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From 40+ year-old biodynamically-farmed vines planted in clay, granite, and gravel soils. The Ostertag 2014 Sylvaner Vieilles Vignes has a pale gold robe. The nose is cool-toned and offers aromas of citrus peel, pear skin, honeydew melon, and leafy notes. The palate is fresh, sprightly, and spring-like, with melon, golden apple, and green plum flavors, with a fine bead of stoniness on the finish. Try with a fricassee of spring vegetables (morels, ramps, and asparagus) or shad roe in brown butter. Springtime in a glass! John McIlwain
"Disco Special" is a one-off bottling from James Erksine made with 60% Shiraz and 20% Grenache sourced from Fiona Wood's organically farmed vineyards in McLaren Vale. Fermented in tank with wild yeast then bottled under cork in recycled beer bottles with no added sulfur, this is a lively blend we can dig. Classic aromas of ripe plum, floral spice and salty black olives on the nose, at 12% there is enough tannin and sparkling acidity to give verve to the palate. Flavors are fresh and redolent of crunchy blueberries, anise and spiced plum. Great for barbecues this summer! Amanda Bowman
We've been fans of the Paxtons since we started carrying their wines in 2008. Though we've never walked through the vineyards in Australia, we have hosted tastings with the Paxton family over the years, and they're great people. Their wines are also very delicious. This is a Shiraz blended from four of of their bio-dynamically farmed vineyard parcels, and giving a fresh but very generous introduction to the McLaren Vale region. There's a subtle touch of oak that blends perfectly with the lush silky Shiraz fruit. A full bodied wine, for sure, but with great balance and drink-ability.
Hollerin has larger terraces, with loam and Gfoehler gneiss; Leo Jr. calls the wines from this vineyard "charming" with good fruit and structure, a contrast from the more intense mineral cut on the wines from the Höhereck vineyard just on the other side of the hill. Delicate aromas of white strawberries and flowers on the nose, the palate boasts great texture and lift with notes of peach candy, green strawberry tops, and white grapefruit. Cari Bernard
Riesling vines for the Smaragd bottling grow in meager soils in a high altitude, amphitheater-shaped vineyard where most of the sun-exposure ends at around 3 in the afternoon, making for a cooler microclimate in contrast to some of the other south-facing sites on the Loibenberg, where a more Pannonian (warmer) climate prevails. The cooling influence is reflected in the high minerality in balance with a creaminess and clarity of fruit--peach blossom and stone on the nose gives way to stone fruit and just-ripe mango with a spicy intensity and long, saline stony finish on the palate. Cari Bernard
Schenkenbichl is a terraced vineyard on chalk, amphibolite, gneiss with richer top soil, 330 meters above sea level, where exposure to the sun balanced by the cooling and drying effect of ceaseless winds from the west make for longer hang time and therefore more phenolic development. Spontaneous fermentation is followed by aging in large, neutral wood casks for around 9 months. Incredibly concentrated with notes of white pepper, pineapple core, white cherry, apricot, and Fuji apple, firm minerality and shimmering acidity. Cari Bernard
Unmistakable on the nose--that floral perfume mixed with SweetTarts candy scent--this can only be Gelber Muskateller (Yellow Muscat). A fresh and delightfully fruity wine, still floral on the palate, balanced with flavors of crisp apple, peach, mango, and lime candy. A great bottle for apéro! Cari Bernard
Twenty-five year old vines on loess soils grown on the rim of the valley in the Wagram, of Ott's Grand Cru vineyards, Spiegel is a perennial favorite. Delicately mineral on the nose, this Grüner is dynamic on the palate: notes of Meyer lemon, lime zest, green apple candy, mango, white cherry, pineapple, peach skin with vibrant acidity and a lingering finish. Very young and powerful, yet balanced, this wine will age beautifully! Cari Bernard
Riesling grown at a higher elevation near the Rosenberg. Freshest peach, white flower petals, salted green mango on the nose, the wine is bright and intense and not overly fruity; notes of green apple skin, nectarine, pineapple are tart and crystalline. Cari Bernard
A blend of Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch, and a touch of Merlot; the Biodynamically-grown grapes are harvested by hand and see only stainless steel, so although the wine is medium in body, it boasts an incredible freshness. The nose is vibrant with notes of cherries and plums, while the palate is bright with juicy blackberries, dark plums, smoke, red apple skin, and red raspberries. Works well with or without a slight chill. Cari Bernard
Claus Preisinger's first vintage was in in early 2000s, after stints working in California as well as with Hans and Anita Nittnaus in Burgenland, where his vineyards are also located. His 19 hectares of vineyards have been certified Biodynamic (Respekt) since 2008. This vintage of the Kalkundkiesel is Weißburgunder, Grüner Veltliner, Muskat, and Welschriesling selected from a variety of vineyard sites, with soils containing limestone and pebbles. Maceration is for four days and the wine ages in a mix of used, wooden vessels before being bottled without any added sulfur. Elegantly textured with layers of ripe apricot, lees, salted yellow apple, quince, soft floral tones and savory clay: a stunning wine! Cari Bernard
A blanc de noir, this méthode ancestral (read: pét-nat) sparkler is 100% Sankt Laurent, picked early to preserve acidity. Aromatic and fresh, notes of white flowers and strawberries give way to a lively mousse with vibrant flavors of tart peach yogurt, juicy wild strawberries, apricots, Fuji apple, underripe pineapple, and some funk on the finish. Cari Bernard
The Stadlmann family has been making wine since the 1780s in the Thermenregion; sheltered from the northern winds by the Vienna Woods, it is one of Austria's warmest wine growing areas. The 'Classic' line of wines are aged in large, used barrels to showcase the true character of the grape and terroir. 2015 is darker on the nose than 2013, with notes of cherry cola, black cherries, and red flowers. The palate is smooth and juicy with bright flavors of tart yet candied red cherries. A wonderful wine to have with a wide range of food! Cari Bernard
Vogelsang is one of two single-vineyard parcels that Michael bottles separately. The vineyard is further south along the Ruster hill-chain, here mica schist and gneiss soils are punctuated with grey quartz, which Michael says gives the wine a cooler and tighter minerality. When tasted against the Garden of Eden vineyard (pink quartz), one can't help but concur. As Furmint is a late-ripening grape, bunches in the Vogelsang and Eden vineyards will often stay on the vine until late September, more than three weeks after the other grape varieties are harvested. For the Vogelsang, there is a touch of skin-contact before pressing (less than the Eden), and the wine ages in 500L used French oak barrels. An incredible balance of luxurious density and cool minerality, evoking comparisons with age-worthy Loire Chenin Blanc, concentrated Pouilly-Fuissé, and even characteristics of heady Jura whites. Like Chenin, Furmint lends itself well to a wide variety of wine styles, from dry and linear to the most elegant of dessert wines (Ausbruch). Vogelsang is dry with a concentration of fruity and aromatic quince, yellow apple skin, tangerine oil, white blossom, and honeyed young ginger, with a stony minerality keeping things from getting too lush. Enjoy now paired with seared scallops over creamy polenta, roasted chicken with fennel, potatoes au gratin, or put down for at least 5-8 years. Cari Bernard
The wine that first caught my attention, Michael's 2015 Pinot Gris 'Wild & Free', did so because it was a complex, natural wine that was both fun and sophisticated; food-friendly but stood well on its own. For the Wild & Free line of wines, grapes are hand-harvested, and spend between 10-15 days in contact with the skins before pressing. Wines age in neutral barrels. The 2016 conjures the same delight as the 2015: deep, umami notes of umeboshi plum mingle with sour cherry, blood orange, red apple skin, raspberry, stewed strawberry, and red grapefruit zest, medium-bodied with the lightest tannic tack and bright acidity--elegance and drinkability! Cari Bernard
Guy Breton's Regnié is from 35 year-old and 100 year-old vines on shallow sandy soils over decomposed granit.The 2016 is exuberantly floral on the nose, redolent of violets and cherry blossoms, with notes of wild strawberry, mustard seed, and spice. The palate is supple and racy, with ripe red and black fruits, black tea, and granitic spice on a bright, high-toned finish. While this is charming now, there's a nice midterm upside for those who prefer a little age on their Beaujolais. John McIlwain
The step-son of Georges Descombes, Damien has worked alongside him since early childhood. L earning everything from Descombes in the vines and shared cellar has instilled the same values in Damien's work ethic: organic viticulture, hand harvesting, native yeasts, zero intervention in the cellar and little if any sulfur at bottling.The 2016 Chiroubles is a particularly pretty, old fashioned Beaujolais! Weighing in at 12% alcohol, the wine shows gorgeous aromas of raspberry and rose with spice and citrus notes. The palate shows sappy raspberry fruit, really lovely, ripe and persistent but light and balanced with refreshing acidity. There is nice length of earthy berry fruit in the long finish. Serve cool with chicken and white meats, and anything grilled this summer. Lovely wine! David Liliie
The Vieilles Vignes bottlings from Georges Descombes are among the very finest Beaujolais produced, and despite the added ripeness in 2015, the wines are oustanding both for current drinking and for aging 10 to 15 years. The 2015 Chiroubles Vieilles Vignes shows ripe black raspberry and blackberry aromas with spice, violet, rose, earth and citrus, quite deep and complex. The palate has a deep, supple, grainy texure and lush black raspberry liqueur that coats the palate. The finish is long with elegant fruit liqueur and firm acidity. Enjoy with a grilled steak this summer, but put some away for future enjoyment as well. David Lillie
The Descombes Morgon Vieilles Vignes is made from 60 to 100 year-old vines from numerous sites on granite soils; semi-carbonic fermentation then aging 6 - 8 months in Burgundy barrels and one year in bottle before release. Dense and dark, this wine has formidable concentration. Some nice floral notes on the nose, with some vegetable ash and herbal characteristics wrapped around the dense dark fruit core. Deep and intense blackberry compote character on the palate is supported by inky tannin. This is a full-blooded Beaujolais that will benefit from a decade in the cellar, though right now its incredibly concentrated dark fruit and raw power should be enticing to those who love their wine with youthful strength. An excellent companion to sweet and sour pork, peking duck, or veal marsala. Andrew Farquhar
The 2016 shows a pretty garnet in the glass and offers elegant aromas of violets, black cherry, pepper, and blackberry patch. The vibrant acidity and fine minerality are evocative of the lean 2014 vintage. Flavors of tart red currants, supple blueberry, earth and brown spice finish with tangy orange citrus and cherry pit. Another classic vintage from Georges Descombes! Amanda Bowman
From a small hillside parcel of 50-plus year-old vines in Brouilly, certified organic. Carbonic maceration with no addition of SO2, followed by foot-pressing, gravity fed into large barrels or foudres for aging. Light Garnet/black color. The 2016, at 12.5% alcohol, is back to the style of the lovey 2014, showing pretty aromas of raspberry and red currant with bright citrus notes and smells of earth and stone. The palate is light but intense with bright raspberry and tart cherry flavors over firm acidity with citrus and earth. The finish is refreshing with lingering citrus and mineral flavors. Serve with charcuterie, fish in sauce, chicken and pork dishes or hold for 5 to 8 years as this should be a very pretty mature wine. David Lillie
Julien Guillot of the Clos des Vignes du Maynes makes this beautiful Beaujolais from a small parcel of 90 year-old Gamay vines of various old varieties in Leynes, just south of Pouilly-Fuissé. The parcel is at 1200 ft in altitude, with granite soils. From the warm 2015 vintage, the wine shows ripe blackberry aromas with earth, mint, cocoa and game; the palate is dense with supple blackberry fruit framed in firm acidity and strong flavors of earth, citrus and minerals. This is a complex and delicious Gamay that will accompany grilled foods this summer, stews and tagines throughout the year. Cellaring for five to eight years would be interesting. David Lillie
Known for the Vignes du Maynes wines from Cruzille, in the south of Burgundy, Julien Guillot has had the chance over the years to take long term leases on a few vineyards south of Macon in the Beaujolais. Due to issues with frost and hail in 2016, and to the loss of a rental vineyard to an old owner who decided to tear out vines, this vintage of the "Climat" is a combination of grapes from Chenas and from a vineyard called "Pierres Bleues" which is near Villefranche. Chenas is all granite, and Pierres Bleues is limestone. The wines fermented and aged separately and were blended a few months before bottling. From what I percieve, there's hint of granitic spiciness from Chenas, and some lift and energy from the limestone site. There's lovely fresh rasberry fruit on the attack, and a very mineral, stony finish. Fresh and elegant at 12.5%. Eben Lillie
From vines averaging 70 years of age in the lieu-dit "La Croix des Rameaux" on a steep south-west facing slope with various degradations of granite. 90% of fruit was destemmed with a 21 to 24 day cuvaison. The free run and pressed wines were assembled just before final fermentation of sugars. Approximately two weeks later, the wine was transferred into neutral barrels (average age of 10 years) for elevage of 10 months. No added sulfur during vinification, 10mg/Liter SO2 added before bottling, no filtration. The 2015 La Croix des Rameaux shows a bright red-black color, with meaty aromas of ripe blackberry and earth with a bit of violet and black cherry. The palate is dense and a bit closed, showing deep black fruits with hints of citrus, earth and bitter chocolate, very textured and long. Certainly an impressive wine and better balanced than most 2015s at 13% alcohol. Decant in advance if drinking now, best served cool with a steak or grilled pork. This should be very interesting when mature, best perhaps 2022 to 2030.
The 2016 Lapalu "Eau Forte" is a selection of old-vine juice from Brouilly and Côte de Brouilly. Organic farming; the whole clusters are pressed in a traditional basket press and fermentation is with wild yeasts in concrete vats (not carbonic). There is a gentle maceration to extract color but with no pigeage or remontage to minimize extraction of tannins. Two-thirds of the wine is moved to older, neutral barrels to complete fermentation while one-third remains in concrete. The wine then stays in barrel or vat for five months before final assemblage and is not fined or filtered before bottling, with only 10mg/Liter of SO2. This wine is not meant to be a vin de garde like the Lapalu Brouilly Croix des Rameaux or Côte de Brouilly - it's a beautiful natural wine showing aromas of blackberry and violet with tart plum orange peel and spice, bright and pretty. The palate has a light feel but is quite intense with dense black raspberry fruit framed in very firm acidity with hints of mint, earth and citrus. This is serious "glou-glou," quite unique and delicious - get some saussisons or grill some pork and enjoy! David Lillie
Apparently called Mont Brulius for the Roman soldier whom the region is named after, this cuvée is made from some of Raphael and Christine’s oldest vines (averaging 90 years old). These vines are planted in basalt and granite soils on slopes that are so steep that they don’t allow for plowing. Very friendly, but with a serious mineral backbone and bright acidity. Drink now or age for 5-10 years.
We were lucky enough to taste this at La Dive Bouteille last winter - the wine showed beautiful floral raspberry aromas with a refreshing light and lovely palate showing subtle raspberry and cherry fruit. Very long and elegant with a sapid, refreshing finish. A little bit of Volnay in Saint-Amour!
Here's a first: this is Gameret, a cross between Gamay and a Swiss grape called Reichensteiner. It's funky and fresh, with no sulfites added and a bit of barnyardy character on the nose, with pure ripe berry fruit on the palate. Fun and curious. Drink with a slight chill. Eben Lillie
(Five hour decant) The 1998 is a complex and unusual Bordeaux in mid-life, showing more secondary and mineral qualities than the riper 2000. The wine shows a light, slightly browning garnet color; the aromas are quite floral and earthy with spicy black currant, clove, graphite and citrus peel. The palate shows dark earth and mineral flavors yielding to bright black currant and cassis fruit with dark spice and sous-bois flavors backed by very firm acidity. The wine held up well with an additional few hours open and will obviously benefit from another ten to twenty years of aging. David Lillie
Jean-Pierre Boyer makes Margaux that resemble the wines of the distant past. His 2000 shows a slightly maturing red/black color with bright aromas of red currant, cassis and raspberry with cedar, rose, citrus and earthy sous-bois notes, really lovely and complex. Relatively light for a Margaux, the palate is deep and velvety with firm tannins under lovely blackberry and cassis fruit with earth, licorice and mineral flavors. It's delicate and powerful at the same time and very long. Delicious now with three to four hours in carafe or after another ten to twenty years in the cellar. David Lillie
A Margaux like no other, more akin to a 19th century claret than to a modern Bordeaux.The 2004 from Jean-Pierre Boyer shows a lovely deep garnet color and smoky red-currant aromas with earth, violet, licorice, spice and citrus peel. The palate is dense and mineral with firm structure, but showing velvety blackberry, cassis and red currant with earth and mineral flavors and a bit of bitter licorice. The finish is long and firm. Suspend your ideas of Bordeaux and enjoy this complex and Burgundian Margaux. Carafe four hours in advance or cellar ten to twenty years.(On day 2 the wine has deepened and softened into a lovely Burgundian Bordeaux)
The 2013 Maison Blanche is a superb blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc from at least 45-year-old vines on clay. With low yields, use of native yeast, a combination of old and new oak, and little addition of sulfur at bottling, this wine has an elegant structure with bright acidity, great minerality, and supple tannins. The wine is elegantly complex with a gorgeous bouquet of cassis and plums, dark chocolate, tobacco, cedar box, earthy and purple floral notes. On the palate, the wine is luscious with a long and beautiful finish showcasing its finesse. This is a delicious wine that can be cellared for several years (8+ years). Pair it with beef stew, braised beef, spare ribs or lamb. Caroline Coursant
This delectable, organic Bordeaux from the Fédieu family is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. On the nose, the wine displays notes of dark berries, cassis, menthol, dried rose petals, violets, yellow tobacco, young leather and oriental spices. On the palate, the balance between acidity, tannin and oak is beautiful; with great minerality coming from the gravelly sandy soils, the wine shows some weight with a bright freshness. Complex without being too much, this lively wine strikes the right balance between a table wine and a wine for more special occasions. Drink with meat recipes such as steak au poivre, ragouts, lamb kebabs, or braised pork. Caroline Coursant
Château Gombaude-Guillot, a renowned Pomerol estate, owned by the Bélevier family for several centuries, is the perfect illustration of classic, gorgeous Pomerol. Surrounded by illustrous estates (Chateau La Gay, Vieux Chateau Certan), the domaine has a superb terroir of gravel, flint, and clay. The estate is certified organic and follows biodynamic practices. Claire Laval, who currently manages the estate, believes in authentic farming with no use of herbicides or fungicides, low yields, and a clear respect of the ecosystem. The Pomerol is a blend of Merlot (85%) and Cabernet Franc (15%) from 40-year-old vines and shows off the beautiful gravel minerality of the terroir. All grapes are harvested by hand and fully destemmed. After natural fermentation in concrete and stainless steel vats for 3-4 weeks, the wine is aged in French oak barrels (around 50% new oak) for an extended period, with no filtering and minimal addition of sulfur at bottling. The resulting wine is rich, complex and luscious with an elegant bouquet of rich dark berries and plums, earth, spice, gorgeous gravel minerality, nice acidity and silky tannins. The finish is long and beautiful. A superb wine for great occasions. Drink now or age it for 10+ years. Caroline Coursant
Our biodynamic friends, the Hubert family, make this lovely Bordeaux with the best juice from Chateau La Grolet, coming from old vines of 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Malbec. The 2015 shows lovely aromas of ripe cassis and blackberry with cedar, brown spice and earth, really quite pretty. The palate is elegant and well-structured with cassis and red fruits over firm acidity with earth and mineral flavors. This is a real Bordeaux of terroir that is delicious now especially if decanted many hours in advance or opened the night before. Cellaring for ten to fifteen years will create a lovely mature wine. David Lillie Please carafe before serving.
This delicious wine comes from the Domaine Les Trois Petiotes, a 3-hectare estate in the Côtes de Bourg, a proponent of "less is more" on the field and in the cellar. The grapes, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec, are fully destemmed, fermented in stainless steel tank, and then aged in neutral oak for a few years with minimal addition of sulfur at bottling. Lighter and more vibrant than the 2011 vintage, the wine is full of energy and freshness with a beautiful smooth texture coming from the supple tannins. Notes of red plum and cherry, green tobacco, mint and rose petals are prevalent on the nose. On the palate, the superb minerality (sand, clay, limestone and gravel soils) and bright acidity lift the wine. Pair this wine with barbecued meat, steak, and roasted lamb. This is a perfect Bordeaux to enjoy during the summer! Caroline Coursant
The Peybonhomme-les-Tours "Energies" is a selection of the best grapes, vinified with wild yeasts and aged for 12 months in terra cotta amphorae, 60% Merlot, 30% Malbec, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine shows a dense red/black color with ripe blackberry and cassis aromas with stone and earth. The palate is supple, sapid and ripe with blackberry liqueur, red currant, bitter chocolate and stone. The finish is long with saline mineral flavors and firm acidity. The "Energies" is an elegant glass of Bordeaux that is lovely now with grilled meats, stews and full-flavored cheeses. Or cellar for ten years as this should age beautifully. Congratulations to the Huberts for this beautiful natural wine!
Made from nearly equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with a smattering of Cabernet Franc, farmed organically. The vines are grown on a gland of gravel and sand over limestone and clay. The 2015 is classic Graves with red and black fruits, notes of tobacco and cassis, with a fine core of minerality and ripe tannins on a medium weight, lifted finish. Delicious now, with a nice upside for mid-term aging. Enjoy with grilled lamb chops in a red wine sauce or hanger steak with an anchovy butter. John McIlwain
(From half-bottle.) Though not considered a legendary vintage for Yquem, the 1981 has plenty of verve and class to recommend it. The nose shows apricot, orange marmalade, honey and brunt sugar and notes of vanilla. The palate is rich though, perhaps not as unctuous as more lauded vintages, offering flavors of burnt orange, crème brulée, pineapple, and honey. This is mature yet still has plenty of energy and freshness provided by the still lively acidity which carries through on the long and pleasingly bitter finish. John McIlwain
A rarity we see all too infrequently. We recommend decanting ahead for maximum enjoyment.
A rarity we see all too infrequently. We recommend decanting ahead for maximum enjoyment.
Amaury Beaufort, with help from his brothers, is making superb natural wines in Tonnerre on steep hillsides with Kimmeridgian soils near the village of Junay. (Northwest of the city of Tonnerre) Cête de Junay is a steep parcel requiring all vineyard work by hand. Yields are about 15 hl/ha, at 11.5% in 2015. The wine shows delicate but complex aromas of lime-flower, dried white fruits, almond and stone with hints of chamomile and dried herbs. The palate is crystalline and bone dry with citrus, stone and dried pear - light, but with great density and length and finishing with stone, anise, pear and lemon peel over saline minerals. No added SO2. Congratualtions to the Beauforts for this unique and scintillating wine! Serve with oysters, sushi, fresh goat cheeses, grilled sole or cod.
The De Moors suffered terrible loses due to frost and hail in 2016 and 2017 - They have been aided by friends in the south and have made delicious "Vendangeurs Maqué" wines, this one with Grenache Blanc from Julie Brosselin and Eric Pfifferling, Viogniers from Gérald Oustric and Gramenon, Roussanne from Eric Texier and Clairete from Pierre Pradel.
The Montmains vineyard lies on the left bank of the Serein River a bit south of Vaillons. The 2015 has a ripe nose redolent of white flowers, orchard fruit, and citrus oil. The palate offers ripe golden apple, and Meyer lemon flavors underlain with subtle notes of sea spray and dusty minerality on a persistent finish. John McIlwain
Located on the right bank of the Serein, Montée de Tonnerre is one of the more structured premier crus, distinctly mineral and long-lived. The 2015 Duplessis Montée de Tonnerre is a classic expression from the site. Crushed herbs, lime zest, flint, and sea spray on the effusive nose. The palate shows incisive minerality with pungently saline character offset by cool-toned apple and citus notes. this is deeply stony with driving energy on an impressively long and palate-staining finish. Excellent now with a quick decant, better still in 3-5 years. John McIlwain
Located on the left bank of the Serein, the name Vaugiraut derives from “Vaul Girault,” which means Girault's valley, likely the name of a local owner. Aged entirely in cuve (stainless steel tank), Duplessis' 2015 Vaugiraut offers pretty aromas of white flowers, honeysuckle, white peach, and crushed herbs. The palate displays flavors of white peach, citrus, and salt with hints of green tea and quinine on the stony, precise finish. John McIlwain
Julien Guillot at Vignes du Maynes makes this elegant white Burgundy from an organic parcel on crumbly limestone that has 15% Pinot Gris and 85% Chardonnay. Just delicious in 2015, the "En Rimont" shows aromas of dried pear and apple, almond and stone with hints of spice, citrus and honeysuckle. The palate is quite elegant with earthy white fruits, hay, almond, white pepper and citrus. Quite supple and pure (vinified with minimal SO2) this is a very food-friendly wine that will accompany full-flavored fish and shellfish dishes, chicken and white meats and a wide variety of cheeses. Lovely wine! David Lillie
A new wine from Julien Guillot at the Clos des Vignes du Maynes, the 2016 Macon "Clos Fourneau" is 85% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Gris. The wine shows floral, honeyed aromas of pear, white peach and candied citrus. Ripe stone fruits on the palate are wrapped in bright citrusy acids with chalky mineral flavors that continue in the finish with lemon and stone. Try this with melon and prosciutto or a full flavored fish such as halibut or monkfish. This will improve with a long decant or three to five years in the cellar.
Rully is a great source for elegant, though affordable Burgundy. Claudie Jobard produces one of our favorites. The 2016 Montagne La Folie Blanc is sourced from a 2.45 hectare parcel planted around 50 years ago. The flavors shy away from fruit in favor of Chardonnay’s earthy/mineral character making a wine that is a natural fit to soft cheeses and earthy dishes – mushrooms, escargot, etc. Aromatically the wine sings of hazelnut and graphite – a great introduction to Rully’s unique terroir.
The Jobard Rully "En Villerange" is from a 2 hectare parcel facng south-south-east with old vines in clay/limestone soils. This is an elegant and well-priced white Burgundy showing aromas of ripe pear, lemon confit, lime-flower and almond framed in a bit of oak. The palate is supple and ripe with white fruit, herbal and mineral flavors framed in firm acidity and nicely rounded by the fermentation and elevage in barrel. Quite ripe and nicely balanced, it's delicious now and over the next 5 to 8 years.
From a north-facing parcel fairly high on the slope next to Meursault Les Vireuils. Subtle, rather delicate aromas of lime-flower and citrus, with white fruits, stone and honeysuckle. The palate is fresh and bright with mineral flavors predominating, with pear, lemon peel and herbal notes, quite pure and refreshing. The opposite of an oaky fruit-bomb, this is a light and lovely Chardonnay of terroir that will accompany shellfish, sole, flounder, cod and young goat cheeses.
From vines dating from the 1920s and 1940s. Organically farmed, and vinified in used oak barrels. The 2014 is a beautiful expression of Pouilly-Fuissé fusing the bright minerality of the old vines with the sunny richness of the appellation. The robe is a green gold hue. The nose is redolent of stone fruit and citrus peel. The palate is racy on the attack, with a pungent stony character giving way to a supple ripeness building on a long, lingering finish. This is lovely and a great candidate for cellaring in the mid-term, say 8-10 years, though one could certainly tuck into a bottle earlier. John McIlwain
The Pouilly-Fuissé cuvée Pierrefolle is made from the only vineyard situated outside the Clos at Rontets: this plot is set only 500 meters south and is warmer because of its plain East exposure and the sheltered position from the North wind. This climat has older geological origins, preceding the Jurassic era: it sits on a granitic bedrock and its soil has no clay or limestone. This is why at the beginning of the 1970s it was planted using the Riparia rootstock, which has low vigor and guarantees limited yields and very good quality grapes. All these characteristics produce wines with lower acid, compared to those produced within our Clos. Although larger and somehow more generous, Pierrefolle is always sustained by a precise mineral expression and citrus aromatic note. In the warm 2015 vintage, the Pierrefolle shows ripe aomas of white and exotic fruits with a bit of spice and earth. The palate, however, remains very mineral with firm saline acidity underlying the pear and citrus fruit. The finish is long with mineral flavors lingering on the palate. This is a beautiful Burgundy and a great food pairing - drinking well now, but five to ten years of aging will be very interesting. Highly recommended. David Lillie
This is a superb, subtle and very mineral Chardonnay from a replanted parcel at the very top of the Clos, abandoned since 1896, with thin clay soils rich in iron over limestone. A great terroir, never chemically treated and worked in biodynamic farming by Alain and Julien Guillot. The 2015 "les Chassagnes" is a beautiful wine, a bit fuller than the 2014 but still quite racy and stony with hints of white fruits, spice and honey. The palate is silky and crystalline - all minerals with subtle citrus and white fruits, very long and elegant. Highly recommended! David Lillie
Mineral is a vintage-dated blend of Chardonnay from two particularly chalky lieux dits within the grand cru villages of Cramant and Avize, with the grapes from Bionnes (Cramant) vinified in demi-muid and Le Champ Bouton (Avize) vinified in tank and blended in equal parts.Sea spray, peach skin, grapefruit peel on the nose. Bright and fresh on the palate with good cut, incisively mineral with pungent chalk notes on the long driving finish. Delicious now, perhaps better still with a few years to allow the structural elements knit. John McIlwain
Tasted in January 2017 at the estate. Complex aromas of lychee, candied pear, citrus, beautiful palate of yellow fruits, minerals, citrus, caramel with fabulous length. (This shipment disgorged in June 2017)
The 1998 Ambonnay Brut has long been a staff favorite and this disgorgement does not disappoint. Brillliant, golden yellow in color and showing a finely-beaded mousse, this offers one of the two most expressive aromatic profiles of this current Beaufort lineup. Aromas of Mirabelle plums, toasted hazelnuts, and crème brulée transition to notes of Jonagold apples, cinnamon, and wild flowers. The palate is generous and expansive and carries tones of brazil nuts, greengages, and irises that crescendo to a fine, zippy finish. This is complex and delicious Champagne! David Salinas
A sensational mature Champagne from André Beaufort - the estate converted to organic agriculture in the early 70's and makes brilliant, full-bodied Champagnes that are among the most "vinous" being made today. Medium golden yellow in color and sporting a discrete mousse. The nose is quite floral with tones of cherry blossoms, apple blossoms, and irises before touches of quince and fresh baguette. The palate is concentrated with a spherical yet laser-like focus that offers notes of lemon sorbet, tart lemon custard, and apple pie, underlined by a fine minerality that persists through to a rounded, savory finish. Really a very pretty and lovely wine. This medium-bodied Champagne is made of approximately 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay and was disgorged in March 2017 after 14 years of sur-lie aging, illustrating the Beauforts' commitment to releasing mature wines.
The 2006 Ambonnay Brut Grand Cru shows subtle mature aromas of pear, almond, marzipan and citrus, very earthy with hints of exotic fruit and spice and wet stone. Give this some time to open up. The palate shows a delicate, creamy mousse with complex earthy white fruits, herbal notes and mineral flavors with nice acidity in the finish. A lovely wine of contemplation. (Disgorged June 2017)
"Really superb, subtle, long. Quiet nose. Winy. Seems like old school white Burgundy. Very serious..." Anonymous notes from Beaufort dinner, Jan 2017 (Disgorged April, 2017)
For those of a classical bent who prefer not to shop at the big Champagne houses, André Beaufort is a wonderful alternative. Longtime organic farming and extended lees-aging produce rich wines of uncommon detail and complexity. The 2010 Ambonnay offers aromas of white flowers, orange peel, bergamot, and chalk on the nose. Bright acid, salted plum, citrus oil, and a fine line of sapid minerality on the supple and rich palate. This shows a fine interplay between power, tension, and a suave, supple finish. This is one heck of an Ambonnay and a fine bottle of Beaufort! (Disgorged June 2017) John McIlwain
We're fans of the Champagnes of Beaufort for a number of reasons. The farming at this historic Domaine is impeccable and the winemaking is classical and refreshingly old school. The 2013 base Ambonnay Grand Cru in handy half bottle is a pocket-sized example of Beaufort's distinctive character. Aromas of ginger, brioche, ripe golden fruit and almond lead to similar flavors on the elegant, generous and honeyed palate which finishes with beautifully firm acidity and mineral flavors. This has the brightness and acidity to accompany oysters and shellfish, but enough weight and grip to serve with grilled fish, caviar and goat cheeses. Also, please note that while the label reads "Polisy" it is in fact the Ambonnay Grand Cru Reserve. Amanda Bowman
A blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier from the Montagne de Reims, partially destemmed, fermented in barrel, and bottled without fining or filtration. The 2014 Bérêche Coteaux Champenois offers aromas of wild cherry, black raspberry, brambles and roasted nuts. The palate shows good density with dark fruits, crushed herbs, an underlying iodine-like soil note, and a fairly packed and somewhat dense lingering finish. This is a bit inscrutable at the moment and will benefit with a couple of hours of air or some time in the cellar. All the elements are here for further development: a serious Coteaux worthy of mid-term cellaring. John McIlwain
Les Beaux Regards is a blend of two parcels of Chardonnay in Ludes on the northern slope of the Montagne de Reims planted in 1964 and 1970. The loamy clay soils produce a Champagne more vinous in character, rather than exclusively taut and chalky. The 2014 displays lemon and apple blossom and stone fruit aromas, with delicate notes of spice and citrus peel following. The palate is distinctly nervy and racy, with overtly stony notes, cool notes of orange oil and lemon balm and a long tangy, expressive finish. There's a penetrating minerality here matched by equally vivacious fruit. Delicious! (Dosage 3g/l., disg. 01/18) John McIlwain
The Rive Gauche bottling from Bérêche is 100% Pinot Meunier from vines planted in 1969 in the north facing parcel Le Misy in Port-á-Binson near Mareuil-le Port in the Marne. The north-facing slopes and old vines keep in check Meunier's tendency to over-exuberance, preserving the mineral expression of the variety. The 2014 exhibits floral, citrus peel, stone fruit scents on the nose with aromas of acacia blossom, peach skin, and marzipan dominating. The palate is ripe, but racy, with flavors of white peach, orange oil, ginger, and salted plum on a mouth-watering, driving, insistent finish. For fans of the Rive Gauche bottling, this is more linear than the generous 2013 edition, but a compelling expression of this terroir. (3 grams dosage/ disgorged 10/17) John McIlwain
For lovers of extravagant Champagne and terroir, Ulysse Collin, from Congy in the Coteaux du Morin just southwest of the Côte des Blancs is a grower worth exploring. The wines are all from single parcels, farming is organic (though not certified), fermentation is in used barrels with native yeasts, and the wines are neither fined nor filtered. The Pierrières bottling is from a plot in the nearby village of Vert-Toulon, where the soils are chalk mixed with black silex, which gives the wines a broad, spicy, smoky character. The 2013 edition offers aromas of orange oil, lemon curd, and ginger. The ample palate combines ripe fruit, a deeply mineral core, and suave, supple richness with a broad, chalky, delicious finish. This has the stuffing to age effortlessly. John McIlwain
100% Pinot Meunier from the single parcel La Ruedes Noyers, farmed biodynamically, fermented in barrel. The 2013 Coteaux Blanc from Benoît Déhu has a lovely nose combining aromas of fresh stone fruit, sea spray, salted plum, and spice. The palate is racy and ripe with good richness (for a Coteaux Champenois). Flavors of fresh apricot, Rainier cherry and citrus peel vie with mineral notes for attention on a long sapid finish. This is a lovely Coteaux with just the right tension between the bright fruit notes and savory character. Delicious! John McIlwain
100% Pinot Meunier, fermented in barrel with native yeasts bottled with low sulfur. From the Rue des Noyers parcel. Violets and hedge fruits on the nose. Brambles and black raspberry on the palate with spice notes and a distinctly stony energetic finish. This has great lift and drive and is fascinating to taste alongside the Coteaux Blanc and Champagne from the same parcel. Le terroir parle! John McIlwain
Filaine is one of our favorite Champagne houses. And the singular Fabrice Gass is one of our favorite Champagne characters. His wines are made up of Pinot Noir/Chardonnay/Pinot Meunier from the south-facing village of Damery on the slope of the Montagne de Reims over looking the Marne. The wines are made in the manner of 100 years ago. Fabrice farms the without chemicals, ferments in wood, and due to the age of his barrels, avoids malolactic fermentation. This disgorgement is based on the 2012 and 2013 vintages and balances nicely the classic richness of Damery with undertones of minerality. Aromatically the wines offer up aromas of baked apple, spices, and soil notes. On the palate flavors of ripe red fruit and a pervasive sense of chalkiness vie with with a creamy texture on the broad, rich finish. This is a perfect wine for the table with its balance of generous fruit and earthy structure. John McIlwain
60% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay that doesn't go through malolactic fermentation, along with 10% Pinot Noir. There is a delicate red fruit quality — pale plums — but otherwise the high-toned Chardonnay comes through with a delightful lemon tone. Earthy salinity and minerals lead to a dry, mouth-watering finish. A large percentage of Meunier gives this Champagne a broad, rich, earthy character that matches very well with Beau Soleil oysters and Caviar. MSB
If ever there were an argument that portions of Cumières merit Grand Cru status, Laval's Les Chênes makes a convincing case. The amphitheater-shaped vineyard is something of a sun trap and produces Champagnes of power and precision in Vincent's able hands. Made up of 100% organically farmed Chardonnay from the eponymous lieu-dit on the eastern side of the village (near the bottom of the slope down by the river), where the soils are chalk rather than the clays of other portions of the village. This is a particularly powerful blanc de blancs. While the nose offers tropical fruit and citrus aromas, the midweight, sinewy, and broad palate is pungently mineral, displaying notes of salt, green tea, and quinine on a driving, powerful, persistent finish. This is certainly delicious now, but tastings of previous vintages of Les Chênes lead one to believe there is plenty ahead for the patient. John McIlwain
Benoit Marguet is a true believer in the power of biodynamics to change not only wine but the vineyard and life for the better. He is passionate about the relationship between the vigneron, the vines, and his wines. His vineyards are plowed by horse, fermentation is with native yeasts, his wines see little to no sulfur, and his viticulture shows clearly in the finished wines. Les Bermonts is a blanc de blancs from vines planted in 1952 in the grand cru Ambonnay, unusual as the village is more notable for Pinot Noir. Les Bermonts is deeply chalky and mineral, displaying the characteristic power of Ambonnay, while also showing an incisive minerality, which drives the wines. The 2012 is deeply pitched with pungent quinine, lemon rind, salt, and iodine notes on a full-bodied, tightly-coiled palate. This shows citrus blossom and chalk on the nose, while the broad palate is saline, textured, and savory. With air, nearly kaleidoscopic layers of citrus and green apple fruit and chalk flavors reveal themselves on a long, elegant, precise and vibrant finish. The 2012 will benefit from time in the cellar and is a compelling expression of the terroir of the Montagne de Reims. John McIlwain
While we love biodynamic grower Benoît Marguet's Champagnes for their combination of Ambonnay power and frank minerality, it may be that his most pleasurable wine is his excellent vintage-dated rosé. Chardonnay dominated in a village noted for its Pinot Noir, the wine offer a beautiful nose highlighted by aromas of wild strawberry, raspberry, tarragon, and chalk. The palate is brightly mineral and structured, with a deep stoniness at its core within its layers of ripe red fruits and savory notes. The wine balances deftly its grand cru power with a lacy bead, vibrant acidity, and achingly pretty florality. John McIlwain
Benoît Marguet has long been one of our favorite vignerons. Not only is he passionate about biodynamics and terroir, but one can't overlook the fact that his wines are positively delicious. Imagine our delight when he opened a bottle of his Coteaux Champenois for us in Ambonnay last year! Dark ruby robe. Effusively aromatic displaying aromas of violets, Morello cherry, and Pinot spice. The palate offers waves of bright cherry and red plum fruit, with notes of black tea and spice, deftly framed by ripe tannins and fresh acidity. This shows great poise and balance between gorgeous ripe fruit and a pungent, nearly saline sense of minerality. Wonderful now, but this should really blossom with 5-7 years in the cellar. John McIlwain
An organically-farmed Blanc de Noirs from the eponymous lieu-dit in the premier cru village of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ. The wine is a notable expression of this terroir, as Fabrice Pouillon reveals by vinifying with only the natural sugars from perfectly ripe Pinot Noir, in addition to only utilizing the indigenous yeasts present in the must. He accomplishes this by chilling unsulfured grape must in tank to a temperature low enough to prevent spoilage or fermentation. This must is then used for the secondary fermentation, as well as for the dosage after disgorgement, rather than cane sugars or MCR. The resulting wine is layered and supple with a fine bead, displaying red fruits, blood orange peel, and spices, expressing the vinous character of Pinot Noir grown in the clays of the Grande Vallée de la Marne. John McIlwain
Aurelien Suenen is one of the bright young stars of the Côte des Blancs, whose Champagnes seem to improve with every new release. His 2014 based Oiry Blanc de Blancs is a beauty. Wines from the village are typically sold under the Cramant designation (we haven't been able to find another Champagne with this single village designation, as yet), so this is a fine opportunity to taste Oiry's distinctive, chalky terroir. Aurelien's parcels contain some very old Chardonnay vines which make for some pungently mineral, stony wines. The vins clairs are fermented partially in barrel, spend nine months on the lees, and are bottled with 1 g/l dosage. The 2014 is brisk, briny, and fresh on the nose with aromas of yuzu, Meyer lemon, quinine, and chalk dominating. The palate is chiseled, taut and very dry with racy acidity and an energetic driving finish. Suenen continues to grow with each vintage and this new line up of village designated Champagnes are particularly exciting. The 2014 will make a fine aperitif and shiny brightly with crudo or sashimi. John McIlwain
The Simon Bize 2015 Savigny Les Bourgeots is higher-toned and more tightly wound than the Bourgogne Perrières. The nose is in a cool register: vine smoke, black cherry skin, wild blackberry cassis, mint, and a hint of brambly wet bark. The palate is tightly wound and nervy, but offers a fine tension between cool ripe fruit and a pungent, sapid mineral character. This needs plenty of air to come together, but the purity of fruit and energy that's implied within the structure is intriguing. Decant now or cellar for 3-5 years to allow the elements to integrate. Should be interesting to follow over the next 7-10 years. Quite enjoyable with pasta and a sausage and mushroom ragu, and should work beautifully with pork in a mustard sauce, or with crispy duck confit and a salad of bitter greens. John McIlwain
From .38 HA biodynamically farmed vines averaging over 40 years old, high on the hillside of Corton. Traditionally the most powerful and stern of the stable of red Corton lieu-dits at Chandon de Briailles. 80% whole cluster fermentation. There’s a fair bit of reduction to this initially, but with a long decant this recedes to reveal aromas plummy black fruit, animale funk, black tea, and fresh-turned earth. In the mouth ripe red/black fruit flavors mingle with pungent minerality on the vibrant mid-weight palate. There is good sap and firm, but ripe tannins supporting the fruit on the long, substantial finish. This has real class and should be sensational after 10-15 years in the cellar. John McIlwain
Certified organic and farmed with biodynamic methods, Domaine Chevrot is one of the gems of Maranges. The lieu-dit Sur le Chêne is a south-facing plot on gravelly limestone on the eastern side of the appellation. The fruit from the 50-60 year old vines is hand-harvested, fermentation is 50% whole cluster, and the wine aged for 11 months in 15% new oak. The 2014 has aromas of red fruits, black tea, and orange peel with hints of smoke and spice. The medium weight palate balances red cherry and raspberry flavors with earthy notes and medium-grained tannins on a medium long finish. This offers a nice balance of fruit and Maranges minerality at an affordable price point. Decant now before serving or cellar for 5-9 years. -John McIlwain
High-toned, floral and fresh with bright red fruit notes and zesty acidity. A wine of energy and lift rather than mass, this racy Bourgogne shows the buoyant nature of the difficult, but excellent 2016 vintage. Pablo Chevrot and his family make beautiful and fairly-priced Burgundy in every vintage, and are a great domaine for value. Enjoy with roasted chicken, fricasséed mushrooms, tempura, or milder cheeses. John McIlwain
Ripest red cherry and wild strawberry on the nose. Silken with ripe red fruits on a medium-weight palate, with a long, bright chalky finish. Simply lovely. Drink and hold. John McIlwain
The Pernand-Vergelesses vineyard "Les Belles Filles" is a northern extension of "Iles des Vergelesses" and "En Carradeux" facing east and usually producing an elegant, very pretty light-bodied Burgundy. In 2015, the hot, dry conditions gave this vineyard (and others in Auxey-Duresses for example) their moment in the sun with wines of balance and firm acidities but showing the ripeness of the vintage. The 2015 "Belle Filles" is quite beautiful, beginning with the usual floral tart cherry and raspberry aromas found in this wine; with aeration, the aromas deepen into earthy black cherry with hints of licorice and graphite. The palate shows ripe black cherry and strawberry fruit with earth and mineral flavors, quite dense and deep but still light on its feet and balanced with firm acidity. Three days later, the wine is really singing with terrific depth and length of black fruits and saline minerals. This is a great vintage for "Belles Filles." Decant well in advance if drinking now, best to cellar five to eight years and drink till 2033. David Lillie
Generous black cherry, boysenberry, notes of cherry pit and anise on nose. Ripe mid-weight palate, ripe black fruits, hints of iodine and iron and other soil beneath supple structure. Succulent acidity and savory mineral notes offset the ripeness and lend energy and drive on a rich, palate-coating finish. This has good punch, even if it's more generous than I associate with very young Rateau. The purity of fruit and earth notes are finely balanced and this is an excellent Burgundy for the mid-term. A fine pairing with braised chicken thighs with mustard, tarragon, and shallots. A great value from the pioneer of biodynamic Burgundy! John McIlwain
When life gives you lemons (or the worst frost in decades) you make a cuvée from your lieux-dits most devastated by Mother Nature, whic is exactly what Rateau did with the 2016 vintage. Fortunately the resulting Cuvée Ronde is delicious! Strawberry, pomegranate, crushed herbs and beetroot on the nose. On the racy, lithe palate flavors of wild strawberry, red currant, chalk, and raspberry seed, vie for attention with savory notes of thyme, freshly turned soil, and black tea on a lifted, fresh, cool-toned, succulent finish. Not a bruiser, but there’s loads of charm, sap, and detail here. Old-fashioned in the best sense and a vibrant expression of 2016. Try this with grilled salmon or roasted chicken. John McIlwain
From vines planted in Santenots du Bas dating from as far back as the 1920s. The 2015 Nicolas Rossignol Volnay Santenots makes a convincing case for the virtues of this sunny vintage. The wine has a dark ruby robe and a nose redolent of black cherry, red cherry, lavender, exotic spices, and violets. The medium weight palate shows good sap and ripe tannins with concentrated cherry and raspberry flavors overlying a dense core of minerality. There's terrific density and persistence on a long, detailed, layered finish without any sense of excessive weight, which marks some of the wines of the vintage. Great Santenots! John McIlwain
From 50 year old vines in four parcels below the village of Volnay. Cherry pit, iron, and spice box with notes of black tea on the nose, freshly turned soil and violets emerge with air. There is a deft interplay between the bright hedge fruit and stony earth notes on the detailed, mid-weight palate. This is a fine Bourgogne, with enough savory elements in relation to the charm of the fruit to warrant a few years in the cellar. John McIlwain
From a .41 hectare parcel planted in 1940 and 1984. Les Vaucrains is situated upslope of the premier crus Les St. Georges and Les Cailles in the middle portion of Nuits St. Georges. The soils are a blend of brown clay, limestone, sand, and rock producing vigorous, powerful, and elegant wines of great ageablity. Vigneron Christoph Drag says of the climat, “the fat clays make it hard to work the earth.” Domaine Chauvenet’s 2014 Vaucrains has a darker robe than Les Perrières. The nose is effusive, offering a kaleidoscopic mélange of black fruit aromas, cassis, brown spices, game and iron; over time notes of crushed blackberry, grilled meat, and wet stone emerge. On the palate the wine is medium-bodied and supple, offering flavors of ripe blackberry, Italian plum, iodine, game, and wood smoke on a long, layered, and mouth-watering finish. There is plenty of power and intensity here, without a sense of weight; deft acidity offers a sense of lift and freshness. This is a beautiful and complex Vaucrains and exciting wine in the making, with a sensational interplay of pure, ripe fruit and savory minerality. While one could enjoy this now, it has the structure and balance to age harmoniously for years. John McIlwain
The vines are in the lieu-dit "Queue de Hareng" below an old quarry at the top of the slope in Brochon, next to Fixin 1er Cru "la Perrière," on shallow red/brown soils of mountain silt and limestone pebbles over the limestone bedrock. Organic farming, wild-yeast fermentations with minimal SO2. The 2015 Jane et Sylvain Côte de Nuits-Villages is a superb and unusual Burgundy showing intense aromas of ripe strawberry and cherry with rose leaf, brown spice and herbal notes as well as dusty stone and mineral smells which are typical of this vineyard. With aeration the aromas become more pure and fruit-driven and the palate shows lovely black cherry, strawberry and red currant fruit, quite dense and ripe, with a finish that's extraodiarily long and pure. Decant 4 to 6 hours in advance if drinking now or cellar for 3 to five years and drink till 2027. Highly recommended for those who enjoy some minerals in their Burgundy!
(On Sale through June 9th Was $43.99) This lovely Gevrey by our organic friends, Jane et Sylvain, is 45 to 60 year-old vines, certified organic, mostly in En Pallud (below 1er Cru les Corbeaux). The 2015 shows very pretty high-toned ripe strawberry and raspberry fruit with violet, soil, graphite and citrus peel. The palate is dense and balanced, with a mineral aspect missing in most modern Burgundies, with supple ripe cherry and strawberry fruit with citrus and herbal notes. The finish is very long with red fruits, spice, citrus and saline minerals. This is a lovely old-fashioned Burgundy that is delicious now and should age nicely, best perhaps 2022 - 2030.
Jane et Sylvain have a superb, tiny parcel of Gevrey 1er Cru "Fonteny," high up in the southwest corner, separated from Grand Cru Ruchottes by a dirt track, certified organic. Beautifully balanced for a 2015 and built to age, the wine shows subtle, complex black fruits with hints of spice, citrus and earth. The palate is supple and well-structured with red and black fruits backed by firm acidity and mineral flavors that continue in the long finish. Certainly enjoyable now with a long decant, best held for five to eight years then enjoy until 2035. Lovely wine. David Lillie
A mere 200 meters from Les Essards, Les Plantes Aux Bois has clay top soils overlying the hard limestone mother rock. The nose is generous, perfumed, and dark-fruited with aromas of black raspberry and plum giving way to notes of game and spices. Flavors of blackberry, cassis, and plum dominate on the ripe, mid-weight palate. There is good freshness, with bright acidity providing lift and drive on a long, lingering, cool-toned finish. Lovely with a quick decant, but plenty of material to justify mid-term cellaring. I love the idea of this with a holiday meal. Light on its feet with good freshness to wake the palate, but enough minerality to whet the appetite of the discerning Burgundy aficionado. Delicious! John McIlwain
Les Faconnières, planted in 1948, is located beneath Clos St. Denis. 50% whole cluster. This is always the most stylish of Virgile Lignier's premier crus. More floral and denser on the palate than Les Chenevery, with a good deal of the class of the grand crus. The 2015 is effusively perfumed with heady aromas of black and red hedge fruits, wild cherry, and spice. The palate is distinctly mineral, framing lush flavors of sweetly ripe cherry and blackberry, with notes of game and mustard seed on a tense, vibrant finish. As with others of Lignier-Michelot's 2015s, the effusive ripeness in underlain by good structure and bodes well for long-term cellaring. John McIlwain
Les Faconnières, planted in 1948, is located beneath Clos St. Denis. 50% whole cluster. This is always the most stylish of Virgile Lignier's premier crus. More floral and denser on the palate than Les Chenevery, with a good deal of the class of the grand crus. The 2015 is effusively perfumed with heady aromas of black and red hedge fruits, wild cherry, and spice. The palate is distinctly mineral, framing lush flavors of sweetly ripe cherry and blackberry, with notes of game and mustard seed on a tense, vibrant finish. As with others of Lignier-Michelot's 2015s, the effusive ripeness is underlain by good structure and bodes well for long-term cellaring. John McIlwain
Like the rest of the 2015 Lignier-Michelot lineup, the Clos de la Roche combines beautiful soaring aromatics with beautiful pure fruit, and a savory sense of earthiness. The nose is explosively perfumed with beguiling aromas of ripe black cherry, red plum, violets, exotic spices, and roasted game. Supple palate shows impressive concentration, with dark fruit flavors, and layers of minerality on a long, driving finish. This has a all the elements to age effortlessly and should reward 10-15 years in the cellar and beyond. John McIlwain
This a wonderful expression of Les Sentiers, aromatically expressive and layered. There are bright aromas of black cherry, raspberry, violets, woody herbs, and game on the nose. The mid-weight palate initially shows brambly black fruits, and pungent soil flavors. With time in the glass notes of dark cherry and cherry pit appear along with a savory ferrous minerality and spice notes. The tension between fruit and earthiness is compelling and will gain in complexity with time in the cellar. More expressive on the second day. If enjoying now, decant for several hours or revisit in 7-10 years and enjoy for the decade following. John McIlwain
Situated just above Clos de la Roche, the Magnien's 2014 1er Cru Mont-Luisants shares the grand cru's "inherent lushness" (Clive Coates) in this lovely vintage for Burgundy. The wine shows a deep red-black color with lush aromas of blackberry, plum and ripe strawberry with earth, graphite and citrus. Dense ripe blackberry and black cherry fruit coats the palate with hints of bitter chocolate and soil. Surprisingly round but with nice chalky acidity and a long finish of citrus and pretty berry fruits. Quite delicious now, this lovely wine will offer superb drinking with a little time in the cellar, perhaps best 2020 - 2035. David Lillie
From two premier crus, Les Gruenchers and Clos Baulet, mid slope in Morey Saint-Denis, giving a slightly fuller wine than Faconnieres. As with all of Stephane's parcels, there is a high percentage of old vines of "pinot tordu." The wine is more structured due to the deeper clay soils and gets less pigeage. The 2015, tasted in January 2017, was less aromatic than the Faconnières with very deep ripe red and black fruits, with herbal and mineral flavors and terrific length. This will need time in the cellar but should be a superb mature wine. David Lillie
The Spätlese comes from various parcels in the Hofberg including some vines planted in 1953. Similar aromatics to the Kabinett but it's riper, richer and insanely long. The finish just erupts. To mix metaphors, it comes on like a tidal wive. Tremendous acid that's in balance with intense sweetness, with classic Adam citrus/apple tones and a distinctly mineral texture on the finish. One to age for years and years or enjoy now. -jfr
Certified biodynamic Zweigelt, grown on lime-rich clay (marl) soils, fermented and aged for ten months in used wood barrel. Black plum skin and juicy black raspberries mingle with a touch of black pepper and a tannic structure that calls for charcuterie and pork dishes as well as roasted vegetables. Cari Bernard
After being part of the local co-op for years, the Beurer family decided to make the change to crafting wines for their own label in 1997, and began to shift to organic farming starting in 2003, eventually becoming Demeter (biodynamic) certified. The wines of Jochen Beurer come from vines planted on the 'Keuperlandschaft', a local landscape that contains layers of different rocks from the Upper Triassic period. The land here is striated with different soil types, from Gipskeuper (gypsum) at the base, to Schilfsandstein (flaked sandstone), Bunte Mergel (colored marl), Kieselsandstein (pebble-strewn sandstone), and Stubensandstein, which attempting to research this particular layer brings one to the rather niche subject of European lithostratigraphy, which is another story for another day. (Thanks, Wikipedia!) Jochen works with biodynamic treatments in the vineyards, and in the cellar, only spontaneous fermentation will do. His 2016 Weiss Trocken is a blend of estate-grown Kerner, Müller-Thurgau, and Weissburgunder, fermented and aged in stainless steel. A truly joyous wine with stones, herbs and pollen on the nose and a fruity splash of limeade, raspberry seed, yellow apricot, and tangy, tropical pineapple core on the invigorating palate. Pair with lounging outside, spring and summer-inspired salads, grilled fish tacos with citrus-dressed coleslaw. Cari Bernard
Organically farmed, spontaneously-fermented Mosel Riesling for under $15. Just off-dry enough, Mosel St. is a go-to bottle for folks looking for fresh and easy Riesling to pair with food and friends. Perfect for everyday drinking, the wine is spritzig upon opening, medium-bodied, with good minerality and fruitiness. Notes of white peach and cherry, lemon juice, tart apricot, come forth with vibrant acidity to balance the residual sweetness and bring you back for another sip. Cari Bernard
Gernot's parcel of the Ellergrub is 2.2 hectares of ungrafted vines, over 80 years old. Farming is organic, fermentation is spontaneous, and the wine ages in a neutral oak barrels. In a shocking twist, the 2016 Ellergrub is slightly off-dry! The wine boasts a floral elegance and herbal freshness on the nose, yet is still quite dense and rich, with notes of yellow apricot, roses, and white peach skin giving way to a touch of citrus zest and strawberries on the finish. Cari Bernard
Holger Koch makes some of the most elegant wines in the Baden region (located in southwest Germany). Working mostly with Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Blanc, he's been making wines with a singular finesse in a region where the co-op is king. Grapes for the Herrenstück Pinot Noir are sourced from steep vineyards with meager volcanic soils, ferment spontaneously, and the wine ages in neutral 3000L wood barrels. Holger makes the distinction between the different selections of Pinot Noir he uses, choosing to use 'Spätburgunder' on the label when the wine is made from German clones (older vines) and 'Pinot Noir' when the vines are from selection massale cuttings sourced from vineyards in France. A lively wine, the energy on the palate comes through in a splash of juicy red cherries, tart red plums, pomegranate, with crunchy mineral cut and mouth-watering acidity. Cari Bernard
Fass 15, Stirn (forehead), comes from near the top of the Ayler Kupp where the hill curves around; the cooler climate and wind at this altitude makes for a site that is often harvested last. We haven't had a chance to try a bottle yet but will report back as soon as we do! Cari Bernard
Covered in eroded gray slate, Unterstenberg is the site on the Ayler Kupp that has some of the most water retention due to its location at the foot of the hillside. Notes of peach, orange zest, apple compote, and red grapefruit on the nose open up to a rich and fruit-forward palate boasting ripe apricot, yellow apple skin, and pineapple. Spicy and bold! Pair with grilled Thai curry squid, crab cakes over a citrus salad. Cari Bernard
A delicate nose of apricot blossom and grapefruit zest, the Fass 8 Kabinett drinks fairly lean in style, with fantastic balance and elegant integration of the residual sugar. Cooler notes of green strawberries mingle on the finish with fresh nectarine, yuzu, and crisp apple. Cari Bernard
Kern is a parcel on the west-facing side of the Ayler Kupp, extending from the top to the bottom of the slope, a cross-section of slate at multiple levels of erosion, warmed by the afternoon sun. A tropical nose of kiwi and passion fruit, the wine has a sharp, juicy attack of white grapefruit zest and kumquat, balanced by notes of green herbs, salinity, and wet stone minerality on the finish. Cari Bernard
Lauer's portion of Neuenberg is located on the flank of the Kupp closer to the base of the slope. Piquant, with vibrant red grapefruit, tangerine, and apricot notes that continue onto the palate followed by ripe mango, peach candy, yuzu and orange zest with ginger spice on the lengthy finish. Complex and fruity with great tension! Cari Bernard
What to serve with all sorts of warming, rich, spiced desserts? Gewürztraminer Eiswein! Grown on loamy soils with limestone and clay in the Haardter Herrenletten, left to freeze in the winter and harvested with an intense level of sugars and acidity. We were lucky to grab some of these from a private cellar, but haven't been able to try them yet! However, all signs point to this bottle being an awesome pairing for the sweeter end of your holiday table! Cari Bernard
The AP numbers chosen by the Schaefer family reflect a style rather than a specific vineyard plot, with the #10 often having a bit less concentration than #5 and a bit more lift and minerality. This year's #10 boasts ginger spice with a touch of white flowers on the nose, the wine is both juicy and mineral, with linear flavors of green mango and apple--a bit tight to open now, this bottle should age wonderfully!! Cari Bernard
Winemaker Max von Kunow took over his family's estate in 2010, and has made an ambitious effort to radically change both the farming and winemaking in just a short period of time. There has been a conversion of the vineyards to organics and the cellar to a focus on spontaneous fermentation and a range of dry and dry-tasting wines along with a fresh take on the Prädikat wines. The estate farms vineyards in top sites including Oberemmler Hütte (where they hold a monopol), Kanzemer Hörecker (also a monopol), and the legendary Scharzhofberg. The 2016 Scharzhofberg Kabinett is lean and fresh with finesse; a saline green dream of a wine, with notes of apricot, green mango, nectarines, lemon candy, green plums and strawberry tops. Cari Bernard
For us Barolo geeks, it’s interesting to note that Castellero is geographically related to the much more famous Cannubi vineyard which is just west of Castellero, across a little stream and its valley. Cannubi is on two sides of a ridge, with the best parts facing west and a bit north; all of Castellero faces west. The hill of Castellero is deceptive – until you start walking up, you don’t realize that it’s really very steep. The soils are white limestone, dusty when dry and glue-like when wet, but actually well drained and perfectly composed for growing Nebbiolo. Brezza makes Castellero, but Barale is the benchmark, and Castellero is their most important vineyard; it’s great that they are now farming organically, and the vineyard is more beautiful than ever. I wouldn’t have the nerve to suggest that Castellero has ever produced wines as profound as the best Cannubi, but the Barale’s are certainly making higher quality wine than a number of the owners of Cannubi. The Barale’s are steadfast traditional winemakers, using very long fermentations and aging in used, giant wood barrels. Their wines are not flashy, but are refined and elegant, and they age forever. Like all proper Barolo, the Castellero is a tannic and high-acid wine, and no one in Piedmont (or anywhere else in Italy) would dream of drinking it without food. You will, we hope, at least have some cheese on hand, but the wine wants to be consumed at table with something equally special.
One of the standouts of the fabulous Brovia 2013s is the Barolo; that is, the Barolo Classico; the ‘straight’ Barolo; the Barolo Normale (a term that producers don’t care for). In the classic manner, Brovia’s Barolo is a blend of 5 sites, each of which brings its character and thus complexity to what is a particularly good bottle of wine. The development of single-vineyard bottlings in Piedmont has been hugely important for our appreciation and understanding of the individual vineyards, but we sometimes miss out because we are distracted by their prestige, while there are blended wines that are every bit as good – and in the case of this wine – better than most other producers top wines. This one is very fine, with great lift, lovely subtle fruit, and ripe tannins. It’s medium to full-bodied and showing quite rich; like the other 2013s it’s a wine for the cellar. Jamie Wolff
"Name utilized up through the 2001 vintage by the Ceretto winery for a single-vineyard Barolo produced from the grapes of the Gabutti MGA. It refers to a parcel situated in the highest part of the cru, bordering on Parafada. The grapes are currently used in the blend of the regular Barolo of the house." (from "Barolo MGA" by Alessandro Masnaghetti)
The 1970 Barbaresco Riserva Moccagatta from one of the my favorite Piedmont producers is showing beautifully with a compelling blend of earthy old Nebbiolo aromas, resolved tannins, and still lively fruit. The tension between the sweet and savory on the nose is beguiling, while the palate has evolved to the point where the fruit and earthy flavors are supported by the structure, rather than dominated by it. Given time to blossom (we strongly advocate double decanting after lunch for dinner service) this is the perfect partner for braised meat with polenta or risotto with truffles. This is a lovely wine and a truly special treat for lovers of aged Nebbiolo. (Tasted 2/25/16) John McIlwain
Allowing for the fact that wine is a very subjective experience, I like to think that I call it as I see it. So I believe I’d know if it was a disaster, but otherwise I’m irrational and unreliable on the subject of G. Rinaldi. When I’m there, I wander around in a kind of stupor of infatuation with the wines. My penetrating notes (for 2013 Tre Tine, for example) say things like “super-great” [full stop]. I suppose if I have to have a wine crush, it might as well be on one of the best wineries in the world. Jamie WolffPS: Please don’t shoot the messenger. We don’t make the prices (neither, so far as I can tell, do the Rinaldis, because the wines leave the cellar at very reasonable prices). We’re well into the world of luxury goods here, and all I can do is sigh and make puppy dog eyes at the bottles while they’re in the shop. I do think it’s an objective fact that these are great wines and even if it’s a gratuitous comparison, they are the superior of many far more expensive wines.
Brachetto has always been a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. The wine is usually made in the same style of Moscato d’Asti -- the fermentation is stopped when alcohol is still quite low and some of the CO2 is captured to create a slightly sparkling, sweet wine. Farmed strictly organically, the fermentation is arrested with filtration rather than large doses of sulfur (as is common for sweet Brachetto) to limit overall additions to the wine. The wine has opulent strawberry fruit and red flowers on the nose with a lively sparkle and creamy texture braced by bright acid and plenty of sweetness; it is a truly carefree wine that is a joy to drink. Try it this spring as a natural pairing for rhubarb pie, with strawberry shortcake, as a sweet pairing for prosciutto and melon, or as a dessert in and of itself. Andy Paynter
Last May we tried a ton of Dolcetto in the company of two distinguished tasters who kept saying they didn’t like Dolcetto, which tends to put a damper on the experience. Sandri’s, however, made them sit up and take notice, so I give them credit for staying alert and flexible enough to change their minds. It’s bracingly juicy with wild brambly fruit that’s balanced with savoury herbs and chalky stone. Medium-bodied, very lively and lifted, it’s long and complete. I happen to like Dolcetto, but if they were all half as good as this one I might say I love it. Jamie Wolff
San Fernando’s Ciliegiolo is a perfect example of how delightful the grape Ciliegiolo can be when made as a varietal wine. The wine comes from a 1.7 hectare parcel of young vines planted at 320 meters on a deep sandy soil over clay. The grapes are fermented with native yeasts over 12 days, rested on the lees for five months, and bottled unfined with only a light filtration. The wine smells of sour cherries, raspberries, woody green herbs, and just a whiff of lavender. The palate is playful, with refreshing acidity and very soft tannins giving the wine a juicy feel. This is an honest, quaffable wine that will pair effortlessly with all sorts of food: try it with caprese salad, cured salmon, soft cheese, salami, braised pork or enjoy it on its own. Andy Paynter
This is a fantastic straw hued Soave (Garganega) from the mother-daughter team at Adalia in the Veneto. Crisp and dry with a hint of grassy texture and a long mineral finish. Eben Lillie
Of all the Italian varieties that have been rediscovered in the last few decades (of which there are many dozens), Pecorino is one of the most exciting. Found in the Marche and Abruzzo, Pecorino got its name from the sheep herders who used to eat the grapes while tending their flocks. It is a variety adapted to high altitude hillside vineyards with a long, cool growing season, and typically produces very full body wines, with plenty of acidity and delicate flavors. The Pietramore Pecorino is an archetypal example of how delicious these wines can be. Produced from biodynamically farmed vineyards, the grapes are macerated for 10 hours, fermented in steel, rested on the lees for 3 months, and then bottled with a light filtration. Loads of orchard fruit jump out on the nose over apple blossom, mint, and cool mountain air. The palate is full, sporting 14% alcohol, but has plenty of acidity so it feels crisp rather than heavy with flavors of tart apple, anjou pear, and muddled mint. Suited of course to Pecorino cheese it would also pair well with rich chicken or fish dishes, broccoli gratin, pork chops dressed with apples, or other full flavored cheese. Andy Paynter
Passerina is a grape that I have little experience with beyond the wines of La Visciola in Lazio, which is a real shame given the depth of flavor a lifted texture the wines show. An obscure variety native to Lazio (and possible distinct from a grape also named Passerina that grows along Italy’s Adriatic coast) the 2014 Donna Rosa shows spiced golden apples on the nose with autumnal notes of cut hay and sagebrush. The palate is fairly full with great acidity and a soft almost honeyed texture lifted by crisp orchard fruit with a dry finish. Really lovely on its own, I think that it would be well suited to baked fish, green salads with apples and lemon vinaigrette, fresh cheese especially goats milk cheese, or chicken salad. Andy Paynter
Passerina is a grape that I have little experience with beyond the wines of La Visciola in Lazio, which is a real shame given the depth of flavor a lifted texture the wines show. An obscure variety native to Lazio (and possible distinct from a grape also named Passerina that grows along Italy’s Adriatic coast) The 2015 shows a more lifted character than the 2014. The nose is fairly tight on opening, giving notes of tart apple and pear leading into thyme and white flowers after a few minutes in the glass. Medium body with a soft texture and crisp acidity the flavors show more candied lemon peel, green apple, and tart pear. Try it with grilled fish, potato or white pizza, soft cheese, or cured pork. Andy Paynter
The 2016 Lombardo Gavi is another fantastic vintage from our favorite producer of Cortese. The grapes are hand-harvest, gently pressed, rested briefly on their skins and then held on the lees 5 months before being bottled. The nose shows bright lemon zest and with a slightly pithy tone and tart white peaches with a distinct note of beeswax and subtle white flowers. It is bright on the palate with crisp acidity but is still mid-weight with a slight leesy quality and a grippy mineral finish. Lombardo’s Gavi would be well suited to fresh goat or sheep's cheese like chèvre, broiled fish, chicken dishes, or citrusy salads. AP
The 2014 Sant’Erasmo Bianco is a striking wine grown on the island of San Erasmo within the lagoon of Venice. Premised on Malvasia Istriana but comprised of a number of other local cultivars all planted on its own root stock, the wine is deeply colored in the glass, with a nose reminiscent of ripe golden apples and honeysuckle undercut by a salty tone. The palate is bold, with an initial attack of juicy orchard fruit and rich texture, followed by a honeyed note giving way to a long savory finish. More than anything else, the Orto shows a stern backbone of minerality bracing its mellow acidity and weight on the palate. I served it with shrimp cooked with their own stock and butter, but this wine would pair beautifully with anything out of the sea, soft cheese, or rich vegetable dishes. Open early and serve slightly chilled. Andy Paynter
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
This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
Stéphanie, Emmanuel and Pierre Caslot are the current proprietors of this 400 year-old estate in Bourgueil. With excellent parcels on all the varied terroirs of Bourgueil they produce delicious old-school wines with great organic farming and natural vinifications with low sulfur. "Grand Mont" is one of the greatest sites in Bourgueil - a south facing slope on turonian limestone with shallow sandy clay soils, rich in mica. Though not considered a great vintage, the 2011s from the best sites in Bourgueil are turning out beautifully, such as the Breton "Les Perrieres" and the Chevalerie "Grand Mont." Denser and more opulently fruited than the 2012, the 2011 "Grand Mont' shows a deeper, darker color and ripe aromas of blackberry, black plum, violet, earth, game, and blood orange. The palate is round and supple with quite earthy red and black fruits with a lovely finish of dense red fruits, earth and citrusy acids. I would drink this sooner than the 2012 - delicious now with a long decant, best perhaps 2023 - 2030. Beautiful wine. David Lillie
Stéphanie, Emmanuel and Pierre Caslot are the current proprietors of this 400 year-old estate in Bourgueil. With excellent parcels on all the varied terroirs of Bourgueil they produce delicious old-school wines with great organic farming and natural vinifications with low sulfur. "Grand Mont" is one of the greatest sites in Bourgueil - a south facing slope on turonian limestone with shallow sandy clay soils, rich in mica. Wines from this vineyard are built to age and this rare bottling from Domaine de la Chevalerie is a beautiful example. 2012 Loire reds are not big wines, but they have lovely bright fruit and are beautifully balanced with refreshing acidity. The 2012 "Grand Mont" shows elegant aromas of black raspberry and strawberry with violet, earth, dark chocolate, citrus and game. The palate shows sliky tannins and complex red and black fruits - beautifully balanced with bright acidity and mineral flavors. This is really elegant and Burgundian, very long and built to last. Open the day before if drinking now, this will be a beautiful mature wine. David Lillie
The 2015 Clos du Papillon has just arrived in NY - it promises to be a great vintage for this wonderful Savennières, certainly one of the top wines of the appellation. We will post a tasting note ASAP, meanwhile here is information from the domain's website: "The Clos du papillon is a small valley at mid slope, beautifully exposed southwest to the light of the Loire. There are schist, rhyolite but also quartz. The topsoil layer is very shallow (60 cm) which provides excellent drainage for rainwater. The vine growing conditions are difficult, forcing it to develop its roots deep in the rock cracks to draw nutrients. The climate in that parcel allows for a level of highly advanced maturity. With grapes that concentrate aromas under the action of Botrytis. The Clos du papillon is harvested in two selections : The first selection during the « Fresh Fruit aroma » period and the second one later with some botrytis during the « cooked fruit, quince and smoked aromas » period. Both selections are put in barrels and assembled 16 months later. The wine then remains a few months in vats. This assemblage of the two styles of grapes results in a full bodied wine, with a citrus finish on very first attack, followed by sensations of ripe and exotic fruit with a very distinguished touch of bitterness or toasted almonds on the finish. The long aging on the lees gives it a nice smoothness. The « brandy » nose is characterized by aromas of evolution. The body and the very long finish make the Clos du Papillon a gastronomic wine to accompany lobster, scallops, smoked fish, Turbots, Saint Peter. It is also interesting with delicate white meats such as veal or capon, along with truffles or mushrooms. Classic mountain cheeses like old Salers, or 5 to 6 years old Comté are equally delicious with this great Savennières."
From Chenin Blanc vines near the Chateau on a south facing clay/limestone slope. The wine is aged in small barrels. The 2015 shows a light gold color with complex aromas of pear and citrus with lime-flower and herbal notes and a touch of oak. The palate is round and supple with ripe pear, lemon, apple and herbal flavors. The finish is long and creamy with pear and mineral flavors and just enough acidity. Serve with fish in sauce, roast chicken, white meats and mild cheeses. Lovely wine. David Lillie
Beautiful dense and long expression of Chenin Blanc from around the Anjou appellation. Eben Lillie
Alain and Christine Boré produce delicious organic wines on their estate in Anjou that are sensational values for everyday enjoyment. Their 2016 Anjou Blanc (Chenin) is superb, with lovely aromas of dried pear, fresh herbs, hay, earth and honey. The palate is round and supple but nicely balanced with firm acidity, showing green apple, pear, stone and citrus flavors that continue in the long finish. A bit "drier" and more mineral tasting than the previous two vintages, this is a simply delicious Chenin that will accompany seafood, grilled or in sauce, chicken, goat cheeses, etc...
A very soft, pretty and fresh rosé from certified biodynamic producer Philippe Gilbert. Menetou-Salon has the classic clay and limestone soils of the Loire Valley, and produces beautiful Pinots that rival and sometimes surpass those of its neighbor, Sancerre. High-toned minerality combined with the ripe, rosy-red fruit notes of the warm 2017 vintage makes this 100% Pinot Noir rosé a sheer ease and pleasure to drink.
If you have a sweet tooth, this Chenin is for you! Bonnezeaux is one of a few sweet wine appellations in the Loire Valley, where grapes are required to be over-ripe, and are sometimes affected by noble rot. "Le Malabé" has about 130 grams of residual sugar, but I honestly thought it was about 80g when I first tasted this wine, thanks to the high acidity and the ample minerality that the schiste soils provide. Just bringing the wine to the nose, one is greeted with honey, quince and with some subtle sweet spice aromas that tickle the senses. On the palate, it's dense, ripe and absolutely delicious. Francois from Grandes Vignes mentioned to me that 2013 was OK for reds in the Loire, very good for their dry Chenin Blanc, and exceptional for the sweet wines. Case in point! Drink now if you're craving sometime sweet, or age for decades. Eben Lillie
Chenin Blanc fermented and aged in amphora with no sulfur added. It's not a common occurrence, but we're very happy to have the opportunity to share this unique wine. The nose is floral, and stony, with hints of stone fruit, but the really fascinating aspect of the wine is the texture. Just letting the wine sit on the palate, I experienced earthiness (possible, but rare for a white wine), crystalline acidity, density in the mid-palate, and a long, mineral finish. Highly recommended for Chenin aficionados and those who are interested in the growing category of amphora wines. Eben Lillie
From 80 year-old vines in "Petits Monts" and "Grand Monts" towards the top of the slope above Benais, facing roughly south-west, clay over Turonien limestone (tuffeau, craie micacée). This is the terroir giving the most elegant and age-worthy Bourgueils. 18 month elevage ; 40% in cuve inox, 20% in one new 400 liter barrel, 20% in one-year and 20% in two-year old barrels, assembled two months before bottling. Tasted in February 2016, the wine was fairly closed and tight, with deep, pure black fruits and perfect balance. This will be a sensational mature wine, best to wait eight to ten years, or more, then drink until 2040.
When we started with Stéphane Guion, selling the 2005 Cuvée Prestige, we referred to the Revue Vin de France article on this unknown domaine - "These are not fashionable wines, due to the dynamic acidity, but for those who love the flavors of terroir they are a priority discovery that are a credit to the Loire." Indeed, organic farming going back to 1965, and a regimen of shallow plowing that keeps soil ph low, gives Stephane's wines a unique bright acidity and high mineral content underlying the beautiful fruit of his old vines. And in 2015 there was gorgeous fruit in Chinon and Bourgueil, despite the late rains that softened the wines at some estates. The 2015 Cuvée Prestige, from forty to eighty year-old vines in parcels around Benais, is a vibrant, joyous wine that shows a bright deep garnet color and elegant, ripe aromas of strawberry and red currant liqueur with hints of violet, dusty stone and black pepper. The palate is sapid and ripe but lifted by refreshing acidity, with lush berry liqueurs, saline minerals and citrus. The finish is long with lingering sappy fruit, earthy acidity and spice. Thanks to the Guion family for this soulful and delicious wine! (Aging potential of twenty to thirty years, but it's so delicious now that leaving it in the cellar will be difficult.) David Lillie
A great vintage for Huet's sweet wines — lacking the high sugars of 1997 but ripe enough and with perfect acidity which will carry them a long way. The Le Mont 1er Trie is just beginning to open up and would be great fun to drink now, but better yet, put it away for another 20 years and find a reason for living! 67 gr/l RS, 5.9 gr/l acid, 12.5 % alc. ("de très longue garde" says the Huet website!)
Forward and open which is unusual for Constance. Beautifully knit palate and very long with exceptional purity and at least 75 years ahead of it. DL
85 grams/liter RS, 12.8 % Alc 50% Passerillage, 50% Botrytis. A lovely, balanced Moelleux that will age nicely, peak drinking probably 10 to 30 years away. Yummy now if you can't wait, a great wine.
We are very proud to offer the beautiful wines of Lise and Bertrand Jousset, whose goal is to make "living wines" from living soils and healthy vines in a balanced environment. All of their wines share a vivacity and natural complexity making them a joy to drink - due to great farming and careful vinifications with minimal intervention and minimal or zero added sulfur. The Montlouis "Singulier - Clos aux Renards" is a dry Montlouis made from 60 to 80 year-old Chenin vines on clay soils called "Aubuis" over Turonian limestone. All cellar functions are by gravity without pumping, fermentation is in two and three year-old 400 and 600 liter barrels. This is a wonderfully elegant Chenin Blanc showing a bright pale-gold color and beautiful aromas of creamy citrus, dried pear, fresh herbs, stone and smoke. There is an impression of sweetness but the palate is dry with ripe pear, peach and apricot fruit with stone and mineral flavors, chalky texture and fabulous length. Beautiful now, it will develop nicely with ten to fifteen years of cellaring. David Lillie
From a superb hillside vineyard on orthogneiss with clay and quartz stones. A great vintage for Jo's Fief du Breil! Yes, the aromatics are a bit more pronounced than in more austere vintages, and there is more presence of citrus and white fruits on the palate, but the wine retains a superb mineral character and the finish is brisk and very long. Simply a great Muscadet — drinking this alongside the Pepiere Clos des Briords would be a great lesson in the terroirs of the Pays Nantais! Tasted in February 2016, the wine is still youthful although the aromas are opening a bit, with intense minerality on the palate and fabulous length. Delicious now, this will be fabulous in 2025! Brisk enough for oysters and clams, perfect with cod, sole and flounder, complex enough for monkfish and swordfish - hurry down to Blue Moon Fish at the Greenmarket this Saturday!
Beginning in 2005, Domaine de la Pépière has produced this cuvée from a small parcel of 50 to 110 year-old vines within the Pepiere vineyard. Originally called "Granite de Clisson" after the unique bedrock in the vineyard, Marc has changed the name to "Clisson" to agree with the new INAO Cru Communal classification. The granite is covered with gravel and clay with large stones, ensuring good drainage and deep penetration by the roots into the fissures in the bedrock, bringing the mineral elements indispensable to this wine.Tasted in France in January 2018, the wine showed a pale gold color with lovely aromas of dried pear, quince, almond, lemon-confit and stone, ripe but quite fresh. The palate was quite dense, showing firm acidity and mineral flavors supporting white fruits, citrus, anise and almond, with terrific length. This is an excellent "Clisson" with attractive forward fruit for early drinking as well as firm structure for aging of fifteen to twenty years or more. David Lillie
Domaine de la Pépière has produced this superb Cru Communal, in the new appellation Muscadet Monnières-Saint Fiacre from old vines on gneiss terroir with topsoils of sand and gravel, formerly part of the Cuvée Eden and Gras Moutons. Slow two month fermentation followed by 24 months of aging on the lees. Similar in style, but a bit softer and more aromatic than the lovely 2015 Clisson, the Monnières-Saint Fiacre shows a bit more fruit in the lovely aromas of pear, citrus, herbs and stone. The palate is round and ripe with pretty white fruits, citrus, stone and herbal flavors, and the finish is round and supple with white fruits and minerals. This is a gorgeous Muscadet to drink over the next ten years with everything from oysters to sole, cod and monkfish, even with lobster.
100% Chenin Blanc. Pinon's only still, white, demi-sec wine in this very difficult and short vintage in which the estate lost 75% of its harvest. The "Le 2016" replaces the usual Trois Argiles, Silex Noir and Les Deronnières bottlings, with fruit from a range of those and other parcels. The vines average 40 years in age, are certified-organic and were hand-harvested from October 10-18. Fermentation took place spontaneously with natural yeasts and lasted 2-3 months in wood vats. The wine was aged 4-5 months on its fine lees in old tonneaux (large oak barrels) and gently filtered before bottling in April 2017 with 22.4 grams/liter of residual sugar (with pH 3.07). Total production of Le 2016 was 1600 cases (a yield of only 11 hl/ha). The wine shows lovely aromas of lime-flower, honeyed citrus, dried white fruis and earth. Firm lemony acidity and mineral flavors underlie ripe white fruits and lemon confit. The finish is very long with citrus,honey, pear and stone . Technically a Demi-Sec, the wine is balanced by the bright citrusy acids and will pair well with charcuterie, fish in sauce and white meats. Cellar for twenty to thirty years to create a fabulous mature Vouvray. David Lillie
This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
Domaine Olga Raffault produces this lovely Chinon from alluvial and gravel soils along the Loire and the Vienne - it's a beautifully fruited wine meant to be served cool and enjoyedwith white meats and grilled foods. The aromas are complex and ripe showing cassis, raspberry and prune with hints of violet, citrus and black pepper. The palate is deep and supple with complex red and black fruits that continue in the smooth, refreshing finish. This is a beautiful "drink young" Chinon that will enhance your summer dining!
Les Picasses is one of the greatest vineyards in Chinon - a south-facing slope of clay over porous limestone that retains water and nutrients, nourishing the vines. While the wine is amply fruited and enjoyable young, it has firm acidity and structure for long-term aging, up to 30 years and more depending on the vintage. 2012 was a quite successful vintage for Loire reds, which generally showed vibrant fruit, fresh acidity and moderate alcohol. Not a "big" vintage but one of very pretty, well-balanced wines. The 2012 Raffault "Les Picasses" is a surprisingly full-bodied wine, showing ripe strawberry, blackberry, and cooked prune with a fabulous earthy core of stone and mineral flavors. The palate is dense with blackberry, prune, citrus, earth, licorice and cocoa with a long fresh finish. Ripe and forward enough to drink now with anything from roast chicken to steak, the 2012 should age beautifully, perhaps best 2020 to 2030 and beyond...? David Lillie
From thirty-five year-old vines on clay over Portlandian limestone, with two years aging sur lie, 10mg SO2 before bottling. Sebastien Riffault makes Sancerres that compare with wines made fifty years ago. Organic farming, hand harvesting, wild-yeast fermentations, minimal sulfur and harvesting late, when ripe with two years aging in old barrels. The 2014 "Quarterons" shows a bright pale-gold color and floral peach, pear, citrus and caramel aromas. There is some botrytis here and hints of oxidation. Ripe peach and pear flavors continue on the palate, with stone, orange zest, brown spice and earthy flavors backed by firm acidity. This is a unique and delicious Sancerre, similar to the late-harvested wines of many years ago. This will please lovers of natural wines and will accompany full-flavored fish and chicken dishes, Asian foods and goat cheeses. David Lillie
(On Sale through June 9th Was $19.99) This is an extremely dry and bright 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 in the Coteaux du Loir, certified organic farming with biodynamic methods. The wine shows subtle, high-toned aromas of citrus, stone, pear, almond and fines herbes. The palate is lean and bright with dried pear, citrus and mineral notes with very firm acidity. Warning - this is a vibrant, high-acid Chenin! Serve with oysters, grilled fish and goat cheeses or cellar for ten to fifteen years. David Lillie
South of Saumur and west of Chinon (but legally in Anjou) is the sleepy village of Oiron where Benoit Blet at Domaine des Terres Blanches makes superb wines on an interesting terroir of sandstone(grès) under sandy clay topsoils. "Les Hautes Bruyères" is from old vines of Cabernet Franc; the wine undergoes a long slow fermentation with wild yeasts and is then gravity-fed into small 2 to 5 year-old barrriques for 18 months of aging. This is a unique and delicious Cab Franc that shows an opaque black/red color and intriguing aromas of ripe black raspberry and plum with hints of mint, citrus and earth. The palate is ripe and supple with an earthy texture, showing pretty blackberry and cassis fruit with bitter chocolate, citrus and mineral flavors that linger on the long finish. A bit different from either an Anjou or Chinon red, the Hautes Bruyères will accompany a variety of poultry and pork dishes and will be great with grilled foods this summer, served a bit cool. David Lillie
Certified organic, from a limestone terroir rich in seashells, with iron-rich soil, just below the 1er Cru Clos des Miglands. Very low yields, 80% de-stemmed, wild-yeast fermentation, one-year aging in 40% new fine-grained barrels, bottled by gravity, no fining or filtration. The 2016 Marcoeurs shows subtle aromas of black cherry with plum skin, earth, graphite and hints of violet and citrus. The palate is very mineral and saline with flavors of earth and tart black cherry that are intense and long, finishing with firm acidity. This shows the intensity of the 2016 Burgundies and is delicious now with a long decant, or cellar for five years and enjoy until 2030. David Lillie
From the biodynamically farmed high altitude Les Sous Roches lieu-dit on the northwest slope in Monthélie composed of thin stony clay soils over limestone. 2016 is a great vintage for the Monthelie "Les Sous Roches" from Alain and Isabelle Hasard showing the classic structure and density of this excellent vintage. The wine shows vibrant aromas of fraise des bois and cherry liqueur with earth, mint and citrus. The palate is dense and sapid with bright blackberry and black cherry fruit, spice, earth and firm acidity. Impressive length with sappy balck fruits, mineral flavors and refreshing acidity. Delicious now if a bit intense - perhaps open the night before and re-cork - best to cellar 5 years and drink until 2030+. Serve with mushroom pappardelle, roast veal, grilled meats. David Lillie
Julien Guillot of the Clos des Vignes du Maynes has made a superb Macon Rouge in 2016, from organic grapes, and vinified without SO2. The wine shows a quite dense black/red color with aromas of ripe blackberry, candied cherry, violet, citrus and white pepper. The palate is dense but balanced and sapid with blackberry and cherry fruit lifted by firm acidity. The finish is very long with saline minerals and berry fruits and refreshing acidity. This is a somewhat intense but beautiful and complex Gamay that will be superb with grilled foods this summer and should develop nicely over the next few years. David Lillie
I've always had a soft spot for the wines of Jacqueson. Back when Burgundy was still affordable, their wines were especially affordable. The Rully Blancs are ripe, sunny, mineral, and wear their oak well. The reds are supple, mineral, and pure-fruited. The 2016 Chaponnières is bright, high-toned, and floral on the nose. Exuberant red fruits, spice, and earth on the palate. Fine, silky tannins and charm on the finish. This is clearly prettier side of Burgundy. We're pleased to see Jacqueson back in the US! John McIlwain
This special cuvée is a commemoration of eleven hundred years of winemaking, the vineyards in the Clos des Vignes du Maynes having been planted around AD 900 and wine first produced for the Abbey of Cluny around 910. This "medieval" wine is a field blend of Chardonnay, Gamay and Pinot Noir, including the old varieties Gamay Petit Grain and Pinot Fin. The grapes were transported in carts pulled by Charolais bulls, then pressed by foot, vinified and aged without sulfur and bottled by hand in the spring. The 2016 Cuvée 910 was a bit awkward on arrival last winter, but has settled down to sing it's light and lovely song. The wine is showing a light red/garnet color. There's a bit of reduction then lovely raspberry and wild strawberry aromas with hints of citrus, spice and rose. The palate shows subtle cherry and raspberry fruit with floral, stone and citrus flavors. The finish is long, sapid and intriguing with bright berry fruits, earth and saline notes - quite lovely and a good match with fish in sauce, white meats, charcuterie, mild cow cheeses. NO added SO2, best consumed the day opened. David Lillie
Made from Gamay Petit Grains planted in 1953, grown on a limestone parcel high in magnesium, in the Clos des Vignes du Maynes in Cruzille, organic since 900 AD, now certified biodynamic. The energetic Julien Guillot vinifies his reds without sulfur or additives of any kind, producing complex, mineral, elegant wines that transcend their appellation. The 2015s here are extraordinary, showing the elegance, purity and balance typical of the estate with the wonderful ripeness of the vintage. The wine shows gorgeous red and black fruit aromas with cranberry, earth, stone and musk and hints of mint, chocolate and spice. The palate is bright and intense with balckberry, citrus, stone and earthy flavors, that continue on the very long mineral finish. Always one of the greatest Gamays produced anywhere, the 2015 Manganite is a young wine that will benefit from decanting or five to fifteen years in the cellar. Highly recommended! DL
If you'll forgive, the flight of fancy, Savoie whites tug at the heartstrings. A snowmelt swollen mountain stream overflowing its banks and washing thru a meadow of wildflowers fresh. Shimmering afternoon sunlight thru leaves, a suspicion of a breeze, Springtime in the glass! John McIlwain
Bastide Blanche, one of the few organic domains in Bandol, produces this beatiful wine from old vines of 92% Mourvedre and 8% Grenache. The wine is hand-harvested in multiple passes, with very low yields, fermented with wild yeasts and aged in old foudres. The 2013 Estagnol shows very deep aromas of blackberry, plum and blueberry with floral, animal, fig, garrigue and earthy notes. The palate is full, round and powerful, but has good brightness and balance, with black fruits, fig, spice and earth - . with time open chocolate, provencal herbs and black olive as well, really lovely.
'Mont Blanc' is named for the snow-capped mountain 30km away from Dominique's winery. This cuvée is built to age but that requires personal discipline. 100% Gringet from vines planted at 450m elevation, the 2014 was aged for three years on the lees before disgorgement. The delicate nose offers elegant floral aromas and comes across as quite austere at first. By the time you slice the soppressata and collect the Comté from the fridge, the nose will have blossomed with honeysuckle, orange zest, nuts and orchard fruits. The palate has exquisite cut with powerful minerals driving fresh pear and apple flavors. An excellent vintage that should shine in 2-3 years. Amanda Bowman
All things being relative, this cuvée made me reconsider every wine that I have previously described as balanced. "Le Feu" comes Dominique's oldest, low-yielding Gringet vines planted on steep, iron-rich slopes at 450m above sea level. Incredibly well-knit acidity adds energy and freshness to wild herbal flavors that form a continuous loop across the palate. This wine is luminous. Amanda Bowman
"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
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