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From a 1.75 hectare single vineyard called "Fontanieu", north facing, on a slope near la Cadiere d' Azur on a unique red clay soil over limestone that naturally provides a mineral tension and raciness complemented by notes of nutmeg and violet. Aged in large foudre, 4,000 bottles produced. The 2014 Fontanéou shows a dark black/purple color and aromas of ripe blackberry and back cherry liqueur with smoky garrigue, citrus peel, violet and cocoa. The palate shows supple, spicy black fruits, bitter chocolate, garrigue, black olive and spice - quite ripe but surprisingly well-balanced with cool, earthy acidity. The finish is long with sappy black fruits and mineral flavors - a beautiful Bandol for current drinking that will soften nicely with 5 to 15 years of cellaring. David Lillie
One of a few collaborations between Patrice Beguet and a friend (from the Landron family) in Ancenis, close to Muscadet in the Loire Valley. This is 90% Melon de Bourgogne (the Muscadet grape) blended with Chardonnay and Savagnin from the Jura. Already showing beautiful stony fruit but leaning towards a touch of 'mousiness' after being opened for an hour or so, I think this wine will be a real treat in 2019, and plenty fun(ky) with a nice chill and a few friends anytime before that. Eben Lillie
"Les Alpes" is a blend of two parcels - one close to Dominique's home on marl soils and the other rich in limestone. The wine is fermented and aged in concrete eggs before it's blended in tank and bottled with minimal sulfur. The 2016 is a lovely wine that shows pretty white flowers, tangy pineapple and orange blossom. Salty minerals and tart acidity give this a wonderful texture that is evocative of a briny Albariño from Northwestern Spain. Amanda Bowman
Eric Bordelet was a super star in the wine and restaurant world before shifting his attention to orchard fruits and returning to his home town in southern Normandy’s Domfrontais region. Here pears replace apples as the primary ingredient in both Cidre and Calvados because the pear tree’s deep root system tunnel easily into the region’s dry soils. The fifteen old varieties used are "sauvages," not table fruit, and have good acidity and a lovely astringency that combine to give ciders structure and freshness. Eric’s Authentique displays those qualities flawlessly and combines complex flavors of creamy orchard fruit, white meadow flowers, and a sappy, slightly off dry finish. This is a perfect starter on Thanksgiving, and great with the pies at the end - and with the very low alcohol, maybe a glass for the kids as well. (Also available: Sidre Tendre and Poiré Granit)
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
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
Each year the Andrieu family chooses the best grapes of the vintage for their Cuvée Courtiol. In 2015 it's predominantly Mourvedre from bush-trained, 30 year-old vines grown on beautiful schist vineyards in Faugères. The grapes are hand-harvested into small crates, and as always, the fermentation is long and slow with indigenous yeasts then bottled with no fining, filtration or added SO2. Deep red/black color in the glass, like the "Tradition" the 2015 has less "sauvage" aromas than past vintages. Elegant notes of plum, cherry liqueur, violets and roasted herbs develop on the nose as the wine aerates. The palate shows dense blackberry fruit with hints of tart cherry, anise seed and bitter chocolate framed by firm, earthy tannins. This is a beautiful natural wine that the Andrieu family recommends holding for 5-10 years or decant two hours before drinking if you don't want to wait! Amanda Bowman
While we’ve always loved Clos Fantine due to their impeccable farming, thoughtful cellar work, and the wines’ wild soulfulness, we’re especially enamored by the juicy and pure 2016 Tradition. This cuvée is a harmonious blend of de-stemmed Carignan, Syrah, and Grenache vinified separately in large vats with indigenous yeasts, then assembled and aged in cement before bottling with no sulfur. Slightly more polished than previous vintages, this year is singing, with a nose that is bursting with aromas of wood smoke, baked red apple skins, citrus and garrigue. The wine shows a deep purple in the glass. The palate is lifted by cool minerality and structured with powdery tannins with flavors of juicy plum, cinnamon spice and dried herbs on the finish. This is a satisfying wine that would pair beautifully with grilled sausages and wild rice. Amanda Bowman
"Valcabrières" is made from ancient white grapes native to the Languedoc called Terret Blanc and Terret Gris. The vines are planted gobelet style (bush vines) in horizontal black schist and are around 100 years old. The big bunches are resistant to disease and thrive in the windy and warm climate of Faugères. All of Clos Fantine's wines are vinified in large vats with ambient yeasts, which means that fermentation times will vary each year. For example, the 2016 vintage finished at the same time as the 2017, so the two vintages were blended together and bottled without SO2. The robe is a hazy lemon drop color in the glass. The nose offers tangy grapefruit peel aromas with faint notes of ripe melon, dried herbs and stone. The mid-weight palate is etched with salty minerals, bright acidity, tropical melon, and savory leesy notes on the finish. We enjoyed this with a plate of fried chicken recently, but it pairs nicely with summer vegetables and goat cheeses too. Best served chilled and consumed the same day it's opened. Amanda Bowman
From young Jura newcomer Guillaume Gilet, this is Chardonnay from organic vineyards that overlook the town of Arbois. Very fresh, with notes of lemon curd, cantelope, apples and herbs. Guillaume uses no SO2 during winemaking (sometimes bottling with none added) and tries to preserve some natural CO2 gas to protect his wines in the absence of SO2. This blows off within a few minutes, so decanters are not necessary. There's a driving mineral spice that shines through the finish, and an overall very clean and pure natural wine. Eben Lillie
The Gamay from Dupasquier is always a staple on our shelf because it is consistently expressive of the site and vintage. The red wines from David and Veronique Dupasquier often show a striking level of ripeness for the Savoie, and the 2015 is no exception. The robe is a dark garnet in the glass and the nose offers generous aromas of black plum, black cherry, crushed violets, and ferral notes mingled with black pepper. The palate is structured with dense minerality. Flavors of crunchy blueberry, tobacco leaf, blood orange, and a savory note of game on the finish make this a perfect companion for the cool, autumnal nights ahead. Amanda Bowman
100% Mourvedre from a small parcel, aged for a year in 6 hl used Austrian barrels (Stockinger), then kept in bottle. This is the most elegant and finessed Mourvedre I've ever tasted. At 12%, it's not light, but it is really charming, with developed earthy flavors, yet free from any chewy tannins. Really quite velvet-like smoothness, and ample complexity, with a long mineral finish. Certainly wins the award for the most 'beautiful' of the Enfants Sauvages offerings. It's a joy to drink, and a great chance to study the oft-blended Mourvedre grape on it's own.
From 85 year old vines of Grenache gris and Grenache blanc, with a small amount of Maccabeu from a 75 year old parcel. Fermented and aged for 9 months in Austrian oak vat (12 hl Stockinger) and smaller used barrels. This is a really fascinating white that has been creating quite a little buzz here at Chambers St. Notes of lemon curd, marzipan and herbs, envoloping in mouth...with mineral cut in the finish, and a touch of spice that lingers after each sip. A must for fans of interesting and unique white wines. 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
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 2016 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.
Oh Yeah is Savagnin Ouillé (the term in Jura for a 'topped up' white wine without any oxidative flor or 'voile' character). Patrice has 1 hectare (2.5 acres) of Savagnin in Menay, even less in the Cotes de Feule, and a miniscule amount in Les Corvées. 10% of the fruit is macerated on the skins for a short period and the wine is mostly aged in fiberglass, with a small amount in old barrique. The nose is intriguing, with honey dew melon and lemon verbena notes. On the palate its driven by minerality, white stone fruit, and dry honeysuckle. The wine isn't fined or filtered, so there’s a delicate viscosity in the mid-palate and some texture that gently leads into a sharp, crisp finish. A fascinating white wine that should be included in everyone's professional or recreational study of the Savagnin grape. Eben Lillie
The 2015 Pure "T" is another beautiful natural wine from Franck Pascal and Isabelle Carles at Jonc Blanc! Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grown on shallow soils over limestone ("Calcaire de Castillon"), two year elevage in 18 hl Stockinger foudres, bottled without fining or filtration and with zero added SO2. The wine shows a very deep black/purple color with lush, vibrant aromas of cassis and blackberry with brown spice citrus, violet and black pepper. The palate is supple and rich but with bright acidity, showing ripe cassis fruit, with earth, coffee, cocoa and sappy fruit liqueur. The finish is lush, complex and long. This is a superb natural Cabernet, a joyful wine to serve slightly cool with grilled foods, stews and charcuterie, or just to sip by itself late at night with a good book.... Highly recommended. 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 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 provencal, strong cheeses and charcuterie or cellar for 5 to 8 years.
"Final Cut" is another soulful natural wine from Franck Pascal and Isabelle Carles at le Jonc Blanc in Bergerac. It's a special cuvée of about 100 cases - the last harvest from a small rented parcel of old vine Semillon that is being torn out by the owner. The wine was vinified and bottled with zero added SO2 and shows ripe aromas of spiced pear, melon, candied citrus, chestnut and lime flower, lifted by bright acidity. The palate is ripe and sapid with pear, quince, stone and white pepper, finishing with preserved lemon and pear with saline minerals. This is a beautiful natural wine to serve with full-flavored cheeses, fish in sauce, white meats and soups or pâtés. Bravo to Franck and Isabelle! David Lillie
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 near Bergerac. No SO2 is used except a tiny addition before bottling. The 2016 Les Sens du Fruit shows lovely aromas of lime-flower, spiced pear, melon, almond and honeyed citrus. The palate is round and ripe with stone and earthy flavors underlying ripe pear and creamy lemon fruit and is backed by firm acidity. The finish is long, ripe and refreshing. This is a complex and delicious natural wine that will shine with shellfish, a platter of cheeses or a fish or chicken in sauce, just delicous! David Lillie
A beautiful natural wine from Isabelle and Franck Pascal at Jonc Blanc. Always a blend of Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, raised in large 1500L barrels. The 2016 is super aromatic, with cocoa and earth on the nose, a deep purple hue in the glass with rich silky blackberry fruit. For anyone who is searching for natural wines but prefers to drink Cabs, Malbecs and the like, this is the wine for you! Biodynamic farming, no sulfur added... it's a natural wine through and through (yes not every natural wine is 11% alc. carbonic Gamay!). Just fresh enough to drink on it's own, this will be a knockout with a light chill and paired with grilled food this summer. Eben Lillie
The vineyards of Jonc Blanc were hit by a devastating freeze in April of 2017. From parcels that were 100% lost, the tiny secondary berries were harvested to make this amazing sparkling rosé! Yields were 6.5 hl/ha at 11% alcohol; bottled at 25 grams of RS per liter, it has turned into a beautiful and complex Bulles Rosé. The wine shows intriguing aromas of wild strawberry, tart cherry, rose, orange peel and brioche. The palate is creamy, light and pretty with tart cherry, rose-water, citrus and melon with a soft, refreshing finsh...could I have another glass? DL
Syrah and Carignan blend with no SO2 added. Vibrant and lifted, with subtle tannin. (On Sale through June 9th Was $17.99)
The 2015 comes from Catherine Hannoun's parcels of gray marl in Pupillin. Sometimes she makes this cuvée sous-voile but this vintage is topped-up for a fresher style that is fermented with native yeasts in stainless steel then raised in neutral barrel for over a year. An age-worthy Chardonnay with fascinating aromas of spicy redcurrant, honey, and melon. Like the Savagnin, it is quite compact at first and takes some time to open up, but once it does, complex flavors of tropical melon, blackberry, and honey unfurl on a bed of spicy mineral acidity. It should be interesting to see how this evolves with a few years in the cellar. Amanda Bowman
Z Blanc is 100% Viognier grown by Géraldine and Meryl Crozier at La Vrille et le Papillon in the Ardeche. This is a lovely natural Viognier that shows a slightly cloudy pale gold color and a bit of reduction when first opened, then lovely very floral aromas of lime-flower, lemon, earth and pear. The palate is light and pretty with citrus, herbal and pear flavors; the finish is refreshing and long with white fruits and minerals. Organic farming, unfiltered and bottled with minimal SO2. David Lillie
Geraldine and her brother Meryl Crozier have a lovely estate situated just west of the Rhone river in Ardeche. The "Z" Rouge is a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Merlot and shows wild rose and black fruit aromas with wafts of gravel, earth, and blood orange. The palate is light but complex and supple with dense plum and cool blackberry fruits, anise and earth that linger on the long finish. An excellent natural wine that is perfect with a slight chill and served with just about anything right off the grill. Amanda Bowman
The Fees rosé returns, and is the perfect rosé to carry you through the fall and winter, on nights when you want a flavorful wine without going for a big red. The 2017 is a bit more concentrated than the last vintage, with more spice and kick, though it's still balanced at 12.5% All Syrah from a vineyard on the 'Route d'Albas,' with one part of the vineyard close to a river bank on clay and limestone soils. It gets hot in the Ardeche, but the proximity to the river keeps the vineyard cool and the wine fresh.
"Eos Blanc" is a rewarding discovery for anyone seeking an intriguing wine of terrioir at an affordable price. Eric Laguerre's vineyards are planted at high-altitude in Saint-Martin de Fenouillet, where the acidic soils are composed of gneiss and broken-down granite with some pockets of quartz. This composition forms a sturdy backbone of dense minerality and abundant freshness to this "entry-level" cuvée -- a testament to Eric's excellent farming. The 2017 is made from direct press juice, aged in neutral demi-muid for about eight months with minimal added S02 before bottling. The wine shows pale gold in the glass and immediately charms with bright citrus aromas that evolve into notes of ripe pear, hazelnut, garrigue, and warm apricot skins on the palate. This was the first vintage that the Laguerres harvested in August due to the extreme heat in 2017. Despite this, the wine drinks pure and fresh with an invigorating mineral acidity that lingers on the herbal finish. A fantastic every day wine with potential to age 3-5 years, though we're happily drinking this now with or without salad and goat cheeses. Amanda Bowman
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 palate is refreshing and dry with hints of raspberry, strawberry, watermelon, almond and stone. Eric's great farming, his natural vinification and the high-altitude granite terroir produce this lovely, inexpensive rosé. Highly recommended!
"Le Ciste" is named after a flowering bush that grows around the Laguerre's steep, organic vineyards in Saint-Martin de Fenouillet. The 2016 is a layered blend of de-stemmed and whole cluster Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, and Mourvèdre from soils of decomposed granite and gneiss. The grapes are harvested by hand, fermented separately and aged for 12 months in barrel, then assembled in fiber tank before bottling with minimal added sulfur. This vintage is evocative of the 2014 with softer, finer tannins compared to the robust 2015. The aromas are complex and redolent of savory herbs (thyme, garrigue), game, black peppercorn, blood orange, and dark chocolate. The palate is balanced with mouth-coating, powdery tannins, dried herbs, black pepper, and an energetic, long mineral finish from the granite soils. Best served with a slight chill alongside grilled meat, charcuterie, cheese, or veggies roasted with Moroccan spices. This is drinking well now, but should be even better in 5-8 years. Amanda Bowman
Eric Laguerre's "Eos Rouge" is an elegant blend of 80% Grenache from 40-year-old gobelet-trained vines, with some Carignan and Syrah from soils of decomposed granite, gneiss, and some veins of quartz. Like "Le Passage," the grapes are fermented in fiber tanks with native yeasts for about two weeks, then aged in concrete. The 2017 is strikingly pure-fruited, with vibrant strawberry and red cherry aromas underpinned by earthy spice, red-currant, and bitter chocolate notes. The peppery tannins and mineral acidity from the high mountain clime form its exquisite structure (Eric says that after 2 years in bottle, you might think it's Pinot Noir). This is a balanced wine that should pair wonderfully with grilled sausages, lentils, or goat cheeses. Open an hour before serving if drinking now, or hold for up to 10 years. Amanda Bowman
Guillaume Lavie and his partner Aline Ziemniak have a small, biodynamic estate cradled in the hills of Bugey, facing the Dent du Chat (Tooth of the Cat) Mountain in Savoie. The young farmers are committed to traditional farming practices-- plowing with horse, carefully tending to their vines using biodynamic remedies, and harvesting by hand. Their approach in the cellar is equally thoughtful, with very minimal added sulfur, native yeast fermentations, and a focus on making pure wines that speak of their terroir. The Roussette is a wonderful discovery that we are happy to offer to fans of this obscure wine region. The 2016 is aged on its lees for 11 months, half in barrel and half in cuve with 20mg/L of added SO2. The nose offers bright aromas of verbena, crisp apple, white pepper, and sea salt. The palate, though medium-bodied, is lithe and textured with fine, powdery minerals. There's a satisfying interplay of white flowers, quince, and savory minerality on the finish. A lovely example of Roussette that we highly recommend! Amanda Bowman
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 2017 is a beautiful wine, lighter and brighter than the 2016 in style. The wine shows a lovely pale pink/salmon color with elegant aromas of wild strawberry, raspberry, peach and rose with hints of spice. The palate shows creamy raspberry, peach and red currant fruit with citrus peel and mineral flavors. The finish is long and refreshing with berry fruits, citrus and firm acidity, just lovely. This wine will gain complexity over the next six months and will drink beautifully through 2019. Highly recommended and a great value! David Lillie
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
A delicious blend of 60% Jacquere and 40% Altesse (Roussette). Marie and Florian pick grapes from a early ripening parcel of Altesse, and a mature parcel of Jacquerre, and harvest, press and vinify together, as they like the harmony that is achieved through co-fermentation. I love the electric side of this wine, paired with the subtle texture that develops with some aeration. Drink now or hold. Light filtration before bottling, minimal SO2 added. Eben Lillie
A blend of mostly Gamay (about 80%), with Pinot Noir and Mondeuse from vineyards in the commune of Chautagne de Serrieres and Cellier des Pauvres. Though they will likely make a bit less of the 'Autrement' in the future, this is their homage to the first "natural" wine that Jacques Maillet produced, back in 2003. It is an expression of the Savoie, and reflects Maillet's philosophy of cultivating healthy vineyards without the use of chemicals, and producing authentic wines that show the potential of the region. Like their other reds, maceration is whole cluster, without pump over or punch down, 9 months lees aging, and a light filtration and only 1g/hl (hectoliter) of SO2 at bottling. Delicious wine! Eben Lillie
The Chautagne is a blend of Gamay and Mondeuse (about 70/30) from the commune of Motz. Maceration is whole cluster for a period of about 6 weeks, without pigeage (pushing down of the cap) or remontage (pumping over), so it's more a gentle infusion than an extraction. The wine is aged on the lees for approximately 9 months. Florian mentioned that the old vines of Gamay produce less - and often less concentrated - grapes, but they are always more "gouleyant" (roughly translated, it means "tasty" or "really good"). All in all a very tasty, complex, and harmonious expression of Gamay and Mondeuse. Eben Lillie
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 is one of the few people who still grow Oeillades - a nearly extinct grape that has a long history in the Langudedoc and is thought to be an old cousin of Cinsault. Thierry's Oeillades grows on the rugged mountainsides above Roquebrun in Saint-Chinian. The 2017 shows a beautiful wild strawberry and purple-tinged color in the glass. The nose offers abundant strawberry and orange aromas with delicate notes of lavender, cardamom and dried rose petals. The palate is light and wonderfully lifted with flavors of ripe strawberry, herbal tea, and refreshing exotic citrus on the finish. A balanced rosé with plenty of aromatic complexity and crunchy acidity to pair with a variety of dishes. We recently enjoyed this with Mediterranean-inspired fried food - a highly recommended pairing! Even though it's low in alcohol, this wine has enough weight on the palate to pair well with turkey, stuffing and all the veggies on Thanksgiving. Amanda Bowman
"Porcellese" comes from a parcel of 52 year-old, gobelet-trained Niellucciu vines planted in alluvial soils. The grapes are fermented whole-cluster in concrete tank with daily pump-overs, and then spend two years aging in concrete before being bottled with small amounts of sulfur. The 2014 is an elegant and layered expression of Nieullucciu. The nose offers seductive aromas of cherry, cocoa, black olives, and violets. The palate is more black-fruited than the earlier-drinking, limestone-based "Cantina di Torra" bottling. Firm, fine-grained tannins provide elegant structure to the bold flavors of black plum skins, tart cherry, cassis, game, and espresso. Recently this paired excellently with pan-seared pork. Amanda Bowman
This 100% Vementinu is rich and complex after spending 12 months on the lees in tank and then bottled unfiltered with a small amount of added S02. The aromas are effusive with wafts of salty stone, orchard fruit, lime blossom, and thyme rising from the glass. The palate is supple and round with flavors of apricot, fresh herbs, and salt on the finish. This is one of the most unique examples of Corsican Vermentinu we've tasted. The 2016 shows less intense acidity and is wonderfully fruit-driven with a compelling chalky texture.This is a fascinating wine that will stand up to poultry and seafood. Amanda Bowman
"Cantina di Torra" is Nicolas Bindi's label for the wines he makes from a collection of 7.5 hectares of north-facing parcels called "Carcu." The vines were planted in 1970, 1996, and 2006 on clay and limestone and were recently converted to organic farming by Nicolas. The 2017 Rouge is 100% whole cluster Niellucciu that spends six months in concrete tank before being bottled unfiltered for an early-drinking, fruit-driven style. Upon opening, the 2017 is a bit tight on the palate and offers aromas of roasted thyme, figs, and dark chocolate. After an hour open, the palate unfurls with supple red fruit, cherry stone, and coffee bean flavors structured with ripe tannins and finishes with plush strawberry notes. The nose also comes alive with charming aromas of strawberry, tobacco leaf, and violets. Despite being an "entry-level" cuvée, this is a complex, food-friendly find for those curious about Corsican wine at a great price. Amanda Bowman
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
Our favorite blend of sparkling Gamay and Poulsard is back in stock for the holidays! This charming, low-alcohol sparkler hails from the tiny appellation of Bugey (across the Mont du Chat in Savoie). At 8.5% this delicately sweet pét-nat is the breakfast of champions, companion while you prepare a feast, or the perfect solution to tricky dessert parings. The wine pours a pleasing shade of magenta in the glass and offers up vivid aromas of purple wild flowers, raspberry patch, and mouth-watering grapefruit zest. The palate is light and fresh with flavors of sweet strawberries, raspberries and crunchy blueberries on the attack then finishes with thirst-quenching mineral acidity. A purely enjoyable bottle at a great value. Serve chilled alongside fruit tarts, dark chocolate, or with tangy cheeses. Amanda Bowman
Fabrice Dodane ages his sous-voile (under flor) Savagnin for six years in his cool, dry cellar in Mathenay. The 2010 is masterful and balanced with the pure, mineral-driven Savagnin radiating through the cloak of rich oxidative aging. Aromas of curry and brown spice mingle with lemon pith and nutty cheese. The palate is wonderfully textured with punchy mineral acidity and tangy citrus flavors beaming through supple notes of toasted walnut, curry, and yellow apple. This is one of the most precise and nervy sous-voile Savagnins that I have tasted. Highly recommend drinking now but there is plenty of acid and tension to age for at least ten years. Amanda Bowman
"Autrement" is Fabrice Dodane's modern take on Savagnin. The wine is made ouillée or "topped-up" for a less oxidative (traditional) expression of the variety. The style may be considered modern, but the aromas are classic Jura: crushed seashells and toasted walnuts give way to bright notes of freshly cut apple and lemon peel on the nose. The palate is laser-like yet dense with tightly woven mineral acidity that cuts through the rich flavors of walnut oil and lemon curd. The finish is persistent and deliciously salty. Highly recommend for fans of the nerviness and tension found in Albariño! Amanda Bowman
From clay/limestone soils in the Jura, south-west from Arbois. West exposition. Definitely deserving of a decant, this is a fantastic deal for a Chardonnay that has a real sense of place. (On Sale through June 9th, was $19.99)
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. Don't worry about the low price - this is a sensational dessert wine that will really please a crowd on Thanksgiving!
An abiding staff favorite from Stéphane Tissot's biodynamic estate in Arbois, this crémant is a blend of 55% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir and 10% Poulsard and Trousseau. The interplay between the dry, mineral complexity and rich generosity make this an incredible Champagne-alternative. Opulent aromas of raw honey and baked red apple lead to flavors of tangy yellow fruit, crisp apple, toasted almond, and quince on the persistent finish. A versatile wine that keeps getting better every time we open a bottle (which is often). Pair this with baked mac n' cheese, buttery biscuits, and - of course - turkey. Amanda Bowman
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. Tasted in January of 2018, the 2014 Blanc was showing beautifully with aromas of pear, apricot and citrus with hints of white flowers, stone and spice that continue on the palate which is round, dense, very mineral and long with good acidity, complex and delicious. Serve with a fish stew, fish in sauce, white meats and a wide variety of cheeses.
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
Jean-Francois Deu makes beautiful wines on his biodynamic estate in Collioure, including this outstanding 2015 Rosé "Le Gourmand." The wine shows a pretty pink/orange color, with aromas of red currant and strawberry with hints of prune, orange peel, rose and spice. The palate is round and ripe with deep black cherry and strawberry liqueur, but nicely balanced by firm acidity and has beautiful length. Serve this full-bodied rosé with grilled chicken and pork or with an appetizer of olives, cheeses and charcuterie. Lovely wine! DL
Equal parts Grenache, Carignan, Mourvedre and Syrah from the steep schist terraces of Banyuls-sur-Mer, this is a pure and concentrated expression of this dramatic coastal stretch of the Roussillon. Dark black red color. Lush aromas of blackberry, black plum, bitter chocolate, licorice, earth and brown spice. The palate is dense, ripe and supple with blackberry, strawberry compote, earth, licorice, ginger and spice, with cool citrus and red currant in the long finish. This is a beautiful Collioure that will accompany a steak, grilled meats, stews, grilled vegetables and tagines. Highly recommended. DL
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 superb wine is made from Grenache Gris, Grenache Noir, Grenache Blanc and Muscat, aged for 15 years in small, very old barrels. Complex aromas of citrus, tea, prune, flowers and caramel. The palate is balanced, with a pretty melange of citrus, white fruits, earth and secondary flavors, very long and lifted by nice acidity. A gorgeous vin doux naturel that will accompany aged cheeses, figs and foie gras, and it's sensationally beautiful by itself. Really a unique and delicious wine. DL
Domaine Turenne produces beautiful wines in Provence through many years of organic farming, hand harvesting and wild yeast fermentations. The elegant rosé Cuvée Gravoches is made from 70% Mourvedre with 15% Grenache and 15% Cinsault, similar to the blend in nearby Bandol. The 2016 shows a lovely bight pink/orange color and aromas of tart raspberry, orange peel, peach and brown spice. The palate is supple and dense with mineral flavors underlying ripe berry and stone fruits - it's quite well-structured and very long, a young wine that will open nicely with aeration or with a few years of aging. A rosé of cuisine, serve with white meats, grilled pork with Provencal herbs, chicken in sauce, bouillabaisse, tagines and goat cheeses. David Lillie
Domaine Turenne, northeast of Bandol in Provence, produces this lovely rosé from 80% Cinsault, 10% Grenache and 10% Syrah, certified organic. The terroir is a unique bed of limestone and sandstone debris with sand/clay stones called "Gavroches" which bring a pronounced minerality and good drainage to the vines. The grapes are harvested by hand, fermented with wild yeasts and the wine is bottled with minimal SO2. The 2017 "Camille" is a pretty, very pale pink/orange color with aromas of wild strawberry, raspberry, rose and citrus, with a hint of stone fruits as well. The palate is light and elegant with subtle berry fruits, a hint of citrus and stone, and has nice density and length. This is a light and lovely rosé for all year enjoyment, sipped by itself or with grilled fish, white meats, salade Niçoise and mild cheeses - and it's a fabulous value! David Lillie
A blend of all three of the Jura's great red varieties: Poulsard, Trousseau, and Pinot Noir. A charming, light-bodied, fresh, silken red. From the first organic estate in Arbois. Winemaker Christine Villet is a mentor and a mother-figure to many of the regions up-and-coming winemakers.