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One of my favorite bottles of Bordeaux. This 100% Cabernet Franc is made using zero sulfur, from vines that are tended under strict organic measures. The Dupuy family have been farming the same land since 1934, and have done an amazing job creating terrior-driven reds from their healthy grapes. This 2018 dark purple in the glass. The nose is beautifully plummy, with smashed raspberries, cherry leaves, graphite, all-spice, and violets. Flavors range from of blackberries, cranberries, pine, mint, and espresso. Graced by a dynamic level of clean acidity and formidable tannin. An absolute must for any lover of Cabernet Franc, especially if they enjoy examples from the Loire Valley. David Hatzopoulos
This is an outstanding Pomerol from Chateau Bellegrave, which was in conversion to organic certification in 2010. While it shows the depth and structure of this excellent vintage in Bordeaux, the wine is surprisingly supple and forward, making it a delicious wine for current drinking. The aromas are ripe and rich with black fruits, cassis and blackberry with sous-bois, cocoa, spice and floral notes. The palate is firm but round, deep and elegant with complex fruit flavors backed by earth and mineral notes with good freshness and silky tannins. Decant this lovely wine a few hours in advance if possible or cellar for five to fifteen years
75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc coming from hand harvested vineyards (35-60 year old vines) in the revered region of Pomerol. The estate has long dismissed the use of chemicals but has recently transitioned to biodynamic methods. Wine has been aged in French oak, with 1/3 being new, 1/3 being old, and the last 1/3 being from the producer’s previous vintage.
The second label to Chateau Fonroque, this Merlot-based red comes from limestone/clay soils in St. Emilion. Vines average 35 years of age and fruit is harvested by hand. The nose delivers scents of dark flowers and rich baked fruit. The palate shows deep red and black cherry and plum, with accents of warm cedar and herbs. There is great minerality, which lends the wine a structure of supreme freshness. David Hatzopoulos
Produced by Philippe Durand from 10.5 hectares of stunning, clover covered vineyards on the western slope of Mont Calon in Montagne. Vine age ranges, with most being an average of 45 years, though 15% are 80 years old and there are some Merlot vines that were planted 150 years ago. Strict berry picking is done to remove all withering grapes. Fermentation is done naturally, mostly in cement. The wine is aged for 12-14 months in 50% new oak. Black-red color in the glass. On the nose the wine shows squashed blackberry, pine needles, black tea, graphite. A real pleasure aroma-wise. The palate has black plum, black cherry, and long finish of bitter espresso that ends with a quick shift to a softer flavor of dark chocolate. Firm tannin and medium acidity. Such a great bottle to drink - random encounter that proved to be delicious. Should drink well over the next decade. David Hatzopoulos
“Nout” is a pure-fruited and grippy Margaux that is mainly sourced from Michel Théron’s younger vines of Merlot planted in the sandy soils of Macau; the remainder is Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Michel’s judicious use of more new oak for this cuvée lends structure to the blend; elevating the earthy, graphite mineral notes of the Cabernet and softening the sapid berry fruit of the Merlot for a refreshing and exquisitely textured Margaux (especially in the lean 2014 vintage). The aromas offer lovely strawberry and blood orange notes with mellow tones of cocoa, thyme, ash, and earth. The palate is silken and buoyed by bright acidity and powdery tannins. Flavors of dried red currants, citrus, and pepper play out on a long mineral finish. A great value Margaux that is drinking now and will only get better with time in the bottle. Amanda Bowman
This cuvée from Michel Théron is from some of his younger vines (60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot) in Macau and sees 50% new oak. However, like all he produces, this bottle isn’t incoherently dense. There is a taut and assertive medley of black and red fruit on the nose, with a unique salty spark. The palate is spicy, with cassis and pepper, and savory, with jerky, miso, and mint. This wine should be experienced while youthfully bright, but it is formidable, with a hearty character that will continue to evolve over the next 15 years or more. (David Hatzopoulos)
Grapes harvested by hand from vineyards on the plateau and slopes of the Castillon-Côtes de Bordeaux AOC. The fruit breakdown is 60% Merlot, 35% Cabernet France, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. In the cellar, fermentation is done in both cement and wood (50/50) using indigenous yeasts. Aging is done first in wood for 7 months, a quarter new and the rest one to two vintages old, before spending 12 additional months in cement.
Château Coutet in St. Emilion is comprised of a single plot, 13 hectares large. The soil is a mix of limestone, sand, and clay, and the vineyard is planted to 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 7% Malbec, and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon. Never once have herbicides or pesticides touched the vineyards belonging to Chateau Coutet, a certified organic producer. The property boasts oak trees, fig trees, and orchid meadows as a measure to ensure the land’s health, and thus the quality of its grapes and wines. All vineyard work is done organically. In the cellar, juice is fermented in concrete, then 85% of the resulting wine is aged in 20% new French oak barrels. The rest is aged in concrete vats. Aging lasts 18 months before bottling.
Château Fonroque is a superb certified biodynamic and organic estate in the Saint-Émilion appelation. Owned by the Moueix family since 1931, the estate is a proponent of traditional winemaking techniques with hand harvesting, spontaneous yeast fermentation, and limited use of new oak. An elegant Bordeaux with precise minerality, the wine is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc from 35-year-old vines, planted on limestone soils with some portions of clay on the hillside of the vineyard. The wine is fermented with native yeast in concrete vats and then aged in oak (with a small portion of new oak). The resulting wine is fantastic showing the impressive savoir-faire of Alain Moueix. The bouquet is complex with notes of juicy plum, cassis, crunchy black raspberry, tobacco leaves, hibiscus, baking spices, and leather, with some purple floral and savory undertones. Showing great energy and tension on the palate, the wine displays a beautiful calcareous minerality, bright acidity and soft tannins. To enjoy now with roasted beef, duck breast or full-flavored cheese, or age it for several years (7 years or more). Caroline Coursant
Biodynamic farming, native yeast fermentations, superb value –all phrases not typically associated with Bordeaux. Yet, each year the Hubert family provides us with just that in their staple cuvee from the Côte de Blaye. The Cru Bourgeois is a blend of mostly Merlot with Cabernet Franc, and a bit of Malbec. Generously aromatic owing to the limestone/clay soils in which it is grown, the 2018 offers crushed violets, cassis, and rhubarb on the nose. The palate shows the warm vintage with finesse. Cascades of ripe red fruit, black currant, and spice, with supple tannins and an undercurrent of chalky minerality. This is a great addition to the dinner table alongside grilled meat, roast chicken and stews or sipped on its own, drink over the next 5 to 8 years.
Didier Michaud works 1.7 hectares in the Medoc with 30 to 100 year-old vines on limestone with thin soils of clay with sand and stones. He has old vines of Merlot Queue Rouge and massale selection Cabernet Sauvignon, farmed organically with just a little compost and shallow plowing. Vinification with wild yeasts, no extraction and no added sulfur (total SO2 less than 2 mg/L). This is one of the most "natural" and deliciously old-fashioned wines of Bordeaux. The 2018 Planquette is considerably riper and forward than usual, weighing in at 15% alcohol, but retaining it's normal vibrant character - it will be delicious as a young wine, although it will certainly cellar nicely as well. The 2018 shows very ripe cassis and blackberry aromas with licorice, violet, bitter chocolate and earth. The palate is dense, deep and velvety, with black fruit liqueur, earth and mineral flavors. The mid-palate is elegant with a core of chalky black fruit and minerals that continues in the long finish. This is a beautiful Bordeaux of terroir, unfettered by additives, over-extraction or new oak, showing lovely flavors of fruit and earth and perfect balance despite the weight and ripeness of the vintage. Delicious now, but perhaps best 2025 to 2035+. Thank you, Didier Michaud! This superb and soulful wine is highly recommended and a great value. David Lillie