cluny. Hand-harvesting, transport by ox-cart, foot pressing, no additives - pure juice, pure enjoyment! Also on offer are the last few cases of the beautiful 2015 Cuvée Auguste and Cuvée Manganite - both of these are gorgeous wines that belong in your cellar or on your table! The living soils at Vignes du Maynes, with Julien Guillot's careful work, produce wines with superb acidity, balance and purity of fruit that are among the most interesting wines in Burgundy today - we urge you to try them.
Jean-Cluade Rateau was the fourth vigneron in France to convert to biodynamics, beginning with two hectares, learning from Yves Herody and working with Claude Bourguignon to analyse his soils. Rateau has always believed that the soils must be alive to ensure the healthy transfer of nutrients to the vines, especially important being the mycorrhizal funghi which assimilate phosphorous and live in symbiosis with the vines roots. He has developed a plowing regimen that encourages the life of the soil, uses natural composts and biodynamic preparations and has a varied population of wild plants in the vineyards that harbor beneficial insects. One of the few growers in Burgundy to practice biodynamic agriculture, Jean-Claude's techniques in the cellar also enable the production of real wines of terroir. Fermentations are solely with wild-yeasts and stems are included in proportion depending on the vintage. There are manual cap-punchings, but no attempt to over-extract. Aging is uniquely in used barrels, three to ten years old, and minimal SO2 is used. M. Rateau does not seek or receive a great deal of media attention but his wines speak for themselves, with a purity and mineral character seldom seem in "modern" Burgundy, and we urge you to try them!
This is a superb, subtle and very mineral Chardonnay from a replanted parcel at the very top of the Clos, abandoned since 1896, with thin clay soils rich in iron over limestone. A great terroir, never chemically treated and worked in biodynamic farming by Alain and Julien Guillot. The 2015 "les Chassagnes" is a beautiful wine, a bit fuller than the 2014 but still quite racy and stony with hints of white fruits, spice and honey. The palate is silky and crystalline - all minerals with subtle citrus and white fruits, very long and elegant. Highly recommended! David Lillie
This special cuvée is a commemoration of eleven hundred years of winemaking, the vineyards in the Clos des Vignes du Maynes having been planted around AD 900 and wine first produced for the Abbey of Cluny around 910. This "medieval" wine is a field blend of Chardonnay, Gamay and Pinot Noir, including the old varieties Gamay Petit Grain and Pinot Fin. The grapes were transported in carts pulled by Charolais bulls, then pressed by foot, vinified and aged without sulfur and bottled by hand in the spring. The 2016 Cuvée 910 was a bit awkward on arrival last winter, but has settled down to sing it's light and lovely song. The wine is showing a light red/garnet color. There's a bit of reduction then lovely raspberry and wild strawberry aromas with hints of citrus, spice and rose. The palate shows subtle cherry and raspberry fruit with floral, stone and citrus flavors. The finish is long, sapid and intriguing with bright berry fruits, earth and saline notes - quite lovely and a good match with fish in sauce, white meats, charcuterie, mild cow cheeses. NO added SO2, best consumed the day opened. David Lillie
Jean-Claude Rateau makes lovely wines in the Hautes Côtes de Beaune in his east-facing vineyard of clay/limestone and marne soils. Quite racy and bright as usual in 2016, the wine shows a very pale bronze color with subtle aromas of pear, almond, thyme, marzipan and citrus. The palate is crystalline and stony with pear, citrus, roast almond and mineral flavors and terrific length. Serve with oysters, grilled seafoods, roast chicken and mild goat cheeses or cellar for 5 to 8 years. This is a real Chardonnay of terroir and a great value! David Lillie
Beaune 1er Cru "Les Coucherias" is high on the slope on the site of an old quarry and much of the sub-soil is limestone tailings, permitting root penetration and drainage, with a topsoil of mixed clay and limestone "marnes blanches." In biodynamic agriculture since 1979, the vineyard is a south-facing semi-circle—a very warm spot giving a full, ripe wine. The 2016 "Coucherias" is an extraordinary wine showing elegant aromas of almond, lemon confit and pear with subtle spice and mineral notes. The palate is deep and concentrated but beautifully balanced by firm acidity, very sapid and pure with a perfect finish of stone, pear, lemon and herbal flavors. This is a beautiful white Burgundy that is superb now but will be even better after a few years in the cellar, probably best 2021 - 2030. Highly recommended. David Lillie
Jean-Claude Rateau's domain has been Biodynamic since 1979 and produces lovely light-bodied, old fashioned Burgundies. The 2015 Beaune Les Prévoles (a lieu-dit below 1er Cru Chouacheux and les Tuvilains) shows beautiful ripe aromas of cherry and black raspberry with rose, earth, citrus and brown spice. The palate is chalky, ripe and sapid, showing the density of the 2015s with lush berry fruits enveloping firm acidity and mineral flavors. Really a lovely wine and quite delicous now, full and ripe enough for grilled meats, as well as chicken and pork dishes and cheeses such as morbier, tomme de savoie. This should benefit from a bit of aging but is quite beautiful as a young wine, best perhaps 2019 - 2026. David Lillie
Generous black cherry, boysenberry, notes of cherry pit and anise on nose. Ripe mid-weight palate, ripe black fruits, hints of iodine and iron and other soil beneath supple structure. Succulent acidity and savory mineral notes offset the ripeness and lend energy and drive on a rich, palate-coating finish. This has good punch, even if it's more generous than I associate with very young Rateau. The purity of fruit and earth notes are finely balanced and this is an excellent Burgundy for the mid-term. A fine pairing with braised chicken thighs with mustard, tarragon, and shallots. A great value from the pioneer of biodynamic Burgundy! John McIlwain
Jean-Claude Rateau has a large parcel in the 1er Cru Les Bressandes on a steep slope facing east with pebbly clay/limestone soils, conducted in biodynamic farming since 1979. The soil is warm and well-drained giving ripe, structured wines. There is a 21-day cuvaison with manual cap-punching followed by 18 months in old barrels.Even with the minimal extraction practiced at the estate, the 2015 Bressandes shows a dense red/black color and aromas of black cherry and ripe strawberry, quite deep with sous-bois, violet, graphite and citrus. The palate is dense and chalky with blackberry, earth, cocoa and minerals with terrific length of red currant, earth and juicy acidity. Given the weight and ripeness of the vintage, the wine still seems balanced and frames the copious fruit in ample acidity and tannin. This is a beautiful wine that will give great pleasure in its youth and should be a superb mature wine as well, perhaps until 2032 and beyond. DL
From two small parcels in "Aux Eletois" (below Grand Cru Griottes) and "les Epointures" (below 1er Cru Clos Prieur) on the more fine and aromatic side of Gevrey.The 2015 shows a lovely bright red/black color with high-toned aromas of ripe black cherry and strawberry with violet and graphite. The palate is dense and ripe with tart red fruits, very pure and long with hints of licorice and citrus with a chalky mineral backbone. Drink now to enjoy the lush, bright fruit or cellar five to eight years, then drink until 2030. Lovely wine. DL
Made from Gamay Petit Grains planted in 1953, grown on a limestone parcel high in magnesium, in the Clos des Vignes du Maynes in Cruzille, organic since 900 AD, now certified biodynamic. The energetic Julien Guillot vinifies his reds without sulfur or additives of any kind, producing complex, mineral, elegant wines that transcend their appellation. The 2015s here are extraordinary, showing the elegance, purity and balance typical of the estate with the wonderful ripeness of the vintage. The wine shows gorgeous red and black fruit aromas with cranberry, earth, stone and musk and hints of mint, chocolate and spice. The palate is bright and intense with balckberry, citrus, stone and earthy flavors, that continue on the very long mineral finish. Always one of the greatest Gamays produced anywhere, the 2015 Manganite is a young wine that will benefit from decanting or five to fifteen years in the cellar. Highly recommended! DL
The Vignes du Maynes "Cuvée Auguste" is a superb Burgundy made from massale selection Pinot Fin planted in 1964. The parcel, high on the slope in Cruzille, is on Bathonian limestone with a great deal of calcium carbonate crystal (aragonite) with thin topsoils of clay and silica. Yields of 20 hl/ha, semi-carbonic fermentation, with zero additives, bottled under nitrogen. 2015 is a superb vintage for the Cuvée Auguste! The wine shows elegant aromas of black raspberry and wild strawberry with hints of blood orange, violet and brown spice - really lovely. The palate shows a beautiful melange of blackberry, strawberry and tart cherry with citrus, earth and minerals, very sappy and dense. Elegant finish of earth, stone and red fruits. This is a gorgeous wine, and quite delicious now, but cellaring of ten to twenty years should be possible. Congratulations to Julien Guillot for this beautiful Pinot! DL
The 2014 Sainte-Geneviève is a superb Champagne method sparkling wine made with 50% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir and 20% Gamay grown at the Clos des Vignes du Maynes. The wine shows lovely aromas of white and red fruits, spiced pear and honey. The palate is creamy and full, with pear, a hint of red currant, honey, stone and brown spice with fabulous length. This is a beautiful living wine from soils that have never been treated with herbicides, pesticides or modern fertilizers. Highly recommended.
Julien Guillot of the Clos des Vignes du Maynes produces this beautiful wine from a parcel certified in organic and biodynamic farming in Pouilly-Fuissé. The 2015 shows ripe pear, almond, lemon confit, botrytis, lime flower and herbal aromas, quite complex and lovely. The palate is silky and dense with citrus, almond, pear and mineral flavors that continue on the long finish wrapped in saline acidity. This is a Pouilly-Fuissé that is full of character and complexity - serve with full-flavored fish dishes, chicken in sauce, white meats and strong cheeses and it should age nicely as well. David Lillie
Julien Guillot at Vignes du Maynes makes this elegant white Burgundy from an organic parcel on crumbly limestone that has 15% Pinot Gris and 85% Chardonnay. Just delicious in 2015, the "En Rimont" shows aromas of dried pear and apple, almond and stone with hints of spice, citrus and honeysuckle. The palate is quite elegant with earthy white fruits, hay, almond, white pepper and citrus. Quite supple and pure (vinified with minimal SO2) this is a very food-friendly wine that will accompany full-flavored fish and shellfish dishes, chicken and white meats and a wide variety of cheeses. Lovely wine! David Lillie
Julien Guillot of the Clos des vignes du Maynes makes this beautiful Beaujolais from a small parcel of 90 year-old Gamay vines of various old varieties in Leynes, just south of Pouilly-Fuissé. The parcel is at 1200 ft in altitude, with granite soils, giving a light but remarkably intense wine at 11.5% alcohol. The wine shows aromas of ripe blackberry, violets and earth, with hints of citrus and spice. Blackberry, plum and strawberry on the palate with firm citrusy acids, earth and mineral flavors. This is an outstanding natural Beaujolais - serve cool with charcuterie, chicken and pork dishes and full-flavored cheeses. David Lillie
Julien Guillot's 2015 "Les Pierres Bleues" is a gorgeous Beaujolais combining elegance and structure with beautiful fruit, for current drinking and medium-term cellaring. The vines are more than 100 years old, located in the commune of Bully on an ancient volcanic rift. The subsoil is limestone with sandy clay and dark blue metamorphic rocks, giving a strong salinity to the wine. The vineyard is in organic/biodynamic farming and the wine is produced in the Vignes du Maynes carbonic method with zero sulfur added. Deep red/black color: slight reduction then bright blackberry fruit, violet, graphite, earth, licorice and citrus. The palate shows lush blackberry and raspberry fruit, creamy and sapid but backed with firm acidity, with violet, earth and citrus notes that continue in the long supple finish. Really delicious and nicely balanced for a 2015 at 12.5 % alcohol - drink now or cellar for 5 to 8 years for a mature experience. David Lillie
Julien Guillot makes this Chenas from purchased, organically grown grapes, with a label (which we wish he would change) designed for the Copenhagen climat conference in 2009. Unfiltered, no added sulfite. The 2015 version of the Chenas "Ultimatum Climat" is a deep and profound Beaujolais that is delicious now but should improve over the next five to eight years. The wine shows aromas of blackberry and red currant liqueur with violet, cocoa and earth lifted by bright acidity. The palate is rich and textured with berry liqueur, earth and citrus, very supple and sappy. The finish is long with earthy black fruits, stone and citrus with firm acidity. This will be perfect with charcuterie, grilled chicken or pork, or cellar for 3 to five years and drink until 2025.
Julien Guillot's 2016 "les Crays" is 100% Pinot Noir from 40 year-old vines in this very chalky vineyard in the Macon, vinified with zero added sulfur. This is an expression of Pinot Noir that stands out! Darker than expected for a '16, with some reduction at first and gamey black fruit along with a bright mineral streak. Decant without hesitation, and come back to it in a half hour. Though it's a bit animal on the nose, it's very drinkable and the fruit is pure and elegant on the palate. A funky natural wine in a classic looking bottle. Don't let the label fool you! Eben Lillie