Wines

Jean Féry

SAVIGNY-LÈS-BEAUNE 2017
Sous la Cabotte
100% Pinot Noir (13% alc.)

The Férys have coaxed a succulent, elegant wine with vibrant red fruits from vines averaging 25yo. Organic viticulture, low yields (around 35hh) and sensitive oak élevage make this a really attractive village Savigny.

Jean-Claude Rateau

HAUTES-CÔTES DE BEAUNE 2017
100% Pinot Blanc (12.5% alc.)

A real rarity here where 27yo pinot blanc vines give a ripe, citron, floral but very finely chiselled example of the variety with a hint of green tea. Vinified and aged in older barrels for six months.

Jean-Claude Rateau

BEAUNE 1ER CRU 2012
Les Coucherias
100% Chardonnay (13% alc.)

The vineyard, once a quarry that supplied stone for Les Hospices de Beaune, is completely protected on all sides, and tilts slightly south, with a subsoil of quarry debris. The roots grow deep and bring a coolness and minerality to the warm fruit. A rich, complex and layered wine of lovely balance.

Jean-Claude Rateau

BEAUNE 2016
Cuvée Ronde
100% Pinot Noir (12% alc.)

This is an assemblage of Jean-Claude’s best lieux-dits in Beaune – Clos des Mariages, Les Prévoles, Les Bons Feuvres, and Les Beaux Fourgets – which he normally bottles individually but couldn’t in 2016 due to low yields. Cuvée Ronde is delicious, with sappy wild strawberry and red berry fruits, and a lifted, fresh, cool-toned succulent finish. Not a bruiser, there’s loads of charm and detail here. Old-fashioned in the best sense and a vibrant expression.

Jean-Claude Rateau

BEAUNE 2017
Les Beaux et Bons
100% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc.)

Jean-Claude’s Les Beaux et Bons comes from two tiny vineyards running into each other – Les Bons Feuvres where there is an iron-rich soil and Les Beaux Fougets with fine clay soil. The 25yo vines planted at 10,000 vines/ha give a very elegant wine (destalked 80%), with a soaring perfume, mineral backbone and fine-grained tannins. For drinking now to 2025.

Jean-Claude Rateau

BEAUNE 1ER CRU 2015
Les Reversées
100% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc.)

Les Reversées is a wine from a parcel of 25 to 100yo vines planted in a deep soil of clayey brown limestone on a gentle east facing slope. It has a very pretty pale colour, also showing a touch of pepper and liquorice on the nose. On the palate its class is immediately apparent – silky mouthfeel, spicy raspberry fruit with good weight and energy. An age-worthy wine that feels detailed and very harmonious. For drinking now to 2025.

Jean-Claude Rateau

BEAUNE 1ER CRU 2017
Les Bressandes
100% Pinot Noir (13.5% alc.)

From a steep, due east facing slope that easily ripens the pinot noir and gives structure and depth as well as elegance, Rateau’s Les Bressandes is from a 1ha parcel of young and 50yo vines on prime terroir. More substantial than Les Reversées, the lovely weight of red fruit and spices is no less elegant and finishes very long. For drinking now to 2035+.

Pierrick Bouley

POMMARD 2018
100% Pinot Noir (13.5% alc.)

This comes from three parcels of 60-90yo vines totalling half a hectare, the largest holdings in Chanlins and Lamblins on terres blanches, high on the hillside and bordering Volnay. It is a richer, denser wine than Pierrick’s village Volnay, with the old vines playing their hand, offering spicy, earthy plum fruit. Perfectly pitched, with caressing yet structured, medium-bodied flavours (typically Pommard), it really coats the palate, and finishes long, saline, and mineral. For drinking now to 2024.

Pierrick Bouley

VOLNAY 1ER CRU 2018
Roncerets
100% Pinot Noir (13.5% alc.)

A tiny 0.13ha parcel of 45yo vines here, from the heart of the parcel close to the village on a gentle slope, where the limestone has broken up providing lots of tiny stones. No new oak has been used as it would unbalance the wine. Succulent and stylish there is still some complexity and an impressive weight of dark, spicy fruit here, finishing fresh and mineral. The wine to drink whilst you are cellaring the Clos des Chênes for another couple of years. For drinking now to 2028.

Pierrick Bouley

VOLNAY 1ER CRU 2018
Clos des Chênes
100% Pinot Noir (13.5% alc.)

Along with Taillepieds, Clos des Chênes is the other stand-out 1er cru of the village (it is Michel Lafarge’s flagship wine), well exposed on a south-east slope. A rich deep purple immediately attests to the extra depth and concentration of this wine (aged in 20% new oak). There is dark fruit with a latent energy on the nose, with luscious, structured dark, almost blackcurrant fruit on the palate, Moroccan spices, and plenty of reserve and grip with a sappy finish. Brilliant wine. For drinking now to 2038.

Maison En Belles Lies

BOURGOGNE ALIGOTÉ 2019
100% Aligoté (11.5% alc.)

This is the first vineyard ever owned by Maison En Belles Lies, surrounded by fallow land and forest, Pierre planted fruit trees and settled beehives among the 50yo vines. This is a remote area along the road from La Rochepot down to Saint-Aubin, lieu-dit Les Genouvrées Au Sud. Located in the Hautes-Côtes on the plateau at 320m altitude the soil is white, 'terre blanche' of medium depth, it has a lot of stones and fossils perfectly suited to aligoté doré. Aged for 14 months in 30% stainless steel and 70% old 350ltr barrels. It is racked for clarification in the spring, not filtered as per all cuvées but bottled with a light 'sulfitage de protection' (15 mg/l). The wine feels very close to the grape on the aromatics, silky and ripe on the palate it is perfectly balanced by savoury and lip-smacking acidity.

Maison En Belles Lies

BOURGOGNE ALIGOTÉ 2020
Jarre à Bia
100% Aligoté (12.5% alc.)

This comes from the same plot as the straight aligoté, a selection of the best bunches were gently destemmed and layered down a 'jarre en terre cuite' (terracotta) for maceration and fermentation. Pressed after six months the fermenting juice went back into the jarre for ageing. No fining, filtration or SO2 added. Still pale coloured considering the length of skin-contact, this is textural and denser than the original version – the terracotta brings 'verticality' to the wine, a umami-loaded texture and savoury finish. A meditative bottling.

Maison En Belles Lies

BOURGOGNE 2019
100% Chardonnay (12.5% alc.)

50-60yo vines planted on an alluvial fan in Meursault, deep soils of sand and clayey silt. 15 months élevage in 350ltr fûts, no fining or filtration and bottled with 15mg/l SO2. Round and creamy with a tonic finish, a well-handled reduction bringing lovely toasty notes, this an extremely pleasurable wine for everyday drinking.

Maison En Belles Lies

MONTHÉLIE 2017
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

Pierre made this wine from a 0.40ha parcel of 50yo vines high up a south-east facing slope of 'terre blanche' – a very stony limestone-clay soil which is difficult to plough and weathers out many fossils. Only 1% of Monthélie vineyards are planted with chardonnay, invariably at the top of hillsides. Aged for 15 months in 4yo 350ltr barrels, this wine coats the palate, it’s elegant with limestone-induced salivation, incisive freshness and a floral touch. The finish is lenghty, clear and precise. No SO2 added.

Maison En Belles Lies

SANTENAY 2018
100% Chardonnay (12.5% alc.)

Located at the bottom of a coteau, lieu-dit Les Saunières, the soils are very red and made up of marls. The vineyard is 0.37ha and was planted 40 years ago. The terroir here lends a pronounced irony quality to the wine, dense in its youth it expresses lovely floral and herbal notes sustained by minerality on the palate. Aged in old 350ltr barrels for 15 months with 15 mg/l of sulphur added at bottling.

Maison En Belles Lies

CORTON CHARLEMAGNE GRAND CRU 2016
100% Chardonnay (12.5% alc.)

Pierre produces just two barrels from gnarled 85yo vines giving a tiny yield, from the fine lieu-dit of Le Charlemagne, the true heartland of this legendary appellation, on a south-west facing slope in white coloured marl with small chalky stones overlying a hard limestone base. The fermentation ticks along slowly in two fûts from 2010 and 2014 and a 18-months élevage follows – Pierre has always found that this 'climat' benefits from longer ageing. One of the finest white burgundies that we've tasted, it’s a wine of style and race, with density and yet finesse with a limpid quality, a marked salinity and just so much class. No SO2 added.

Maison En Belles Lies

L'ÉTRANGE 2018
Vin de France
60% Gamay, 25% Pinot Noir, 15% Chardonnay (11% alc.)

70yo vines planted 'en foule' – old school field blend – in the cold terroir of the Hautes Côtes at 400m altitude on a clay-limestone slope. Carbonic maceration of 30 days followed by 15 months ageing in old fûts and bottled without SO2. A unique glimpse in Burgundy's past, this is lightly coloured, perfumed and high-pitched with complex citrus flavours and acidulated red fruits on the palate. A refined and terroir-driven 'vin de soif'.

Maison En Belles Lies

HAUTES CÔTES DE BEAUNE 2018
100% Pinot Noir (11.5% alc.)

This wine comes from a 0.55ha holding of 50yo vines planted in a lieu-dit called Les Chataigniers at 310m altitude above the village of Saint Aubin – the soil here is of a medium depth and easy to plough. Low yield averaging 40hh, whole-bunch fermentation and free run juice only (press juice discarded). Aged in old 228ltr barrels for 15 months, pinch of sulphur added at bottling. Pale-coloured, it is juicy, fresh and elegant with sustained red fruits aromas typical of pinot noir. As Pierre likes to point out this is the perfect accompaniment for BBQs with good friends!

Maison En Belles Lies

ALOXE-CORTON 2017
100% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc.)

The 60-65yo vines are planted in a deep soil of red clay at the bottom of a hill, lieu-dit Les Caillettes. Vinified from 100% whole bunches and very delicately extracted, aged in 7-10yo pièces bourguignonnes and neither fined nor filtered. Delicate colour, smooth and feminine texture, it's a wine with an excellent core of vibrant red fruits, a display of elegance and harmony. No SO2 added.

Maison En Belles Lies

MARANGES 1ER CRU 2016
Les Clos Roussots
100% Pinot Noir (13% alc.)

The 0.49ha of vines here are over 60yo planted in a mix of clay and chalky marls. Made from whole bunches and aged in 3-7yo fûts, this wine has a lot of class, perfumed and racy on the nose, it is structured and perfectly pitched, with delectable black fruits and a saline freshness. A judicious match to game meat and creamy sauces. No SO2 added.

Jean-Philippe Fichet

BOURGOGNE ALIGOTÉ 2019
100% Aligoté (13.5% alc.)

Fichet's aligoté vines are planted in Meursault, on the flatter land below the famous hillside. Aged in 6yo 600ltr demimuids for one year this is a balanced, zippy wine, with finely tuned fruit and good minerality.

Jean-Philippe Fichet

MEURSAULT 2018
100% Chardonnay (13.5% alc.)

This is a superb example of village Meursault from six well-placed lieux-dits (including Les Clous and Narvaux) and old vines averaging 50yo. It offers good weight on the attack, buttery, apricot fruit, with a balancing mineral character and silky finish. For drinking now to 2025.

Sylvain Langoureau

SAINT-AUBIN 1ER CRU 2018
Champlots
100% Chardonnay (13% alc.)

Sylvain's holdings totalling 8.5ha are largely in Saint-Aubin. Sylvain is a very thoughtful winemaker and he uses Sylvain Pataille as a consultant to bounce ideas off. His Champlots vines planted in marl soils with a south-west aspect are between 10-20yo. Aged in 20% new to 5yo barrels, this is a delicious wine enjoyable in its youth with good weight of citrus fruit, orange oil, hint of basil, liquorice and bay-leaf on the palate, tethered by a refreshing balancing acidity. Excellent value for money.

Sylvain Langoureau

SAINT-AUBIN 1ER CRU 2018
En Remilly
100% Chardonnay (13% alc.)

This comes from vines planted by a selection massale in 1989 on a steep south-west facing slope that is one of the appellation’s finest terroirs (effectively a continuation of le Montrachet as the hillside swings round to the west) where the soil is very sparse and you find just ground up limestone. Aged in 20% new to 5yo barrels, this is an attractive wine, accessible in its youth.

Marc Colin

SAINT-AUBIN 2019
Luce
100% Chardonnay (13% alc.)

30yo vines here facing west giving a friendly, open, mineral wine. Damien ages most of his Saint-Aubins in a good proportion of 30hl foudres (here 50%), as foudres preserve more CO2 and freshness, and consequently allow him to use lower sulphur levels. Overall there is only 5% new oak with the oldest barrels 15yo.

Marc Colin

SAINT-AUBIN 1ER CRU 2018
La Chatenière
100% Chardonnay (13.5% alc.)

Damien makes this fine 1er Cru from three parcels of 30, 40 and 50yo vines planted on a southwest-facing hillside. Here the soil is only 30cm deep and the limestone below is very hard. The wine offers a fine balance of citrus fruits, saline edge and Saint-Aubin’s characteristic tension. For drinking now to 2028.

Marc Colin

SAINT-AUBIN 1ER CRU 2017
En Montceau
100% Chardonnay (13% alc.)

According to Damien the 60yo late ripening vines planted south-west just around the corner from Chatenière, give the most mineral of all their Saint-Aubin vineyards. The soils here are white marls that produce a dense, vigourous, ripe lemon, mineral driven wine that slowly unwinds to reveal its qualities.

Marc Colin

PULIGNY-MONTRACHET 2019
Le Trézin
100% Chardonnay (13% alc.)

The 35yo Trézin vines are located high up on the hill above the Puligny 1er Cru La Garenne. It is cooler here and so the wine always retains a good cut of acidity that marries beautifully with its steely, composed fruit. VLQ. For drinking now to 2029.

Marc Colin

CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET 2019
Margot
100% Chardonnay (13% alc.)

Margot is a wine named after Caroline and Damien’s paternal grandmother. It comes from four parcels of vines averaging 35yo, planted on the lower slopes of the appellation in limestone-clay soils. Aged in 20% new oak barrels for 12 months and then given six months in cuve, this is rich and yet firm, with good structure and fine depth to the fruit.

Marc Colin

CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET 1ER CRU 2017
Les Caillerets
100% Chardonnay (13.5% alc.)

Situated just above Champs Gains, on a moderate, due east-facing slope, with shallow and stony clay-limestone soil, Les Caillerets is regarded as one of the very best Premier Cru vineyards in Chassagne. It comes from a few parcels planted in 1950, 1976 and 1990, and is vinified in tronconic wooden vats, transferred to foudres and 350ltr oak barrels for 12 months, before spending a further six months in cuve before bottling. 2017 has more flesh than 2016, with yellow flowers, white fruits, and an oyster shell mineral lick on the finish.

Marc Colin

SANTENAY 2017
Champs Claude
100% Pinot Noir (13% alc.)

This is an excellent red from 110yo vines in the lieu-dit of Champs Claude which lies below the Chassagne 1er cru of Morgeot. The soil here is quite rich, gravelly clay with a little sand that is well suited to pinot noir. The oak is very sensitively handled (10% new up to 6yo barrels). The cool raspberry fruit has been delicately extracted, and there is an old viney framework and structure.

Clair Obscur

BOURGOGNE 2017
100% Pinot Noir (12% alc.)

This is the cuvée that started the domaine; it comes from a parcel in the village of Corpeau, planted in 1963, which Pierre inherited from his grandfather. The soil here is quite heavy, predominantly brown clay with some stones, and gives a beautiful silky texture to the wine. Sorted in the vineyard, whole bunches are loaded intact into open wooden vats for fermentation, remontage is done with a bucket once every other day during the ten days maceration for a delicate extraction, and the wine is then aged in 5-15yo 228ltr barrels for about a year before bottling with minimal sulphur. Like all of Pierre’s reds, this is succulent and quite sensual, the fruit coats the palate, the tannins are very fine and frame it nicely, it’s clear and precise, with cherries, wild berries and touch of smoke and earth. It is very rare to find red burgundies that give so much pleasure in their youth.

Clair Obscur

MARANGES 2016
Les Aubuzes
100% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc.)

The lieu-dit Les Aubuzes is located in the heavy clay soils typical of Maranges. Like all of Pierre’s reds, this is vinified with whole bunches, the extraction is very gentle, with remontage done by hand with a bucket to keep the cap wet, and ageing takes place in old 228ltr barrels. Planted in 1985, the vines here yield a very fine, pure and mineral expression of Maranges. Expressive on the nose, it feels very relaxed on the palate, silky with beautifully fine tannins, it’s incredibly hard to put the glass down.

Clair Obscur

MARANGES 2017
Sur le Bois Sud
100% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc.)

30yo vines here worked biodynamically on quite a flat 0.25ha vineyard in the classic Burgundy soil mix of limestone and clay, this is the second vintage made by Pierre following his acquisition of the vineyard. Aged in old barrels in Pierre’s tiny cave next to his house in Corpeau, the wine is made from yields of 28hh with no chaptalisation, fining or filtration and just 5mg/l of sulphur added at bottling in November 2018. It offers a pale colour, with lots of fresh cherries on the nose. On the palate the fruit is frank, vibrant and sustained, and there is a silky grain to the tannins on the finish. Wines made like this without recourse to too much new oak or high levels of sulphur are just so easy and pleasurable to drink in their youth.

Domaine Chevrot

MARANGES 2018
Sur le Chêne
100% Pinot Noir (13% alc.)

This comes from vines planted on the lower part of a south facing hillside where the topsoil is essentially marl, although there are sands, gravels and even a touch of granite. At 3ha this is the domaine’s most important vineyard and the vine age varies from 15 to 50yo. Made using 15% whole bunches, it has a beautiful colour, and the weight of brooding, black cherry fruit on the palate is perfectly pitched with well-integrated oak. It’s a characterful wine that shows how good the terroir of Maranges can be.

Domaine Chevrot

MARANGES 1ER CRU 2014
Les Clos Roussots
100% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc.)

Just 0.27ha of 50yo vines here, planted in a clayey topsoil with broken-up limestone beneath. Vinified with 10% whole bunches and aged in 20% new to 4yo barrels, now that this has emerged from its shell it is a very elegant wine, with spicy, floral aromas, and sappy, black fruits.

Domaine Chevrot

SANTENAY 2015
Vieilles Vignes
100% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc.)

Chevrot’s 0.55ha of 45yo vieilles vignes come from both the north and south end of Santenay (one with iron-rich red soil, and another one oriented toward limestone). Made from 10% whole bunches and aged in 20% new to 4yo barrels it offers a nose of wild strawberries and griotte cherries with a touch of cumin. Its ripe fruit knits in very harmoniously to its tannic structure, with a fresh, mineral finish.

Domaine Chevrot

SANTENAY 1ER CRU 2016
Clos Rousseau
100% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc.)

Clos Rousseau is Chevrot's largest parcel of 1er Cru at 1.5ha. Here the vines are 50yo planted in whitish stony, clay soils with an eastern aspect. Aged in 25% new to 5yo barrels, this wine has a delicate, pale colour. It's a wine of real finesse with strawberry, red-currant and blackberry fruit that are very pure and harmonious.

Marc Jambon et Fils

MÂCON-PIERRECLOS 2019
100% Chardonnay (13.5% alc.)

Succulent chardonnay fruit, good balance, and a slightly salty, chalky aftertaste define this excellent value wine.

Roland Schmitt

GLINTZBERG 2020
100% Riesling (12.5% alc.)

30yo vines here in Glintzberg which touch the grand cru of Altenberg de Bergbieten. The soil is a clay-marl mix and like the grand cru, gypsum fragments in the subsoil are considered to bring a delicious freshness to the wine. The nose is floral and mineral, and on the palate the wine is most attractive with a clear-cut fresh fruit, with well-integrated sappy acidity and distinct saline notes on the sustained finish.

Roland Schmitt

THALBERG 2018
100% Riesling (14% alc, 3.9g/l of rs)

An excellent wine from 30-40yo vines lower down the hillside of Altenberg de Bergbieten and facing west. Fragments of gypsum can be clearly seen here weathered out on the surface. The wine has the same pitch and flavours as the Glintzberg, but the older vines give a juice that is just a little denser with a touch more structure.

Domaine Lissner

CLASSIQUE Z 2017
100% Pinot Gris (13% alc, 3g/l of rs)

The pinot gris vines grow on the Soultzberg hill characterised by its soils of muschelkalk (mussel chalk) and clay. The whole bunches are slowly pressed and ferment in stainless steel before being aged on the lees in wooden foudres. The limestone soils give backbone and freshness to this wine, its lovely aromas of white peach and nougat are lifted by a slight 'perlant' which disappears with time or decanting.

Domaine Lissner

MACÉRATION 2017
100% Pinot Gris (13% alc)

Pinot gris from the Dionysiuskapelle lieu-dit where a Roman chapel was once built (hence the name). The whole grapes macerated for four weeks before being pressed into demi-muids and 500ltr barrels for ageing. Similar to a light red, this wine has rustic and fresh tannins with a crunchy and spiced fruit. For drinking now to 2023.

Domaine Lissner

DIONYSIUSKAPELLE 2019
100% Sylvaner (13% alc)

Located at the bottom of Wolxheim’s amphitheatre shaped hillsides, the vines sit on clay and gravels eroded from the surrounding hills of sandstone and limestone. Aged in traditional foudres on its lees, this wine is extremely digeste with gin & tonic flavours, food-friendly bitters and a saline finish.

Domaine Lissner

WOLXHEIM 2018
100% Riesling (14.5% alc.)

As per the pinot gris classique the vines grow on Triassic limestone around the well-ventilated Soultzberg, the grapes come from different lieux-dits, mostly south-east facing, across the communal appellation of Wolxheim. The juice, from slowly pressed whole bunches, is vinified and aged in stainless steel on its 'lies entières' for a year. Verticality and minerality define this wine, despite its full-bodied texture, with lip-smacking quince marmalade flavours and a saline finish.

Domaine Lissner

ALTENBERG DE WOLXHEIM GRAND CRU 2017
100% Riesling (13.3% alc.)

The south-facing, amphitheatre-shaped Altenberg sits at the heart of the Horn hillside, overlooking the village of Wolxheim. This exceptional and historical terroir is a sun trap made of Jurassic oolite limestone, a mineral-rich, porous and friable rock cut through by underground caves and sources; roots dig deep to fetch water and minerals allowing the vines to thrive among a luxuriant flora. This almost Mediterranean micro-climate produces perfectly ripe grapes, yielding extremely dense juice, almost oily as Bruno would say, which in turn ferments and ages in stainless steel on its lees for over a year. Bottling occurs without the use of any sulphur. This wine is an energy ball, intense and powerful, its lime induced acidity tames down after a few years in bottle and beautifully combines with glycerol and salt, displaying an astonishing array of aromas: spices, all citrus (Corsican mandarin, cédrat, yuzu, bergamot…), Mediterranean herbs – many of which are found in the vineyard (e.g. oregano, wild thyme)! The use of a carafe is recommended. For drinking from 2020 to 2030.

Beck-Hartweg

TOUT NATURELLEMENT PÉTILLANT 2019
Vin de France
40% Muscat, 40% Pinot Noir, 20% Pinot Gris (12.5% alc.)

A rosé pét’ nat’ made from grapes grown at the bottom of slopes on heavier soils. Deeply-coloured this is 'pure juice' – zesty acids, crunchy bitters and the right amount of funk for fun times!

Beck-Hartweg

DAMBACH-LA-VILLE 2018
100% Riesling (12.5% alc)

The designation Dambach-la-Ville distinguishes a unique terroir characterised by a homogenous pink granite bedrock on which the medieval village and its vineyards sit. This cuvée is made from three different lieux-dits (Lanzenberg, Frankstein, Breitstein) on sandy and rocky slopes exposed to the east. The grapes are slowly and gently pressed followed by an eight to ten months long fermentation in old traditional wooden foudres. Like all their wines bottled unfined and unfiltered after a year, this is a stunning terroir-driven riesling, crystalline and lifted, with flavours of pink grapefruit and roses.

Beck-Hartweg

FRANKSTEIN GRAND CRU 2017
100% Riesling (13% alc)

The soil on the hillsides surrounding Dambach-la-Ville is homogeneous and all granitic. Unusually for Alsace, four distinct south-facing slopes have been classified as Grand Cru. The Beck-Hartweg family proudly possesses 25% of their holdings on Frankstein GC and their riesling comes from the Frauenberg and the Pflanzer lieux-dits, with two thirds of the vines averaging 70yo. The grapes are slowly pressed and ferment in old traditional wooden foudres for up to ten months. Frankstein’s early ripening and warm terroir forces the roots to go deep to find water, nutrients and minerals, which results in a bone-dry, deep and powerful wine straightened up by an extreme salinity. Rock salt, Mediterranean herbs, mint, yuzu and bergamot are all part of its complex, refined and aromatic bouquet. A stunner, for drinking now to 2030.

Beck-Hartweg

FRANKSTEIN GRAND CRU 2016
100% Pinot Gris (13.5% alc)

In comparison to the riesling, the pinot gris is solely planted on the Frauenberg slope (north of the village) and despite its similar terroir and vinification it unsurprisingly produces a different interpretation of the Frankstein GC. Although totally dry, it is fruit-forward, lush and round with liquorice and Chartreuse-like flavours. Saltiness and stony minerality cut through the wine’s richness to balance it perfectly. For drinking now to 2025.

Beck-Hartweg

GRANIT 2017
34% Riesling, 33% Pinot Noir, 33% Pinot Gris (13% alc)

Grown on the typical granitic slopes of Dambach-la-Ville, the three grapes are harvested together and then slowly pressed with their stems. Fermentation takes place in old wooden foudres for eight to ten months and the wine remains on its fine lees for an extra few months before bottling. This atypical blend has a deep and golden colour, distinctive aromas of sweet toasted almonds and a fleshy texture. The common thread of tension, minerality and salinity is once again found in this wine. A consistent proof of the Beck-Hartweg’s dedication to showcase their unique terroir through thoughtful and meticulous viticulture.

Beck-Hartweg

RITTERSBERG 2018
25% Riesling, 25% Pinot Gris, 20% Pinot Noir, 20% Pinot Auxerrois, 10% Gewürztraminer (13% alc.)

The south-east facing and humid coteau of Rittersberg is located above the village of Scherwiller, just south of Dambach-la-Ville. It sits on the same granite ridge but differs from Dambach thanks to layers of silt and granitic sand – a deeper topsoil (one meter) which brings mouthfeel and density. This plot is harvested later than the others and the different varieties are pressed together over six to eight hours – extracting structure, texture and color. The usual lengthy fermentation as well as ageing took place in foudres. This is a great addition to the Beck-Hartweg line-up (first vintage 2018) – voluptuous and multi-layered, it stretches and expands thanks to polished tannins and granite-induced salivation. Bright tangerine color, peaches and cream on the nose, roses, tarragon and gentian on the palate, the bouquet graciously evolves from glass to mouth finishing long, complex and crystalline. A unique, characterful and exhilarating wine. For drinking now to 2030.

Beck-Hartweg

DAMBACH-LA-VILLE 2019
100% Pinot Noir (13% alc)

This cuvée comes from two different vineyards, Pfirdel and Rebbronn, both at the bottom of slopes with deeper soils of granitic sand and silt over pink granite bedrock. The grapes are carefully destemmed but not crushed, then macerated for a week before being pressed and aged in stainless steel for less than a year. The result is ripe pinot with a rustic and refreshing structure, lovely flavours of red stone fruits, spices and a gentle smokiness reminiscent of Lapsang Souchong tea.

Domaine Bohn

L’INDIGÈNE 2019
100% Sylvaner (13% alc)

L’Indigène is the first Bohn wine we came across – drunk en terrasse in Strasbourg, it stopped us in our tracks and triggered our first visit to the domaine. Old vines of sylvaner (70yo) growing for two thirds on schist and one third on sandstone. The grapes go through a five weeks maceration following a similar process to Schieferberg Zero. A gently glowing orange colour, it is refined and nuanced with enticing aromas of ripe apricot, pomelo and peppercorn. Schist and sandstone have imparted verticality and a lovely rusticity with fresh and salivating tannins.

Domaine Bohn

SCHIEFERBERG ZERO 2019
50% Riesling, 50% Pinot Gris (13% alc)

The S/SE exposed vineyards of Schieferberg are planted at high altitude (330 to 400m) and sheltered by the majestic Ungersberg mountain. The schist rock accumulates heat on sunny days and returns it to the vines during cool nights, an ideal scenario for the grapes which benefit from a prolonged and slow maturing process. Pinot gris and riesling are destemmed for one third and macerated in open vats for four weeks with gentle remontages to keep the cap wet. The top layer of the cap is discarded before pressing to remove any unwanted bacteria, and the juice finishes fermentation in traditional foudres before ageing. Schieferberg Zero is bottled without filtration or any SO2 added. Terroir driven and age-worthy, this wine has a deep and bright orange colour, fresh and polished tannins coated with a lush texture. Its complex aromas of morello cherries, quince and cocoa are lifted by an electric minerality.

Domaine Bohn

OBERHAGEL 2016
100% Riesling (13% alc)

The Oberhagel is a 70yo vineyard located in the heart of the Schieferberg, a unique terroir in Alsace comprising blue schist of Villé, a ‘mille-feuille’ of shale dating back to the Precambrian age. It is between the shale layers that the vines draw minerals and impart character to the wines. This riesling was aged in traditional foudres on its fine lees for almost a year and bottled unfined with the addition of sulphur reaching 40mg/l total. This is a ‘vin de garde’ which combines incisive minerality and rich texture, the end of the mouth is long and saline with ripe peach and liquorice flavours lingering. For drinking now to 2030.

Domaine Bohn

MUENCHBERG GRAND CRU 2017
100% Riesling (13% alc)

The Muenchberg Grand Cru, in Nothalten, takes its name from the 12th century Cistercian monks who used to meticulously work the southern exposed slope. The croissant-shaped vineyard is a suntrap over sandstone and volcanic deposits, a unique terroir with poor and acidic ground. The soil’s pH is so low that vignerons, including local hero Patrick Meyer, practise liming to improve plant growth. The Bohns own 27 ares of vines averaging 70yo and yielding tiny grapes with thick skins. Slowly and directly pressed, the wine stays on its lees for a year in traditional foudres, and is racked once during élevage, bottling is made without any filtration or added sulphur. This is a ‘grand vin de terroir’, a multilayered umami bomb which graciously combines depth of flavours and intense salinity. A textural wine in its youth that will develop complex aromas over the years. For drinking now to 2030.

Domaine Bohn

PAR NATHUR 2017
100% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc)

Arthur likes the texture and balance obtained when blending pinot noir grown on schist (70% in this case) and sandstone: the austerity coming from schist soils is tempered with the generosity and flesh given by sandstone. This pinot noir is the opposite of the regional cliché that is too often flabby and alcoholic; it is digeste and extremely drinkable thanks to its smooth texture, refreshing acidity and bramble fruit flavours. Ageing is carried out principally in stainless steel and the wine is bottled unfined, unfiltered and without any additives.

Marc Tempé

ZELLENBERG PINOT BLANC 2017
60% Pinot Blanc, 40% Auxerrois (13% alc, 6.6g/l of rs)

This comes from nine parcels of 50yo vines on the flanks of Zellenberg’s hills. A good proportion of auxerrois favoured for body and spice, aged in foudres on fine lees for two years, this is pinot blanc like you’ve never tried it before with incredible intensity and freshness, a fantastic food wine that tastes bone-dry despite the level of residual sugar. For drinking now to 2027.

Marc Tempé

ZELLENBERG 2016
100% Pinot Gris (14% alc, 12.5g/l of rs)

As with all Tempé wines this pinot gris has great structure and depth of fruit. Reduced a little on the aromatics, it’s a rich yet restrained wine with pear, peach fruit, with spice and bitters on the finish. For drinking now to 2028.

Marc Tempé

ZELLENBERG 2017
100% Riesling (13.5% alc)

This riesling comes from seven parcels of on average 50yo vines in the commune of Zellenberg – mainly east facing younger vines in the lieu-dit of Burgreben, plus some rows from the Grafenreben lieu-dit. Full-bodied, earthy and appley, mineral, textured and almost tannic, this achieves the duality of being both broad and precise in flavour, with exemplary balance and tension, notable bitters on the finish. For drinking now to 2030.

Marc Tempé

GRAFRENREBEN 2013
100% Riesling (13.5% alc, 2.1g/l of rs)

The Grafenreben vineyard, which occupies the same flank as the Schoenenbourg Grand Cru spilling off the plateau just north of Riquewihr, comprises two tiny parcels totalling 0.33 ha. According to Marc this is a fantastic terroir – better than Mambourg! The limestone soil here is relatively heavy with clay, making for a distinctly earthy and ageworthy riesling. Marc always harvests late here, and yields were just 25hh in 2013 – half that permitted for a Grand Cru! Deeper in colour and richer than the Zellenberg, and aged for three years in Leflaive barrels, it’s all stony concentration and complexity, ripe fruit and beautiful balance. For drinking now to 2033.

Marc Tempé

RIMELSBERG 2016
100% Pinot Gris (14% alc, 14g/l of rs)

Marc’s top cuvée of pinot gris, aged in older barriques for two years, there is a distinct step up in class here. It is made from 30yo vines on the south-eastern flank of the Grand Cru of Schoenenbourg, where there is a deep clay-limestone soil. There’s notable concentration, tropical fruit, good balance, freshness and structure and it’s quite saline with good vitality on the finish. Will age especially well. For drinking now to 2036.

Marc Tempé

MAMBOURG GRAND CRU 2011
100% Gewürztraminer (12.5% alc, 64.8g/l of rs)

Mambourg Grand Cru is an early ripening, south-facing hillside with a limestone derived topsoil in which iron oxide gives great complexity. Marc’s vines were planted between 1930 and 1977. The wine is as intensely floral as it is mineral, and full of zesty passion fruit that is balanced by an electric vein of acidity – something that this variety all too often lacks. Fantastic with stilton. For drinking now to 2030.

Marc Tempé

ZELLENBERG 2016
100% Pinot Noir (13% alc)

Marc’s pinot noir comes from 35-40yo vines planted in limestone-clay soils and he looks to pick fully ripe grapes to make this wine. Destalked by hand, the whole grapes are crushed and macerated for five weeks with a few remontages at the start. The élevage then follows in older barrels for two years, and the wine is not racked, fined, filtered or sulphured. There is a lovely red cherry fruit, the wine is silky and elegant, feeling very close to fresh-cut grapes.

Laurent Barth

RACINES MÉTISSES 2018
55% Pinot Auxerrois, 15% Muscat, 15% Riesling, 10% Pinot Gris, 5% Gewürztraminer (13.5% alc, 12g/l of rs)

A blend of all the major Alsatian varietals (usually called Edelzwicker), ‘racines’ means roots and ‘métisses’ mixed breeds. From 12yo vines planted on light alluvial soils, it is vinified in cuve to retain maximum freshness; fragrant on the nose with notes of citrus and honey, it is off-dry on the palate but still with racy acidity and persistent length.

Laurent Barth

MUSCAT D’ALSACE 2016
95% Muscat d’Alsace, 5% Muscat Ottonel (13% alc)

Laurent crafts this excellent dry wine from three tiny parcels (averaging 40yo) including from the Grand Cru Marckrain (limestone-clay) and lower slope Grand Cru Schlossberg (granite). Foudre aged, it has excellent balance, feels very close to fresh grapes with a hint of jasmine, good texture and freshness, with a mineral stamp on the finish.

Laurent Barth

PINOT D’ALSACE 2017
95% Pinot Auxerrois, 5% Pinot Gris (13.5% alc.)

Mostly auxerrois with a touch of pinot gris for good measure this is fruit-forward even though bone-dry, the mouthfeel is dynamic and underpinned by refreshing ripe lime flavours. A lovely wine for everyday drinking.

Laurent Barth

S05 P164 2017
100% Pinot Noir (13% alc)

The cadastral number S05 P164 refers to two blocks of 40 to 50yo vines located above the Marckrain GC, planted in clayey marls and facing north-east. Laurent destalks all of his pinots according to the density of the initial juice, on this occasion he destemmed 50% of the grapes, by hand using a ‘tamis’ or mesh to avoid any crushing, and laid them down at the bottom of the cuve under the whole bunches. Following fermentation and well-judged pigeages the wine is aged just under a year, in three to four years old barriques, before being bottled with 25 to 30mg/l total of sulphur. This is an extremely elegant pinot with a soft texture balanced by fresh tannins, crushed wild strawberries, black pepper and menthol make for an enticing and complex bouquet. For drinking now to 2025.

Laurent Barth

M. S08 P93 2017
100% Pinot Noir (13% alc)

The Marckrain GC extends from the Mambourg GC, and curves east on sedimentary marno-calcaire soils where Laurent’s 40yo vines benefit from the morning sun and afternoon shade. This wine is vinified in the same way as the S05 P164, and the élevage occurs in younger barrels (2-3yo). The Marckrain with its active limestone makes for structured and age-worthy wines, and this pinot is multi-layered, almost southern in style with spicy flavours and distinctive aromas of blackberry and liquorice. For drinking now to 2030.

André Thomas

SAND 2016
100% Pinot Blanc (13% alc)

François Thomas has now been joined by his son and daughter, Gilles and Suzy, and they have been given the freedom to produce a few cuvées as they wish. This is one, a fine pinot blanc from 50yo vines on the famed hillside of Kaefferkopf (Sand is the name of the lieu-dit) where there is a sandy topsoil derived from the granitic mother rock. They have aged the wine on its fine lees in old foudres for a year, without adding sulphur at any point, and bottled it unfined and unfiltered (there is the tiniest touch of haze in the pale gold colour). There is a reserve on the nose initially, but acacia honey notes gradually emerge, and on the palate, it has a fine depth of confit citrus fruit. An excellent natural wine.

André Thomas

PETITS GRAINS 2016
100% Pinot Gris (13.5% alc, 28.7g/l of rs)

Aromas fairly leap out of the glass. It’s a rich yet restrained wine with pear, apples and exotic fruit flavours with a hint of spice.

Hubert & Heidi Hausherr

COPAINS COMME RAISINS 2017
45% Riesling, 35% Pinot Gris, 10% Pinot Auxerrois, 10% Sylvaner (12.5% alc)

Three weeks full carbonic maceration of grapes from different terroirs followed by a short ageing in stainless steel produce this juicy, fruit-forward, approachable and quaffable orange wine to be shared with friends.

Hubert & Heidi Hausherr

LE JARDIN LÀ-HAUT 2017
Altengarten
50% Riesling, 50% Gewürztraminer (13% alc)

The vineyard of Altengarten (old garden) is below the Eichberg Grand Cru looking towards the east at 220m altitude. Overlooked by the emblematic Three Castles of Eguisheim it sits on limestone-rich marl where riesling and gewürztraminer are co-planted. Whole bunches are pressed together followed by fermentation and ageing in used barrels. Well-managed ageing on fine lees adds a slight reduction to the wine which disappears after few minutes of opening. Multi-layered and opulent this wine is lifted by its biting acidity and salivating minerality bringing out the best of both grapes.

Léon Boesch

LES PIERRES ROUGES 2019
100% Sylvaner (12% alc.)

Matthieu produces this wine from vines averaging 30yo on gentle south facing hillsides with a sandstone/limestone base. Fermented dry it’s a really attractive ‘vin de plaisir’, perfect to drink as an aperitif. On the nose you find hints of mandarin, mint and white flowers, and the palate is zesty and racy, with pears showing on the finish.

Léon Boesch

LA CABANE 2017
70% Pinot Auxerrois, 30% Pinot Blanc (12.5% alc.)

Biodynamic viticulture here for east-facing vines on sandstone and clay. It has clear cut, zesty, lemon fruit with a hint of ginger. Matthieu has gradually reduced sulphur levels and this is now a very low 35mg/l.

Léon Boesch

LE COQ 2018
100% Pinot Gris (13.5% alc.)

An excellent example that is much drier than almost all other village pinot gris. It has an attractive pale gold colour, a spicy nose with hint of passion fruit, very good texture, with ripe fruits, lemon grass, cinnamon and cardamom flavours enhanced by a mineral lift on the finish.

Léon Boesch

LES GRANDES LIGNES 2018
100% Riesling (12.5% alc.)

25yo biodynamic vines planted in a limestone and sandstone-clay soil on an east facing hillside give this delicious wine, whose ripe citrus fruits (lime is quite notable with hints of ripe grapefruit) are cosseted by good acidity with a saline hint on the long finish.

Léon Boesch

LUSS 2019
100% Riesling (12% alc.)

30yo biodynamic vines planted in a limestone soil on an east facing hillside. Almost painfully mineral on the palate, very dry, with grapefruit flavours and a touch of ginger, this is so good.

Léon Boesch

BREITENBERG 2018
100% Riesling (12% alc.)

Matthieu decided to stop making a Riesling Grand Cru from Zinnkoepflé as the terroir there was so much better suited to gewürztraminer. Instead the top riesling from the domaine comes from 30yo vines at the western end of the Vallée Noble, where the vines are planted in a sandy topsoil with many fossils of ferns set in the sandstone below. It’s a windy, cooler spot here where the grapes are harvested late despite a south facing hillside. You find stony, floral notes on the nose, the fruit is dense and tautly chiselled by the minerality typical of the soil, and on the finish, there is a distinct salinity, herbal and grilled almond notes. For drinking now to 2028.

Léon Boesch

LES FOUS 2019
100% Gewürztraminer (13% alc.)

Boesch’s gewürztraminer shows the brilliant side of this grape when it is restrained by enough acidity. It beguiles with its rose, lychees and peach aromas, has good weight with freshness on the palate, and a gently spicy finish.

Léon Boesch

ZINNKOEPFLÉ GRAND CRU 2017
100% Gewürztraminer (13.5% alc.)

Zinnkoepflé is a steep due-south facing hillside of limestone and sandstone that is especially suited to growing exceptional gewürztraminer. Half of the vines were planted in 1920, and the other half average 50yo. Bone-dry this is a powerful, dense and structured wine, combining good tension and delicious fruit: lychee and mango, with a notable dash of nutmeg and liquorice. Large to start with, this extraordinary wine has a very long and taut finish with distinct lip-smacking saltiness. For drinking now to 2025.

Léon Boesch

LES JARDINS 2019
100% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc.)

30yo vines here (and yields of 50hh) produce this delicious pinot noir made from 100% whole bunches and a limestone dominant soil. Aged in 7-25yo 228ltr barrels, well balanced with crunchy red fruits and fine tannins. Sulphur level around 25mg/l total.

Léon Boesch

ZINNKOEPFLÉ GRAND CRU 2017
Vendanges Tardives
100% Gewürztraminer (14% alc, 121.4g/l of rs)

This excellent Vendanges Tardives was harvested in two 'sorties' in early October and late November. It’s an exquisite wine with complex aromas of nougat, grilled almond, stewed lemons, pine. On the palate it is at once both sumptuous and silky with perfectly ripe peach and mango fruit, and an incredibly long finish, that stays fresh with a saline hint. For drinking now to 2025+.

Dirler-Cadé

SAERING GRAND CRU 2014
90% Muscat Ottonel, 10% Muscat d’Alsace (12.5% alc, 2g/l of rs)

The 34yo vines here give a very finely sculpted wine. Exquisitely balanced with citrus fruits, hints of verveine and mint and a characteristic sapid, saline note on the finish. For drinking now to 2024+.

Dirler-Cadé

KESSLER GRAND CRU 2013
100% Pinot Gris (13.5% alc, 19g/l of rs)

Despite a vigneron’s best efforts, pinot gris sugars tend to spike up quickly just before harvest and most grand crus have around 40-50g/l of rs. It is therefore unusual but a real pleasure to discover a balanced pinot gris grand cru with only 19g/l of rs, which helps to make it both a more harmonious and digestible wine. The sandstone base of Kessler also seems to provide the wine with a notable mineral print, and the smoky fruit, which has hints of ginger and praline make this a superb wine for gastronomy. For drinking now to 2023.

Dirler-Cadé

SPIEGEL GRAND CRU 2014
100% Riesling (13% alc, 5g/l of rs)

Spiegel gives a denser more tightly wound riesling than Saering, which gradually reveals its incredible qualities. There is more clay in the vineyard here, and an easterly exposure, which according to Jean Dirler help to make this such a longlived riesling. Anyone looking for a world class dry riesling, with a good cellar and a little patience would be amply rewarded by this wine. For drinking now to 2029+.

Dirler-Cadé

CRÉMANT D’ALSACE 2014
50% Pinot Gris, 45% Pinot Auxerrois, 5% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc)

An excellent sparkling wine made by the méthode champenoise (and a rather unique pure pinot blend). Zesty and sapid with a delicate fruit, this makes for excellent party fizz and real value alternative to champagne. Zero dosage.

Lucien Aviet & Fils

ARBOIS 2018
Cuvée des Docteurs
100% Melon à Queue Rouge (13.5% alc.)

Melon à queue rouge is an ancient strain of chardonnay (here from 50yo vines) grown by only three top producers in Arbois and Montigny. Aged in old foudres for 18 months and topped up, this has a pale gold colour, the mouthfeel of a fine white burgundy, restrained citrus fruits, a good cut of acidity, and is very saline on the finish.

Lucien Aviet & Fils

ARBOIS 2013
Réserve du Caveau
100% Savagnin (14.5% alc.)

This was a stand-out at a recent tasting with Vincent. Given just as long barrel ageing (over six years) under voile as a Vin Jaune, Vincent deemed that this wine should not go into his Vin Jaune which had even more power and depth (does a wine really need any more?!) and will prove indestructible to time. Without quite the same power but with just as much class, this has a silkier mouthfeel and is easier to drink and perhaps more versatile with food. Notably truffley and walnuty, with a saline cut, it marries very well with white meats, sauces with a cream base, mushrooms and Comté cheese. An incredible bargain when compared to Vin Jaune pricing. For drinking now to 2050.

Lucien Aviet & Fils

ARBOIS VIN JAUNE 2011
Cuvée de la Confrérie
100% Savagnin (16% alc.)

The golden coloured 2011 Arbois Vin Jaune is a selection of the domaine’s finest barrels of savagnin matured sous voile for seven years or more. Picked at 14% alcohol, the long élevage concentrates the alcohol. This is a textbook example of the style with aromas of curry, chicken broth, green walnuts and mushrooms. This has more volume, length and complexity than the domaine’s Réserve du Caveau, but at the same time, it's delicate and nuanced. Only 1,000 bottles were filled with this great Vin Jaune, which is guaranteed to develop beautifully in bottle. For drinking now to 2100.

Lucien Aviet & Fils

ARBOIS 2017
Ruzard – Rosière
100% Trousseau (14% alc.)

A blend of the two parcels Rosière and Ruzard which also get bottled separately. Both are south-facing vineyards in Montigny-les-Arsures with similar terroir: light, gravelly soil with 'argile à chailles' (flinty clay) – Trousseau's most suited type of soil. Ruzard is higher up on the hill from Rosière and makes leaner wines compared to the deep and age-worthy Rosière bottlings. Altogether the vines range from 10 to 60yo. Much richer and less angular than the sinewy 2016s, it has a delicate, mid-red colour, refreshing red cherry and cranberry fruit with real purity of expression and mineral stamp. For drinking now to 2025.

Lucien Aviet & Fils

ARBOIS 2019
Marne Rouge
100% Trousseau (13.5% alc.)

35yo vines on grey marls exposed 'plein sud'. Always a lovely texture and good balance, depth of fruit with a nice little lift on the finish. Vinified and aged (12 months) in foudres this is usually the second wine in the trousseau line-up, in a different league to Ruzard and often shown right before the top gun Rosière. During one of our visit Lucien noted that this particular cuvée (terroir) goes 'viande' after 5-6 years in bottle, referring to the developed and enticing meaty flavours. For drinking now to 2030.

Jacques Puffeney

ARBOIS VIN JAUNE 2011
100% Savagnin (14% alc.)

Vin Jaune is the Jura’s real speciality, from late-harvested savagnin, pressed and aged under a veil of yeast in old oak for six years, then assembled and aged in foudre for a further year. It is bottled without filtration in a distinctive ‘clavelin’ bottle with a long neck and hunched shoulders, which holds 62cl – the volume that is said to remain out of one litre of wine following six years of slow and steady evaporation. Superb partner to rich, creamy dishes with mushrooms such as morels, it has a flavour similar to an aged amontillado sherry, with walnut and truffley tones, and the longer you keep it the more complex and resonant it becomes. For drinking now to 2100!

Jacques Puffeney

ARBOIS 2016
Les Bérangères
100% Trousseau (13% alc.)

After selling most of his vines in 2014 Jacques continued to make tiny quantities of trousseau up until the 2017 vintage, and we are very fortunate to have secured a small allocation from 2016 and 2017, which we will release when the wines start to open up. It comes from 35yo vines planted in loose, gravelly soil on a southeast-facing slope, perfect for the trousseau grape which demands very dry conditions to give its best. Classic pale colour similar to pinot noir, a touch more weight and depth of fruit than poulsard, with mulberries, raspberries, a hint of spice and mineral cut. According to Jacques, you need to exercise a little patience - as the wine ages it picks up weight and length on the palate and is at its very best at five to six years old. For drinking now to 2026.

Les Granges Pâquenesses

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2019
100% Trousseau (13% alc.)

25yo vines planted on a south facing vineyard with gravelly topsoil near the Château-Chalon village of Voiteur. This is cuve aged only, a beautiful play on reduction with great balance and energy, mulberry fruit, typical hint of spice, and salinity on the finish.

Les Granges Pâquenesses

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2018
Le Plou
100% Poulsard (12% alc.)

Loreline has a tiny plot of 40yo vines in red marl soils on the fine hillside of La Côte de Feule in Pupillin. Destalked by hand, the grapes are not crushed and are fermented whole during a 20-days fermentation under carbon dioxide. Aged in cuve it has a very pale pinot colour, a subtle teasing quality on the palate, fresh red fruits, spices, hint of game and a good bite on the finish.

Les Granges Pâquenesses

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2019
La Mamette
100% Chardonnay (13% alc.)

This comes from 40-50yo vines planted just south of Arbois in a soil which is essentially marl but also contains some limestone. Aged in topped up 3-5yo barrels for 15 months, this is an elegant, racy wine, with a hint of menthol on the nose, and on the palate offers citrus fruits with a marked refreshing mineral cut.

Les Granges Pâquenesses

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2019
La Pierre
100% Savagnin (13% alc.)

La Pierre is the name of the lieu-dit in Pupillin, where the 25yo vines are planted in a light, sandy soil. This is a notably elegant style of ouillé (topped-up) savagnin which shows its supreme versatility as a food wine. Aged in 3-5yo barrels this has zesty lime on the nose, there is a perfect play of fruit and acidity on the palate, with stewed lemons, menthol hint, spice and characteristic salinity and attractive bitters on the finish.

Les Granges Pâquenesses

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2016
La Pierre Renaissance
100% Savagnin (12.5% alc.)

Losing most of her production in 2017 led Loreline to reconsider the élevage of all her wines, and she decided that a couple of barrels of her topped up 2016 La Pierre merited an extra year in barrel. Renaissance seems denser and richer but still has that electric vein of acidity and twist of bitters and salinity on the finish that make topped up savagnin such an exciting wine.

Les Granges Pâquenesses

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2012
La Pierre Sous Voile
100% Savagnin (12.5% alc.)

Loreline has displayed admirable patience waiting for this excellent oxidative wine, giving it five years élevage ‘sous voile’ in older barrels. It was aged in a draughty attic on the first floor of her farm whose doors are opened to the elements throughout the year. It is a delicate style of oxidative wine – too often the oxidation can be a little overwhelming – but here the fruit feels very detailed, with fresh walnut and truffley notes mingling with stewed lemons and bitters with a refreshing cut. For drinking now to 2030.

Les Granges Pâquenesses

CRÉMANT DU JURA
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

35yo vines here from a vineyard south of Arbois near where Mamette is produced. It is flatter here, towards the bottom of the hill and the soil is very clayey. 100% from the 2016 vintage, the wine was cuve aged before bottling off with no fining or filtration with a low 20g/l for the secondary fermentation that provides a very gentle mousse. Sulphur was only added to the juice at the press and is less than 20 mg/l, and so the juice has a very pure relaxed quality. Showing gorgeous fruit, bitters and cut, this is one of the most exciting sparkling wines that we have ever tasted, and it’s better than many champagnes.

Lulu Vigneron

CÔTES DU JURA 2016
Sous Le Cerisier
100% Chardonnay (12.5% alc.)

Ludwig produces this very elegant, subtle chardonnay from 30-55yo vines on an exceptional terroir sited on a lower southerly hillside in the Château-Chalon AC village of Voiteur, where there is a limestone layer in the subsoil rich in marine fossils at a point where younger Lias marls change to Triassic marls. Aged for 18 months in 5-12yo topped up barrels, on the nose there is a hint of almond and it’s notably saline. The palate is complex with hints of white peach, apricot, aniseed, menthol (often the mark of the best terroirs), you don’t notice any oak, and the finish is clear cut and saline.

Lulu Vigneron

CÔTES DU JURA 2014
BB1
85% Melon à Queue Rouge, 15% Savagnin (12.5% alc.)

Ludwig’s BB1 (meaning first baby, as it was the first wine he made) has trademark balance and finesse from 60yo vines in Le Vernois in a blue marl soil just above a layer of fossilized oysters. Aged in old barrels in his deep underground cave for three years and topped up, you find hints of menthol and acacia flowers on the nose, dried and stewed citrus fruits with a strong mineral impression on the palate with an iodine and saline twist, then gentle bitters on the finish.

Chais du Vieux Bourg

CÔTES DU JURA 2012
100% Savagnin (12.7% alc.)

Ludwig bought this steep, south-west facing 0.5 ha 50yo vineyard in Poligny four years ago. The vines here are essentially planted in broken up limestone with marls at depth. In this first vintage Ludwig made just four barrels that he topped up to avoid any oxidative effect and bottled in April 2015 with very low sulphur. Quite gras on the attack, the acidity follows closely behind, with typical gentle stewed lemons and bitters on the finish. Another brilliant example of this phenomenal grape variety.

Chais du Vieux Bourg

L’ETOILE 2011
QV d’Etoiles
85% Chardonnay, 15% Savagnin (12.5% alc.)

Ludwig’s best topped up white comes from the small appellation of L’Etoile which is primarily known for its oxidative wines but has superb terroir for topped up wines as well. He makes just three barrels from a massale selection of 40yo vines planted in Triassic marls. Aged for 33 months on the fine lees, it is consequently very stable and so needs little protection from sulphur. A beautiful pale gold colour, it is a stylish wine, quite exotic on the nose with citrus fruits and almonds and marked salinity on the long finish. Perfect with oysters and most shellfish.

Les Dolomies

LES COMBES 2018
Vin de France
100% Chardonnay (13% alc.)

The original plot bought through Terre de Liens, the lieu-dit Les Combes is a stunning coteau with heavy and clayey red marlstone. As most of the vines in Passenans they were replanted around the 60s – relatively old vines that yield fruits of great depth and intensity. A classy chardonnay that combines power and elegance with a depth of flavours that would make some top burgundy producers envious.

Les Dolomies

LES GRANDVAUX 2018
Vin de France
100% Savagnin (14% alc.)

Located in Passenans, the combe des Grandvaux is adjacent to and as qualitative as the terroir Les Combes. Naturally low yielding 50yo vines grow on brown and red marls, giving a tightly wound, dense wine with lip-smacking spicy flavours, and a chalky almost chewy finish.

Les Dolomies

LA CHAUX 2018
Vin de France
100% Chardonnay (13 % alc.)

35yo vines on marls with rocky limestone scree, a steep south-west facing hillside in Nevy-sur-Seille (lieu-dit La Chaux) – a village entitled to the Château-Chalon AC for many of its vineyards. Aged for ten months, the terroir cuts through the incredibly pure zesty fruit, with roasted almond notes, and the low yields give the wine resonance and intensity.

Les Dolomies

ARCO 2018
Vin de France
100% Savagnin (14% alc.)

35yo vines on stony marls in Nevy-sur-Seille lieu-dit La Chaux. Arco is the name of one of the two donkeys that help the team, during harvest, on that particularly rocky and steep slope. This is a sensational wine expressing a rapier cut of acidity and vibrant citrus flavours, with bitters and an intense mineral, saline impression on the finish.

Les Dolomies

CROIX SARRANT 2018
Vin de France
100% Savagnin (12% alc.)

A tiny 0.3 ha 20yo vineyard in Château-Chalon on stony limestone-rich marl, this is a special terroir tucked away, up a cool and humid combe surrounded by a lush and biodiverse forest. Taken over in 2012 the vines have never seen any chemicals, they are ploughed by horse, and the only two neighbours are vignerons friends sharing the same sustainable approach. Packed with jolting acids and a dense texture it is reminiscent of a perfectly ripe apricot with salivating bitters, vanilla bean and fresh almond aromas sustaining a lengthy finish. Une grande bouteille.

Les Dolomies

LA CABANE 2018
Vin de France
100% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc.)

Situated in Fontenay, a village neighbouring Passenans, the vines are planted on argilo-calcaire, a warmer soil compared to marlstone. Known as the lieu-dit Les Boutonniers this is where the Gormallys have recently planted more trousseau and chardonnay. Bright and crunchy this pinot displays noble vegetal flavours with bramble fruit and refreshing rustic tannins.

Les Dolomies

BORDEL C'EST BON 2018
Vin de France
100% Trousseau (12.5% alc.)

The wine and label are a tribute (hommage) to a close friend Gabi who passed away and was a successful cartoonist for the newspapers Le Monde and Le Canard Enchainé. Gabi's line 'bordel c’est bon' can be translated into 'god that's good' (polite version), and indeed it is! The grapes come from Les Combes, fully destalked and vinified without SO2, this is juicy and joyful with a lovely peppery black fruit.

Domaine Macle

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2017
Ouillé
100% Chardonnay (13.5% alc.)

Laurent produces just a few barrels of this topped-up (ouillé) chardonnay, and such is the density and structure in the wine (25hh) that it needs an extra-long élevage, usually around three years. From north-facing vineyards in Château-Chalon in a limestone-clay soil, the wine is rich but balanced, and has stewed lemons and almond flavours with characteristic sapidity on the finish.

Domaine Macle

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2015
Chardonnay Sous Voile
100% Chardonnay (13% alc.)

This is the third ever bottling made by Laurent of this oxidative wine from 50yo chardonnay vines planted like his topped-up chardonnay in limestone clay soils on Château-Chalon’s north facing slope. Vinified and aged under flor for three years, this wine is more subtle and forward than the traditional oxidative chardonnay/savagnin blend, displaying a notable morel flavour with attractive spices and finishing quite saline. For drinking now to 2025+.

Domaine Macle

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2009
50% Savagnin, 50% Chardonnay (13.5% alc.)

Another experimental cuvée made by Laurent, an interesting blend of savagnin aged in cuve that didn’t develop a voile, and chardonnay aged in barrel under flor. Blended and bottled in 2013, it has complex flavours of stewed citrus, spices and nutty, balsamic notes that remind us of oloroso sherry. Round and smooth texture with a lengthy finish.

Domaine Macle

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2016
Tradition
85% Chardonnay, 15% Savagnin (13.5% alc.)

This oxidative cuvée shows just what an incredible effect just 15% of savagnin can have on overall flavour. After a year of normal fermentation and ageing in cuve, this wine was then transferred into 50yo barrels and aged under flor for three years. It’s by far and away the best example of this style of wine (aged under flor) that we have tried, with a silky texture and notable terroir print on the finish. It is very complex, with floral notes, beeswax, acacia honey, walnut and almond, a good weight and subtle bitters on the finish. It’s easy to drink and has a surprising versatility with food (for example it’s brilliant with sushi and sashimi). There aren't too many other whites in the world that will still be going strong as this in 30yrs, we recently enjoyed a stunning 1989 at the domaine! For drinking now to 2040+.

Domaine Macle

CHÂTEAU-CHALON 2011
100% Savagnin (14.5% alc.)

This vin jaune is Macle’s speciality and a profound wine of the highest class. 2011 was a "trés beau millésime" with quality and quantity per Laurent, a classic vintage. The elegant and long-lived 2011 was vinified in cuve for a year, then transferred into old barrels and aged 'sous voile' for a further six years, where the aromas and flavours are all naturally amplified. Incredibly complex, on the nose you note stewed prunes, figs, chestnut and straw, and on the attack there is a tension between richness and acidity, with the terroir for the moment slightly hidden, and then sustained bitters on the incredibly long finish. We wouldn’t touch a bottle until it was a minimum ten years old – we tried a sensational bottle of the 1982 at the domaine that was still young. VLQ. Some serving advice from Laurent – never, ever carafe or serve too cold, it’s best around 17/18°C and opened the day before drinking. For drinking now to 2100!

Domaine Macle

MACVIN DU JURA
50% Chardonnay, 50% Savagnin (17.5% alc, 120g/l of rs)

Macvin is made by adding about a third grape marc to freshly pressed grape juice (which may have just started fermenting) The Macle family go a step further than normal by using their own marc, which is a blend of savagnin and chardonnay and aged for seven years – most marcs are commercially purchased three-year-old spirit. You can clearly taste the two grapes in this exceptional example (which was barrel aged for four years), chardonnay’s citrus fruits, and the richer more structured savagnin with stewed lemons and ripe grapefruit on the nose and more exotic fruit like papaya on the palate. Best with desserts or simply enjoyed by itself at the end of a meal, served at 8°C.

Les Marnes Blanches

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2019
Les Molates
100% Chardonnay (12.5% alc.)

An assemblage of different parcels on marl and limestone soils in Gevingey, 35yo vines on average, facing west. Vinified and aged in foudres with no bâtonnage, the wine was bottled in July the following year. This is a very well-balanced wine, with zesty lemony fruit and is the first of the Marnes Blanches chardonnays to open out. Low sulphur of around 20mg/l (similar to all their whites).

Les Marnes Blanches

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2018
Les Molates
100% Savagnin (12.5% alc.)

As per Les Molates chardonnay, this savagnin comes from vines in the village of Gevingey. Aged in old foudres for 11 months, it is spot on with classic confit lemon flavours and notable bitters on the finish. Intensity, density and length typical of savagnin ouillé from the Sud-Revermont.

Les Marnes Blanches

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2018
En Quatre Vis
100% Chardonnay (12.5% alc.)

A selection of west-facing 40yo vines in shallow Lias marls in Cesancey. This wine, formerly called Vieilles Vignes, was mainly aged in demi-muids and is denser, more powerful and complex than the Molates, and it will age well.

Les Marnes Blanches

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2018
En Quatre Vis
100% Savagnin (12.5% alc.)

This comes from the same Cesancey 40yo vineyard as the chardonnay En Quatre Vis. A stunning age-worthy wine that went through extended élevage, it was aged in fûts for a year and then foudres for the second year. Exceptional balance, real class, and a spicier nose compared to Les Molates. On the palate, it offers stewed citrus fruits and gentle bitters on a lengthy finish.

Les Marnes Blanches

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2016
Les Normins
100% Chardonnay (13% alc.)

Marnes Blanches’ top chardonnay is made from 65yo vines on poor, iron rich, fossilized limestone with marls at depth. The limestone gives an extra peps, energy and class to the wine, that was aged in 5yo barrels. It has a briny, iodine quality, and a buttery fruit that puts one in mind of serious wine from the Côte de Beaune.

Les Marnes Blanches

VIN JAUNE 2013
100% Savagnin (14% alc.)

Aged in 10 to 20yo 228ltr barrels, stored on the first floor of their house with windows opened to the elements throughout the year, it was bottled after almost 7 years sous voile. This is an elegant, forward and 'user-friendly' style of Vin Jaune, with excellent fruit that is not covered up by the oxidative notes. You can drink the wines with great pleasure in their youth, but they’ll age too and develop extra complexity – an amazing value for money. For drinking now to 2035.

Les Marnes Blanches

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2019
100% Poulsard (11% alc.)

100% whole bunches, 10 days semi-carbo maceration, ageing in old 'pièces bourguignonnes' (228l) and bottling without SO2. The wine offers an herbal and fresh nose, a round and floral mouthfeel with ripe strawberries and pink peppercorn flavours. This is a characterful poulsard with low ABV and high drinkability.

Les Marnes Blanches

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2018
100% Trousseau (11.5% alc.)

2018 was a warm vintage, and Géraud made a tiny quantity of trousseau, preserving freshness of fruit via whole bunches and a short cuvaison of 10/12 days. A very pale colour, extraction was clearly very delicate, but the wine has weight and some grip, and a very perfumed retro-nasal quality.

Les Marnes Blanches

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2019
100% Pinot Noir (11% alc.)

Vinified, aged and bottled as per the other two reds from Marnes Blanches. Pale-coloured, it is juicy, fresh and vibrant with high-toned red fruits and herbal flavours – the perfect accompaniment for BBQs with good friends!

Les Marnes Blanches

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2014
Vin de Paille
50% Savagnin, 50% Chardonnay (14% alc, 90g/l of rs)

After drying the grapes on beds of straw in small wooden baskets in their ‘grenier’, Gérard and Pauline pressed the raisin like grapes at the end of winter, and fermentation then ticked away slowly in old barrels during a three-year élevage. Sometimes we find too much alcohol burn in vin de paille but this example is well-balanced offering a lovely freshness, with sumptuous quince and orange marmalade flavours. For drinking to 2024.

Domaine Labet

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2015
La Bardette
100% Chardonnay (14.8% alc.)

Before you hit limestone, where you find lots of fossils and seashells, there’s only 40 to 60cm of clay here. This together with old vines planted in 1947 gives a chiselled, beautifully balanced wine despite the notable power of 2015. 55 months ageing on fine lees (bottled 06/20) helped taming the beast. It has many of the qualities you would expect in a top Puligny, deep layered texture with menthol hints that make you salivate. This is one of the Labet family’s finest terroirs. Total SO2 of 7mg/l.

Domaine Labet

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2016
Champs Rouges
100% Chardonnay (13% alc.)

This is one of the family’s larger parcels of 1.2 ha of 45yo vines, planted in a red clay soil overlying a layer of Bajocian limestone on a west-facing hillside. It was aged 70% in old fûts and 30% in demi-muids with a pinch of SO2 added at bottling. The old vines convey real energy to this wine, there are a good drive and tension on the palate, and the finish is sustained and mineral.

Domaine Labet

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2018
En Chalasse
100% Chardonnay (14.5% alc.)

This wine comes from three tiny parcels in marl with a Lias blue clay base, on a south-facing slope. The most recent plantation was in 2006, together with 0.18 ha planted in 1985 and 0.05 ha in 1950. This is quintessential Jura chardonnay, given 20 months of élevage in fûts with 7mg/l of total sulphur. It is quite structured in this vintage and will age well, with an intensity to the fruit that gives energy on the attack, good depth of citrus fruits on the mid-palate and both lift and length on the finish.

Domaine Labet

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2018
Les Varrons
100% Chardonnay (14.3% alc.)

The Labet’s Varrons is made from an ancient selection massale of vines (including some melon à queue rouge) planted in 1932 and 1940 in decalcified, ochre-coloured clay over Bajocien limestone on a mid-slope facing east. The wine was given an extended élevage of 21 months in old demi-muids and was bottled in July 2020 with less than 20mg/l of total sulphur (added at bottling). It has a very fine reduction on the nose, a mineral vibration on the attack, pithy, pingy citrus fruits on the palate, and the finish is sustained and intensifies.

Domaine Labet

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2016
La Reine
100% Chardonnay (13% alc.)

La Reine is a tiny parcel of 0.16 ha of massal selected vines planted in 1947 in a red clay soil overlying Bajocien limestone on a gentle, north-facing slope. It's often one of the leading wines made by the domaine, and in 2016 it is stunning, with a lot of class, thanks partly to very low yields of just 20hh. It has a hint of reduction on the nose that soon wafts off, very composed succulent fruit with a fantastic, almost electric play on the palate, and is markedly saline on the finish.

Domaine Labet

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2018
En Chalasse
75% Savagnin Jaune, 25% Savagnin Vert (14.4% alc.)

1.11ha planted in 1990 and 2003 on Lias blue marl, the wine was aged 22 months in a mix of demi-muid, fût and concrete egg. Very intense nose of hazelnut and warm stone with a hint of lemon. The mouth is lively, with very good acidity, hint of saffron and a little creaminess on the palate which brings even more volume to the wine. The finish is very long, dry with a salty and stewed lemon character. SO2 total 20mg/l, addition at bottling only.

Domaine Labet

VIN DE FRANCE 2018
Métis
45% Pinot Noir, 23% Gamay, 16% Enfariné, 16% Vieux cépages (13% alc.)

Métis, meaning mixed race, is a cuvée that has hit new levels of quality over the last couple of years. It's always a wine whose components will vary from year to year and includes a handful of forgotten old Jura varieties such as enfariné and petit béclan. Aged in 228ltr barrels for nine months and bottled off in July with less than 20mg/l total sulphur, extraction as with all the Labet reds is incredibly delicate. The fruit feels very detailed and precise, with a sappy 'acidulé' quality, and the mix of grapes brings complexity, leaving a gorgeous impression of fresh fruit on the finish.

Domaine Labet

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2018
Les Varrons
100% Pinot Noir (12% alc.)

Made from a Bajocian limestone base and low yields from a tiny parcel massal selected and planted in 1983. It was aged in old barrels for seven months and bottled off with less than 7mg/l of total sulphur. The fruit has a sculpted quality, it’s floral with zesty cherries and salinity with incredible finesse.

Domaine Labet

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2018
En Billat
100% Poulsard (12.5% alc.)

Labet’s rarest and most haunting expression of poulsard, this comes from a 0.31 ha parcel called Le Pré du Bief planted in 1988 that has an eastern exposure and Lias clay and schist soils. Destemmed but not crushed, the grapes are vinified very gently, with very little pigeage, to respect poulsard’s delicate structure. Ageing takes place in old foudres and no sulphur was added at any stage. The nose is bright and expressive, showing none of reductive notes that plague so many poulsards, it’s finely nuanced on the palate, showing a beautiful interplay between fruit, spice and savoury notes. Simply one of the finest examples in the region.

Domaine Labet

PAILLE PERDUE 2011
One third each Chardonnay, Savagnin and Poulsard (10% alc, 215g/l of rs)

The Labet family make this unique cuvée from a selection of old vines, leaving the bunches of grapes on a straw bed in wooden boxes to shrivel up to a raisin-like intensity. Pressed in late February it was then aged in old barrels for six years (three more than the legal minimum for vin de paille). Julien pointed out that due to using natural yeasts that only gave 10% natural alcohol and a much greater concentration of sugars than the norm, this wine did not fulfil the AOC criteria for a vin de paille (eg minimum 14% alc). The colour is reminiscent of toffee, it has sumptuous fruit – hints of passion fruit, walnuts, straw with a very long finish sustained by a precious and well-integrated VA.

Allante & Boulanger

PHENOMAYNAL 2018
Vin de France
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

90yo chardonnay on red marl over 'éboulis calcaires' in the village of Maynal, this parcel was taken over in 2005 at the start of Christian and Mathieu’s project, having previously been worked by their mate Fanfan (JF Ganevat). Fermentation and 24 months ageing on fine lees in 10yo demi-muids. This wine has a moreish and voluptuous texture perfectly balanced by zingy bitters. The emblematic and catchy label was drawn by a close friend, the depicted hand combines the sensual and feminine side of wine with the rough manual work of a vigneron(ne).

Allante & Boulanger

LA BARDE 2018
Vin de France
70% Chardonnay, 30% Savagnin (13% alc.)

La Barde aka La Bardette is a prestigious lieu-dit and fine terroir in Sud-Revermont (think Domaine Labet). The 90yo vines are planted on shallow red clay topsoil over hard limestone in which many fossilized seashells can be found. Vinified and aged in 228ltr barrels for 24 months, the savagnin spices up the chiselled and beautifully balanced chardonnay, adding impact and depth to the blend – a powerful wine perfectly framed by savoury minerals.

Allante & Boulanger

SAVAGNIN 2018
Vin de France
100% Savagnin (12% alc.)

Mathieu and Christian recovered a historical terroir in Gizia at 400m altitude, turning a once-prestigious south-facing amphitheatre from fallow land to cultivated field, and in 2013, planting savagnin vert et jaune on grey marlstone and schist. Aged for two years in old 228ltr barrels, this is vibrant, deep and rich, with a perfectly pitched oxidation which makes for a versatile wine when it comes to food matching.

Allante & Boulanger

AMALGAMÉ 2018
Vin de France
35% Petit Béclan, 35% Gamay, 20% Poulsard, 10% Pinot Noir (12% alc.)

"Virtually extinct Jura vine" is how Jancis, Julia and José describe the petit béclan in their book of reference Wine Grapes. Planted with some gamay and poulsard on a southern exposed clayey slope in the village of Gizia, its small bunches and thick skin bring rusticity to this atypical Jura blend. Totally destemmed and cofermented, aged in 300ltr barriques for 12 months, it has a dense and grippy structure with ripe black fruit and moreish acids.

Domaine Overnoy

CRÉMANT DU JURA 2014
80% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir, 10% Poulsard (12.5% alc.)

Bottled at 5.5 bar pressure this blended rosé spent 48 months on lattes before disgorgement. Fine and subtle bubbles underpin complex aromas of red fruits and potpourri, the mouth is well-balanced, round and fresh with a long and saline finish. This beautiful crémant would give some champagnes a run for their money. Zero dosage.

Domaine Overnoy

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2016
Charmille
100% Chardonnay (13% alc.)

The vines are planted on red marl in Orbagna in the lieu-dit Charmille. This wine went through an extended élevage of 21 months in a mix of 228ltr and 500ltr barriques. Round and creamy this chardonnay is a crowd-pleaser with spices and caramelised pear aromas. Bottled unfiltered with 25mg/l total sulphur.

Domaine Overnoy

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2018
100% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc.)

Vines from 8 to 30yo on light-coloured marl and clay in the village of Cesancey 7km north of Orbagna. As per all reds at the domaine, grapes are manually destalked in the vineyard with a traditional 'crible' – a perforated wooden tray on which the bunches are rubbed. Following 12 months ageing in burgundy barrels this wine was bottled unfiltered with a pinch of SO2 added (20 mg/l total). Juicy, ripe and fragrant it displays moreish aromas of raspberries, morello cherries and wild roses.

Domaine Overnoy

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2018
100% Trousseau (12.5% alc.)

Destemmed through the 'crible', the grapes macerated for three weeks before pressing. Fermentation and ageing occurred underground in old 'pièces bourguignonnes'. 10mg/l of SO2 added at bottling only. Lifted and nuanced with spiced fruit, this is an elegant wine with extra drinkability and sapidity, typical of a Sud-Revermont trousseau.

Domaine Overnoy

CÔTES-DU-JURA 2018
Rougissime
34% Poulsard, 33% Trousseau, 33% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc.)

A traditional and 'old-school' blend, the three grapes were harvested and processed together. Destemmed, vinified and aged as per the other red wines at the domaine, this is vibrant with enticing floral flavours, the poulsard adds a slight reduction and complexity to the blend while trousseau and pinot bring juicy texture and food-friendly tannins. A lovely wine quintessentially Jurassien!

Domaine des Orchis

ROUSSETTE DE SAVOIE 2017
Quintessence
100% Altesse (13% alc.)

Made from a selection massale of clippings from renowned growers Charles Trosset and Michel Grisard, Orchis have 2 ha of altesse planted at 350m-450m altitude in a mix of glacial debris/ limestone-clay. Aged in older barrels with malos completed, this is an exceptional wine with real poise whose bone dry, dense fruit so typical of low yields is offset by a refreshing acidity and good salinity.

Domaine des Orchis

QUINTESSENCE 2016
100% Mondeuse (12% alc.)

Yields here are just 25hh from 2 ha of vines planted in glacial debris in 1992. Destalked 90% to avoid astringency, it is aged in older barrels before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Very floral on the nose (like Côte-Rôtie) it has clearly defined spicy black fruits, is supple on the palate and the tannins are well judged.

Les Côtes Rousses

LA PENTE 2018
100% Jacquère (12% alc.)

20 different parcels on steep slopes with limestone scree. Aged in 50% in foudres as well as sandstone amphoras and old barrels, the wine has a very pale colour and a dynamic mouthfeel. With low alcohol to boot it is the perfect wine to slate your thirst on a warm summer’s day. Nicolas comments it’s easy to work with low sulphur when the pH is as low as three – total SO2 of 18mg/l, only added before bottling.

Les Côtes Rousses

ARMENAZ 2018
100% Jacquère (11.5% alc.)

Named after the mountain where Nicolas’ grandparents climbed their Tarantaise cattle during the summer. 0.5ha of stunning 30yo vines planted at 580m altitude, one of the highest and coolest parcels in the cru of St-Jean-de-la-Porte. Right at the outset, Nicolas commented that this foudre aged wine would need at least a year to begin opening out. It’s denser and richer than La Pente due to the rich ferrous clay on which the vines seat. Complex and attractive flavours of Sicilian lemon fruits cut through with a saline limestone twist, typical of this top terroir.

Les Côtes Rousses

ENSEMBLE 2017
100% Altesse (12% alc.)

The name of this cuvée gives thanks to all those who lent Nicolas and Marielle a hand with their first wines, a tribute to the collective energy around the domaine. Planted on the limestone hillsides of St-Jean-de-la-Porte, the vines range from young to 30yo and the wine was raised in different wooden vessels as well as sandstone amphoras which bring tension and a welcome reduction. There’s always more weight and spice to altesse wines, thankfully this bottling is lifted and fresh at the same time.

Les Côtes Rousses

LES MONTAGNES ROUSSES 2018
100% Mondeuse (12% alc.)

This is a cuvée named after the red clay typical of the famous mondeuse cru of St-Jean-de-la-Porte. 20yo vines, 100% whole bunches, very gentle extraction (see profile), ageing in terracotta and demi-muids to give the purest expression of the grape – black cherries, violets and spices, low alcohol, enticing rusticity, and a saline finish making this so easy to drink. 10 mg/l total SO2.

Les Côtes Rousses

COTEAU DE LA MORT 2017
100% Mondeuse (12% alc.)

The name of this cuvée (the coteau of death) refers to the steepness of the slope, reaching 40% in some parts, and how physically demanding it is to work. First planted by the Benedictine monks during the 11th century, this was prime terroir until it was abandoned in the 1930s, and only recently replanted (1999) at a density of 10,000 plants/ha. The red clay soils on a limestone base tend to give firmly structured wines built for ageing. Nicolas prefers the use of whole bunches, and there is no pigeage or remontage during a 14 days cuvaison to avoid over-extraction. The élevage takes place in demi-muids (including one Stockinger) for around ten months, the wine is bottled without fining or filtration and just 10mg/l of sulphur added. This is a very serious mondeuse, minty and peppery with a beautiful Chartreuse-like herbal quality, somewhat reminiscent of a fine northern Rhône syrah with its quality of tannins. Drink now to 2027.

Gilles Berlioz

CHIGNIN 2016
Le Jaja
100% Jacquère (11% alc.)

This comes from 30yo vines planted in alluvial and clay soil overlying limestone, on a south-east facing hillside. Still light but pretty textural and deep for a jacquère – fleshy quince fruit, salinity and a chalky lift on the finish. For drinking now to 2023.

Gilles Berlioz

ROUSSETTE DE SAVOIE 2017
El…Hem
100% Altesse (12% alc.)

Gilles named this cuvée after a Moroccan lawyer (Hem means inspiration in Arabic) who free of charge helped Gilles out of a tight corner after a driving offence! Emanating from a superb terroir, this age-worthy altesse has more body and weight than Le Jaja – an intriguing nose, fine tension and balance with a hint of spice and a ripe peach fruit on the palate. For drinking now to 2025.

Gilles Berlioz

CHIGNIN BERGERON 2015
Les Filles
100% Bergeron (13% alc.)

Bergeron is a synonym for the roussanne grape, and here gives a dense, concentrated wine with apricot/peach fruit with more dynamism and natural acidity than you find in the northern Rhône, roussanne’s heartland. Fermented 100% dry and cuve aged only, it has been made from low yields, harvested in various sorties when only the ripest bunches were selected.

Gilles Berlioz

VIN DE SAVOIE 2017
La Deuse
85% Mondeuse, 15% Persan (11% alc.)

La Deuse is a memory of times past when many wines’ alcohol levels were between 8-10 degrees. Persan adds a little tannic structure and intense red fruits to the typical mondeuse flavour and aromas of violets, black fruits and pepper. Very sappy, racy fruit, with a wonderful texture and real digestibility. An iconic and sought-after Savoie bottling.

Maison des Ardoisières

SILICE 2020
Vin des Allobroges IGP
100% Jacquère (11% alc.)

This is a négoce cuvée from Brice Omont. It comes from organically farmed 50-60yo vines on limestone scree and clay limestone soils in Apremont, fermented and aged in fibreglass vats for 9 months, and bottled with just 20mg/l of sulphur. Fresh on the nose with touch of white flowers and lemon, there’s a bit of gras on the attack and a lively finish with hints of quinine and lime. It’s pretty serious for the price, and the wine (in its youth) opens up beautifully over a couple of days.

Domaine des Ardoisières

ARGILE BLANC 2019
St-Pierre-de-Soucy IGP
40% Jacquère, 40% Chardonnay, 20% Mondeuse Blanche (11.5% alc.)

40yo vines average, chardonnay and mondeuse blanche planted at high altitude (450m) on steep schist-based hillsides, vinified with some jacquère from Apremont (limestone scree) and aged in fibreglass for nine months. A perfectly balanced weight and tension, with smoky notes on the nose, very frank, pure and at ease on the palate, with ripe lemon fruit, and intense mineral character (hot stone and saline) that really tugs on the salivary glands.

Domaine des Ardoisières

SCHISTE 2019
Cévins IGP
40% Jacquère, 30% Roussette, 20% Pinot Gris, 10% Mondeuse Blanche (12% alc.)

This is the domaine’s top white cuvée from a great terroir – a south-facing terraced vineyard on a vertiginous 60˚ slope where the soil is derived from metamorphic mica-schist. Yields are just 25hh, and the wine is aged in 3-5yo barrels for a year. There is a great balance of dense fruit, apricot, pears, spice with a lick of acidity and a lip-smacking salinity on the finish. For drinking now to 2025.

Domaine des Ardoisières

ARGILE ROUGE 2018
St-Pierre-de-Soucy IGP
65% Gamay de Chautagne, 25% Mondeuse, 10% Persan (11.5% alc.)

Since 2016 this includes 50yo mondeuse from clay soil in Saint-Jean-de-la-Porte, whereas gamay and persan come from 40yo vines on west-facing schisty marl hillsides in Saint-Pierre-de-Soucy. Vinified in cuve, the grapes are not destalked, and given a ten days cuvaison before nine months élevage in fibreglass tanks. The inclusion of mondeuse brings more depth and complexity, with added spiciness, and also more structure to the palate. This offers an exciting aromatic range – violet, pomegranate, spicy red fruits and a very irony, stony mineral flecked palate.

Domaine des Ardoisières

AMÉTHYSTE 2016
Cévins IGP
60% Persan, 40% Mondeuse Noire (12% alc.)

This is the domaine’s top red cuvée from a fine terroir – a south-facing terraced vineyard on a vertiginous 60˚ slope where the soil is derived from metamorphic mica-schists. Yields are just 20hh, and it’s made from whole bunches, then aged in 2-10yo barrels. From an aromatic and taste perspective, it is most similar to a Côte-Rôtie from the north of Ampuis where schist predominates. It has a stony, raspberry fruit, touch of pepper, perfect balance and a lip-smacking salinity on the finish. For drinking now to 2025.

Domaine des 13 Lunes

APREMONT 2020
Vin de Savoie
100% Jacquère (11% alc.)

This is a blend of multiple parcels in Apremont averaging 50yo, all of which are on the limestone scree soils that resulted from the Mont Granier’s landslide (see profile). Fermentation and élevage on fine lees take place in ovoid fibreglass vessels. The latest vintages were warm lending jacquère more weight and ripeness than usual – this wine offers silky, peachy fruit on the palate. Sylvain managed to extract lovely bitters resulting in a refreshing and saline finish.

Domaine des 13 Lunes

AMI-AMIS 2018
Vin de Savoie
34% Veltliner, 33% Altesse, 33% Jacquère (12% alc.)

Sylvain has just 0.15ha of 30yo veltliner, a low acidity pink-skinned variety. He likes to blend it with equal parts of altesse and jacquère. These two varieties are assembled as early as possible, often immediately after fermentation, and then aged in stainless steel. The veltliner is vinified and aged in oak barrels since Sylvain likes its oxidative quality. There’s a fine play between ‘gras’ and tension here, with fresh lemons, apples, moreish white fruits and a taut finish.

Les Grangeons de L’Albarine

COMBERNAND LA CLUSE DES PEINTRES 2018
Vin de France
100% Aligoté (11.5% alc.)

This Aligo Thé (see label) comes from the lieu-dit Combernand La Cluse des Peintres, and 40yo vines in the village of Rossillon halfway between Argis and Belley. The soils were formed when the glaciers melted down, depositing a thick and compacted layer of rolled pebbles (glacial moraine). Vinified in old demi-muids, it was bottled in October 2019 without sulphur. A beautiful example of aligoté’s potential when made from low yields on interesting terroir. It’s rich and textured thanks to a spot-on élevage which added weight as well as breadth, and there is dynamism on the palate lifted by a bright vein of acidity.

Les Grangeons de L’Albarine

ALTIESSE DE BEAUREGARD 2017
Vin de France
100% Altesse (12.5% alc.)

The Clos de Beauregard is a south-facing slope in the village of St-Sorlin-en-Bugey. The 70yo vines are planted on a mix of limestone scree and iron-rich clay-limestone soils, directly overlooking the Rhône at 300m altitude. The summer drought of 2017 meant the yields were low (25hh), leading to an increased level of concentration. Vinified and aged in demi-muids (5-6yo) for just over a year, it is full on the attack, with delicious sun-gorged stone fruits and citruses, the mouthfeel is packed with fine bitters and mineral salts, forming an almost tannic impression on the gums and the tip of the tongue. A stunning bottling not to be missed by all the savagnin and chenin aficionados out there. For drinking now to 2022.

Les Grangeons de L’Albarine

GAMAY OF THRONES 2018
Vin de France
100% Gamay (12.5% alc.)

Luc buys the grapes from a pensioner who pampers his vines with utmost care and attention, and totally free of chemicals. Planted on a south-facing slope at 350m altitude covered in limestone scree, half of the parcel is planted with 60yo gobelet, while the rest of the vines are 40yo and trellised. Surprised by the yields in 2018 (40hh), Luc was forced to destem half of the harvest so it could all fit in his cuve, and the cuvaison lasted about 10 days with hardly any remontage. Bottled without sulphur, the colour is a gorgeous shade of pink with purple hints. This is a true ‘vin de copains’, direct and thirst-quenching, with bright violets and crunchy cherries, and the salivating finish makes you reach for another sip almost immediately.

Les Cortis

TERAXE
Vin de France
80% Altesse, 20% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

This is a blend of two south facing parcels on varied soils of clay, loam and silt. The vines are 30-50yo and yields go from 25hh for the chardonnay to 40hh for the altesse. After a long slow pressing, vinification took place in fibreglass tanks and oak barrels, followed by 10 months élevage on fine lees before bottling with a pinch of sulphur – total SO2 of 23mg/l. The low yielding chardonnay brings ‘gras’ and ripeness on the palate while the altesse adds focus and verticality. Aeration does well to this crunchy and joyful wine.

Les Cortis

UZÉE
Vin de France
66% Gamay, 34% Mondeuse (11.5% alc.)

Two parcels of 30-50yo gamay blended with a plot of 20yo mondeuse on rocky limestone soils with some clay. The whole grapes were infused in fibreglass for three weeks with light remontages (using a bucket) to keep the cap clean from bacteria. 2018 had little acidity so Jérémy aged Uzée on total lees without racking to increase freshness of fruit. This results with a touch of reduction which blows off quickly. Both grapes complement each other beautifully – the gamay brings its juicy quality while the mondeuse adds structure and depth. This is a beautifully extracted red with an almost luminescent quality. Total SO2 of 40mg/l.

Franck Peillot

BUGEY MÉTHODE TRADITIONNELLE
Montagnieu
60% Mondeuse Noire, 30% Altesse, 10% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

This wine has real vinosity and much more quality and character than most other sparkling wines. It is made 100% from 2018, vinified in cuve, aged for 12 months 'sur lattes', disgorged in 12/20 with a 4g/l dosage. Very fine mousse, saline and long on the finish, the ripe red fruits from mondeuse noire give the wine a delicious lift.

Franck Peillot

ROUSSETTE DU BUGEY 2018
Montagnieu
100% Altesse (12% alc.)

The vines here average 50yo, planted on the steep hillside of Montagnieu in soils of marl and limestone rubble, overlying a limestone base. Vinified in cuve and bottled last July, it is now beginning to open out. You’ll find quince, honey, acacia blossom, a touch of liquorice, peach and exotic fruits. It has an excellent structure, quite tense, with very precise detailed fruit and a lovely streak of acidity.

Philippe Balivet

BUGEY CERDON NV
Classique
100% Gamay (7% alc, 78g of rs)

Unusually for the appellation, Vincent and Cécile like to add some 'vieux vin' to the blend for consistency and vinosity. Therefore this cuvée is a blend of 2019 and 2020. The grapes are harvested by hand and vinified by méthode ancestrale (see profile) using low levels of SO2 – 16 mg/l total. Second fermentation lasts four months at 10°C for a slow ‘prise de mousse’. The nose is bright and perfumed. The palate is fresh, precise and full of crunch, with cherry, raspberry, and violets underpinned by fine bubbles. A beautiful play between sugar and acids that keeps you going back for more until the bottle has suddenly disappeared!

Philippe Balivet

BUGEY CERDON 2020
Récolte Cécile
50% Gamay, 50% Poulsard (7.5% alc, 62g of rs)

Same vinification as the cuvée Classique although this is ‘sans soufre’ and from a single vintage. The poulsard is planted on marl soils similar to those found in the Jura. Very expressive on the nose with confit fruits, wild strawberry and popping candy. The poulsard adds a touch of finesse and poise to the palate. It is complex with a vinous quality and a lengthy finish that displays savoury bitters. More serious than the cuvée Classique, but equally delicious and a joy to drink.

Domaine de Prion

FLEURIE 2014
La Madone
100% Gamay (12.5% alc.)

50 to 60yo vines here on the famous hillside with just 30cms of soil above the granite bedrock. Aged in cement, with just one bottling after 11 months, this is a slightly more rustic, bigger framed wine than Chanudet's. The fruit has good depth and is spicy (liquorice, cloves and nutmeg) with a hint of wild rose too. Starting to pinot a little. For drinking now to 2024+.

Daniel Bouland

CHIROUBLES 2017
Chatenay
100% Gamay (13.2% alc.)

Daniel Bouland’s Chiroubles comes from a 0.65 ha vineyard, 30yo vines and a light yellow sandstone. A bright mid-cherry colour, it is a real ‘vin de terroir’, with quite an intense stony character and gentle raspberry fruit.

Daniel Bouland

CÔTE-DE-BROUILLY 2019
Cuvée Mélanie
100% Gamay (13% alc.)

Named after Daniel's daughter, this comes from 70yo vines in a schist and granite derived soil with blue diorite on the southern slope of Mont Brouilly. Aged in old oak foudres, with a fine plum colour, it has rich spicy fruit with a marked stony flavour on the finish.

Daniel Bouland

MORGON 2019
Bellevue
100% Gamay (13.5% alc.)

Daniel’s Bellevue comes from vines above Corcelette planted in 1951 and 1987 in weathered granite on low yielding quality rootstock called Vialla. Using natural yeasts together with cement cuve ageing, this has a nice kernel of red fruits on the attack, and good mouthfeel with an irony, intensely mineral play on the long finish.

Daniel Bouland

MORGON 2018
Vieilles Vignes
100% Gamay (14% alc.)

Daniel’s top cuvée comes from 1 ha of 84yo vines. Lovely weight of fruit, dark cherry and blackberry fruit and intense mineral character. There is a quietly tannic, old viney grip to the finish that presages an excellent future. For drinking now to 2030.

Marcel Lapierre

MORGON 2019
100% Gamay (13.5% alc.)

A finely sculpted wine here, with a midraspberry colour, delicately extracted, and beautifully pure old viney fruit, enhanced by ten months ageing in casks from Prieuré-Roch in Burgundy. No sulphur was used during the élevage, just a little added at bottling.

Marcel Lapierre

MORGON 2018
Camille
100% Gamay (14.5% alc.)

Named after Camille and Mathieu’s grandfather, Cuvée Camille comes from a 1 ha plot in La Roche du Py, a lieu-dit within the famous Côte du Py climat where the soil is very thin, and the roots plunge straight into the granitic rock. Here the 80-100yo vines yield a wine which is deep and concentrated in 2018, with ripe fruit, wild herbs and spices, it’s rich and complex with an almost sudiste quality and beautiful bitters which lend freshness and peps to the finish. Drink now to 2025.

Marcel Lapierre

MORGON 2018
Cuvée Marcel Lapierre MMXVIII
100% Gamay (13.5% alc.)

The cuvée Marcel Lapierre is a selection of the oldest vines of the domaine, all of them on schist, with about 80% sourced from Côte du Py while the other 20% come from Douby, another climat in Morgon. The schist seems to have tempered some of the heat of the vintage here, with floral notes on the nose, while the palate is quite structured, with fine tannins and good acidity at its core, it is rich and layered, with spices, herbs, cherry and earthy tones mingling on the mineral-flecked irony finish. Drink now to 2028.

Domaine Chamonard

MORGON 2017
100% Gamay (13% alc.)

Jean-Claude has 5 ha of old vine Morgon (up to 80yo) on the slopes of Corcelette, Grand Cras and Chênes. Aged for 11 months in 80% older fûts and 20% cuve, it is already showing beautifully. It has a gorgeous dark red cherry colour, totally at ease with itself, and composed harmonious fruit with silky tannins and an irony print on the finish. It’s a wine that can be drunk with great pleasure now but will also age well over the next five years or so.

Jean-claude Chanudet

FLEURIE 2016
La Madone
100% Gamay (12.5% alc.)

La Madone, the most famous plot in Fleurie, and at 430m the highest of the appellation, offers a soil of pale pink decomposed granite, on a granite bedrock. Jean-Claude (along with Marcel Lapierre one of the forefathers of the movement towards better viticulture and lower use of sulphur) produces the most elegant expression possible from his wife Geneviève’s vines. It has a gentle colour, violet note on the nose, a wonderfully supple texture, and red and black fruits backed by a strong mineral character on the finish.

Stephen Durieu de Lacarelle

BEAUJOLAIS-VILLAGES 2018
Lou.Y Es-Tu ?
100% Gamay (12.5% alc.)

Stephen learned under the tutelage of Jean-Claude Lapalu and has 7ha of organically tended old vines in St-Etienne-des-Oullières. Cuve-aged, this wine has a very silky texture, with scrumptious wild strawberry, raspberry and violet fruits and a purity (no sulphur) that just keeps you wanting more.

Stéphane Othéguy

CONDRIEU 2017
100% Viognier (13.5% alc.)

Stéphane’s Condrieu comes from a very steep south-facing vineyard in the lieu-dit of Gonon at Malleval where the soil is granitic. Half aged in cuve and half in older barrels and never given any batonnage, it went through a long, two years élevage with malos completed, before bottling in September 2019. It is very well-balanced and at ease in its youth with just 10mg/l of sulphur added – in stark contrast to many examples of Condrieu which weigh in with 80 mg/l. On the nose you notice zesty pear skin and stone fruits, the palate is supple with an elegant gras, and there’s a teasing, alluring quality on the finish which builds and builds with the granitic terroir playing its hand.

Stéphane Othéguy

SAINT JOSEPH 2018
Le Temps des Cerises
100% Petite Sérine (13.5% alc)

This wine is made from vines that Stéphane planted by sélection massale in the lieu-dit of Veussette in the village of Chavanay. Stéphane has a 0.30ha holding with a south-east aspect on a steep, granitic slope with very little topsoil. Made from 70% whole bunches and crushed by foot, it was macerated for 23 days, before a 16 month élevage. It offers intense black cherry fruit with a mineral score and super fine tannins, ideal for drinking in its youth on the fruit.

Stéphane Othéguy

CÔTE-RÔTIE 2018
Rozier
100% Petite Sérine (14% alc.)

Located just to the north of Ampuis on the Côte-Brune where schist is the dominant soil, Rozier is a superb vineyard with a steep, south-eastern slope. Stéphane and his old boss Vincent Gasse planted just 0.12ha of vines by massale selection in 2002/3. Production is minuscule, usually one to three barrels. Destalked 20%, the wine has a beautiful deep raspberry colour that extends right out to the edge. One sniff and you’re hooked by the hauntingly beautiful aromatics. On the palate the fruit is clear, harmonious and complex, with a core of blueberry and black cherry fruit, notes of liquorice with a thread of iron running through, and a schist imprint on the finish. For drinking now to 2025.

Stéphane Othéguy

CÔTE-RÔTIE 2017
Les Massales
100% Petite Sérine (13.5% alc.)

Les Massales comes from 0.50ha of vines split equally between the Côte-Brune schist terroirs of Leyat and Bonnivière, where the vines are 65/75yo. Per Stéphane, "Bonnivière gives freshness and length from deeper soils on the plateau, whereas Leyat produces mature, rich wine from its steep, south facing slope". Destalked 20%, with a beautiful, clear-cut colour that runs right to the edge (as with Rozier), there is an initial reserve on the nose, with dense back fruit emerging. On the palate it is impeccably balanced and there is a sumptuous stamp of cassis fruit, with a stylish, ready flow, a hint of graphite and fine grained tannins on the finish. For drinking now to 2028.

Domaine Garon

CÔTE-RÔTIE 2015
Les Triotes
100% Syrah (13% alc.)

This comes from four lieux-dits and 25yo vines in the Côte Blonde – pale, decomposed schist in the centre of the appellation just south of Ampuis. Aged for 21 months in new to 15yo barrels and demi-muids, the nose offers black fruits, violets, olives and pepper, and the palate is then supple and elegant, with fine grained tannins.

Domaine Garon

CÔTE-RÔTIE 2012
Les Rochins
100% Syrah (12.5% alc.)

The vines here are planted in a superb site just north of Ampuis, on a steep southfacing hillside. The topsoil is quite rich, overlying blue and red schist imbued with iron oxide. Upon aeration, floral notes appear, then blackcurrant and mulberry. The palate is well-structured, rich, with a density of ripe fruit, good acidity and ripe tannins, and a little herbal touch on the long finish. Just 2000 bottles of this top cuvée produced. For drinking now to 2030.

David & Benjamin Duclaux

CÔTE-RÔTIE 2015
La Germine
95% Syrah, 5% Viognier (13% alc.)

La Germine has a lovely, clear mid-red colour extending right out to the rim. Nicely stamped by a stony, irony flavour reminiscent of the gneiss, 2015 is a fine vintage with floral aromatics, and red fruits mingled with blackberries and liquorice. For drinking now to 2025.

David & Benjamin Duclaux

CÔTE-RÔTIE 2016
Maison Rouge
100% Syrah (13% alc.)

The Duclaux brothers make just five barrels of their top wine from vines planted in 1943 (also 1920s and 1980) at the southern end of the appellation on a punishingly steep, higher slope where the soil is mainly gneiss with a little granite. Here the vineyard is only planted with a massal selection of the low yielding petite sérine strain of syrah. Destalked 80% and given a three-week maceration, it was aged in 40% new oak up to 5yo, mainly fûts with a few demi-muids. A darker colour than La Germine it offers a cool blueberry fruit with some liquorice, menthol and tar, and there is a real ‘noblesse’ to the fine-grained tannins with herbal bitters on the finish. For drinking to 2035.

Christophe Blanc

LES GALETS 2017
Vin de France
100% Viognier (14% alc.)

Christophe produces just 0.23 ha of viognier from young vines high up on the hillside on granitic soils in St-Michel-sur- Rhône. Very good value viognier, with typical notes of peach, pear skin, mineral touch and vigour on the finish.

Christophe Blanc

CONDRIEU 2017
Les Vallins
100% Viognier (12.5% alc.)

This has a lower alcohol level than most Condrieu – as the winery is 50 metres from his vines, and he has such a small holding (just 0.33 ha), Christophe is able to pick the grapes at the precise ‘bon moment’ and retain an acidity which is so often lost in late harvesting. A wellhandled élevage helps the wine retain freshness and it seems that mica-rich soil gives this apricot and peach-rich viognier an added complexity.

François Merlin

CONDRIEU 2017
Terroirs
100% Viognier (14% alc.)

François planted his vines in 1990 and has holdings on some of Condrieu’s finest terroirs. Aged in Stockinger demi-muids and recent barrels, this has apricot and pear fruit, with hints of verbena and floral notes, is clean and well defined on the palate with a long finish.

André Perret

CONDRIEU 2018
100% Viognier (14% alc.)

This is made by one of the masters of the appellation and comes from 20yo vines (half from the famous Chéry slope). The unique soil, a sandy decomposed granite rich in quartz and mica, helps give the wine its ripe pear aromas, followed by exotic mango and apricot palate, with good tension and grip on the finish.

André Perret

CONDRIEU 2017
Chery
100% Viognier (15% alc.)

The appellation’s historical and finest terroir (once favourite of Emperor Probus) lies on a steep south-facing terraced hillside. Half of the vines were planted between 1987-1989, while the other half was planted in the 1940s. Aged in 2/3 fûts (20% new, 80% 1-4yo) and 1/3 cuve for 15 months, it has extraordinary depth of apricot and peach fruit that is very, very intense and yet has perfect balance, with notable ginger and floral notes, and slightly iodine, salty notes on the finish. Very limited quantity.

Bernard Faurie

HERMITAGE 2013
Les Greffieux - Bessards
100% Syrah (13.5% alc.)

Les Greffieux is a lieu-dit where the soils mix alluvial Rhône stones and decomposed granite; Bessards, where the soil is granitic, provides structure and backbone. The vines average 80yo and produced a perfectly balanced wine with great texture, raspberry and black fruit, iron, hint of black pepper and fine-grained tannins. For drinking now to 2028.

Bernard Faurie

HERMITAGE 2013
Bessards - Méal
100% Syrah (13% alc.)

Bessards and Méal produce a richer, more long-lived wine which takes longer to unravel. You can taste gorgeous rich, black cherry and mulberry fruit, with liquorice, spice, graphite and pepper, all the time beautifully focused. Exceptional wine that merits a place in the cellar of any wine lover. For drinking now to 2030.

Champ Morel

CROZES-HERMITAGE 2018
80% Marsanne, 20% Roussanne (14% alc.)

Martine Vandre’s white Crozes is made from a classic mix of 30yo marsanne and roussanne aged in two thirds cuve and one third oak (3-8yo barrels). It offers hints of apricot, quince and mango on the nose, which follow through on the palate, where the controlling influence from limestone helps retain a freshness and dynamism.

Champ Morel

CROZES-HERMITAGE 2018
100% Syrah (13% alc.)

This excellent wine comes from 30yo vines planted both in alluvial soil in Beaumont-Monteux and clay-limestone hillsides in Chanos-Curson. A deep plum red, it offers a gorgeous nose of mulberries and black cherries enhanced by a well-judged élevage in a mix of old foudres, 5yo barrels and cuve.

Domaine du Murinais

CROZES-HERMITAGE 2018
Vieilles Vignes
100% Syrah (14% alc.)

Luc Tardy took over the reins at this domaine in 1998 and is fashioning better wines every year. His Crozes is very supple and pure with lip-smacking liquorice, ripe black cherries and a touch of spice on the palate, and the oak élevage marries really well with the weight of the wine.

Christian & Martine Rouchier

ST-JOSEPH 2017
Luc
100% Syrah (14% alc.)

This comes from just 0.5 ha of vines planted by Christian’s father in 1972 at around 250m altitude, on the hills above St-Jean-de-Muzols, in a clay soil over schist. Made from whole bunches with just 5mg/l sulphur added to give total levels of 31mg/l. Aptly described by Speciality Drinks buyer Dawn Davies as having a nose like a Fisherman’s Friend lozenge, the wine has a most attractive black forest fruit, structured, clean and pure on the palate, with amazing energy and freshness. Decanting is recommended.

Christian & Martine Rouchier

ST-JOSEPH 2016
La Chave
100% Syrah (12.5% alc.)

Christian and Martine’s top cuvée comes from 1ha of vines planted in 1958 straight onto gneiss in the lieu-dit of La Chave. The juice is naturally a little denser and firmer than Luc in the same vintage, and the wine will need a few years bottle age. Aged in old barrels with no added sulphur at any stage (although there is 26mg/l total produced naturally from fermentation), the wine offers tightly knit wild blackberries, a hint of black pepper, mineral cut with a very long finish. For drinking now to 2025.

Pierre Gonon

ST-JOSEPH 2018
Les Oliviers
80% Marsanne, 20% Roussanne (14% alc.)

Les Oliviers, just to the north of Mauves, has a soil of ancient Rhône alluvium and some loess on a granitic bedrock. Pulled out of 228 litre barrels in early September and then assembled in a stainless steel vat for 3 months before bottling in December. There’s a beautiful balance in 2018 with 13.8% alc (0.7 less than 2017). As Pierre Gonon noted, "it was very hot during the harvest, we picked in the morning, and it has come through as a fresh wine; the east part of Les Oliviers gives freshness from soils and exposure". Textured, complex peach and apricot fruits, with a floral, honeysuckle note and noble bitterness, anis, salinity, and ginger on the finish. Total S02 of just 35mg/l. For drinking now to 2028+.

Pierre Gonon

ST-JOSEPH 2018
100% Syrah (13.5% alc.)

This bottling incorporates 3ha of 80yo vines purchased from the legendary Raymond Trollat in St Jean de Muzols (representing one third of the wine). Jean noted during a recent visit that no syrah clones are used at all now for this wine, just sélection massale. Made from 92% whole bunches in 2018, it’s floral on the nose (violets), with stamp of perfectly ripe blackberries, notable tapenade and liquorice, and the palate staining quality typical of fruit from St Jean de Muzols – the dry extract and mineral print from this vineyard is such that it almost sucks all the saliva out of your mouth when young, and provides a perfect backbone to help the wine age very well, as a guide Jean Gonon recommends six years. The wine possesses great energy, balance and finesse, and is long, irony and saline on a mineral infused finish. For drinking now to 2028+.

Pierre Gonon

ST-JOSEPH 2015
Vieilles Vignes
100% Syrah (13.5% alc.)

The Gonon brothers made this wine from vines purchased from Raymond Trollat that were planted in 1910 and the 1920s on the steep hillsides of Saint-Jean-de-Muzols (where the soil is a crumbly granite). It’s a confidential cuvée made from time to time (the last vintage before this was 2010), to evidence what their work on the exceptional terroir of St Jean de Muzols can produce in the best vintages. They produced just one demi-muid of this dark, inky purple coloured wine. It has a brooding nose with ripe black raspberry, cassis and violets as well as vibrant notes of white pepper, allspice and smoky minerals, all part of an astonishingly complex bouquet. The palate presents stylish fruit, effortless 'gras', richness, with snug tannins that fit like a glove. The juice is elegant, the tannins are excellent, with a finish that is like essence of crumbled stone with an irony core, that sucks the saliva out of the mouth. This is complete, total, long-lived wine. Jean told us that he had no idea when this remarkable but extremely small-production wine would be released (and importers will be lucky to be offered even one case) but he did say that he didn't expect that he and his brother Pierre would be in any rush to do so. For drinking to 2040.

Pierre Gonon

PAYS DE L’ARDÈCHE IGP 2018
Les Iles Feray
100% Syrah (13% alc.)

The Gonon brothers use juice from their youngest vines in St Jo for this really good IGP, giving it less full bunch maceration (60%). The nose shows mulberries and raspberries with a jasmine note that we also found in the senior wine. The palate bears a concentrated heart after a bright attack, there’s evident sun in this with mineral notes, iron and finely grained, nicely integrated tannins. It has character, much more forward than the St Jo, like a ripe Crozes from Gervans, in the northern sector of that appellation.

Bernard Gripa

ST-PÉRAY 2019
Les Pins
80% Marsanne, 20% Roussanne (14% alc.)

This comes from 40yo vines in a limestone soil with granite base and is now aged 100% in oak, mainly in 6-7yo 600ltr demimuids. Peachy with a hint of acacia, it has a lovely purity.

Bernard Gripa

ST-PÉRAY 2018
Les Figuiers
60% Roussanne, 40% Marsanne (13.5% alc.)

This is Gripa’s top St-Péray made from vines averaging 60 years and aged in new to 5yo barrels and demi-muids. It has an extra dimension of richness, fine greengage and peach aromas, and retains the appellation’s characteristic mineral print. For drinking now to 2025+.

Bernard Gripa

ST-JOSEPH 2018
80% Marsanne, 20% Roussanne (13% alc.)

Produced from 30yo vines on hillside terraces between Mauves and Tournon, Fabrice Gripa’s Saint-Joseph white is typically a little richer than his Saint-Péray (where there is more limestone in the soil) with a good bright gold colour. It offers an attractive hint of menthol and almond on the nose, is fresh and balanced on the palate, with mineral, spice and marsanne bitterness on the finish. The élevage is spot on (almost entirely in 600ltr demi-muids of which just 8% are new), and Fabrice has once again produced a wine with perfect balance – far from easy to achieve with whites from the northern Rhône. For drinking now to 2028.

Bernard Gripa

ST-JOSEPH 2017
100% Syrah (14% alc.)

Gripa’s red comes 90% from vines planted in Tournon. Given a three days cold soak, then foot-trodden in open wooden fermenting vats at the start of the fermentation, it was aged in a mix of new to ten years old demi-muids (60%) and fûts (40%). The 2017 is made from 25% whole bunches, has good depth with delicious black cherry fruit, liquorice, hint of black olive/grilled meat with fine-grained tannins and an irony relief on the palate. Yields reduced to 30hh in 2017 as it was a very dry summer. For drinking now to 2025.

Guillaume Gilles

CORNAS 2017
Les Rieux
100% Syrah (13% alc.)

Guillaume purchased Les Rieux in 2010, the land never held vines before and was mainly planted with massales from Les Bessards (Hermitage). Sandy granitic soil to the south west of the appellation at 400-450m, the south-facing vines soak up the sun throughout the whole day. Guillaume gave this wine a shorter cuvaison otherwise vinified and aged in the same way as the Chaillot cuvée. Showing really well already despite the young vines, it is very floral (violets), supple and elegant but with a distinct mineral stamp. Excellent value. For drinking now to 2024.

Guillaume Gilles

CORNAS 2015
100% Syrah (13.5% alc.)

Guillaume’s vines are 35 years old – a myriad of massal clippings and different clones planted by Robert Michel – from the exceptional lieu-dit of Chaillot (specifically the plots of les Terrasses and les Grands Murs on very, very steep south and south east facing slopes). The cuvée Les Combes des Chaillots will not be made in 2015 as the wine was so good that it has been incorporated into the senior cuvée. The grapes were not destalked and the wine has been aged in two thirds 400 litres barrels and bottled without fining or filtration. A seductive nose, lovely weight of rich red/black fruit and liquorice on the palate, imprint of terroir, notably irony and very fine tannins – it’s all very harmonious. For drinking now to 2030.

Frédéric Agneray

KALAMITE 2017
Vin de France
90% Grenache, 10% Cinsault (13.5% alc.)

This cuvée takes its name after the natterjack toad (crapaud calamite) Frédéric found while working the soil with a pickaxe. The vines are 40yo for the cinsault and 20yo for the grenache, grown on calcareous sand in Margelet. About 70% of the wine is vinified in a ‘millefeuille’ alternating layers for wholebunch and destemmed grapes, while the rest goes through a semi-carbonic maceration. The extraction is very gentle, no pigeage or remontage, just one wetting of the cap per day with a bucket. Cuve aged for 15 months Kalamite feels very close to the grapes and is very precise and aromatically expressive with notes of succulent plums, fennel and wild herbs.

Frédéric Agneray

MITAN 2016
Vin de France
100% Grenache (13.5% alc.)

Mitan comes from the two best parcels in Margelet, one exposed to the north-east on a steep slope with very stony limestone soils, and the other one tilting north in a clearing in the middle of the woods on sandy soils. Despite the vines being just 30yo, yields here are a low 25hh. Destemmed and vinified in stainless steel, the wine spent 30 days infusing on the skins with no extraction other than wetting the cap with a bucket. 60% was aged in cuve and 40% in demi-muids, and it was bottled in June 2018. This is a very elegant example of grenache with floral aromatics, crunchy fruit and beautifully fine tannins.

Domaine Lattard

SYRAH 2019
Vin de France
100% Syrah (14% alc.)

The Lattard brothers chose Autichamp, a remote corner of the Drome, 30km south-east of Valence to plant their vines. This comes from two parcels on calcareous sand planted in 1995 and 1997 on south-east facing slopes, yielding 40hh. Fully destemmed and given 15 days maceration with daily remontage, the wine is aged for a year in stainless steel and is bottled just before harvest with no sulphur used at any stage. It’s a very honest syrah, ripe and juicy on the palate, it tightens up on the finish which is fresh with beautiful bitters and marked salinity.

Domaine Lattard

GAMAY 2019
Vin de France
100% Gamay (14% alc.)

Planted in 1997 on a south-east facing slope, the soil is sandier (a mix of sandstone and limestone) compared to the syrah vineyard. The ripe and healthy grapes (35hh) go through semi-carbonic maceration in stainless steel, as per ageing for 9 to 12 months. Bottled without fining, filtration or SO2 added, this is juicy and sapid with concentration as well as structure. The well-integrated VA provides balance and an umami-boosted drinkability. Amazing value for money.

Domaine Gallety

CÔTES-DU-VIVARAIS 2016
50% Grenache, 50% Syrah (14% alc.)

Gallety are the leading producers in this tiny appellation at the northern end of the southern Rhône. The days and nights here are cooler which helps capture a little more freshness. There is a good, iron-rich, limestone-derived soil that may help to convey freshness and acidity. This cuvée comes from a 40yo massale selection yielding 25hh. Aged in 1-4yo barrels for 15 months, the wine offers ripe blackberry fruit, with black olives, graphite, herbs, spice, tobacco, good acidity, a mineral vibrancy and fine tannins.

La Péquélette

VINSOBRES 2017
Emile
75% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah, 5% Carignan/Cinsault (14.5% alc.)

Emile was Cédric's grandfather who created the domaine. Yields are extremely low at 18hh from 50 to 90yo vines. Vinified in concrete vats and cuve aged for 16 months, it has a delectable, very pure black cherry, raspberry, liquorice and cinnamon flecked fruit, old vine framework and fine tannins with a cleansing, saline note on the finish. A very digeste and sapid style despite the typical southern concentration. Low SO2 at bottling only – 18mg/l total. For drinking now to 2023.

Domaine du Trapadis

RASTEAU VIN DOUX NATUREL 2017
90% Grenache, 10% Carignan (15.5% alc, 100g/l of rs)

This is a very good VDN with cigar leaf, raisin, prune and fig flavours typical of the grenache. Delicious with rich chocolate desserts.

La Luminaille

CÔTES-DU-RHÔNE 2019
Luminaris
60% Clairette, 30% Marsanne, 10% Bourboulenc (12% alc.)

One hectare of 30yo vines on clay-based terraces with 50% planted in the forest of Rasteau at 350-400m altitude where it is a little cooler and more humid. The whole bunches were slowly pressed for a little extra texture, and the finished wine was then cuve aged. The malos often don’t take place although they are not intentionally blocked. The wine has surprising freshness (low pH 3.3), low alcohol and a lovely density. Freshly sliced pear on the nose, a hint of provencal herbs on the palate and fine bitters on the finish. 3500 bottles produced.

La Luminaille

CÔTES-DU-RHÔNE 2016
1er Né(z)
100% Marsanne (13.5% alc.)

This wine comes from 30yo vines, planted on a south-west slope close to the forest in limestone, clay and sand. Aged in older demi-muids, and given one day’s skin contact for a little extra texture, it offers nicely defined orange and peach fruits with a touch of pear skin (it feels very close to the fresh cut grapes) with an attractive salinity, and some food friendly bitters on the finish.

La Luminaille

RASTEAU 2017
Luminaris
40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 25% Carignan, 5% Mourvèdre (14% alc.)

The objective here was to make a wine with local character, good fruits and elegance, not a concentrated wine that would demand too much bottle age. Mainly cuve aged with just syrah and mourvèdre in older 500l barrels, there is attractive, clear-cut cherry and raspberry fruit, some liquorice, spice and Provence herbs, all with a very digeste quality.

La Luminaille

RASTEAU 2019
Garance
60% Grenache, 40% Carignan (14.5% alc.)

Garance is a natural dye, made from herbs found in the vines, that produces a deep red colour. Made from the oldest parcels of vines on the property, around 70yo, this wine was destalked 100%, vinified in amphora, then aged in cement (cutting out demi-muids previously used for ageing part of the wine). It has spicy black fruits on the nose with plums and even blood orange notes on the palate, Provencal herbs and a saline twist, all with a very digeste quality and fine-grained tannins. Unfined and lightly filtered with less than 40mg/l of total sulphur. For drinking now to 2030.

La Luminaille

RASTEAU VIN DOUX NATUREL 2019
Grenat
90% Grenache, 10% Carignan (16.5% alc, 90g/l of rs)

A very delicately extracted example, a VDN much paler in colour compared to many of its peers. Cuve aged, and 'muté' at 8%, it offers cherry/blackberry fruit with a hint of menthol and spice and is light on its feet with a digeste quality, very fine tannins and clear-cut on the finish.

Martinelle

VENTOUX 2017
70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 5% Carignan, 5% Cinsault (14.5% alc)

This is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, or more accurately a Rhône-Villages Beaumes de Venise reclassified after the war as a Ventoux. It is a rich, well-balanced wine with hints of liquorice, spice and garrigue herbs nicely cut through by the tempering influence you tend to find on limestone.

Domaine Houillon

CÔTES-DU-RHÔNE 2017
Cuvée Spéciale
70% Grenache, 30% Syrah (14% alc.)

This cuvée is a 'mise tardive', a second bottling of two barrels (around 1000 bottles) that went through a 20 month élevage on fine lees. Aurélien racks once and bottles when the wines are "happy, relaxed and completely clear". Fruit-forward and peppery, this is dense with rustic and savoury tannins triggering a lengthy salivation. An impressive effort for a first vintage.

Domaine Houillon

CÔTES-DU-RHÔNE 2017
Canne
70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Cinsault (14% alc.)

The word 'canne' refers to the wooden tap on traditional foudres which allow for free-run juice to be sampled. This is indeed pure 'jus de goutte' made from 50-60yo vines following a 10 weeks cuvaison. Expansive mouthfeel and texture, smooth tannins, lifted and fresh aromatics sustained by fine bitters, this is simply excellent.

Domaine Houillon

CÔTES-DU-RHÔNE 2018
Indigo
90% Syrah, 10% Grenache (13.5% alc.)

Charlotte has used indigo blue natural pigments as well as vine shoots and iris to make the beautiful label. This is one of the top wines at the domaine – old vines yielding concentrated grapes, vinification 'en cuve fermée' (see profile) for 14 weeks, ageing in stainless steel vat and bottling in April 2019. This is where Aurélien's fine touch comes into play, the wine is deep and structured but he manages to retain so much freshness and nuances within it. Indigo also expresses complex and enticing aromas of bramble fruits, viola flowers and blood orange – a stunning bottling from the Houillons.

Roucas Toumba

VACQUEYRAS 2017
Les Prémices
20% Marsanne, 17% Roussanne, 16% Clairette, 15% Grenache Gris, 14% Viognier, 14% Vermentino, 4% Picpoul/Picardan/Carignan blanc (14% alc.)

Eric has just 0.85 ha of massal selected white grapes, and whilst the vineyard is relatively young, his yields are just 16hh. He also harvests at 7 am in the morning to preserve freshness. Aged for one year in 2-4yo barrels, the wine is complex and dense but has retained an integral freshness and balance, with intriguing aromas of white fruits and flowers.

Roucas Toumba

VDP DE MÉDITERRANÉE
Pichot Roucas
34% Grenache, 33% Syrah, 33% Carignan (13.5% alc.)

A micro-production here from 50yo grenache/carignan planted on silt from the Ouvèze river, and young vine syrah on iron-rich sand in the lieu-dit Grandes Roques (located at the bottom of the terraced hillside producing the top Vacqueyras). Harvested by hand and vinified in concrete tanks, Eric keeps 50% of whole bunches for the carignan (while the rest is destemmed) and gives it a 6 months élevage. It is a superbly made VDP with a dark cherry, spicy fruit and southern print, it is supple, not too dense and has that most important quality of being easily drinkable. Bottled unfined and unfiltered with low level of SO2.

Roucas Toumba

VACQUEYRAS 2018
La Grande Terre
50% Grenache, 35% Mourvèdre, 15% Syrah (14% alc)

A blend of all Eric’s Vacqueyras holdings in 2018 with yields of just 6hh after a wet June led to poor flowering. Destalked 100% this year and cuve aged therefore accessible in its youth. A beautiful dark plum colour, with a fresh black cherry nose intermingled with violets, pine, ink, and smoke. On the palate there is vigour and depth balanced by a discreet minerality, with liquorice nuances, dark chocolate, spices, and menthol supported by savoury, old vine tannins.

Roucas Toumba

VACQUEYRAS 2017
Les Restanques de Cabassole
60% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, 5% Viognier/Clairette/Grenache Blanc (15% alc)

Old vine grenache (60-80yo) two thirds destalked is the heart of this excellent wine. It has a beautiful deep plum colour, and a fresh black cherry nose intermingled with violets, thyme, ink and smoke. On the palate the wine is rich but freshened by a discreet minerality, with liquorice nuances of violet zan (french sweet!), dark chocolate and menthol supported by old vine tannins. For drinking now to 2027.

Moulin de La Gardette

GIGONDAS 2018
Tradition
80% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah (14.5% alc.)

Made from a selection of old bush vine parcels tended organically including La Gardette, St Jean, Jasio and Grames, largely at high altitude to the south of the village, where the soils are a complex mix of marls, safres (sands) and limestone-clay. Vinified from whole bunches and aged primarily in old foudres this is an extremely fine and elegant example of Gigondas. It has an attractive red cherry colour, bramble fruits with menthol and pine on the nose, and an amazing palate, offering beautifully judged raspberry and blackberry old viney fruit, liquorice, leather, hint of violets, nutmeg and cinnamon stick, relieved and lifted by a juicy berry acidity and a saline lick, all held together and enhanced by fine grained tannins. It’s so pleasurable to drink now with its very digeste quality and excellent balance, but will improve over the years – John 'JLL' Livingstone-Learmonth reckons that it has a 20 year life ahead of it. For drinking now to 2037.

Domaine du Grapillon D’or

GIGONDAS 2018
80% Grenache, 20% Syrah (15% alc.)

This comes from the windy, sun drenched hillsides of the Dentelles de Montmirail. It is a really well controlled Gigondas with hints of thyme/rosemary and game on the nose, supple black cherry fruit, spice, liquorice and mocha on the palate, with well-integrated tannins.

Moulin-La-Viguerie

TAVEL 2019
La Combe des Rieu
50% Grenache Noir, Blanc and Gris, 20% Cinsault, 20% Carignan, 10% Clairette Blanche and Rosée (14.5% alc.)

Co-planted vines (1965, 1969, 1976) 'en gobelet' in the prime lieu-dit Les Vestides on rocky limestone scree and red clay. Average yield of 25hh. Sulphur-free, semi-carbonic maceration using the 'mille-feuille' technique (see profile), ageing in old barrels. Its colour is like an unfiltered pinot noir rather than a delicate rosé. The flavour brings in spicy black cherry, herbs like juniper and bay-leaf, there is a gentle tannic pull and a good sense of freshness and salinity (a very low pH level of 3.30), and it is very long on the finish. Less than half a gramme of SO2 (per hl) has been added but it holds up very well when open for a few days auguring well for its ageing potential – Gaël Petit reckons it should drink well for five years from vintage. He advises drinking cellar cool (12-14C), and carafeing half an hour before you eat. It’s ideally suited to spiced, garlicy Mediterranean cuisine. Matt Walls is a big fan, selecting the domaine as one of his ten most exciting Rhône discoveries in Decanter, and this wine was JLL’s top rated Tavel from the 2019 vintage.

Domaine de Ferrand

CÔTES-DU-RHÔNE 2019
Mistral
40% Grenache, 40% Syrah, 10% Carignan, 10% Vaccarese (14% alc.)

Mistral refers to the local northern wind, it is made from young to 40yo vines located on sandy slopes between Châteauneuf and Orange, Philippe kept 20% whole bunches, and the much higher proportion of syrah opens up the wine and makes it perfect for drinking on the fruit. Cuve aged and bottled early in June the fruit is delectable – spicy cherry and raspberry with very silky tannins. Ideal wine for a barbecue or Sunday roast.

Domaine de Ferrand

CÔTES-DU-RHÔNE 2016
Vieilles Vignes
90% Grenache, 7% Syrah, 3% Cinsault (14.5% alc.)

Côtes-du-Rhône from a good Châteauneuf estate is always a great bargain. Philippe Bravay selects this wine from the best sites and 50yo vines. Destalked 80% in 2016, at 35hh yields were a little down on 2015 and the grapes were brought in during cool, dry weather at the end of September. A mid-raspberry colour reflects a judicious vinification. Floral and herbal notes on the nose, mid-weight on the palate, offering raspberry fruit (very close to the fresh grapes), liquorice, a touch of meat juices, spice and dried herb with good freshness and lift on the finish, tannins are ripe and well-judged.

Domaine de Ferrand

CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2016
95% Grenache, 5% Mourvèdre/Cinsault/Syrah (15% alc.)

Since 2010 Philippe has kept 50% of the whole bunches for the fermentation which helps to give a better framework for the wine and adds an extra note of spice and complexity. Made from 90yo vines planted on old rootstock that help to reduce vigour and give very limited yields (typically around 25hh), this is a dense, rich wine with real breadth of aromas and flavours, offering layers of raspberry and black cherry fruit, spice, liquorice, menthol and garrigue herbs, fine tannins and a long, mineral imbued finish. Though it can be enjoyed in its youth it will benefit from at least three years ageing. For drinking now to 2025+.

La Biscarelle

CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2017
80% Grenache, 20% total of Mourvèdre, Carignan, Cinsault, Syrah, Counoise (14% alc.)

Jérôme Grieco’s CNDP comes from old vines in a mix of limestone-clay, deep red clays and typical ‘galets roulés’ river stones. He aims to produce an authentic but easily drinkable wine, and so this is a wine blessed by clarity of fruit expression and none of the souped up sweetness so prevalent in CNDP today. Cuve aged, it offers a mix of spicy red and black fruits, touch of menthol and garrigue herbs, and a long finish featuring fine grained tannins.

La Biscarelle

CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2015
Les Anglaises
100% Grenache (14.5% alc.)

Jérôme Grieco’s top cuvée of CNDP comes from 76yo old vines planted in sandy soils on a north facing hillside towards Orange. Not destalked and cuve aged, it has an excellent dark cherry colour that extends right out to the edge, is denser and has more matter than the normal cuvée, liquorice, menthol and clove notes on the palate, and has a long, sustained finish and perfectly judged tannins. For drinking now to 2025+.

Domaine Charvin

CÔTES-DU-RHÔNE 2019
45% Bourboulenc, 25% Clairette, 20% Roussanne, 10% Grenache Blanc (13% alc.)

Attractive easy drinking, this cuve aged wine has a quiet charm, with peach and a hint of citrus, a little spice, with a sudiste expression and saline twist on the finish.

Domaine Charvin

CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2017
90% Grenache Rose, 10% Bourboulenc (13.2% alc.)

Made from 50yo vines on a steep west facing hillside in sandy soil with many classic CNDP river ‘pebbles’. A few too many CNDP whites are oily and alcoholic, but this is far removed, with low pH of 3.3 and no malos. Aged in stainless steel, there is a little hint of reduction, there is nicely layered fruit, with notes of ripe lemons, pears with floral and spice notes. It shows real energy with saline/iodine notes and finishes mineral and very long.

Domaine Charvin

CÔTES-DU-RHÔNE 2018
81% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre, 4% Carignan (14% alc.)

This wine is given just the same care as Charvin’s Châteauneuf. There is a cuvaison of 20 days with no destemming before 16 months in cuve prior to bottling without filtration. This 2018 is another excellent example with stylish, spicy fruit, good structure typical of the vintage and a natural, unforced quality.

Domaine Charvin

CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2014
82% Grenache, 8% Syrah, 5% Vaccarèse, 5% Mourvèdre (15% alc.)

The overriding impression with the 2014 is one of harmony. An age-worthy wine emanating from superb work in the vineyard, and the least possible intervention back in the cave to capture all the fruit's potential. It has spicy, chewy cherry fruit, a hint of thyme and is rich, long, but always fresh with salivation on the finish reflecting the lime-rich soils. For drinking now to 2028+.

Château Sainte Anne

BANDOL 2018
50% Clairette Verte, 50% Ugni Blanc (13% alc.)

This scarce cuvée (only 5% of Ste Anne’s total production) is made from 50yo vines planted on limestone-clay hillsides with siliceous sub-soils. Yields are between 25 to 30hh and the wine is aged for six months in cuve. Mid-gold in colour this is richly textured as well as pure and precise, with complex fruit hinting at melon, straw, fennel, anise, with notable balance and freshness. On the finish, there is a little sea salt and an attractive bitterness. For drinking now to 2028.

Château Sainte Anne

BANDOL 2018
40% Mourvèdre, 30% Grenache, 30% Cinsault (13% alc.)

45yo vines give a yield of just 27hh and simply produce the most complex rosé of the AC. Alone among the top Bandol producers, Ste Anne continues to make it the old-fashioned way with the bleeding method, using ambient yeast, allowing alcoholic and malolactic (not blocked with SO2) fermentations to work at their own pace. It is also interesting to note that the Dutheils went on making 20% of rosé despite the high demand - it represents 75% of the appellation’s production these days! This wine has a very attractive onion skin colour, mufti-layered texture with red fruits, fennel, garrigue herbs and a hint of spice. For drinking now to 2028.

Château Sainte Anne

BANDOL 2017
60% Mourvèdre, 20% Grenache,20% Cinsault (13% alc.)

Grapes are destemmed and punched daily by hand with a simple tool, and the vats are cooled down with a sprinkler hose when necessary – rudimentary but efficient technology! Ste Anne's red has exceptional colour, a clear mid-raspberry extending right to the edge. On the nose, you find black fruits, liquorice, a hint of game and a lightly saline note. The palate is supple and mid-weight, with black fruits, liquorice, truffle and leather. It is a very elegant wine (rare quality for most mourvèdre) drinking beautifully now although a long future is assured. For drinking now to 2035+.

Château Val d’Arenc

BANDOL 2020
80% Mourvèdre, 10% Grenache, 10% Cinsault (13.5% alc.)

This is a Bandol rosé with a particularly high percentage of mourvèdre which helps enhancing structure while reducing alcohol – a higher proportion of grenache gives more alcohol. Good share of west-facing old vines grown on the typical sandy clay-limestone soils of the appellation. The grapes are crushed and macerated for a few hours, the temperature is controlled (16C) during fermentation in stainless steel, and the wine is aged on fine lees for a few months only. Terrific tension and freshness with a saline hint on the finish. An amazing value for money from a prestigious AC.

Domaine de Cébène

FAUGÈRES 2015
Les Bancèls
60% Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre, 20% Grenache (13.5% alc.)

Les Bancèls, old patois for terraces, is an extraordinary 1ha north-facing (NE to NW) vineyard terraced by "les anciens". They carved into a rocky schist hillock (320m) following the elevation contours to prevent leaching of the soils. This is one of Brigitte's favourite plots to work on for its "vibration and energy" as well as the stunning panoramic view. Mainly syrah and some grenache were replanted a little more than 20 years ago, and Brigitte blends them with mourvèdre from a due south-facing plot. The terroir and power of schist help to imbue the fruit with a signature stony mineral flavour. Black cherry and blueberry fruit is abundant and dense, with spicy and wild garrigue notes, and this wine opens out really well with a good carafeing (or enough bottle ageing). For drinking now to 2025.

Domaine de Cébène

FAUGÈRES 2018
Belle Lurette
85% Carignan, 10% Grenache, 5% Mourvèdre (13.5% alc.)

This wine is based on the 6ha parcel of 70-100yo vines surrounding the cellar, Brigitte purchased the plot when the former owner was thinking of digging the vines up. The parcel yields just two bunches per vine and two vines make one bottle of wine! The vineyard is planted in an iron imbued schist, it mainly faces due north at 300m altitude and is regularly swept by the cool Tramontane. Made from two-thirds whole bunches and cuve aged, this has exceptional balance, length and verticality – a typical feature of schist. It is savoury, earthy, spicy and tastes very close to the grapes; a stunning wine that will benefit from carafeing, bottle ageing and big glasses. "Il y a belle lurette" is a French saying referring to the old times – a wink to the venerable age of the vines. For drinking now to 2028.

Domaine de Cébène

PAYS D'OC IGP 2016
Ex Arena
90% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre (13.5% alc.)

The only wine in the range not made from vines on schist – ex arena means ‘from sand’ in Latin – it takes its name after the deep bed of sandy marine deposits in Corneilhan, 25km south of Faugères closer to the Mediterranée. Yields are very low, between 10 to 20hh. Vinified and aged in cuve, this wine has a lovely dark plum but translucent colour. A 100% whole bunch fermentation provides an excellent structure, and the wine has spicy, black cherry fruit with a most attractive freshness.

Lacroix-Vanel

CÔTEAUX-DU-LANGUEDOC 2016
Fine Amor
60% Grenache, 40% Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Syrah (14% alc.)

Low yielding old vines planted in gravel and basalt soils and tended organically. This wine offers clearly defined fruit, with dried figs and black cherries to the fore, with an attractive floral hint too. It has been sensitively extracted, there is a distinct terroir imprint, smoky and hot stone (you can detect the volcanic print), and there are fine tannins on the finish which is long and sustained.

La Grange de Quatre Sous

BU N’DAW 2018
Vin de France
100% Petite Arvine (13.5% alc.)

An individual, dry white from a top Swiss variety emblematic of the Valais region. The whole bunches are slowly pressed, the wine is vinified and aged in 4yo 500L barrels over 18 months. It naturally carries out its malolactic fermentation with SO2 total of around 40mg/l. An attractive pale gold colour, there is a floral hint on the nose, a well-balanced attack, with ripe citrus fruit and a saline kick on the finish.

La Grange de Quatre Sous

PAYS D’OC IGP 2017
Garsinde
60% Malbec, 25% Syrah, 15% Cabernet Franc (14.5% alc.)

Hildegard’s red is produced from the cooler terroirs of Assignan in the St-Chinian appellation. 100% destalked, the grapes are lightly crushed, cuvaison in stainless steel vat for 25 days with pumping-over. Press wine is blended with free-run juice, ageing for 10 months in stainless steel. The wine has succulent, spicy, dark cherry fruit with a hint of garrigue herbs. Structured, it’s still fresh and very easy to drink.

Domaine des Terres Falmet

CARIGNAN 2020
Vin de France
100% Carignan (13% alc.)

Yves Falmet’s wines have attractive, unforced fruit with excellent texture and mouthfeel. This low yield, hand harvested, old vine carignan (80-90yo) comes from the same north-facing vineyard as his St-Chinian and has been cuve aged to retain all its spicy, dark raspberry, spicy fruit, with a saline finish.

Domaine des Terres Falmet

ST-CHINIAN 2017
L’Ivresse des Cimes
50% Mourvèdre, 35% Syrah, 15% Grenache, (13.5% alc.)

From a steep hillside vineyard in the Montagne Noire, this comes from 40yo vines, and is minerally, very spicy and tobaccoey. In our view St-Chinian is one of the finest appellations of Languedoc, and this is a really good, honest example.

Emmanuel de Soos

PAYS D’OC IGP 2020
Domaine Rougié
100% Viognier (14% alc.)

Very low yields (30hh) provide the base for this half cuve and half oak-aged viognier with a characteristic apricoty, peachy stamp, and a good cut of freshness.

Emmanuel de Soos

MINERVOIS 2017
Château de Rieux
90% Syrah, 10% Grenache (14% alc.)

This syrah dominant Minervois has lush, attractive blackberry fruit, liquorice, a touch of oak and silky tannins.

Clos de L’Anhel

CORBIÈRES 2016
Les Terrasettes
65% Carignan, 25% Syrah, 6% Grenache, 4% Mourvèdre (14% alc.)

Sophie Guiraudon farms her terraced smallholding of old vines organically on the higher limestone-based hills of the Corbières, near Lagrasse. She is particularly keen on the qualities of carignan, and from low yielding, hand harvested vines, destalked 100%, she makes this excellent cuve aged wine which she prefers to bottle early in June to retain all the fruit. It draws you in on the nose, with black fruits and a floral hint, offers dark raspberry, plum, spice and garrigue herbs on the palate, and is fresh and expressive on the finish with a saline hint.

Étienne Fort

LIMOUX 2016
Samo
80% Chardonnay, 20% Chenin (12.5% alc.)

Named after Jean-Michel Basquiat, who created political and poetical graffiti in New York during the late 1970s under the name of Samo, and whose work Étienne adores. This is Étienne’s first still Limoux white from old organically tended vines at high altitude aged in older demi-muids. It retains an incredible freshness and acidity, is well balanced and at ease (with low sulphur), putting us more in mind of good Jura whites – and it’s great vfm.

Étienne Fort

BLANQUETTE DE LIMOUX 2018
Monsieur S
100% Mauzac (12.5% alc.)

In just his late twenties Étienne Fort makes brilliant sparkling wines by the méthode traditionnelle (the same as for champagne), from the best parcels of 11ha of organically worked vines in the high altitude (450m) limestone-based foothills of the Pyrénées. He is based in St-Salvadou hence 'Monsieur S'. Aged for six months in cuve, then a year in bottle, and disgorged with no dosage, this exceptional value fizz has a fine bubble, and refreshing zesty fruit.

Étienne Fort

CRÉMANT DE LIMOUX 2018
Monsieur S
100% Chardonnay (12.5% alc.)

Étienne’s chardonnay based Crémant is a slightly more complex sparkling wine, sourced once again from low-yielding vines at high altitude (450m) which helps to preserve freshness and cut. Wild yeast fermentation in old demi-muids is followed by 6 months ageing in the same demi-muids, the wine is then being bottled off for the secondary fermentation and 12 months ageing on the lees. Disgorged with zero dosage, this has attractive citrus fruits, syllabub and lime blossom, a nice saline freshness and gentle bitters on the finish.

Clos du Rouge Gorge

CÔTES CATALANES IGP 2016
100% Maccabeu (13% alc.)

70yo maccabeu planted on hillsides of gneiss and orthogneiss (north and east facing which helps to preserve freshness). The wine is aged with no bâtonnage in a new 500ltr barrel made by famous Austrian tonnelier Stockinger and several 4yo barriques. Delicacy, precision and terrific freshness characterise this wine, citrus and white fruits with herbal notes of lemon thyme, anise, lavender, mint, a mineral cut and saline with gentle bitters on the long finish. Unfined and unfiltered, very low sulphur. An excellent alternative to white burgundy. For drinking now to 2024.

Clos du Rouge Gorge

CÔTES CATALANES IGP 2016
L’Ubac
100% Grenache Gris (13% alc.)

Cyril’s top cuvée of white comes from minuscule yields of 65-70yo vines planted in gneiss on the dramatic 70% hillside of L’Ubac. Cyril lost 50% of his production due to drought in 2016, and in the light of that problem, this laser-like fresh wine seems almost like a miracle. It definitely helps that the vines are planted on a north-facing hillside - Ubac is Occitan for the shaded side of a mountain. Mechanisation is impossible here, so viticulture is either carried out on foot or with the help of a horse. Vinified and aged slowly over 20 months in Stockinger demi-muids, this was bottled by hand with a micro touch of sulphur added at bottling of around 10mg/l. When we tasted this wine in July 2018, it was so good it sent shivers down Nick’s spine (that doesn’t happen very often!). The finesse and freshness are astonishing, the fruit is so sleek and stylish, the finish goes on forever with gneiss imparting a subtle stony character. A wine that puts almost all white burgundies firmly in the shade. Cyril has allocated us 12bts. For drinking now to 2026+.

Clos du Rouge Gorge

CÔTES CATALANES IGP 2016
Jeunes Vignes
100% Grenache (13% alc.)

Cyril’s ‘young’ vines are 25yo, planted in thin soils developed over upturned schist in a lieu-dit called Mont-Redon after the famous CNDP estate. Vinified in 500ltr wooden cuve for three months, and then aged in stainless steel for eight months, to capture the fruit and freshness, Cyril’s approach is one of extreme delicacy, producing a floral, finely tuned grenache with a notable schisty, mineral print and very fine grained tannins, miles away from the rustic brutes that grenache can sometimes produce.

Clos du Rouge Gorge

CÔTES CATALANES IGP 2016
95% Carignan, 5% Grenache (13% alc.)

Very low yields from 70 to 100yo vines, meticulous grape selection in the vineyard, gentle extraction (more like infusion), sensitive handling of oak (ten months in recent 500ltr and older barriques), and minimal sulphur, combine to produce this extraordinary wine. It has a gamey hint of reduction on the nose that quickly floats off to reveal complex notes of dark cherry fruit with thyme/oregano, menthol, and a hint of nutmeg. This wine has radical finesse and freshness for a wine from Roussillon (or anywhere from the south of France). Unfined and unfiltered. For drinking now to 2030+.

Hors Champ

CÔTES CATALANES IGP 2017
La Femme Soleil
100% Maccabeu (11.5% alc.)

Purchased from the organically certified Domaine de Rancy, the maccabeu comes from 70yo vines planted on the lower slopes of Montner in a schist derived soil. Aged in cuve primarily with just 15% in barrique for a little added texture, sulphur here is a very low total 10mg/l, the wine is very pure, and the fruit supple and attractive, with pears and peach to the fore and a hint of spice and pepper, with a nice saline touch on the finish.

Hors Champ

CÔTES CATALANES IGP 2017
Une Vie la Nuit
100% Syrah (13% alc.)

This wine comes from purchased grapes picked at the highest altitude in Roussillon at 600m on the hills of Trevillac and Montalba, permitting a long, slow maturing cycle, which help the freshness and delicacy in the wines. Cyril’s idea was also to work the juice very delicately and make wines as close to the grape as possible. Aged in older barrels for just under a year and bottled off with a minute 10mg/l of sulphur it is very digeste and sapid, with black cherry fruit and hint of spice and salinity.

Domaine de Rancy

CÔTES CATALANES RANCIO SEC
100% Maccabeu (17% alc.)

Well accustomed to exercising patience with their élevages, the Verdaguer picked the grapes late in 2008 (no mention of vintage on this bottling but subsequent versions will do), fermented out dry to 17% and then gave this ten years demi-muids ageing (double the AC’s minimum élevage requirement), before bottling unfined and unfiltered. A pale amber colour, the nose gives a blast of aromas from almonds, chestnuts, confit orange, fenugreek to marked salinity and even seaweed. On the palate it is very well-balanced offering up almond flavours, good acidity and a saline, umami quality playing and driving the wine on, with dry extract marking the finish. Like a dry Amontillado or Sercial Madeira, it’s typically served at around 13C as an apéritif or alongside seafood, like the Côte Vermeille’s famous anchovies, and it’s brilliant with manchego and blue cheese too. For drinking now to 2028.

Domaine de Rancy

RIVESALTES AMBRÉ 1992
Vin Doux Naturel
95% Maccabeu, 5% Grenache Blanc/Gris (18% alc, 125g/l of rs)

Late harvested grapes were fermented in cuve, before the fermentation process was arrested by the addition of home-made marc. It was then given 24 years élevage in old demi-muids, not topped up at any stage before bottling in 2017. A deep amber, tobaccoey colour, it offers a herbal, medicinal nose, with prunes, saffron and typical saline edge. The palate is rich but silky and seamless (there’s no heat whatsoever), with fig and prunes, orange peel, totally integrated sugars, umami and salinity leavened by an acidic cut and a super long finish. It would be extremely difficult to find a better Vin Doux Naturel and even the finest Tawny Ports would suffer by comparison. For drinking now to 2035.

Domaine des Chênes

MUSCAT DE RIVESALTES 2016
70% Muscat à Petits Grains, 30% Muscat d’Alexandrie (15.5% alc, 121g/l of rs)

Made by Alain Razungles, professor of oenology at Montpellier University, this is unquestionably one of France’s finest muscats. It comes from the village of Vingrau, a superb terroir, has a sumptuous concentration, a floral bouquet (jasmine) and a clean, controlled palate smacking of lexia raisins.

Oiseau Rebelle

XRS 2015
Vin de France
85% Grenache Gris, 15% Grenache Blanc (14.5% alc.)

This cuvée was macerated on the skins for 18 months until March 2017 and, inspired by the wines of Xeres (Jerez), 150ltr was aged in one 220ltr 3yo barrel under flor until Sep 2019 when the flor broke down. Just 360bts of 370ml were bottled in October 2019. It offers a beautiful onion skin colour with a glint of pink and is subtly nutty with a hint of oak on the nose. It is dense, dry, spicy and nutty on the palate with herbal, medicinal notes, with the flor conferring almond flavours, sapidity and a silky texture with both lift and umami on the very sustained finish. For drinking now to 2025+

Oiseau Rebelle

BRMTH 2015
Vin de France
100% Grenache Noir (17.5% alc.)

In 2015 one of Guido and Melanie’s young daughters tragically died, hitting the family very hard. Amidst their sadness they were somehow inspired to produce another unique cuvée. They decided to produce a wine like a Vermouth from black grapes but rather than adding sugar to a base wine, simply used the clear juice from ripe late October harvested grenache noir (so a blanc de noirs). The grapes were pressed hard (for three days) to extract the maximum bitters. It was fermented dry leaving just 0.9g/l of rs and an alcohol level similar to most dry Vermouth, then aged in a reductive atmosphere in stainless steel for two years without touching at any stage. It offers a beautiful deep coppery colour, intense herbal, menthol, black cherry on the nose with notes of dark chocolate, tobacco and Indian spice. On the palate there is a terrific play between the fruit and bitters, with a restrained power and gentle tannic grip, salinity, and excellent lift on the finish.

Oiseau Rebelle

CRBR 2016
Vin de France
95% Grenache Noir, 5% Grenache Gris (14% alc, 224g/l of rs)

Guido and Melanie explain the reasoning behind the name of this cuvée: "We’ve opted out of the Banyuls appellation and Cerbère is the name of the little village close to us and next to Banyuls. It’s also the name of the mythical dog with three heads that guards hell!" If conclusive proof were needed that you don’t need to corrupt top quality juice with the addition of spirit to make the finest Banyuls, this extraordinarily good and naturally sweet (red) wine provides it. Super late harvested on 22nd November (with sugars indicating a potential alcohol of 26.5%!), destalked by hand, then foot trodden, the juice was given plenty of pigeage at the outset, then allowed to tick along, slowly fermenting in a stainless steel vat with no sulphur added whatsoever. The vat was put outside in the early summer heat, Guido explained, "Based on a very simple, practical consideration: if fermentable sugar is not metabolised under conditions that promote fermentation (a wine temperature of 27C) then there is the greatest possible certainty that unintentional fermentation after bottling is also impossible." Bottled in July 2017, on the nose it has a mesmerising array of aromas – fig, pine needles, cigar-leaf, spice, menthol. There is a tannic framework on the palate, with notable dry extract but the voluptuous sweet fig and prune fruit is set at ease by a beautiful freshness and acidity, super ripe tannins, sense of umami and saltiness on the finish. For drinking now to 2030.

Domaine de La Quilla

MUSCADET SÈVRE-ET-MAINE SUR LIE 2019
100% Melon de Bourgogne (12% alc.)

Quilla’s wine is a blend of wines from different terroirs in the commune of La Haye-Fouassière. Quintessential Muscadet, it offers clean, crisp fruit, with a gunflinty note on the nose, nice balancing acidity and a long minerally finish.

Michel Delhommeau

MUSCADET SÈVRE-ET-MAINE SUR LIE 2019
Symbiose
100% Melon de Bourgogne (12% alc.)

This cuvée is made from 3ha of organically tended 35yo vines planted in a soil of gneiss which Michel believes conveys more minerality than the gabbro soil of the VV. It has an attractive marine, sea breeze quality on the nose, zesty, ripe fruit and a sustained finish.

Michel Delhommeau

MUSCADET SÈVRE-ET-MAINE SUR LIE 2018
Clos Armand, Vieilles Vignes
100% Melon de Bourgogne (12% alc.)

This is a superb cuvée, made from 70yo vines planted in a soil of gabbro. A very attractive pale gold colour with greeny glints, this is denser and more reserved than Michel’s first cuvée. It is very pure and juicy with good texture on the palate and the sustained finish reveals a mineral piquancy.

Clément Baraut

SAVENNIÈRES 2019
Le Pitrouillet
100% Chenin (12.5% alc.)

Bought from Nicolas Joly of La Coulée de Serrant fame, the 2ha of 45yo vines are in the lieu-dit Le Puit Rouillé (which translates as 'the rusty well'). This natural clos is surrounded by trees and tilts slightly to the north. Le Pitrouillet wine comes from the bottom of the parcel where the soils are 80cm deep over a schist and sandstone bedrock. Clément prefers direct and slow pressing to accentuate chenin’s natural depth, and this is made entirely from high quality 'coeur de presse' (see profile). It ferments in neutral oak and ages on fine lees without sulphur until bottling in the summer. It is fruit-forward but still bright and crisp with a strong saline stamp and an intriguing play on texture.

Clément Baraut

SAVENNIÈRES 2019
Le Coteau de L'Ayre
100% Chenin (12.5% alc.)

The lieu dit Le Puit Rouillé is part of the Coteau de L'Ayre. This wine comes from the same parcel as Le Pitrouillet but, in this case, the grapes are from the top part of the plot where the shallow soil shows more rocks and stones – the vine roots are closer to the schist bedrock. Vinified the same way as Le Pitrouillet, the cuvée Coteau de L'Ayre shows more intensity, depth and sapid minerality – a case in point of the impact of geology and topography on wine. For drinking now to 2025.

Clément Baraut

SAVENNIÈRES ROCHE AUX MOINES 2018
Les Petites Coulées
100% Chenin (13.5% alc.)

Clément Baraut is one of only 8 vignerons to own a parcel (0.4ha) in the prestigious Roche Aux Moines (33ha) that was recently awarded Grand Cru status. Planted on steep south-facing terraces built and planted by the Cistercian monks, the roots go deep into the schist bedrock while the topsoil is littered with igneous, volcanic rocks (rhyolite, spilite). Harvested from perfectly ripe, botrytis-free grapes and fermented dry, the wine has a sumptuous texture on the palate and notable umami. Rich but balanced and very long, this is a sensational wine that will need some time in a glass or carafe to unwind. Pinch of sulphur added at bottling only. VLQ. For drinking now to 2025+.

Thomas Batardière

L’ESPRIT LIBRE 2019
Vin de France
100% Chenin (13.5% alc.)

Most of the 30 to 90yo vines are in the lieu-dit L’Éspérance near Rablay-sur-Layon, next to the Domaine des Sablonettes (Jérémy Ménard and Thomas are mates regularly helping each other) on a gravelly plateau of red sand, quartz and clay. Thomas prefers stainless steel to accentuate chenin’s natural tension, a judicious choice in the recent hot vintages. This wine ages on fine lees without sulphur until bottling in the summer. It is fruit-forward but still bright and crisp with a strong saline stamp.

Thomas Batardière

LES COCUS 2019
Vin de France
100% Chenin (13.5% alc.)

The Clos des Cocus is a climat neighbouring Montbenault on the coteau of Faye d’Anjou – the prestigious Layon’s right bank. Thomas’ 0.6ha plot (planted in 1968) is at the top of the hill therefore exposed to drying and cooling winds – perfect to prevent diseases and preserve acidity – a gentle south-west facing slope with hardly any topsoil (20-30cm) forcing vine roots to get deep into the schist bedrock. An austere terroir which makes for age-worthy, characterful and complex wines. Fermentation and ageing in 1-6yo barrels for 10 months, transfer to stainless steel for a few more months before bottling in October with low SO2. Cocus tends to naturally reduce therefore decanting does the wine well in its youth. Alive, deep, multi-layered and almost chewy. This is simply a stunning wine – soil to glass transfer showcasing the power of schist. For drinking now to 2029. VLQ.

Thomas Batardière

MONTBENAULT
Vin de France
100% Chenin (13% alc.)

From top to bottom the emblematic Montbenault covers roughly 40ha. In 2012 Thomas bought 0.25ha of fallow land in the heart of the coteau. He planted the 10% slope in 2015 with tip-top sélections massales from legendary domaines Huet and Clos Naudin (Vouvray). First release in 2018. As per the neighbouring Clos des Cocus there's hardly any topsoil, the main difference here is the high concentration of igneous, volcanic rocks (spilite and rhyolite). A soil yielding concentrated grapes of the finest quality, savoury and packed with minerals – think Richard Leroy. Vinif and élevage in stainless steel for 8 to 10 months, transfer into oak barrels for another four months (the opposite of Les Cocus), and bottled with low SO2. So much drive and character for such young vines, the reduction blows off quickly and reveals umami backbone, class and energy – the potential is huge! For drinking now to 2024. VLQ.

Thomas Batardière

MAMA ROSE 2018
Vin de France
40% Grolleau, 40% Chenin Blanc, 20% Cabernet Franc (12% alc.)

Thomas wanted to make a light rosé with an interesting mouthfeel and so harvested the cabernet franc early to bring tension, and the grolleau late for the aromatics. Both were pressed after one day of maceration and blended with the chenin after fermentation. It’s quite pale and aromatically expressive with notes of red fruit and pepper from the grolleau, while the chenin brings weight and texture to the palate.

Thomas Batardière

CLOS DES NOËLS 2017
Vin de France
100% Cabernet Franc (13% alc.)

Clos des Noëls is a lieu-dit close to Rablay-sur-Layon. Thomas owns 0.15ha planted in 1932. The soil is mostly metagraywackes – a variety of sandstone rich in clay and feldspar – with water retaining capacity well suited to cabernet franc. Thomas aims to extract fine tannins from the stems as well as skin and pips, thus vinification is whole bunch and without remontage or pigeage over a five to six week cuvaison. Both fermentation and ageing take place in stainless steel, bottling is without SO2. It's a vibrant and free expression of cabernet franc. The fruit is red and crisp, it’s light and floral with beautifully fine tannins and food friendly bitters.

Thomas Batardière

OSCAR 2017
Vin de France
100% Chenin Blanc (11% alc, 270g/l of rs)

This comes from the oldest plot (also used in L’Esprit Libre), a 90yo massal selection developed specifically to produce sweet wines: bush vines with small bunches and tightly-packed berries to promote the onset of botrytis. Oscar is only made in years when botrytis settles early, preserving high levels of acidity, and this 2017 is a perfect example of the balance for which Thomas looks. It is incredibly lifted and digeste despite its 270g/l of residual sugar, and the old vines add complexity and depth. For drinking now to 2025.

Richard Leroy

LES ROULIERS 2015
Vin de France
100% Chenin Blanc (13% alc.)

When ten years of efforts trying to establish a 1er Cru hierarchy came to nothing, rather than continue to use the Anjou appellation that had few quality associations, Richard took the nuclear option of declassifying his sensational wines to Vin de France. Reduced on the aromatics, there is a finesse and restraint to this wine (from only 0.70 ha of low yielding vines) with a mineral flavour possibly emanating from the underlying schist. Fermented completely dry with the malolactics completed and no bâtonnage and no sulphur used in the cave at all, it shows chenin in its most elegant style. VLQ. For drinking now to 2025+.

Richard Leroy

LES NOËLS DE MONTBENAULT 2016
Vin de France
100% Chenin Blanc (13% alc.)

The vines here are planted in soils developed over the eroded base of an ancient volcano on the plateau of a windy ridge of hills overlooking the river Layon. Harvested from only ripe grapes (any botrytised grapes were individually cut out) and fermented dry, the wine has a sumptuous concentration on the palate, with a hint of quince and a notable mineral (irony) flavour. Just 4,000 bottles produced in 2016 (and no Rouliers due to frost which ravaged lower lying vines). Rich but balanced and very long on the finish, this is an exceptional wine, it will just need some time in bottle to unwind. No sulphur at all from 2011. VLQ. For drinking now to 2026+.

Deboutbertin

ACHILLÉE 2017
Vin de France
100% Chenin Blanc (13% alc.)

Stéphanie and Vincent produce this wine from 0.77 ha of 30yo vines located in Faye d’Anjou, grown on a north tilting plateau with 30cm topsoil where rhyolites (a heavy primary rock comprising iron, magnesium, feldspar and quartz) are dominant. Yield is a low 25hh, grapes are very slowly pressed, the juice is transferred into old barrels for a slow-paced fermentation and 18 months élevage, the finished wine is bottled without fining, filtration or sulphur. Slightly reduced when young, it offers dense confit citrus fruits and pear on the palate with a hint of spice, great balance with a mineral vibration. VLQ.

Deboutbertin

PACOTILLE 2017
Vin de France
100% Chenin Blanc (13% alc.)

Pacotille is made from 0.4 ha of 50yo vines located in Beaulieu-Sur-Layon, a stunning south-facing coteau overlooking the Layon with vines growing right onto the bedrock of dark schist, prime terroir in the Anjou Noir. Yields are less than 20hh of dense but extremely sapid juice, the finished wine has lengthy and complex aromas, beautifully combining fleshy fruit, electric acidity and salivating bitters, the typical and addictive stamp of chenin on schist. Bottle age or carafeing recommended. VLQ. For drinking now to 2023.

Deboutbertin

BALIVERNE 2018
Vin de France
100% Grolleau (12% alc.)

This comes from 0.75 ha of 60yo vines planted on a plateau with schist and quartz as a base. Selected from a series of tries, whole bunches were gravity-fed into cuve for gentle crushing by foot, a 15 days cuvaison ensued before 12 months ageing in old barrels. Bottled without fining, filtration or sulphur, this is a brambly, cherry fruited natural wine, super digeste but with depth and good terroir print on the finish. This bottling and label are a tribute to Anatole, a Percheron horse and cherished member of the family. VLQ.

Deboutbertin

LA NOUE BLANCHARD 2017
Vin de France
100% Cabernet Franc (12.5% alc.)

Named after the lieu-dit where the vineyard is located, La Noue Blanchard comes from 50 to 70yo vines on deep silty and gravelly soil over schist. This type of soil particularly suits cabernet franc as well as apple and apricot trees co-planted by Stéphanie and Vincent for biodiversity. Pruned quite short and with yields never above 20hh, they harvest small perfectly ripe grapes which are foot trodden on arrival and vinified with stems. Daily manual pigeage follows during a three weeks maceration, and ageing takes place in 10yo barrels for a year with no racking. It is a serious style of cab franc, dense, complex with very fine-grained tannins.

Deboutbertin

L'AUNIS ÉTOILÉ 2017
Vin de France
100% Pineau d'Aunis (12.5% alc.)

Pineau d’aunis (aka chenin noir) is one of the unsung heroes of the region, an underrated grape greatly appreciated by Stéphanie and Vincent. Whole bunches are crushed by foot in an open vat and macerate 8 to 15 days, the juice is slowly and gently extracted using a manual basket press and the wine ages for a shade longer than a year on its lees. The wine offers a floral and fresh nose, a round mouthfeel with ripe strawberries and pink peppercorn flavours, and is a characterful pineau d’aunis with depth and grip. VLQ.

Deboutbertin

LE PANTOUFLARD 2013
Vin de France
100% Chenin Blanc (14.5% alc.)

2013 was an extremely difficult vintage with a cool and stormy season, grapes struggled to reach maturity, therefore Stéphanie and Vincent decided to harvest late and include bunches affected by noble rot. Following a four years oxidative ageing (no top-up) in one old barrique, this sweet wine was bottled (once completely stable) without fining, filtration or sulphur. Perfectly balanced thanks to a very well-integrated volatile acidity, this is a stunningly complex and unique wine with lengthy aromas reminiscent of malmsey Madeira and Palo Cortado, the perfect match for anything chocolate or the finest cigar. VVLQ. For drinking now to 2030.

Julien Delrieu

PONT BOURCEAU 2019
Vin de France
100% Chenin Blanc (13.5% alc.)

This wine replaces Les Varennes, the cuvée Julien used to make with his ex-partners at Les Roches Sèches. Most of the grapes come from the lieu-dit Pont Bourceau planted in 1973, with a touch of Le Jeau planted in 1955. It was fermented in fibreglass, 25% was aged in 228ltr barrels (bought from local hero Stéphane Bernaudeau), then bottled with 10mg/l sulphur in March, no fining or filtration. Fresh and quaffable there is a schist stamp which brings drive to the palate.

Julien Delrieu

LE JEAU 2018
Vin de France
60% Grolleau, 40% Cabernet Franc (13% alc.)

This is a blend of two different lieux-dits: Le Jeau a west-facing schist slope overlooking the tiny Lys river, and Saint-Martin on deep gravelly soil with a good proportion of clay. Each variety is vinified separately in fibreglass vats, whole bunches are foot-trodden and ferment for a week with one pigeage a day by hand. Bottled on March 29th without fining or filtration, 20mg/l sulphur added. A delicious spicy and juicy fruit with surprising freshness for the vintage.

Stéphane Bernaudeau

LES ONGLÉS 2017
Vin de France
100% Chenin Blanc (12.5% alc.)

On average Les Onglés suffers frost one year in two, it’s a cold spot here and the wine’s name refers to the frozen fingers you often get when working in this vineyard. This dry white comes from less than 2 ha of 40 to 60yo vines planted in a superb terroir of schist on a gentle south-west facing slope. Aged in 4-10yo barrels with malos completed, it was bottled after a year with a low total sulphur level of 40mg/l. It is tense and racy and benefits from carafeing, crunchy bitters balance a deep texture, orchard fruits, thyme and white pepper make for an outstanding bottle. VLQ with Stéphane losing 90% of this wine in 2016 and 60% in 2017. For drinking now to 2023.

Stéphane Bernaudeau

LES NOURRISSONS 2015
Vin de France
97% Chenin, 3% Verdelho (12.5% alc.)

This hectare of chenin planted in 1910 was bought in 2000 from Eric Calcutt, an exceptional but ephemeral vigneron-artiste who made unicorn wines, oxidative in style, under the name The Picrate from 1996 to 1999. The vines sit on a plateau of schist that descends gently to the Lys river, a tiny off-shoot of the Layon, and intriguingly, this vineyard also includes 3% of the Portuguese grape variety verdelho (which he prizes for adding extra iodine/saline notes) though Stéphane has no idea how this came to be planted here! Aged in older oak barrels, it is a dense wine offering a rare vigour and energy, with deeply set fruit and with an incredible texture and persistence. It is a privilege to work with a wine as good as this, which like Richard Leroy's Noëls de Montbenault is one of France's greatest dry whites. Best carafed. VLQ. For drinking now to 2025.

Le Petit Saint-Vincent

SAUMUR CHAMPIGNY 2018
100% Cabernet Franc (13% alc.)

A selection from the 50 different plots of the domaine, usually vines averaging 40yo on gentle slopes with sandy, gravelly and loamy soils. Macerated for three weeks in concrete vats this cuvée has an attractive black cherry nose, packed with peppery raspberry fruit and nicely underscored by crunchy acidity.

Le Petit Saint-Vincent

SAUMUR CHAMPIGNY 2016
Les Poyeux
100% Cabernet Franc (13% alc.)

The most unique terroir in the appellation has a layer of very fine aeolian sand (1.5m on the highest part of the slope) over tuffeau, almost like a dune sitting on limestone bedrock. Vinified in concrete vats and aged for a year in new to 3yo barrels, the 0.87ha of 55yo vines yield a wine with great heart and the most velvety tannins (a typical feature of the sandy soils), the weight of red and black fruits is perfectly balanced by a very long saline finish. For drinking now to 2026+.

Domaine de Bellivière

JASNIÈRES 2019
Prémices
100% Chenin (12% alc, 40g/l of rs)

Bellivière’s entry-level chenin blanc is a selection of the most open and forward barrels from their younger vines (5-20yo) in Jasnières. The fruit comes from a range of sites on flinty clay soils over tuffeau, fermented in 5-8yo old 350ltr oak barrels and aged for ten months on average. While it is the most open and giving white in their arsenal with its beautifully detailed orchard fruit and pear, it doesn’t lack complexity and shows a strong mineral print. 2019 is demi-sec, the residual sugar is perfectly balanced with lovely acidity. Great value and a brilliant match with fragrant and spicy food.

Domaine de Bellivière

JASNIÈRES 2017
Rosiers
100% Chenin (12.5% alc.)

Tending the vines biodynamically, the Nicolas family make three excellent Jasnières, a 6km long crescent shaped appellation of south facing vines on quite a steep hillside comprising clay studded with flint overlying limestone. Starting with the young vine Prémices (of which we are already sold out awaiting bottling of the 2018) the next up is Rosiers, made from a selection of the best barrels from 5-20yo vines. Aged for ten months in 5-8yo 350ltr barrels with malos permitted, there is more depth and density in this wine, and the quince fruit is detailed and precise with floral notes. The wines are all dry (varying from 1.5 to 5g/l of rs for the cuvees we offer) and you will always find great energy in the Bellivière wines, with a thrilling tension between fruit and acidity, notable bitters and a mineral lick of salinity on the finish.

Domaine de Bellivière

JASNIÈRES 2017
Calligramme
100% Chenin (13% alc.)

80yo vines here from nine parcels that in a good year yield 20hh as opposed to the young vines giving 35hh. This is one of Bellivière’s emblematic wines, that will age effortlessly way beyond the point when most fine Burgundies have started to tire. Calligramme (a poem where the text is arranged in such a way as to create an image) is dry and tense, it has a peach backdrop on the nose but is still tight and unwound, followed by a very deep, sustained palate, quite pithy, with a lovely energy. It is grippy too, and there is a perfumed interest coming from the fruit, all wildflowers and the scented orchard fruit of chenin blanc. Christine advises that the family like to drink this wine when it is ten years old. For drinking now to 2035.

Domaine de Bellivière

COTEAUX-DU-LOIR 2016
Vieilles Vignes Éparses
100% Chenin (12.5% alc.)

80yo vines here (éparses means scattered) with more of a south-western tilt than the Jasnières vines, planted in a clay soil with a little flint overlying limestone. Aged in 20% new to 4yo 350ltr barrels with just 2.2 g/l of rs. Bellivière lost 65% of their grapes in 2016, but the quality is off the scale brilliant. With less exposure to the south, the aromatics are slightly reductive at the moment with a pear-skin character emerging and distinct salinity, cool and reticent. The palate follows this aromatic cue, showing an incisive structure, with reserved, confit lemon, grapefruit, quince and green tea notes laced with minerals and charged with a thrilling acid freshness and quite electric finish. Simply beautiful, this is a wine of the highest class. For drinking now to 2035.

Domaine de Bellivière

COTEAUX-DU-LOIR 2017
Rouge Gorge
100% Pineau d'Aunis (12.5% alc.)

45yo vines planted in heavy, siliceous clay over limestone which give yields that the Nicolas family limit to a maximum of 25hh, destalked 100%, and cuve fermented with just a little pigeage à la main with a three weeks cuvaison. Pressed and assembled it was then aged in old demi-muids for a year and bottled with no filtration and a total of 30mg/l of sulphur. It has a hauntingly beautiful perfume of wild strawberries, mulberries, cracked pepper with a floral note, it follows through on the palate with a silken and ‘aérien’ feel. The finish is very pure, cleansing and saline with a peppery twist. Best served lightly chilled (14 to 16C).

Domaine de Bellivière

COTEAUX-DU-LOIR 2017
Hommage à Louis Derré
100% Pineau d'Aunis (12% alc.)

Bellivière’s top red wine comes from one hectare of 90 to 110yo vines of pineau d'aunis grown on heavy clay and silex soils over limestone in eight tiny parcels. Yields rarely reach 25hh, the destemmed foot-trodden grapes are vinified in tronconic wooden tanks and given one month maceration. The wine is aged for 12-18 months in 3-5yo demi-muids before bottling with no filtration and 30mg/l of total sulphur. A touch darker than Rouge Gorge with purple hints, the nose is beautifully perfumed and complex, with layers of dark fruit, cracked pepper, incense, tea, violets and a mineral edge. The palate is dense with firm tannins and exceptional length, a serious bottling for a cépage often associated with quaffable wines. This is a tribute to their altruistic neighbour, Louis Derré, who helped them at the beginning of their adventure, and it could well be the finest pineau d’aunis on the planet. For drinking now to 2026.

Bertrand Galbrun

BOURGUEIL 2017
Chatrois
100% Cabernet Franc (11.5% alc.)

Bertrand’s first cuvée comes from low yields of biodynamically worked 30yo vines planted in Restigné in sand and gravel soils with limestone at depth. Fermentation is carried out by gentle infusion with just three or four pumping overs during two weeks. Yields averaged 25hh in 2017 (he aims at 28hh), but no complaints after a frost ravaged 6hh in 2016. Aged for ten months in cement, this is a lovely 'vin de soif', it has a clear mid-red colour with cherry glints, and attractive red fruits on the palate. Low sulphur of around 30mg/l total.

Bertrand Galbrun

BOURGUEIL 2015
Impétueuse
100% Cabernet Franc (12.5% alc.)

In a normal year Bertrand makes just 3,000 bottles of this excellent wine from 45yo vines in a fine lieu-dit on a plateau with soils of deep gravels overlying limestone. Organically certified, the wine was cuve aged to retain all its fruit, has a dark raspberry colour, is well-balanced with some spice on the nose and sappy cherry fruit, fine grained tannins and is very clear cut with a saline mineral quality on the finish. Low sulphur of around 30 mg/l.

Domaine du Mortier

SAINT-NICOLAS-DE BOURGUEIL 2017
Les Sables
100% Cabernet Franc (11.88% alc.)

Working the vines biodynamically, and from sandy soils overlying limestone, Fabien Boisard here looks for a wine very much on the fruit using 80% free run juice from the press, 10% vin de presse, and vinifying 10% by carbo and whole bunches. It is just such a pleasure and easy to drink, with crunchy, sappy raspberry and cherry fruit, and with low alcohol a bonus. It’s perfect for drinking served cellar cool or lightly chilled.

Domaine du Mortier

SAINT-NICOLAS-DE BOURGUEIL 2017
Les Graviers
100% Cabernet Franc (12.93% alc.)

The Boisard family have 13 ha of biodynamically worked vine split across 28 parcels. Their wines are all marked by an incredible purity of fruit, low alcohol, silky tannins and are unfined and unfiltered. This wine was given five days longer maceration than the Sables and was aged in 13-15yo barrels. It feels very at ease, with elegant, natural fruit, so easy to drink. Very low sulphur of around 25 mg/l total using elemental sulphur from a Polish mine.

Domaine du Mortier

SAINT-NICOLAS-DE BOURGUEIL 2015
Dionysos
100% Cabernet Franc (12.5% alc.)

Mortier’s top cuvée comes from 60yo vines planted in a limestone clay soil. Destalked, crushed by foot in large open wooden vats, it was given a maceration of 20 days, then oak aged in 2-6yo barrels for 18 months, before bottling with no filtration, no fining and very low sulphur. The fruit still has a natural quality like the Graviers, but there is clearly more density and weight. For drinking now to 2023.

Château de Coulaine

CHINON 2014
Clos de Turpenay
100% Cabernet Franc (13.5% alc.)

This comes from 30 to 60yo vines planted high on a due south-facing hillside in a soil of sand, limestone and yellow ‘millarge’ (soil derived from underlying shell-rich sands). Fermented in cuve and then aged in 4-5yo 400ltr barrels. Notable red fruit aromas lead to a palate that has similarly intense red fruits, and a marked saline, mineral flavour, possibly due to the limestone bedrock, with good structure, ripe tannins and beautiful length. Low sulphur.

Michel Autran

VOUVRAY 2018
Les Enfers Tranquilles
100% Chenin (14.5% alc.)

This comes from the lieu-dit Les Enfers translating as 'hell', a particularly hot south-facing site in Noizay, where Michel owns 1.5ha of 50yo vines on 'perruches' (flinty clay-limestone soils). As per both cuvées, fermentation starts in stainless steel, it is then racked off by gravity into barrels (4-12yo) bought from Vincent Carême. The wine is transferred into stainless vats after a year, and stays there for another 12 months. Sulphur was added at débourbage and before bottling for a total of 40mg/l. An avid Jazz fan, Michel likens Les Enfers Tranquilles to a soprano saxophone for its tension, crystalline quality, incredible length, and perfect balance. Loaded with baked peach, confit quince and balanced by crushed stone minerality, it delivers a mouth-watering finish that just won't quit. This is Vouvray for white Burgundy-lovers and therefore represents astonishing value.

Michel Autran

VOUVRAY 2018
Ciel Rouge
100% Chenin (14% alc.)

Named after the French saying "ciel rouge du matin, patouille en chemin" which relates to "red sky in morning, sailor's warning". It is a reference to the red clay-limestone soils (aubuis) which tend to 'patouille' (become heavy and sticky) when clogged up with rain. This superb Vouvray terroir is planted with 80yo vines that yield 25hh on average. The wine has a pale bright gold color, with subtle aromas of stone fruits and honeycomb toffee. The palate has a smooth texture with chalky, almost electric acidity and complex herbal notes. Although vinified the same way as Les Enfers Tranquilles it shows more weight and depth, this is nevertheless equally crystalline – a classy bottling indeed.

François Pinon

VOUVRAY 2016
Le 2016
100% Chenin (12.5% alc, 14g/l of rs)

Severely hit by frost in 2016, François produced just a tiny quantity of this ‘sec tendre’ cuvée from 45/50yo hillside vineyards, blending his three normal cuvées into one. It is made by arresting the alcoholic fermentation by reducing the temperature down to 1 to 2˚C for two weeks. This leaves 14g/l of unfermented sugars though the beauty of this wine is that its harmony is such that you don’t notice the sugars at all. Very good weight of fruit on the attack, with the palate showing ripe grapefruit, exotic fruits, and an intense saline mineral flavour, this finishes with the clear, cutting edge so typical of chenin. For drinking now to 2026.

Vincent Raimbault

VOUVRAY SEC 2018
Bel Air
100% Chenin (13% alc.)

Zippy fruit and a nice mineral touch on the nose, it is clean and dry on the palate, with good lift on the finish. It would make a good accompaniment to fruits de mer or terrine de poissons.

Domaine Ricard

TOURAINE 2020
Le Petiot
100% Sauvignon (12.5% alc.)

Really good sauvignon here thanks to organic viticulture, very low yields (45hh compared to most Sancerre at 60hh), good flint-rich terroir and fine touch from Vincent Ricard. The wine has lovely texture, citrus and mineral notes with a nice herbal touch of mint and lemon verbena.

Vincent Gaudry

SANCERRE 2018
Tournebride
100% Sauvignon (14% alc.)

Vincent explained that when wine was still sold by the barrel, the négociants of Paris used to blend the three different terroirs of Sancerre in equal parts to make a wine that was complete. A nod to this old tradition, Tournebride is a blend of 'caillotes' from Verdigny, 'terres blanches' from Sury-en-Vaux and 'silex' from Saint-Satur from 6 to 40yo vines. A very pure expression of Sancerre, delicately perfumed with a touch of gras and mineral tension.

Vincent Gaudry

SANCERRE 2017
Mélodie de Vieilles Vignes
100% Sauvignon (12.5% alc.)

Mostly one parcel in the lieu-dit ‘La Rabotine’, a west exposed slope on Kimmeridgian clay (terres blanches) in Sury-en-Vaux where the vines are 50 to 90yo. Ploughed by horse, the topsoil is no more than 30- 40cm before reaching the hard limestone bedrock which is hard to penetrate for the roots. Vinified and aged in tronconic oak vats until July, it’s quite a step up from Tournebride, more restrained aromatically and more complex, deeply textured with a very intense mineral backbone.

Vincent Gaudry

SANCERRE 2018
Constellation du Scorpion
100% Sauvignon (14% alc.)

Gaudry’s third cuvée comes from the lieu-dit Les Bouloises in Saint-Satur, a south-west exposed slope just under a wood where the soil is silex – a mix of flint with loose, quite sandy siliceous clay. The concentration of silex on the surface increases as you travel up the slope and at the top the floor is completely covered with flint. Like Mélodie de Vieilles Vignes it was vinified and aged in tronconic oak vats until July. The silex seems to bring more tension here, deeply textured again and very bright with flinty undertones. Another sensational wine from Vincent.

Vincent Gaudry

SANCERRE 2017
Vincengétorix
100% Pinot Noir (13% alc.)

Vincent’s reds are an absolute joy to drink and testament to Sancerre’s potential to make fine, delicately framed pinot. A blend of three plots on Kimmeridgian clay in Sury-en-Vaux, one on the flat and exposed to the sun from dawn till dusk, and the others on south to south-east facing slopes. The vines are 20-40yo and the soil is deeper with up to 50-60cm of clay before the limestone bedrock. Vincent uses whole bunches and adapts the level of extraction to obtain very fine tannins. Ageing takes place in tronconic vats and stainless steel in varying proportions to suit the vintage. It’s a very pretty, elegant style of pinot with beautiful texture and a long, saline finish.

Domaine Thomas

SANCERRE 2020
Le Pierrier
100% Sauvignon (14.5% alc.)

This cuvée was the clear winner in a blind tasting of 20 domaines that we conducted in the winter of 2018. It is a blend of all the 'caillotes' (limestone pebbles) parcels of the domaine, the vines are 25yo on average, vinified in stainless steel and aged for at least a year. Quite textured for a Sancerre it shows restraint and precision, expressing its terroir rather than simple varietal character.

Domaine Thomas

SANCERRE 2019
Grand’Chaille
100% Sauvignon (13.5% alc.)

Grand’Chaille comes from slightly older plots (40yo) on ‘silex’ in the villages of Saint-Satur, Ménétréol and Thauvenay. The silex gives this cuvée a slightly broader profile than Le Pierrier, there’s more gras on the palate but it’s also more incisive. Its mineral backbone brings focus and it lengthens the palate which finishes with intense notes of fennel and flint.

Gérard Boulay

SANCERRE 2019
100% Sauvignon (13.5% alc.)

This comes from 35yo vines on the hills of Chavignol from where the best Sancerres emanate. Vinified and aged in cuve, it has a lovely, bright pale colour with greeny glints. On the nose it offers pure, restrained sauvignon, with an evident salty character and hint of iodine which follows through on the palate with a touch of lemon, ripe grapefruit, fennel and blackcurrant leaf.

Gérard Boulay

SANCERRE 2017
Monts Damnés
100% Sauvignon (13% alc.)

This outstanding wine comes from 40yo vines located on the central, finest plot of this famous hillside. Vinified in 3-4yo barrels (good Tronçais oak), then aged in cuve, it was bottled in August 2018. Restrained on the nose, it has much more evident weight and exotic fruit, then becomes really quite racy with salty, iodine notes on the finish. For drinking now to 2025.

Gérard Boulay

SANCERRE 2018
Clos de Beaujeu
100% Sauvignon (13% alc.)

This comes from 30-60yo vines that were previously in the ownership of the Bourges cathedral (for 500 years!). The vineyard is very steep and south-east facing, helping to give the wine a little more backbone, nerve and salinity than the due south facing Monts Damnés. Vinified in cuve, then aged 100% in 3-4yo 300ltr barrels, it will age magnificently. For drinking now to 2028+.

Gérard Boulay

SANCERRE 2018
La Côte
100% Sauvignon (13% alc.)

One of Boulay’s top cuvées, this comes from the same Grande Côte hillside as the Cotat wine of the same name. A due south-facing hillside, the soil here is much chalkier than Monts Damnés. It gives an entirely different range of more exotic flavours with passion fruit to the fore with a menthol hint, but at the same time retains good tension and is firmly structured, vital and grippy with a saline twist on the finish. For drinking now to 2025.

Gérard Boulay

SANCERRE 2017
Comtesse
100% Sauvignon (13% alc.)

Gérard’s top cuvée comes from 0.40 ha of 65yo vines planted on the prime slope in the heart of Monts Damnés. As long ago as 1870 Comtesse was considered to be Sancerre's finest vineyard. Gérard first rented the vineyard back in 2004. Vinified in 300ltr barrels and then aged in cuve. A wine of the highest class that will age superbly, on the palate it has a silky fruit quality, good matter, touch of verbena and a most attractive hint of bitterness on the finish. For drinking now to 2025.

Gérard Boulay

SANCERRE 2018
Sibylle
100% Pinot Noir (13% alc.)

100% pinot noir from old vines gives this supremely elegant wine with fine fruit, salivating minerality and a sustained finish. The perfect rosé, terroir-driven, food-friendly and extremely drinkable.

Domaine Jeannot

POUILLY-FUMÉ 2019
100% Sauvignon (13% alc.)

Jeannot’s wine comes from the flint-rich soil of Saint-Andelain. There is a distinct pear skin note on the nose, following through to the palate which is ripe, harmonious, with flavours of elderflowers and gooseberries. We’ve been working with Jeannot for over 20 years and the balance and harmony in this wine, with a lower level of sulphur than in the past make it the finest we’ve tried from them.

Domaine Mabillot

REUILLY 2018
100% Sauvignon (13.5% alc.)

The young Mabillot brothers now in charge of this 8ha domaine produce a sauvignon far removed from the sulphur bound lean wines that predominate in the Loire. From lower yields than is the norm in Sancerre, the 25yo vines planted in Kimmeridgian limestone with many shellfish fossils weathered out to the surface, give a wine with a good weight of elderflower fruit, and a lick of salinity on the finish.

CÔTE-ROANNAISE 2017
Domaine
100% Gamay Saint-Romain (12.5% alc.)

Grown organically in a sandy, granitic topsoil overlying granite, this comes from a selection of old vines up to 80yo. On the nose you find spicy cherry and raspberry fruit, then the palate has good structure for a gamay, with the irony, stony mineral quality typical of vines grown on granite, and ripe, old vine tannins on the finish.

Château Graves de Pez

SAINT-ESTÈPHE 2016
68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot (13.5% alc.)

Made by Maxime St-Martin who in his late twenties is the youngest vigneron in the appellation, this is a 3ha estate where the 45yo vines are planted in gravelly soils overlying limestone clay. Aged in 25% new to 3yo barrels, this wine has a bright ruby colour, an aromatic richness characterised by red fruit and spices, good intensity of fruit on the palate, a suppleness of texture and fine well integrated tannins. For drinking now to 2030.

Osamu Uchida

HAUT-MÉDOC 2019
Miracle
100% Cabernet Sauvignon (12% alc.)

Osamu has just 0.60ha of 30yo vines in a tranquil spot near Cissac-Médoc surrounded by pine forests (the previous owner ploughed, never used chemicals and sold his grapes to the co-op!) from which he produces just 2,400bts in a good year. Vinifications and élevage are carried out in his garage just 125m away from the high-tech headquarters of Mouton Rothschild! Destalking the grapes by hand, a cool fermentation with pigeage by hand, very gentle extraction (half traditional, half carbonic maceration from the whole grapes not broken up by pigeage), no racking, ageing in one year old 500ltr barrels, no fining or filtration help to produce this beautiful wine. All finesse, it has a very delicate colour, silky structure, no impact from oak, blackberry and blackcurrant fruit with an energetic fresh zing and tannins well knitted in. SO2 total around 40mg/l.

Domaine du Jaugaret

SAINT-JULIEN 2012
80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Petit Verdot, Merlot and Malbec (13% alc.)

A jewel of a wine made from a clutch of low yielding 50yo plus vines in Beychevelle, surrounded by vines from the famed St-Julien Crus of Ducru- Beaucaillou and Gruaud-Larose. Aged in 2-10yo barrels for three years and racked every four months, it is no wonder that in its youth it doesn’t taste anything like wines aged in new oak that are then rushed into bottle after 18 months. Whether the authorities deem his wine St-Julien or Vin de France, it’s all the same to owner Jean-François Fillastre. This is strictly for those with a little patience who can age this wine. Given proper ageing, its purity and finesse make it a rival for its Grand Cru Classé neighbours. For drinking now to 2040.

Château Micalet

HAUT-MÉDOC 2016
65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot (12.5% alc.)

Really good Haut-Médoc from a 7 ha organically certified property in Cussac-Fort-Médoc where the 30yo vines are planted in sandy gravelly soil. On the nose the wine is most attractive with a slightly floral element, feeling very close to the grape in style. Extraction and oak ageing have been sensitively judged, the wine offers ripe plum and herbal notes, and is composed and well balanced. Exceptional value for money.

Château Bel Air Marquis d’Aligre

MARGAUX 2001
35% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, 10% Petit Verdot, 5% Malbec (12.5% alc.)

It’s quite rare to be the first UK importers of this wine direct from the estate (it’s sometimes available via the grey secondary market) from a vigneron who has already produced 68 vintages in his life and is 85yo (in 2018)! The vines here are suitably old, some over 100yo, from the west of the appellation above Virefougasse, where there is a fine, sandy texture to the soils. Jean-Pierre Boyer has never followed trends, dispensing with all oak for ageing back in the 1960s and instead carrying out a long patient three years élevage in cement cuves, and then selling the wine when it’s at least ten years old. All his wines are renowned for their long ageing capacity. Tasted from cuve the young juices show incredible breed and class, they are very pure (no herbicides) and harmonious with an old viney stamp and reserve. The 2001 is quite open, offering a brick red colour, black cherries and red currants, mid weight with good intensity on the palate. For drinking now to 2030.

Closeries des Moussis

HAUT-MÉDOC 2018
70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc (13% alc.)

Laurence and Pascale produce this exquisite wine from just 1ha of high density, biodynamically tended vines worked by their own horse, situated on the sandy, gravelly plateau of Sénéjac near Le Pian-Médoc. The extraction is very delicate by occasional pigeage, and the wine is aged for 16 months in new (10%) to 7yo barrels, the majority of which are 400 and 600ltr (rather than the more traditional 225ltr size). It would be difficult to find a purer fruited wine (using older/bigger barrels and low sulphur really help) which mingle black and red fruits, with a dynamism, freshness and very digestible quality, and fine tannins on the finish. And we don’t usually mention labels, but the design is exceptional too, and is just another sign of the care and love behind this wine. 25mg/l SO2 total. For drinking now to 2028.

Closeries des Moussis

HAUT-MÉDOC 2016
Baragane
70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot Noir, 10% Cabernet Franc/Malbec/Petit Verdot/Carménère/Vieux Cépages (13.5% alc.)

This particular bottling comes from pre-phylloxera vines located in Cantenac (Margaux) on silty-clay soils, a 0.4ha field blend with forgotten and unknown varieties. Expert pépiniériste Lilian Bérillon took some cuttings to study and propagate them. Yields rarely go above 10hh, the grapes are carefully destemmed to keep the berries intact, and transferred to the fermentation tank by gravity. After three weeks of maceration the wine goes into 3yo 225ltr oak barrels for élevage during 15 months. 700 bottles were made following a light filtration and less than 20mg/l of sulphur added. The century-old vines and gentle winemaking techniques confered texture, structure and depth to this incredible wine. Complex, lifted and high-tone this is Médoc in its most beautifully classic and restrained style; a unique glimpse in Bordeaux's past (and future?). A few years of cellaring will reward the lucky few. Best carafed in advance. Drink now to 2030.

Château des Graviers

MARGAUX 2015
61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 8% Petit Verdot, Carménère and Malbec (13% alc.)

Each grape in this wine is produced on the terroir best suited to its qualities and vigneron Christophe Landry practises a different method of pruning for each grape. His merlot is aged in 400ltr barrels and cabernet sauvignon in 225ltr barrels. The percentage of new oak is adjusted according to the strength of the vintage – representing 30% in 2015, the balance comprising 1-2yo barrels. It offers a clear, bright black cherry colour, a kernel of rich fruit with great depth, and superb texture with good freshness and marked mineral flavours. Very, very long on the finish. For drinking now to 2028.

Château des Graviers

MARGAUX 2014
Quintessence
65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Petit Verdot, 10% Merlot, 5% Malbec (13% alc.)

Christophe only makes this wine in good vintages and then selects the components by taste from the barrels/ cuves/amphoras that please him most, making 2,240bts in 2014 from around 0.50ha of vines averaging 30yo. The juice is vinified by parcel and by grape variety for one year in a mix of new and 1yo 400ltr barrels, 600ltr cuves en bois, 170ltr clay jars and 500ltr amphoras. It is then assembled and aged for a further year in 30% new 400ltr barrels, 30% 1yo 400ltr barrels and 40% in 170ltr clay jars. As will be clear there is a lot of work and thought involved!! Christophe is driven by texture in his wines, and ensuring that oak élevage does not dry out the fruit in any way – all the wood used in his barrels are chosen at source by Christophe and then the wood is aged for a minimum of four years before being made into barrels. The combination of grape varieties and selection of the best lots combine to give a wine with a thrilling purity of fruit, with more depth and resonance than the main cuvée, and a marked mineral salinity on the finish. For drinking now to 2030.

Clos du Jaugueyron

HAUT-MÉDOC 2015
60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot (13.5% alc.)

This is a wine of real poise from a small 5ha domaine where no effort is spared to produce exceptional wine from biodynamic viticulture. Mid-plum in colour, the nose is understated with hints of cherry and mocha. The palate offers supple, silky fruit. Oak has been well handled and the fine tannins are well knitted in. Very low sulphur of around 25mg/l. For drinking now to 2025.

Clos du Jaugueyron

MARGAUX 2014
Nout
55% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon (13% alc.)

Nout comes from 25yo vines planted in a gravel-clay soil in the lieu-dit of Tertre. Worked biodynamically now by Michel and Stéphanie, yields are a low 29hh, and the wine was aged for a year in 50% new oak and 50% 1yo barrels. We love this cuvée from the well balanced attractive year of 2014, with its higher proportion of merlot making it relatively open in its youth, it has the purity, clarity of fruit and elegance that you come to expect from Jaugueyron, with a mineral fleck of salinity on the finish. For drinking now to 2025.

Clos du Jaugueyron

MARGAUX 2014
70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc (12.5% alc.)

Michel and Stéphanie Théron’s top cuvée is a selection from specific parcels and barrels oriented towards cabernet (the soils are more gravelly in the higher part of the vineyard where cabernet is planted and sandier for merlot in the lower). Aged for 12 months in 85% new and 15% one-year-old barrels, then nine months in cuve to settle the wine. This has a dark cherry colour, very sensitive extraction, the class and reserve of cabernet, and terrific finegrained tannins on a long finish. VLQ. Low sulphur. For drinking now to 2034.

Château Moutte-Blanc

BORDEAUX SUPÉRIEUR 2017
50% Merlot, 25% Petit Verdot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon (13.5% alc.)

This is a very good wine from a 3ha vineyard planted in 1939 in the Margaux commune of Macau. It's rare to find a Bordeaux Supérieur in the Médoc, the more so when it has such a high percentage of petit verdot. Vigneron Patrice de Bortoli is the PV specialist in the whole of Bordeaux – the grape gives distinct freshly milled black pepper and spicy notes to the wine. Oak aged for 14 months in recent barrels, this has an elegance and unforced texture – only displayed by wines with real breed. Best carafed at the last moment.

Château Moutte-Blanc

HAUT-MÉDOC 2016
Marguerite
100% Cabernet Sauvignon (14% alc.)

Patrice, whose estate qualifies as one of 46 Crus Artisans, has a tiny plot of 0.30ha on a superb terroir of reddish coloured gravel opposite Ch Cantemerle in Macau. Here the vines are approaching 20yo and give a superb wine, aged in a mix of new, one and two year old barrels, with a class, reserve and elegance of dark cedar flecked fruit. A real bargain. For drinking now to 2025.

Château Moutte-Blanc

BORDEAUX SUPÉRIEUR 2015
Moisin
100% Petit Verdot (14.5% alc.)

Moutte Blanc’s top wine comes from 0.70ha of gnarled 80yo PV, 300 metres from the estuary, planted in ‘Palus’, a pebbly, clay soil. Although PV is very capricious and demands more than twice as much work in the vineyards as merlot, the spectacular wine that results is worth the effort. Given a low temperature extraction (necessary for PV) it was aged in 60% new oak with the balance from one and 2yo barrels. It was racked by an ancient practice ‘à l’esquive’, barrel by barrel, to avoid pumping and filtration, and fined by egg white in each barrel (half an hour’s work per barrel!) again to avoid pumping. It offers a fabulous bright dark plum colour, dark fruits and pepper on the nose, is very complete wine with depth and complexity, a fine tannic structure and is fresh and persistent on the finish. For drinking now to 2030.

Château Haut-Lagrange

PESSAC-LÉOGNAN 2017
50% Sauvignon, 50% Sémillon (12.5% alc.)

This is a very thoughtfully made white, 90% aged in cuve and the balance in two new barrels. A pale gold colour, it has peach flesh on the nose, citrus fruits on the palate, and is very harmonious with a subtle stamp from the complex terroir, which leaves stony, saline notes on the finish. At its best after five years from vintage according to Ghislain Boutemy.

Château Haut-Lagrange

PESSAC-LÉOGNAN 2016
55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot (13.5% alc.)

This is made from 2.7ha of superbly sited vines just below Haut-Bailly, where the topsoil is gravelly with limestone-clay beneath, and a 5.75ha parcel next to Rochemorin where there are also deep gravels but a touch more clay. The vines are planted on very good rootstock and yields are lower than average for the appellation. Aged 60% in cuve and 40% in new barrels for 18 months, there is a quality to the fruit that only the best terroirs give; it is very harmonious again, and nothing is out of place or exaggerated. The black fruits, blackcurrants and ripe plums have a touch of pepper, all the time relieved by a perfect acidity. For drinking now to 2025.

Chartogne-Taillet

SAINTE-ANNE
50% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir, 5% Pinot Meunier (12.5% alc.)

This is a lovely, delicate style of champagne (22g/l instead of the more typical 24g/l for the secondary fermentation), showing very pure citrus fruits with good energy, a hint of quince, brioche and a saline, mineral flavour. It comes from 35yo vines planted in sandstone, clay and chalk in Merfy. Made 60% from the 2017 vintage and 40% from 2016, it was disgorged in June 2020 with a 5g/l dosage.

Chartogne-Taillet

ROSÉ
50% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir, 5% Pinot Meunier (12.5% alc.)

A delicate salmon pink colour, this rosé champagne comes mainly from the 2018 vintage and was aged in a mix of 228ltr and 350ltr barrels. 15% pinot noir still wine from Orizeaux and Les Fontaines was assembled to give texture, structure and colour. It is very elegant and nuanced, layers of cherry and redcurrant fruits, underlined by subtle mineral/umami notes. The dosage of 5g/l brings balance and suits perfectly. Disgorged 03/21.

Chartogne-Taillet

COUARRES-CHÂTEAU 2013
100% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc.)

One of two single vineyard champagnes from Alexandre that he produces in very limited quantities, the pinot noir vines here were planted in 1987, in a parcel where there is 60cm of sandy soils over tufa. This is the third vintage released, aged in 3-6yo barrels with 22g/l for the secondary fermentation. While it shows an intensity and energy typical of 2013, it remains graceful and subtly poised, driven by its tense, pungent minerality. Its elegantly fragrant notes of red cherry and pear persist with excellent length on the finish, anchored by a pronounced salinity. 5.5g/l dosage. VLQ.

Chartogne-Taillet

LES COUARRES 2016
65% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay (12.5% alc.)

Les Couarres is a lieu-dit in the heart of Merfy on a gentle south-facing slope where Alexandre owns two parcels – one on tuffeau (soft, fine-grained, mica-rich limestone also found in the Loire) and another one on deep clay soil. Particularly sensitive to oxidation, Alexandre takes great care in protecting these wines by using 2-3yo barrels which he places in the coolest part of the cave and tops up regularly. The wines from this parcel take time to unfurl and reveal themselves, they have a fleshy, spherical quality imparted by the clay soils which also bring tension and fine bitters, and a fine, gentle stony dimension from the tuffeau. Disgorged 09/20 - Dosage 5g/l.

Chartogne-Taillet

LES BARRES 2013
100% Pinot Meunier (12.5% alc.)

From a tiny parcel of ungrafted meunier vines planted in 1952 that were never touched by phylloxera (in a layer of sand that lies five feet above a bedrock of chalk), this was fermented entirely in 3-6yo oak barrels. It’s elegantly textured and sleekly built, marked by a graceful tension and a resonant briny signature of sandy soils. It unfolds on the palate with subtle layers of flavour, persisting with refined harmony and excellent length. 5g/l dosage. VLQ.

Chartogne-Taillet

LES BARRES ‘BLACK LABEL’ 2015
100% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc.)

Usually reserved for the production of a single vineyard ungrafted pinot meunier, Les Barres sits on 1.5m of free-draining Thanetian sand (the same soil as Les Béguines in Gueux) overlying Campanian chalk. Alexandre limits ploughing to the bare minimum (just once before winter and only under the row) to avoid compaction, and allows grass to grow to improve soil structure. Planted in 1987 on the west facing section of Les Barres, the pinot noir returns low yields on the sandy, free-draining soil. It has dense, unfurled fruit on the palate, characteristically generous thanks to the sand, with a brisk vein of acidity running through, and mineral salts as well as bitters driving the finish. A very fine inaugural release from Alex! Disgorged 07/19 - Dosage 4.5g/l.

Chartogne-Taillet

ORIZEAUX 2014
100% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc.)

This comes from vines planted in 1961 in sandy soil just above Alexandre's parcel of Les Barres. The parcel has always been highly prized by the Chartogne family as the wine reflects both the warmth of the sandy soil and the mineral quality of the limestone bedrock. Aged in 3-6yo barrels with 22g/l for the secondary fermentation, it’s a champagne of refinement and class, with succulent, perfectly pitched red fruits and is sure to age very well. Disgorged 06/19 - Dosage 3.5g/l.

Chartogne-Taillet

HEURTEBISE 2016
100% Chardonnay (12.5% alc.)

Les Heurtes Bises is a lieu-dit on a windy plateau in Merfy, anchored in a sandstone bedrock with water holding capacity far inferior to that of chalk soils nearby. The vines are regularly subjected to excess or lack of water as a result, so Alex pays particular attention to canopy management to help the plant adapt, either promoting evapotranspiration (water loss through the plant’s leaves) in wet vintages, or suppressing it in dry vintages. Alex pushed the élevage up to 18 months in 228ltr barrels to bring breadth and volume to this finely chiselled, multi-layered mineral bomb. Disgorged 11/19 - Dosage 4g/l.

Jérôme Prévost

LA CLOSERIE (2018)
Les Béguines
90% Pinot Meunier, 10% Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris & Chardonnay (12.5% alc.)

The initial still wine from the 2018 vintage was oak aged in new to 13yo barrels for ten months, before being bottled and then disgorged in August 2020 at which point 2g/l dosage was added. Rich, vinous, dense, complex and extremely long on the palate but all the time beautifully fresh and balanced. VLQ.

Jérôme Prévost

LA CLOSERIE (2018)
Fac-Simile
90% Pinot Meunier, 10% Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris & Chardonnay (12.5% alc.)

Jérôme has made this extremely delicately coloured fine rosé from the 2018 vintage, by the addition of one barrel of pinot meunier red wine aged for 11 months and then gently infused and married with the white wine – the idea of doing a saignée just for the sake of colour was not for Jérôme. It’s an extremely fine example with layers of delicately perfumed spiced red fruits and an incredible textural finesse. Disgorged 10/20 - Dosage 2g/l. VLQ.

Jérôme Prévost

LA CLOSERIE
100% Pinot Meunier (12.5% alc.)

This new cuvée comes from a handful of parcels in Gueux on the same Thanetian sands as Les Béguines, some of them tended by Jérôme and his team, others by the owners themselves – always in close collaboration i.e. both the date of harvest and sorting of the grapes are in Jérôme’s hands. It is a blend of 80% 2018 (of which 20% comes from Les Béguines) and 20% reserve wine from 2017, vinified and aged in a mix of new to 13yo barrels (all sizes from 225ltr to 600ltr), bottled in spring 2019 and disgorged in the summer of 2020. Recent travelling restrictions have unfortunately prevented us from tasting it (yet!), but knowing Jérôme’s eye for detail, this is certain to be another impressive take on Gueux’s singular terroir. Disgorged 08/20 - Dosage 2g/l. VLQ.

Guillaume Sergent

LES PRÉS DIEU (2018)
1er Cru
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

Les Prés Dieu is sourced from two parcels that are harvested and pressed together: Les Prés in Vrigny, an east-facing vineyard on sandy soils, and Les Vignes Dieu, a south-facing parcel in Coulommes that’s a little chalkier in composition. The wine was vinified entirely in 3-7yo 228ltr barrels to 500ltr demi-muids although it only spent four months in wood before bottling. Malos were completed and 23g/l was used for the secondary. The fragrant floral fruitiness typical of sandy soils is gracefully balanced and intensely site-expressive, and even in its youth, it demonstrated a fine complexity and detail. This is an exciting wine that has benefited from further bottle ageing. Disgorged 07/20 - Dosage 1g/l.

Guillaume Sergent

CHEMIN DES CHAPPES (2018)
Vrigny 1er Cru
50% Pinot Noir, 50% Pinot Meunier (12% alc.)

Chemin des Chappes comes from vines planted by selection massale in 1972 and 1982 in limestone and sandy soils in Vrigny and exudes tension, energy and class. The white orchard fruit, crushed rock and floral notes are beautifully focused. Aged as Les Prés Dieu this is an especially vibrant, salivating style for a pinot-based champagne, with more breadth and power than the chardonnay and yet all the elements are impeccably balanced. Disgorged 07/20 - Dosage 1g/l.

Emmanuel Brochet

LE MONT BENOIT
Villers-aux-Noeuds 1er Cru
37% Pinot Noir, 33% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

This comes from 40yo vines on a southeast facing hillside of the Mont Benoit in Villers-aux-Noeuds. It is made from a base of 80% 2016 and 20% 2015, aged in new to 12yo barrels for eleven months, and was then given two and a half years 'sur lattes' before disgorging. The malolactic fermentation was completed. It feels vivid and vibrant in its energy, and is intensely expressive of its terroir thanks to a briny, oyster-like salivation and rich texture. Disgorged 02/20 - Dosage 2g/l.

Emmanuel Brochet

LES HAUTS MEUNIERS 2013
Villers-aux-Noeuds 1er Cru
100% Pinot Meunier (12% alc.)

This is made from a massal selection of pinot meunier planted in 1962 at a density of 6,000 vines per hectare. Situated at the top of the Mont Benoit, there’s just about 25cm of top soil before reaching a deep layer of chalk imparting the wines with verticality, nerve, and incredible minerality. Vinified in 350ltr barrels, the wines go through their malo naturally and are left undisturbed (no racking or bâtonnage) for a year before bottling and five years ageing in bottle. Another example that turns on its head the perception of pinot meunier as 'the lesser varietal' of champagne’s main trio. This is intensely chalky, built on a bright core of acids and mineral salts, with a multi-dimensional finish. Bravo! Disg. 12/19 - Non Dosé. VLQ.

Emmanuel Brochet

LES HAUTS CHARDONNAYS 2012
Villers-aux-Noeuds 1er Cru
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

As per Les Hauts Meuniers, this is a selection of old vines planted in 1962 at the top of the slope of the Mont Benoit. It was made exclusively from the coeur de cuvée (the heart of the first pressing which contains the highest quality juice), vinified and aged in 350ltr oak barrels for a year (malo completed), before resting 6 years on the lees in bottle. Emmanuel only achieved half of the usual yields in 2012 (due to successive bouts of frost and mildew) leading to incredible concentration. Tightly coiled, it slowly unfurls from the glass with waves of mirabelle, lemon and pêche de vigne, expressing Villers-aux-Noeuds’ chalky terroir with a classical savoury backbone. It’s racy and subtle, up there with the very best chardonnays of the Montagne de Reims. Disgorged 12/19 - Non Dosé. VLQ.

Bertrand-Delespierre

L’ENFANT DE LA MONTAGNE
1er Cru
35% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Meunier (12% alc.)

This cuvée comes from vineyards in Chamery, Ecueil, Villedomange and Montbré, all 1er Cru villages on the Montagne de Reims. Fermented and aged in stainless steel for about eight months, it spent five years 'sur lattes'. It is based on the 2015 vintage (60%) blended with reserve wines from the previous three vintages. The combination of completed malolactic and low dosage help sustain the fruit beautifully, it also brings bite and precision to the wine. Disgorged 02/21 - Dosage 4g/l.

Bérêche & Fils

BRUT RÉSERVE
35% Pinot Meunier, 30% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

Based on the 2018 vintage and with initial ageing in a mix of barrels and cuve, this champagne reflects all the terroirs of the domaine and has 35% reserve wine from the previous two vintages. It has dense, clear-cut fruit, good texture and vinosity and, as per Galloni, it is "a model of finesse, the wine’s exceptional balance and overall class stands out most.” Disgorged 07/20 – Dosage 6g/l.

Bérêche & Fils

RIVE GAUCHE 2016
100% Pinot Meunier (12% alc.)

4,171 bottles of this champagne are made from two lieux-dits of low-yielding 45yo vines planted in a mix of clay, sand and limestone soils on a north-facing slope in Mareuil-le-Port. Vinified in 350 and 600ltr barrels and aged for three years in bottle under cork, it already shows a subtle complexity, with a soil-driven depth of flavours and citrusy freshness, buttressing pinot meunier's rich aromas of orchard and stone fruit. Disgorged 11/19 – Dosage 3g/l.

Bérêche & Fils

CAMPANIA REMENSIS 2016
60% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Meunier (12.5% alc.)

Raphaël vinified this exceptional quality rosé from 40yo vines in the village of Ormes, with its delicate colour coming from the addition of 5% Coteaux Champenois (pinot noir). It was aged 'sur lattes' for three years and disgorged in March 2020 with a dosage of 3.5g/l. It is fragrant and floral with delicate aromas of roses, raspberry and pomegranate; similarly the mouth has succulent flavours with a fresh, vital cut and saline stamp. 5,200 bottles produced.

Bérêche & Fils

RILLY-LA-MONTAGNE 2016
1er Cru
100% Pinot Noir (12% alc.)

2,621 bottles were produced from 0.4ha of north-east facing pinot noir planted in 1980 in the lieu-dit Les Sablons where the soil is shallow and sandy with a lot of chalk. After ten months ageing in 350ltr oak barrels, the wine is aged for a further 30 months in bottle 'sur lattes' under natural cork. This is a brilliant and classy expression of Rilly-la-Montagne's cool terroir, typical of the north facing villages of the Montagne de Reims. The nose is refined and subtle, the palate is chiselled and 'tout en dentelle', with bright red fruits and gentle smoky notes that enliven a salivating and almost tannic finish. Disgorged 02/20 - Dosage 3g/l.

Bérêche & Fils

LES BEAUX REGARDS 2016
Ludes 1er Cru
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

0.45ha of 50yo vines in the parcels of Beaux Regards and Les Clos on mid-slope in Ludes (1er Cru) – the soil is a very fine-grained clay with limestone and flint. The racier side of chardonnay comes through loud and clear in a wine built around density and texture. Lemon confit, apricots and cream, wild flowers and spices are fused together in a deep, expressive and age-worthy champagne. The breadth and power of the Montagne de Reims give the wine much of its personality, it will benefit from a couple of extra years in bottle. Disgorged 02/20 - Dosage 3g/l. 4,050 bottles produced.

Bérêche & Fils

LE CRAN 2012
Ludes 1er Cru
50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir (12% alc.)

The brothers made this champagne from Les Hautes Plantes and St-Jean, two of the finest mid-slope parcels in Ludes, that were planted in 1969, one facing east and the other west. The soil is very chalky in both parcels, and the grapes ripen fully but retain a naturally high acidity that is perfect for long ageing. Slow fermentation and short ageing occurred in young 350ltr barrels, it was then given 78 months bottle age 'sur lattes'. It offers brioche, ripe citrus and honey notes with depth and power that are quite out of the ordinary. In common with other Bérêche champagnes there is an attractive marrowy protein note – a savoury touch of 'gras' that acts as a beautiful counterpoint to the salinity and gentle bitters on the finish. Disgorged 07/19 - Dosage 3.5g/l. 4,194 bottles produced.

Bérêche & Fils

MAILLY 2014
Grand Cru
100% Pinot Noir (12% alc.)

2,100 bottles were produced from a 0.40 ha plot of 60yo vines (lieu-dit Les Chalois) in a deep, dark brown, clayey and chalky soil. Fermented in fûts, the still wine was aged on its fine lees before being bottled off for a 54 months 'élevage sur lattes' under natural cork. It’s a very harmonious champagne, multi-layered and textural with incisive stone fruits flavours, floral and herbal notes as well as a hint of liquorice. Disgorged 07/19 - Dosage 3.5g/l.

Bérêche & Fils

AMBONNAY 2014
Grand Cru
100% Pinot Noir (12% alc.)

The latest addition to the range and one of the final pieces of the jigsaw for the Bérêche brothers. This comes from 0.4ha of 50yo vines in Les Tourets – right next to Ambonnay’s famous lieu-dit Les Crayéres. The deep, iron rich red clay soil imparts the wine with an incredibly fine, velvety touch on the palate. Fermentation and ageing in 350ltr barrels is followed by 54 months in bottle, on the lees and under natural cork, further increasing the soft, cushioned mouthfeel. It has an amazingly stretched and ample texture, a typical generous quality that only the prestigious south-facing slopes of Ambonnay can offer. Gorgeous red fruits and savoury spices linger in the mouth thanks to a distinct and enticing salinity. Disgorged 07/19 - Dosage 3.5g/l. 1,992 bottles produced.

Bérêche & Fils

REFLET D’ANTAN
30% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir, 35% Pinot Meunier (12% alc.)

This is a very specialist champagne designed to show how complex reserve wines can become with age. Every year a selection of the best age-worthy wines, made from various plots on shallow and chalky soils, is introduced to a 'réserve perpétuelle' (500 and 600ltr barrels) that was started in 1985. In December 2016 two thirds of the solera was bottled off (leaving the balance to be blended with the young wines of the year) and then aged 'sur lattes' for 36 months before disgorgement. There is a crossover with wine from Jura here with subtle and moreish oxidative notes – Reflet D'Antan offers astonishing complexity with notes of dried fruits, green almonds and Manuka honey, while the umami-loaded mouthfeel finishes long with chalky bitters. Disgorged 12/19 - Dosage 6g/l. 3,600 bottles produced.

Crus Sélectionnés

CÔTE 2005
Avize Grand Cru
100% Chardonnay (12.5% alc.)

From the brothers' Crus Sélectionnés project (see profile). 2005 was a superlative vintage, and this champagne was produced from old vines on prime mid-slope in Avize. It was initially cuve aged for eight months, and then given 10.5 years (!!) of bottle age 'sur lattes' before disgorging with 4g/l dosage in December 2016. Restrained and elegant on the nose with floral hints, it has a silky fruit, with notes of fresh hazelnuts, is very pure and long on the finish. Nowadays a unicorn...

Benoît Lahaye

BRUT NATURE
Grand Cru
90% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

This comes from Grand Cru rated vines in Bouzy and Ambonnay averaging 30yo. They are planted on brown clayey soils that vary from 40cm to 1.5 meters in depth. Based at 55% on the 2017 vintage, the reserve wines are from 2016 and 2015. It was initially aged in 2-5yo barrels and then given two and a half years bottle ageing on the lees before disgorgement in September 2020 without dosage. Very expressive on the nose, the palate has depth and richness balanced with attractive bitters on the finish. A stunning wine from prestigious vineyards representing amazing value for money.

Benoît Lahaye

BLANC DE NOIRS (2018)
Bouzy Grand Cru
100% Pinot Noir (12% alc.)

This comes from Grand Cru rated vines of 25yo, lieu-dit Cercets where chalk is more present than in the parcels used for the Brut Nature. It was initially aged in 2-5yo barrels before spending some time 'sur lattes'. More structure, depth and power here due to the presence of chalk, with notes of dried fruits, ripe apricot and citrus fruits, the lengthy saline finish features salivating bitters. Disgorged 10/20 - Dosage 4g/l.

Benoît Lahaye

ROSÉ DE MACÉRATION (2018)
Bouzy Grand Cru
100% Pinot Noir (12% alc.)

Made from 35yo vines, lieu-dit Les Juliennes in Bouzy, the whole bunches macerated for 2.5 days before being pressed. The wine aged 50% in amphora and 50% in 300ltr barrels with completed malos, this has intensely fragrant strawberries and raspberries with a hint of rose on the nose, a seriously vinous and terroir-driven rosé with an incredibly sustained finish – the perfect champagne for versatile food and wine pairings. Disgorged 10/20 - Dosage 3g/l.

Benoît Lahaye

VIOLAINE 2015
50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir (12% alc.)

Vinified, aged and bottled without sulphur, Violaine comes from parcels on the Tauxières and Bouzy border with shallow clay soils (30-35cm) over a deep chalky bedrock. Quite flat, the windswept vineyards were planted in 1990, and like most of Benoit’s wines, this was fermented and aged in oak for 10 months prior to bottling and ageing 'sur lattes'. Vividly expressive with notes of pears, lemon oil, and exotic fruits, the mousse is fine and gentle (just 22g/l for the second fermentation), there’s incredible energy on the palate and chalky dry extract bringing a tannic dimension to the layered mineral infused finish.

Benoît Lahaye

MILLÉSIME 2013
Bouzy Grand Cru
85% Pinot Noir, 15% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

The 45yo vines are from the prime Bouzy lieu-dits of Monts de Tauxières and Haut des Argentieres. Fermented in 5yo 225ltr barrels with malolactics completed, the champagne was bottled off under cork without filtration in July 2014. Disgorged in November 2018 with a 4g/l dosage, it shows a tense, vinous depth of red fruits, the texture is silky and explosive with an extraordinary amplitude. It is a classy wine combining power and refinement with an excellent, fine beaded mousse and food-friendly chalky bitters on the finish – quintessentially Bouzy! VLQ.

Benoît Lahaye

JARDIN DE LA GROSSE PIERRE 2016
Bouzy Grand Cru
Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Arbanne, Petit Meslier, Fromenteau, Gros Plant, Teinturier + others! (12% alc.)

The vines here are co-planted starting off in 1927 by Benoit’s grandfather (who called an orchard he also planted here La Grosse Pierre), on a south-west facing hillside towards the base of Bouzy near the Chemin de Tauxières. Aged in 3-5yo barrels with just a touch of SO2 added at the press (17mg/l), only 1,500 bottles were made. It's quite a startling champagne – complex, distinct and richly fragrant with savoury, umami notes of green tea and wild herbs, it also has an incredible depth of energetic and expressive fruit. Disgorged 10/20 - Non dosé.

Benoît Lahaye

BLANC DE BLANCS
Voipreux 1er Cru
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

This is a confidential cuvée coming from a small holding in the village of Voipreux (between Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Vertus) in the Côte des Blancs. For now Benoît prefers to blend it and will not make this champagne every year. The vines here are 62yo (they have been ploughed by horse since 2010) and planted in shallow soil of clay and limestone with chalk at depth, giving grapes that are always healthy (never any rot) and ripe. It is made of equal parts 2014 and 2015 (the next version will be 16/17), aged in barrels for two years and one year respectively before being assembled and bottled off, then disgorged in late 2018 with zero dosage. No sulphur has been used at any stage. It is a notably spicy, dense, ripe champagne imbued with a rare sense of energy and vigour.

Benoît Lahaye

CÔTEAUX CHAMPENOIS 2015
Bouzy Rouge
100% Pinot Noir (12.8% alc.)

Grown in three of Lahaye’s oldest parcels (50yo) planted on mid-slope in the 'coeur de terroir', this floral, structured and mineral Bouzy Grand Cru is, as per Peter Liem, "not only one of the best examples of Bouzy Rouge but also one of the best still red wines in all Champagne." Destemmed by hand using a perforated wooden plank, the intact berries ferment in a gas-filled amphora for a month before pressing, and the wine is then aged in old 228l barrels for a year before bottling with the addition of 20mg of sulphur. It has a vibrant spicy nose, beautiful dynamic on the palate, and a distinct juicy peppery quality. VLQ.

Vadin-Plateau

RENAISSANCE
Cumières 1er Cru
100% Pinot Meunier (12% alc.)

Yann produced this champagne from 40yo vines in Cumières. Made 80% from 2018 and 20% from 2017, it was cuve aged with malos naturally not occurring, and was neither fined nor filtered. The champagne has a fine bead (just 22 g/l sugar for the fermentation in bottle), a beautiful floral, mineral nose, excellent depth and weight of attractive red fruits on the palate, with a well-judged dosage of 3g/l. Disgorged 01/21.

Vadin-Plateau

BOIS DES JOTS 2014
Cumières 1er Cru
100% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc.)

Yann produces just 600bts from 60yo vines in the 0.5ha lieu-dit of Bois des Jots – deep clay soils overlying limestone on a south-facing hillside. Here the yields average a very low 25hh which gives the wine a natural density, complexity and incredible length on the finish. Aged 70% in cement eggs, with the balance in stainless steel and old barrels, no malos, bottle-aged under cork and disgorged with zero dosage in January 2018, this champagne is pretty special and represents outstanding value for money.

Lamiable

GRAND CRU
Souffle d'Étoiles
60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay (12.5% alc.)

Stylish, racy champagne with a fresh floral fruitiness and insistent mineral notes from the grand cru village of Tours-sur-Marne, located at the eastern end of the Vallée de la Marne and just below Bouzy. Based on the 2017 vintage (60%) and blended with wine from a perpetual reserve. Cuve aged with malolactics completed, it was disgorged in September 2020 with a 4.5g/l dosage. Great value for money.

Lamiable

GRAND CRU ROSÉ
Éclat d'Étoiles
60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay (12.5% alc.)

This is a real crowd-pleasing style, with salmon pink colour created by an assemblage of 10% pinot noir red wine. Delicate red fruits on the nose and palate balanced by good salinity on the finish. Made from the 2018 vintage with 40% of reserve wines. Ophélie Lamiable kindly agreed to a lower dosage level of 3.4 g/l for Vine Trail – we feel it perfectly suits the champagne’s weight, fruit and balance. Disgorged in May 2021.

Laherte Frères

ULTRADITION
60% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc.)

This is a subtle amalgam of the domaine’s holdings. Based on the 2015 vintage (60%) and 2014 (40%), the wine was initially aged both in cuve and oak (foudres and fûts 3-15yo) and 60% of the malos were completed. It was given 22 months bottle age and disgorged with 6.5g/l dosage in May 2019. On the nose this gives complex notes of citrus zest, fresh baked bread, chalky tones and floral aromas typical of a cuvée based around pinot meunier. There are good depth of juicy berries with saline notes on the palate, a supple texture and refreshing finish. A serious and complex wine for the price, perfect for the apéritif, it will also compliment many types of food.

Laherte Frères

BLANC DE BLANCS
Brut Nature
100% Chardonnay (12.5% alc.)

Aurélien makes this crowd-pleaser blanc de blancs from mid-slope vineyards in Chavot and Epernay where the vines average 35yo. It comes from a blend of 50% 2016, 35% 2015 and 15% 2014 and was oak aged in a mix of foudres and barrels with no malos. The reserve wine helps give an extra richness and flesh to the wine – good weight of fruit on the palate, there is a nice play between a marrowy, protein quality, a structure that comes from the clayey and chalky soils, good tension and a brisk savoury depth. Disgorged 11/19 - Non dosé.

Laherte Frères

ROSÉ DE MEUNIER
100% Pinot Meunier (12.5% alc.)

This is one of the newest cuvée made by Aurélien from 25-40yo vines planted in limestone clay soil and has been made from equal parts 2016 and 2015, with 60% white wine, 30% rosé de macération and 10% red wine all from meunier grapes. It was disgorged in May 2019 with a 2.5g/l dosage. It is a beautiful rosé with incredibly attractive delicate red fruits, a touch of pepper and a saline freshness on the finish. As well as being excellent on its own, its structure (thanks to the perfectly judged blend) makes it extremely versatile with food. A strong effort from Aurélien who has also designed beautiful, colourful and eye-catching labels.

Laherte Frères

LES VIGNES D’AUTREFOIS 2016
100% Pinot Meunier (12.5% alc.)

'Les Vignes d'Autrefois' refers to the venerable age of the vines, indeed the Laherte family uses four parcels planted between 1947 and 1964 in the villages of Chavot and Mancy. Made entirely from the 2014 vintage and aged in 4-12yo barrels with malos not completed, it was disgorged by hand in January 2020 with a 3g/l dosage. Very terroir on the nose rather than varietal and fruit-driven, it has sculpted, incisive citrus and floral notes on the palate, sustained gorgeous fruit and marked salivation on a long finish.

Laherte Frères

EMPREINTES 2012
50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc.)

This cuvée is designed to exhibit just how good the terroir of Chavot can be. Here the pinot noir is planted in rich clay, and the 55yo chardonnay in chalk. The still wine was originally aged in 3-5yo barrels with no malos; the fruit is delicious showing tangerine, papaya and hints of ginger, all the time beautifully underlined by a striking mineral quality, with outstanding length and energy. Disgorged 01/18 - Dosage 4g/l.

Laherte Frères

LES GRANDES CRAYÈRES 2014
100% Chardonnay (12.5% alc.)

Aurélien selected two chalky (crayères) west-facing parcels (40 and 60yo) where the particularly shallow topsoil (20cm) lies over a deep strata of Campanian limestone (Cretaceous period as in the Côte des Blancs). The absence of malo emphasises the wine’s chiselled and 'aérien' qualities, it’s fine and poised on the palate with impressive balance, racy acids, and fine chalk-infused bitters that drive a long sapid finish. Disgorged 01/18 - Dosage 4g/l.

Laherte Frères

LES 7
Brut Nature
18% Pinot Meunier, 18% Chardonnay, 17% Pinot Blanc, 15% Petit Meslier, 14% Pinot Noir, 10% Fromenteau, 8% Arbanne (12.5% alc.)

The idea here was not only combining many indigenous varieties, but also many different vintages – a unique champagne made from a solera system (or perpetual reserve) started in 2005 of seven older Burgundy barrels from which reserve wines are pulled off annually, they are bottled with wines of the year and represent 40% of the blend. The young vines here were co-planted by Thierry Laherte in 2002 and are tended biodynamically, the grapes are picked and pressed together. The current bottling is based on the 2015 vintage (60%), it is a complex and harmonious champagne, with a mix of chalky stone and truffle on the nose, subtle, stretched and restrained with savoury, earthy notes on the finish – a unique glimpse in Champagne's past and future. Disgorged 02/18 - Non dosé.

Aurélien Suenen

OIRY
Grand Cru
100% Chardonnay (13% alc.)

One of Aurélien’s specific terroir blanc de blancs, from vines averaging 45yo planted in the chalky soil of Oiry (Grand Cru village). Vinified and aged in 65% cuve and 35% 3-5yo barrels (with malos completed) this is based on 2017 with 50% reserve wines from the previous three vintages and it was given 26 months 'sur lattes' under cap. It has the purity and delicacy you would expect of fine blanc de blancs, a just delicious expression of stone fruits and stewed Sicilian lemons with the limestone-dominant terroir impacting notable length and verticality. Disgorged 11/20 - Dosage 3g/l.

Aurélien Suenen

C+C
Grand Cru
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

The second of Aurélien’s specific terroir NV champagnes comes from 40yo vines on north-west, west, and south-east facing hillsides in Cramant and Chouilly where the soils are deeper (compared to Oiry) – silty clay overlying chalk – adding flesh to the wines. A blend of 2017 with 40% reserve wines from the previous three vintages, it was bottled in summer 2018 (with malos completed) for ageing 'sur lattes'. This is a tightly wound champagne, with more pronounced structure and texture as well as a razor-like cut of acidity. Very attractive umami flavours on the finish. Disgorged 11/20 - Dosage 4g/l.

Aurélien Suenen

LA COCLUETTE 2013
Oiry Grand Cru
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

Suenen's vines, in the lieu-dit La Cocluette, were planted in 1925 on thin silty-clay soils over a Campanian limestone bedrock. Located towards the top of a gentle hill with 80% of the vines facing north and the other 20% facing south. Vinification and élevage take place in concrete eggs (55%) and recent demi-muids (45%), bottling occurred in July 2014 before 62 months ageing 'sur lattes'. There’s a cool, intensely citric and 'aérien' feel running through the wine, a vertical backbone with pinpoint precision on the palate, and beautiful 'amers' driving the finish. Disg. 10/19 - Dosage 2g/l. VLQ.

Aurélien Suenen

LES ROBARTS 2013
Cramant Grand Cru
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

Perched on a 'haut de coteau' at 220m, right on the border between Cramant and Avize where the clay is richer and more compact than in Oiry, it sits on the ubiquitous chalky Campanian limestone, the vines are 37yo on average and face due south (70%) and north (30%). Vinified in one 20hl foudre, the wine was then bottled in July 2014 and spent over 5 years resting on its lees before disgorgement. This is slightly larger and richer than the vertical Cocluette, with more breadth, a touch of gras, and a strong terroir imprint. Notable bitters and mineral salts are prominent on the finish, with an umami-rich salivation, the sign of an outstanding terroir (and a top vigneron!). Disgorged 10/19 - Dosage 2g/l. VLQ.

Aurélien Suenen

LE MONT-AIGU 2013
Chouilly Grand Cru
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

Le Mont-Aigu is a steep south-facing vineyard in Chouilly on poor chalky-white soils reflecting sunlight, a unique situation in this predominantly north-facing village that benefits from a warm micro-climate due to the proximity of the Marne river. Aurélien’s 0.25ha of vines are affected by cournoué (fan leaf disease), which doesn’t harm the vines but considerably reduces yields and emphasizes further this site’s singular 'solaire' situation. Vinified and aged in 600ltr demi muids, it went through extensive ageing on the lees (62 months) as per the other single vineyard bottlings. Exuberant and exotic, it’s rich on the attack with a touch of 'beurre noisette' and a nice pillowy mouthfeel, it has concentration and vibrancy at its core, balanced by racy acids and noble chalky bitters. Completely unique and a must-have for all champagne geeks out there. Disgorged 10/19 - Dosage 4g/l. VLQ.

Pascal Agrapart

LES 7 CRUS
90% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir (12% alc.)

This comes from vines in seven villages, including the Grands Crus of Avize and Cramant. Blended from the 2018 and 2017 vintages and given over two years 'sur lattes', the dosage of 5g/l is well-judged, helping to emphasize its driving fruitiness and minerality. It is a perfect example of how a good NV champagne balances character and authenticity with sheer, delicious drinkability. Disgorged 02/21.

Pascal Agrapart

TERROIRS
Grand Cru
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

A blend of the 2017 and 2016 vintages, made exclusively from 25-40yo vines on prime plots in the Grands Cru villages of Avize (50%), Cramant, Oger and Oiry. Fabulous colour with more depth than Les 7 Crus, it is much finer and deeper, a more structured champagne aged for 36 months 'sur lattes'. Buttery notes and fresh almond on the nose with hints of menthol and liquorice on the palate. Disgorged 02/21 - Dosage 5g/l.

Pascal Agrapart

COMPLANTÉE
Avize Grand Cru
25% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Noir, 15% Pinot Meunier, 15% Pinot Blanc, 15% Petit Meslier, 15% Arbanne (12% alc.)

Pascal co-planted 0.25ha of vines in 2003 in the lieu-dit Fosse à Bull in Avize. Aside promoting biodiversity, he aimed at showing that Terroir dominates grape varieties. Made from equal parts 2018 and 2017, it was aged in demi-muids and then given almost a couple of years in bottle before disgorgement. Slightly peppery on the nose, with citrus fruits and nuts on the palate, with a subtle chalkiness and gentle bitters that adds to the intrigue of a long finish. As of today, Pascal doesn’t think that tasting clearly indicates the specific character of any of the varieties, it’s all about terroir! Disgorged 02/21 - Dosage 5g/l.

Pascal Agrapart

MINÉRAL 2015
Grand Cru
100% Chardonnay (12.5% alc.)

Made from two different parcels, Le Champ Bouton in Avize GC and Les Bionnes in Cramant GC, where the vines get straight into the chalky bedrock (no topsoil) characterised by the ubiquitous Cretaceous limestone. Minéral has a beautiful pale gold colour and is taut and reticent on the nose with a pronounced chalky minerality cosseting the fruit. On the palate it is slightly salty with a hint of iodine (and becomes truffley with ageing), racy and stylish with a poise and fruit reminiscent of grand cru Chablis. Disgorged 02/21 - Dosage 3g/l.

Pascal Agrapart

AVIZOISE 2015
Avize Grand Cru
100% Chardonnay (12.5% alc.)

This outstanding champagne comes from 60yo vines in the lieux-dits of Les Robarts and Les Grox Yeux on the Avize hillside, where there is a thin layer of clay over the chalk. The fermentation in bottle is carried out under natural cork rather than capsule, with a minimum of five years on lees. There is a notable step up in quality with Avizoise which has a dense, rich style and complex flavours. On the nose, you can smell mangoes and exotic fruits, which follow through on the palate, where ripe peaches show, with toasty, grilled notes (typical of a champagne aged under cork) and hints of truffle and mushroom too. Disgorged 02/21 - Dosage 3g/l.

Pascal Agrapart

VÉNUS 2015
Avize Grand Cru
100% Chardonnay (12.5% alc.)

The 55yo vines are planted on a lower slope in Avize called La Fosse Aux Pourceaux. The soil here is light and airy, not compacted at all since no machines are used in this vineyard, just worked by foot and with a horse called Vénus. The vines are close to the chalk for the upper two-thirds of the coteau and then on deeper clay over chalk at the bottom. Like the Avizoise, this has been aged 'sur lattes' under cork for five years. By comparison, it is a tauter, purer style, with crystalline precision. On the nose, there are brioche and truffle notes, tethered by a chalky, iodine mineral quality. It is finely hued and harmonious on the palate with a silky texture and long finish. Disgorged 02/21 - Non dosé.

Pascal Agrapart

EXPÉRIENCE 2015
Grand Cru
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

Half of the cuvée Expérience is the Cramant portion of Minéral, while the other half comes from the Avizoise cuvée, both of which are aged in demi-muids; for the second fermentation, the liqueur de tirage is unfermented grape juice from the 2016 harvest, so as Pascal says Expérience is made 100% from grapes, with natural yeasts for both the first and second fermentations, zero dosage and only a pinch of sulphur added. Pascal started experimenting with this cuvée in 2002, and the first commercial release was 2007 – it’s very tricky to make and is not produced in every vintage. It’s juicy and grapey, with a delicate mousse and an unforced feel to it. Incredibly multi-layered and textural, it has complex flavours of pear, citrus fruits and sweet herbs, attractive bitters and marked spiciness on a sustained salty finish. Disg. 08/20. VLQ.

Jacques Lassaigne

LES VIGNES DE MONTGUEUX
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

Comprising fruit from eight different terroirs on the hill of Montgueux, LVDM is based on 2017 with about 60% wines from 2016 and 2015, Emmanuel is forever restless in his search for improvements, and this cuvée is more complex and vinous than ever given greater use of reserve wines. This has ripe citron fruit with exotic notes, lovely salivation with great play on the palate and terrific texture. Just 20g/l for the secondary fermentation, it has a very fine gentle bubble. A pinch of SO2 at press only. Zero dosage although Manu prefers to label it as Extra Brut (like Le Cotet). Disgorged 07/20.

Jacques Lassaigne

LE COTET
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

This lieu-dit cuvée comes from 0.6ha of 45yo vines. It’s a blend of about 75% 2016, 15% of oak aged 2015 and 10% 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2008, 2006, 2004 and 2002 finished bottles of le Cotet that Emmanuel has opened up and 'remis en cercle'. It has a very pure, bracing fruit (making for a superb apéritif) mixed with hints of honeysuckle, straw and hazelnut, an amazing complexity from the older wines. Disgorged 09/20 - Non dosé. VLQ.

Jacques Lassaigne

MILLÉSIME 2010
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

This is a blend of old vines in Lassaigne’s three top vineyards of Les Paluets (40%), Le Cotet (40%) and La Grande Côte (20%). It is always vinified 100% in stainless steel which Emmanuel feels captures the purest expression of the terroirs. This has excellent balance with peach, stewed lemon and mango fragrantly ample and inviting, with an intense, detailed stony chalkiness (from Le Cotet). As this ages it takes on a Meursault character, a stunning wine finely showcasing the power of Montgueux. Disgorged 09/19 - Non dosé. VLQ.

Jacques Lassaigne

LA COLLINE INSPIRÉE
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

The ‘Inspired Hill’ is the one main cuvée produced by Manu that is vinified and aged in oak, in this instance from 15 x 228ltr Burgundy and 1 x 500ltr older barrels. It is a blend of vintages, from 2013 (48%), 2012 (35%) and 2011 (17%). The grapes come mainly from the lieux-dits Haut Revers du Chutat and Grand Côte (plus five other plots across the hill of Montgueux). It was bottled off in May 2015 and disgorged 'a la volée' (by hand) without dosage in May 2018. It has perfectly integrated the oak, the fruit mixes stewed lemons, tropical fruit and hazelnut, it is rich and textural, perfectly balanced by a lovely saline cut on the finish. VLQ.

Jacques Lassaigne

CLOS SAINTE-SOPHIE 2013
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

Clos Sainte Sophie is one of the 13 official Clos in the whole of Champagne (think Clos du Mesnil, Clos des Goisses etc), and the only one located in the Aube. Enclosed by walls and a towering iron gate, it reached such a level of fame towards the end of the 19th century (long before Montgueux was officially included in the appellation) that in 1886 two Japanese gardeners were sent to study the Clos. A hundred cuttings were taken from the 20 varieties planted at the time, and they were used to plant the first vitis vinifera vineyard on Mount Fuji. "A befitting story for the best vineyard in Montgueux" as Manu puts it. There’s almost no topsoil here so the roots plunge deep into the Cretaceous chalk. Manu selected the oldest parcels of chardonnay (planted in 1968 and 1973), and chose to vinify them in 500ltr barrels previously used to age Burgundy, Jura, and even Cognac. There is such strength, concentration and energy in this wine that the élevage is barely noticeable. It is deep and structured, tightly coiled, with impressive dry extract and a tannic-like chalkiness. It displays Mongueux’s typical exotic perfume in a restrained manner, with intense iodine notes, it’ll be very interesting to follow this wine over the next decade. Disgorged 02/20 - Non dosé. VLQ.

Jacques Lassaigne

SOPRANO, ALTO, TENOR
Acte IV Scènes 1, 2, 3
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

Manu makes a few one-off wines privileging experiment and an off-the-beaten-track spirit, these special bottlings are labeled as acts and scenes. Soprano, Alto and Tenor are part of Acte IV, a trio of cuvées differentiated by a single detail, the length of time they spent in barrels before bottling. Harvest took place on 17 September 2012 in La Grande Côte, a south-east facing plot that sits just below Le Haut Revers du Chutat. Planted in 1963, the vines sit on a very shallow layer of silty clay over chalk, soaking up the sun from dawn till dusk. The grapes were loaded into a single Coquard press and the juice transferred into three 500ltr barrels. The first barrel was bottled after 8 months ageing on the lees (Soprano), the second one after 20 months (Alto), and the third one after 32 months (Tenor), and all three spent the best part of five years resting in bottle 'sur lattes' before disgorgement without dosage. It will be fascinating to see how these three wines evolve over time, and whether they will become more alike as time passes by. An amazing opportunity to delve deep into Montgueux and better understand the impact of élevage on terroir expression. Soprano (Scène 1) – bottled 05/13, disgorged 02/18. Alto (Scène 2) – bottled 05/14, disgorged 02/19. Tenor (Scène 3) – bottled 05/15, disgorged 02/20.

Jacques Lassaigne

COTEAUX CHAMPENOIS 2017
Haut Revers du Chutat
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

This exceptional still wine is only made in limited quantities in riper vintages (2010, 2015 were the previous versions) when the juice naturally hits an alcohol level (12.2%) that is too high to produce champagne. Made from vines planted in 1968 at the top of a south facing limestone slope, aged in six older fûts and a 500ltr barrel for 22 months, the balance of this wine is exemplary, putting many fine Côte de Beaune wines to shame. It shows exotic ripe fruits cut through with a vein of acidity and an electrifying stamp of saline minerals. Very low sulphur. For drinking now to 2027.

Clandestin

LES SEMBLABLES (2017)
Boréal
100% Pinot Noir (12% alc.)

The 15-35yo vines grow on different plots – all facing north (N/NW) and planted in the same strata of Kimmeridgian limestone, hence the name Les Semblables (the similar ones). The wine was aged in older barrels before being bottled off and kept 'sur lattes'. It offers very pretty wild strawberry fruit on the nose, good balance with plenty of energy, zesty red fruits on the palate with a savoury finish. Disgorged 07/2019 - Non dosé.

Clandestin

LES GRANDES LIGNES (2016)
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

The grapes for this cuvée come from the south-facing lieu-dit of Sorbée in Buxières-sur-Arce, where the limestone is Portlandian. The viticulture here switched to organic practice in August 2015. Aged in a similar style to Les Semblables, this champagne has depth and good finesse, with tense citrus fruits tethered by notable chalky salinity on the finish. 3,000 bottles produced. VLQ.

Vouette et Sorbée

BLANC D’ARGILE (2017)
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

This comes from low-yielding vines in the lieu-dit Biaune, a cool parcel planted alongside the forest on Kimmeridgian soil. The chardonnay vines are massal selections from Selosse’s Avize and Dauvissat's Chablis GC vineyards. Oak aged in 4-10yo 500/600ltr barrels before bottling for 'élevage sur lattes', it is richer, deeper and more complex than many blanc de blancs but still with tightly wound acidity and salivating minerals – like a top Chablis GC with fine bubbles. Disgorged 05/20 - Non dosé.

Vouette et Sorbée

FIDÈLE (2018)
100% Pinot Noir (12% alc.)

The vines for this brilliant champagne are planted in the lieu-dit of Vouette (see profile), on a Kimmeridgian limestone slope facing due south. It offers a rich gold colour, typical of low yielding pinot noir, and is vinous on the palate with mineral vitality. Given a little time in the glass, and served ideally at 12°C, it evolves constantly, revealing flavours layer after layer. Disgorged 01/21 - Non dosé.

Vouette et Sorbée

TEXTURES (2017)
100% Pinot Blanc (12% alc.)

Following advice from Croatian and Italian friends, Bertrand decided to experiment skin-maceration vinifying in a buried Georgian qvevri (pinot blanc) and a couple of Italian dolia (chardonnay). This pinot blanc is planted on a deep limestone-rich clay, an extremely qualitative terroir owned by his brother. The ten months long maceration in qvevri enhance flavours from a rather discreet variety, as well as creating a savoury, voluptuous and multi-layered mouthfeel. A stunning wine. Disgorged 09/19 - Non dosé.

Vouette et Sorbée

SAIGNÉE DE SORBÉE (2015)
100% Pinot Noir (12% alc.)

Sorbée sits on Portlandian limestone, a type of soil which represents less than 1% of the appellation, and was planted with an old massal selection from Domaine Lafarge in Volnay (this is a rare wine in many ways!). Bertrand explains, "As children we used to drink my grandmother's red wine from the Sorbée vineyard, which was traditionally planted with gamay, it was 10% alcohol and we would drink it in summer mixed with water. I am just copying the elders and paying tribute to my family." Whole-cluster pinot noir grapes go through semi-carbonic maceration before bleeding (saignée) occurs, it makes for a deep, red-fruited, peppery champagne. "Une tisane de pinots noirs" as Bertrand would say, reminiscent of a fine Rosé des Riceys. Disgorged 09/19 - Non dosé.

Vouette et Sorbée

EXTRAIT 2008
60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

A selection of a few of Bertrand’s favourite barrels of chardonnay and pinot noir, usually encompassing the different terroirs and soils of the domaine, and given long bottle age 'sur lattes' (nine years for the 2008!) before disgorging. This is a vinous and extremely complex champagne with lingering sherry-like tertiary flavours, a wine with endless possibilities when it comes to food matching.

Roses de Jeanne,
Cédric Bouchard

VAL VILAINE (2018)
100% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc.)

A champagne with excellent weight and balance exuding delicate fragrances of flowers and beguiling red berry and plum fruits with hint of nutmeg and a mineral imprint from the calcareous-clay soil. Made from just 1.45ha of 35yo vines, and yields of just 26hh now, it was cuve aged and bottled with a very low 17g/l for the secondary fermentation, which gives a low pressure and gentle mousse perfect for the weight of the champagne. Disgorged 04/20 - Non dosé.

Roses de Jeanne,
Cédric Bouchard

CÔTE DE BÉCHALIN 2013
100% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc.)

Like the Val Vilaine this wine comes from 35yo vines on south-west facing slopes with a limestone clay base on the Côte de Béchalin, a lieu-dit in Celles-sur-Ource. The extra years of ageing 'sur lattes' brought a great purity to the wine, it’s incredibly fresh, feels very close to the grape, with lovely minty notes, beautifully textured and long with gentle bitters on the finish. Disgorged 04/20 - Non dosé. VLQ.

Roses de Jeanne,
Cédric Bouchard

LES URSULES 2016
100% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc.)

This was Cédric’s initial and most emblematic cuvée, coming from a parcel planted next to his parents’ house in limestone clay-soil, relatively flat with just a slight tilt to the north. It has always given the most feminine and harmonious champagne in the range according to Cédric. It’s a champagne of pure class with an exceptional balance between the fruit and acidity giving a terrific play on the palate, and a finish that goes on and on, with subtly layered flavours. Disgorged 04/20 - Non dosé. VLQ.

Roses de Jeanne,
Cédric Bouchard

LA HAUTE LEMBLÉ 2016
100% Chardonnay (12.5% alc.)

The only chardonnay champagne made by Cédric; this comes from a minute 0.11 ha plot from five different massal selections planted in 2002 on a south-facing slope in Celles-sur-Ource. Ripe, dense and tightly wound, this feels very close to the grape, and there are notable energy and vigour. Disgorged 04/20 - Non dosé. VLQ.

Roses de Jeanne,
Cédric Bouchard

LA BOLORÉE 2016
100% Pinot Blanc (12.5% alc.)

This comes from a tiny parcel of pinot blanc planted in 1960 on a due south-facing hillside with 50cm of sandy clay soil overlying chalk. There is a slightly herbal, green tea note on the nose, a peppery hint on the attack, and the herbal note intensifies on the finish. It is subtle and yet ripe, racy and energetic, and very long on the finish. Disgorged 04/20 - Non dosé.

Roses de Jeanne,
Cédric Bouchard

PRESLE 2016
100% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc.)

Cédric loves the complexity that mixing different clippings of vines can produce, and he takes this philosophy to a new level here, with no less than ten different massal selections of pinot on multiple rootstocks in 15 rows of vines in a 0.25ha vineyard. On a west-facing slope of hard clay, he planted a very high density of 3,000 vines (so 12,000 vines per hectare) in 2007, of which two-thirds survived and are very healthy but 1/3 died and had to be replanted. Initially, he planned to make a red Coteaux Champenois but given the quality of the juice he quickly changed his mind. This champagne has just 4.5 bar of pressure, is sleek and intensely perfumed and mineral with very good texture and notable finesse. Disgorged 04/20 - Non dosé. VLQ.

Ruppert-Leroy

MARTIN FONTAINE (2015)
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

Their blanc de blancs comes from quite a high altitude (380m) essentially south facing 0.55ha vineyard where limestone is very present with rock outcropping and fossils weathering out on the surface. The soil here is deeper (around 1m) than at Fosse Grely therefore the yields here are usually 20% higher. The 2015 wine was aged in older barrels for eight months, with malos completed, no sulphur added at any stage, no dosage either. The champagne here is exquisitely balanced, neither too light nor too rich, with the oak very well integrated, and its intense salinity clearly reflects the limestone terroir. VLQ.

Ruppert-Leroy

LES COGNAUX (2017)
100% Pinot Noir (12% alc.)

Here the 0.70ha vineyard is still high up in the hills with grey clay mixed with a two metres deep marl soil (overlying limestone) that has lots of tiny stones, with cockles and oyster shells weathering out. The vines are between 15-30yo, south to south-east facing, de-budded and ploughed to give low yields of ripe grapes. Aged in 2-8yo demi-muids (plus a few fûts), the fruit shows wild strawberry and plums, is silky yet chiselled and precise with a long mineral-driven finish. Béné and Manu comment that this champagne always needs the longest bottle ageing to reveal its qualities to the full. No sulphur. Disgorged 10/19 - Non dosé. VLQ.

Ruppert-Leroy

FOSSE GRELY (2017)
50% Pinot Noir, 50% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

The lieu-dit of La Fosse Grely at an altitude of around 260m was where Bénédicte’s father first planted vines back in the 1980s. Surrounded by forest where fauna and flora thrive, the vines here are on a south to southwest facing slope in a thin layer (40cm) of red clay with lots of little stones and thick compacted limestone beneath. Aged for nine months in fûts and demi-muids, and then for 20 months 'sur lattes', like all of the Ruppert-Leroy champagnes there is a beautiful tension and feeling of controlled energy. You notice hints of black pepper on the nose, with citrus fruits and peach, biscuits and nuts, with subtle bitters, so long and so complex. No sulphur. Disgorged 10/19 - Non dosé. VLQ.

Ruppert-Leroy

PAPILLON (2017)
100% Pinot Noir (12% alc.)

This also comes from the lieu-dit La Fosse Grely – Gérard Ruppert (Béné’s father) original plantation. This cuvée is made from 35 to 40yo vines of pinot noir, they were planted with an old massal selection and yield an extremely qualitative juice. The south to southwest facing rocky slope is surrounded by forest in a place where 30 species of butterflies (papillon) have been recorded. Vinified the same way as Fosse Grely, there is a similar tension and energy but with extra richness. It is fruit-forward with a creamy texture, ripe peach and zesty blood orange flavours, long and complex with food-friendly bitters. No sulphur. Disgorged 10/19 - Non dosé. VLQ.

Ruppert-Leroy

11,12,13…
50% Pinot Noir, 50% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

11, 12, 13... is a 'réserve perpétuelle' started in 2011 using grapes from the domaine's different plots. The current bottling, disgorged in October 2019, is made of all vintages from 2011 to 2017. After an initial élevage in oak the reserve wines are kept in cuve and mixed little by little, the blend spends 18 to 20 months in bottle on lees. Oxidative Jura-like notes on the nose, rhubarb, pepper and sweet spices on the palate, this is a perfect mix of old and young wines with enough lift for a lengthy mineral infused finish. No sulphur and non dosé. VLQ.

Ruppert-Leroy

ROSÉ (2015)
100% Pinot Noir (12% alc.)

Emmanuel and Bénédicte carried out a four days maceration of whole bunches to make this vinous and food-friendly rosé. Aged in cuve for nine months it is deep and structured, reminiscent of a light red Coteaux Champenois, and it offers flavours of stewed cherries, blood orange, with cinnamon and pepper hints. No sulphur. Zero dosage. VLQ.

Domaine Garnier

PETIT CHABLIS 2019
100% Chardonnay (13% alc.)

The Garnier brothers have planted 4ha of young vines in Lignorelles on a south-facing slope renowned as the finest hillside in the Petit Chablis AC, in a sandy soil overlying Portlandian limestone. Vinified in stainless steel and bottled after a year, it has minerality and more depth of fruit than you’d expect from this appellation.

Domaine Garnier

CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2016
Côte de Jouan
100% Chardonnay (12.5% alc.)

This is a brilliant wine from 45-55yo vines planted towards the bottom of a southeast facing hillside. The Garnier brothers bought the whole 1ha parcel from a friend who works his vineyard organically. Aged in a 2yo foudre and 3-5yo demimuids, this has good, racy, peppy fruit and there is a real dynamism to the wine which finishes with a characteristic saline lick. It’s at the same quality level as the Côte de Jouan that we have tasted from Pattes-Loup.

Domaine Garnier

CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2016
Fourchaume
100% Chardonnay (12.5% alc.)

The Garnier brothers bought the grapes for this wine from two parcels in the sectors of Côte de Fontenay and Vaulorent, where the vines are 45yo and 20yo respectively. Aged in one 2yo foudre, it has a chiselled, lemon flecked fruit, with saline edge from limestone stamping the finish.

Domaine Garnier

CHABLIS 2019
100% Chardonnay (12.8% alc.)

The brothers planted their vines in 1985 on excellent quality rootstock (3309, strictly no high yielding SO4 which is the most widely planted in Chablis) in Kimmeridgian limestone. The wine has been 100% cuve aged before bottling after one year with high-quality corks and around 50mg/l of total sulphur. There is a character very reminiscent of the sea about this wine, like a delicious oyster, with iodine and saline notes, and good viticulture and lower yields help to give the wine great texture and balance.

Domaine Garnier

CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2017
Mont de Milieu
100% Chardonnay (13% alc.)

This is a wine of real class, immediately announced by both the colour and the nose and it was the 1er cru we enjoyed most of the Garnier 2017 offerings. Made from 35yo vines on a south-facing hillside, with a red clay topsoil dotted with many oyster shells, the yield here was a low 40hh and it was aged for 18 months in 70% 600 litre barrels and 30% in stainless steel. The balance is impeccable, there is a real dynamism to the wine, with ripe grapefruit to the fore, and that quintessential Chablis mineral essence driving the finish.

Domaine Garnier

CHABLIS GRAND CRU 2018
Vaudésir
100% Chardonnay (13% alc.)

Vaudésir is renowned as one of Chablis finest Grands Crus and there is very little soil above the limestone. This is made from just 0.30ha of 20yo vines and was aged in 3-6yo barrels. There is an oyster essence on the nose, it is very saline with iodine notes, vibrant and persistent pithy fruit, stylish and complex with a long finish. For drinking now to 2028.

Domaine Oudin

CHABLIS 2019
100% Chardonnay (13% alc.)

This is the main cuvée of the domaine from 7ha of vineyards spread over six well located parcels with an average vine age of 30yo. The wine has very precise citrus fruit, good texture and a saline quality suggestive of the limestone bedrock, it feels very composed and at ease.

Domaine Oudin

CHABLIS 2018
Les Serres
100% Chardonnay (12.5% alc.)

This comes from a plateau of limestone above the village of Chichée, next to the 1er cru of Vaucoupins. Cuve aged, it is given an extended élevage on fine lees before bottling after 20 months. More in line with a good 1er cru, it displays an extraordinary depth of fruit, with quite a leesy complexity and good salinity with great length.

Domaine Oudin

CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2018
Vaucoupins
100% Chardonnay (13% alc.)

This comes from one of the best sited of the 1er Crus – on quite a steep southerly facing vineyard planted in fragmented Kimmeridgian limestone, there is literally no visible soil in the Oudin’s vineyard. It comes from 50yo vines, has a gunflint quality on the nose, then ripe citrus fruits with a marked salty, chalky flavour on the palate.

Pattes Loup,
Thomas Pico

CHABLIS 2018
Vent d’Ange
100% Chardonnay (13.5% alc.)

This comes from three parcels (2ha) around Courgis: la Ménarde, les Malantes and Pattes Loup, hence the name of the domaine. The vines are 40yo, issued from a massale selection, and in a full harvest yields average just 43hh (60 permitted). This wine was aged for a minimum of 18 months, two thirds in stainless steel, one third in 7hl cement eggs. Yields were a plentiful 50hh in 2018 with the vines enjoying a warm and dry season and making up for the loss of previous vintages. There's much more depth of fruit in the 2018 which offers ripe grapefruit, hint of apricot and saline minerality on the finish. Total SO2 of 36mg/l.

Pattes Loup,
Thomas Pico

CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2017
Beauregard
100% Chardonnay (12.5% alc.)

Thomas made this 1er Cru from 30yo vines tended organically in Courgis (from one of the highest vineyards in Chablis). Aged in 4-6yo barrels for two years, then cuve for three months, it is more forward in its youth than his Butteaux, offering very attractive redcurrant fruits on the nose, good weight and vinosity and a lingering finish with a mineral vibration. VLQ. For drinking now to 2023+

Pattes Loup,
Thomas Pico

CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2017
Butteaux
100% Chardonnay (13.5% alc.)

Butteaux is a superb left bank 1er Cru at the south-western tip of the 1er Cru Montmains. Thomas does a 'mise tardive' i.e. he matures the wine for an extended period on fine lees – both in tank and neutral barrels (228ltr as well as demi-muids). It was bottled unfined and unfiltered with 19mg/l of total sulphur. Bursting with confit lemon, apricot and honey flavours, on the palate, it's satiny, multidimensional and deep, with stunning energy and cut despite its long élevage, concluding with a long, sapid finish. VLQ. For drinking now to 2025+.

Pattes Loup,
Thomas Pico

CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2018
Les Vaillons
100% Chardonnay (13% alc.)

Pico's Vaillons hails from a tiny quantity of organically farmed old vines, lieu-dit of Séchet, purchased from Gérard Duplessis but picked and vinified by the team at Pattes Loup. Aged for two years, the first in 80% older barrels and 20% cement eggs, before spending a second year in cuve after being assembled. The wine offers up lovely aromas of lemon oil, mandarin and bread dough, followed by a medium to full-bodied palate with notable purity and tension on the finish. Bottled in June 2020 with a total SO2 of 28mg/l. VLQ.

Thierry Richoux

IRANCY 2017
100% Pinot Noir (12.7% alc.)

Young to 70yo vines here, planted on high quality 41B rootstock, with a yield of 38hh in 2017. Hand harvested and destalked 100% with just gentle remontages during the fermentation it was given an 18 month élevage (slightly shorter than usual after losing 90% of their wines due to the frosts in 2016), the first year in cement cuve and then 6 months in a mix of 3–12yo fûts, demi-muids and foudres, with a low sulphur level added only at bottling. Restrained on the nose, it reminds me of a Galician red in style, offering a delicious, zesty red cherry fruit with notable almond and saline notes and is well balanced and light on its feet with fine tannins.

Sylvain Pataille

BOURGOGNE BLANC 2017
Les Méchalots
100% Chardonnay (12.5% alc.)

This comes from a tiny 0.30ha parcel of 7yo vines planted in deep clay soils with many small stones and was transferred into 7-8yo oak barrels halfway through fermentation. Quite Chablisesque on the nose, it has a beautiful lime flower aroma that opens nicely with aeration. The palate is well balanced with crisp acidity, confit lemon and a saline twang on the finish.

Sylvain Pataille

MARSANNAY 2018
100% Chardonnay (13% alc.)

The white Marsannay comes from five parcels of very limestone influenced soil including fruit from newly planted vines in Couchée and shows some reduction on the nose. The palate is more indicative of the wine, displaying a fine thread of acidity, plenty of citrus lemon, lime and minerals, and a precise, lively finish. Once the reduction blows off the nose awakens and displays the qualities of a very fine wine.

Sylvain Pataille

BOURGOGNE BLANC 2017
Le Chapitre
100% Chardonnay (13% alc.)

Bottled as Marsannay from 2019 vintage, Le Chapitre was originally excluded from the AC despite its high-quality site (see profile). The vines (0.3ha) were planted in 1955 in a mix of marl and limestone scree soils, facing east on a very steep slope. The wine has a crisp, pure bouquet of white peach, pear and apple, gaining intensity with aeration. The fresh, focused palate is well balanced with a fine bead of acidity, quite tangy with sour lemon and quince on a lengthy finish. Excellent.

Sylvain Pataille

MARSANNAY ROSÉ 2018
Fleur de Pinot
80% Pinot Noir, 20% Pinot Beurot (13.5% alc.)

Sylvain’s outstanding rosé is made from 50-90yo PN and pinot beurot (the Burgundian strain of pinot gris). The vines are planted in rocky white marls, from limestone-heavy terroirs usually dedicated to white grapes (Charmes aux Prêtres, Champ Forey), helping to confer a texture that is more typical of a white wine. Half comes from a direct press of the grapes and half from a 2-3 days maceration on the skins. Very unusually for a rosé, this benefits from a two years élevage (in older 600 ltr barrels). Savoury nose and then on the palate full of vivid raspberry fruit encased in lovely acidity and minerals with light tannins in evidence. Extremely persistent, suggesting that bottle age will benefit – Sylvain recommends at least two years. For drinking now to 2024.

Sylvain Pataille

MARSANNAY 2019
100% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc.)

Sylvain has 3ha of 50yo vines for his red Marsannay. Aged in a mix of 2 to 10yo barrels plus several old demi-muids. This includes around 25% whole bunches, underpinned by a dark berry and briar bouquet with fine definition. The medium-bodied palate offers mulberry and red plum notes, moderate acidity and meat juices infusing the red fruit on the ample finish.

Sylvain Pataille

BOURGOGNE 2017
Le Chapitre
100% Pinot Noir (13% alc.)

Bottled as Marsannay from 2019 vintage, Le Chapitre was originally excluded from the AC despite its high-quality site (see profile). This is made from 1ha of 25, 40 and 70yo vines. Exhibiting aromas of orange rind, wild berries, plums and dark chocolate, it’s medium to full-bodied, with a muscular chassis of powdery tannin, savouriness and fine concentration. More structured than many of the domaine's Marsannay cuvées, this will really blossom with four or five years in the cellar. For drinking now to 2028.

Sylvain Pataille

MARSANNAY 2018
En Clémengeots
100% Pinot Noir (13% alc.)

Located at the northern border of Couchey, this east-facing site is characterized by shallow 30-40cm clay soils over a plaque of very hard limestone. En Clémengeots comes from 1ha of 40yo vines and Sylvain kept 50% whole bunches. There are lovely ripe raspberries and griotte cherries on the nose, with floral hints of peonies too. The medium-bodied palate, layered and succulent, offers fine weight as well as grip and a tang of spice toward the lively finish. For drinking now to 2030.

Sylvain Pataille

MARSANNAY 2018
Clos du Roy
100% Pinot Noir (13% alc.)

Arguably the best terroir of the appellation, the east-facing Clos du Roy is one of the contenders for the 1er Cru classification to come. 2ha of mostly 60yo vines (2/3) on stony marls, it contains 90% whole bunches and was given a 18 months élevage. You cannot detect a single stem on the fulsome, generous bouquet of red cherries mixed with strawberry and raspberry. The fresh, vibrant palate is medium bodied with supple tannins, a fine bead of acidity and one of the most precise finishes among Pataille’s reds. Classy, and always the wine at this address that will benefit from the most bottle age. For drinking now to 2032.

Thierry Mortet

BOURGOGNE ROUGE 2018
Les Charmes de Daix
100% Pinot Noir (13% alc.)

Aged for 14 months in old oak and a few months in cuve, this is a working man’s Gevrey-Chambertin – from vines of the same village, displaying much of the same quality and breed of its illustrious neighbour. Silky soft and perfumed, this is what good Burgundy is all about.

Thierry Mortet

GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN 2015
100% Pinot Noir (13% alc.)

Thierry has six hectares of vines in some of Gevrey-Chambertin’s prime sites. This is really fine pinot noir, totally destemmed and punched down twice a day, it has a wonderfully pure definition of strawberry pinot fruit with that typical hint of game and touch of oak to add to its complexity. The 2015 vintage brings extra structure, length and ageing potential. For drinking now to 2025.

Thierry Mortet

GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN 2017
Vigne Belle
100% Pinot Noir (13% alc.)

Thierry owns 0.7ha in this very well-placed lieu-dit, alongside (east) the 1er cru of Petite Chapelle, renowned for providing the most feminine and elegant of the Gevrey 1er crus. Thierry’s Vigne Belle, from 30yo vines, is of a similar style, with enchanting pinot aromas, a depth of red fruits and flowers, real finesse and silky tannins. For drinking now to 2030.

Cécile Tremblay

BOURGOGNE 2017
La Fontaine
100% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc.)

It’s great to be able to welcome a new wine from Cécile, especially when it is such good value for money. Cécile purchased organically farmed grapes from the Domaine de la Cras in Dijon to make this wine (aged as all her wines in recent Chassin barrels) which is medium bodied, charming, open-knit and bursting with aromas and flavours of juicy cherries and strawberries with a floral note. While the grapes may be purchased, the wine's textural charm is quintessentially Tremblay.

Cécile Tremblay

MOREY-SAINT-DENIS 2017
Très Girard
100% Pinot Noir (13% alc.)

This comes from a half hectare of 40-45yo vines situated just below the 1er Cru of Clos des Sorbets. The vines are sited on an easterly facing 25° slope to the west of the main road (where all the best village sites are found). It was 70% destalked and aged in 20% new oak Chassin barrels, and it has a most attractive red fruits nose, perfect weight of ripe, velvety red and black fruits with a spicy hint, typical Morey backbone, fine tannins and a touch of salinity derived from limestone on the finish. For drinking now to 2027.

Cécile Tremblay

VOSNE-ROMANÉE 2017
Vieilles Vignes
100% Pinot Noir (13% alc.)

This comes from a 0.53ha parcel of vines in Jacquines (50yo) and also Aux Communes (40yo). 75% destalked and aged in 30% new oak this wine is a bright dark red colour, seems particularly harmonious in this year and has spicy, red cherry-mulberry fruits with good depth, lovely balance and tension. The tannins are extremely fine, and there is real lift on the long finish. Old vines give the wine its complexity and character. Always the last wine to finish its malos. For drinking now to 2027.

Cécile Tremblay

CHAMBOLLE-MUSIGNY 1ER CRU 2017
Les Feusselottes
100% Pinot Noir (13% alc.)

Cécile’s small holding (0.45ha) of 50yo vines lie on the upper slope of this 1er cru just to the east of the village. There is little soil here and the vines are very close to the limestone rock. Destalked 60% and aged for a year in 30% new oak before racking and transfer to stainless steel cuve for four months prior to bottling in March. It has a slightly reserved nose that quickly opens up giving crushed, fresh red cherries and strawberries, spice, beautiful weight of vibrant, refined fruit has both delicacy and intensity with a supple teasing quality on the palate with real depth and length on the finish. For drinking from 2022 to 2030.

Cécile Tremblay

ÉCHEZEAUX GRAND CRU 2017
Du Dessus
100% Pinot Noir (13% alc.)

In the 1936 Grand Cru delimitation, Échezeaux grand cru extended only to the 3.57ha of Échezeaux du Dessus. Échezeaux now has 11 climats extending to 37.69ha. The vineyards of Échezeaux du Dessus unquestionably produce wine of the finest grand cru pedigree. Cécile produced three barrels from 45yo vines, and like in 2015 and 2016 decided to destalk 100% for the fermentation – it easily has sufficient matter not to need the support of stalks. Interestingly Cécile explained that Échezeaux is a very sensitive wine to any kind of movement, shutting down quickly, and even in bottle this is apparent – so when you do get round to drinking it, bring it up from your cellars a day or two in advance! The wine has a hauntingly beautiful perfume, quite spicy with hints of liquorice, soy, anise, and a distinct note of wild rose. On the palate, the wine has a spicy cherry and cranberry fruit, real depth and an elegant silky mouthfeel with very clear cut and salinity on the long finish. For drinking from 2026 to 2036.

Cécile Tremblay

CHAPELLE-CHAMBERTIN GRAND CRU 2017
100% Pinot Noir (13% alc.)

This comes from a prized holding of 80yo vines (0.36ha) in a deep red, iron-imbued soil on a 15° slope just to the south of Gevrey-Chambertin. Cécile's vines are in the lieu-dit Les Gémeaux, next to the holdings of Domaine Claude Dugat. There are approximately 30cm of well-drained soil with many small pebbles lying over a limestone rock base. Made with 80% whole bunches and aged entirely in new oak, the quality of the juice here is magnificent and the wine spent an additional 4-5 months in barrel before bottling in May. Combining both elegance and depth of fruit with more of a sense of minerality with impressive body and incredible length on the palate, this is grand vin and will age effortlessly. For drinking 2025 to 2037.

Amiot-Servelle

BOURGOGNE 2017
100% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc.)

This comes from 1.5ha near the RN74 east of Chambolle-Musigny. Using just 10% new oak (with the balance up to 4yo), this wine has a nose of earthy, dark berry fruit and a silky quality on the palate. Serious wine at this level.

Amiot-Servelle

MOREY-SAINT-DENIS 2016
100% Pinot Noir (13% alc.)

This very good value cuvée comes from 0.46 ha of vines averaging 45yo in the lieux-dits of Clos Solon and Les Bras (one to the west and one to the east of the D974) where the soils are red and pebbly with a limestone base. It offers a crisp blackberry and raspberry-scented bouquet with light undergrowth/tobacco aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with a gentle grip on the attack. For drinking 2020 to 2026.

Amiot-Servelle

CHAMBOLLE-MUSIGNY 2015
100% Pinot Noir (13.5% alc.)

This wine comes from eight parcels of vines around the village ranging from 15-70yo. It offers very clear-cut red fruit flavours, a refreshing acidity, a notable mineral influence and finishes ripe with good tannins. For drinking now to 2025.

Amiot-Servelle

CHAMBOLLE-MUSIGNY 1ER CRU 2014
Les Charmes
100% Pinot Noir (13% alc.)

A clear, mid-red colour shows a gentle touch with extraction. The vines here are 30-40yo. The wine has an extra depth and complexity, intense red fruit flavours, and is stylishly fashioned with real allure. For drinking now to 2030.

Amiot-Servelle

CHAMBOLLE-MUSIGNY 1ER CRU 2015
Derrière la Grange
100% Pinot Noir (13% alc.)

From vines planted in 1934 and sited just below the village towards Morey-St-Denis in a slightly deeper soil than Charmes. Amiot-Servelle is one of two proprietors with 0.36 ha of vines in this tiny 1er Cru which totals just 0.47 ha. As expected, this is a complex wine, quite reserved on the nose, with the structure, grip and concentration (35% whole bunches) from old vines evident on the palate. The fruit has black notes, is dense and has more weight and resonance than Les Charmes. Needs at least six years from vintage and will age for up to 15 years. For drinking 2021 to 2030.

Amiot-Servelle

CHARMES-CHAMBERTIN GRAND CRU 2016
100% Pinot Noir (13% alc.)

This comes from 0.19 ha of 60-70yo vines in the upper part of the appellation that can also be called Mazoyères, where the limestone outcrops in places and there is a very thin, red coloured soil, imbued with iron. Always very black fruited on the nose with a note of herbal tea, it has a lot of density thanks to a tiny cluster of grapes from old vines. A seductive texture with caressing mid-weight flavours, the grippy tannins are ripe and well-coated (10% whole bunches used) presaging a long future. Will easily last for 20 years. For drinking 2024 to 2036.

Amiot-Servelle

CHAMBOLLE-MUSIGNY 1ER CRU 2016
Les Amoureuses
100% Pinot Noir (13% alc.)

The 0.45 ha of vines here are planted in the highest part of this famous vineyard (two-thirds are from the 1950s and one third from 1996) in a thin, stony, limestone-heavy soil. Just two barrels produced in 2016 – for their top wines A-S use barrels where the oak has been seasoned for four years before use (a year longer than their other wines). This is a sensational wine, at the level of a fine grand cru, with an outstanding texture and energy, intense black cherry and blueberry fruits, notable spice, real depth of flavour and length, a mineral backbone and very fine tannins (10% whole bunches). It needs more than seven years from vintage date and will last for twenty. For drinking 2024 to 2036.

Amiot-Servelle

CLOS-SAINT-DENIS GRAND CRU 2016
100% Pinot Noir (13% alc.)

The 0.17 ha of vines here (planted pre-phylloxera at an eye-opening 28,800 vines per hectare!) is located in the heart of the appellation on quite a steep, east-facing slope, in a marl dominant soil. Made with 20% whole bunches, there is a spicy, floral nose with layers of blackberry and raspberry fruit, and on the palate, it has mineral-inflected fruit with class, density, restraint and energy. Elegant and structured this is an exceptional wine. Needs 8 years and will last for 25. For drinking 2024 to 2036.

Château La Grave Singalier

BORDEAUX SUPÉRIEUR 2018
75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon (13.5% alc.)

From vineyards on the banks of the River Garonne, this wine misses out on the Graves appellation by only 200 metres. Soft and fruity with an attractive cedary fragrance.

Clos 19 Bis

VIN DE FRANCE 2017
70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc (12.5% alc.)

Usually Vincent Quirac produces one red and a Sauternes from his immaculately tended 2 ha of vines. Back in 2015 (and again in 2018) he also produced a second young vine red, but the quantities were too low in 2017, after the crop was ravaged by a late frost. His sole red in 2017 comes from vines averaging more than 50yo in a limestone-clay soil in Ilats in the Graves appellation and is certified organic by Ecocert. Cuve aged, this wine feels very close to the grapes, with fresh fruit and a hint of liquorice and bay leaf on the nose, a brilliant play of fruit on the palate and notable salinity on the finish. Very low total sulphur level of 25mg/l. Best carafed.

Clos 19 Bis

SAUTERNES 2016
90% Sémillon, 5% Muscadelle, 5% Sauvignon (12% alc, 133g/l of rs)

Vincent came across a tiny 0.30ha of ancient vines in Sauternes when the owner, an older lady, approached him. She asked if he’d look after her vines, the condition was that he let her have two bottles of the finished wine, he gave her 24! The botrytised must is vinified and aged in 1-2yo barrels, the nose is expressive while the palate is textural, and the finish is long with spices and poached pears aromas.

Rousset-Peyraguey

L’AITHER 2010
SIGP
80% Sémillon, 15% Sauvignon, 5% Muscadelle (12.5% alc, 220g/l of rs)

Aged for 2.5 years in a mix of 100yo acacia barrels (which help to preserve acidity) and oak, protected by natural volcanic sulphur, this wine comes from minute yields of 6hh from a parcel closest to Yquem where there is a sandy topsoil and blue clay and cobalt beneath. It has floral and spicy bread aromas and the fruit is notable for fresh quince. Unfined and unfiltered.

Rousset-Peyraguey

EPLASEN 2008
Sauternes
90% Sémillon, 5% Sauvignon, 5% Muscadelle (13.9% alc, 190g/l of rs)

Eplasen comes from biodynamically tended old vines yielding around 4hh and after a year fermenting in cuve it was then aged for eight years in a mix of oak and acacia barrels. Very complex stewed orange and spices on the palate, it is rich and sumptuous and yet as ever with Rousset-P wines there is a vein of acidity that keeps everything in balance. Unfined and unfiltered. For drinking now to 2028.

Rousset-Peyraguey

CRÈME DE TÊTE 2011
SIGP
90% Sémillon, 5% Sauvignon, 5% Muscadelle (13% alc, 210g/l of rs)

From the 2010 vintage onwards Alain gave up his long running battle with the AOC authorities who for the previous 15 years had never wanted to grant his wines the AOC right (Alain had won every single battle in court but it was becoming wearing), and so from now on all his wines are designated IGP (with Alain cheekily adding an S for…). Crème de Tête wines are only made in top vintages and the 2011 was aged for 6.5 years in old oak and acacia barrels. Amber orange in colour, it has a sumptuously rich depth of orange and citrus fruits with hazelnuts and a little spice on the finish. Very harmonious with a superb play on the palate lifted by acidity. Like all of the Rousset-P wines elemental volcanic sulphur is used for protection, at less than half the levels used by many Sauternes châteaux. For drinking now to 2030+.

Château Dauphiné-Rondillon

LOUPIAC 2009
Cuvée d’Or
75% Sémillon, 25% Sauvignon (13.5% alc, 160.7g/l of rs)

Loupiac is an appellation on steep gravelly banks of the right bank of the Garonne, opposite Sauternes. This is the château’s top cuvée from 70yo sémillon and 20yo sauvignon. It has a rich gold colour, intense fruit on the nose and fine concentration on the palate – nuts, honey, marmalade and a touch of vanilla, with excellent relief and balance.

Château du Champ des Treilles

BORDEAUX 2019
Vin Passion
34% Sémillon, 33% Muscadelle, 33% Sauvignon (13.5% alc.)

Corinne is fortunate to have 3ha of 60yo white grape varieties. The vines are located atop a hill and the soil is full of flint. Fermentation rumbles on gently over a couple of months (malolactic fermentation is allowed) in a mix of cuve and cement eggs. A very elegant wine of real finesse, with a relatively high proportion of muscadelle playing its part, providing gentle, floral aromas and flavours. As it ages it takes on delicious apricot, honey and hay notes.

Château du Champ des Treilles

BORDEAUX 2019
Le Petit Champ
50% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Franc, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot (14% alc.)

Corinne captures the essence of the biodynamic fruit in her first cuvée of red by delicate extraction ("the only extraction is done on the vine!") and cuve ageing. The fruit is ripe, natural, with dark cherry, fruits of the forest and hints of spice and dark chocolate. It has a lovely play on the palate with great freshness and has very finely tuned, ripe tannins on the finish.

Château du Champ des Treilles

BORDEAUX 2016
Grand Vin
60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot (14.5% alc.)

Champ Des Treilles’ top wine comes from 60yo vines and has been aged for 16 months in 1yo barrels from Pontet-Canet before bottling without fining or filtration. Very luscious, ripe black fruits here with a touch of liquorice and vanilla, and fine, well integrated tannins. For drinking now to 2026.

Les Trois Petiotes

CÔTES-DE-BOURG 2015
50% Merlot, 35% Malbec, 15% Cabernet Franc (12.5% alc.)

A very unique blend in Bordeaux at present (with so much malbec), this is a beautiful, hand-crafted wine made biodynamically from just 3ha of vines. Aged in 1-3yo barrels it has been very sensitively and gently extracted, giving on the nose a wine with blackcurrants, violet, menthol and cooked prunes. It is ripe but supple and very silky on the palate, with perfect acidity and long finish with a lot of freshness. Valérie uses minute levels of sulphur (13mg/l) and this helps to give the wine a very vibrant and digeste quality.

Château Canon Saint-Michel

CANON-FRONSAC 2015
70% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 10% Malbec (13.5% alc.)

4ha of 45yo vines worked biodynamically give this exceptional and very good value wine. Aged for one year in larger foudres as well as barrels, followed by a year in cement, this patient approach gives a pure fruited harmonious wine, that is already starting to show very well with good depth to its black cherry fruit with a hint of almond (like a clafoutis), finegrained tannins and an attractive salinity on the finish. Low sulphur. For drinking now to 2025.

Château Haut-Segottes

SAINT-ÉMILION GRAND CRU 2014
60% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon (13% alc.)

This comes from superbly situated vineyards on the plateau of Figeac and Cheval Blanc, still tended personally by the devoted Madame Meunier. It’s a wine with a great heart of concentrated healthy fruit and savoury tannins.

Château La Grave Figeac

SAINT-ÉMILION GRAND CRU 2015
65% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc (13% alc.)

Surrounded by the châteaux of Cheval Blanc, Figeac and La Conseillante in Pomerol, this 6.5ha estate on sandy, gravelly soil is a jewel, and well up to most Cru Classé estates in quality. One hectare of the cabernet franc vines is 100yo which definitely plays its part as surely does organic viticulture. Sensitively aged in one third each of new oak, one year old barrels and cuve, yields around 35hh are very low for the appellation. The 2015 is showing well now although it will age perfectly; it is very harmonious, feeling composed and classy with a touch of menthol and spiced plum fruit, an old vine feel to the deep structure. For drinking now to 2035+.

Château La Grave Figeac

SAINT-ÉMILION GRAND CRU 2015
L’Essai
90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc (13% alc.)

Laurent’s first ever wine made without sulphur – rugby fans will love the label designed by a well-known cartoonist working for the satirical newspaper le Canard Enchaîné. There is more merlot used in this cuvée which comes from sandier parcels than the main cuvée. Aged in cement cuves for 16 months, it has a crystalline purity to the fruit, with plums and red berries and a floral hint, with silky tannins and salty mineral quality on the finish. Laurent advises that it is best decanted for a couple of hours. For drinking now to 2023.

Château Moulin de Lagnet

SAINT-ÉMILION 2019
80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon (14.5% alc.)

Made from young to 35yo vines tended organically in sandy clay soil around the estate in St-Christophe-des-Bardes. The grapes are meticulously sorted so that only healthy grapes go into the vat, helping to reduce the required level of sulphur. Cuve aged in stainless steel, it is medium-bodied, with classic hints of eucalyptus and mint on the nose and intense red fruit and saline flavours.

Château Thibeaud-Maillet

POMEROL 2015
90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc (14% alc.)

Thibeaud-Maillet is a real jewel. A tiny 1.7 ha estate, the 30-50yo vines are planted in a sandy, gravelly alluvial soil, which overlies clay. The wines from this estate have a subtle, teasing, complex fruit with a silky delivery on the palate. For drinking now to 2030+.

Château Beynat

CASTILLON-CÔTES-DE-BORDEAUX 2018
70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc (14% alc.)

This wine comes from 25yo vines in the west of the appellation on the south facing limestone-clay hillsides of St-Magne-de-Castillon. Organically certified and vinified with indigenous yeasts, it has been aged in cement for 15 months and has a clear, attractive not over extracted mid-red colour. The nose is clearly printed by saline notes from limestone, and the palate offers a delicious raspberry fruit, with a little spice and hint of cinnamon.

Château Cru Godard

FRANCS-CÔTES-DE-BORDEAUX 2018
65% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec (14.5% alc.)

This wine comes from low yielding, organically tended vines on a south facing limestone hillside, and we love the fact that the independently minded owner Franck Richard does everything according to his own feel and doesn’t lean on an oenologist. Aged half in cuve and half in 3-5yo barrels it has ripe fruit (low sulphur), nicely cosseted by a refreshing saline quality emanating from limestone.

Domaine de Perreau

MONTRAVEL SEC 2019
60% Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris, 40% Sémillon (13% alc.)

Montravel is a tiny area in the hills north of the Dordogne providing Bergerac’s finest whites. An interesting blend – sauvignon provides a tangy fruit, but the addition of sémillon gives an extra structure with a dash of honey on the palate. Excellent value for money.

Le Jonc Blanc

FRUIT 2018
Vin de France
50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 10% Malbec (14% alc.)

Franck Pascal pulled out of the Bergerac appellation in 2012 as his rich, natural, unfined and unfiltered wine had little in common with most of the wines from this appellation. His wine spends two winters in the cellars for natural stabilization before bottling. Black and red fruit gradually emerge on the nose, with deep structured fruit on the palate that is held firm by the wine’s chalky minerality backed by delicate tannins. No added sulphur.

Le Jonc Blanc

ANTI-GEL 2016
Vin de France
60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc (12.5% alc.)

After the catastrophic late frosts of 27th April 2017 destroyed 100% of his potential production of red wine, Franck was quick off the mark to buy this organically certified red wine from the limestone hillsides of Saussignac to help his business survive. It has a similar feel to the wine above, although is lighter on its feet and not quite so structured. It has attractive plum fruit cosseted by the impact of limestone and is unfiltered with just a low dose of sulphur at bottling.

Domaine de La Bérangeraie

CAHORS 2016
Cuvée Juline
90% Malbec, 10% Merlot (14% alc.)

The soil here, siderolithique (clay and sandstone with a high iron content) is specific only to Cahors. An elegant approachable wine, it has a deep raspberry colour, a mix of blueberry, cassis, liquorice and menthol hints on the nose and palate, nice weight and fine silky tannins on the finish.

Domaine de La Bérangeraie

CAHORS 2016
Cuvée Maurin
100% Malbec (15% alc.)

The vines for Maurin are again planted in siderolithique soil (clay and sandstone with a high iron content). Exceptional wine made from 100% pure malbec, this has a much deeper, almost black cherry colour. Given a longer cuvaison than the Cuvée Juline, it has more structure and a different aromatic profile – slightly tobaccoey, with fruit more redolent of figs/prunes and a touch of menthol and spice on the finish.

Domaine de La Bérangeraie

CAHORS 2014
Les Quatre Chambrées
100% Malbec (14% alc.)

This is Bérangeraie’s top unoaked wine and comes from a due south-facing hillside where the soil is a deeply weathered limestone imbued with iron deposits. Yields are 15% lower than the Maurin at 28hh and the temperature of fermentation is never allowed to exceed a low 25°C (above which point harsher more unstable elements are extracted). It has bigger, riper fruit again than the Maurin, with notable menthol, liquorice, limestone and iron notes and tremendous depth.

Domaine de La Bérangeraie

CAHORS 2014
La Nuit des Rossignols
100% Malbec (13.5% alc.)

This comes from a cooler north facing limestone hillside and was aged for 12 months in 1yo barrels. It has a bright blackcurrant colour, has happily integrated the oak, and has dark, fresh prune and fig flavours, balanced by perfect acidity. For drinking now to 2024.

Domaine de La Bérangeraie

CAHORS 2015
La Gorgée de Mathis Bacchus
100% Malbec (14% alc.)

Bérangeraie’s top cuvée, Mathis Bacchus comes from 35yo vines planted in Jurassic limestones and marls on the hillsides of Floressas. Vinified in cuve, it was then transferred to new oak barrels for malolactic fermentation and bottled after fining but no filtration after a three years élevage. The oak is very well integrated, and the wine shows intriguing malbec character of mocha, eucalyptus, bay leaves and cloves. For drinking now to 2030+.

Parlange & Illouz

CAJOLLE 2019
Vin de France
100% Jurançon Noir (12% alc.)

Jurançon noir is native to the area and is a natural cross between folle blanche and côt (malbec). It makes for light wines, low in alcohol and colour, and was historically the favourite variety for everyday drinking. Jérémie vinifies the ‘gamay of Cahors’ by semi-carbonic with five days of maceration, ages in stainless steel and bottles in the spring without SO2. Thirst-quencher par excellence, this is lifted with a lovely spicy fruit. Pure joy in a bottle that surely will inspire more plantings!

Parlange & Illouz

PRINZET 2017
Vin de France
50% Malbec, 25% Valdiguié, 25% Jurançon Noir (12.5% alc.)

Jurançon noir (see description Cajolle) and Valdiguié (related to malbec) come from a 0.8ha plot on iron-rich siderolithic. The 70yo vines are affected by court-noué (fanleaf degeneration) however this yields qualitative low alcohol, high-acid grapes at 15hh only. The malbec comes from a different parcel planted on limestone. The three varieties co-ferment with their stems for 10 days before pressing, age in 5-10yo barriques bordelaises for 12 months followed by six months in cuve, no SO2 added at bottling. Bright cherry colour in the glass, lovely scents of black fruits and fresh peppercorn, a harmonious mouthfeel perfectly pitched and close to the grapes, this is a characterful wine with refreshing tannins and a moreish finish. For drinking now to 2023.

Parlange & Illouz

LA PIÈCE 2018
Vin de France
85% Malbec, 15% Merlot (13% alc.)

Different plots of malbec and one of merlot, all on late Jurassic limestone soils. Whole-bunch fermentation with light extraction during eight days of cuvaison, 12 months ageing half in tank and half in old 225ltr barrels, 1g/hl SO2 ‘à la mise’ (less than 30mg/l total). Juicy, dense and refreshing this is a proof that Cahors can be approachable young. Extremely drinkable despite its concentrated fruit, it has lovely flavours of wild blackberry, liquorice and viola flower. Combining pleasure and sense of place, this bottling showcases Jérémie’s savoir-faire and fine touch. For drinking now to 2023.

Parlange & Illouz

HAUTE PIÈCE 2017
Vin de France
100% Malbec (12.5% alc.)

This cuvée comes from the oldest vines of malbec at the domaine (50yo), two distinct parcels on siderolithic soil. This acidic and manganese-rich terroir comes from the erosion of the nearby Massif Central. Extremely high quality it adds umami, salinity and verticality to the wines and brings an enticing savoury element. Whole-cluster fermentation of 12 days before pressing, 12-months élevage in 225ltr barrels bought from Guillaume Thienpont at Vieux Château Certan followed by another six months in stainless steel. No SO2 added. Intense, powerful as well as refined and nuanced this wine has an expansive mouthfeel - textural and structured with loads of polished tannins. Complex aromatics of dark cocoa, freshly ground coffee, juicy Mediterranean tomatoes, peonies and marshmallows are enhanced by a lengthy, irony and almost meaty finish triggering endless salivation. A stunning effort. For drinking now to 2030.

Domaine Laurens

MARCILLAC 2017
Pierres Rouges
100% Fer Servadou (12.5% alc.)

Marcillac comes from terraced hillside vineyards with extraordinary deep red soil, rich in iron oxide. Medical studies have indicated that Marcillac is particularly good for the heart as it lowers cholesterol. It is a very supple, lighter structured wine, with raspberry, blackberry fruit and iron on the finish. An especially versatile food wine.

Labranche-Laffont

MADIRAN 2017
70% Tannat, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc (14% alc.)

Two thirds of Christine Dupuy’s 45yo vineyards produce this cuve-aged wine whose dense ripe black fruit puts us in mind of good northern Spanish reds. Low yields, optimum maturity for grape picking, a gentle touch when it comes to extraction, low sulphur after malos (35mg/l total), and a three years élevage help to give the wine notable freshness and balance.

Labranche-Laffont

MADIRAN 2015
Vieilles Vignes
100% Tannat (14.5% alc.)

Old vines here are an average age of 50yo (with one small parcel of pre-phylloxera vines over 140yo). The vines are pruned hard to ensure a low yield. Light pigeage is applied during the fermentation in cement cuve before one year in oak barrels (25% new). The wine has a deep blackcurrant colour, offers ripe cassis and liquorice on the nose, intense fruit with a hint of spice on the palate, and a long, sustained finish. For drinking now to 2030.

Maison Lalanne

CÔTES DE GASCOGNE IGP 2018
40% Gros Manseng, 30% Ugni Blanc, 15% Colombard, 15% Sauvignon (11.5% alc.)

France’s best value white IGP, with vibrant refreshing fruit and the added bonus of low alcohol.

UGO

SUR LE FIL 2016
Vin de France
70% Petit Manseng, 30% Gros Manseng (14.5% alc.)

Petit and gros manseng are harvested from the end of October to early November. The resulting grapes, passerillés by the foehn winds, are vinified bone-dry thanks to Pierre’s unique technique (see profile). This wine was aged in old 400ltr oak barrels for two years and bottled without any sulphur. Made from juice that usually produces ‘moelleux’, it has a similar complex and expressive nose of candied quince, ripe apricot and tropical fruits with cinnamon and dried vanilla pod. The powerful and multi-layered mouthfeel is perfectly balanced by salivating bitters, zesty acids and a lengthy minerality. Sur Le Fil is a sommelier’s favorite thanks to its versatility with food, from spiced seafood to game birds, it is also a stunner with grilled foie gras! For drinking now to 2028.

UGO

SANS VOILE 2015
Vin de France
70% Petit Manseng, 30% Gros Manseng (14.5% alc.)

As with Sur Le Fil, the grapes are harvested passerillées and directly pressed (over five hours) into concrete tanks, the juice is then transferred to barrels by gravity for a ‘turbocharged’ fermentation (see profile). The twist for this cuvée occurs during élevage. Following a year in 400ltr barrels the wine moves into an open stainless steel vat for oxidative ageing without any flor (sans voile). Françoise and Pierre regularly taste, when they find too much oxidation (usually after three to five weeks) the cuve is sealed off with a floating cap. They noticed that suddenly going towards reduction allows the wine to naturally re-adjust and find the perfect balance between fruit and (controlled) oxidation. Alive and constantly evolving in one’s glass this is a mesmerizing wine, ripe fruits and sweet spices are in perfect harmony with rancio-like flavours and complex nutty aromas, a hint towards the finest palo cortados. This is a stunning effort, a wine which makes the drinker think and reflect. It also allows for countless food matchings, holding particularly well against spicy dishes. For drinking now to 2030.

DOMAINE GUIRARDEL

JURANÇON 2012
Marrote
100% Petit Manseng (14% alc, 60g/l of rs)

Marrote is a single plot of 1.2 ha of petit manseng deeply rooted into the vein of poudingues (puddingstone) that goes through the estate. Charged with minerals this is an extremely qualitative soil/terroir carried here by an ancient glacier – rocks, pebbles and sand were rolled and compacted over huge distances. Intensity and salinity characterized the grapes harvested on 30th October at a yield of 17hh. A more classical vinification here with fermentation and ageing in 400ltr barriques for 10 months, followed by stainless steel till bottling in May 2014. The total sulphur has completely combined thanks to the many years of bottle ageing. This is a ‘grand vin de terroir’ which integrates salt, bitters, sugar and umami perfectly: a dynamic mouth with nuanced, complex and lifted flavours; all sustained by a combination of acidity, minerality and saltiness; moreish salivation and lengthy finish almost recreate the wine once sipped – all the fame and history of Jurançon encapsulated in a bottle! 2300 bottles produced. For drinking now to 2040.

Domaine Montesquiou

JURANÇON SEC 2018
Cuvade Preciouse
60% Gros Manseng, 30% Petit Manseng, 10% Petit Courbu (14% alc.)

This is Montesquiou’s top cuvée from very low yielding 40yo vines. Sensitively aged in new to 5yo barrels, the wine’s intense, exotic fruit is nicely tethered by a characteristic, refreshing acidity.

Clos Thou

JURANÇON 2018
100% Petit Manseng (13.5% alc, 95g/l of rs)

This is Clos Thou’s top wine and only 1,500 bottles of this exceptional sweet wine are made every year. Produced from minute yields of late-picked grapes that are left to shrivel on the vine (passerillage) until early December, when the snows are falling in the nearby Pyrénées. It is an intense, exotically fruited white with a cut of acidity so often lacking in other sweet wines.

Domaine Rotier

GAILLAC VENDANGES TARDIVES 2016
Renaissance
100% Loin de l’oeil (12% alc, 155g/l of rs)

This wine is made from tiny yields of grapes concentrated by pourriture noble. It is a rich complex wine with pears and apples coming through very clearly on both the nose and palate. This wine would be the perfect match for foie gras or go equally well with chocolate-based desserts or blue cheese.

Bodegas Albamar

RÍAS BAIXAS 2020
100% Albariño (13% alc.)

This is made by Xurxo Alba, one of the most talented young winemakers in the region, well respected by fellow leading winemakers, who positively fizzes with energy and ideas. The vines come from many different plots, planted in sandy, granitic soils close to the Atlantic (in places 25m away) and his main production is of this delicious wine, one of the very few albariño in the region to be made via natural, indigenous yeasts. 95% cuve aged, and pressed from whole clusters, Xurxo didn’t let the wine go through malolactic to preserve acidity. He’s always looking for transparency, acidity and freshness, and this wine mixes a delicious mineral vibration with a dense core of fruit with a marked salinity on the finish.

Bodegas Albamar

RÍAS BAIXAS 2017
Sesenta e Nove Arrobas
100% Albariño (13% alc.)

Xurxo has produced just 1,000ltr of this brilliant wine (equivalent to 69 arrobas, an old unit of measure), Luis Gutierrez’s top-rated Rías Baixas albariño for the last two years. Made from five parcels of vines from 50yo to over 100yo, it was cuve aged for over a year on the fine lees and bottled with no filtration and lower sulphur. Subtle and rather discrete on the nose, it explodes into action on the palate, with stewed lemons and apricots, mango, passion fruit, a saline and iodine mineral core, all beautifully relieved by acidity. It’s worth adding that carafeing this wine works very well. For drinking now to 2024.

Bodegas Albamar

RÍAS BAIXAS 2019
Alma de Mar
100% Albariño (13.5% alc.)

One of Xurxo’s top single-vineyard bottlings, this comes from 40yo vines in the Salnés area planted right next to the ocean in a sandy clay weathered out from granite. Aged on the fine lees in stainless steel tanks with a little batonnage, malos completed and lower sulphur levels, this is an exceptional wine. Beautifully balanced, the nose is very perfumed, the flavours are deep and resonant, and the texture shows the impact of lees ageing. Quite austere at the outset with a print of granitic mineral flavour, this wine will age well. For drinking now to 2025.

Bodegas Albamar

RÍAS BAIXAS 2018
Pepe Luis
100% Albariño (13% alc.)

From old vines very close to the Atlantic owned by Xuxo's grandfather. Low-yielded vines on sandy granitic soils, directly pressed and fermented in stainless steel tanks. The resulting wine is aged in French 350ltr barrels for a year on fine lees for extra texture. The élevage is well-judged and integrated, with the wine beautifully retaining all its Atlantic character. Sapid, mineral and textural this is terroir-driven Rías Baixas at its best. A limited and sought-after production that will age well. For drinking now to 2025.

Bodegas Albamar

RÍAS BAIXAS 2016
O Esteiro
34% Caiño, 33% Espadeiro, 33% Mencía (11.5% alc.)

Sourced from a multitude of miniscule plots of old vines (totalling about 0.5ha) on the typically sandy, granitic soils of the region, the whole bunches of grapes here were foot trodden in an open vat before transfer to old 228ltr barrels for a year and bottling unfined and unfiltered. All three of Xurxo’s reds are made the same way, they have low alcohol levels and pale red colours more akin to Jura reds but will startle with the energetic freshness and purity of their fruit. Here for example you’ll find a wine with a shade more colour than the caiño below, with a slightly riper mouthfeel, darker fruits and an irony quality from the mencía, a touch of balsamic and spice plus herbal twist on the mineral finish. Like poulsard, Galician reds are incredibly versatile food-wise.

Bodegas Albamar

RÍAS BAIXAS 2018
Capitan Xurelo
34% Caiño, 33% Espadeiro, 33% Mencía (10.5% alc.)

A new red blend first produced in 2015, Xurxo pulls together this wine from the barrels that have the most attractive, forward fruit otherwise destined for the more structured O Esteiro red. The name derives from all his mates calling Xurxo ‘Capitan’, and Xurelo is the diminutive of Xurxo. It’s normally sold only to friends and a couple of local restaurants but we persuaded him to sell us a few cases. It's supple and easy to drink with spicy, tangy fruit. 2,000 bottles produced.

Bodegas Albamar

RÍAS BAIXAS 2016
O Esteiro Caiño
100% Caiño (11.5% alc.)

There are less than 1% of red grape vineyards in Rías Baixas and just two barrels were made from very old vines (even Xurxo’s grandmother could not recall their age!) of caiño da terra, longo and redondo. A light raspberry juice in colour, it shows sour cherries on the nose, following through on the palate with redcurrants, cranberries and black pepper. A subtle wine with low alcohol and silky fine tannins on the mineral infused finish. You won’t find many reds around the world that go better with shellfish (e.g. fresh crab) and fish with stronger flavoured veg or sauces.

Bodegas Albamar

RÍAS BAIXAS 2016
O Esteiro Espadeiro
100% Espadeiro (11.5% alc.)

And finally, we arrive with the rarest of all red grapes planted in Galicia (apparently also known as Camaraou Noir in Jurançon and Béarn where it has almost disappeared), and Xurxo has produced just one barrel of 300bts from ancient vines. This wine has an exquisite delicate red colour, red berry perfume that puts you more in mind of pinot noir, and is juicy, fresh and vivid with balsamic notes, an attractive spice and grainy edge.

Emilio Rojo

RIBEIRO 2016
70% Treixadura, 10% Loureiro, 10% Albariño, 5% Godello, 5% Lado (13% alc.)

Emilio planted his 1.2ha of 30yo vines on a steep, east facing terraced hillside (supported by walls) at 300m altitude, in an isolated spot surrounded by oak and chestnut trees above an ancient rural settlement abandoned 40 years ago. Here the soil is a sandy, decomposed granite called sábrego from which Emilio fashions just 5,000bts of one wine (at 30hh), which has become one of Spain’s most soughtafter whites. Aged in cuve on the fine lees for 18 months before bottling by hand with no filtration, this is a profound wine, tightly wound with an electric freshness, that is much more about a mineral character than fruit, with a hint of herb and balsamic note, and marked salinity. It ideally needs a few years in bottle or opening well in advance and given plenty of air, and even then, constantly changes and amazes in the glass. VLQ. For drinking now to 2026.

Augalevada

MERCENARIO BLANCO 2019
50% Treixadura, 25% Albariño, 25% Palomino, Caíño Branco, Torrontés, Lado (12% alc.)

The wines labelled Mercenario are made from grapes bought from like-minded growers practising sustainable farming. Different vineyards through the Ribeiro DO on the banks of the Miño, Avia and Arnoia rivers. The different varieties are directly pressed, native yeasts trigger fermentation in stainless steel before transfer in 400ltr tinajas as well as 600ltr barrels. Texture and sapidity characterise this Mercenario, its well-integrated VA and savouriness make a convincing case for umami in wine.

Augalevada

MERCENARIO PARCELA EIRAVEDRA 2019
100% Albariño (12% alc.)

One of Iago’s Mercenario wines, Parcela Eiravedra is a single vineyard in Rías Baixas (Val do Salnés) and Iago managed to get hold of the grapes thanks to his extremely well-connected friend Xurxo Alba (Albamar). 10 months ageing in both tinajas under flor and old barriques. This wine is built around acidity and shows great vitality with lingering citrus flavours and incisive minerality.

Augalevada

OLLOS DE ROQUE 2017
75% Treixadura, 20% Lado, 5% Agudelo (13% alc.)

Ollos de Roque translates as Roque's eyes in Gallego; Roque being Iago's son. This is the jewel in the crown made from Augalevada's own grapes as opposed to the Mercenario wines. Iago planted the vines in 2009 and decided to re-graft some of them (see profile) with lado as well as the promising agudelo – a chenin cultivar brought by the monks via the Camino de Santiago centuries ago. The wines were aged in a mix of stainless steel, 600ltr barriques and buried tinajas (one of them right in the middle of the vineyard) under a thin layer of flor. Blended in June and bottled in August the following year, the finished wine was then bottle-aged for another year before release. SO2 was only added at bottling to reach a low 25mg/l total. Crystalline and lifted, with flavours of pink grapefruit, tarragon and roses, this is lush and round while packed with salivating razor-like acids. Saltiness and fine bitters extend a lengthy and energetic finish. A stunning wine that showcases all of Iago's talent! For drinking now to 2023.

Augalevada

MERCENARIO TINTO 2019
Caiño Longo, Caiño da Terra, Brancellao, Espadeiro, Sousón (12% alc.)

From different vineyards through the Ribeiro DO on the banks of the Miño, Avia and Arnoia rivers – field-blends with many native grape varieties. Fermentation was carried out in open vats where whole grapes were foot trodden and then 'massaged' by hand for light extraction. Fermentation and 10 months ageing in old demi-muids (2/3) and tinajas. This nuanced red wine is pure joy, combining aromas of watermelon, menthol, spices and cured meat. Its lifted flavours and high drinkability will please many Jura lovers!

Augalevada

CRIANZA BIOLÓXICA 2019
50% Treixadura, 50% Albariño (12% alc.)

As per Mercenario Blanco, the grapes come from the Ribeiro DO. Fermentation in stainless steel, and then transfer in buried 400ltr tinajas in which Iago adds wine from 'la madre' – a filled-up tinaja with a thick layer of flor started off in 2011. A 10 months ageing under flor follows. An amazing wine worth serving blind among Jura wines 'elevés sous voile' and other vin jaunes...

Quinta da Muradella

MONTERREI 2018
Alanda Blanco
50% Doña Blanca, 20% Treixadura, 20% Verdello, 10% Monstruosa de Monterrei (13% alc.)

This comes from three of José’s fincas spread around the hillsides of Verín where the soils are a mix of slate and clay, sandy gravel and decomposing granite. Made from yields around 30hh, cuve aged with no malos and kept on the fine lees with no stirring before bottling in February 2020, like all of the Muradella whites this wine is subtle and elegant, quite tightly wound initially with vibrant acidity, displaying a strong mineral character with subtle peach and citrus fruits, fennel and eucalyptus notes gradually emerging, and salinity on the finish.

Quinta da Muradella

MONTERREI 2013
Gorvia Blanco
100% Doña Blanca (13.5% alc.)

Gorvia is one of José’s single vineyards, from a 1ha steep slope near the castle of Monterrei in Verín, where the 27yo vines are planted by massale selection in a clay, slate soil with high metal content. Here José Luis has settled on tiny yields of just 12hh to fully capture all the potential of Doña Blanca from which he fashions the ‘best Doña Blanca on earth’ (Luis Gutierrez), ageing for a year in older foudres, and then two years in stainless steel before bottling unfined and unfiltered. It is vibrant, complex, intense and impeccably balanced with some yellow plum and citrus fruit, acacia and pollen notes, minerals, salty and savoury, with attractive bitters on a long finish.

Quinta da Muradella

MONTERREI 2015
Muradella Blanco
100% Treixadura (13% alc.)

José’s finest white comes from a separate finca in the Tamaguelos de Monterrei zone, where the soils are a mix of clay, slate and granitic sand, and the vines range from 18yo to very old. Also called the Trajadura grape in Portugal, it has always been renowned for its quality and vigour, but there are no other winemakers who have explored its quality boundaries by dropping the yields down to a mere 9hh, perhaps helping to explain why Gutierrez believes this wine is at the quality helm of all Galician whites. Aged initially in older foudres then cuve for over two years before being bottled unfiltered this is still a baby. You’ll find exotic spices like star anis and cumin as well as fennel and hints of hay on the nose, with savoury, intense, high pitched flavours, herbal and spicy tones, all the time wrapped up with an austere quality and frank mineral resonance. For drinking now to 2024.

Quinta da Muradella

MONTERREI 2016
Alanda Tinto
Mencía, Bastardo, Garnacha Tintorera, Mouraton, Gran Negro and Arauxa (13% alc.)

The red version of Alanda is a blend from the many different vineyards, sub-zones, and soil types within the Monterrei DO. The different grape varieties (harvested at around 25hh) were fermented together, part in stainless steel, part in cement, with one third of full clusters and aged for one year in used barrels and cement tank then assembled and matured for a further year in stainless steel before being bottled neither fined nor filtered. The nose is fruit-driven, with cherry, herbs and a pinch of spice, and a medium-bodied palate with focused, red cherry flavours, fine tannins and balanced acidity. For drinking now to 2023.

Quinta da Muradella

MONTERREI 2015
Gorvia Tinto
90% Mencía, 5% Bastardo, 5% Caiño Redondo (13% alc.)

The red 2015 Gorvia is produced from 29yo vines (yielding 22hh) on a 1ha south-facing slate slope near Monterrei Castle. It was fermented in an open stainless steel vat with 60% whole bunches and a very long maceration, aged for six months and then transferred into older 300 and 500ltr barrels. On the nose you notice wild strawberries, and floral perfume of violets and dry roses, with sour cherries, spice and an earthy sensation on the palate. This is a superb Atlantic red with a Burgundian accent and the finesse that is typical of the reds from Muradella. 3,000 bottles were filled by hand, unfined and unfiltered in May 2017. For drinking now to 2024.

Adega Algueira

RIBEIRA SACRA 2016
Cortezada
40% Godello, 40% Albariño, 20% Treixadura (13% alc.)

The impressive Cortezada vineyard was carved into an amazingly steep amphitheatre around 1900. Fernando and his team have rebuilt it to its original shape over 17 years, as it was abandoned and covered by the forest. Located in the Riberas do Sil sub-region, the vineyards walled terraces are two to three meters high and 200m long on gneiss, quartz and slate! Fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged in stainless steel to help preserve fruit and minerality, the wine combines power and elegance with ripe yellow peach and apricot aromas.

Adega Algueira

RIBEIRA SACRA 2015
Pizarra
100% Mencía (13.5% alc.)

Originally from Castilla y Léon (think Bierzo) the now ubiquitous mencía has adapted extremely well to Ribeira Sacra, especially on the hot southern exposed slopes of the prestigious Amandi cru. Named after the slate (pizarra) soils of the Carballocovo vineyard, the grapes were (like most of their reds) foot trodden with full clusters in wooden open vats, fermented with natural yeasts and aged for just over a year in oak barrels of different sizes and ages. This wine has depth and an almost chewy texture with complex flavours of cured meat, black cherries and Mediterranean herbs. For drinking now to 2025+.

Adega Algueira

RIBEIRA SACRA 2015
Risco
100% Merenzao (13% alc.)

Also called maria ordoña in Galicia, bastardo in Portugal and trousseau in Jura, the merenzao grape was a regular on the Camino de Santiago tagging along the monks! Foot-trodden with full clusters in open wooden vats, fermented with natural yeasts and aged for just over a year in oak barrels of different sizes and ages. Pale in colour and translucent despite a warm vintage, balsamic and earthy on the nose, round texture with ripe red berries and morello cherries, smoke and dried roses. Oak tannins are still present but will rapidly integrate. A regular star on the Algueira portfolio! For drinking now to 2030.

Adega Algueira

RIBEIRA SACRA 2015
Serradelo
100% Brancellao (12.5% alc.)

A true native Galician variety, the brancellao grape has been nicknamed ‘the pinot noir of Galicia’ by the new wave of local winemakers (e.g. Envínate). Foot-trodden with full clusters in an open wooden vat, fermented with natural yeasts and aged in old oak only (5yo minimum) to preserve the grape’s subtleties and vivacity. Also pale in colour, this is a lifted and leaner style of Ribeira Sacra with a vertical acidity and minerality given from the slate and schist soils. The bouquet has clarity with refreshing aromas of cranberry leaf, blood orange and black pepper, with cherries and tar on the palate. Brancellao is naturally back in favour and has a lot to say. For drinking now to 2025.

Veronica Ortega

BIERZO 2018
Cal
100% Godello (12.5% alc.)

It comes from 50yo vines giving tiny grapes planted in limestone (a very rare soil in Bierzo where slate and clay are more usual) above an old quarry near the town of San Juan de la Mata. Macerated on the skins overnight, it is aged for 14 months – 50% in 800ltr amphoras and 50% in 228ltr and 600ltr barrels. Due to the type of soil the pH of the wine is extremely low (between 2.7 and 3.1) and the acidity is so high that it naturally does not go through malolactic (sometimes partially as per 2018). It makes for an intensely mineral wine, with a zesty fruit, giving notes of green tea, almonds and chamomile. A fresh vertical mouthfeel and marked salinity enhances its electric energy. VLQ. For drinking now to 2024.

Veronica Ortega

BIERZO 2019
Quite
100% Mencía (13% alc.)

Veronica is based in Valtuille de Abajo, and this wine comes from various parcels of organically tended vines around the village (averaging 80yo) planted in the typical sandy, red clay soils (where there is quite a high iron content) giving a yield averaging 25hh. Veronica’s father was a bullfighter and Quite is a bullfighting term meaning to offer a helping hand. Given a 15-day cuvaison and aged for seven months, half in 800ltr amphoras and half in 2-3yo barrels, it has an excellent texture, most attractive mulberry and brambly fruit and floral hints with some liquorice, nutmeg and herbal notes. So delicious and easy to drink. 46mg/l total SO2.

Veronica Ortega

BIERZO 2017
Cobrana
75% Mencía, 25% Doña Blanca, Palomino, Godello etc (13.5% alc.)

This is made from a small parcel of 90yo vines in Cobrana, one of the highest altitude, coolest vineyards of Bierzo at 750m, in the north-east of the DO where the soils are a decomposing slate with red clay. Here it was traditional to co-plant different grape varieties, red and white. Made from 100% whole bunches aged in a mix of amphoras and older barrels for 13 months, this has a delicate colour, a very floral nose with dried rose notes, attractive ripe strawberry and raspberry fruit on the palate, with balsamic and menthol in the background, and a fine grained tannin is nicely integrated. Best served around 14 to 16C.

Veronica Ortega

BIERZO 2016
VO
100% Mencía (13.5% alc.)

The 2016 VO Versión Original is an old vine mencía from the same vineyards where Veronica gets the grapes for ROC, but these vines are at the bottom of the parcel with deeper sandy soils, the tiny clusters of grapes give very little juice and a more concentrated wine. Only 3,529 bottles were produced in this cooler vintage, which seems to offset the character of the place and delivers a very balanced wine. The whole bunches are fermented with indigenous yeasts, and the wine matured in a 2,400ltr oak vat for 16 months. It was bottled in March 2018. This wine has the austerity and seriousness of the vintage, with shy aromas, slowly developing a nose of wild strawberries and violets. This is sophisticated and lean, with subdued minerality, combining energy and elegance. It feels very young and will benefit from some time in bottle. For drinking now to 2024.

Veronica Ortega

BIERZO 2018
ROC
90% Mencía, 10% Palomino, Doña Blanca (13.5% alc.)

Veronica’s finest and longest-lived wine (named with the initials of her oldest brother who sadly passed away) comes from two small parcels (La Rata and El Couso) averaging 100yo planted in the sandy clays of Valtuille de Abajo. Here the sands give more aromatic finesse and precision to the fruit, complementing the muscular side conferred by the clay. Made from 100% whole bunches and gently extracted over 20 days, it was aged in 2-3yo barrels for 14 months. There’s a darker fruited character to this wine with brambly fruit and violets on the nose as well as hints of liquorice and incense, all of which you’ll taste on the palate with an herbal note too. Medium-bodied it is a subtle, deep, complex wine with fine tannic structure and very good balance that’s built to last. 50mg/l total SO2. For drinking now to 2028.

Goyo Garcia Viadero

RIBERA DEL DUERO 2018
Finca Los Quemados
100% Tinto Fino (14% alc.)

As per all of Goyo’s Ribera del Duero wines, fermentation took place in open foudres and ageing occurred in top quality used French oak (minimum 8yo) selected with care from his family winery Bodegas Valduero. Finca Los Quemados comes from 100yo vines just under 900m altitude on a deep and light soil of ferrous sand and pebbles; it spent one year in barriques before six months bottle ageing. High pitched with an incredible freshness thanks to the high altitude vines this wine has attractive aromas of viola and graphite with a juicy and meaty texture.

Goyo Garcia Viadero

RIBERA DEL DUERO 2014
Finca El Peruco
85% Tinto Fino 15% Albillo (13.5% alc.)

The 1.5ha 100yo vineyard El Peruco is located in Anguix north of Roa. At more than 900m elevation this is one of the highest points in the Ribera and has calcareous sand, clay and rolling stones. It was aged for almost two years in barrels followed by some bottle ageing. It is slightly reduced, with some notes of barbecued meat quickly opening up onto black pepper, clove and blueberries. It is a vertical wine packed with refreshing acids, a limestone-driven saline minerality and irony finish.

Goyo Garcia Viadero

RIBERA DEL DUERO 2016
Finca Valdeolmos
90% Tinto Fino 10% Albillo (14% alc.)

Finca Valdeolmos is located around the prestigious town of Roa at 860m altitude on stony and sandy soils with high content of active limestone. It was aged for almost two years in barrels followed by some bottle ageing. This is riper than El Peruco with some notes of bitter chocolate and spices with hints of red fruit and blood orange. It also has a rounder palate with fresh and fine-grained tannins as well as length and salivation. A true expression of chalk terroir.

Bodega Akutain

RIOJA 2018
Cosecha
97% Tempranillo, 3% Garnacha (12.5% alc.)

Hand crafted Rioja by a very small independent 6.5ha estate in the Rioja Alta where the finest Riojas emanate, here the 25-40yo vines are planted in a pale calcareous clay at 500-650m altitude and give a yield averaging 40hh. The first of the Akutain wines is aged in cuve 100% and bottled unfiltered after a year. On the palate it is very much on the fruit with attractive depth of ripe raspberry and plum fruit with liquorice, a fleck of cinnamon and bay leaf, it finishes clean and saline where the influence of limestone soil can clearly be sensed.

Bodega Akutain

RIOJA 2016
Crianza
93% Tempranillo, 5% Garnacha, 2% Viura (13% alc.)

This is a blend from the four parcels of vines worked by Akutain, vinified in tank then transferred into 45% new to 6yo, and 55% 7yo and much older oak barrels which as per a long Rioja tradition come 75% from the Appalachian region of USA, with the balance from France. Aged for 20 months in barrel (six months longer than the minimum 14 months prescribed) and racked barrel by barrel twice a year it was bottled without filtration, and then aged for a further eight months in their deep under-vineyard cellar. As you’d expect this is more of a traditional Rioja, with a mix of plum and prune fruit and herbal touch with the wine's vanilla aromas soon evolving and melding into its savoury backdrop. Once again, the finish is clean and saline due to the calcareous soil. Benefits from carafeing or opening an hour before serving. For drinking now to 2024.

Bodega Akutain

RIOJA 2014
Reserva
93% Tempranillo, 5% Garnacha, 2% Viura (13.5% alc.)

Akutain’s top wine is also a blend of their four parcels, but here there is a much higher percentage from their highest vineyard of Gembres (650m) where the cooler nights and the larger diurnal temperature range have an incredible impact on the quality of the juice giving exquisite fruit, more acidity and ageing potential. Vinified in tank and then barrel aged in the same way as the Crianza, though the Reserva receives an additional two months in barrel and four months in bottle before release. There is more structure and complexity here with spicy, plummy, dried fig fruit as well as a herbal edge; oak ageing seamlessly integrated and allows a fresh and lifted finish, with salinity keeping everything in focus. For drinking now to 2027.

3 Viñerones

RIOJA 2016
La Esquirla del Bardallo
97% Tempranillo, 3% Viura (13.5% alc.)

An 'esquirla' is a shard-shaped rock used as a cutting tool during the Neolithic period, it is often found around the barranco (lieu-dit) El Bardallo. It was fermented in open fiberglass vats from foot trodden grapes with 50% stems for balance and freshness. Ageing on fine lees took place in different French and Austrian barriques (2 to 3yo minimum) for just over 12 months. A reduced and earthy nose slowly opens and reveals intriguing aromas of bramble, menthol and maraschino liquor; the mouth is restrained and structured with fresh and lovely tannins triggering salivation and length. This is a characterful and modern Rioja in the best sense of the word. Ageing and decanting will do this wine good! For drinking now to 2030.

Masseria del Pino

ETNA ROSSO 2017
I Nove Fratelli
90% Nerello Mascalese, 10% Nerello Cappuccio (14% alc.)

Made from 120 to 140yo vines on the ancient terraces of a north facing clos at 800m altitude above Randazzo. Working organically and tending the vines meticulously, Cesare and Federica bring in a minute yield (averaging 14hh) into their palmento (winery) and after destalking trod the grapes by foot in ancient vats made of volcanic basalt. An open-air fermentation begins, the cap is punched for a few days, then it’s not touched bar keeping the cap moist for the rest of the cuvaison, after which the wine is decanted off into one 300ltr and five 600ltr barrels, with the solids pressed and added, and the wine then remains until bottling after partial filtration 16 months later. These primitive techniques have changed little since vines first appeared in Contrada Pino in the 9th century, and one can imagine this is what the wine might have tasted like back then. It is a profound Etna Rosso, very close to the grapes, richly flavoured with black cherry, balsamic spices, and a fresh-laid-tar suggestion often found in young Barolo but with a lovely acidity keeping everything in focus. Its gripping, yet silty-fine tannin is a trademark of wines from Contrada Pino and there is much more freshness and energy than you find in many Etna Rosso that weigh in at 15% or more. Very low sulphur level of around 15mg/l total.

Masseria del Pino

ETNA ROSATO 2019
Super Luna
90% Nerello Mascalese, 10% Nerello Cappuccio (13.5% alc.)

The farm and vineyard at Masseria del Pino are surrounded by ancient woods where abandoned vines have returned to their liana-like natural state (lambrusque); climbing up to the canopy a few meters high they still produce grapes. Federica and Cesare usually wait for a full moon (super luna) to kick off the harvest, they pick these 'wild' grapes (40 to 50kg) from 4am, under the moonlight, and make a pied de cuve with them. They add this to tiny yields of directly pressed grapes to produce just 800bts of this exquisite rosé. It’s harvested a little earlier than the red for lower alcohol and higher acidity. Cuve aged and bottled in May the wine has a strawberry red colour, cherry and pomegranate fruits with a thrilling mineral vibration that only volcanic terroir can confer. No added sulphur. The label designed by Federica is just beautiful too.

Masseria del Pino

VINO BIANCO 2018
Caravan Petrol
55% Carricante, 20% Minella, 20% Catarratto + others! (12% alc.)

Caravan Petrol is a famous Neapolitan song – used here as a reference to the success of Etna wines and big brands that have gone on a buying and planting spree in the area. Federica's label is a dig at this gold rush and the DOC body that promotes it: the seven deputies on the DOC committee are depicted riding their camels on a desert Etna. The 140yo ungrafted vines are scattered among the nerellos and some of them are so ancient that the varieties are unknown. The whole bunches are slowly pressed in two 500ltr barrels for fermentation and ageing – one French Taransaud and one made by a local tonnelier from the farm's 100yo chestnut trees. Bottled in June the following year, no SO2 was added at all. Such a unique wine that combines power and gras with salty acids, moreish honeydew melon aromas and lengthy herbal aftertaste. We hear the local Eric Narioo (Vino di Anna) and his mate JF 'Fanfan' Ganevat are big fans...

Alessandro Viola

NOTE DI BIANCO 2020
Terre Siciliane IGP
100% Grillo (12% alc.)

The grapes come from the contrada Pietra Rinosa down the valley (250m) on clayey soils. Alessandro points out that grillo is a strong variety which adapts easily to drought and consistently delivers quality and quantity. Vines are 15yo, grapes were harvested early September at 40hh and directly pressed. It was fermented and aged in stainless steel before early bottling in January with 20mg/l SO2 added. This is the azienda’s flagship, fruit forward with lovely pear skin bitters, it is joyful, fresh, lifted by a citrusy and salty finish. An extremely smashable wine.

Alessandro Viola

SINFONIA DI BIANCO
Terre Siciliane IGP
100% Grillo (13% alc.)

As per Note di Bianco the grillo grapes come from Pietra Rinosa – harvested a few days later for extra ripeness – they macerate for six days on their skins, and the wine ages in old chestnut botti before bottling with low SO2. Bold, textural and aromatic it displays refreshing tannins and food-friendly bitters (a perfect match with couscous alla Trapanese!), and showcases how versatile grillo can be.

Alessandro Viola

LE MIE ORIGINI 2019
Terre Siciliane IGP
100% Catarratto (11.5% alc.)

The jewel in the crown and Alessandro’s favorite grape – he has fond memories devouring catarratto during harvest as depicted on the slick wooden label. The vines for Le Mie Origini (My Origins) were planted by the grandfather more than 30 years ago, they grow up on the mountain pass at 500-600m altitude. Limestone soils, north-east exposition, underground water and cool sea breeze are ideal for cataratto. A variety which is able to express terroir like no other according to Alessandro. Usually picked at the end of September (despite the low alcohol), the grapes are directly pressed, fermentation and ageing happen in 2,500ltr botti with well-judged lees stirring and no SO2 added until bottling (10-20mg/l). Deep in color while the palate is round and rich, the expansive mouthfeel is perfectly balanced by salty acids, an umami bomb with complex flavours of juicy peach, spiced apricot, fresh hay and peated cereal – an aromatic profile reminiscent of the best white Châteauneuf-du-Papes. The finish is long, taut and salivating, this is a food-friendly and moreish wine in the purest Sicilian form. VLQ.

Alessandro Viola

ROSSO ISI 2019
Terre Siciliane IGP
70% Nero d’Avola, 30% Nerello Mascalese (12% alc.)

Bottled on the 1st January 2020 to celebrate the new year, this is an 'isi'-going wine, juicy and thirst-quenching, typically Mediterranean with summer strawberries and liquorice roots flavours. As per Note di Bianco the vines are planted in Pietra Rinosa and the nerello is a 8yo massal selection from local old vines – Alessandro insists on the fact that the massal does not come from the Etna, Alcamo’s nerello is somehow different and better-suited to the area. Grapes were totally destemmed, four days maceration followed by fermentation and ageing in stainless steel.

Tanca Nica

SOKI SOKI 2019
Terre Siciliane IGP
100% Zibibbo (13% alc.)

Different plots of zibibbo bush vines (alberello Pantesco) from different contradas, with various altitudes and expositions. Grown mostly on pumice-heavy 'soki soki' soils (see profile), the parcels were harvested from 10th to 20th September, and vinified separately undergoing different lengths of maceration – from one night to a week – based on ripeness and aromatics of the skins. Aged on fine lees in 6yo barrels and stainless steel, and bottled with 15mg/l SO2 total. This is fragrant, almost medicinal, with moreish mediterranean herbs, a perfect balance of texture and tension, and a lengthy salivating finish. A classy wine with high drinkability. For drinking now to 2025.

Tanca Nica

KAFFEFI 2019
Terre Siciliane IGP
100% Catarratto (11% alc.)

Traditionally planted against the terrasses’ walls (see profile), the 40-80yo catarratto vines come from different contradas and parcels. Harvested around September 20th, the grapes were macerated overnight on the skins for extra structure. The wine fermented and aged in stainless steel, bottling occurred without any additives. Typically low in alcohol and pH (3.2), the catarratto variety has always been the Pantesco’s favorite for everyday drinking – Francesco aims at emulating the elders’ taste characterised by crunchy texture, satisfying rusticity, and carefully managed oxidation. A unique glimpse into Pantelleria's past.

Tanca Nica

FIRRI FIRRI 2019
Terre Siciliane IGP
85% Catarratto, 10% Pignatello, 5% Inzolia (11% alc.)

Firri Firri is a traditional hoe used in the vineyards, and also the nickname of the old vignaiolo who previously owned the land. 50yo bush vines on volcanic sand, a cool NE exposed plot at 300m altitude, the vines were harvested at the end of September, and the whole bunches were processed altogether – two days maceration, fermentation and ageing in vats, 15mg/l SO2 total after bottling. The wine has an attractive poulsard-like colour, lifted aromatics of pomegranate, mandarin and liquorice, a juicy texture with refreshing tannins and a salty finish.

Tanca Nica

NIVURO NOSTRALE 2019
Terre Siciliane IGP
100% Pignatello (12.5% alc.)

Nivuro Nostrale is the Pantesco name for the pignatello grape also known as perricone on the mainland. As per the catarratto, pignatello prefers shadow and humidity, and the 80-90yo vines here are mostly found growing against the terrasses’ walls. Grapes are partially destemmed and macerate for 10-15 days before gentle pressing. The wine feeds a 'riserva perpetua' started in 2016 – every year 150ltr are taken from the old barrels and bottled with a pinch of SO2. Vertical, lifted and rustic the wine displays spicy and peppery aromatics, the mouthfeel is dense and umami-loaded with cured meat, capers and balsamic notes – quintessentially Pantesco!

Tanca Nica

PASSULATA 2019
Terre Siciliane IGP
100% Zibibbo (14% alc, 150g/l of rs)

"For me, this is the wine that truly represents Pantelleria; it’s wild and unpredictable, it re-ferments several times, and tastes different in every season. Passulata is the passito before the 'passito', the old ways – the real deal." That’s how Francesco introduces an ancestral style of wine that nobody makes anymore – the yields are low, the cost and risk are high, and there is no mention of the method in the oenology books, only a few old farmers can teach it. Harvest kicks off in August with a first passage through the vines; early-ripening bunches with loose and large berries are selected and laid on draining 'soki soki' soils (see profile). The grapes are flipped over every two days against humidity and rot while the heat of the ground dries them. The skills reside in knowing when to stop the drying process and combining the right amount of grapes with a fermenting pied de cuve. The must macerates on skin for a couple of months, it’s then pressed in demi-johns where it will remain for a year (outdoors, exposed to the elements) before bottling without any additives. Salt, sugar, umami, bitters, VA, ethanal, volcanic mineral stamp, complex medicinal aromatics – so much for the senses – a 'vino di meditazione' that also opens many doors with food. For drinking now to 2060.