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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. . This shows ripeness, but no sense of heat or flab. Plenty of black fruits and dusty tannins. Classic Bandol!
A biodynamic wine from the Costiere de Nimes appelation. A nose with notes of candied white fruits, Mirabelle plum, and a hint of flowers... Palate: beautiful body and volume, and a long finish with fine bitter notes. A lovely success for this Carignan Blanc! Giselle Hamburg
100% Malbec. "Au Cerisier" comes from a single 1.2-hectare plot at 350 m. altitude, next door to a cherry orchard for which the Ilberts named this bottling. The certified-organic vines average 40 years old and are planted on red and yellow clay soils over limestone bedrock. This is a quite serious Cahors showing a dark red/black color and beautiful black raspberry and blackberry fruit aromas with hints of dark chocolate and stone. The palate is supple and dense, quite elegant and not tannic, very full-bodied and really showing the clay/limestone terroir, with a long finish of bright red and black fruits. Drink now with a long decant with a steak or stew, best to cellar five to ten years. We tasted this just after botlling in January 2020 - it's a lovely Cahors and highly recommended! David Lillie
Purchased by the Dournel family in 1992, the Domaine des Costes in Pécharmant has been certified organic since 2007. Pécharmant is a small high-quality AOC within Bergerac, seldom seen in the US, benefiting from hillside vineyards of gravel over iron-rich clay. The wines are made from Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon - well-structured with dense fruit, the older vine cuvées age beautifully, and wine from younger vines such as the 2018 "Tradition" are full-bodied and quite delicious for drinking over 5 to 8 years.The 2018 is an earthy red/garnet color, with intriguing aromas of black raspberry, cassis, earth, roast meat and spice.The palate is dense and richly textured with deep red currant and cassis fruit, with tobacco and earth with a very firm mineral presence on the tongue and a very long finish of red currant, minerals and firm acidity. All this for $14.99! Bravo to the Dournel family for this beautiful big little wine... David Lillie
A Rosé in winter? Of course says Eric Asimov of the NY Times - and we wholeheartedly agree, especially this delicious Cabernet from Domaine des Costes in Pecharmant/Bergerac. 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 direct-press rosé is harvested by hand and ferments with wild yeasts. The wine 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 as an aperitif or with lighter meals all year!
This is 100% Jacquere from 3 sites in the village of Apremont. Vine age is between 60 and 70 years. Wine is fermented with native yeasts, 1/3 in 2-3 year old barriques, and 2/3 in tank, with zero sulfur during vinification. Aged for 8 months before a light filtration and bottling. No sulfur at bottling. The 2020 Silice Blanc from Domaine des Ardoisières is a light, vibrant lemon color in the glass. On the nose, the wine shows lovely citrus and crisp apricot, along with soft grassy aromas and a dash of minerally smoke. The palate has a plumpness of fruit that is incredibly enticing, offering flavors of yellow cherries and plums, followed by a bounce of refreshing lemon zest that persists into the wine’s finish. A touch of tannin and great Alpine acidity give the wine engaging structure. David Hatzopoulos
100% whole cluster Mondeuse from the village of Laissaud, near St. Pierre de Soucy. Fermented with native yeasts, 1/3 in 2-3 year old barriques, and 2/3 in tank. Wine is aged 8 months before bottling with minimal sulfur. Domaine des Ardoisières’ 2020 Silice Rouge has a dark red shade, with hints of lighter purple. The nose is woodsy but incredibly clean, filled with aromas of lean wild plums and cherries, with a hint of airy baking spice. On the palate, the wine has a lovely zip, with red currants and beach plums. After the flavors of fresh fruit, a long singular note of tender kirsch adds depth to the wine during a fantastic finish. A moderate structure of leveled tannin and good acid complete this knockout wine. David Hatzopoulos
The rare and elusive Lledoner Pellut, considered an oddity of the Catalan countryside, due to the fuzzy skin, but in fact it's Grenache in a disguise. Genetically almost identical, there is a sense of earthy flavors and elegance.
The Mathouans "Vinception" is from 100% Grenache Noir grown on schistes, yields were 25 hl/ha in 2018. The grapes are fermented in large tronconic vats, lightly foot-pressed, then aged for 12 months in 500 liter barrels. The wine shows ripe red fruits with hints of chocolate and a round supple palate balanced with soft tannins.
"Le Bon, le Brute et le Carignan," (an hommage to Sergio Leone!) is mostly Carignan from 60 year-old vines grown on granitic gneiss soils, with yields of only 15 hl/ha in 2018. Whole-cluster fermentation with a light crushing by foot in tronconic vats, aged 12 months in 400 liter barrels. The wine shows intense dark fruit aromas with notes of wild herbs and a full-bodied palate, well balanced between ripe fruits, acidity and soft tannins. Serve with meats in sauce, duck breast, grilled pork and lamb, full flavored cheeses.
In the glass, the wine is a clear cherry with attractive, bricking edges. On the nose there is smoke, orange rind, light strawberry and cherry. Accents of cinnamon, clove and black pepper add a lofty, freshness to the fruit. On the palate, zesty herbs and crisp cherry come before a smoky finish with a pleasant, bitter snap. Light but some great, delicate tannin down the tongue. David Hatzopoulos
From 30 year old Trousseau vines planted to soils of clay-limestone with red and gray marl by Domaine Pierre Richard (in conversion with Ecocert). Fruit is hand harvested at the end of Auguest and the beginning of September, from estate vineyards 270 meters above sea level with Southwest exposure. Fermentation is done with native yeasts in stainless steel tanks and maceration on the skins lasts a month. The wine is aged for 5 months in stainless before bottling with zero added sulfur. In the glass it is a wonderfully clear ruby with shades of purple. Those nose is especially savory, with a medley of red berries, fresh red flowers, and a hint of smoky ash. The palate is driven by a clean vein of dark minerality at the core of soft black cherry fruit. Structurally, acid is appropriately high, tannin is light, and drinkability is off the charts. I would definitely not describe this as ‘glou-glou,’ as it is too elegant and warm in flavor, but I would describe it as dangerously easy to consume very, very quickly. Drink up! David Hatzopoulos
This delightful estate uses one-third Syrah, one-third Grenache and one-third Cinsault in their Corbières Rouge, grown on limestone/clay soils in the foothills of Mont Alaric, certified organic since 2007. The wine shows aromas of blackberries, ripe plums, and tiny wild blueberries, as well as notes of balsam wood. Like all the best Languedoc offerings, there's a wild edge here with a bit of funk that is tempered by juicy sleekness. Its excellent balance and wealth of ripe tannins make it a natural at the table - serve with a stew or grilled meats, a coq au vin with farm chicken or guinea hen, and full-flavored cow cheeses.
(Arrives 12/13) In 2020, Thomas Finot made this refreshing "tractor white" from 60% Jacquere, 30% Verdesse and 10% Chardonnay grown in the Coteaux Grésivaudan, northeast of Grenoble. This is a delightful everyday wine, featuring lovely aromas of green apple, quince, melon, almond, hay and brown spice. The palate is ripe but balanced, crystalline, mineral and lively with bright acidity, showing flavors of pear, almond, citrus and stone, with just a hint of roundness from the Chardonnay and finishing with earth and intiguing white fruits, showing the Verdesse. Serve happily by itself or with fish in sauce, roast chicken, salads and mild cheeses. This is a lovely Muscadet of the Mountains!
Thomas Finot in the Coteaux Grésivaudan made the vibrant 2020 Tracteur Rouge from 30% Gamay, 30% Pinot noir, 30% Persan and 10% Merlot. The wine shows a lovely bright red color and pretty aromas of ripe strawberry, cherry and plum skin with hints of violet, earth and spice. The palate is bright, supple and complex, showing silky, earthy strawberry and red currant fruit with a nice lift of sappy berry fruits, earth, herbal notes and citrus in the long finish. It's lovely, served quite cool, with charcuterie, burgers, chicken and cheeses from Comté to Raclette. Bravo to Thomas Finot for making such a delicious wine at a great price! David Lillie
The Perlant is not a Pet Nat! it is a blend of Jacquère and Chardonnay (50/50), in the style of a Vinho Verde with low alcohol (9,5%) and slightly sparkling... The color here is a clear, clear yellow, with flashes of silver. The nose is lovely, with airy, grassy aromas, along with sliced yellow apples and savory green herbs. After some time open, the bouquet becomes more floral, with apricot and yellow cherry. On the tongue, it is full of minerality, with light flavors of crisp stone fruit and a long, zingy saline-laced finished. An awesome wine for one of these sweltering days - and would enhance any meal of grilled veggies or seafood. Drink today! David Hatzopoulos
Thomas Finot makes his "Vin de Macération Cugnète" from 70% Jacquere and 30% Verdesse, grown in Isère and on the Isère/Savoie border, thus Vin de France. The three month skin contact gives the wine a pale bronze color. The aromas are light and pretty - dried flowers, brown spice, citrus peel, apricot and peach. The palate shows creamy dried pear, mineral, brown spice, almond and citrus notes, quite subtle and with perfect acidity, a clean, long finish of ripe yellow fruits, minerals and spice, without harsh skin tannins. This is a fascinating wine that will accompany shellfish, ceviche of many kinds, sushi, goat cheeses and much more. Lovely wine!
The superb 2018 Jonc Blanc Pure T is 100% Merlot grown in a terroir of green clay on powdery limestone and fossilized oyster shells, élevage in 1200 liter Taransaud foudre for two years, bottled with no fining or filtration with zero added SO2. Pure Juice. Fabulous balance between richness, concentration and freshness, with the limestone soil bringing saline flavors. The color is a deep black with very floral aromas of cassis and blackberry. The palate is dense, deep and chocolately but still bright and balanced with terrific length. Beautiful wine! David Lillie
Isabelle and Franck Pascal make this beautiful natural wine (formerly known as "Classik") 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 color is a dark red/black; the wine shows bright, vivid aromas of ripe cassis and boysenberry liqueur with earth, musk, violet and graphite. The palate is lush, ripe and vibrant with blackberry, cassis, prune, chocolate, earth, stone and licorice lifted by firm, cool acidity that continues in the long, bright and sapid finish. Wow, delicious! Serve with grilled pork or beef, a daube Provençal, strong cheeses and charcuterie or cellar for 5 to 8 years. David Lillie
The delicious 2019 Jonc Blanc "Fruit" is a bland of 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and 65% Merlot from a parcel on limestone of Castillon in biodynamic farming with legumes, cereals and pollinators between the vnes. There is a cool pre-fermentation maceration, then fermentation with wild yeasts for 30 days, followed by 18 months in cuve and old foudre, bottled unfined, unfiltered with zero added SO2. Pure Juice!. The wine shows lovely aromas of black raspberry, cassis and plum with earth and violet, the palate is full and supple with bright acidity and mineral flavors under the vibrant fruit. This is simply delicious and a great value - serve cool and enjoy over the next three years with charcuterie, burgers, grilled chicken and pork. David Lillie
“PURE S” : 100% Semillon. Boulbènes terroir on a limestone base: a mixture of limestone sands and silts with a little clay.
Aging in 18hl Stockinger casks for 2 years. Production : 2400 bottles.
Tasting: the boulbènes on limestone of the plateau of Vélines are illustrated by very marked salty notes and give the wine a great minerality. A white wine that transcends the natural power of Semillon and expresses itself with fantastic length.
To decant imperatively!
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 terroir 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. 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! David Lillie
Eric Laguerre's parcels for this cuvée are planted on plateaus fringed with flowering "ciste" bushes and wind swept trees. The Pyrénées loom in the distance and the afternoon sun reflecting off the decomposed granite gives his vineyards a sort of shimmering quality. Eric's bottling of "Le Ciste" is a faithful interpretation of each of these elements plus Grenache, Syrah, Carignan and Mourvèdre - some de-stemmed and some fermented on whole-clusters, separately, then aged for a year in barrel before being blended together in fiber tank. The 2017 has all of the bold flavor and texture of grapes that were allowed to fully ripen without any worry about lost acidity. At his altitude and with the help of granitic soils, Eric has little reason to pick early; his wines are vibrant and always have a marvelous backbone of mineral acidity. This is his fullest wine, with rich tannins and brooding flavors of fresh thyme, black pepper, bitter chocolate, and blood orange buoyed by ripe cherry. And while this is a handy and humble "grab n' go" for barbecues, Moroccan-themed dinners, etc., this wine has all of the potential to make us giddy and glad that we saved a few for 2030.
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 2019 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 and a sensational value - 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 experience. David Lillie
Régine and Jean-Joseph Aurisset of Chateau Lapuyade/Clos Marie-Louise produce sensational dry, moelleux and dessert wines from Gros Manseng and Petit Manseng on their Biodynamic estate deep in the hills of Jurançon, southeast 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. The Aurissets prefer a very full-bodied style of Jurançon - all their wines are aged in used barriques which gives amazing complexity and phenomenal richness to the 100% Petit Manseng Cuvée Marie-Louise. 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 drinks beautifully for weeks, re-corked in the fridge.) David Lillie
Produced by Jeremy and Isabelle Decoster, who started Les Cortis in 2016 in Bugey at the foot of the Jura mountains. Consisting of 95% Chardonnay, balanced out with Roussette (Altesse), from organically/biodynamically farmed vines 500 meters above sea level. Soil is limestone and marl above granitic bedrock. The nose on this wine is salty and herbal. Green tea and sea breeze followed by lovely chopped raw almonds on the nose. Fruit is yellow cherry and clementine zest. After half an hour open, smells of sliced ginger and white pepper appear. On the palate, there is minerally smoke and salinity. Fruit is a mix of bitter citrus and white stone fruit. Structure-wise, the wine has a nice texture, substantial enough in the middle with an edge of medium acidity. I love this wine - delicious and interesting. Drink up! David Hatzopoulos
Wow, a Provencal Rosé with no SO2 added - this is sort of exciting as some rosés are loaded with sulfur and are will give a headache to those who are sensitive. The Biodynamic folks at Les Fouques have made the "Impulsion" for two years now and this second version is quite delicious. The color is a bit opaque, very pale pink, with delicate aromas of raspberry and strawberry, a bit of peach, citrus and earth. The palate is round and supple, quite dry with berry fruits, spice, mineral and almond flavors, finishing with firm acidity with earth, mineral and berry fruits. Consume with abandon, no added SO2!
Domaine les Fouques has been certified Biodynamic (Demeter) for 30 years, and also raises sheep, ducks, chickens and guinea-hens on their old-fashioned mixed-use farm. The La Londe "Cuvee L'Estelle" is their best rosé from old vines of Cinsault 51% Grenache 21% Syrah 9% Rolle 15% Ugni blanc 4%. Unlike the majority of Provençal rosés, it is made naturally with wild yeasts, giving a more subtle expression of fruit and terroir. The 2020 is a subtle and beautiful wine showing a very pale salmon pink color and aromas of peach skin, orange peel, rose, earth and raspberry. The palate is elegant and silky with stone and saline mineral flavors beneath very subtle red and yellow fruits, wild strawberry, hints of spice and citrus peel. The high percentage of white grapes brings delicacy and freshness. The finish is refreshing and long with nice density. This is a lovely rosé of terroir that will drink beautifully over the next three years. Serve with grilled fish, pork and chicken, salade Niçoise, or just sip by itself. David Lillie
(In stock, more arrives 12/13) Wow, what a great wine for $14.99! 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) David Lillie
The Cuvée "L'Aubigue" is a beautifully supple and fruit-driven rosé made from 48% Cinsault, 34% Grenache, 11% Syrah, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Vermentino. The wine shows a beautiful salmon color and offers complex aromas of peach skins, wild flowers, brown spice, and grapefruit pith. The palate is round and refreshing with a dense mineral core. Flavors of peach, strawberry, and nectarine coalesce over cool herbal notes akin to licorice. The finish is suave and awash with citrus and stone. A wonderfully versatile wine, this is lovely to sip by itself and will be a seriously delicious pairing with salads, full-flavored fish dishes, chicken and grilled pork all summer and all year...
Hand harvested Savagnin from a lieu-dit called "La Pierre." Located in a cool site 400 meters above sea level and planted to clay, limestone and sandy marl soils. Vine age is 30 years old. This was fantastic over the course of 2 days, showing waxy creaminess, and a long, balanced mineral finish. An exceptional bottle of Savagnin, clearly exhibiting the density and length that Savagnin can attain, less expressive of the oxidative notes that can develop. A fine Ouillé Savagnin, and a perfect introduction to the fabulous whites from Loreline Labord.
A brilliant, clear color of yellow gold. On the nose there are aromas of dried lemon, sherry, white pepper, and limestone, culminating in an almost sweet smell of raw apricot. The palate is intense, with snappy flavors of crisp yellow apple and pear, lemon peel, and salt - all riding a beam of 14.7% ABV (…which definitely warms your belly). Great acid, with a richness at its center, this wine, despite being so high in alcohol, is impressively balanced and very fun to drink. A cheery bottle that I can picture myself drinking often this winter, post meal and with friends. Finishing the bottle in three days is perfectly fine also - it really only gets better. David Hatzopoulos
2019 is a great vintage for Thierry Navarre's Cuvée Olivier, from his oldest vines of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan grown in his mountainside vineyards in Saint-Chinian. Deep and very complex aromas of black raspberry and blueberry with hints of roast meats, espresso, violets, chocolate and citrus. Lovely palate of ripe red and black fruits, earth and citrus lifted by firm acidity. This is a beautiful Languedoc red — rich, ripe and complex and surprisingly "fresh" with good acidity and fabulous length. Organic farming, minimal sulfur. Highly recommended.
From a vineyard co-planted with old varieties - Ribeyrenc Blanc, Grenache Gris and Clairette du Languedoc - Thierry Navarre made the 2020 "Lignières." It's a delighful wine with slightly spicy and floral aromas of white peach, lemon peel, almond, pear and honeysuckle, dry and dense on the palate, but nicely round and ripe, with mineral, herbal and stone fruit flavors with firm acidity - really lovely, a great aperitif or serve with fish or chicken in sauce, salads, sheep and goat cheeses. Three cheers for Thierry Navarre for making such a delicious, distictive and unusual wine from historic varieties. David Lillie
An almost extinct grape grown in the Languedoc, Ribeyrenc has been preserved mostly due to the work of Thierry Navarre and his father before him, planted on slopes of schist, exposure south-east. It’s thin-skinned and yields a fresh and vibrant red wine that could easily pass for a dark rosé. The aromas are complex with red fruits, spice, herbs, tobacco, rose petal and tea-leaf. Low-alcohol and light-bodied and a bit delicate with plum, red currant, spice and smoke on the palate, with a long finish - fresh, floral, and unlike anything else, really a lovely wine ! EL
This Persan from the Isère was produced by the fantastic Nicolas Gonin. Fruit was destemmed before a seventeen day maceration. Bottled without fining or filtration. This Persan has dark violet color. On the nose, it shows a full force of aromas, with black cherry, plum and red apple. Above the fruit are expressive nuances of espresso, mint, and smoke. The palate is absolutely Alpine in character, with a salty, mineral core that drives flavors of cassis and blackberry. On the wine’s finish, orange peel, black pepper, and dark cocoa appear. I found the structure to be incredibly engaging, with an initial edge that softens with air. After a few hours, a full and tender tannic form develops. David Hatzopoulos
This is a beloved staple at Chambers Street! Domaine de Pajot is located in Southwest France overlooking the capital of Armagnac, a region more well known for their brandy than table wines. The entire estate is certified organic, grown over rolling hills of mostly sand and fine silt soils, vines interspersed with hazelnut trees. 'Les Quatre Cépages' is a blend of 35% Sauvignon Blanc, 35% Colombard, 20% Ugni-Blanc, 10% Gros-Manseng . Fermented and aged in stainless steel, this wine is dry, crisp, and well balanced. Pajot is our go-to pick for your event, pleasing everyone at a moderate price, or for enjoying at home as an aperitif or with fish and chicken dishes.
Lledoner Pelut is a relatively unknown variety, related to Grenache (and known as Garnacha Peluda in Spain). Philippe Wies farms Lledoner Pelut, Carignan and Grenache Noir in the Catalan hills of France, in a special part of the Languedoc-Roussillon region with soils of decomposed black schist. The 2018 "Grand Largue" is made from Lledoner Pelut and Carignan, and has a huskier profile than its little brother, Les Loustics. Here we have purple fruit, baking spice, and mineral cut. Clearly elegant enough to drink on its own, but would make a nice pairing with winter time stews or root veggie dishes.
Maccabeu and Grenache Gris from very old vines on black schist soils of Maury, in the Roussillon, bordering Spain and the Pyrenees Mountains. There's great density and body to the wine, balanced by a mineral finish. I'm personally a big fan of Maccabeu and find wines made from this grape have really nice weight and good cut as well. -EL
Grenache from schist soil in Maury, nestled near the Pyrenees mountains. Loustics is from an arid north-facing parcel, and always has a nice freshness to it. The shist soils bring a particular mineral aroma and finish to the wine, blending well with the natural tannins, which are quite soft in the '19 vintage. In the end, it's a delicious, easy drinking, gentle and a bit "sauvage" expression of Grenache. Drink with a slight chill. No SO2 added.
The 2020 Petite Baigneuse "Plait-il" is somewhere between an orange wine and a rosé with a fairly dark pink/orange color. Made from Grenache, Carignan, Syrah and Oeillade (an old version of Cinsault) the wine shows complex earthy aromas of raspberry, plum skin, tart cherry and orange peel, and a bit of funk, with sappy fruit flavors, citrus and minerals on the palate. The finish is long, earthy and intriguing with nice length of bright raspberry, tart cherry and citrus. A bit like the lighter wines from L'Anglore in Tavel but a bit more natural in style - give this some time open and be pleased.
Philippe Wies at La Petite Baigneuse made "Imposture" - a blanc de noir rosé - from Grenache grown on shiste soils. The wine shows a very pale pink/orange color and pretty aromas of strawberry, citrus, earth and rose petal. The palate has nice density and texture, but remains light and fresh, with pure raspberry/strawberry fruit, citrus, earth and a very long finish of sappy bright fruits and refreshing acidity. It's a pleasure to drink a such a flavorful, natural rosé with zero or minimal SO2.
A blend of Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Grenache, the wine shows pine needles, a hint of resinous underbrush, wild strawberry, fresh melon on the nose. Medium rich palate with stony core, plum, salty peach skin, garrique, and spice flavors on a long tactile finish with the classic saline and savory character that define classic Bandol rosé. While a fine pairing with bolder foods currently, this has the elements that bode for still more compelling drinking over the next five years and beyond.
Marie-Charlotte Pinelli is a Corsican native but her path took her to Paris to learn architecture first. She returned home in 2015 to help her father harvest and vinify a small parcel of Muscat he had purchased. She interned with local star Nicolas Mariotti-Bindi and then set about expanding her own small domaine. She farms organically, with certification and makes wine with no filtration or adjustments except for a little bit of sulfur. This is a blend of Grenache, Niellucci (the Corse name for Sangiovese) and Sciaccarellu grown on limestone and granite soils and aged in old foudres. The profile is all crisp red raspberry and pomegranate but the savory component is the most compelling part of the wine. The nose and palate are both full of crushed black pepper and green herbs and a beautifully fresh delicate texture. The overall effect is like Chianti Classico crossed with Pineau d'Aunis. Terrific wine. Sam Ehrlich
The Bugey Cerdon "Initiale" is a new release from our friends Elie and Christelle at Renardat-Fache - made primarily with Gamay, Elie says it reminds him of what the estate was producing 20 years ago: fruity, "glou glou" Cerdon to knock back with abandon. Creamy, round and delicious with aromas of red and black fruits and spice, the wine is sappy and refreshingly sweet with ripe strawberry and raspberry compote in the finish. There is an appealing plumpness to this wine - it doesn't have the structure of the flagship wine but it makes up for it in juiciness. The effect is akin to eating a perfect ripe red plum, with crunchy tart skin and a touch of bitterness as one reaches the pit. Sam Ehrlich
Working organically since 2017, Romain Chamiot is located under Mt. Granier in the Savoie region of Apremont. This wine comes from Jacquère planted to this land's famous limestone soils - the best place in the world to grow this grape. Incredibly sparky on the nose, with firm yellow cherry and orange zest, accompanied by spicy anise and white flowers. The palate has a lean flavor of apricot accented by salt and green herbs. Medium acidity with a zippy body leads way to a finish that is soft and relaxed. A wonderful wine, full of energy. David Hatzopoulos
(Was $22.99) The 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. Around 50 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.
Half a mile inland on a hillside near a tiny village called Le Castellet, Domaine de la Tour du Bon is quietly making some of the best wines of Bandol. The terroir here is a clay-limestone mix with a red subsoil. The 12 hectares of vines form a natural amphitheater overlooking the sea, and with abundant sunshine and very little rain, this is the hottest area in the appellation. On a blustery, raw evening what do we open to accompany a hearty dish of Poulet au Vinaigre? Turns out some young Bandol just crying out for a tasting note is just the thing. And the 2019 Domaine de la Tour du Bon makes a gutsy, rather than overtly polished example. The nose is effusive with aromas of dried violets, road tar, plum skin, and and enough leather to clad Rob Halford. And this is certainly bold, with sweet black and blue fruits framed by firm—though ripe—tannins, brisk acidity and a veritable fistful of garrigue. This has sensational energy and a dynamic core of firm earthiness. Fabulous with the poulet now, but 3-5 years and beyond of cellaring will be amply rewarded. This is a cracking bottle and makes one contemplate whether six or a dozen are sufficient for cellaring. Highly recommended! John McIlwain
From vines planted in 2015 to clay-limestone slopes overlooking Lac d'Annecy in France's Haut-Savoie. Vines are tended organically by the talented Bruno Lupin, known for his Altesse from nearby Frangy. Exposure is southwest and plot is 550 meters above sea level. In the glass, the wine is a glimmering yellow. The nose is healthy and lean, with lemon, limestone and zesty apricot skin. The palate is fantastic, with sparky citrus and white minerals balanced above flavors of green apple, cold pear and a woodsy essence of pine. The structure is bright and zingy, with full texture around a saline driven core that pushes a long, herbaceous finish. Fuller than other Altesse, this is a very gratifying wine to sip - and it promises great development over the next few years. Drink up! David Hatzopoulos