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This is a beautiful dry Chenin and an amazing expression of the soils of Vouvray! The 2017 "Enfers Tranquilles" is a very light bronze/gold color with aromas of dried pear, lime-flower, marzipan, honey and white peach - subtle and quite elegant. The palate is crystalline with tart citrus and chalky mineral flavors under hints of green apple, pear and lemon zest. The finish is long, silky and fine, with intense acidity and stone flavors lingering on the tongue - just a superb wine, delicate but with exhilarating minerality. Serve with oysters, sole and cod or age ten to twenty years to enjoy with richer dishes. Highly recommended! David Lillie
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
Le Clos Guillot is a beautiful southeast-facing vineyard, just east of the town of Chinon, above the Clos de l'Olive and adjacent to Le Chêne Vert. The upper slope of the parcel is clay over limestone (the lower part has sand and gravel over the rock, which permits a tiny production from franc de pied vines) and the vines are young, planted from 1993 to 2000. Fermentation in wooden cuves, 12 months of aging in two to five year-old barrels (most purchased in Burgundy and untreated with sulfur), 9 additional months in unlined cement vats. We have been buying this wine since its first production in 2000 – it's one of the most elegant and Burgundian of Chinons. In the low-yielding 2016 vintage Le Clos Guillot is particularly elegant and age-worthy, showing floral aromas of Italian plum, black cherry and blackberry. The palate is perfectly balanced, dense and deep but not fat with elegant chalky black fruit and mineral flavors that continue in the very long finish. A bottle opened a day before showed more complex, floral aromas, but a tighter palate - of course this wine can be enjoyed young but peak drinking will be 2027 - 2045+. Given the reasonable price, this belongs in your cellar! (Normal case discounts apply) Another Bravo! to Matthieu and Bernard Baudry... David Lillie
The lovely 2017 Chinon "Cuvee Domaine" from Bernard and Matthieu Baudry is all Cabernet Franc of course, a blend of 75% from a parcel in St. Louans, where the thin clay/limestone soils give earthy well-structured wines, with 25% from gravel soils near Cravant, giving supple fruit and freshness. Organic farming, wild-yeast fermentation, aging in 5 to 10 year-old wooden vats and casks. Tasted from barrel in February of 2019 the wine was quite pretty showing lovely pure red fruit aromas with a supple, ripe palate, very deep and long and framed in perfect earthy acidity. The palate is fresh and balanced with pretty red fruits, earth and citrus notes, really long and lovely. This will be a superb and unique Chinon, both to drink young and for cellaring of fifteen to twenty years. Serve cool with roast chicken, pork dishes, charcuterie, green vegetables and mild cheeses. Highly recommended. DL
From 30 to 35 year-old vines on gravel and sandy soils over clay and limestone near the Vienne river in organic agriculture. Hand harvested, fermented with wild yeasts, ages for 8 to 10 months in cement vats, minimal addition of SO2 prior to bottling. This "basic" cuvée from Bernard and Matthieu Baudry 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. In the great 2018 vintage the wine is a sheer delight! 10 to 20% of the crop was lost to mildew, and the remaining berries were small but very ripe. Tasted at the domain in January 2019, the wine showed a deep black purple color with vibrant, lush aromas of cassis, red currant and boysenberry with deep sweet black raspberry and strawberry fruit on the palate, surprisingly bright and balanced given the extra ripeness of the vintage. This is a superb Chinon to drink a bit cool over the next five to eight years - there should be a good quantity available but don't delay in trying this very special "basic" wine! David Lillie
We're big fans of the Caslot family at Domane de la Chevalerie, who make soulful Bourgueils from organic/biodynamic vineyards on their superb terroirs. The Chevalerie vineyard is on mid-slope Turonian limestone with clay and alluvial sand and gravel topsoil, rich in silex; the vines average about 60 years of age. Slightly deeper and darker than the superb 2014, the 2015 Cuvée Chevalerie shows a lovely deep red/black color and elegant ripe blackberry and plum skin with black pepper, stone, prune and roast meat. The palate is well-structured, round and quite concentrated with complex black fruit liqueur, spice, bitter chocolate, licorice and truffle, with a long finish of sappy fruit and mineral flavors. This is a beautiful Bourgueil of terroir that con be enjoyed now with coq-qu-vin, steak au poivre and grilled lamb, best to wait 3 - 5 years, then drink until 2035 and beyond. Highly recommended. David Lillie
This Sauvignon Blanc is an excellent value from a deeply conscientious producer. Francois Chidaine practices biodynamics in his vineyards and takes the health of his soil and the environment to the next level by rotating cover crops and avoiding plowing. The resulting wine has a rich texture with a distinctly stony finish. The nose is delicate mix of white grapefruit, sage, and fresh white flowers, and the palate is fresh and rounded, only faintly herbal rather than overtly vegetal as some Sauvignon Blanc can be. The wine was aged and fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts, and spent several months on the lees before bottling. Well balanced and a great pairing for sautéed fish or vegetables and certainly with goat cheese. Michelle DeWyngaert
This is a superb "les Picasses" from Jean, 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 more round and open than the more austere 2014, 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 drink well young and will age beautifully as well, best 2022 to 2040.
The name says it all. La Poivrotte is a peppery, tangy Pineau D'Aunis from Damien Bureau. 10.5%, with fresh, bright red fruit. -EL
From a 30 are (think REALLY small) parcel, from old vines of Cabernet Franc in goblet, that yielded about 10-15 hl/ht (think REALLY small yields). Nice material, dark and concentrated with lovely mineral structure from Schiste soils on a plateau in Faye D'Anjou. No SO2 added.
This Sancerre Rouge from Vincent Gaudry is the perfect introduction to fall. Drinking and breathing in this wine is like a walk through a well-manicured forest. The nose is all dried leaves, dried roses, and tree bark with moss, and the palate brings ripe and dried red fruits. "Vincengétorix" is a beautiful example of what Pinot Noir, and particularly the rarely found Pinot Fin clone, is capable of. The wine is biodynamically farmed, with whole-cluster fermentation, minimal SO2, and aged in used barrels, which allows it to truly display the terroir of Sancerre, more famous for its Sauvignon Blanc, but was historically known for its Pinot Noir. More concentrated and structured than many of today's Sancerre Rouge, it has plush tannins, a softer acidity, and a clean, stony finish. I know this wine will only continue to evolve with years of cellar-aging, but it is a pleasure to enjoy right now. Michelle DeWyngaert
The extra weight and density brought by the sunny 2018 vintage, combined with great minerality, makes this Sancerre a beautiful and crowd-pleasing choice for Thanksgiving. The extraordinary "Constellation du Scorpion" is from a small parcel of old massale-selection vines on silex soils over limestone and is fermented and aged in old barrels. The wine shows subtle aromas of dried pear and apple, almond, lemon verbena, wet stone, honeysuckle and white pepper - ripe but very fresh and bright. There is a very mineral attack on the palate with flint and earth flavors, grilled almond, dried pear, lemon peel, anise and apricot with lovely ripeness and a saline, mineral aspect in the finish which is elegant, clean and long with lingering white fruits. This is a young and racy Sancerre that will accompany oysters, shellfish, grilled fish and white meats and should develop beautifully with three to five years of cellaring - it's an outstanding Sancerre and a great value at this price. 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. 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.
"Groslot" (which loosely translates to "jackpot") is a humorous play on the name of the grape here, which is known officially as Grolleau Noir. The Vaillant family has definitely hit the jackpot with this wine, one of a lineup of reds without any SO2 added. Grolleau is a grape with plenty of fruit, ample acidity level and medium tannic structure, though the style here is light-handed and fun, so there is barely any grip to this wine. Really vibrant and fresh on the palate with crushed berries and a silky finish. Drink with a chill!
From old vines of Cabernet Franc on schist, most planted in 1953, de-stemmed, short fermentation with no extraction, bottled with minimal or zero SO2. The 2018 "53" shows a bright, deep red/purple color with lovely, very pure aromas of cassis and black raspberry with rose and a hint of spice, really lush and pretty. The palate is supple, round and ripe with dense cassis and berry fruit backed by firm acidity. The alcohol is a bit high, at 14%, but there is nice freshness to the wine and the fruit is extraordinarily pretty. Yum, serve cool and enjoy!! David 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 élevage ; 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.
2016 brings us another great Cuvée Prestige from Stéphane Guion in Bourgueil, whose domaine has been certified organic since the 1960s. From vines averaging 50 to 70 years old on classic soils of clay over limestone. 2016 was a very difficult vintage in the Loire Valley with many growers suffering huge loses to frost on the 27th of April, followed by periods of intense mildew attacks until early July that further lowered yields. Weather in the summer and fall, however, was near perfect with dry sunny conditions prevailing and just the right amount of rain in September. Comparisons can be made to the 2002 and 2010 vintages. The 2016 Guion Prestige shows wonderful brightness and balance with lovely high-toned aromas of strawberry compote with floral, herbal and musky notes, with hints of roast coffee and bitter chocolate. There is intense material on the palate which is elegant and ripe with fine tannins, with bright strawberry and cherry fruits encased in brisk, very earthy acids. A brilliant wine that needs five years or more in the cellar, peak drinking perhaps 2023 to 2040. If drinking now decant well in advance or open/taste/re-cork two or three days beforehand. 1989 and 1990 tasted recently at the domaine were fantastic — given the low price, this is one of the world's great values to cellar. Thank you, Stéphane!
From 15 to 40 year-old vines on clay/limestone soils in Bourgueil, in organic agriculture since 1965. This is always one of the best values in the store and the 2018 happily rivals the 2009, 2010, 2014 and 2015 vintages for absolute awesomeness, even at the Trump Tariff price of $15.49! Beautiful red/black color. Lovely deep pure red currant and blackberry aromas with violets, pepper, earth, bitter chocolate, licorice and leafy notes. The palate is round and supple with deep berry fruits framed in firm chalky acids, earth flavors, cocoa and saline minerals. Terrific length - this is just a superb young Bourgueil! At 13% alcohol it's beautifully structured and delicious to drink now, and will be even better in 5 to 10 years. Thanks to the Guion family for two generations of organic farming and great wines at modest prices! Serve cool with chicken, pork, charcuterie and full-flavored fish dishes as well...
(Tasted in December 2019, this beautiful wine still shows firm acidity and is opening and softening slowly - peak drinking summer of 2020 and beyond.) The 2018 Bourgueils of Stéphane Guion, tasted in early February 2019, are just extraordinary, with an extra layer of vibrant fruit, beginning with this gorgeous rosé. 50 years of organic farming and great traditional winemaking give this refreshing wine its perfect balance with beautiful fruit and great earthy expression of the limestone/clay terroir. The wine shows lush strawberry/raspberry aromas with citrus, rose and earth. Raspberry, blood orange, melon and earthy flavors on the ripe but dry palate which is framed in firm acidity and saline minerals. This is a real rosé of terroir, and for lovers of Cabernet Franc it's one of the greatest values around - drinking beautifully now and through 2020, with burgers, roast chicken, grilled pork and charcuterie. David Lillie
Forward and open which is unusual for Constance. Beautifully knit palate and very long with exceptional purity and at least 50 years ahead of it. DL
2018 Clos du Bourg Moelleux 1er Trie: 12.6% alc; 78 g/l RS; 3.8 g/l total acidity; pH 3.41
As a special Thanksgiving treat, we're happy to offer the rare and beautiful 2018 Huet Vouvray "Clos du Bourg" Sec. In this superb vintage for Vouvray, Domaine Huet produced very little dry wine, prefering to make Demi-Sec and Moelleux in this ripe vintage, but the small amount they made is absolutely gorgeous with lovely aromas of white fruits, flowers and stone. The palate is crystalline and elegant with white fruits and sensational minerality - just a great Chenin and a superb accompaniment to your feast! 2018 Clos du Bourg Sec: 13.7% alc; 4 g/l RS; 4.4 g/l total acidity; pH 3.16
2018 Le Haut-Lieu Moelleux 1er Trie: 12.6% alc; 79 g/l RS; 3.8 g/l total acidity; pH 3.37 The 2018 dessert wines from Huet are superb - this delicious Le Haut Lieu will be a perfect ending to your Thanksgiving....
2018 Le Mont Moelleux: 12.9% alc; 60 g/l RS; 3.7 g/l total acidity; pH 3.34
2018 Le Mont Moelleux 1er Trie: 12.5% alc; 95 g/l RS; 3.6 g/l total acidity; pH 3.45
Lise & Bertrand's 'Version Longue' is sourced from the same two terroirs in Montlouis as the Chenin Blanc for their regular '1er Rendez-Vous', but with an extra year of elevage in large used barrels. Vines are a mix of 40 and 70 years old; soils are a combination of sand, silex, and clay over limestone.
This is Lise and Bertrand's foray into the 'orange wine' (skin contact) category. Here, they take the obscure Menu Pineau grape and let it sit with the skins for 9 weeks. The wine is then aged 11 months in barrel and an additional 2 months in tank. This is a fascinating wine, with notes of bergamot, burnt orange, eucalyptus and black tea. A touch of pleasant fruit and acidity provide balance, and the palate has fine tannins and structure. No sulfites added!
This is a Chenin Blanc that makes me picture spring meadows. Lise and Bertrand Jousset have created this wine from two organically farmed terroirs in Montlouis sur Loire - 40 year-old vines on sand and silex soils over limestone and 70 year-old vines on clay/limestone soils. "Premier Rendez-vous," which translates to 'the first encounter', is all about freshness and vibrancy. The nose shows notes of ripe cantaloupe, yellow peach, and budding flowers, and the palate has a beautiful texture and acidity brought on by the limestone and silex soils. The Joussets prefer to use as little sulfur as possible and have aged this wine in 2 to 8 year-old large barrels, giving this energetic wine slightly softened edges. Michelle DeWyngaert
Lise and Bertrand Jousset have crafted a delightful dry Chenin, "Vilain P'tit Chenin." The wine has an extremely complex nose, with notes of green apple, melon, sea breeze, and green olive. The wine's palate is rather dry, with vibrant acidity throughout. The tartness from the nose is certainly present in a citrus-driven palate, along with a lovely note of brioche, and a slightly savory brine.
We don't have Bernard Baudry's Chinon Rosé to offer for Thanksgiving, but this lovely wine from his neighbor Patrick Lambert is a delicious and worthy replacement. - This delightful Chinon Rosé comes from Patrick Lambert's 6 hectares of organic vines in Cravant, around the corner from his friend and mentor, Bernard Baudry. Hand harvested from 20-year-old Cabernet Franc vines on gravel and sandy clay soils over limestone. The 2018 shows lovely aromas of wild strawberry, raspberry, citrus and rose; the palate is ripe and pretty with raspberry, citrus and stone flavors with nice density and texture, a bit more weight and ripeness than the 2017, with juicy acids, berry flavors and minerals in the finish. This is drinking beautifully now and will open up nicely through the spring and summer and will keep well into 2020. This is a fabulous value and highly recommended. DL
This cuvée from Pascal Potaire and Moses Gaddouche shows the true capabilities of the pet-nat style of winemaking. The wine is made from Chenin Blanc that they hand harvest from vines planted in clay and silex soils on a limestone base, which provides the intense minerality for which their wines are known. Fermentation begins with naturally occurring yeasts in tank before being moved to bottle to complete the process under crown cap. In the case of Pepin, there is a minimum of 3 years on the lees before disgorgement (by hand) and no Sulphur is added at any point in the winemaking process. The finished product is rife with citrus and flowers on the nose, and ripe melon accompanied by a crunchy mineral backbone on the palate. With a pet-nat this delicious, you’ll have a hard time putting down your glass!
Christophe Foucher's 2017 "Rossignoux" (Sauvignon Blanc) is an outrageously delicious natural wine showing a bright gold color and slightly oxidative aromas of ripe pear, citrus, stone, hay and caramel. The palate is dense and creamy with sapid, ripe stone fruits framed in very firm saline minerals and earthy acidity. The finish is dense and long with dried pear, pine, lemon and herbal flavors lingering on the palate. Christophe is making beautiful, artisanal wines that are completely unique - we have 20 cases that will disappear quickly. Highly recommended! David Lillie
A first pass of Gamay yielded juice that Christophe found a bit lacking in material for a red, so he made this one-off rosé, vinified as always with no added SO2. A bit wild on the palate, with wild cherry and pomegranate notes, and a subtle 'funkiness' that is becoming less pronounced as the wine spends more time in bottle. -EL
This is a beautiful Gamay from the talented Noella Morantin, who acquired part of the Clos Roche Blanche vineyard and other parcels above the Cher River in Pouillé, Touraine. The 2018 Boudinerie is vinified in carbonic maceration, and shows lovely aromas of morello cherry, black raspberry and violet, quite ripe and pretty. The palate is lush, lively and bright, with nice density and length showing ripe, sappy red fruits, earth and mineral flavors that continue in the refreshing finish. This is a very pretty and versatile wine that will accompany charcuterie, chicken and pork dishes and mild cheeses. Serve cool and enjoy! David Lillie
One of the very few domaines in Pouilly-Fumé to be certified organic, Jonathan Pabiot is making lovely, balanced wines with subtle fruit, firm acidity and good minerality in the finish. The 2018 is a blend of all three terroirs found at the estate: Kimmeridgian marl, chalky Portlandian, and clay-silex on flint. The vines average 30 years of age, and are planted very densely at 10,000 vines per hectare. The grapes are harvested by hand, fermented with indigenous yeasts and minimal SO2 is used. This is a beautiful Pouilly-Fume showing a very pale gold color and subtle aromas of lime-flower, lemon zest, white peach and pear, wet stone and a hint of exotic fruits. The palate shows ripe stone fruits - pear/peach/apricot - with a nice core of minerals. The finish brings firm acidity and strong mineral flavors under ripe stone fruits, and has nice purity partially due to the minimal dose of SO2. A lovely wine that will pair with a full-flavored fish dish, chicken in sauce, vegetable soups and goat cheeses, and it's a beautiful aperitif as well. David Lillie
Domaine de la Pépière 2018 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur lie "La Pépie" will go up in January to $16.49 (still a great value!) but the main reason to buy it now is that the current release is from the second bottling, with grapes from older vines that were picked later - the wine is denser with more minerality and acidity than the first bottling - really a delicious and well-structured Muscadet. Don't delay in grabbing a case or two in December from our pre-tariff inventory...!
(Will be 22.99 in December) This lovely wine clearly illustrates the difference between the granite and gneiss terroirs in Muscadet. Gras Moutons is a great parcel on gneiss, in layers that permit a deep penetration bty the vines, with sandy clay and amphibolite stones. The vines are at the top of a hill and on the south facing slope overlooking the Maine. (The name, by the way, does not refer to fat sheep, but rather in local dialect, to the hilltop vineyard site.) This terroir produces lovely, classic Muscadet to drink over the next 5 to 8 years, it has a more herbal and floral bouquet than the granite-based wines and the palate, although refreshing and bright, is softer and more open. The 2018 Gras Moutons is a sensational Muscadet showing a pale bronze color and beautiful aromas of ripe pear and quince with hints of anise, stone and almond; The palate is very dense and mineral with ripe pear and white peach, quite supple and ripe but framed in firm acidity. The finish is long and dense with white fruits, citrus and an almost bitter mineral aspect - this will pair beautifully with a full-flavored fish or chicken dish. Five to eight years of aging will bring out the complexity of this lovely wine. Highly recommended and a great value! David Lillie
100% Cabernet Franc from the Pépière 10-hectare "home" vineyard in Clisson, where the rocky, granite-rich soils yield top-tier Melon de Bourgogne; the black grapes are in a section with a gentle slope and southwestern exposure. As with the Côt, the Cabernet Franc is harvested by hand, destemmed and crushed, with only the free-run juice used for the wine. It is fermented spontaneously with indigenous yeasts, followed by around five months of aging in stainless steel. The 2018 shows peppery Cab Franc aromas of ripe red currant and black raspberry, lush and earthy. The palate is ripe and round with bright acidity and deep red currant fruit with hints of licorice, mint, smoke and earth with a nice sappy finish. Serve with charcuterie, rilletes and rillons, pork and chicken dishes. Lovely wine! David Lillie
(Will be 30.99) Our friends Francois and Julien Pinon produce sensational Vouvray at their estate in Vallée du Cousse and the 2017 Silex Noir is another superb example. From approximatley 40 year-old vines on soils of clay and flint over limestone in the vineyards of Terné and Batailleries. The wine shows beautiful aromas of pear, green apple, honeysuckle, almond, lemon, kiwi and stone. The palate is lemony and tart, but also ripe and complex with flavors of pear and peach, tea, toasted almond and saline minerals. A bit of residual sugar brings out all the best in this lovely Chenin Blanc, which is a delicous combination of ripeness and firm tart acidity. Delicious now - decant a few hours in advance if possible - or cellar 20 to 30 years. Serve with rilletes and rillons, fish in sauce, lobster, langoustines and scallops, chicken in cream sauce, too... David Lillie
The grapes for this new cuvée from Francois Pinon (first made in 2014) used to be included in the Silex Noir, but this wonderful vineyard, the Pinon's best parcel on a hill-top directly above their cellar, much deserves to be bottled on its own. The soil is clay over Turonian limestone, and the beautiful exposure gives ripe fruit that is normally vinified as a demi-sec. In 2018 it's fabulously ripe, dense and complex, with approximately 20 grams of RS per liter. The wine shows elegant aromas of lime-flower, dried pear, lemon zest and stones. The palate is very supple and ripe, saline and mineral with round white fruits, citrus and herbal notes with impressive density and length. A great Vouvray with fantastic minerality that will age beautifully! Normally thought of as a fish wine, the flavors and texture of this wine will make it pair beautifully with poultry and white meats as well. Highly recommended. David Lillie
From a plot of 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 2015 and it's one of their best ever - a bit riper than usual with round but well defined fruit—a great alternative to Champagne, Aromas are transcendent to summer days with notes of crushed seashells, honeysuckle, and warm apricot skins. Flavors of briny half-shell, pear, and almond skin cascade with bright lemon and honey comb. This is 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!
50% Cot and 50% Grolleau, organically farmed in Vouvray by Julien and François Pinon. This is an elegant and very delicious Pet Nat that will accompany just about anything and is delightful as an aperitif by itself. The aromas are quite pretty with ripe raspberry, strawberry and red currant with hints of rose and blood orange. The palate is fresh and creamy with raspberry and tart strawberry with a nice mineral kick and sappy fruit in the refreshing finish. Grab this before it's gone... David Lillie
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. 2014 was an excellent 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 2014 Raffault Picasses shows a bright, red/black color with aromas of morello cherry, red currant, blackberry and prune with hints of licorice, earth and black pepper. The palate shows silky tannins and sappy red and black fruits with chalky minerals and firm acidity. Earthy prune, plum and cherry fruits linger in the long finish. Please decant two to three hours in advance if drinking now, then serve a bit cool with roast chicken, pork or lamb. This will sing a different song after 6 to 8 years of aging, best perhaps 2026 - 2040. DL
From 25 to 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 2017 Jasnières "Clos des Molières" is a beautiful 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 somewhat austere - intensely 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 fifteen years and serve with fish or chicken in sauce. Beautiful wine! David Lillie
The talented Sébastien Cornille is making some of the most beautiful wines in Jasnières and Coteaux du Loir - The 2018 "Belle d'Aunis" is 100% Pineau d'Aunis from old vines in clay with silex soils over limestone in the Coteaux du Loir; 15 day semi-carbonic maceration, slow pressing and assembly with the "jus de goutte" followed by aging in 3 to 4 year-old barrels. The wine shows a bright red/garnet color with elegant aromas of wild strawberry, raspberry, cherry and rose petal with white pepper and earth. The palate shows chalky, sappy raspberry and tart cherry fruit, light but dense, elegant and long with earthy acidity lingering in the finish. Refreshing and delicious now, this should be quite interesting after three to five years in the cellar. Highly recommended. David Lillie
Sébastien Cornille's lovely 2018 "Guinguette" is made from a blend of 70% Pineau d’Aunis, 20% Gamay and 10% Cabernet Franc sourced from 30+year-old vines in biodynamic farming. It undergoes semi-carbonic maceration for 20 days in tank before the Pineau d’Aunis is pressed off to be aged in neutral barrique and the Gamay in tank. The 2018 Guinguette is a superb "vin de soif" offering bright aromas of peppery raspberry, cherry and violets, a bit riper than the 2017. The palate shows light but sappy raspberry, plum and red currant fruit with chalky minerals, spice and citrus. The finish is long and refreshing. Serve this lovely wine slightly chilled with charcuterie, of course, grilled pork and lamb, bluefish (?) and mild cow cheeses. David Lillie
This is a beautiful Chenin Blanc from Sébastien Cornille at Domaine de la Roche Bleue, from 30-year-old vines on slopes and terraces of clay and silex over limestone, certified organic farming with biodynamic methods. The 2018 L'Orée de la Berterie shows lovely ripe aromas - honeyed pear, peach and kiwi with almond, floral and mineral notes, elegant and pure. Dried pear, citrus peel, almond, stone and herbal notes on the round and ripe palate with terrific density and a long, quite firm citrus and mineral finish. This is an outstanding young Chenin that will open up over the next five to ten years, and it's a superb value as well. Serve with ceviche of fluke, fish in sauce, roast chicken and mild cheeses. DL
100% Chenin Blanc, from 15 to 30 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; élevage in 6 year-old barrels. The Roche Bleue 2018 Jasnières shows a pale bronze color with ripe aromas of pear, quince, almond, lime-flower and peach with hints of stone, anise and citrus peel. The palate shows more fruit than the 2017, quite round and ripe, revealing almond, pear, stone, lemon and chalky minerals that continue in the long, very mineral finish. This is a young, complex Jasnières from a beautiful vintage 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
The 2015 "Roger Tessier" is a super Moelleux Romorantin, at 37 grams RS per liter, showing fabulous aromas and flavors of white fruits, citrus peel, melon, hay, almond... Just a beautiful wine, a rare and delicious example of Romorantin!
The superb 2018 "Point Nommé" is from 100% Pinot Noir grown on silex and clay over limestone, vinified with minimal SO2 and aged for 10 months in old barriques, bottled unfiltered. This is a vibrant fruit-bomb, showing lush high-toned aromas of blackberry, black raspberry liqueur, citrus peel, brown spice and licorice. There is lush fruit on the palate brightened by firm acidity - black raspberry and red currant - very ripe with a touch of tannin, deep and long. This is an unusual and delightful Pinot Noir showing the beautiful fruit of this great vintage in the Loire Valley. Only 18 bottles available, don't delay. David Lillie
"Nota Bene" is Philippe Tessier's rare and beautiful Gamay, made from his oldest vines and only in the best vintages. The 2018 is extraordinary showing a deep black/red color with intense aromas of blackberry, earth, mint and violets - lush but bright. The palate is quite dense with complex black fruits lifted by firm acidity, with hints of mint, licorice, spice and earth. The finish is long and dense with almost bitter black fruit and mineral flavors. We would suggest cellaring for about five years. David Lillie
Philippe Tessier's "Phil'en Bulle" is an inviting Methode Ancestrale made from Romorantin and Menu Pineau. The wine is bottled after one year on the lees, with zero added sulfur. The 2018 beckons with aromas of butterscotch candies, honeycomb, hay, cinnamon and lemon peel, and shows a delicate mousse of soft bubbles. The palate is rich but energetic, with a jovial sweetness that evokes the texture of a perfectly ripened asian pear. The palate is a decadent combination of sweet golden apple, ripe pear, tangy citrus, brown sugar, and caramel flavors that finishes with a bitter note of herb and chamomile. Ben Fletcher
Domaine Vacheron is one of the few organic and Biodynamic estates in Sancerre. The 2018 is from 30 to 50 year-old vines on both chalk and silex hillside parcels. The grapes are hand-harvested, the fermentation is wth wild yeasts and the wine is aged in tank. The wine shows a pale bronze color and subtle armoas of pear, quince, lime-flower and stone with a bit more ripeness than 2015 or 2016 due to the sunny condions and low rainfall in 2018. The palate is silky and crisp, showing stone and mineral flavors that underly ripe white fruits, citrus peel, almond and mineral flavors, leading to a very clean, long and refreshing finish. Light enough to pair well with oysters, this will accompany any mild flavored fish or chicken dish and goat cheeses.
Sauvignon Blanc has been grown in Quincy at least since the 15th century and produces a particularly distinctive wine on the gravel and silex soils of the Domaine de Villalin's vineyard "Les Grands Vignes." The estate is clearly the finest in Quincy, farming with organic methods, plowing (sometimes with horses), harvesting by hand and fermenting with wild yeasts.
Hervé Villemade's 2018 Sauvignon Blanc hits the spot with classic Loire Valley aromas of exotic tropical fruit and invigorating flavors of lemongrass, ripe pear, and nectarine. The palate is supple and quite ripe in 2018 but remains balanced with a flinty, mineral quality that adds a refreshing tang and texture to this versatile wine. Perfect for sipping on a warm day with a variety of foods, I like this with grilled shrimp garnished with snap peas and summer vegetables. Amanda Bowman