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This is an off-dry (semi-sweet) expression of Gewurztraminer from granite soils. White flowers, spice, and mint blossom on the nose, with a silky and subtly sweet mid-palate, and nice structure in the finish. Textbook Gewurz! Eben Lillie
I'm a big fan of this Pinot Noir. It's uniquely Alsatian, and doesn't remind me of Burgundy, or California, or Oregon, or the Jura (or even the Alto Aldige!). 15 months elevage (ageing), half/half whole cluster and destemmed. 2015 was a hot year, so Laurent says he harvested when the grapes were ripe, but not TOO ripe. A lovely Pinot Noir, with notes of fresh rasberries on the nose. Fresh and elegant, with some tannin, structure, and a bit of pepper in the finish ("typical of granite," says Laurent). I think this wine should age nicely. Though I admit to not having a lot of experience in the field of aged Alsatian Pinot, I will definitely be putting some aside to see how they evolve... and of course drinking some soon too! Eben Lillie
Always around 50% Pinot Auxerrois (fermented separately), with Muscat, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, and a touch of Riesling. The idea here is to make a wine that is easy to drink, says Laurent, and he nails it! There's a subtle touch of spice on the palate, with a crystalline minerality in the finish, thanks to the granite soils. Eben Lillie
Occasionally Laurent will make this old vines Pinot Auxerrois, and it's always a remarkable wine when he does! In 2015, Laurent had some Auxerrois that was meant to be sparkling, but he noticed that the quality was so good that he ended up separating it. On top of that, he also wanted the best juice for this cuvée, so he didn't use any juice from the beginning or the end of the press. The result is a beautifully structured wine, simultaneously charming and serious, with ripe stone fruit on the nose and ample acidity on the palate. A rare and special treat! Eben Lillie
Frick made two versions of the GC Steinert Riesling in 2012, one with filtration and the addition of a small amount of SO2 at bottling, and a second with no filtration and no sulfites added. He took great interest in watching my father and I taste the two, and the anticipation of our response was accompanied by a touch of childlike excitement. I think I remember him being quite pleased that we both preferred the second version. Truth be told, I like them both. The first had a bit of residual sugar, and was very classic, but I ended up preferring the second because it was drier, and had a subtle salinity to it that carried the wine on the palate in a much more interesting way. There's a touch of honey dew melon, lemon, and saffron, and is a bit fleshy on the palate. The Steinert parcel is oriented East, on a terroir of limestone, with relatively dry soil. A great wine to have over the course of many days. Eben Lillie
This Gewurztraminer is technically from the Grand Cru Steinert vineyard, but Pierre simply didn't want to present this wine as a Grand Cru, so he calls it "Steiner." To me, it's a perfect Gewurz; a little sweet (22g residual sugar), fresh, floral and clean, with a touch of mint and herbs. I had a bottle that lasted for about a week, and I really enjoyed tasting it every day. I consider this a classic Gewruztraminer, and a great introduction to the grape and it's characteristics. Eben Lillie
Bergweingarten is a vineyard of brown limestone, with South-East exposition in the middle of a hill. Pierre says there's a touch of sandstone influence, which dons a type of crystalline freshness and structure to the wines from this site. There's some stone fruit here, and a nice level of ripeness, with hints of mandarin orange, almond, and spice. Aged on the lees for 11 months in large 100 year old barrels, with 19g S02 total. I wouldn't call this a completely dry Sylvaner - even though the residual sugar is only 1.4g, it's ripe and flavorful and has some lingering fruit in the finish. A very tasty wine, and quite versatile with a variety of foods. Eben Lillie
Frick's Pinot Auxerrois 'Carriere' is the first Auxerrois I ever tasted, and a wine I always look forward to tasting each year with Pierre. The 2014 is crisp and dry, with 0 grams of residual sugar, and no sulfites added. Carriere is a parcel on limestone with a good amount of sandstone, which Frick says gives the wine a "claquant" character. Truly not an easy word to translate, a wine that is claquant (from claquer- to clap) has a kind of lip smacking freshness and acidity, and is energetic and lively on the palate. Frick also refers to the wine as "tendu," which is the French word for tense, but here I believe expresses how lean and focused the wine is. Apparently the French love this wine with sushi and sashimi, and I can see why. There's very subtle white stone fruit on the palate, but no softness or fruitiness whatsoever, and the finish is clean and mineral. Drink over several hours, as the wine opens up and reveals a bit more texture with some time open. Eben Lillie
Though it seems like a relatively new category, it turns out winemakers in Alsace have been making skin contact wines for some time. The first may have been Bannwarth, who experimented with qvevri (georgian clay anforae). Then, along with the Fricks, JF Rietsch, Patrick Meyer, and Bruno Scheuller. From the Grand Cru Vorbourg vineyard, this is Pinot Gris with 12 days of skin contact with no sulfites added. The color is a deep auburn/ruby in the glass, almost reminiscent of a light red. On the palate, it's balanced and clean, with faint tannin, peach fuzz, and subtle red fruit. Eben Lillie
A tasty Cremant d'Alsace, 100% Pinot Blanc, with no sulfites added. It's bright and fresh, but also marked by straw notes and some yeasty overtones. It's a touch funky on the palate but overall very rejuvenating and complex. Eben Lillie
The Vieilles Vignes bottlings from Georges Descombes are always among our favorite Beaujolais, and we're very happy to finally have the lovely 2014s in the store! A difficult growing season that was saved by good weather at the end of summer, 2014 produced beautifully balanced and very expressive wines in Beaujolais. The Chiroubles Vieilles Vignes shows floral, spiced strawberry and blackberry fruit, with hints of graphite, earth and citrus. Bright plum, strawberry and black fruits on the palate with rose and citrus, textured and mineral with nice length of berry fruits, bright acidity and earth in the finish. This is a lovely, beautifully balanced Chiroubles, at 12.5% alcohol, that is delicious now, best perhaps 2020 - 2025. DL
This is an extremely pretty Morgon, showing subtle high-toned black raspberry and tart cherry aromas with plum, violet, citrus and brown spice, really lovely. The black and red fruits continue on the palate with complex notes of blood orange, earth, mint and spice. The wine is dense and structured but bright and balanced, finishing with refreshing acidity and mineral flavors. Delicious now, this should be superb in three to five years, and should drink well till 2027. DL
The Descombes Regnié Vieilles Vignes is superb in 2014, showing lovely aromas of red currant and strawberry, violet, orange peel, brown spice and soil. There is velvety strawberry and blackberry compote on the palate with rose, pomegranate, earth and citrus. The finish is long with lemony acidity, mineral flavors and pretty red fruits. This is a complex and beautifully balanced Regnié that is delicious now, with aeration, and it should be superb from 2020 to 2026+. Highly recommended. David Lillie
This delicious Regnié shows a vivid red/black color and lush aromas of blackberry liqueur with hints of violet, bitter chocolate and citrus. Ripe, supple berry fruits coat the palate, which is quite well-balanced for a 2015, blackberry and black cherry with lovely length of fruit lingering in the finish which is lifted by firm acidity. This is a great success for the vintage and will provide joyful drinking for the next five years! DL
Isabelle and Bruno Perraud make lovely natural wines on their small estate, certified organic in 2002, with vines in Moulin-a-Vent at "Au Vieux Bourg" in Chenas on granite soils that are high in manganese. They also make wines from purchased organic grapes from other appellatons. The 2015 Moulin-a-Vent is at 12% alcohol, very low for the vintage, and shows pretty aromas of blackberry and tart cherry, earth and citrus, lifted by bright acidity. The palate shows very earthy and bright flavors of black fruits with a firm mineral component. The volatile acidity seems a bit high, which sometimes happens with a zero sulfur wine, but gives the wine a brightness that will pair well with charcuterie and grilled foods. "Bottled without sulfur, without additives, without filtration or fining, Living wine."
We are big fans of the 2014 vintage in Beaujolais and we were very happy to get another shipment of the lovely 2014 Regnié from Joëlle and Roland Pignard. (January 1st, 2018) The wine is opening up nicely with pretty aromas of ripe strawberry and black cherry mingling with earth, rose, truffle and brown spice. The palate has softened a bit with bright strawberry, cherry and red currant over the saline minerals and earth with citrus and herbal notes. The wine is subtle and perfectly balanced at 12% alcohol - a real Regnié of terroir that will continue to improve over the next few years. Delicous wine! (Notes from August 2016 below)The Pignards' Regnié is from 50 year-old vines on alluvial clay soils, always giving a well-structured wine. The 2014 shows subtle aromas of ripe red currant and strawberry, very floral and pure. The palate is less fruity, showing stone and mineral flavors with lighter raspberry/strawberry fruit, quite elegant, and finishing with stony acidity. This will need a few years to show at its best but is delicious now in its purity and restraint. Decant if drinking now, best probably 2019 - 2023.
We're very proud to have the lovely Morgons of Roland Pignard at Chambers Street. The vines for this cuvée are 60 years old, planted at high altitude on steep hillsides in sandy clay soils over granite in the lieu-dit "les Charmes," just northwest of their home in the hamlet of Saint-Joseph above Villié-Morgon. Biodynamic farming, with no SO2 added until a minimal dose before bottling. The fermentation is with wild yeasts with a relatively short period of carbonic-maceration. The 2015 Morgon shows a vivid deep red color with complex aromas of ripe black cherry and black raspberry, wild flowers, earth and black pepper. The palate is ripe and supple with black raspberry and cherry fruit, brightened by firm acidity with hints of orange peel and brown spice. The finish is long and ripe with lingering black fruits, citrus and mineral flavors. At 13% alcohol, this beautiful Morgon shows the ripeness of the 2015 vintage but in a balanced and nuanced style with a complexity and mineral character found in few of the 2015s. Delicious now, best 2020 to 2025, but who will wait? David Lillie
The Pignard's Morgon Cuvée Tradition is ripe, dense and delicious in 2015! Good friends with Christian Ducroux, the Pignards practise similar methods of biodynamic farming and natural vinifications. Produced from hillside vineyards of sandy clay over limestone in "Les Charmes," the wine ferments naturally, with only 10mg of SO2 added before bottling and spends a year in vat followed by a year in old barriques. The wine shows aromas of blackberry liqueur with earth, spice, citrus and herbal notes. The palate is silky and supple with ripe black fruits, bitter chocolate, earth, spice and citrus - having some aspects of northern Rhone wines in this very warm, dry vintage. The finsh is long with fruit liqueur, spice and citrusy acids. This shows the density and darker fruit flavors of the 2015 vintage but in a more balanced frame at 13% alcohol. Delicious now in it's youthful intensity, probably best from 2020 to 2025. David Lillie
The Pignard's Beaujolais-Villages is from a high-elevation parcel with 40 year-old vines in sandy clay over decomposed granite. There is a very short carbonic-maceration to preserve the fresh fruit and only a tiny addition of sulfur before the bottling. The 2016 ias a subtle, elegant and well-structured Beaujolais, showing pretty aromas of raspberry, plum and tart cherry, with hints of violet, citrus and herbs. The palate shows firm acidity and saline mineral flavors, framing the blackberry and raspberry fruit, with hints of mint, spice and citrus. This is a real Beaujolais of terroir that is elegant and delicious now and will improve over the next few years. David Lillie
(Five hour decant) The 1998 is a complex and unusual Bordeaux in mid-life, showing more secondary and mineral qualities than the riper 2000. The wine shows a light, slightly browning garnet color; the aromas are quite floral and earthy with spicy black currant, clove, graphite and citrus peel. The palate shows dark earth and mineral flavors yielding to bright black currant and cassis fruit with dark spice and sous-bois flavors backed by very firm acidity. The wine held up well with an additional few hours open and will obviously benefit from another ten to twenty years of aging. David Lillie
Jean-Pierre Boyer makes Margaux that resemble the wines of the distant past. His 2000 shows a slightly maturing red/black color with bright aromas of red currant, cassis and raspberry with cedar, rose, citrus and earthy sous-bois notes, really lovely and complex. Relatively light for a Margaux, the palate is deep and velvety with firm tannins under lovely blackberry and cassis fruit with earth, licorice and mineral flavors. It's delicate and powerful at the same time and very long. Delicious now with three to four hours in carafe or after another ten to twenty years in the cellar. David Lillie
A Margaux like no other, more akin to a 19th century claret than to a modern Bordeaux.The 2004 from Jean-Pierre Boyer shows a lovely deep garnet color and smoky red-currant aromas with earth, violet, licorice, spice and citrus peel. The palate is dense and mineral with firm structure, but showing velvety blackberry, cassis and red currant with earth and mineral flavors and a bit of bitter licorice. The finish is long and firm. Suspend your ideas of Bordeaux and enjoy this complex and Burgundian Margaux. Carafe four hours in advance or cellar ten to twenty years.(On day 2 the wine has deepened and softened into a lovely Burgundian Bordeaux)
The 2009 BAMA shows bright deep red/black color with lovely high-toned red fruit liqueur - strawberry, black-currant and cassis, with violet and earth. The palate is dense and ripe with bright acidity - not at all heavy, but with intense black and red fruits backed by flavors of mineral and earth. On day two the bright deep fruits have become more focused and linger on the palate in the long and very mineral finish. This is quite enjoyable as a young wine, especially after a day open, unencumbered by over-extraction and new oak - but beware, this style is for those who like some earth in their Bordeaux! Best to cellar for a very long time...
The 2010 Bel Air Marquis d'Aligre is from very old vines and also from approximately 50 year-old vines planted by M. Boyer at 10,000 plants per hectare. One of the two parcels abuts Chateau Margaux. There is a long fermentation without extraction, the juice remains in cuve until spring, then spends 6 months in old barrels followed by two to three years in cement vat. These are wines made in the lighter "claret" style of the 19th century, although the 2010 shows an incredible density of flavor, given the less-extracted style. Upon opening the wine shows subtle aromas of earth, red currant and cherry fruit with licorice and brown spice. The palate is deep and quite expressive with black cherry, strawberry, earth, licorice and mineral flavors, quite Burgundian in texture. The finish is very long with lingering tart cherry, sous-bois and mineral flavors. After two days open (re-corked) the aromas have broadened with prune, ripe cherry, tobacco, spice and rose and the palate is intense with red and black fruit liqueur, spice box and earth and ending with lingering red fruits and firm acidity. Delicious now with a long decant, this will be an extraordinary mature wine, best perhaps 2035 - 2050. David Lillie
This is an oustanding 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
Château Cartier, the second label of Chateau Fonroque, has been certified organic since 2006 and biodynamic since 2008. The grapes are harvested by hand and macerated slowly. After fermentation with indigenous yeasts, the wine is aged in oak (30% new) for 16 months. On the palate, this 100% Merlot wine displays a rich bouquet of dark and red plums, cassis, ripe red currant with violet and chocolate notes. With high mineral notes on the nose and palate, the wine has some blood and iron overtones. The body is full with smooth tannins. This is a luscious wine that will pair fantastically with grilled meats or barbecued chicken. Caroline Coursant
Château Massereau, an estate located in Barsac, has been farming organically since its acquisition by the Chaigneau family in 2000. The estate is fully committed to natural wine-making and it shows in the quality of the wine. The grapes are hand-harvested, fermented in concrete vats and then aged in neutral barrique for 18 months with minimal addition of sulfur at bottling. Made from Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot, planted in alluvial soils, the wine displays a bouquet of dark berries and plums with dried green herbs, menthol notes and a hint of violet, tobacco leaf and cedar notes. This elegant wine has a beautiful structure with firm acidity and smooth tannins. A great wine at a beautiful price, this wine will pair fantastically with racks of lamb, kebabs, steaks or pork chops, and it would be a crowd-pleasing choice for your holiday parties! Caroline Coursant
This 100% Merlot wine from Château Couronneau, an estate certified organically and biodynamically since 2009 and 2011 respectively, is a fun full-bodied Bordeaux. With a bouquet of ripe plums, blackberries, dark cherries, violet, and vanilla cream notes, the wine reminds me of summer times in the South of France when I was a child. On the palate, the wine has a beautiful density with good acidity and firm tannin. A great value, this wine will be the perfect companion to any barbecued meat or a classic steak and frites. Caroline Coursant
This is a beautiful wine from Château Coutet, a Saint Émilion estate that received its organic certification in 2012. The domain has never used chemical treatments on the land – resulting in a unique flora and fauna not found on any other surrounding estates. Harvest is made by hand with triage. Horses are used to plough the most delicate plots. The 2012 Coutet shows a bouquet of dark berries, red currants and plums with slight herbal notes. With a refreshing minerality, bright acidity and firm tannins, the wine has a long and complex finish. Drink the wine now or age it for several years (+7 years). Caroline Coursant
This certified organic wine is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. The wine offers a bouquet of ripe berries, plums and cherries with some light savory herbs and spices notes. This wine has a good acidity and minerality (thanks to the vineyard's limestone soil) giving a pleasant freshness and brightness to the wine. I very much enjoyed this wine and would pair it with various dishes from grilled pork chops to the classic hamburger. Caroline Coursant
What a beautiful fresh Bordeaux! Certified organic since 2012, this estate has been making outstanding wines since the beginning, showing the expertise of the Clauzel family and superb terroir. This 2014 wine (a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc) is elegant and vibrant with a gorgeous bouquet of black and red berries, plum, oriental spices, leather and cedar box notes. On the palate, the wine is bright with acidity and minerality, and shows supple tannins with a long fresh finish. This is a vibrant Bordeaux which can accompany casual to fancy meals. Pair this wine with hamburgers, seared lamb, or with more elaborated dishes, such as, roast beef or braised duck. A delicious wine to drink now or cellar it for a few years. Caroline Coursant
I am excited to add this delicious certified organic wine to our Bordeaux selection! Domaine Les Trois Petiotes, a 3-hectare estate in the Côtes de Bourg owned by Valérie Godelu, has been a proponent of less is more on the field and in the cellar for more than a decade. Fully destemmed with stainless steel tank fermentation, the wine is aged in neutral oak for 4 years with minimal sulfur addition. The result is a very expressive wine with a beautiful structure combining vibrancy and texture. The wine, a blend of Merlot (around 65%), Cabernet Franc and Malbec, shows pretty notes of red plums, black and blue berries, cigar wooden box, and violet with menthol and savory undertones. With a superb minerality coming from the soil, a mix of sand, clay, limestone and gravels, supple tannins, and bright acidity, the wine is welcoming and exciting. Pair this wine with classic dishes, such a steaks, beef stews and barbecued pork. A delicious wine at a great price. Caroline Coursant
Certified organic since 2009 and biodynamic since 2013, this second label from the domain Maison Blanche is a secret to discover. Vibrant with tension, firm tannins and bright acidity, this wine will accompany many of your meals from casual to fancy. The palate is full of blackberries, cassis, plums with savory, mineral and herbal notes. The finish is long and beautiful. A great wine. Drink it now or age it for several years (7 years). Caroline Coursant
The Peybonhomme-les-Tours "Energies" is a selection of the best grapes, vinified with wild yeasts and aged for 12 months in terra cotta amphorae, 60% Merlot, 30% Malbec, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine shows a dense red/black color with ripe blackberry and cassis aromas with stone and earth. The palate is supple, sapid and ripe with blackberry liqueur, red currant, bitter chocolate and stone. The finish is long with saline mineral flavors and firm acidity. The "Energies" is an elegant glass of Bordeaux that is lovely now with grilled meats, stews and full-flavored cheeses. Or cellar for ten years as this should age beautifully. Congratulations to the Huberts for this beautiful natural wine!
Biodynamic farming, native yeasts, wild fermentations, good 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, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and a bit of Malbec. Generously aromatic owing to the rich clay soils in which it is grown, the 2015 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 or sipped on its own. Amanda Bowman
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 usually no added sulfur. This is one of the most "natural" and deliciously old-fashioned wines of Bordeaux. The 2015 Planquette is a bit softer and more forward than usual, probably due to rains just before harvest, which makes it more delicious as a young wine, although it will certainly cellar nicely as well. The 2015 shows ripe cassis and blackberry aromas with licorice, violet, roast meat and earth. The palate is dense and supple, framed in bright acidity, with black fruit liqueur, earth, citrus 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. Delicious now, but perhaps best 2020 to 2030+. Highly recommended and a great value. David Lillie
(From half-bottle.) Though not considered a legendary vintage for Yquem, the 1981 has plenty of verve and class to recommend it. The nose shows apricot, orange marmalade, honey and brunt sugar and notes of vanilla. The palate is rich though, perhaps not as unctuous as more lauded vintages, offering flavors of burnt orange, crème brulée, pineapple, and honey. This is mature yet still has plenty of energy and freshness provided by the still lively acidity which carries through on the long and pleasingly bitter finish. John McIlwain
Amaury Beaufort, with help from his brothers, is making superb natural wines in Tonnerre on steep hillsides with Kimmeridgian soils near the village of Junay. (Northwest of the city of Tonnerre) Cête de Junay is a steep parcel requiring all vineyard work by hand. Yields are about 15 hl/ha, at 11.5% in 2015. The wine shows delicate but complex aromas of lime-flower, dried white fruits, almond and stone with hints of chamomile and dried herbs. The palate is crystalline and bone dry with citrus, stone and dried pear - light, but with great density and length and finishing with stone, anise, pear and lemon peel over saline minerals. No added SO2. Congratualtions to the Beauforts for this unique and scintillating wine! Serve with oysters, sushi, fresh goat cheeses, grilled sole or cod.
Billaud-Simon has always seemed to have a super-charged quality, relative to most other growers: more minerals, more cut, more floral aromas, an extra-layer of concentration, yet somehow remaining agile. The 2014 has aromas of lemon blossom, ripe tangerine peel, sea breeze, and iodine. The palate is electric with pungent, driving minerality, broad citrus and stone fruit flavors, and a lip-smacking, brightly acidic character. Long vibrant finish with plenty of tension between the pure ripe fruit and punchy stony elements. Lots of upside for cellaring and highly recommended. I'd love to drink this with rare tuna, swordfish, or even roasted chicken with a zippy salsa verde with plenty of capers. John McIlwain
The Hasard’s Bourgogne Blanc is made from hand-harvested and certified organic Chardonnay grown on a limestone/clay parcel in Aluze, next to Mercurey. The native-yeast fermentation lasts 10 months in barrel and only minimal SO2 is added at bottling. The 2015 is more fruit-forward on the nose, with aromas of dried mango, pear followed by ripe yellow fruits and river rocks. The palate is mineral, saline, and layered with notes of dried apricot, fennel, white flowers, and stone on a very generous finish. An excellent value white Burgundy that would pair well with oysters, cheeses, or roast chicken with herbs. Amanda Bowman
From 1 HA of vines planted in 1985 by Claude de Nicolay’s mother. In addition to Chardonnay, there are 6 rows of Pinot Blanc. Something of a rarity as Ile des Vergelesses is considered by most to be the finest red wine climat in Pernand Vergelesses, the Blanc from Chandon de Briailles also features Pinot Blanc adding an extra layer of aromatics to this Pernand blanc. Floral on the nose with aromas of honeysuckle, apple blossom, and bosc pear. The palate is generous with notes of lemon curd, tropical fruit, and stone on the midweight, pretty, energetic, and forward palate. Delicious now and a true rarity! Enjoy with roasted chicken, turkey or guinea hen, broiled swordfish, or strong cheeses. John McIlwain
Sea spray, green apple, white flowers, fine stony detail on palate; cool lifted, slightly herbal finish. Plenty of flint in the tank still. Drink and hold. John McIlwain
Located a mere 2 kilometers from the Aube, organic vigneron Bruno Dangin is one of our new favorite producers of Cremant de Bourgogne. The rosé is made from 30-year-old pinot noir vines planted in clay-limestone soils from the Upper Jurassic. The robe is a pale salmon color and there is a fine bead and soft mousse. The nose is an intriguing melange of wild strawberries, spices, and sea spray. The palate is salty and red-fruited, with layers of pinot fruit and a briny minerality. John McIlwain
The Jobard Rully "En Villerange" is from a 2 hectare parcel facng south-south-east with old vines in clay/limestone soils. This is an elegant and well-priced white Burgundy showing aromas of ripe pear, lemon confit, lime-flower and almond framed in a bit of oak. The palate is supple and ripe with white fruit, herbal and mineral flavors framed in firm acidity and nicely rounded by the fermentation and elevage in barrel. Quite ripe and nicely balanced, it's delicious now and over the next 5 to 8 years.
"Les Boutonniers" is contiguous with Meursault "Meix Chavaux" on shallow soils of clay, high in iron, over the limestone bedrock, usually giving a somewhat lean and very "mineral" white Burgundy. The 2015 shows very floral aromas with pear, citrus and stone. The palate is crystalline and dense with subtle white fruits leading to a long finish with citrus peel, spice and mineral flavors. This is a lovely, very refreshing Burgundy to enjoy with grilled fish, roast chicken and goat cheeses. It's delicious now and will cellar nicely for eight to ten years. DL
From a north-facing parcel fairly high on the slope next to Meursault Les Vireuils. Subtle, rather delicate aromas of lime-flower and citrus, with white fruits, stone and honeysuckle. The palate is fresh and bright with mineral flavors predominating, with pear, lemon peel and herbal notes, quite pure and refreshing. The opposite of an oaky fruit-bomb, this is a light and lovely Chardonnay of terroir that will accompany shellfish, sole, flounder, cod and young goat cheeses.
From eighty year-old vines, in mid-slope on thin well-drained clay/limestone soils, the 2015 Meix Chavaux shows elegant pear, lemon, lime and floral aromas. The palate is rich and ripe with white fruits and exotic citrus covering the chalky core, with firm acidity and mineral flavors in the finish. Serve with full-flavored fish dishes, poultry and white meats, mild cheeses. This is a beautiful young Meursault that is delicious now and over the next ten years.
While the 2014 vintage resulted in a number of stellar white Burgundies graced with energy and complexity, some of the most striking have come from Chablis. Moreau-Naudet was especially successful and the wines show class from the basic villages thru the premier and grand crus. The 2014 Vaillons is a radiant example of the terroir, with airy aromas of stone fruit, citrus peel, honeysuckle, and wet stone. The palate is vibrant with minerality and punchy acidity, with smoky flint vying with cool-toned citrus, and spice flavors on a concentrated, tactile finish, which is just a shade broader than that of the Forêts. Lovely now, but there's plenty of dimension which bodes well for aging (if you can resist drinking your bottles in the near term). John McIlwain
A cracking Chassagne-Montrachet from Les Battaudes, a lieu-dit situated beneath the Morgeots premier cru. 20-year-old vines planted in limestone clay soils, farmed organically. The 2013 Battaudes is cool-toned and perfumed on the nose with lime blossom, orange oil and sea spray on the nose with a hint of oak. The mid-weight palate is racy with flavors of stone, lemon curd, and orange oil on a persistent, layered finish. Enjoy this with soft-shelled crab, or fresh spring vegetable risotto. John McIlwain
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
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
Sourced from a small plot within La Fosse, planted in 1959, Venus is named after the draft horse that plowed the vines. The soils are exceptionally chalky relative to the soils of other parts of Avize which have more clay, per Peter Liem. Aged under cork rather than crown cap and bottled without dosage, Venus is profoundly mineral and a study in chalk, with the old vines' deep roots preserving that sense of terroir even in warmer or 'off' vintages. John McIlwain
Mineral is a vintage-dated blend of Chardonnay from two particularly chalky lieux dits within the grand cru villages of Cramant and Avize, with the grapes from Bionnes (Cramant) vinified in demi-muid and Le Champ Bouton (Avize) vinified in tank and blended in equal parts.Sea spray, peach skin, grapefruit peel on the nose. Bright and fresh on the palate with good cut, incisively mineral with pungent chalk notes on the long driving finish. Delicious now, perhaps better still with a few years to allow the structural elements knit. John McIlwain
Towards the end of the tasting my notes became minimal, but this wine rated an enthusiastic "Superb!" Forget your prejudice against demi-sec Champagnes, this wine is fantastically complex and delicious. The French wine publication “Le Rouge et le Blanc,” in their review of André Beaufort, offers an explanation of how dosage seems to help the wines develop: “the aromas, timid in their youth, finish by exploding with age and the sugar becomes like a support to the aromas.” Only a few bottles available – we urge you to try it! (Notes from Jan 2017: "Super, rich, no flaws, Nearly sweet, wonderful, rich, complex nose. Totally fresh, or at least not old or even aging...") (new inventory disgorged June 2017)
Tasted in January 2017 at the estate. Complex aromas of lychee, candied pear, citrus, beautiful palate of yellow fruits, minerals, citrus, caramel with fabulous length. (This shipment disgorged in June 2017)
(NOTE: This refers to a 2014 disgorgement - this wine, from the same lot, was disgorged in 2017.) The 1998 Ambonnay Brut has long been a staff favorite and this disgorgement does not disappoint. Brillliant, golden yellow in color and showing a finely-beaded mousse, this offers one of the two most expressive aromatic profiles of this current Beaufort lineup. Aromas of Mirabelle plums, toasted hazelnuts, and crème brüléee transition to notes of Jonagold apples, cinnamon, and wild flowers. The palate is generous and expansive and carries tones of brazil nuts, greengages, and irises that crescendo to a fine, zippy finish. This is complex and delicious Champagne! David Salinas
A sensational mature Champagne from André Beaufort - the estate converted to organic agriculture in the early 70's and makes brilliant, full-bodied Champagnes that are among the most "vinous" being made today. Medium golden yellow in color and sporting a discrete mousse. The nose is quite floral with tones of cherry blossoms, apple blossoms, and irises before touches of quince and fresh baguette. The palate is concentrated with a spherical and laser-like focus that offers notes of lemon sorbet, tart lemon custard, and apple pie, underlined by a fine minerality that persists through to a rounded, savory finish. Really a very pretty and lovely wine. This medium bodied Champagne is made of approximately 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay and was disgorged in March 2017 after 14 years of sur-lie aging, illustrating the Beauforts' commitment to releasing mature wines.
2002 is a "magnificent vintage for Champagne" says Jancis Robinson and the 2002 Beaufort Policy Demi-Sec (disgorged in June 2017) is a beautiful example. The aromas are a lovely melange of honeyed citrus, pear and exotic fruits and floral notes with chalk, caramel and anise. The palate is a treat of sweet white fruits and citrus backed by earth and stone flavors with just enough acidity. The finish has a nice mineral balance and terrific length. Superb now, this will be very interesting in ten years or more, as after fourteen years on the lees it seems youthful and firm. (last of stock) David Lillie
The 2006 Ambonnay Brut Grand Cru shows subtle mature aromas of pear, almond, marzipan and citrus, very earthy with hints of exotic fruit and spice and wet stone. Give this some time to open up. The palate shows a delicate, creamy mousse with complex earthy white fruits, herbal notes and mineral flavors with nice acidity in the finish. A lovely wine of contemplation. (Disgorged June 2017)
"Really superb, subtle, long. Quiet nose. Winy. Seems like old school white Burgundy. Very serious..." Anonymous notes from Beaufort dinner, Jan 2017 (Disgorged April, 2017)
For those of a classical bent who prefer not to shop at the big Champagne houses, André Beaufort is a wonderful alternative. Longtime organic farming and extended lees-aging produce rich wines of uncommon detail and complexity. The 2010 Ambonnay offers aromas of white flowers, orange peel, bergamot, and chalk on the nose. Bright acid, salted plum, citrus oil, and fine line of sapid minerality on the supple and rich palate.This shows a fine interplay between power, tension, and suave, supple finish. This is one heck of an Ambonnay and a fine bottle of Beaufort! (Disgorged June 2017) John McIlwain
André Beaufort 2010 Polisy Blanc de Noirs Brut Nature, disgorged in June, 2017. This is a youthful and brilliant Blanc de Noirs from Amaury Beaufort and family that is sensationally vinous and complex, reflecting the decades of organic farming and low yields at this extraordinary estate. The wine shows aromas of raspberry, peach, lime-flower, citrus, hazelnut and stone. The palate is ripe and firmly structured with citrusy acids enveloping red fruits, thistle and creamy lemon with stone, white fruit, floral and mineral flavors in the long finish. This is a young and beautiful wine that will accompany a meal such as fish in sauce or chicken with morels, and of course delicious as an aperitif. Rich, but quite age-worthy, perhaps best 2020 to 2030. DL
The 2012 Polisy Rosé needs a bit of aeration, then shows aromas of red currant, rose, earth, citrus and white pepper.The palate shows earthy raspberry fruit wild cherry, and cool hints of delicate herbs. There's a fine interplay between brambly hedge fruit and soil notes. Enjoy this with confit tuna or roasted salmon with salsa verde. John McIlwain
Bérêche's Campania Remensis is a consistently fascinating rosé champagne, in a category fraught with uninspiring wines. The 2013 base is 65% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, and 5% still red wine from Ormes on the western side of the Montagne de Reims. This year the robe is salmon pink, verging on copper. The nose is redolent of wild strawberries, red currant, and pomegranate, with citrus peel and spicy top notes. The mid-weight palate displays a fine tension between ripe red fruit and an agile mineral precision. The balance here is impeccable and the finish textured and nuanced. Every year Bérêche makes a compelling case for rosé champagne and the 2013 base is an especially delicious example. John McIlwain
A blanc de blancs with luxurious weight and depth from "Les Monts Fournois," a parcel with the premier cru of Ludes in the Montagne de Reims. With an extremely fine bead, there are intensely rich flavors of lemon drop meringue and candied red fruits (strawberry, cherry) that finish with subtle wisps of dried ginger and dried tarragon. Disgorged 11/15. Jonas Mendoza 2012 is the inaugural vintage of Les Monts Fournois from Bérêche. Sourced from a lieu-dit on the northern end of Ludes with particularly thin soils over pure chalk, and a southern exposure planted with massale-selected Chardonnay in 1961. Fermented in barrel with native yeast and aged under cork, Les Monts Fournois deftly combines power and precision in this blanc de blancs. The nose displays citrus peel, white flowers and wet stone, while the old vines, sunny exposure, and chalky soils lend a distinctly mineral core to the wine on the vigorous, verging on sinewy, palate while not sacrificing elegance. For lovers of chalky, powerful Champagnes, Les Monts Fournois is a delight. Bottled with 3g/L dosage. John McIlwain
Based on a perpetual cuvée dating from the 1980's, the wine combines the vivid, nervy fruit of a recent vintage with the burnished, textural and aromatic complexity of the aged wines which make up the 'solera.' The secondary fermentation under cork rather than crown cap adds an additional layer of finesse with a delicate bead and soft mousse. Reflets is 2/3 reserve wine and 1/3 from the 2012 vintage. The current release has a golden yellow robe and a super fine bead. The nose features aromas of shortbread, ripe apple, orange zest and baking spice. The palate is round and broad with an underlying mineral tension and a cool, vibrant, rising finish. Better served in a white wine glass to allow the aromas to develop. A fine pairing with richer seafood dishes, roast poultry, or enjoy with a fine Comté. John McIlwain
Les Beaux Regards is a blend of two parcels of Chardonnay in Ludes on the northern slope of the Montagne de Reims planted in 1964 and 1970. The loamy clay soils produce a Champagne more vinous in character, rather than exclusively taut and chalky. The 2013 displays floral and stone fruit aromas with lemon blossom, brioche, and nectarine giving way to citrus peel and green apple. The palate is distinctly chalky and racy, with overtly mineral flavors, cool notes of mint and quinine, and a long tangy, sapid finish. (Dosage 3g/L) John McIlwain
Based on a perpetual cuvée dating from the 1980's, the wine combines the vivid, nervy fruit of a recent vintage with the burnished, textural and aromatic complexity of the aged wines which make up the 'solera.' The secondary fermentation under cork rather than crown cap adds an additional layer of finesse with a delicate bead and soft mousse. Reflets is 2/3 reserve wine and 1/3 from the 2012 vintage. The current release has a golden yellow robe and a super fine bead. The nose features aromas of shortbread, ripe apple, orange zest and baking spice. The palate is round and broad with an underlying mineral tension and a cool, vibrant, rising finish. Better served in a white wine glass to allow the aromas to develop. A fine pairing with richer seafood dishes, roast poultry, or enjoy with a fine Comté. John McIlwain
DMY (formerly Confidence) is the same cépages and blend as Filaine's Cuvée Speciale with an extra year on the lees and aged under cork, rather than capsule, lending a burnished character to the wine due to the slow ingress of oxygen. The current disgorgement is rich, broad, and sapid, with an impeccable balance between red fruits, citrus notes, and powerfully mineral structure and spice. John McIlwain
Filaine is one of our favorite Champagne houses. And the singular Fabrice Gass is one of our favorite Champagne characters. His wines are made up of Pinot Noir/Chardonnay/Pinot Meunier from the south-facing village of Damery on the slope of the Montagne de Reims over looking the Marne. The wines are made in the manner of 100 years ago. Fabrice farms the without chemicals, ferments in wood, and due to the age of his barrels, avoids malolactic fermentation. This disgorgement is based on the 2012 and 2013 vintages and balances nicely the classic richness of Damery with undertones of minerality. Aromatically the wines offer up aromas of baked apple, spices, and soil notes. On the palate flavors of ripe red fruit and a pervasive sense of chalkiness vie with with a creamy texture on the broad, rich finish. This is a perfect wine for the table with its balance of generous fruit and earthy structure. John McIlwain
A blend of Pinot Noir (50%), Chardonnay (25%), and Pinot Blanc (25%) from organically farmed vines grown in Kimmeridgian soils in Celles-Sur -Ource in the Aube. Initial fermentation is with indigenous yeast in tank, and the wine spends 30 months on the lees before disgorgement. The nose offers lovely aromas of apple blossom, apricot, honeysuckle and mint. The mid-weight palate is redolent of stone fruit, ripe Mirabelle plums, and tangerine, with a punchy mineral character lending gravitas. There's a lot of character to this well-priced Champagne that makes for a fine aperitif, as well as having the stuffing to enjoy with roasted fish, chicken, or strong cheeses. John McIlwain
Though there are fewer than 20 growers of Rosé des Riceys, we tend to think of the wines as a coming from a single terroir. By vinifying separately two different lieux dits, Olivier Horiot shows the possibilities of expression within the appellation. En Barmont is a warm site, whose southerly exposure and marls interspersed with Kimmeridgian limestone produce a ripe Pinot Noir with a broader character than nearby En Valigrain. The 2012 En Barmont has a darker garnet/copper robe, effusive and floral on the nose with wild cherry, cherry blossom, and Red Delicious apple aromas. On the palate, vivid, racy acidity, bright red fruits with hints of crushed herbs, and a fine dusty minerality on a broad expansive finish. This is quite pretty with a generous ripeness and exuberance. John McIlwain
This wine is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, with some of the Chardonnay in the blend a rare strain called Chardonnay "Muscaté," which is marked by the exotic flavors of the Muscat grape. These vines of Chardonnay "Muscaté" are very old and massale selected, planted by Aurélian Laherte's grandfather. This wine offers delightful notes of anise, citrus zest, and foxy white flowers on the nose, yet it's a subtle wine with the chalkiness of the soil speaking loudly on the finish, which shows citrus pith and an intriguing note of cherry red fruit. Bottled as an Extra Brut, the wine receives 4 grams dosage. (disgorged 2/12) MSB
An organically-farmed Blanc de Noirs from the eponymous lieu-dit in the premier cru village of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ. The wine is a notable expression of this terroir, as Fabrice Pouillon reveals by vinifying with only the natural sugars from perfectly ripe Pinot Noir, in addition to only utilizing the indigenous yeasts present in the must. He accomplishes this by chilling unsulfured grape must in tank to a temperature low enough to prevent spoilage or fermentation. This must is then used for the secondary fermentation, as well as the dosage after disgorgement, rather than cane sugars or MCR. The resulting wine is layered and supple with a fine bead, displaying red fruits, blood orange peel, and spices, expressing the vinous character of Pinot Noir grown in the clays of the Grande Vallee de la Marne. John McIlwain
Côte de Béchalin, formerly known as La Parcelle when part of the Inflorescence lineup, comes from a meticulously farmed .73 hectare parcel in Celles-sur-Ource. Where previously Bouchard sold wines made by the former owner, then vinified the wines in those cellars, 2007 was the first vintage where the wines were made completely in Bouchard's cellars. While these champagnes have seemed to have a broader palate with more exotic fruit, they maintain poise with pinpoint acidity. One can certainly enjoy this now, but some time in the cellar to further knit the elements of structure and fruit should pay off handsomely. -John McIlwain
Les Ursules is a Blanc de Noirs from a single parcel of less than a hectare of the same name in the Côtes des Bars. As always Cédric Bouchard’s aesthetic is vineyard expression above all. This single vineyard, single vintage Pinot Noir is raised in stainless steel, to avoid any influence of wood that would mask the character of the terroir. The long, slow secondary fermentation and bottling without dosage produces a vinous, savory champagne that benefits from decanting and serving in a wine glass rather than a flute to better appreciate the concentrated, earthy character of the Pinot Noir grown in this vineyard. John McIlwain
Formerly known as Infloresence, as of 2012, Val de Vilaine, this blanc de noirs comes from a south-facing 1.49ha plot of vines in Polisy planted in 1974 owned by Cédric's father. If there's such a thing as an 'entry level' Champagne in Bouchard's lineup, this is it. Historically more approachable when young than Bouchard's other wines, Val de Vilaine, is now more tightly wound and concentrated as the already small yields were nearly halved to 26hl/ha bringing it in line with the other cuvées of Roses de Jeanne. Here you'll find a classic expression of Polisy terroir. -John McIlwain
We have waited all summer for the no sulfur added Fosse-Grely "Autrement" and it's finally here! Sourced from organically and biodynamically grown grapes in the chalky/clay soils of single, north-west facing, amphitheater-shaped parcel, this wine is 100% Pinot Noir and brilliantly golden in color with a finely beaded mousse. The nose offers aromas of Cortland apples, hazelnuts, anise, toffee, and lime blossom. While the palate is alive with a powerful minerality that carries notes of Jonagold and Granny Smith apples, fenugreek, and linden blossom through to a hazelnut finish. Finely balanced and delicious! (Disgorged 4/2015) - David Salinas
While today we tend to think of most wines in terms of fruit or mineral descriptors, some transcend those notes with profoundly savory character. Ruppert-Leroy's 100% Pinot Noir Champagne Les Cognaux hits this sweet spot with loads of minerality, pure fruit, and a rich sapid character which makes it a natural for the table. Here's a wine that will stand up to all manner of savory dishes, while leaving the palate refreshed. A visit to the vines with Bénédicte Ruppert of Ruppert-Leroy is an illuminating experience. There’s a world of difference between the Aube and the Vallée de la Marne. Not only are the soils different, (Kimmeridgean limestone vs. chalk), but the undulating landscape itself is wilder and less manicured. Often the vineyards abut forest rather than village, which in the case of biodynamic growers is especially desirable to insure a biodiversity according to Bénédicte. Between the vines is a riot of vegetation and flowers, as Ruppert-Leroy has 30 different plants and flowers sown in the vineyard. One such vineyard is the Les Cognaux whose grey marl soils are planted to Pinot Noir and when we visited in the Spring was aglow with yellow flowers. (These flowers are made into a tissane by Bénédicte to treat the vines for mildew.) The wildness of the countryside is reflected in the wines which are energetic, exuberant, and vibrantly mineral. The 2013 Les Cognaux shows red fruit, peach skin, orange peel, and see spray aromas with notes of daishi and fond. The palate balances lush, ripe flavors of apricot, peach, and Rainier cherry with crunchy acidity, compelling umami character and a pungent sense of minerality. The finish is vibrant and luminous. As of 2013 Ruppert-Leroy vinifies and bottles without SO2. John McIlwain
Aurelien Suenen is one of the bright young stars of the Côte des Blancs, whose Champagnes seem to improve with every new release. His 2014 based Oiry Blanc de Blancs is a beauty. Wines from the village are typically sold under the Cramant designation (we haven't been able to find another Champagne with this single village designation, as yet), so this is a fine opportunity to taste Oiry's distinctive, chalky terroir. Aurelien's parcels contain some very old Chardonnay vines which make for some pungently mineral, stony wines. The vins clairs are fermented partially in barrel, spend nine months on the lees, and are bottled with 1 g/l dosage. The 2014 is brisk, briny, and fresh on the nose with aromas of yuzu, Meyer lemon, quinine, and chalk dominating. The palate is chiseled, taut and very dry with racy acidity and an energetic driving finish. Suenen continues to grow with each vintage and this new line up of village designated Champagnes are particularly exciting. The 2014 will make a fine aperitif and shiny brightly with crudo or sashimi. John McIlwain
A blend of 1/3 Chardonnay, 1/3 Pinot Noir, and 1/3 Pinot Meunier, the base wine comes from the classic 2008 vintage. For a Brut Nature (Dosage: 0 g/l), this Tarlant combines bracing acidity with remarkable fruit-forwardness. Lemon pith, preserved lemon, red apple flesh and red apple skin flavors sweep across the palate with broad brush strokes and a pleasing effervescence. With big flavors and deep cut, this Champagne definitely needs food to accompany it: caviar or smoked salmon anyone? (Disgorged: 09/14) - Jonas Mendoza
A new cuvée from Côtes-des Bar sensation Vouette et Sorbée is cause for celebration for lovers of pure, organic Champagnes. Extrait is a late-disgorge bottling from a single vintage, bottled without dosage. The 2005 is 70% Pinot Noir from the Sorbee vineyard by grower Bertrand Gautherot's house and 30% Chardonnay from the Biaunes vineyard where they source Blanc d'Argile. The wine has a pale gold robe and fine bead. The nose has notes of honey, dried orange peel, fresher red-fruit, and citrus aromas (tangerine, blood orange). The palate shows great energy, with candied orange peel, red fruit, and pungnet mineral flavors with notes of brioche and crushed herbs. Quite dry, but by no means austere, this has good mid-plate density with a hint of burnished character on the long, persistent, punchy finish. This is linear rather than broad and a makes a convincing case for aging wines from the Aube. John McIlwain
Domaine Gabriel Billard is now directed by Claudie Jobard. The four hectares of parcels in and around Beaune and Pommard have a very high percentage of old vines. While not organic, only natural composts are used, with minimal treatments in the vines and regular light tilling ("griffage") and wild-yeast fermentations. The 2015 Cuvee Milliane "Vieilles Vignes" is from vines near Pommard and shows complex aromas of ripe black cherry and strawberry, with violets, orange peel, earth and smoke. There are dense red fruits on the palate, quite sappy, also very earthy and mineral, and quite balanced for a 2015 at 13% alcohol. The finish is long and well-structured - the wine will obviously benefit from 3 to 5 years of aging, but it's quite delicious now in it's intense youth. This is a "serious"Bourgogne rouge at a great price!
The Simon Bize 2015 Savigny Les Bourgeots is higher-toned and more tightly wound than the Bourgogne Perrières. The nose is in a cool register: vine smoke, black cherry skin, wild blackberry cassis, mint, and a hint of brambly wet bark. The palate is tightly wound and nervy, but offers a fine tension between cool ripe fruit and a pungent, sapid mineral character. This needs plenty of air to come together, but the purity of fruit and energy that's implied within the structure is intriguing. Decant now or cellar for 3-5 years to allow the elements to integrate. Should be interesting to follow over the next 7-10 years. Quite enjoyable with pasta and a sausage and mushroom ragu, and should work beautifully with pork in a mustard sauce, or with crispy duck confit and a salad of bitter greens. John McIlwain
From .38 HA biodynamically farmed vines averaging over 40 years old, high on the hillside of Corton. Traditionally the most powerful and stern of the stable of red Corton lieu-dits at Chandon de Briailles. 80% whole cluster fermentation. There’s a fair bit of reduction to this initially, but with a long decant this recedes to reveal aromas plummy black fruit, animale funk, black tea, and fresh-turned earth. In the mouth ripe red/black fruit flavors mingle with pungent minerality on the vibrant mid-weight palate. There is good sap and firm, but ripe tannins supporting the fruit on the long, substantial finish. This has real class and should be sensational after 10-15 years in the cellar. John McIlwain
La Chapelle is a "climat" within Les Breterins and Reugne, on the steep slope of la Montagne de Bourdon, facing south/southeast. The vines are well-placed in mid-slope and are mostly sixty years-old, giving the most "generous" of the three Lafouge premier crus. The soils here are partially "marnes blanches"which seems to contribute to the more supple and elegant style of wines from this site. The 2015 is well-endowed with sweet black cherry and chalky raspberry fruit but shows nice freshness and lift even in this warm vintage. A 2005 opened last week (February 2018) was absolutely singing, with gorgeous fruit, quite focused and elegant with nice earth and sous-bois notes of maturity. David Lillie ....Tasted in January, the 2015 Chapelle impressed me with immediate pretty red fruit on the nose, then dried fruit and cassis on the palate, with a lovely long finish. This should age nicely. Eben Lillie
Les Duresses, according to Jasper Morris, is the best placed vineyard in Auxey-Duresses, on a steep south-east facing slope that continues into Monthelie. This wine is always well-structured, a bit less forward than Lafouge's La Chapelle and it ages beautifully. The 2015 has bright ruby robe, high-toned ripe raspberry, and red currant aromas with hints of violet on the nose. Cool (especially for the vintage) red fruit on midweight palate. Pure fruit, good acidity, just the right back notes of beet root and chalk. This has great lift, energy, and persistence on the finish. Just lovely. David Lillie
Jean and Gilles Lafouge have produced a delicious "village" Auxey-Duresses in 2015 - those looking for value in red Burgundy should stock-up on this lovely wine! Tasted before bottling in January 2017 the wine showed a lovely bright garnet color with very pretty aromas of tart cherry and wild strawberry with violet and citrus. There is lovely ripeness on the palate with ripe cherry and red currant with nice concentration and balance, and a long finish with lingering red fruits and firm acidity. This will drink beautifully as a young wine, and over the next five to eight years. Given the reasonable price, this is highly recommended! DL
Black and blue fruits, game, mustard seed, violets on nose. Black tea, plum skin, and a whack of ferrous earth on the dense, verging on brooding palate. Medium tannins and ripe, persistent finish. This is not lightweight, but a firm, strapping Chanlins and quite the wine for lamb, game, or daube. Though rich, this is by no means coarse and shows plenty of class. Good with a decant, better still with 7-10 years in the cellar. 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
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'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
From a .17 HA plot of 60-year-old vines in above Perrieres, on a natural wall of calcaire, or limestone. The name Les Poulettes derives from the small game birds found in the area. Christophe Drag notes the site is very warm and sees little wind, so is the first to flower and first harvested. The 2013 shows aromas of blackberry blossoms, dark hedge fruit, and cool herbal notes on the nose. The palate is black-fruited, offering wild blackberry and dark cherry flavors framed by a distinctive mineral edge on a bright, lifted finish. There's a fine balance of structure and fruit and this should drink beautifully in the near term, though I'd wager given time to integrate the elements, there is nice upside for midterm cellaring. Enjoy with mushroom dishes and certainly squab or poussin! John McIlwain
From a .41 HA parcel of old vines next to Chaboeufs on the north side of Vaucrains. The soils are brown, "fat clays make it hard to work the earth" according to vigneron Christophe Drag, with large oolithic stones are the top of the slope. Always the sternest and most majestic of Chauvenet's crus, the 2013 is aromatically dense with layered dark-fruit, game, and spice aromas giving way to pungent soil notes. The palate is similarly complex with pure black cherry, plum, and earthy flavors underlain with distinctively savory, verging on pungent mineral component on a muscular, driving, persistent finish. There are substantial acidity and ripe tannins girding this masculine, but not coarse Vaucrains, which will benefit with time in the cellar. Decant now, better still in 7-10 years when this should sing. A beautiful Vaucrains! John McIlwain
From 90 year-old vines in the village portion of Combe d'Orveau. The 2014 is a classic expression of Chambolle-Musigny with pretty high-toned aromas of red fruit, rose petals, and spice. The mid-weight palate is silken and flavors of ripe red cherry, wild raspberry, and chalk dance on a long, fresh, precise finish. This is lovely and a fine value in Chambolle. John McIlwain
From 45 to 60 year-old vines, certified organic, mostly in En Pallud (below 1er Cru les Corbeaux). The 2014 Gevrey shows a light red/black color, aromas of morello cherry, red currant and raspberry with hints of earth, stone, violets, black pepper and licorice. The palate is dense but light with cherry, red-currant, earth, citrus and mineral flavors with berry fruits and saline minerals lingering in the finish. Ripe but not a fruit-bomb - a red Burgundy of terroir that is delicious now, but should become a beautiful, old-fashioned wine when mature, best perhaps 2021 - 2030. On day two the wine has deepened with very sappy black and red fruits, quite dense and earthy. Lovely wine from living soils and quite a different style than modern Burgundies. David Lillie
The vines are in the lieu-dit "Queue de Hareng" below an old quarry at the top of the slope in Brochon, next to Fixin 1er Cru "la Perrière," on shallow red/brown soils of mountain silt and limestone pebbles over the limestone bedrock. Organic farming, wild-yeast fermentations with minimal SO2. The 2015 Jane et Sylvain Côte de Nuits-Villages is a superb and unusual Burgundy showing intense aromas of ripe strawberry and cherry with rose leaf, brown spice and herbal notes as well as dusty stone and mineral smells which are typical of this vineyard. With aeration the aromas become more pure and fruit-driven and the palate shows lovely black cherry, strawberry and red currant fruit, quite dense and ripe, with a finish that's extraodiarily long and pure. Decant 4 to 6 hours in advance if drinking now or cellar for 3 to five years and drink till 2027. Highly recommended for those who enjoy some minerals in their Burgundy!
Jane and Sylvain have done it again! Another beautiful Passetoutgrain from 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Gamay, grown near Gevrey-Chambertin, organically farmed and quite delicious! The 2015 shows ripe aromas of tart cherry and raspberry liqueur with earth and violets. The palate is lively and bright with morello cherry and raspberry with stone, tobacco and citrus, quite vibrant and long. Really a refreshing and delicious wine, perfect for picnics and barbecues, served quite cool. This is a fantastic value and highly recommended.
Jane et Sylvain: A refreshingly unpretentious name for a small organic estate in Gevrey-Chambertin. Their Bourgogne Rouge is from young vines in a parcel that has never been chemically treated and always tended organically. The 2015 Bourgogne Rouge shows a brilliant red/black color with lovely tart cherry, raspberry and violet aromas, very high-toned and bright. The palate shows the ripeness of 2015 with pretty strawberry and cherry fruit backed by firm acidity, and it finishes with refreshing citrus and red fruits. Serve this lovely Pinot Noir quite cool over the next five years - it's a delicious wine and a great value!
This lovely Gevrey by our organic friends, Jane et Sylvain, is 45 to 60 year-old vines, certified organic, mostly in En Pallud (below 1er Cru les Corbeaux). The 2015 shows very pretty high-toned ripe strawberry and raspberry fruit with violet, soil, graphite and citrus peel. The palate is dense and balanced, with a mineral aspect missing in most modern Burgundies, with supple ripe cherry and strawberry fruit with citrus and herbal notes. The finish is very long with red fruits, spice, citrus and saline minerals. This is a lovely old-fashioned Burgundy that is delicious now and should age nicely, best perhaps 2022 - 2030.
Jane et Sylvain have a superb, tiny parcel of Gevrey 1er Cru "Fonteny," high up in the southwest corner, separated from Grand Cru Ruchottes by a dirt track, certified organic. Beautifully balanced for a 2015 and built to age, the wine shows subtle, complex black fruits with hints of spice, citrus and earth. The palate is supple and well-structured with red and black fruits backed by firm acidity and mineral flavors that continue in the long finish. Certainly enjoyable now with a long decant, best held for five to eight years then enjoy until 2015. Lovely wine. David Lillie
From low-yielding vines located in Comblanchien (probably more famous for its quarries and eponymous limestone than viticulture), planted in the 1960s by Antoine Lienhardt's grandfather. Les Essards is a short distance from another of Antoine's lieux dits, Les Plantes Aux Bois. There is a thin layer of rocky clay topsoil over Comblanchien limestone and the vine rows run from east to west. A bit circumspect upon opening, decanting reveals red plum and ripe cherry aromas with hints of mustard seed and black tea on the nose. The palate is nervy with bright flavors of brambly red fruit, vibrant acidity, and a pungent, verging on saline minerality on a persistent, and detailed finish. Great lift and purity with wonderful interplay between the pure red fruit and distinctly stony elements. Decant if planning to drink now or cellar for 3-7 years to allow the elements to integrate. John McIlwain
A mere 200 meters from Les Essards, Les Plantes Aux Bois has clay top soils overlying the hard limestone mother rock. The nose is generous, perfumed, and dark-fruited with aromas of black raspberry and plum giving way to notes of game and spices. Flavors of blackberry, cassis, and plum dominate on the ripe, mid-weight palate. There is good freshness, with bright acidity providing lift and drive on a long, lingering, cool-toned finish. Lovely with a quick decant, but plenty of material to justify mid-term cellaring. I love the idea of this with a holiday meal. Light on its feet with good freshness to wake the palate, but enough minerality to whet the appetite of the discerning Burgundy aficionado. Delicious! John McIlwain
Les Faconnières, planted in 1948, is located beneath Clos St. Denis. 50% whole cluster. This is always the most stylish of Virgile Lignier's premier crus. More floral and denser on the palate than Les Chenevery, with a good deal of the class of the grand crus. The 2015 is effusively perfumed with heady aromas of black and red hedge fruits, wild cherry, and spice. The palate is distinctly mineral, framing lush flavors of sweetly ripe cherry and blackberry, with notes of game and mustard seed on a tense, vibrant finish. As with others of Lignier-Michelot's 2015s, the effusive ripeness in underlain by good structure and bodes well for long-term cellaring. John McIlwain
Les Faconnières, planted in 1948, is located beneath Clos St. Denis. 50% whole cluster. This is always the most stylish of Virgile Lignier's premier crus. More floral and denser on the palate than Les Chenevery, with a good deal of the class of the grand crus. The 2015 is effusively perfumed with heady aromas of black and red hedge fruits, wild cherry, and spice. The palate is distinctly mineral, framing lush flavors of sweetly ripe cherry and blackberry, with notes of game and mustard seed on a tense, vibrant finish. As with others of Lignier-Michelot's 2015s, the effusive ripeness is underlain by good structure and bodes well for long-term cellaring. John McIlwain
Like the rest of the 2015 Lignier-Michelot lineup, the Clos de la Roche combines beautiful soaring aromatics with beautiful pure fruit, and a savory sense of earthiness. The nose is explosively perfumed with beguiling aromas of ripe black cherry, red plum, violets, exotic spices, and roasted game. Supple palate shows impressive concentration, with dark fruit flavors, and layers of minerality on a long, driving finish. This has a all the elements to age effortlessly and should reward 10-15 years in the cellar and beyond. John McIlwain
This a wonderful expression of Les Sentiers, aromatically expressive and layered. There are bright aromas of black cherry, raspberry, violets, woody herbs, and game on the nose. The mid-weight palate initially shows brambly black fruits, and pungent soil flavors. With time in the glass notes of dark cherry and cherry pit appear along with a savory ferrous minerality and spice notes. The tension between fruit and earthiness is compelling and will gain in complexity with time in the cellar. More expressive on the second day. If enjoying now, decant for several hours or revisit in 7-10 years and enjoy for the decade following. John McIlwain
Situated just above Clos de la Roche, the Magnien's 2014 1er Cru Mont-Luisants shares the grand cru's "inherent lushness" (Clive Coates) in this lovely vintage for Burgundy. The wine shows a deep red-black color with lush aromas of blackberry, plum and ripe strawberry with earth, graphite and citrus. Dense ripe blackberry and black cherry fruit coats the palate with hints of bitter chocolate and soil. Surprisingly round but with nice chalky acidity and a long finish of citrus and pretty berry fruits. Quite delicious now, this lovely wine will offer superb drinking with a little time in the cellar, perhaps best 2020 - 2035. David Lillie
This is a delicious Bourgogne Passetoutgrain from the young and very capable Stéphane Magnien, whose great vineyard work and un-forced vinifications are producing superb, elegant Burgundies. The 2015 Cuvée Densité is from old vines of 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Gamay and gets a longer élevage than his "regular" Passetoutgrain. This is a lovely and affordable Burgundy that shows deep aromas of cherry and blackberry with earth and citrus notes. The palate shows a potpourri of berry fruits with impressive length, finishing with juicy acidity and mineral flavors. Drinking beautifully now, and over the next few years - buy a case and make this your "everyday" Burgundy. (Featured in the NY Times "20 Under $20" of 9/21/17) David Lillie
Les Sentiers is located beneath the Bonnes Mares grand cru, north of the village and shares similar soils. The wines, while layered and elegant, are more muscular and velvety, rather than silken and high-toned. The 2015 vintage is effusively perfumed, with aromas of black cherry, wild raspberry, violets, forest floor, and iron. The mid-weight palate is ripe and supple with dark fruits, game notes, and a pungent minerality, girded by firm, ripe tannins and great freshness on a long, complex, rising finish. This is really lovely and will reward 5-10 years cellaring. A beautiful expression of Sentiers! John McIlwain
From two premier crus, Les Gruenchers and Clos Baulet, mid slope in Morey Saint-Denis, giving a slightly fuller wine than Faconnieres. As with all of Stephane's parcels, there is a high percentage of old vines of "pinot tordu." The wine is more structured due to the deeper clay soils and gets less pigeage. The 2015, tasted in January 2017, was less aromatic than the Faconnières with very deep ripe red and black fruits, with herbal and mineral flavors and terrific length. This will need time in the cellar but should be a superb mature wine. David Lillie
From a parcel of old vines grown in Les Faconnières, one of the best situated climats in Morey-Saint-Denis, located beneath Clos de la Roche and between the Millandes and Charrières premier crus. The 2015 Faconnières was the star of the premier crus tasted at the estate last January, with lovely aromas of black fruits and violets. The palate was dense, elegant, and chalky with black fruits, earth and mineral flavors that continued in the very long finish. 20% new oak. Hold for 5 to 6 years minimum, said Stéphane, best at 7 to 15 years. Fabulous wine! David Lillie
The young and very talented Stéphane Magnien is producing delicious, old fashioned Burgundies from his beautifully tended vineyards in and around Morey-Saint-Denis. The estate has never used herbicides and uses a plowing regimen designed to force the roots deeper into the limestone bedrock. The "village" wine is always one of my favorite recommendations in Burgundy due to its elegance, balance, lovely fruit and great value. The 2015 is particularly beautiful, showing a bit more depth and ripeness than the excellent 2014, with aromas of blackberry and strawberry liqueur, violet, brown spice, orange peel, smoke and earth. The palate is dense, but not over-ripe, with earthy black fruits, bitter chocolate, citrus and spice with a core of firm acidity and mineral flavors. Quite delicious as a young wine, this ripe and elegant Morey-Saint-Denis will be at its best from approximately to 2022 to 2030. Those looking for value in a 2015 red Burgundy should consider buying a case of this lovely wine. David Lillie
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
Organic since 2001, Taupenot-Merme, located in Morey St. Denis (with substantial holdings in St. Romain) produces classically styled Burgundies. The 2015 Bourgogne Rouge was fermented in tank and raised in older barrels. The nose is effusive and dark fruited, with aromas of black cherry, cherry stone , and violets, with notes of game and earth. The mid-weight palate similarly displays flavors of bing cherry, damson plum, underbrush and spice with good drive and life on a persistent, bright finish. Enjoy with roasted pork, or braised chicken, and strong cheeses. John McIlwain
Anjou last year, Vin de France this year (the mystery of the Appellation board!), this is Chenin Blanc from Anjou, whether or not it's on the label. Dense, and crystalline, witn mint flower and and cooked apples on the nose, a touch of honeysuckle and vanilla on the palate. Stones, herbs, and a touch of refreshing salinity in the super long finish. This is truly a young wine, and a big expression of Chenin. A fascinating bottle to have over several days. One really gets the sense that this young Thomas Batardiere is getting very comfortable and connected with his vineyards.Drink now with a proper decant or put it away for a while! Eben Lillie
The Baudry Chinon "Domaine" is always one of our favorite reds from the Loire Valley and it's a sensational value as well. 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 with minimal added SO. The 2014 "Cuvée Domaine" was a sensational wine and really built to age, while the 2015 is a bit more round and forward, and even more delicious for current drinking. The wine shows a deep red/black color and beautiful aromas of ripe red and black fruits with hints of earth, roast meat, black pepper and violet. The palate is dense and sapid with supple strawberry and blackberry liqueur and mineral flavors lifted by bright acidity. The fruit is quite ripe but the wine is well balanced at 12.5% alcohol. This is a superb "Domaine" that is a bit less structured than the 2014 - it's delicious now and will be singing in 2027 as well. Highly recommended. David Lillie
From 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. Dark black/purple color with quite floral blackberry and strawberry aromas, with a bit of earth, spice and citrus. Very silky and supple on the palate ("We don't extract anymore" said Matthieu) with stony black fruits, meaty, chalky and long. Good acidity in the finish with graphite and velvety black fruits, quite elegant and closer to the 2014 in style than the other cuvées. This is a lovely "Les Grézeaux" and is highly recommended for early drinking or ten to fifteen years of cellaring. David Lillie
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 nose is full of dark cherry, raspberry, bell pepper, crushed violets, and a touch of graphite. The palate is fresh, yet elegant, with a core of plush dark forest fruit with an underlying layer of herbasciousness and that wonderful Cab Franc pyrazine quality. A knockout wine to pair with roast chicken. This is drinking very well now, but I wouldn't hesitate holding onto it for a few more years.
Tasted twice in February 2016 and 2017, the 2011 Les Perrières has impressed both times with it's structure and complexity, showing dense, deep earthy red fruits with meaty and herbal notes. There is ample tannin for aging, but there is good ripeness that opens up nicely with decanting. This superb Bourgueil will accompany grilled pork and beef and full-flavored cheeses. Decant 3 to 4 hours in advance if serving now, or cellar - best perhaps 2020 to 2030. DL
The Clos Sénéchal is a south-facing mid-slope vineyard, with soils of clay and limstone over the Turonian limeston bedrock. The vines are 35 to 50 years old, replaced slowly by massale selection. The grapes are hand-harvested into 20 kilo crates, there is a three-week alcoholic fermentation with wild yeasts, no added SO2. Two year elevage in Grenier foudres with minimal SO2 added before bottling. The 2014 is a superb example of Clos Sénéchal showing a deep red/black color and aromas of ripe blackberry and cassis with earth, violet, pepper, spiced citrus and animal notes. The palate is deep and ripe with fantastic density of fruit but perfectly balanced with firm acidity at only 12.5% alcohol. There is a fine-grained, intense texture with pure black fruits, earth, graphite and dark chocolate that continue in the long, focused finish. This is a wine of earth and elegance that is enjoyable in its youth, decanting advised - or hold for 5 to 8 years, perhaps best 2025 to 2040 and beyond. Save your money on C*** R******* and put some Clos Sénéchal in your cellar!
One of our favorite Loire reds, the Breton Nuits D'Ivresse is a selection of old vines on terroirs of clay and limestone. The wine is vinified, aged and bottled without the addition of sulfur, preserving it's lovely fruit aroma. The 2014 Nuits d'Ivresse is simply sensational, showing the depth of fruit, balance and elegance of this great vintage for Loire reds. The wine shows a dark red/black color and gorgeous ripe aromas of strawberry and blackberry liqueur, a bit of musk, damp earth, violet and citrus peel, quite lovely and fresh. The palate is quite dense with meaty ripe berry fruit lifted by bright acidity and herbal notes. The finish is refreshing and long with black fruits, mineral flavors and citrusy acids. Serve cool - absolutely delicious now or cellar five to ten years. Epaulé Jeté! David Lillie
This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
We're big fans of the Caslot family at Domane de la Chevalerie, who make soulful Bourgueils from organic vineyards on their varied terroirs. The Chevalerie vineyard is on mid-slope Turonian limestone with clay and alluvial sand and gravel topsoils, rich in silex; the vines average about 60 years of age. The lovely 2012 Chevalerie shows vivid aromas of berry liqueurs, bitter chocolate, earth and brown spice. The palate is dense and supple with ripe blackberry, cocoa, earth and mineral flavors balanced by cool acidity. The finish is long and lush with blackberry, prune, citrus and saline minerals. This is a lovely old-school Bourgueil to drink over the next 15 years - delicious now perhaps best from 2020 to 2025.
The Chevalerie "Diptyque" is from sand and gravel soils in Bourgueil, producing a wine to drinkyoung, served cool - 100% Cabernet Franc, of course. The 2014 is particularly good, with lovely aromas of black raspberry and strawberry with hints of violet, pepper and earth. The palate is balanced and pretty with supple raspberry/strawberry fruit in a bright frame, typical of this excellent vintage for Loire reds. Serve a bit chilled with charcuterie, chicken and pork dishes and mild cheeses. DL
The Domaine du Closel "Caillardières" is a demi-sec Savennières that we have enjoyed immensely in the past - we're glad to see it back in the US and we can't wait to try it! "The grapes are harvested later ; the berries are golden, producing wines with aromas of baked apple, exotic fruits, raisins and toasted almonds. That terroir gives the wine a very silky texture, characteristic of these sandstone schist parcels. This wine is vinified and aged in barrels (French oak, 12 months) and reveals through natural micro-oxygenation this slightly bitter aftertaste that will give an interesting body to the wine. Rather smooth on the palate this wine has character. It pairs very well with artichokes or asparagus, other vegetables difficult to pair with wine. It is also popular with sweet and savory dishes such as veal stew with orange, monkfish with honey and cider vinegar, roasted pork with pineapple." - from the Domaine du Closel website.
2015 is a beautiful vintage for the superb Savennières of Domaine du Closel. La Jalousie shows subtle, complex aromas of citrus peel, pear, almond, stone , lime-flower and honeysuckle which follow through on the perfectly balanced palate. The fruit is lush and ripe but there is great acidity and minerality as well - the wine is elegant and very delicious in its youth, - serve with fish in sauce, scallops, monkfish, chicken in sauce and mild cheeses. Lovely wine! DL
This is a sensational "les Picasses" from Etienne and Pascale de Bonnaventure at Chateau de Coulaine, who have been practising organic and biodynamic agriculture since taking charge in 1988. The parcel is at the top of the vineyard with southern exposure, on the classic clay/limestone "tuffeau" in Beaumont-en-Veron. This quite dense and powerful Chinon is aged in one-third new barrels and barrels of one and two wines.The wine shows a dark red/black color with beautiful aromas of ripe strawberry and black-raspberry with earth, citrus and spice, really deep and pretty. The palate is quite dense and a bit tight, with dark berry fruits framed in a touch of oak. The fruit is elegant and deep and the wine finishes with black fruits, earth, firm acidity and elegant tannins. This is a "serious" Chinon of terroir that will age beautifully, best 2022 to 2035. David Lillie
The Dauny Family has been farming vineyards in Sancerre since 1683, with Nicole and Christian Dauny being the 12th generation to make wine in this famed appellation. The vineyards were converted to organic agriculture in 1964 and the Daunys strive to work as naturally as possible in the vineyard as well as in the cellar. The rosé Pynoz comes from younger vines of Pinot Noir, and is quite a rich, full-bodied and textured expression of rosé. Dominated by red-fruit, strawberry, and under-ripe raspberry, there is a touch of herbaceousness and an underlying stony minerality that balances the wine. Oskar Kostecki
Beautiful dense and long expression of Chenin Blanc from around the Anjou appellation. Eben Lillie
Ca Faye Treize is a semi carbonic Cabernet Franc from 2015.... Don't be fooled by the large number 13 on the bottle, as you will see the Lot # is 015, and it is indeed from 2015! My tasting note in France was "yum." Of course not helpful to me now as I write this note, it is admittedly a yummy wine, with bright red fruit, crushed berries, and just the right touch of carbonic character to lift the aromatics and lighten the body of the Cab Franc, but without making it taste like any other Carbonic maceration wine. Enjoy with a slight chill!Eben Lillie
Chenin Blanc ! Pet Nat! Two coworkers here thought we'd all been duped and it was cider from Normandy, but it's not... It's just a very appley expression of Chenin Blanc. Refreshing and dry, with maybe half a gram or 1 gram of residual sugar that rounds out the fruit and gives the wine a really pretty nose. Eben Lillie
This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
Fresche bubbles! This is a blend of Cab and Grolleau, with no dosage. There's very subtle amount of fruit here, but it betrays it's rosey hue and drinks more like a sparkling white, with more stones and minerality than red fruit. It's totally dry, and refreshing, with a bit of structure in the back palate. All in all, a fantastic sparkling option for only $15! Eben Lillie
Guy Bossard is one of the heroes of French viticulture, having rejected modern chemical farming upon assuming the family estate, becoming certified organic in 1972, then progressing to Biodynamic farming in 1996. And this in a region where there was little recognition or financial reward for his intense work and the higher quality of his wines. Happily, Guy has been an inspiration for many growers in the region and is still producing superb wines, while in semi-retirement, with his new associate Fred Niger Van Herck. The Domaine de l'Ecu 2015 "Granite" is particularly outstanding. As usual with this cuvée it's a bit musty and closed when first opened — decanting is advised — followed by aromas of lemon peel, dried pear, wet stone and lime-flower with hints of almond and petrol. The palate is dense and very long in this ripe vintage with intense stony flavors, pear, citrus and anis. A bit more open and accessible than some vintages of Granite but with ample structure and acidity for aging — perhaps best 2020 to 2029. Serve this summer with oysters, cod and sole, then with richer dishes after the wine matures. Bravo to Guy and Fred!
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.
Alain and Christine Boré produce delicious organic wines on their estate in Anjou that are sensational values for everyday enjoyment. Their 2016 Anjou Blanc (Chenin) is superb, with lovely aromas of dried pear, fresh herbs, hay, earth and honey. The palate is round and supple but nicely balanced with firm acidity, showing green apple, pear, stone and citrus flavors that continue in the long finish. A bit "drier" and more mineral tasting than the previous two vintages, this is a simply delicious Chenin that will accompany seafood, grilled or in sauce, chicken, goat cheeses, etc...
This is a full-bodied and very delicious Cabernet Franc from our organic friends Alain and Christine Bore at Domaine du Fresche in Anjou. "Red wine for cellaring, powerful and rich" says the back label, and indeed this is a ripe and well-structured Cabernet Franc that is delicious now and will benefit from five to ten years of aging. The wine shows a deep red/black color and aromas of ripe blackberry and strawberry liqueur with hits of violet, black pepper and citrus. The palate is supple and dense but balanced by bright acidity under the ripe berry fruits. Serve cool with roast chicken, stews and grilled meats and put a few in the cellar for five or ten years. David Lillie
Upon visiting Fernand Girard back in the early 90s we were happy to find someone who harvested by hand and fermented with wild yeasts - a rarity in Sancerre at the time and still sadly in the minority today. More than 20 years later we are still happy to feature the Sancerre produced by Fernand and Alain Girard, coming from their 2.5 hectare plot on a steep slope in Chaddoux on stony clay over limestone soils. The 2016 shows a bright pale gold color with aromas or pear and quince with hints of exotic fruit and lime-flower. The palate is a nicely balanced blend of mineral flavors with citrus and white fruits, with good density and firm acidity. This is a classic Sancerre in a more mineral style that will accompany a wide variety of seafoods, chicken dishes and white meats, and it's a good value as well.
If you have a sweet tooth, this Chenin is for you! Bonnezeaux is one of a few sweet wine appellations in the Loire Valley, where grapes are required to be over-ripe, and are sometimes affected by noble rot. "Le Malabé" has about 130 grams of residual sugar, but I honestly thought it was about 80g when I first tasted this wine, thanks to the high acidity and the ample minerality that the schiste soils provide. Just bringing the wine to the nose, one is greeted with honey, quince and with some subtle sweet spice aromas that tickle the senses. On the palate, it's dense, ripe and absolutely delicious. Francois from Grandes Vignes mentioned to me that 2013 was OK for reds in the Loire, very good for their dry Chenin Blanc, and exceptional for the sweet wines. Case in point! Drink now if you're craving sometime sweet, or age for decades. Eben Lillie
From 80 year-old vines in "Petits Monts" and "Grand Monts" towards the top of the slope above Benais, facing roughly south-west, clay over Turonien limestone (tuffeau, craie micacée). This is the terroir giving the most elegant and age-worthy Bourgueils. 18 month elevage ; 40% in cuve inox, 20% in one new 400 liter barrel, 20% in one-year and 20% in two-year old barrels, assembled two months before bottling. Tasted in February 2016, the wine was fairly closed and tight, with deep, pure black fruits and perfect balance. This will be a sensational mature wine, best to wait eight to ten years, or more, then drink until 2040.
This is a beautiful and economical choice for Thanksgiving - Cabernet Franc goes nicely with turkey and this young Bourgueil is just wonderful. (Be careful, however, with lovers of California Cabs, who might find it too acidic) When we started with Stéphane Guion, selling the 2005 Cuvée Prestige, we referred to the Revue Vin de France article on this unknown domaine - "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." Indeed, organic farming going back to 1965, and a regimen of shallow plowing that keeps soil ph low, gives Stephane's wines a unique bright acidity and high mineral content underlying the beautiful fruit of his old vines. And in 2015 there was gorgeous fruit in Chinon and Bourgueil, despite the late rains that softened the wines at some estates. The 2015 Cuvée Prestige, from forty to eighty year-old vines in parcels around Benais, is a vibrant, joyous wine that shows a bright deep garnet color and elegant, ripe aromas of strawberry and red currant liqueur with hints of violet, dusty stone and black pepper. The palate is sapid and ripe but lifted by refreshing acidity, with lush berry liqueurs, saline minerals and citrus. The finish is long with lingering sappy fruit, earthy acidity and spice. Thanks to the Guion family for this soulful and delicious wine! (Aging potential of twenty to thirty years, but it's so delicious now that leaving it in the cellar will be difficult.) David Lillie
From 15 to 40 year-old vines on clay/limestone soils in Benais, in organic agriculture since 1965. The 2016 vintage shows quite deep red/black color with bright aromas of ripe black raspberry, black cherry, pepper, earth and clove. The palate is sapid and bright, with the firm acidity always present in Guion's wines. The black raspberry and red currant fruit is light and bright, at 12% alcohol, and the finish is refreshing and mineral. This young and vibrant wine will benefit from decanting well in advance (or opening the night before). Serve cool with charcuterie, roast chicken, pork chops and burgers. Thanks to Domaine Guion for two generations of organic agriculture and natural winemaking! DL
Tasted February, 1997: "50 grams per liter residual sugar, 5.65 gr/l acidity. Big creamy, lemon, herbal, honeyed aromas, full on the palate with great acidity and length, perfect balance, will keep" Subsequent years have confirmed the unique character of 1996, a vintage with good ripeness but with very high acidity giving medium-bodied wines with superb elagance and freshness. While drinking beautifully now, this wine will keep for a long, long time...
A great vintage for Huet's sweet wines — lacking the high sugars of 1997 but ripe enough and with perfect acidity which will carry them a long way. The Le Mont 1er Trie is just beginning to open up and would be great fun to drink now, but better yet, put it away for another 20 years and find a reason for living! 67 gr/l RS, 5.9 gr/l acid, 12.5 % alc. ("de très longue garde" says the Huet website!)
Forward and open which is unusual for Constance. Beautifully knit palate and very long with exceptional purity and at least 75 years ahead of it. DL
85 grams/liter RS, 12.8 % Alc 50% Passerillage, 50% Botrytis. A lovely, balanced Moelleux that will age nicely, peak drinking probably 10 to 30 years away. Yummy now if you can't wait, a great wine.
2015 Le Haut Lieu Moelleux: 12.5% alc, 45 gr/l RS. A very graceful wine. Ripe mango, pineapple stalk, candied grapefruit peel, lychee, and a hint of wool rise from the glass. The palate perfectly balances opulent fruit and sweetness with bright acidity and a scintillating texture. Although approachable now, it'd be great in 5-7 years. Tim Gagnon
*This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.Le Haut-Lieu—The original Huët vineyard is nearly 9 hectares. It has the richest soils of the domaine’s three crus—a deep limestone-clay—and the wines are generally the estate’s most approachable. In some vintages, small quantities from nearby estate parcels may be added to Le Haut-Lieu." 2015 Le Haut Lieu: 13% alcohol, 6 grams/liter RS, 5.6 gr/l acidity.
L'Appetillant is the Joussets' sparkling Montlouis, 100% Chenin Blanc, Champagne method (or should we say "Methode Traditionelle") made with no sulfur and no dosage. All cellar functions by gravity, no pumping, fermentation in one to seven year-old barrels, approximately 12 months on the lees. From 40 year-old vines on sand and silex soils over limestone. This version is absolutely delicious with lovely aromas of pear, lime-flower, stone and caramel, quite subtle and complex. White fruits, creamy citrus and stone on the palate with nice chalky, lemony length. Drink over the next three years. This is a beautiful wine and is highly recommended!
Typically made from organic grapes that Lise and Bertrand source from the Loire Valley, this vintage of the Exilé blanc is the result of a literal backpacking/grape harvesting mission that Bertrand went on in 2016, when the vines in the Loire were hit hard by frost and hail in the summer. The blend is Chenin Blanc, Mauzac and Chardonnay, with most of the grapes coming from a little known region called Limoux. There's a density and marked minerality that the Chenin blanc provides, with mid-palate weight of the Chardonnay. Herbal notes, quince, and spice and the subtle oxidative notes come from Mauzac. It's crisp at first, then becomes rounder, with notes of apricot, and citrus. Truly a unique wine! Eben Lillie
Warning! This wine is not for everyone, but if you like natural wines that are outrageously delicious, complex and full of character, then you will love the Rossignoux 2015. From vines just east of the Clos Roche Blanche in Touraine. Pale gold color. Intriguing aromas of dried pear, quince, ripe melon, hay, lemon confit and white pepper. The palate is dense and ripe with pear, lemon, caramel and mineral flavors backed with firm acidity. The finish is long with citrus and white fuits. Zero SO2 and 100% delicious - another beautiful natural wine from Christophe Foucher! 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
This fun Vin Mousseaux (the general term for sparkling wine) has gained a following among Liv's neighbors in Rochefort-sur-Loire, for good reason: It's a delicious sparkling Chenin Blanc that is very easy on the wallet. Methode Ancestrale, from mostly younger vines and including grapes from a tiny parcel of old vines (planted in 1950) for extra character. It's dry, with an interesting texture and flavor profile reminiscent of raw honey. For the quality to price, it's pure gold
This is Liv's exceptional Cremant de Loire, aged sur latte for 16 months, 100% Chenin Blanc from Schiste soils. It's Extra Brut, but tastes like a Brut Nature...clean and mineral with great density and a long finish. This was a hit when we opened it for an in-store tasting and is a welcome addition to our collection of Loire Valley sparkling wines. Eben Lillie
Classic dry Chenin from schist soils up above Rochefort-sur-Loire overlooking the Loire river with the coulees of Savennieres visible in the distance. Liv combines grapes from her oldest vines (planted in 1940) and and her younger 10 year old vines, with great result. There's very pleasant and inviting fruit up-front, and with some time open, the wine reveals an impressive mineral backbone. For only the second vintage of this cuvée, Liv is doing a great job, and we're looking forward to drinking plenty of the Raguenet in the years to come! Eben Lillie
A blend of Cabernet Franc, Gamay and a touch of Grolleau. It's darker hued than many rosés, but totally dry, with a perfect amount of tannin in the finish - very subtle and not mouth coating, more the type you feel at the back of your tongue. With some dark berry fruit and the lovely structure, it's an immediate shoe-in for pairing with food, including but not limited to any of your summer barbecues! Eben Lillie
This fun Vin Mousseaux (the general term for sparkling wine) has gained a following among Liv's neighbors in Rochefort-sur-Loire, for good reason: It's a delicious sparkling Chenin Blanc that is very easy on the wallet. Methode Ancestrale, from mostly younger vines and including grapes from a tiny parcel of old vines (planted in 1950) for extra character. It's dry, with an interesting texture and flavor profile reminiscent of raw honey. For the quality to price, it's pure gold! Eben Lillie
From a superb hillside vineyard on orthogneiss with clay and quartz stones. A great vintage for Jo's Fief du Breil! Yes, the aromatics are a bit more pronounced than in more austere vintages, and there is more presence of citrus and white fruits on the palate, but the wine retains a superb mineral character and the finish is brisk and very long. Simply a great Muscadet — drinking this alongside the Pepiere Clos des Briords would be a great lesson in the terroirs of the Pays Nantais! Tasted in February 2016, the wine is still youthful although the aromas are opening a bit, with intense minerality on the palate and fabulous length. Delicious now, this will be fabulous in 2025! Brisk enough for oysters and clams, perfect with cod, sole and flounder, complex enough for monkfish and swordfish - hurry down to Blue Moon Fish at the Greenmarket this Saturday!
A beautiful L d'Or that shows the remarkable combination of ripeness, balance and great acidity in the 2010 vintage. This wine was surprisingly open and aromatic when tasted in January 2012 but possessed of perfect acidity and loads of saline mineral flavors, reminding us of 2002.
Chenin Blanc for Thanksgiving is perfect and René Mosse makes among the best! This showed beautifully when tasted last winter, with complex aromas of pear, lime-flower, mint, citrus and stone, with a dense and very mineral palate and fabulous length. Can't wait to try it again.
Domaine de la Pépière lost most of their crop to frost in 2016 but was able to produce this excellent Muscadet using grapes normally reserved for the Clisson, Château Thébaud and Monnières-Saint Fiacre cuvées as well as fruit purchased from neighboring parcels, harvested and selected by Pépière. (This is the only wine from Pépière in 2016 except for a small amount of Clos des Briords and Gras Moutons.) The 2016 La Pépie shows classic Muscadet aromas of pear, citrus peel, almond and stone with a bit of lime-flower. The palate is dense, with nice ripeness, balanced with firm stony acidity, with flavors of dried pear, citrus, stone and white pepper and finishing with good length of citrusy acids and saline minerals. This is a serious Muscadet that echos the characteristics of the estate's top cuvées. The domaine lost almost 85% of the crop in 2016, but the small amount of wine they did produce is lovely. Our thanks to Marc, Remi and Gwènaëlle for this delicious and well-priced Muscadet.
For those who want a dryer style wine on Thanksgiving, this lovely Muscadet is opening up nicely and has the right weight and density to match the turkey and sides. (And the superb new 2015 Luneau-Papin "Vera Cruz" would be lovely as well) The Domaine de la Pépière Château Thébaud "Clos des Morines" comes from old vines on a beautiful vineyard sloping down towards the river. The granite here is fissured and permeable by the vine roots which have access to water during dry spells and absorb micro-nutrients along the way. 2009 and 2010 here were among the best of the vintage in Muscadet and the 2012 is outstnding as well from this somewhat difficult low-yielding vintage. More austere than the previous vintages, the 2012 shows subtle aromas of dried pear, herbs, citrus, almond and stone, quite subtle and elegant. The palate has excellent weight and concentration with firm acidity, without the forward fruit of the 2009 - very tight and mineral in style with terrific length. Fabulous served now with oysters, ceviche of cod, flounder and sole, and grilled fish, This should age beautifully for 20 years and more. Highly recommended. Tasted again in December of 2016, this beautiful Muscadet is beginning to open up a bit, with lovely fruit appearing in the aromas and palate, really drinking well, though obviously a wine that will benefit from another five years of aging, best perhaps 2022 - 2030.
The Domaine de la Pépière Château Thébaud "Clos des Morines" comes from old vines on a beautiful vineyard sloping down towards the river. The granite here is fissured and permeable by the vine roots which have access to water during dry spells and absorb micro-nutrients along the way. 2009 and 2010 here were among the best of the vintage in Muscadet and the 2012 is outstnding as well from this somewhat difficult low-yielding vintage. More austere than the previous vintages, the 2012 shows subtle aromas of dried pear, herbs, citrus, almond and stone, quite subtle and elegant. The palate has excellent weight and concentration with firm acidity, without the forward fruit of the 2009 - very tight and mineral in style with terrific length. Fabulous served now with oysters, ceviche of cod, flounder and sole, and grilled fish, This should age beautifully for 20 years and more. Highly recommended. Tasted again in December of 2016, this beautiful Muscadet is beginning to open up a bit, with lovely fruit appearing in the aromas and palate, really drinking well, though obviously a wine that will benefit from another five years of aging, best perhaps 2022 - 2030.
(First produced in 2008, this great Muscadet is made from a three hectare parcel of old massale-selection vines on a slope above the Maine. The bedrock is Granite de Château Thébaud, a fissured rock that allows the vines to penetrate deeply, with ideal thin topsoils of clay, with sand and gravel allowing good drainage.) In 2016 and 2017, vineyards in the Loire Valley were hit with devastating frosts causing losses of 50% to 90% in some areas. Muscadet was particularly badly hit in 2016 - our old friends at Domaine de la Pépière lost 85% of their crop but salvaged enough fruit to make three cuvées - "la Pépie," "les Gras Moutons" and a small amount of the classic "Clos des Briords." Despite the frost damage in the region, quality has been very good for the wines produced - lacking the consistency of 2014 and 2015 perhaps but with some oustanding wines featuring vibrant fruit and bright acidities. At Pépiére, the cuvée "La Pépie" benefitted from the inclusion of much of the estate's old vine fruit, and the "Clos des Briords" is excellent, with good ripeness and firm acidity, perhaps similar to a vintage like 2005. The aromas show more white fruits than usual with hints of citrus and lime flower, backed with the saline and mineral notes always present in the aromatics of Briords. The palate is quite ripe and supple with round white fruits, fresh herbs, lemon confit, almond and white pepper - quite elegant with silky density and structured enough for medium-term aging. The finish is long with lingering citrusy fruits and a nice kick of bitter mineral flavors at the end. Congratulations to Marc, Rémi and Gwenaëlle for producing such a lovely wine in such a difficult vintage. Find some Glidden Point oysters, sole or cod and enjoy now, or hold for 10 to 15 years and serve with crab, langoustines and fish in sauce. David Lillie
For years we kept seeing small piles of sparkling rosé lining the walls of Francois Pinon's cellar. Finally we asked — is there enough for a small shipment to NY? And so this delicious blend of Malbec and Grolleau - from vines planted by François' grandfather - finally reached Chambers Street! The 2014 is a very pale orange/pink color with lovely aromas of strawberry, red currant and peach. The red fruits continue on the palate, balanced nicely by earth, citrus and mineral flavors that continue in the refreshing finish. This is a beautiful and crowd-pleasing rosé that's wonderful now and will drink beautifully for many years - a 1990 tasted a few years ago was sensational. Highly recommended. DL
From a plot of very old Chenin Blanc vines, François' Brut NV is kept on the lees for 18 months before bottling. It has pretty apple, pear, floral and toasty flavors with good acidity balancing the fruit. The current cuvée is from 2014 and it's one of their best ever - a bit riper than usual with round but well defined fruit—a great alternative to Champagne, it's delicious as an apéritif before the meal or afterwards with apple pie. This is a great choice during the holidays - a real crowd-pleaser at a great price, before, after or during the meal!
This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
Les Picasses is one of the greatest vineyards in Chinon - a south-facing slope of clay over porous limestone that retains water and nutrients, nourishing the vines. While the wine is amply fruited and enjoyable young, it has firm acidity and structure for long-term aging, up to 30 years and more depending on the vintage. 2012 was a quite successful vintage for Loire reds, which generally showed vibrant fruit, fresh acidity and moderate alcohol. Not a "big" vintage but one of very pretty, well-balanced wines. The 2012 Raffault "Les Picasses" is a surprisingly full-bodied wine, showing ripe strawberry, blackberry, and cooked prune with a fabulous earthy core of stone and mineral flavors. The palate is dense with blackberry, prune, citrus, earth, licorice and cocoa with a long fresh finish. Ripe and forward enough to drink now with anything from roast chicken to steak, the 2012 should age beautifully, perhaps best 2020 to 2030 and beyond...? David Lillie
A full-bodied Sancerre from a single vineyard on a steep amphitheatre-shaped hillside in Sury, now tended with organic methods. The 2016 Les Godons shows pretty kiwi, citrus, lime-flower and pear aromas. The palate shows candied lemon, pear and mineral flavors with melon, citrus and firm acidity in the finish. Serve with full-flavored fish dishes, chicken, pork and goat cheeses.
From 25 - 30 year-old Chenin Blanc vines in a mid-slope parcel of thin clay and silex soils on limestone, yields of 25 hl/ha, certified organic with biodynamic methods as well, fermented and aged in 4 to 6 year-old barriques. Sébastien Cornille has quickly become one of the finest producers of Loire Valley Chenin Blanc on his 7 hectare estate in the Coteaux du Loir and Jasnières. The 2015 Jasnières "Clos es Molières" is an astonshing dry Chenin showing a bright pale gold color and subtle aromas of pear, dried herbs, almond, citrus and white pepper. The palate is dense but crystalline and intensly mineral with white fruits, almond, citrus and stone flavors that continue in the scintillating finish. Serve now with an elegant shellfish or fish preparation or hold for ten to fifiteen years and serve with fish or chicken in sauce. Beautiful wine! David Lillie
100% Chenin Blanc, from 10 - 25 year-old vines on a slope of clay/silex soils on limestone, certified organic. Slow pressing of whole clusters; long fermentations, most in 4 to 6 year-old barriques, the younger vines in cuve inox; elevage in 6 year-old barrels. The Roche Bleue 2015 Jasnières shows pale bronze color with beautiful aromas of pear, lime-flower and peach with hints of stone, anise and citrus peel. The palate reveals almond, pear, stone and chalky minerals that continue in the very long, tart, very mineral finish. This is a crystalline, complex Jasnières that will benefit from decanting and should age well for ten to fifteen years. Serve now with shellfish, grilled fish, roast chicken and goat cheeses. Lovely wine! DL
"Pintray" is Franz Saumon's 100% Chenin on clay and silex over limestone from his single-vineyard near the Chateau Pintray in Moutlouis. Direct press, then raised in old barriques for about a year before bottling. Franz allows fermentation to happen naturally, in some vintages "Pintray" ferments dry, but the sunny 2015 was bottled as a true sec tendre with seven grams of residual sugar. For fans of Franz's "Mineral" this bottling also showcases the bracing minerality of Montlouis with a vibrant and powerful core. The hint of sweetness balances the racy, seashell-laden acidity that carries the rich flavors of ripe pear, honeysuckle, ginger, and meyer lemon to a long finish. Drinking beautifully now, but will likely gain complexity over time. Amanda Bowman
This beautiful Saumur-Champigny is from a walled vineyard of old vines in Varrains, certified organic and worked with biodynamic methods as well. The wine shows a deep black/red color and ripe aromas of red currant and blackberry with earth, roast meat and citrus framed in a bit of oak, quite lovely. The palate shows lush, textured blackberry and black cherry fruit with earth and bitter chocolate backed by firm acidity that continues in the long finish. Delicious now served with a coq au vin, grilled steak or pork stew, this will age gracefully over the next ten to fifteen years.
This is a lovely Chenin Blanc from our organic friends at La Source du Ruault. Ripe but subtle aromas of pear, apple, citrus, lime-flower, hay and earth lead to the palate which is very mineral, with ripe lemony white fruits, almond, stone and herbal flavors and a very long intense chalky finish. A beautiful and very young Chenin that is scintillating and delicious now, best after a few days open or ten years in the cellar. Highly recommended! David Lillie
Jean-Noêl Millon is making superb wines at his organic estate in Saumur-Champigny, including the delicious "Le Champ Fou" from a "clos" of old Cabernet Franc vines on clay/limestone soils. The wine receives an approximately 30 month elevage in one to three year barrels and is bottled with minimal sulfur. The 2014 shows very elegant aromas of strawberry and raspberry, rounded by a touch of oak, with hints of blackberry, pepper and earth. The palate is supple and ripe with berry fruits, quite chalky but rounded by the elevage, the finish is ripe and long with supple red fruits lingering on the palate. Decant and serve cool if drinking now, or cellar a few years then drink until 2030 and beyond.
Jean-Noêl Millon at La Source du Ruault has 13 hectares on turonian limestone in Saumur-Champigny, organic since 2007 and using biodynamic methods. The "regular" Saumur-Champigny is from younger vines on clay and sandy soils over the limestone; the wine is hand harveted, fermented with wild yeasts, aged in stainless steel vat and bottled with zero or minimal sulfur depending on the vintage. The 2015 is a beautiful wine and a superb value, showing lovely aromas of ripe raspberry and strawberry with violet, orange peel, pepper and brown spice. There is a nice chalky density on the palate with lush berry fruits, earth, citrus and spice with a juicy, supple finish balanced with firm acidity. This delicious and versatile wine will accompany chicken and pork dishes, grilled foods, charcuterie and full-flavored cheeses. Serve cool and enjoy! David Lillie
Thierry and Jean-Marie Puzelat make this outstanding Sauvignon Blanc from a one hectare parcel in Pouillé, with sand and gravel over limestone, giving very low yields. An intense and beautiful wine in 2015, with aromas of lemon peel, pear, dried herbs, lime flower and pine resin. The palate is dense and ripe with dried white fruits, lemon oil and earth backed by firm acidity. Beautifully structured and very long, this is an outstanding and unusual Sauvignon Blanc to serve with fish or chicken in sauce and full-flavored goat cheeses. Delicious now, the wine should be very interesting with 5 to 10 years of cellaring. Highly recommended. (The name literally translated is "squalid bush" but we hope it refers rather to the limestone of Pouillé...?)
Our friend Hervé Villemade made a gorgeous "Les Ardilles" in 2015. Made from 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Gamay grown on clay over limestone in Cheverny with yields of only 15 hl/ha. There was a 20-day maceration with light extraction followed by aging in large old barrels, with no added SO2 during vinificaton. The wine shows a lovely light red/garnet color with aromas of red currant, raspberry and pomegranate, with hints of rose, earth, citrus and spice. The palate is sappy and dense with a beautiful melange of red fruits and cherry liqueur, brightened by firm citrusy acids, and continuing with saline minerals in the finish. Superb wine - serve cool with charcuterie, chicken and pork dishes and mild cheeses. Highly recommended! David Lillie
From the biodynamically farmed high altitude Les Sous Roches lieu-dit on the northwest slope in Monthélie composed of clay and stones. The robe is a dense ruby in the glass. The aromas are savory and herbal, with vivid notes of anise, sarsaparilla that evolve into layers of plum, blueberry, and smoke. The palate is showing some of the warmth from 2015 with ripe black cherry, and tangy raspberry flavors balanced by firm acidity. There is excellent mid-term aging potential, aerate if drinking now. Amanda Bowman
From 10 to 50 year-old vines grown on limestone soils (Middle Jurassic!) in the commune of Aluze, Cotes Chalonnaise, certified organic since 1999. This is an approachable Pinot Noir, showing lively raspberry fruit, violets, and hints of mint on the nose. The palate is medium-bodied with bright wild cherry, spice, tart blackberry and pepper over bracing mineral flavors. Delicious now, best served chilled and with some aeration. Amanda Bowman
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
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. ... Back to put a smile on your face, the 2016 Cuvee 910 is lively, wild on the nose, and delivers the bright funky fruit that made it such a favorite here at Chambers Street. From my extended experience consuming bottles of 910, I would recommend letting this one sit for a while. It just arrived (12/1/17) and I think it would benefit from a month or two of RE-harmonizing in the bottle before the drinking begins. Not that you won't enjoy it if you open a bottle tonight (or a mag with your holiday feast), but I feel it will show better with some time. Eben Lillie
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
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
Bastide Blanche, one of the few organic domains in Bandol, produces this beatiful wine from old vines of 92% Mourvedre and 8% Grenache. The wine is hand-harvested in multiple passes, with very low yields, fermented with wild yeasts and aged in old foudres. The 2013 Estagnol shows very deep aromas of blackberry, plum and blueberry with floral, animal, fig, garrigue and earthy notes. The palate is full, round and powerful, but has good brightness and balance, with black fruits, fig, spice and earth - . with time open chocolate, provencal herbs and black olive as well, really lovely.
This is a white blend, marrying Roussane, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Rolle (Vermentino), and Bourbelenc. It's medium - full bodied for a white, with notes of apple compote and baking spice. A prime candidate for wine drinkers who typically prefer reds, and truly a unique expression of the region's diverse grape varieties. Eben Lillie
The Bordelet pear and apple ciders are a big hit on Thanksgiving, low alcohol too, so the kids get a sip or two. Also arriving on Tuesday: Poire "Granit" and Poiré Authentique. An apple cider from one of Normandy’s best, Tendre combines classic orchard flavors of ripe apples (Kermerien, Douce Moene, Frequin Rouge, Damelot, Marie Menard and 25 more) and a savory/sweet undercurrent of barley and dark honey. Compared to Bordelet’s pear offerings I find this to be more “beer-esque” than “wine-esque” so bring on the brats, or in true Norman fashion blood sausage, tripe, or perhaps for a lighter meal: crêpes. As with all his ciders, the farm is certified biodynamic and fermentation finishes in the bottle for a complex texture filled with small vivacious bubbles. John Rankin
Jean-Baptiste Menigoz, a former school teacher, started his domaine with 2.4ha of vines in Abergement-le-Petit, west of Arbois, in 2012. Focusing on the classic varietals of the Jura, he makes honest, natural wines in the traditional ways of the region. His Chardonnay is always my personal favorite. Fermented and aged in neutral 600L demi-muid, it showcases the honey-tinged, tropical fruit and citrus that is a hallmark of this wine year after year. On the palate it is a touch nutty with salty, tangy pineapple, and an electric acidity anchored by a piercing mineral core. Perhaps a touch more ripe than past vintages, it maintains focus and precision. Tim Gagnon
Clos Ste. Magdeleine is located on the slopes of the dramatic Cap Canaille just east of Cassis, where vineyards date back to the ancient Greeks, and the vines grow on stony limestone soils. The current estate was founded in the late 19th century and has been in the same family since 1920 - the estate is certified organic. The Cassis Blanc is made up of 40% Marsanne, 30% Ugni blanc, 25% Clairette and 5% Bourboulenc. The 2015 shows lovely aromas of dried pear, almond and stone with floral and herbal hints, with a bit of candied citrus and exotic fruit. The palate is round and supple and quite elegant with ripe pear, apricot and almond, citrus peel and marzipan. The finish is long and balanced with firm acidity and mineral flavors. (This would be a great option for Thanksgiving dinner, being elegant and dry but with enough weight and fruit to pair well with turkey and all the sides. A crowd pleasing choice...)
A beautiful, pure expression of Malbec by Julien Libert at Combel-la-Serre, this comes from a limestone parcel with 35 year-old vines. 20% of the fruit is whole cluster and the wine is aged in cement.The 2016 Pur Fruit du Causse is just that, beautiful supple pure fruit - the color is quite dark and coats the glass, showing deep aromas of blackberry liqueur, quite bright and fresh, with hints of stone and earth. The palate is lush with blackberry and black cherry liqueur, lifted by cool acidity, really delicious! The finish is bright and refreshing making this a great match for charcuterie and grilled meats, chicken and mild cheeses - and lovely to slurp by itself, served quite cool! Bravo to Julien Libert for this juicy, fresh and delightful wine!
Costes is an old French term for hillsides or slopes, which is very fitting for this hillside vineyard located in Bergerac. The soil is a favorable combination of stone, sandy clay, and rolled gravel over limestone, that suits the primarily Cabernet Franc vines grown on the Domaine des Costes Estate. Nicole and Jean-Luc Dournel took over the estate in 1992, overseeing the vineyard through its organic certification and biodynamic practices. Made from Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, this food friendly rose shows fresh red berries on the nose followed by wild strawberries, red currant, and a subtle, peppery finish on the palate. Serve chilled and enjoy with lighter meals all year!
100% Braucol from a parcel laden with broken-down limestone. Stephane Lucas allows longer maceration time before pressing, and then ages the wine in stainless steel. This process of longer maceration yields a more structured wine than his "Papillon", but the 2015 maintains a softer side that is a hallmark of the wines from this region. Zero sulfur added. The nose shows seductive bramble fruit, smoke, and earthy spices. Medium-bodied with gentle tannins, flavors of spiced red cherry and crunchy blueberry fruit on the finish. This would be delicious alongside burgers, herb roasted chicken, or lentils. Amanda Bowman
100% Braucol from a parcel planted in soils rich with clay, limestone and gravel, which Stéphane Lucas pressed after 12 days of maceration, fermented with native yeasts, and aged for 10 months in stainless steel tanks with minimal added sulfur. If you enjoy Cabernet Franc from the Loire, then you might enjoy this Braucol for its fresh bramble fruit flavors, earthiness, and mineral structure without all the weight. Highly recommend with a slight chill. This should be perfect alongside goat cheese, sausages, or hearty lentils. Amanda Bowman
In 2007, the energetic and talented Thomas Finot discovered the terroirs of the Coteaux Grésivaudan - a valley with steep mountainsides extending northeast from Grenoble, just north of Savoie, Here he is rescuing local grape varieties such as Verdesse, Persan and Etraire de la Dhuy and also making delicious and affordable vin de soif from other grapes - in this case the Tracteur Rosé. Made from Gamay, the wine shows a pretty light pink color and aromas of red currant, raspberry, watermelon and rose. The palate is light and lovely at only 11% alcohol with subtle mixed-berry fruits and hints of spice backed by mineral flavors and refreshing acidity. Serve well-chilled all year-round with salads, charcuterie and white meats. Quick facts: Destemmed, into cuve, kept cold for 24 hours, then to the press... Doing a maceration of about 24 hours gives the rosé more material, and color. It's the way Thomas likes his rosés! - Eben Lillie
Thomas Finot has made a beautiful 2015 Persan, from a blend of old vines planted by vigneron Daniel Zegna and young vines planted by the Finots, all massale selection. The warm days and very cool nights in the Coteaux du Grésivaudan, Isère, produced a gorgeous wine with deep black/red color and aromas of blackberry liqueur, graphite and roast meat with hints of rose and pepper. The palate is sapid and dense with meaty blackberry and red currant fruit, with pepper, licorice, mint and herbal notes. The finish is long with elegant texture and ripe, earthy berry fruits that linger on the palate. This would be lovely with a piece of Charolais beef, and aging of ten to fifteen years should be interesting. Bravo to Thomas Finot - for this unique wine and for his project of replanting and resurrecting vineyards in Isère! -David Lillie Extra note: I spoke to Thomas about my favorite Persan, from Nicolas Gonin, and asked what differences he saw. He's also a big fan of Gonin's wines, and explained that the difference most likely comes down to 'elevage' (or ageing.. i.e. how they bring up the wine). Finot chooses a long aging, whereas Gonin's elevage is shorter, so there's less structure and a bit more freshness of fruit. I really enjoy both styles, so I can now officially say I have TWO favorite Persans! - Eben Lillie
Thomas Finot, who is working with rare local varieties in Isère, also makes this vibrant Pinot Noir from organic grapes in the Coteaux du Grésivaudan northeast of Grenoble. The region is known for very warm days but very cool nights, producing reds that are ripe and sappy but possessing bright acidity and good balance. The 2015 Pinot Noir is a lovely wine showing aromas of ripe black cherry and strawberry with a bit of oak, violet and citrus. The palate is dense and supple with slightly roasty cherry and red currant fruit with brown spice, plum. pepper and citrus. The finish is ripe and long with lingering red fruits and firm acidity. Serve cool with coq au vin, steaks and grilled foods, stews and tagines, cellaring of three to five years should be interesting. David Lillie
According to the hefty Wine Grapes book (Robinson/Harding/Vouillamoz), there were a total of about 2 hectares (5 acres) of Verdesse in the world as of 2008. As of my conversation with Thomas Finot in June, the number is now between 3 and 4 hectares total. Thomas started with an old plantation of about 2 ares (200 square meters, or .05 acres) and now has about 1.5 hectares, mostly of younger vines he planted. Verdesse is a grape that, according to Thomas, is green for a long time, and typically ripens late, gaining a golden and amber color at the "very last moment." From Thomas' experience, Verdesse typically rests with a small amount of sugar, and has a good deal of richness. The grapes were harvested in October and the wine rests at 8 grams residual sugar. Luckily Verdesse has acid for days, so the effect is more of delicate richness and ripe stone fruit, and the sugar is barely perceptible. A fascinating white and a great opportunity to taste a truly obscure and rare variety. -Eben Lillie
Straight from the cellar - a lovely back vintage from one of our favorite alpine producers, Nicolas Gonin! Located between the Rhône and the Savoie in the department of Isère, this Mondeuse sings with aromas of bright black fruit, sour cherries, savory spices, and a touch of funk. Tangy flavors of tart red fruits give buoyancy to umami notes of clove and black pepper spice. At 10% this is a satisfying aperó that you can serve chilled alongside creamy cheeses, charcuterie, or on its own! Amanda Bowman
From a series of cuvées that refer to Charles Mingus tunes (like a savagnin called "Oh Yeah!" and a Chard/Savagnin blend called "Straight No Chaser"), this is Patrice's "orange wine." All Savagnin, with 7 months maceration. There's a great nose, nice structure in the back palate, and a very long finish. It's not tannic, rather a really balanced and elegant white wine that looks cloudy and funky and is remarkably clean, with white stone fruit and a touch of viscosity. A real treat! .... Eben Lillie...(We have some 2016 also available, but the bottles look identical and I guess we only have room for one vintage of skin contact Savagnin from the Jura at a time... so if you're interested to try both vintages, feel free to reach out and ask!)
Poulsard from the Côte de Feule vineyard in Pupillin. Several other growers we admire have some plots here, such as Granges Paquenesses, Domaine de la Borde, and we're quite certain Houillon and Overnoy as well (it's a pretty well known vineyard site in Pupillin). The hue of this red is still very light, but there's a deeper burgundy shade and a bit more material than the Ploussard bottling from Patrice. Fresh, vibrant, and beguiling. Eben Lillie
Cheerful, fresh, funky... VERY light, and quite clean and balanced for a no SO2 offering. We're very happy to have this and other wines from Patrice, as a welcome addition to our Jura section. Serve with a slight chill! Eben Lillie
The Jonc Blanc 2014 PURE T is 100% Merlot grown on a small parcel of "marnes á astrea," a limestone conglomerate with seashells with thin clay topsoil. The wine is made with zero sulfur dioxide or other additives, fermented with wild yeasts and aged for two years in 1200 liter Taransaud foudres. Less than 300 cases are made of this beautiful wine that shows a dark black/red color and deep aromas of blackberry, cassis and bitter chocolate with roast meat and floral hints. There are lush black fruits on the palate, very silky and pure with good freshness, with firm acidity, berries and mineral flavors in the long finish. This is a gorgeous wine that will accompany anything off the grill, pork stew and coq au vin. Franck Pascal and Isabelle Carle are doing beautiful work at Le Jonc Blanc and their wines deserve your attention. DL
Isabelle and Franck Pascal make this beautiful natural wine from Cabernet and Merlot grown on their Biodynamic estate near Felines, in Bergerac. The wine is aged sur-lie 12 months in barrel, and is bottled without filtration or added sulfur.The 2015 vintage has a dark robe. The nose displays the generosity of the vintage with aromas of ripe blackberries, black currants, and Italian plums with hints of cedar and graphite. The palate is rich, ripe, and deft with a good tension between the beautiful fruit and deep earth notes on a long, persistent, lifted finish. Fabulous with a grilled hanger steak, better still with magret of duck and strong cheeses. This is a tremendous value and should improve over 5-8 years. Delicious! John McIlwain
This is a lovely Biodynamic white made from Sauvignon, Semillon and Sauvignon Gris by Isabelle and Franck Pascal, whose great vineyard work and natural vinifications are producing outstanding wines on their clay/limestone terroir. The 2015 Sens du Fruit Blanc shows fabulous aromas of lime-flower, orange peel, ripe pear, melon and spice - really unique and lovely. Very complex ripe fruit on the palate - pear and apple with citrus and mineral flavors backed by firm acidity. Serve with full-flavored seafood dishes, Asian foods, chicken and pork, patés and mild cheeses. This is a lovely natural wine and a great value!
Eric Laguerre's "Le Ciste," (named after a flowering bush in and around his vineyards) is certainly one of the most distinctive whites of the Roussillon. Grown in Eric's high-elevation vineyards on acidic soils of decomposed granite, the wine is made from Marsanne, Roussanne, Rolle (Vermentino), Grenache Blanc and Maccabeu. Yields are about 20 Hl/Ha, harvesting is by hand in small baskets, fermentation (wild yeasts) and aging is in small barrels. Complex aromas of lemon oil, thyme, hay and white fruits—a lovely melange with contributions from each variety and especially showing the Marsanne and Roussanne in 2015. The palate is dense, stony and saline with herbal, citrus, almond and white fruit flavors. The finish is long with mineral acids and white fruits that linger on the palate. Complex and distinctive as a young wine, this will accompany grilled fish as well as fish and chicken in sauce and goat cheeses, and should develop nicely with a few years of cellaring. Really a Grand Cru of the Roussillon and a great value! DL
Another delicious wine from the affable and talented Eric Laguerre, from organic Syrah, Carignan and Grenache vines grown on granite soils high in the mountains of the Roussillon. The 2016 EOS Rosé is a bit lighter and brighter than the 2015 with a lighter pink color and subtle aromas of raspberry, rose, peach and earth. The palate is refreshing and dry with hints of raspberry, strawberry, watermelon, almond and stone. Eric's great farming, his natural vinifications and the high-altitude granite terroir produce this lovely, inexpensive rosé. Highly recommended! DL
40% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 15% Carignan, 15% Mourvèdre, grown in Eric and Corinne Laguerre's organic, high-altitude vineyards on granite soils in the Roussillon. 2015 is a great vintage for the Le Ciste Rouge, showing aromas of ripe blackberry, blueberry and black cherry, roast meat, dark chocolate and earth.The palate is dense and supple with ripe berry fruits, licorice and spice supported by firm acidity with an elegant finish of earth, minerals and black fruits. This is a beautiful wine - a Chateauneuf-du-Pape of the mountains - and a great value. Serve slightly cool with grilled meats, stews and full-flavored cheeses or cellar five to ten years. Highly recommended! DL
Eric Laguerre's "Le Passage" is from his highest parcel, at about 2,000 feet, on soils of decomposed granite. Organic farming, natural vinification, aged in used barrels. 80% Carignan with Syrah and Grenache. The 2015 is a lovely dark red/black color with deep aromas of blackberry, earth, dark chocolate brightened with violet and pepper. Dense, velvety black fruits on the palate - blackberry, prune and cocoa lifted by bright citrusy acids and finishing with a mineral kick. This is a beautiful expression of Eric's mountainside vineyards - showing the quality of his low-yielding Carignan. Drink now, served cool, with grilled meats, stews, and full-flavored cheeses, or hold a few years for a mature experieince...
2016 is a great vintage for Eric Laguerre's EOS Blanc! From 30% Grenache Blanc, 40% Maccabeo and 30% Rolle (Vermentino) grown on granite soils in Eric's high-altitude organic vineyards. The increased percentages of Maccabeo and Rolle have made this lovely wine even more distinctive, showing subtle aromas of dried pear, hay, citrus, herbs and stone. The palate is refreshing and clean with pear, citrus peel, almond, thyme and stone flavors, very crisp and dry and with nice density and length. This very versatile wine will pair with everything from oysters, to grilled fish to roast chicken, and will be very refreshing by itself on a warm summer day. DL
(80% Grenache, 20% Syrah grown in the Roussillon on very high-altitude vineyards of decomposed granite. Hand-harvested in small crates, yields of 20 hl/ha) The 2016 EOS Rouge shows bright aromas of tart cherry and blackberry, with dark chocolate and very floral notes, really bursting with fruit. The palate is supple and bright with cherry and red-currant fruit with acidity that coats the mouth. Very long finish of red fruits and juicy acids, quite elegant with nice tannic structure. This will go very well served cool with grilled meats and will benefit from short-term cellaring. An interesting wine that really shows the influence of the granite soils. A fabulous value!
Clos Marie-Louise/Château Lapuyade is a beautiful Biodynamic estate deep in the hills of Jurançon, south of Pau. The soils are primarily "poudingue," a conglomeration of calcareous stones and gravel deposited during the formation of the Pyrenees, with sandy clay topsoil. This bottle, based on the two better white grapes of Jurançon, Gros and Petit Manseng, seriously over-delivers in terms of complexity for the price. You'll find aromas of pineapple, lemon oil, peach and pear, honeysuckle and caramel apple on the nose, along with a light oakiness that would not work for all white wines, but fits perfectly with this one. The palate is essentially dry with firm acidity with dried pear, spice, citrus, stone and mineral flavors, but leaves an enticing sense of sweetness that makes it an excellent choice for cheeses, especially the sheep's milk cheeses of the Pyrenees. The finish is long and elegant - just delicious! Note: Those with the patience to keep this bottle around for a few days, re-corked in the fridge, will be rewarded with an awesome display of rich, complex fruit. David Lillie
This is a superb Jurançon Moelleux, harvested in late December, about 90 grams/liter of residual sugar. Wonderfully complex aromas of apricot, candied citrus, flowers and exotic fruit with a hint of vanillin. Lemon confit, apricot, brown spice and chalky acids on the palate. A young wine that is gorgeous now but perhaps best in five to ten years. With more acidity than Sauternes, this is a great match for foie gras, lemon tarts and strong cheeses, and for apple and mince pies on Thanksgiving! Absolutely superb! (The wine improves for weeks, re-corked in the fridge.)
Clos Marie-Louise/Château Lapuyade is a beautiful biodynamic estate deep in the hills of Jurançon, south of Pau. Their wines are harvested by hand, fermented with wild yeasts and aged in old barrels purchased from Yquem and Haut-Brion. Their 2012 Petit Manseng is a gorgeous wine and a sensational value. The wine needs a bit of air to open up, then shows deep floral honeyed apricot, candied citrus, stone, spice and caramel aromas with sweet fruit on the palate—lemon oil, exotic fruit and brown spice lifted by very firm acidity. Terrific length. With a few days open, more exotic fruit, pineapple and lychee emerge and the wine softens into something wonderful. An outstanding Jurançon moelleux that will accompany fois gras, patés, cheeses, fruit desserts and is fabulous on its own. (72 grams/liter RS) Highly recommended! David Lillie
We're very excited about this new cuvée from our biodynamic friends at Chateau Lapuyade in Jurançon. Made from 100% Petit Manseng from 40 year-old vines always tended in organic and biodynamic farming, it's a tiny special production in the best vintages - we're fortunate to get 10 cases for the US allocation.The 2015 shows a bright gold color and beautiful aromas of lemon confit, apricot, almond, exotic fruit and brown spice. The palate is dense and round with dried pear, citrus, apricot, hay and mineral flavors with a bit of residual sugar. The finish is very long with firm acidity under ripe white fruits, citrus and stone. Lovely wine! Serve with foie gras, fish in sauce, Asian foods, goat chesses and patés. Sensational now and should be very interesting in ten years. David Lillie
Céline and Steve Gormally farm their 5 hectares in Passenans, to the southwest of Arbois, with strictly biodynamic methods and consistently make stunning natural wines. Arco is 100% Savagnin from 20-year-old vines planted in rocky soils with a limestone base. Vinified and aged in neutral barrels for 9 months, it is a beautiful example of how much care the Gormallys put into all of their wines. Gorgeous tropical fruit aromas abound with delicate hints of walnut, lime blossom, and wildflower. The palate is gently saline with pure fruit, a piercing minerality, and a wonderful texture that leads into a crystalline finish dotted with hints of tangy pineapple stalk. It is absolutely delicious. Tim Gagnon
Domaine les Fouques has been has been certified Biodynamic (Demeter) for over 20 years, and also raises sheep, ducks, chickens and guinea-hens on their old-fashioned mixed-use farm. La Londe is their best rosé from old vines of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, and Rolle. Unlike the majority of Provencal rosés, it is made naturally with wild yeasts, giving a more subtle expression of fruit and terroir. The 2016 Rosé La Londe is a beautiful wine and a real rosé of terroir showing lovely pale pink color with subtle aromas of peach skin, raspberry, orange peel, spice and rose. The palate is light, balanced, dense and long with ripe cherry, peach, citrus, spice and saline mineral flavors. Drinking beautifully now, especially with a bit of aeration, it will improve over the next year or two and accompany an elegant ceviche, fish or chicken, salads and mild cheeses. Great sipped by itself as well, a delicious and "serious" rosé that is highly recommended!
From Michéle and Yves Gros at Domaine Les Fouques, this is the new Pétillant Rosé! Pale hued, perfumed and floral on the nose, with peaches and stone fruit on the palate. Méthode Traditionelle, Extra Brut, with great acidity and a refreshing chalky finish. Eben Lillie
The Cuvée Aubigue Blanc from Les Fouques is made from 80% Rolle (Vermentino) with 10% Clairette and 10% Ugni Blanc. It's a delicious, full-flavored Provençal white with complex aromas of apple and pear liqueur and hints of dried flowers, almond and herbs. The palate is round and ripe with white fruits, candied citrus and dense mineral and stone flavors with good acidity. A great aperitf or accompaniment to full-flavored fish dishes and asian foods. Certified biodynamic (Demeter), wild-yeast fermentation. (The wine received a well-deserved gold medal at the 2017 Concours des Vignerons Independants)
100% Chardonnay on clay and limestone in Pupillin, vinified for 6 months in large foudres. This is a joyful bottle with a fine mousse bursting with aromas of dry hay, iris, toasted hazelnut, Comté, and baked orchard fruit. The palate has an elegant frame of mineral acidity. Flavors are gently oxidative with floral undertones, ginger, and cherry pit. A delicious bottle to serve with raclette, Peking duck, or on its own! Amanda Bowman
It's almost as if it were meant to be that Maillet left us with this Mondeuse as his last! Typically the most structured and dark of Maillet's red offerings, 2015 provided ideal conditions to fully express the depth and potential of these selection massale vines (many of which are over 100 years old!). In the glass, it looks more like Syrah than anything we typically see from the Savoie. Vibrant wild blackberry aromas on the nose, with black cherry and cola notes on the palate, and a finish with notable tannic structure and mineral length. We'd recommend decanting a bit in advance or holding this wine for up to 10 years. Eben Lillie
Organic and Biodynamic since 1999, Chateau de Mayragues produces beautiful wines from local grape varieties, including this delicious red from 100% Braucol, aka Fer Servadou, grown on clay-limestone terroirs above the Tarn river in Gaillac. The wine is a deep red color and shows lovely aromas of ripe plum, red currant, earth, violets and black pepper. Deep earthy berry fruits on the palate that are lifted by fresh acidity. Full-flavored but not at all heavy at just 12% alcohol. This is a unique and delicious "country wine" - bring on the pâtés, rilletes and rillons, pork chops and roast chicken, full-flavored cheeses, too...
This beautiful Languedoc red is from very old vines of Grenache, Carignan and Syrah, grown in Thierry Navarre's mountainside vineyards in Saint-Chinian. The 2015 Olivier is a bit lighter and more elegant than previous vintages, showing lovely aromas of morello cherries, red currant and plum with notes of earth, pepper and brown spice. Nice ripeness on the palate with red and black fruits balanced by bright acidity with mineral flavors that continue on the long juicy finish. This is a big Languedoc red that is light on it's feet - nice with a coq au vin as well as heftier stews and grilled meats. Decant well in advance if drinking now or open the night before - or cellar for five to ten years. Thanks to Thierry Navarre for his beautiful natural wines that are great values! DL
Thierry Navarre, based in Saint-Chinian in the Languedoc, is one of the few vignerons growing Oeillades, an obscure and ancient variety native to Mediterranean France. Similar to Cinsault, here it produces a fine, juicy, approachable rosé perfect for these warm summer evenings. Deep salmon in color, the nose is reserved, with soft notes of crushed berries and ripe cantaloupe. On the palate this wine is round and refreshing, with good minerality and delicately etched acidity. Red berry fruit and cherry dance elegantly around a tensile mineral core. Excellent with thinly sliced prosciutto, popcorn, grilled seafood, or assorted mezze. Drew Farquhar
This is a delicious vin doux naturel from Thierry Navarre made from very late-harvested Grenache. We imagine that it's a wine made the way wine used to be made all over the Languedoc before temperature control was an option. A bit sweet and somewhat sherry-like, the aromas are of prune and ripe cherry, with licorice and brown spice. Very long and nutty on the palate, perhaps the best way to imagine this wine is to think of an Oloroso sherry... then extrapolate! Absolutely delicious and a great accompaniment to chocolate, fruit tarts, dried fruits or simply by itself as an apéritif. Thanks to Thierry for finally making a label and shipping us some of this unique local specialty.
80% Chardonnay and 20% Savagnin grown near Salins-les-Bains on Kimmeridgian soils, organic since 1992. The 2015s were made by the capable Emilie Gerard who has taken over from Jean-Chalres Maire. 12 month sous-voile elevage in old barrels. Slightly oxidative aromas of lime-flower, dried pear, spiced citrus and almond, quite complex and pretty. The plate shows dried herbs, quince, citrus peel, spice and pear with saline mineral flavors and form acidity. The finish is long with sharp mineral flavors that linger on the palate. Lovely wine - serve with sole almondine, chicken in cream sauce, aged Comté and full-flavored goat cheeses. David Lillie
80% Pinot Noir and 20% Trousseau grown near Salins-les-Bains on Kimmeridgian soils, organic since 1992. The 2015s were made by the capable Emilie Gerard who has taken over from Jean-Chalres Maire. The 2015 Tradition shows aromas of strawberry liqueur with hints of blackberry, cherry, earth and rose. The palate is quite firm and dense, with saline mineral flavors and earthy black fruits. This is a unique and delicious Jura red that's lovely now, and should age nicely for 8 to 10 years. DL
From a 1/2 hectare parcel on Kimmeridgian limestone in Marnoz, northeast of Arbois. 11.3% alcohol. Very pale garnet color, really a rosé. Lovely aromas of red-currant, tart cherry, strawberry, earth and beach rose, a hint of spice. The palate is tart and light with red-currant, earth and stone, with nice length and intensity of fruit. This opens up nicely on day 2 and should age well. Congratulations to the capable Emilie Gerard, who has taken over after the untimely passing of Jean-Charles Maire.
"Les Travers de Marceau" is a blend of 30% Mourvedre, 30% Syrah, 25% Carignan, 15% Cinsault planted at the highest elevation in the Saint-Chinian AOC. This appellation is divided by its soil composition - in the north, the soils are rich in schist, in the south there is only heavy limestone and clay soils. Jean-Marie Rimbert's vineyards are in Berlou, in the north western half of the AOC. This soil composition and high elevation give his much-beloved wines a light, early drinking quality. The nose offers complex, exotic aromas of dried apricot, tree bark, savory spices, and undercurrents of crushed blueberry and pomegranate. The palate is silky and dusted with mineral acidity. Flavors of dense blue fruit and umami spices give way to star-anise and hints of fennel on the finish. This pairs perfectly with saucisson, cassoulet, and goat cheeses. Amanda Bowman
100% Chardonnay, "zero zero," as they say in France for bubbles that have no dosage and no sulfites added. The Thill Cremant is toasty and crisp, with bright golden fruit on the nose, subtle texture and a refreshing finish. 21 months on the lees before disgorging give the wine depth and richness. All in all, this is a ridiculous deal for a really complex, pure (and clean) natural Cremant from the Jura. Get some while it lasts! Eben Lillie
The 2014 Domaine Tinou Jurançon Cuvée Tradition is made from Petit Manseng and Gros Manseng, grown in Serge Hondet's beautiful vineyard near Lasseube, certified organic since 1964. The soils are essentially sandy clays with stones and gravels from the Pyrenees, over the local limestone, "Calcaire de Lasseube." The wine shows lovely pale gold color, vivid aromas of lemon, pineapple, honeysuckle, stone and brown spice, elegant and subtle. Creamy lemon, pear and stone flavors on the palate, balanced by citrusy acids. 62 grams of RS per liter, but seems dryer. Lovely finish of lemon, exotic fruit and minerals. Serve this lovely wine with foie gras, patés, full-flavored cheeses and lemony desserts or just sip by itself. Highly recommended.
Serge Hondet at Domaine Tinou makes a tiny quantity of lovely dry rosé from Cabernet Franc grown on his 3 hectare organic estate in the southern part of Jurançon. The wine shows a very pale pink color with delicate aromas of raspberry and red currant. The palate is light and bone-dry with subtle flavors of red fruits, citrus and rosewater that continue in the long finish. A bit like the Baudry Chinon Rosé, it will accompany terrines and patés, chicken and pork dishes. And while its delicous now, don't hesitate to put some away for next summer... David Lillie
A serious crémant made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Poulsard, and Trousseau, all fermented with indigenous yeasts. Stéphane uses vin de paille to spark the second fermentation which lasts for several months, allowing complex flavors and textures to develop. With a little aeration, the nose shows honeysuckle, orange zest, and orchard fruit. The palate offers crisp minerality, flavors of tangy citrus, toasted nuts, dried honey, and sea salt on the long finish. Amanda Bowman
"Clos du Brey Rouge" is a blend of equal parts Trousseau, Syrah, and a varietal I have only come across in Ganevat’s “Y’a Bon the Canon” – petit Béclan, all planted in calcareous, limestone soils. The raspberry robe is cherry-fruited with a touch of funk on the nose. After a few hours heady aromas of blueberry, plum, and peppercorn mingled with bergamot, violets, and juicy red cherry notes. This is a heady and delicious, though somewhat serious blend. The palate is fruit-driven upon opening but evolves to reveal savory herbs, crunchy lip-smacking acidity and rugged tannins. Long decant highly recommended! Amanda Bowman
This is a gorgeous Banyuls Blanc, that is to say a Vin Doux Naturel (at 17% alcohol) made from Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris and Muscat grown in Traginer's organic vineyards above Banyuls. Beautiful aromas of lime flower, apricot, citrus, pear and almond. Very floral. The palate is deep and medium-sweet with candied citrus, apriot and stone flavors and terrific length. Serve not too cool, as an apéritif or with desserts of peach, apricot, pear and melon. Absolutely delicious! DL
A great and interesting choice for Thanksgiving, the delicious Traginer Collioure has the weight and density to accompany everything on the table! An outstanding and unusual white made by Jean-François Deu at the organic/biodynamic estate, Domaine du Traginer (Mule-driver) in Banyuls and Collioure. Made from Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris and Malvasia from low-yielding vines, on steep slopes of schistes above the Mediterranean. Light gold color. The 2015 is ripe but well-balanced with intense and beautiful aromas of dried white fruits, lime-flower, lemon, stone, almond and pine with hints of spice. Quite complex! The palate is supple and dense with mineral flavors, white and yellow fruits, citrus, pine and brown spice that linger in the very long finish with firm acidity. This is a delicious and versatile wine that will accompany shellfish, grilled fish, chicken in sauce, Asian foods and more. Highly recommended! David Lillie
The Traginer Banyuls Rimage (Vin Doux Naturel) at 17% alcohol is an insanely delicious wine as an apéritif or with deserts of chocolate or fruit (figs especially) and goat cheeses. The 2016 shows a deep black/red color and vivid aromas of ripe blackberry, prune, licorice, violets, bitter chocolate and earth. The palate is ripe and lush with blackberry, citrus and cocoa, but very bright and refreshing as well, just delicious. It finishes with citrusy acids and black fruits that linger on the palate - serve cool and enjoy! DL
This is a charming and comforting red from our friends Luc and Marie Michel of Zélige-Caravent, in the Pic-St-Loup appellation of the Languedoc. Primarily old-vines Grenache, with a touch of Syrah and Cinsault, it's full-bodied and silky, with crushed dark berry fruit and subtle grip. This is truly a satisfying red, and the perfect remedy for a cold winter night. Smooth enough to be enjoyed without food, this will shine with roasted meats, stews, spicy foods, or any hearty meal. Eben Lillie
Domaine Barou has been organic since the 1970s and also produces cherries, apricots and peaches. The Saint-Joseph vines are in Limony, on thin granite soils. Shallow plowing ("griffage") is done in the summer, with rye and clover growing between the rows in winter. The grapes are 80% de-stemmed, fermentations are with wild yeasts, aging is primarily in old barrels. the 2016 Saint-Joseph shows lovely aromas of blackberry abd blueberry, quite floral, with hints of citrus, herbs and spice, a bit brighter than the 2015. The palate shows earthy black fruits with citrus and mineral notes, quite balanced with firm acidity at 13% alcohol and finishing with nice crisp acidity. This will pair well with roast chicken and pork dishes and will improve for three to five years in the bottle. DL
The Barou family makes delicious wines, and grows cherries and apricots on their mixed-use organic estate in the hills around Saint-Joseph and Condrieu. Their 2016 "Rendez-Vous" is 100% Marsanne grown in granite soils. The grapes are 80% de-stemmed and then macerated on the skins for 10 to 12 hours. The fermentation is in barrels at low temperature followed by nine months of aging in 4 to 5 year-old barriques. The wine shows a pale gold color and pretty aromas of citrus, lime-flower, spiced pear, almond and hay. The palate shows nice freshness with ripe pear, quince, almond and citrus fruits supported by firm acidity, finishing with refreshing fruit and mineral flavors. This is a well-balanced and food friendly Marsanne that will pair with fish in sauce, Asian foods and chicken and pork dishes. It's a nice aperitif as well and a sensational value! David Lillie
This delicious Syrah is from 30 to 40 year-old vines in the "Les Vernes" vineyard near Charnas (Saint-Joseph). The grapes are 80% de-stemmed and undergo a two-day cold maceration followed by an 18-day fermentation. The wine ages for 9 months in 4 and 5 year-old barrels. The wine shows a deep red/black color and aromas of ripe blackberry and blackcurrant with hints of mint, violet, spice and meat. There is lovely ripe blackberry and blueberry fruit on the palate with nice focus and depth, framed in firm acidity and finishing with good length and mineral flavors. Thanks to Emmanuel and Marie-Agnès Barou for this lovely wine which is one of the best values in the store! David Lillie
This wine is delicious and easy to drink, but it seems clear that it’s a baby, and will have a lot more to offer after a few more years in bottle. I’ve tasted it twice in recent months – the first time probably too soon after it had been shipped; last Friday it was much more open, complex, and appealing. We had last-minute guests, and I grilled butterflied lamb – the Champet was perfect with it (and the wine wowed our friends). It’s quite intensely aromatic – a fine combo of dark fruits and savory and stony scents. This all follows through on the palate, which is rich but not at all heavy. There’s a bit more tannin than in some modern examples (fermentation is with whole clusters), but there is also plenty of material to balance the tannin. The wine is not fined or filtered, and has just the right texture and sense of purity to underline this. It’s a very classic, old-school Côte Rôtie, not rustic, but certainly not polished or slicked-up with new wood. Champet is one of the only fundamentally unchanged domaines in the Northern Rhone, where apparently much is as it was when Emile Champet first bottled his Côte Rôtie in 1967. I think it’s a very cool thing that such a wine is still being made, and that we get to try it! Jamie Wolff
Chapelle Saint-Theodoric is a joint venture between the Grangeon family of Domaine de Cristia and their USA importer Peter Weygandt. Le Grand Pin is all Grenache from the Pignan vineyard on sandy soils. Whole-cluster fermentation in concrete vat with wild yeasts, minimal extraction, aged in 4 to 10 year-old large casks. This is a beautiful old-fashioned Chateauneuf that is all finesse and beauty, very Burgundian in style and absoulutely delicious. The wine shows elegant aromas of black cherry, raspberry, violet, roast meat, graphite, citrus and Provencal garrigue, quite complex. There is intense sappy fruit on the palate with elegant cherry, raspberry, dark chocolate and earth. Very long, dense and ripe but balanced and bright, not at all heavy or over-extracted. The finish is lovely with sappy fruit and mineral flavors lingering on the palate. Delicious as a young wine, this should cellar beautifully, best perhaps 2023 - 2030. DL