Champagne Pierre Paillard – Bouzy
The Bouzy vineyards extends over 380 hectares in the Montagne de Reims. It was one of four villages that were slated for Grand Cru status back in 1927, and officially recognized as such in 1935. The 10 hectares (25 acres) of current proprietor Benoit Paillard’s vineyard lie at the heart of Bouzy’s famous terroir. The family has been growing grapes and making wine in Bouzy for 8 generations, since 1768. Only Grand Cru Champagne is produced here; a non vintage Brut (60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay), Brut Rose, and vintage Brut (currently 2002) Varichon & Clerc Blanc de Blancs NV – Seyssel
Located in the hills between Lyon and Geneva, Varichon et Clerc have been producing classic "Methode Champenoise" wines since 1901. Local grapes, such as Altesse and Molette, are skillfully blended with judicious amounts of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, and Maccabeu to create this very elegant wine. A delicious and engaging wine which is pale in colour with delicate bubbles and a bouquet of flowers with herbal and mineral elements. Very elegant, stylish and refreshing with classic bottle aged flavors of toasted bread, vanilla and spices lingering on the finish.
Agathe Bursin – Westhalten (Alsace)
Agathe Bursin was born into a family of vintners. In 1939, her great grandfather was killed in an accident and the family joined the cooperative after the war. When Agathe was a child, her grandmother let her smell wines and decide if it was dominated by "fleure" or "fruit". In the kitchen, her grandmother made Agathe close her eyes and guess what was put in her mouth. These childhood experiences have contributed to Agathes current interest in flavours and fragrances.
Today, Agathe Bursin has 3.7 ha, including 1.3 ha on Grand Cru Zinnkoepflé. The distribution is 5% Muscat, 15% Pinot Gris, and 20% each of Riesling, Gewurztraminer and her beloved Sylvaner. Agathe Bursin also shows a lot of interest in co-plantation.
Agathe Bursin has been educated in Bourgogne and has worked in the Rhône and in Chablis. In Chablis, she wanted to learn about vinification of white wines. In the Rhône valley, her objective was to learn how to work in steep vineyards and run a small estate with many parcels and several cuvées.
It is no surprise that Agathe Bursin sells most of her wines before they are even on bottle. And in each wine you can sense the spirit and the determination of this charming, remarkable, and remarkably skilful viticultrice.
Domaine de la Landelle - Le Loroux Bottereau (Muscadet)
Michel Libeau’s, Domaine de la Landelle has 19 ha of Muscadet Sèvre et Maine with "Melon de Bourgogne" grape variety, 3 ha of Gros Plant with "Folle Blanche" grape variety and 2 Ha of Gamay. Vines are ploughed in rotation, so that the roots can draw on the minerals of the schistose soil. The low pruning increases the sun’s reflection that gives the grapes the perfect degree of ripeness. The entire harvest is done manually selecting the best grapes to optimize the quality of each vintage.
The juice of Muscadet Sèvre et Maine and Gros Plant ferments for three weeks at 20 degrees. A refrigeration unit regulates the temperature. The wine remains all through winter on its lees, before a natural clarifying process. The wine is bottled at the beginning of the spring.
Domaine Chauveau - Les Cassiers (Pouilly-Fume)
Benoit Chauveau, descended from several generations of wine makers, took over his parents' vineyard at St. Andelain in the Pouilly region of the Loire in 1997. In 2000 his wife, Emmanuelle, joined him in the business, and together they work their 12 hectares of vines. Over the past few years, the Chauveaux have developed and enhanced their production; they have planted new vines, and built a new cellar.
The vineyard is situated on two different types of soil - Kimmeridgian marl and Villiers limestone. It produces about 80,000 bottles per year, the majority of which is sold to the Hotel and Restaurant trade in France.
The Villiers chalk soils are characterized by white stones. The earth drains well and heats up quickly in spring, encouraging early ripening. The wine produced is fresh and light with fruity aromas which mature rapidly.The Kimmeridgian marl contains many fossils. More clay-based, this soil takes longer to heat up and the grapes are slower to reach maturity. The single vineyard ‘Croqloups,’ from the Kimmeridgian soil, derives from a 2 hectare,40 year old vine plot which produces approximately 650 cases per annum.
Domaine Paul Cherrier - Verdigny (Sancerre)
Domaine Paul Cherrier has been in the family for 6 generations but has only been solely devoted to viticulture since the early 1980s. Up until vintage 2000, all of the production of the 11 hectare domaine (9ha Sauvignon Blanc/2ha Pinot Noir) was sold in bulk.When Stephane Cherrier, now 30, returned to the domaine for the 2000 harvest after viticultural travels in Australia, New Zealand, and Chile, he convinced his uncle to begin bottling wine from the best cuvees. At present, 1/3 of the domaine’s production is bottled.
The vineyards are scattered around Verdigny on clay-limestone soils. The wines are fermented in stainless steel and aged on their lees. The Sancerre Blanc is a selection of the best cuvees in the cellar chosen for bottling. The cuvee Vieilles Vignes is produced from a parcel of 40-50 year old vines planted in the lieu dit ‘La Perriere’..The fermentation and elevage for the two wines is the same. The difference is an expression of the age of the vines. Stephane wants the wines to make themselves so there is very little intervention in the cellar.
Domaine Brazilier - Thoré-la-Rochette (Coteaux du Vendômais)
Located in the heart of appellation Coteaux du Vendômais, Jean Brazilier and his son Benoît represent the seventh generation of Braziliers to have worked vineyards in Thoré-la-Rochette. Together, they farm 25 hectares of vines, a significant holding in these parts. Ten of these are family owned and mostly replanted by Jean himself over the past 25 years. For the appellation wines, they tend four hectares of Chenin Blanc, five of Pineau d’Aunis and seven of Cabernet Franc. There are also a couple of hectares of Pinot Noir planted as well. Coteaux du Vendômois attained AOC status in May 2001.
The majority of the wines are vinified in fiber glass tanks, with 90% of fermentation using indigenous yeast. In addition to the white, red, and gris wines, some Méthode Traditionnelle is produced from a base of Chenin Blanc. They sell part of their production to negotiants.
Ctx du Vendomois “Tradition” BLANC 2009
Straw-yellow in color with true varietal nose (100% Chenin Blanc). The wine has clean mineral notes with distinct smoky, wet wool, gunflint and reductive aromas. Bone dry on entry with good fruit that helps carry the austerity. Good structure and focus. Taut, dry and mineral with fresh, juicy acidity and good grip on the finish. This authentic wine is very good now and will age further.
Ctx du Vendomois “Tradition” ROUGE 2009
40% Pineau d’Aunis/40% Cabernet Franc/20% Pinot Noir. Deep red with a youthful purple rim, the wine shows an attractive nose with red and black fruits. Rich on the palate with very nice grip and some typical herbal character. There is some good Pineau d’Aunis spice to the finish. Slightly rustic in style, this wine drinks well now but will age further. Pairs nicely with white meat, meat with gravy, cheese, cold cuts, grilled meat, tournedos and roast.
Domaine Fontenay – Villemontais (Cote Roannaise)
Simon Hawkins and his family, an Englishman turned native, took over Domaine du Fontenay in 1987 and cultivate 11-12 hectares of vines. The most important thing about their Cotes Roannaise vineyards are the granite soils, an acidic soil. It just so happens that the gamay vine has a particular empathy for acidic soils. That is why the only grape variety that can be grown in their area is the Gamay. The other point of interest about granite soils is that being light and sandy, they are naturally well drained. Finally, Domaine Fontenay produces very natural wines; no yeasts added, no capitalization, no additives, and no filtering. The youthful 2008 Gamay 'Sine Nomine' is attractively spicy with pure red and black fruit flavors as well as a herbal, edgy character in the finish.
Domaine Jean-Marc Burgaud – Morgon (Beaujolais)
Located in the village of Morgon, Jean-Marc Burgaud is a young winemaker on the rise. Hard working and meticulous, he has great ambitions for his wines that his vineyards easily justify.His 19hectares (Beaujolais villages 5 hectares; Régnié 1 hectare; Morgon 13 hectares) are planted with Gamay noir on granitic/schistose hillsides.
The Beaujolais-Village comes from Chateau du Thulon in the village of Lantignie. The village is renowned for its hillsides and its granite soil. The 12th century chateau belonged to Jean-Marc Burgaud's aunt, Mme Jambon. The vinification, elevage and bottling all take place in the chateau cellars. The vines are, on average, 40 years old. Typical Beaujolais vinification, with carbonic maceration of the whole berries for 5 to 6 days. Raised in tank for 4 to 5 months. The wine is supple and full of fresh fruit. (WA 88)
Within Mogon there are several lieu dits and the Cote du Py is considered as the best vineyard in the appellation.This large sloping hillside, where the vines are in excess of 50 years old, has soil of schists, degraded rock, iron oxide and manganese which impart a distinct minerality to the wine. Ths is a well-structured wine, redolent of black fruits (mulberries and cherries). Cabonic maceration of the whole berries lasts 12 to 15 days, and the wine is raised in barrel as well as tank. (WA 89-90+)
Domaine de la Feuillarde - Prisse (Macon)
Located next to the village of Prissé, on the Southern borders of Burgundy, the Domaine de la Feuillarde produces wines of character. Jean –Marie Thomas became the owner of the estate in 1934.The 17 hectare domain enjoys an ideal location since it is situated on the gentle hillsides of the Mâconnais vineyard, at a height of 250 meters, with a South to South-East exposure. The wines produced include Macon- Prissé, Saint- Véran, and Pouilly Fuissé.
Lamblin & Fils – Maligny (Chablis)
Son followed father as wine grower for several generations and the Lamblin lineage has brillantly been documented in Chablis since 1690!
Ch. Jarr – Fosses & Baleyssac (Bordeaux)
Between the Garonne and Dordogne, sitting on clay-limestone vineyards Castle Chavrignac offers fruity Bordeaux temperament. Claudine and Daniel Bouron lead this 28-hectare farm in the heart of the region of the Entre-Deux-Mers (70 km south-east of Bordeaux). Respect for nature and its rhythms, patience, and a know-how family: all the ingredients together to offer wines of high quality Appellation Bordeaux.
Checked and certified by the agency Ecocert (Decree 2092/91 European) Château Jarr wines wear the AB logo and can rely on the words "wine made from grapes from Organic Agriculture.
Château La Tour Bicheau – Portets (Bordeaux-Graves)
For five generations, since the 19th century, the Daubas family live and work on their small estate and the wine is as impressive as this beautiful girondine chateau.
The vineyard of Chateau La Tour Bicheau, situated in upper Portets, right in the heart of Graves, lie on the partly reddish-brown iron soils and partly clayey-gravelly crests. It is planted with typical grape varieties of the appellation.
Due to its grape-mix, the nature of the soil and the expert way its cultivation is done, this estate produces a full-bodied, rich wine, which has a particular bouquet distinguishing it from the other wines in the commune.
Its wines are highly rated abroad, they enjoy great favor, and are awarded large premiums over and above the prices given to other growers in the area.
The Graves Rouge is a blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon grown on vines planted in the gravelly soils some 50 years ago. The grapes are all harvested manually followed by traditional fermentation and 14 months in barrel (1/3 new). The wine has a rich red color with aromas of earthiness, blackberry and spice. Flavors of black currant and plum and a finish that does not fade for some time complete the picture. Good solid Bordeaux the way it should be. Try it with pork chops and shallots or roast duck. 10,000 cases produced. The Graves Blanc is a blend of 70% Semillon and 30% Sauvignon Blanc the grapes are also harvested manually then fermented in stainless steel followed by a brief stint in barrel. The wine is pale to medium yellow in color and has floral aromas with hints of citrus and melon. The flavors add an additional component of minerals with a hint of herbs. Full flavored and very well balanced, this wine would work perfectly with seared scallops, mussels in white wine, or perhaps grilled halibut. A scant 1,500 cases are produced.
Domaine Grand Arc (Corbieres)
The Domaine du Grand Arc was established in 1995, in the commune of Cucugnan. The vines, however, are far older. It lies in the heart of the spectacular Hautes-Corbières, in a place called the Devez. Part of the terroir of Quéribus, an impressive nearby ruined mediaeval fortress, it belongs to the southern Corbières AOC. It was love at first sight for Bruno and Fabienne in 1990, who immediately set up home with their two sons.
Since then, they have carved out their Domaine of some 22 hectares within a 150 hectare territory of existing vines and Mediterranean garrigue scrub vegetation. They have also restored most of the old stone buildings on the property, where they now make the wine. Of the 22 hectares of vines, 3 are white grapes (Grenache, Maccabeo and Roussanne), and 19 red (Black Grenache, Carignan, Shiraz, Cinsault and Mourvèdre).
Bruno and Fabienne deliberately limit the total yield from the different varieties: between 35 and 45 Hl/hectare. All the grapes are hand-picked. Domaine Grand Arc 2008 Corbieres ‘Nature d’Oree’ – 88 Pts Robert Parker
“…... Smelling of cassis, blackberry, grilled red meat, and smoky Lapsang tea…... saturate the palate with salt and herbed-tinged black fruits and beet root……. Roughly equal parts Carignan, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cinsault
“THIS WINE IS A TRULY AMAZING VALUE”
Domaine La Sauvageonne - St.Jean de la Blaquiere (Coteaux du Languedoc)
Situated 50km north-west of Montpellier the domaine lies between Clermont l’Herault and Lodéve within the Terrasses du Larzac. The vines cover 32 hectares on a band of schist at an altitude of between 150 to 400m. A variety of well-exposed sites and the prevailing north westerly winds ensure that the vines reach perfect maturity with little risk of disease. All La sauvageonne vineyards are classified AOC Coteaux du Languedoc ‘Terrasses du Larzac’.
The use of chemical herbicides are avoided and vine treatments are kept to the minimum. The land and vines are worked as much as possible by hand, with meticulous shoot and grape selection. This aids the phenolic ripening of the grapes and reduces the use of fungicides. Harvest is carried out between early September and late October; all parcels are harvested by hand and vinified separately; picking dates are determined by taste rather than analysis.
Puech Auriol - Cazouls les Béziers (Coteaux d'Ensérune)
Cécile and Stéphane are always happy to welcome you to their Mediterranean vineyard. Their parcels of 50 year old Carignan and 30 year old Grenache noir are on hillsides composed of sandy marne and dry limestone, near Béziers in the Hérault region.
These vines are tended as naturally as it is possible to do so; the soil is worked without chemical products, and leaf pulling and thinning are carried out by hand.
Cécile & Stéphane take great care of their vineyard, working it as if it were a garden, and harvesting by hand, in the hope that in return it will yield them its best grapes. Generations of Languedoc winegrowers have cultivated vines, incorporating them into their everyday lives: this traditional association of fruit growers and vine growers is clearly visible in the surrounding landscape, dotted with cherry trees, almond trees and olive trees.
They severely limit the yields. The wines are vinified in small tanks on their lees and then bottled unfiltered, to be then matured in climate controlled cellars.
Mas Mudigliza - St-Paul de Fenouillet (Côtes du Roussillon)
Mas Mudigliza – The name is strange and makes one try and figure out what it means. It is made up. The names of the proprietors are Muriel Zamsonandmy and her husband Dimitri Glipa - MUrielDImitriGLIpaZAmson -MUDIGLIZA. It has nothing to do with dialect.
I had the opportunity to taste with Dimitri while in France and this new winery is definitely a new star. A fairly different approach here as they own several different vineyard parcels spread out over a large area.
90 Pts Wine Advocate 2006 Carmine 2007 on order, see review
The Mudigliza 2006 Carmine is a tank-rendered Grenache of outstanding depth, subtlety, and refinement. Black raspberry, roasted meats, rosemary, and a Franc-like sweet and smoky note of machine oil all inform the nose. A silken, slightly oily palate pours on black raspberry, blueberry and black cherry compote, seasoned with lavender and rosemary and underlain with notes of dark chocolate and charred meat, all of which make for a fascinating and attractively bitter-sweet finish. Enjoy this bargain as soon as you can get hold of some, but at the same time hold a few bottles for at least a couple of years to see how they evolve. And wait until you taste the 2007 Carmine, which has yet to be bottled but is already showing amazing complexity and polish! The proprietors have already announced a significant price increase for that wine, and well they should given their outstanding achievements.
90 Pts Wine Advocate – This 2007 Caudalouis (officially a Vin de Pays des Cotes Catalanes) smells of pineapple and lime tinged with cinnamon and ginger. Lush and honeyed in its richness yet all the while bright and uplifting, it allies its fruit and spice on the palate with undertones of rich roasted root vegetables (parsnip, turnip) reminiscent of Gruner Veltliner, and finishes with real finesse. I would plan on enjoying it over the next 9-12 months, although who really knows how it might evolve?
Yet another young Roussillon estate new to me, that of Dimitri Glipa and Muriel