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There are a slew of delicious Pet-Nats emerging from Alsace, as younger generations experiment with the newly popular "methode ancestrale." The Geschickt version is 100% Pinot Auxerrois, and will be an instant hit with fans of saisons and farmhouse ales, and an eyebrow raiser for wine aficionados. It's totally dry, and a bit opaque, but clean and direct. There's a hint of pineapple on the palette, and perfect acidity carrying the fine bubbles. The mouthfeel is soft and gentle and finish is subtle. Just an all around fun wine and the new kid on the block for all you thirsty pet-nat drinkers. **fun note: there is apparently also a pet nat made by Jean Ginglinger called the "Dark Nat" that is part of a funny joke between Geschickt and Ginglinger - to me it was a look into how awesome the winemaker community is in Alsace. ** Eben Lillie
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
This is the final vintage you will see this bottle with Rosengartel on the label, due to red-tape and regulations; but let's not forget about this legendary vineyard, where Jutta farms eight rows of vines down the south-facing flank of the Nußberg, on shell limestone soils. Jutta was initially offered four rows from a female winemaker who was close to retirement in 2006. Thinking it was just conversation, Jutta was surprised to receive a phone call the following year from the same winemaker, saying it was time for Jutta to take the parcel. Since then they've been able to add the neighboring four rows to their plot. Jutta maintains that this beautiful vineyard needs ample time before bottling, and the wine remains in stainless steel tank until well into the following fall. White florals, jasmine blossoms on the nose, green mango, nectarine pit, dried herbs, white cherry, green apple all flood the palate, the wine has fantastic density while remaining luminous! Cari Bernard
Glockenturm is a Gemischter Satz of ten different varieties, the oldest of which was planted in 1972 on gravel-laden soils in an east-facing parcel on the Grinzinger Mukenthal (19th District). The vineyard allows for early shade from the afternoon sun, which helps keep the vines cooler than nearby parcels. Saline and very dry with white blossoms on the nose followed by a pomelo and white grapefruit pithy tang, lemon juice along with notes of freshly sliced green apple keeps it bright and biting! Cari Bernard
Satellit is not a vineyard name, it is a reference to the wine being from their sole holding not in the 19th District; this Gemischter Satz is from the 21st, across the Danube on the Bisamberg—a renowned hill, home to loess soils and in Jutta's parcels the oldest vines were planted in the mid-eighties. The players here are Riesling, Chardonnay, Grüner Veltliner, and Sauvignon Blanc. There's only a few hours of skin-contact and the wine ages in stainless steel tank. Electric acidity with green apples, pineapple core, crisp herbs, and saline shimmer on the finish, this wine would be delightful with oysters on the half-shell, shrimp pasta, and definitely schnitzel! 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
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
Pale pink in the glass, the nose hints at a stony minerality confirmed on the palate. This blend of Zweigelt, St. Laurent, and Pinot Noir is crisp with scintillating acidity and flavors of fresh green and red strawberries, Seville orange, white raspberries, white stone, and lemon juice. A touch more giving than the 2016 vintage, and still incredibly brisk! Cari Bernard Now that summer is nigh, go for magnum bottles for your dinner parties, BBQs, and beach trips! 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 Descombes Regnié Vieilles Vignes is superb in 2014, showing lovely aromas of red currant and strawberry, violet, orange peel, brown spice and soil. There is velvety strawberry and blackberry compote on the palate with rose, pomegranate, earth and citrus. The finish is long with lemony acidity, mineral flavors and pretty red fruits. This is a complex and beautifully balanced Regnié that is delicious now, with aeration, and it should be superb from 2020 to 2026+. Highly recommended. David Lillie
Georges Descombes has once again made a light and lovely Morgon in 2016 that will be a joyful drink this summer and over the next few years. The wine shows a bright garnet color with aromas of strawberry, raspberry and rose with a bit of citrus peel and spice. The palate is light but nicely sapid and ripe with supple red fruits with hints of citrus, earth and spice. The finish is ripe and refreshing with juicy acidity. Serve cool and enjoy, this very pretty wine is highly recommended! David Lillie
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
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
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
The Pignard's Morgon Cuvée Tradition is ripe, dense and delicious in 2015! Good friends with Christian Ducroux, the Pignards practise similar methods of biodynamic farming and natural vinifications. Produced from hillside vineyards of sandy clay over limestone in "Les Charmes," the wine ferments naturally, with only 10mg of SO2 added before bottling and spends a year in vat followed by a year in old barriques. The wine shows aromas of blackberry liqueur with earth, spice, citrus and herbal notes. The palate is silky and supple with ripe black fruits, bitter chocolate, earth, spice and citrus - having some aspects of northern Rhone wines in this very warm, dry vintage. The finsh is long with fruit liqueur, spice and citrusy acids. This shows the density and darker fruit flavors of the 2015 vintage but in a more balanced frame at 13% alcohol. Delicious now in it's youthful intensity, probably best from 2020 to 2025. David Lillie
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!
Located in the village of Charnay in southern Beaujolais, Jean-Paul Brun quietly makes some of the most classic wines of the region on his family’s 40-acre estate. All of the wines are allowed to ferment with native yeasts and minimal amounts of sulfur are employed ensuring fresh, lively wines. Brun’s Beaujolais Blanc is made from 100% Chardonnay that comes from 80+-year-old vines planted in clay and limestone soils. On the nose luscious green apple fruit mingles with poached pear and citrus zest. The palate does have some weight, but this is a lean, sharp wine with a sturdy mineral backbone. It’s really quite amazing to drink such a precise wine for such a value.
Jean-Paul Brun of Domaine des Terres Dorées has 2 parcels of 50 year-old vines on a steep section of Mont Brouilly with a south-east exposition at about 1,000 ft of altitude. The thin soil is almost entirely stones of granite with a high iron content. (A more interesting terroir than the thicker, damper soils of Brouilly.) This is a gorgeous wine! Lovely, ripe blackberry and raspberry/strawberry fruit aromas with a touch of violets and earth.
From a small parcel in the southern Beaujolais on clay and silica soils over limestone. Direct press, one day maceration, wild yeast fermentation, no chaptalization, minimal SO2. The 2017 Les Griottes shows light herbal raspberry, rose and stone aromas. The palate is light but long with stone, raspberry and citrus fruit, crisp acidity and a nice mouth-coating finish. A lovely very dry rose with enough depth and character to accompany anything from oysters to chicken!
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
The wines of Jean-Pierre Boyer at Chateau Bel Air-Marquis d'Aligre, are made in the lighter "claret" style of the 19th century. The 1995 shows a light red/garnet slightly mature color with pretty aromas of sweet red-currant, cassis and prune with sous-bois, licorice, tobacco, citrus and spice. The palate is delicate and silky, with a firm core of red currant/cassis fruit, framed in firm acidity. Very earthy with fruit liqueur, smoke, mint and minerals in the long finish. Decant a few hours in advance to enjoy this very unusual and beautiful Margaux. Another 5 to 10 years of cellaring would be interesting. David Lillie
(Five hour decant) The 1998 is a complex and unusual Bordeaux in mid-life, showing more secondary and mineral qualities than the riper 2000. The wine shows a light, slightly browning garnet color; the aromas are quite floral and earthy with spicy black currant, clove, graphite and citrus peel. The palate shows dark earth and mineral flavors yielding to bright black currant and cassis fruit with dark spice and sous-bois flavors backed by very firm acidity. The wine held up well with an additional few hours open and will obviously benefit from another ten to twenty years of aging. David Lillie
A Margaux like no other, more akin to a 19th century claret than to a modern Bordeaux.The 2004 from Jean-Pierre Boyer shows a lovely deep garnet color and smoky red-currant aromas with earth, violet, licorice, spice and citrus peel. The palate is dense and mineral with firm structure, but showing velvety blackberry, cassis and red currant with earth and mineral flavors and a bit of bitter licorice. The finish is long and firm. Suspend your ideas of Bordeaux and enjoy this complex and Burgundian Margaux. Carafe four hours in advance or cellar ten to twenty years.(On day 2 the wine has deepened and softened into a lovely Burgundian Bordeaux)
The 2009 BAMA shows bright deep red/black color with lovely high-toned red fruit liqueur - strawberry, black-currant and cassis, with violet and earth. The palate is dense and ripe with bright acidity - not at all heavy, but with intense black and red fruits backed by flavors of mineral and earth. On day two the bright deep fruits have become more focused and linger on the palate in the long and very mineral finish. This is quite enjoyable as a young wine, especially after a day open, unencumbered by over-extraction and new oak - but beware, this style is for those who like some earth in their Bordeaux! Best to cellar for a very long time...
The 2010 Bel Air-Marquis d'Aligre is from very old vines and also from approximately 50 year-old vines planted by M. Boyer at 10,000 plants per hectare. There is a long fermentation without extraction, the juice remains in cuve until spring, then spends 6 months in old barrels followed by two to three years in cement vat. These are wines made in the lighter "claret" style of the 19th century, although the 2010 shows an incredible density of flavor, given the less-extracted style. Upon opening the wine shows subtle aromas of earth, red currant and cherry fruit with licorice and brown spice. The palate is deep and quite expressive with black cherry, strawberry, earth, licorice and mineral flavors, quite Burgundian in texture. The finish is very long with lingering tart cherry, sous-bois and mineral flavors. After two days open (re-corked) the aromas have broadened with prune, ripe cherry, tobacco, spice and rose and the palate is intense with red and black fruit liqueur, spice box and earth and ending with lingering red fruits and firm acidity. Delicious now with a long decant, this will be an extraordinary mature wine, best perhaps 2035 - 2050. David Lillie
What a fantastic Claret from Coutet! This Saint Émilion estate, certified organic since 2012, does not use any chemical treatments on the land and the results show on the quality of their wines. A Claret, the wine shows off a gorgeous dark pink color with purple hue. On the nose, the bouquet of juicy red raspberry, ripe strawberry, and dark rose petal notes is enticing. The palate is complex and luscious with notes of red berry fruit, yellow plum, wild flower and mint lingering on the finish, and with a beautiful texture and pretty acidity. Drink this wine by itself or with blackened salmon, light roasted chicken or steak tartare. 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.
What a beautiful fresh Bordeaux! Certified organic since 2012, this estate has been making outstanding wines since the beginning, showing the expertise of the Clauzel family and superb terroir. This 2014 wine (a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc) is elegant and vibrant with a gorgeous bouquet of black and red berries, plum, oriental spices, leather and cedar box notes. On the palate, the wine is bright with acidity and minerality, and shows supple tannins with a long fresh finish. This is a vibrant Bordeaux which can accompany casual to fancy meals. Pair this wine with hamburgers, seared lamb, or with more elaborated dishes, such as, roast beef or braised duck. A delicious wine to drink now or cellar it for a few years. Caroline Coursant
Who said that no S02 red wine can't be classicly structured and delicious! L'Essai is mostly Merlot (90%) with a touch of Cabernet Franc (10%), planted on sandy gravelly soils. Aged for 15 months with no added sulfur, this wine showcases a beautiful structure of good acidity, light tannin and superb minerality while displaying a freshness of aromas, quite unique for this appellation. With a bouquet of juicy red berry, tart black plum, rose petals, white pepper, crushed rock and green tobacco, the wine is vibrant with its complex flavors lingering deliciously on the finish. Pair this wine with hamburgers, steak tartare or a plate of charcuterie and cheese. Caroline Coursant
Château Peybonhomme-les-Tours is a fantastic organic- and biodynamic-certified estate located in Blaye on slopes of clay over limestone. The Quintessence is the top cuvée of the domaine and reflects the beautiful philosophy of wine making of the Hubert family. Typically a blend of Merlot (80%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (20%), the wine has nice structure with supple tannins, great acidity, and firm minerality with a long finish.
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
Domaine Anne Bavard-Brooks is located in Puligny-Montrachet and has been organic and biodynamic since 2005. The "La Combe" vineyard is in the village of Puligny with 35 year-old vines on silt and clay soils over limestone, 200 cases made. The palate is round and dense with flavors of pear, fines-herbes, almond, citrus, honeysuckle and brown spice. The finish is long and ripe with citrus and stone flavors that linger. This is a quite complex and well-balanced Burgundy that will accompany a wide variety of seafood and poultry dishes and mild cheeses. Drinking beautifully now, this will cellar nicely over the next 5 years or more.
From a .35 HA parcel of organically farmed 51-year-old vines just opposite of the property. The 2014 Domaine Chevrot Bougogne Tilleuls is a lovely old vine expression of Aligoté. The plot is farmed organically with the soils worked by horse, the fermentation and aging is in barrel with native yeasts. An Aligoté to cellar, the wine is coiled and nervy with citrus and herbal notes leading on the nose followed by hints of sea spray. The palate is densely mineral and textured with stony acidity and bright Meyer lemon fruit on the attack and a long richly earthy finish. This is lovely and will age beautifully as well as pair with denser fish such as halibut or better still, some sea scallops from Blue Moon Fish with braised greens, citrus segments, brown butter, capers. -John McIlwain
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
A blend of 57% Puligny villages with 43% Puligny 1er Truffière. Nexe Flore is a play on words, per Allen Meadows, of next floor, implying a step up from the Puligny villages tout court. 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.
While the 2014 vintage resulted in a number of stellar white Burgundies graced with energy and complexity, some of the most striking have come from Chablis. Moreau-Naudet was especially successful and the wines show class from the basic villages thru the premier and grand crus. The 2014 Vaillons is a radiant example of the terroir, with airy aromas of stone fruit, citrus peel, honeysuckle, and wet stone. The palate is vibrant with minerality and punchy acidity, with smoky flint vying with cool-toned citrus, and spice flavors on a concentrated, tactile finish, which is just a shade broader than that of the Forêts. Lovely now, but there's plenty of dimension which bodes well for aging (if you can resist drinking your bottles in the near term). John McIlwain
From 2.5 hectares of younger vines, farmed organically and fermented with native yeasts in steel tank. The 2016 Moreau-Naudet Petit Chablis is bright and floral, with aromas of jonquil, honeysuckle, apple blossom, Meyer lemon, rainwater. White orchard fruits, lemon oil, Golden Delicious apple, and salt on the palate. Ripe, but racy. Long, succulent, and snappy on an incisively mineral finish. Lovely! Always an over-performer of a Petit Chablis. Moreau-Naudet is a wonderful domaine whose great farming results in terrific wines. A splendidly fresh aperitif and just fabulous with a salad of white beans, red onions, spring lettuces, and Spanish tuna packed in oil. John McIlwain
Located toward the bottom of the slope beneath Beaune Grèves and adjacent to Les Cents Vignes, Clos des Mariages is a mix of young and very old vines planted in clay and limestone soils. The lovely 2017 Blanc shows high-toned aromas of lime-flower, melon, pear, wet stone and honeysuckle. The palate is light and silky with pear, apple and citrus flavors with chalky minerals and herbal flavors in the refreshing finish. Serve with fish in sauce, scallop crudo, Asian foods and mild cheeses.
Jean-Claude Rateau makes lovely Biodynamic wines in the Hautes Côtes de Beaune in his east-facing vineyard of clay/limestone and marne soils. Quite racy and bright even in 2017, the wine shows subtle aromas of lemon, almond, stone, spiced pear and apple. Intense, very mineral palate with pear, citrus and stone flavors and terrific length. The antithesis of fat, oaky Chardonnays, this food friendly wine will accompany everything from oysters and grilled seafoods to roast chicken and mild cheeses. Delicious now or cellar for 5 to 8 years. This is a real Chardonnay of terroir and a great value! 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
From 40 to 80 year-old massale-selection Chardonnay vines high on the slope in Cruzille on limestone with a great deal of calcium carbonate crystal (aragonite) with thin topsoils of clay and silica, never treated with chemicals, certified biodynamic. Fermentation is in 600 liter barrels with wild yeasts, aged 10 months sur-lie without racking, no SO2 until a small dosage (10 - 20 mg/l) before bottling. The 2016 "Aragonite" is a superb, well structured white Burgundy that will age beautifully. The wine shows elegant aromas of pear, lemon confit, lime-flower, toasted almond and stone, really lovely. The palate is intensely mineral and framed in firm acidity, with white fruits, citrus, spice and stone flavors. The living soils of the Clos give this wine an extra dimension of acidity and saline minerals that will contribute to a long life for this lovely wine, perhaps best 2025-2035, but it's delicious as a young wine as well. 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.
"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
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
Made from 100% Pinot Noir planted in 1971 in Les Maillons, a lieu-dit located in Barbonne-Fayel, whose soils are made up of chalk and heavy red clays. From his cellars in Congy, located to the southwest of the Côte des Blancs, Olivier Collin produces serious, vinous, Champagnes of terroir. His "Les Maillons" bottling is one such wine. The 2013 is ripe, dense, rich, and complex. With a faint copper hue, and fine bead; the nose is redolent of ripe red fruits, such as sour cherry, pomegranate, and wild raspberry. The palate is concentrated, stony, and bracingly dry. The power and poise of this wine are impeccably balanced, and this should knit beautifully with 5-10 years in the cellar. 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
From organically-farmed Chardonnay vines in Vertus, Mont Aime, Villeneuve, the current disgorgement of Arpège is a blend of 15% 2010, 50% 2009, 35% 2008 vintages bottled in 2012, recently disgorged with 5g/l dosage. Arpège (French for Arpeggio) is a great introduction to Pascal's wines. It combines the incisive chalkiness with pure fruit and a longer lees aging and is a delicious expression of his Côte des Blancs terroir. The nose offers white flowers, citrus peel, ginger and cool herb aromas. The palate is decidedly stony, with a chalky minerality leading the attack followed by notes of Meyer lemon, white peach skin, and Bosc pear flavors. The finish is long, bright, and sapid. This a perfect Champagne for an aperitif, but has the verve to pair with oysters and other seafood dishes. John McIlwain
From the "Les Clos" parcel, this wine contains all seven legal Champagne grapes, field-blended, farmed biodynamically, and vinified in barrel as its own cuvée. The wine has lots of savory notes, hazelnuts, and the edgy rusticity of Pinot Meunier, which comes through in handsome spades. The fruit is rose-hip-red, and the wine finishes with textured, dry minerality. All our eyes got big and wide and happy when we tasted this! WOW. JBT
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
The inaugural release of biodynamic vigneron Benoît Marguet's Coteaux Champenois Blanc, the 2015 was aged for 19 months in barrel. Bosc pear, lemon blossom, honeycomb on the nose. The palate is textured and waxy with good acidity lending freshness and brightness to a rich, layered finish redolent of nectarine, lemon curd, and acacia honey. With time in the glass, a deep minerality is revealed. This is magnificent Coteaux Champenois and a great expression of Ambonnay terroir. Bravo Benoît! 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
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
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
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
This Pinot Noir rosé is a blend of the saignée from villages and 1er cru fruit in Maranges, a straight pressing of Hautes Côtes de Beaune fruit, and pellicular maceration of fruit from Hautes Côtes de Beaune. Pale pink, effusive on the nose with aromas of cherry blossom (of course), wild strawberry, cherry, and chalk. Palate is ripe, racy and juicy. Ripe stone fruit and savory herbal notes lend interest. Lip-smacking finish. This is nearly incandescent with bright fruit and crackling energy. A fabulous rosé for an aperitif or with dinner outdoors on a warm Summer evening. 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
Dark forest and hedge fruits on nose, earthy and brooding with game aromas. Taut and mineral, with a core of pungent soil notes of black tea, cherry pit, spice and stone on a dense mid-weight palate. Tightly wound, energetic, on the attack; savory and dark-fruited on the finish. This is a bit reserved at the moment and benefits from a substantial decant or 4-7 years in the cellar. 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
Jean-Claude says this wine, sourced from lieux-dits Beaux and Bons on the Pommard side of Beaune, always shows aromas of "cerises noires" (black cherries). There is indeed a beautiful nose of bright red cherry with some eucalyptus and floral notes as well. Fresh acidity and very pretty fruit. Truly an elegant and lean expression, without ripe extracted fruit or any oak notes. Fine tannin and a long finish.
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
40+ year-old vines. Adjacent to Mazoyères on the Gevrey side of the the village. One of the cooler locations with a long ripening period. 15% new oak in 2016. This is a step up in class from the village level wines with a similar intensity, if different character than Les Millandes premier cru. Effusively perfumed with aromas of violets, hedge fruits, cassis, black tea and baking spices, mustard seed, and turned earth on the nose. The mid-weight palate is a bit cooler-toned than Millandes, with mouthwatering pure berry fruits and tangy minerality. Great persistence and sap on a finely-detailed, succulent, classy finish. This verges on cerebral, were it not for the equipoise between earthy and fruit notes. Doesn't shout, but speaks eloquently in paragraphs. A great Cheseaux that should age effortlessly! John McIlwain
45+year-old vines in clay limestone soils. 15% new oak. The 2016 Arlaud is a sensational expression of Les Millandes. On the nose it offers pure-fruited, pretty aromatics with ultra-ripe (not over ripe) pure cherry and violet aromas. Coltish and nervous on the palate, this shows great energy, ripe fruit flavors, with a tactile mineral spine, ripe tannins, generous fruit, with a long, driving mineral finish. This is excellent. Beautiful after-aromas and a good amount of the 'peacock's tail.' Lovely now, but this has the elements to age for 10-15 years and beyond. John McIlwain
60+year-old vines planted in a walled clos on Chambolle side of Morey beneath Bonnes Mares and Clos de Tart. 15% new oak. More structured, deeper-pitched, and masculine than Les Millandes. Pure plummy black cherry fruit with sauvage/animale elements and a frank, ferrous minerality within. Great density and agility. You can taste the proximity to Sentiers and Bonnes Mares. This is dynamite! Nearly painfully long, stony, palate-staining finish. This isn't a wine to enjoy in its callow youth, but will reward with 12-15+ years in the cellar. Patience is a virtue here. John McIlwain
Domaine Bart in Marsannay made no rosé in 2016 due to the very low yields, so we're very glad to have this lovely Pinot Noir available again from the 2017 vintage. The wine shows a bright pink color and pretty aromas of ripe cherry, raspberry, rose and citrus. The palate shows ripe strawberry and raspberry fruit with earth and mineral notes, as befits the limestone terroir of Marsannay. The finish is long and refreshing. This is light enough to serve with fish dishes and salads but has the depth and complexity to accompany grilled foods this summer.
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
Red and black cherry, floral and spicy on the nose, perfumed with notes of black tea, and five spice. Mid-weight palate offers flavors of red cherry and black raspberry, raspberry syrup, overlaying spicy mineral tones and fine precision and poise. This is pretty, but has gravitas within. Decant or better still hide in cellar for 3-5 years to allow elements to knit. A fine Charmes and a pleasure to drink! John McIlwain
Earthy and perfumed. Tension between bright red and black fruits and pungent core of minerality is exquisite. Lifted and grounded. Generous and precise. Needs a bit of time for the elements to knit, but this is just lovely. John McIlwain
Also known as Henri Felettig, this tiny domaine is run by brother and sister Gilbert and Christine Felettig, The domaine dates from 1970 and has a fine lineup of premier crus and village wines in Chambolle-Musigny as well as small holdings in Vosne Romanée and Nuits St. Georges. The wines are aromatically fine, pure-fruited, and terroir specific.
We are happy to have just received (July 2018) a few more cases of the 2014 CDN Villages, as this wine really benefits from some time in the bottle and decanting. Always an earthy and mineral-infused wine, the 2014 is a bit more fruit-forward but is still primarily a Burgundy of terroir. There is reduction when first opened so please decant or open in advance. With aeration the wine shows subtle aromas of red currant, strawberry and tart cherry with violet, brown spice and earth - really quite complex and pretty. The palate is well-structured with chalky mineral flavors underlying the earthy raspberry and strawberry fruit. The finish is long with firm acidity and mineral notes. This is a lovely and beautifully balanced Burgundy for those who enjoy minerals as much as fruit! Note: The wine improves dramatically over 3 to 4 days, re-corked in the fridge, for those with enough patience - or cellar for five to fifteen years. (Note from Sept 2016)
The vines are in the lieu-dit "Queue de Hareng" below an old quarry at the top of the slope in Brochon, next to Fixin 1er Cru "la Perrière," on shallow red/brown soils of mountain silt and limestone pebbles over the limestone bedrock. Organic farming, wild-yeast fermentations with minimal SO2. The 2015 Jane et Sylvain Côte de Nuits-Villages is a superb and unusual Burgundy showing intense aromas of ripe strawberry and cherry with rose leaf, brown spice and herbal notes as well as dusty stone and mineral smells which are typical of this vineyard. With aeration the aromas become more pure and fruit-driven and the palate shows lovely black cherry, strawberry and red currant fruit, quite dense and ripe, with a finish that's extraodiarily long and pure. Decant 4 to 6 hours in advance if drinking now or cellar for 3 to five years and drink till 2027. Highly recommended for those who enjoy some minerals in their Burgundy!
Jane 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
Jane et Sylvain: A refreshingly unpretentious name for a small organic estate in Gevrey-Chambertin. Their Bourgogne Rouge is from a parcel that has never been chemically treated and always tended organically. Yields were very low in 2016 in most of Burgundy - Jane and Sylvain lost most of their Bourgogne Rouge to mildew and hail, but the small quantity produced is outstanding, showing a deep red/black color and lovely aromas of ripe black cherry and blackberry with violet, earth, citrus and spice. The palate is sappy and dense, but balanced with firm acidity, at 13% alcohol, showing chalky black fruits, earth and mineral flavors that continue in the long finish. Decant or open in advance if drinking now, best to cellar three to five years. This is a serious Bourgogne Rouge at a great price!
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
From two premier crus, Les Gruenchers and Clos Baulet, mid slope in Morey Saint-Denis, giving a slightly fuller wine than Faconnieres. As with all of Stephane's parcels, there is a high percentage of old vines of "pinot tordu." The wine is more structured due to the deeper clay soils and gets less pigeage. The 2015, tasted in January 2017, was less aromatic than the Faconnières with very deep ripe red and black fruits, with herbal and mineral flavors and terrific length. This will need time in the cellar but should be a superb mature wine. David Lillie
From very old vines planted by Stéphane's grandfather, the rare and beautiful Magnien Chambolle-Musigny Vieilles Vignes is a lovely combination of finesse and ripeness.
From two small parcels in "Aux Eletois" (below Grand Cru Griottes) and "les Epointures" (below 1er Cru Clos Prieur) on the more fine and aromatic side of Gevrey. The midweight palate is lithe, racy, and offers up vibrant flavors of dark fruits, crushed herbs, game, and salty soil notes. Great lifted acidity and core of minerality overlain by an assortment of wild berry fruits. This is another great example of the combination of perfume, pure fruit, and detailed earthiness that is a hallmark of the 2016 vintage. Great tension and verve and a bargain at the price. Wonderful with veau aux champignons. John McIlwain
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
Made from organic estate-grown Riesling, along with grapes sourced from their Uncle (also organic), this is a liter of off-dry deliciousness! Refreshingly juicy flavors of fresh nectarine, strawberry lemonade, lime zest, apricot, and crystalline acidity to balance the touch of sweetness. Pair with any spicy cuisine or your next backyard BBQ! Cari Bernard
Riesling with extended skin-maceration time can sometimes lose its footing, falling into the spectrum of 'cidery'. And of course there's a place for that, but it's very exciting to find wines that still hold onto the acidity and balance of fruit and minerality. Clemens has hit this note, with the 2016 vintage of the (alter) Native—we see extended skin maceration and the wine spends 15 months sur lie in large old German oak before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Decant for at least a half hour to fully enjoy the subtle texture with heady notes of caramel, burnished peach, yellow apple, white blossom, balanced by juicy nectarine and vibrant tangerine acidity. Cari Bernard
(AP-7 Altenberg) Altenberg stands further afield from the estate, with mostly gray slate, a cooler microclimate, and south/southwest exposure.
(AP-18 Lorenz Manni) The Webers were able to obtain this 0.2 hectare parcel three years ago, located on the Krettnacher Altenberg with old vines upwards of 70 years in age on green basalt soils (with quartz and gray slate): a 'dream parcel' according to Erich Weber.
(AP-12 Kugel Peter) Beautiful, silky texture, citrus oils and stone fruit -- bright and concentrated. CB
(AP-1 Mutter Anna)
Wines made by Andi Knauss have been gracing our shelves for years now; his sparkling wines are a highlight, and we always look forward to his high-toned, light and lively Trollingers. The 2016 Rot (red), a blend of Portugieser & Lemberger, is cut from a different, bolder cloth. Cherry and plum liqueur aromas with blueberries and purple florals, the palate is juicy, lush, and deep, with a lengthy presence. Succulent, ripe forest blackberries and bramble, stewed plums, and a hint of dried herbs meld with a dark minerality. Not tannic by any means, it still maintains a structure that can stand up to an array of meatier options. Judging by the weather ahead of us, this is a BBQ wine through-and-through! Cari Bernard
Grey sandstone and pebbles mark the Steinacker vineyard, which sits just across the road from the Saumagen vineyard, Koehler-Ruprecht's grand cru site. Gardenias and lemon zest on the nose, the palate is soft and delicate with notes of white strawberries, apricot, peaches, and sweet fuji apple. Cari Bernard
Our favorite Pinot Noir rosé from the Pfalz returns! The 2017 vintage boasts good fruit with a saline mineral cut; flavors of wild strawberry, tart lemon zest, orange oil, peaches, and sour cherries are vibrant and punched up by the 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
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
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
Andreas Schumann has been making wine at Weingut Odinstal since 2004, biodynamic since 2006 and they've been organic since the 90's. The estate sits up from the town Wachenheim in the Haardt Mountains far back behind a forest, butting up to a basalt quarry, representative of one of the many soil types found in the 5.5 hectares of vineyards, which as a monopole, Schumann chooses to differentiate parcels by elevation above sea level and soil type. The herbs needed to make the biodynamic preparations grow near the vineyard and cows graze further afield. In the vineyards, a mix of tall grasses and delicate flowers reach upward, at times higher than the vines. The Riesling 350 N.N. is from the highest parcel in the vineyard, and shows its basalt pedigree in the nose, with a mineral nerviness and the intoxicating scent of stone fruit on the cusp of ripeness. A juxtaposition of stone and opulence plays out on the palate, concentrated and luxuriously textured with notes of soft mango, apricot, and orange zest. 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
Paiagallo 2014 shows a lot of complexity for such a young wine - at first very savory and ripe, then lovely bright cherry fruit on the palate and finish.This is clearly a wine for the cellar, as behind (or perhaps under?) the beautiful clarity of fruit is that brooding core of material that will take years to fully express itself. Quite a majestic wine, and a triumph for the vintage. Jamie Wolff
A consistently excellent wine — we've been lucky to get to taste this several times in the last few years. It needs a lot of time to breathe, and then it provides a classic example of fully mature Nebbiolo. Jamie Wolff
Enrico VI is Cordero's name for a small parcel of old vines in Villero. It's a grand wine, worthy of its royal name.
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
Sandri has decided to call this wine "Monforte", rather than by the sub-zone of Perno. But nothing else has changed, and he made great wine in 2012 - rich and ripe but energetic and lifted, with very fine tannins, and with no signs of heat. Jamie Wolff
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
From very old vines (replanted in 2015), this is very much in the same mold as the Chianti – and was vinified identically – but is considerably deeper and rounder without any additional wood, alcohol, or extract – just a direct expression of the old vines. I think this is remarkable – it strikes a fascinating balance between palate-enveloping darker fruit and finesse. Really a super wine. Jamie Wolff
Falanghina seems to be one of the great success stories of southern Italy, emerging from relative obscurity despite being a truly ancient variety into a nearly ubiquitous staple on the market. That has lead regrettably (and predictably) to any number of wines that fail to show the real virtues of the grape. Agnanum Falanghina is anything but predictable; produced from terraced vineyards of own-rooted vines ranging in age from 10 to 60 years old, possible only because of the particular soil of the area, the wine is pure and piercingly mineral. The nose is tart, showing pithy lemon and orange with delicate white florals, notes of mint and lemon balm and a characteristic hint of peach pit. The wine is almost airy on the palate with a fairly soft texture and fresh acidity showing a more deliberately stone fruit character of yellow peach and fresh apricot with a delicate saline finish. it is an obvious match to simple fish dishes but would be equally suited to a wide range of food: try it with goats milk cheese, olives, chicken, or egg dishes. Andy Paynter
Crivella is made with fruit from Bianco’s oldest vines, including some planted in the mid 1800s by Riccardo’s great-great-something grandfather; such old vines are extremely rare, and while they produce very little fruit, it’s impossible for Riccardo to even think about replacing them. At a tasting in the shop a customer said, “Like Sauternes with bubbles!” which was a lovely way to describe the wine and its rich and unctuous character. made lively with fizz. While there’s no botrytis, Crivella is much more complex and detailed than all but the very best Sauternes. I’ve certainly never tasted anything like it — a stunning wine. Jamie Wolff Moscato d'Asti is usually a fairly light and simple affair, but this bottling has gravitas to stand up to the most complex, aged cheeses. If an old Stilton and Port sounds a bit much, try this invigorating Moscato for a bit of a lighter approach. John Rankin
I am an unabashed fan of the wines coming from Fongoli, especially the fantastic Trebbiano Spoletino orange wine they make. The 2017 Vintage shows verve and freshness despite the the fact that it is one of the warmest vintages on record. The grapes are macerated in open top fermenters for 2 weeks with soft punch downs, and then rested in bottle. It is a hazy golden color in the glass, with aromas of ripe apple, delicate white flowers, and autumnal notes of fallen leaves and cut hay. Delicate tannins come through on the palate, with flavors of fresh apricot and ripe citrus with a crisp finish. Despite being bottle without any added sulfur this wine maintained freshness for days in my refrigerator. Andy Paynter
La Staffa is an estate founded in 1994 by the Baldi family and has embraced biodynamic farming under the direction of Riccardo Baldi. The 2017 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi is a beautiful example of the fresh and easy style of Verdicchio I love. The wine is fermented in stainless steel, cold settled over the winter, and rested on lees only briefly before being bottled in the spring following the vintage. The nose shows crisp stone fruit and notes of clementines and almond flowers. The palate is light and juicy, with tart white peaches, orange citrus and a dry, mineral finish. An easy match for fish it would also be suited to rich cheese, slightly bitter veggies like broccoli rabe, or served as a refreshing summer quaffer. 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 ‘Tin’ cuvées are the most innovative wines being made at Montesecondo. The name is an homage to Silvio’s North African heritage (“Tin” means clay in Arabic); the ‘Tin’ wines are fermented and aged in clay amphora. The white 'Tin' is produced from a parcel that is primarily Trebbiano Toscano interplanted with a bit of Malvasia. The grapes are destemmed and placed in 250 to 350-liter unlined amphora to ferment for six months, and then bottled unfined and unfiltered. The wine is a rich, hazy gold in the glass and shows aromas of ripe stone fruit, orange zest, honeycomb, and wildflowers, with a spicy cut of cinnamon and cloves. The palate is more lifted than many orange wines made with extended skin contact, perhaps due to the relatively tame personality of Trebbiano Toscano. The texture is soft rather than rugged with crisp acidity and delicate tannins showing flavors of tart white peach and fresh citrus fruit. Fascinating on its own I think that it would be an easy match for all kinds of food: try it with rich pasta dishes, olives and cheese, white fish, with grilled chicken or artichokes. Andy Paynter
In the realm of obscure Italian grape varieties, Blatterle takes the cake for rarity. With a total of three producers and no more than 1.5 hectares planted, the variety isn't even recognized by the Italian government and therefore can’t be listed anywhere on the label. Nusserhof is the largest producer of Blatterle in the world, making around 40 hectoliters annually of the stunning B….... cuvée. Vinified with native yeast on the skins, gently pressed, and then rested in steel, the winemaking is intentionally straight forward to better showcase the variety. The nose is complex, with layers of yellow flowers, chlorophyll, fresh green herbs, yellow peaches, and lemon verbena. The palate has some density but is lifted by bright acidity and crisp flavors of citrus and pithy stone fruit with a very dry finish. I think it is a perfect match for spring vegetables prepared simply; think asparagus dressed in lemon and olive oil or a salad of pea shoots and goat cheese. Andy Paynter
Oltretorrente has produced a wonderful Timorasso since they were founded in 2010 by Chiara Penati and Michele Conoscenti. The vines, planted in 1996, are tended organically with biodynamic practices and the grapes are vinified simply: the bunches are pressed whole-cluster and fermented with native yeasts in steel, resting on the lees for 8 months to lend texture and complexity. A touch golden in the glass, the wine shows strong aromas of ripe peach, honey, beeswax, and yellow flowers. The palate has some weight with a smooth texture, plenty of acidity, and rich stone fruit over a chalky mineral backbone. Simultaneously rich and crisp this wine would be a great match for more assertive dishes; try it with asparagus and hollandaise, cured cheese, risotto Milanese, honey-basted chicken, or white pizza. Andy Paynter
Our colleague Anna DeBeer has joined us in sales and we are very happy about it! Here are her first published words of wisdom: Timorasso, once the most commonly grown white grape in Piedmont, fell into decline after phylloxera ravaged the area in the late 19th century and it was replaced mostly with the much easier to grow Cortese grape. It has been only in the last few decades that the finicky (as it is prone to a number of diseases, thin skinned and low yielding) Timorasso has resurfaced, and this example from Principiano is absolutely one of the tastiest and most complex examples I have tried. Bright and pale lemon in color, it looks and smells as fresh and crisp as the mountain air from where it is grown. A pronounced herbal nose with salty and stony undertones leads into light white floral, white peach and almond aromas. On the palate its racy acidity cuts through first, followed by herbal notes of anise, chervil and hay, chased by zesty citrus and stone fruit flavors. The finish is exceptionally long and nutty and slightly bitter, yet stony and refreshing. I enjoyed this with a simple salad of cherry tomatoes and cucumber (from my tiny garden), tossed with feta, pine nuts, olive oil, lemon juice and herbs, which were fantastic together, but I can imagine this pairing with an endless array of dishes from pasta to chicken to vegetables, or of course, savored on its own, letting the Timorasso speak for itself. Anna DeBeer I went crazy over this wine when I tasted the newly released 2016 in May in Monforte d’Alba. The wine seems absolutely typical of Timorasso, one of the more interesting and serious of the zillion Italian grapes you may not have heard of, or heard of until recently. If you told me that the 720 SLM was from Timorasso’s classic home in the Colli Tortonesi (about 100km east of Barolo) I’d believe it. The best Colli Tortonesi wines are fairly rich and full-bodied but remain elegant if the alcohol levels are in check. That’s a challenging if, and it certainly helps Principiano that his Timorasso vines are at 720 meters above sea level, or 2-3 times higher than Colli Tortonesi vineyards. There are some wines from there that I really like, even love (Oltretorrente, Ricci), but I have yet to taste anything this good. Number One Fact: 12% alcohol! And obviously fully-ripe fruit, and very obviously pure and not manipulated. The wine is on the savory side aromatically, and the same saline and stony structure combined with nuts, hay, herbs, peach and pear, all carry through on the palate. It starts as tart and crisp and then grows and expands and is unusually complex, long and intense – rich and full, but just when most wines of this type would deliver heat, it’s ethereal and effortless, entirely refreshing and fascinating. There’s tons of material in balance – it reminds me a bit of good Chenin Blanc in profile, but very Italian with its almond-skin, delicately bitter tang on the finish. Made in stainless with indigenous yeasts, no clarification or filtration, and it goes through malolactic. A serious wine, seriously delicious; 2000 bottles made, of which we have reserved a greedy portion. Speaking of greedy: Since spending the month of May in Italy with no-holds-barred at the table, we’ve been having an all-vegetable summer – vegan actually. As the cook in the family I think I’d find it pretty difficult to sustain in the cold months, but I’ve been shopping at the Union Square greenmarket 2-3 times a week and the choice and quality is amazing. Above you can see last night’s dinner (a rare pasta indulgence): grilled eggplant, chopped tomato and cherry tomatoes, garlic, fresh red chili, basil, and mint. Normally I’d Norma-ize it with mozzarella, or at least some ricotta salata, and certainly parmigiano, but it was very satisfying without, and quite perfect with the Timorasso, amplifying the herbal side of the dish and the nutty side of the wine. Jamie Wolff
Ronchi di Cialla is most famous for their role in reviving the grape Schioppettino, and rightfully so, but the Ribolla Gialla will always be my favorite. It is a distinctive expression of Ribolla from 30-year-old vines exposed to the south west that shows a delicate fruit character and crunchy minerality. The wine is vinified in stainless steel, held in contact with the lees for three months with frequent batonnage, and then bottled unfiltered. Quite pale in the glass, the nose shows a mix of lemon pith and clementines over ripe golden apples, white flowers with a woodsy note of sage and underbrush. Medium bodied with crisp acidity, it has a light texture with juicy citrus fruit and has a sharply mineral finish. A lovely wine it would pair beautifully with pan seared scallops, fried flounder, or skate dressed with herbs and served with fresh spring peas. 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
Le Clos Guillot is a beautiful south-east facing vineyard, just east of the town of Chinon, above the Clos de l'Olive and adjacent to Le Chêne Vert. The upper slope of the parcel is clay over limestone (the lower part has sand and gravel over the rock, which permits a tiny production from franc de pied vines) and the vines are young, planted from 1993 to 2000. Fermentation in wooden cuves, 12 months of aging in two to five year-old barrels, 9 additional months in unlined cement vats. We have been buying this wine since it's first production in 2000 – it's one of the most elegant and Burgundian of Chinons. The 2015 Le Clos Guillot is absolutely beautiful, showing elegant aromas of blackberry liqueur, violets, stone and roast meat, a bit darker than Les Grézeaux, lovely and ethereal. The palate is dense and silky with blackberry and black raspberry fruit, ripe and sapid, perfectly balanced and bright with a firm mineral core. The finish is long and pure. While this is beautiful now, cellaring of seven to ten years should reveal a profound mature wine, then drink until 2035+ David Lillie
From old vines of Cabernet Franc on the clay/limestone upper slopes in Benais (Grandmont) and Restigné (Le Peu Muleu), it is fermented, aged and bottled without the use of sulfur dioxide, according to the winemaking principles of Jules Chauvet. 2015 is a great vintage for the Nuits D'Ivresse which shows lush aromas of red currant, black raspberry, violets, earth and black pepper. The palate is ripe and dense with strawberry and raspberry confit, balanced by citrusy acids. The finish is tart and juicy and very long with firm acidity and saline minerals. This is a beautiful young Bourgueil, with zero added SO2 - carafe if drinking now, best to wait three to five years and we think longer cellaring would be interesting, even without the sulfur! David 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."
2015 is a beautiful vintage for the superb Savennières of Domaine du Closel. La Jalousie shows subtle, complex aromas of citrus peel, pear, almond, stone , lime-flower and honeysuckle which follow through on the perfectly balanced palate. The fruit is lush and ripe but there is great acidity and minerality as well - the wine is elegant and very delicious in its youth, - serve with fish in sauce, scallops, monkfish, chicken in sauce and mild cheeses. Lovely wine! DL
Repesenting a new generation in Muscadet, Manuel Landron (son of Jo Landron) and Marion Pescheux are making lovely wines on their 9 hectares of mostly Orthogneiss/Amphibolite soils."La Croix Mroiceau" is from a one-hectare parcel just east of La Haye Fouassière. The 2017 shows a pale gold color and aromas of dried pear, candied lemon, almond and fines herbes. The palate is round and supple with firm acidity, with ripe white fruits, toasted almond, anise and mineral flavors that linger in the finish. This is a bit fuller-bodied than most Muscadet , but still expressing the Orthogneiss terroir with a firm structure good acidity. Serve with baked or broiled fish, roast chicken, vegetables and mild cheeses. Lovely wine! David Lillie
2014 is a beautiful vintage for the Clos de Turpenay, a vineyard of clay/limestone on a well-exposed slope that has been in vines since the 13th century. The current vines were planted in massale selection about 50 years ago and generally give a very structured wine that ages well. As with the best of the 2014 Chinons, The Clos de Turpenay shows a beauriful combination of supple ripe fruits, freshness, and great terroir expression. The aromas are complex and pretty - black raspberry, cassis and strawberry, quite fresh, with earth, pepper, rose and citrus. The palate is a lovely mix of red and black fruits with earth, sous-bois, citrus and chalky mineral flavors that continue in the long sappy finish. This is a subtle and elegant Chinon - carafe 1 to 2 hours in advance or cellar 15 to 20 years. Serve with stews, Guinea hen with peaches (!), salade magret de canard, roast chicken.
Beautiful dense and long expression of Chenin Blanc from around the Anjou appellation. Eben Lillie
Guy Bossard's groundbreaking Biodynamic estate is now in the capable and energetic hands of Fred Niger Van Herck, who is continuing Guy's fabulous work and introducing new wines vinified in amphora. The 2016 "Granite" is a bit more austere than the 2015, showing pronounced mineral and saline aromas with dried pear, citrus and herbal notes. The palate is crystalline and pure with good density with citrus, earth and white fruits. The finish is long with pear, iodine, citrus and firm acids. Decant or open in advance for current drinking, serve with oysters, other shellfish, white fish sushi, scallops and richer fish dishes as well. Drink till 2030+
50% Pinot Noir and 50% Grolleau grown by Alain and Christine Bore, the sixth generation on their organic estate in Anjou. This unusual blend of Pinot Noir and Grolleau is lovely and refreshing in 2017 showing bright aromas of ripe boysenberry and black Raspberry with citrus, black pepper and earth. The palate is supple and soft with cool black raspberry, black plum and cocoa, earth and mineral flavors. The finish is supple and ripe - serve cool with pork and chicken dishes or sip by itself.
Tasted with Pascaline Lepeltier, MS at the Salon Demeter last winter in Angers, this wine was absolutely sensational! 100% Pinot Fin, the small berried old version of Pinot Noir, whole cluster fermentation. Beautiful aromas of tart cherry, raspberry and violet; palate chalky and dense with black raspberry and cherry fruit, velvety and long. Not inexpensive, but worth the price, just a brilliant Pinot Noir. (only in the US at Chambers Street and Racines NY) David Lillie
This is a gorgeaous Sancerre Rouge, a product of Vincent Gaudry's wonderful biodynamic farming. Wild yeast fermentation, aging 12 months in used barrels. The wine shows lovely aromas of tart cherry, violet and spice, with a vibrant mineral character on the palate from the limestone soils. The fruit is sappy and dense but not heavy, with plum skin, black cherry and earthy flavors. The finish is long with bright chalky red fruits and refreshing acidity. Drink now, served quite cool, with grilled meats, veal tartare and mild cheeses or hold for five to ten years for a mature experience. This is a deliciouis Pinot Noir from a great terroir in Sancerre! David Lillie
If you have a sweet tooth, this Chenin is for you! Bonnezeaux is one of a few sweet wine appellations in the Loire Valley, where grapes are required to be over-ripe, and are sometimes affected by noble rot. "Le Malabé" has about 130 grams of residual sugar, but I honestly thought it was about 80g when I first tasted this wine, thanks to the high acidity and the ample minerality that the schiste soils provide. Just bringing the wine to the nose, one is greeted with honey, quince and with some subtle sweet spice aromas that tickle the senses. On the palate, it's dense, ripe and absolutely delicious. Francois from Grandes Vignes mentioned to me that 2013 was OK for reds in the Loire, very good for their dry Chenin Blanc, and exceptional for the sweet wines. Case in point! Drink now if you're craving sometime sweet, or age for decades. Eben Lillie
From 80 year-old vines in "Petits Monts" and "Grand Monts" towards the top of the slope above Benais, facing roughly south-west, clay over Turonien limestone (tuffeau, craie micacée). This is the terroir giving the most elegant and age-worthy Bourgueils. 18 month elevage ; 40% in cuve inox, 20% in one new 400 liter barrel, 20% in one-year and 20% in two-year old barrels, assembled two months before bottling. Tasted in February 2016, the wine was fairly closed and tight, with deep, pure black fruits and perfect balance. This will be a sensational mature wine, best to wait eight to ten years, or more, then drink until 2040.
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.
This unique Loire Valley Chardonnay is from old vines and was aged 24 months in barrel in the Jousset's "cave troglodyte."
Lise and Bertrand Jousset began the "Exilé" project with fruit purchased from nearby friends who share their commitment to organic farming. The "Exilé" rose is a pétillant made from 100% Gamay and it's one of our favorites. The 2016 is decadent with coastal aromas of salty pineapple core, fleshy melon, almond skins, and lilac. At 12% it is almost completely dry with a lacy mineral structure framing rich flavors of bosc pear, creamy pineapple, and subtle hints of white tea and orange peel. The finish is long and fabulously mineral. Serve with salade niçoise, cheese, or as a life-affirming aperó after a long day. Amanda Bowman
Rose á Lies is a beautiful Petillant Naturel Rosé from Lise and Bertrand Jousset in Montlouis-sur-Loire. Made from 40 year-old organic Gamay and Grolleau vines grown on sand and silex soils over limestone. Fermented in used barriques, the wine is bottled at 15 grams of sugar and finishes at less than 5 grams. The wine has toasty aromas of red currant and raspberry with creamy red fruits on the palate balanced with bracing acidity. The finish is clean, refreshing and long - a perfect Pet Nat for any special or everyday occasion!
The Joussets have made a lovely natural Pinot Noir from Biodynamic fruit grown by Philippe Gilbert in Menetou-Salon!
This beautiful Chinon is from 65 to 70 year-old vines in sandy clay soils over limestone in Sonnay, near Cravant. The wine ages for 18 months in old barrels, less than 200 cases are made. The 2014 Ame D'Antan shows a deep black/garnet color with elegant aromas of ripe blackberry and strawberry with hints of violet, prune, citrus and crushed stone. The palate is dense but bright, with a silky texture, showing pure blackberry fruit with earth and licorice with firm mineral acidity. Good length with lingering berry and mineral flavors. Delicious now, it will age beautifully, probably best 2020 to 2030+. Highly recommended. DL
Up until this vintage, the only rosés available from Les Capriades were off-dry, but now there is finally a bone-dry cuvee! Made entirely from Gamay, it strikes a perfect balance of fruit and minerality which results in a zesty, refreshing wine awash in red berries, flowers, tangerine zest, and tart cranberries. This is the perfect sparkler to ring in the new year with. Tim Gagnon
A good candidate for aging, this is Luneau-Papin's only cuvee on a granite subsoil (granit a deux micas) having a different character than the granite soils in Clisson or Château Thébaud. Vintages going back to 1989 of the L d'Or are superb now, but this very young 2016 would be perfect today with a filet of sole. The wine shows elegant aromas of salt air, almond, pear, melon and lemon peel. The palate is very mineral and silky with pear, stone, bitter lemon - a bit austere, finishing with earth, mineral and citrus notes. A beautiful wine of terroir - serve with oysters and grilled fish, céviche of scallops - hold for five years then drink with lobster and fish in sauce, drink till 2038. David Lillie
(First produced in 1988, this great Muscadet is made from a three hectare parcel of old massale-selection vines (all over 60 years old, with a high percentage much older) on a slope above the Maine. The bedrock is Granite de Château Thébaud, a fissured rock that allows the vines to penetrate deeply, with ideal thin topsoils of clay, with sand and gravel allowing good drainage.) The warm winter and early spring of 2017 in much of France brought early development to the vines, followed by a hard freeze at the end of April that killed the developing leaves and grapes. Losses were high in many parts of France, especially in the Loire Valley, and hot, dry summer weather further lessened the yields. Fortunately the quality of the resulting wines, is frequently outstanding as is the case with the superb 2017 Domaine de la Pépière "Briords." The harvest started two weeks early, on the 29th of August, bringing in ripe grapes with a lovely balance of maturity and acidity. The aromas are classic Briords, with white fruits, citrus rind, almond and stone with hints of white pepper and anise. The palate shows nice ripeness and density, a bit closed, with wet stone and citrus and very firm acidity underlying the tart white fruits. This is a tight and classy Briords that will need a decant if drinking young, preferably wait three to five years and drink until 2035(?). David Lillie
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
François and Julien Pinon make some of the finest sparkling wines in the Loire Valley. The superb Brut Non-Dosé comes from 45 year-old Chenin Blanc vines on Turonien limestone with topsoils of clay with silex. The fermentation lasts 4 to 6 weeks without added yeast or sugar. 2012 is a beautiful year for this wine as the bright fruit and firm acidity of the vintage contribute to the elegance and structure of this cuvée. The wine shows aromas of creamy lemon, pear, brioche, fines herbes and stone, with pear, green apple. mineral, herbal and bitter lemon flavors on the palate. The mousse is fine and refreshing and there is fabulous length of dried herbs, citrus pear and stone flavors on the finish. This very young wine will develop nicely in the glass and will cellar beautifully for twenty years or more - a few years ago we tasted a 1976 that was sensational. David Lillie
50% Cot and 50% Grolleau, organically farmed in Vouvray by Julien and François Pinon. This is an elegant and very delicious Pet Nat that will accompany just about anything and is delightful as an aperitif by itself. The aromas are quite pretty with ripe raspberry and red currant with hints of rose and blood orange. The palate is fresh and creamy with raspberry and tart strawberry with a nice mineral kick and sappy fruit in the refreshing finish. Grab this before it's gone... David Lillie
From 25 - 30 year-old Chenin Blanc vines in a mid-slope parcel of thin clay and silex soils on limestone, yields of 25 hl/ha, certified organic with biodynamic methods as well, fermented and aged in 4 to 6 year-old barriques. Sébastien Cornille has quickly become one of the finest producers of Loire Valley Chenin Blanc on his 7 hectare estate in the Coteaux du Loir and Jasnières. The 2015 Jasnières "Clos es Molières" is an astonshing dry Chenin showing a bright pale gold color and subtle aromas of pear, dried herbs, almond, citrus and white pepper. The palate is dense but crystalline and intensly mineral with white fruits, almond, citrus and stone flavors that continue in the scintillating finish. Serve now with an elegant shellfish or fish preparation or hold for ten to fifiteen years and serve with fish or chicken in sauce. Beautiful wine! David Lillie
(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
Sebastien Cornille's lovely "Guinguette" is made from a blend of 80% Pineau d’Aunis and 20% Gamay sourced from 30+-year-old vines in biodynamic farming. It undergoes semi-carbonic maceration for 20 days in tank before the Pineau d’Aunis is pressed off to be aged in neutral barrique and the Gamay in tank. The 2017 Guinguette is a superb "vin de soif" offering bright aromas of peppery raspberry, cranberry, tart cherry and violets. The palate shows light but sappy raspberry, plum and red currant fruit with hints of grapefruit, clove and wet stone. The finish is tart and refreshing. Serve this lovely wine slightly chilled with charcuterie, of course, grilled pork and lamb, bluefish (?) and mild cow cheeses. David Lillie
This beautiful Saumur-Champigny is from a walled vineyard of old vines in Varrains, certified organic and worked with biodynamic methods as well. The wine shows a deep black/red color and ripe aromas of red currant and blackberry with earth, roast meat and citrus framed in a bit of oak, quite lovely. The palate shows lush, textured blackberry and black cherry fruit with earth and bitter chocolate backed by firm acidity that continues in the long finish. Delicious now served with a coq au vin, grilled steak or pork stew, this will age gracefully over the next ten to fifteen years.
This is a lovely Chenin Blanc from our organic friends at La Source du Ruault. Ripe but subtle aromas of pear, apple, citrus, lime-flower, hay and earth lead to the palate which is very mineral, with ripe lemony white fruits, almond, stone and herbal flavors and a very long intense chalky finish. A beautiful and very young Chenin that is scintillating and delicious now, best after a few days open or ten years in the cellar. Highly recommended! David Lillie
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
"La Porte Dorée" is from 40 to 90 year-old Romorantin vines grown on clay soils with limestone bedrock. The juice undergoes a long, slow alcoholic fermentation and malolactic fermentation, and the wine ages in old foudres and barriques. Minimal SO2 is added before bottling. The 2015 "Porte Dorée" shows complex aromas of pear, citrus, lime-flower, white pepper, almond and caramel, with a very slight oxidative character. The palate shows ripe pear, quince, citrus, almond and intense stony flavors that coat the mouth and are very dense and long. This is a very young wine that will benefit from decanting or 3 to 10 years of cellaring. Serve now with fish or chicken in a cream sauce and with a wide variety of full-flavored cheeses. Lovely wine! DL
Sauvignon Blanc has been grown in Quincy at least since the 15th century and produces a particularly distinctive wine on the gravel and silex soils of the Domaine de Villalin's vineyard "Les Grands Vignes." The estate is clearly the finest in Quincy, farming with organic methods, plowing (sometimes with horses), harvesting by hand and fermenting with wild yeasts. The 2017 has just arrived (March 1st 2018) and benefits from aeration, then shows subtle aromas of pear and quince with tart citrus and herbal notes. The palate is refreshing and bright with white fruits, gooseberry, fig and citrus flavors framed in firm acidity. If drinking now, open an hour in advance if possible - this should open up nicely by late spring for delicious drinking with a wide variety of fish and chicken dishes, salads and goat cheeses.
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
From 10 to 50 year-old vines grown on limestone soils (Middle Jurassic!) in the commune of Aluze, Cotes Chalonnaise, certified organic since 1999. This is a lovely Pinot Noir, a bit rounder and riper that previous vintages - the 2017 shows aromas of ripe black cherry, earth, roast meat and violets. The palate is bright but lush with ripe raspberry and cherry fruit, earth and mineral flavors with ripe, sappy fruit in the finish. It's a great value in Red Burgundy - serve cool with chicken and pork dishes, mild cow cheeses. Decant if possible or hold two to five years. 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
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
The Vignes du Maynes "Cuvée Auguste" is a superb Burgundy made from massale selection Pinot Fin planted in 1964. The parcel, high on the slope in Cruzille, is on Bathonian limestone with a great deal of calcium carbonate crystal (aragonite) with thin topsoils of clay and silica. Yields of 20 hl/ha, semi-carbonic and normal alcoholic fermentations, with zero additives, bottled under nitrogen. Yields were quite low in 2016, but as with much of Burgundy, the 2016 Cuvee Auguste is a classic, well structured wine that should age beautifully. The wine shows beautiful aromas of tart cherry, rose, earth, orange peel and spice. The palate is dense and earthy with a core of deep berry fruit, silky and elegant with notes of citrus, licorice and roast meat. The finish is long and sapid with chalky minerals, citrus, spice and berry fruits. This is a gorgeous living wine - decant a few hours if drinking now or cellar five to ten years or more. A very small quantity is available of this rare and beautiful wine. David Lillie