- Item #: i_322154Bottle Size: 750MLWINE SPECTATOR 93 POINTS - "A bramble- and bay leaf—edged version, with a mix of dark cherry and red currant fruit forming the core. Light singed tobacco and a fresh chalk threads line the finish. Long and refined, showing a lovely tug of earth at the end. Drink now through 2026."
Les Varennes du Grand Clos is a slope of siliceous clay and limestone that has proven its ability to yield complex Chinons that stand the test of time-old bottles from decades past are still in their prime. Farming is organic, and the wine ages for over a year in barrel before bottling. The trademark of Les Varennes is its finesse: while structure is certainly not lacking, there is a harmony to fruit, acid, and tannins that allows us to pull the cork today. Its earthy flavors pair perfectly with rustic French cuisine; try a beef stew or wild mushrooms for a guaranteed match.
- Item #: i_350029Bottle Size: 750mlIn 2009, the château’s new owner, le Comte de Colbert, asked Yves Lambert and his son, Arnaud, from Domaine de Saint-Just, to manage the estate. They accepted with a twenty-five year lease and immediately began a hard work of converting these historical vineyards to organic culture after more than fifty years of chemical farming. Today, five after many years of quality farming and the deft touch of Arnaud, the brilliance of the wines known centuries ago is reemerging.
Inside the bottle: The wine starts out aromatically expressing the magic that limestone imparts to its local vine community. Pure and striking fruits, like sweet lime, meyer lemon with lemon curd, exotic spice and flint dart out of the glass and into the nose. If you can manage to keep it in the glass for a couple of hours of slow observation and drinking, the wine will take you on a rollercoaster of highs that seem only to climber higher with every passing minute. Acidity? More than you can imagine but somehow it presents itself gently on the finish after a somewhat overwhelming initial attack from the first sip. The wine hasn’t a drop of tropical or rich, ripe fruit notes because this cold site rarely has a chance to develop botrytis, even in ideal years. The topsoil is pure sand with limestone gravel that has been unearthed from the tuffeau limestone that sits on thirty centimeters below the soil. It’s pure sand and limestone soils make it the most unique soil structure on the hill. Anyone would be hard-pressed to find a white wine in the world that carries this fair of a price.
- Item #: i_344231Bottle Size: 750MLBrézé is a unique site due to its relatively high elevation and eminently nuanced geological profile. The high composition of tuffeau, a porous, chalky limestone also used in the construction of much of the Loire’s Renaissance architecture, results in finely mineral Chenin Blanc. Clay and sand also lend themselves to the diversity of the terroirs, giving body to the reds and richness to the whites. With five historic and clearly delimited Clos to work with, the Lambert duo has the incredible opportunity to truly understand and reveal the distinctions within this extraordinary appellation.
- Item #: i_345226Bottle Size: 750MLVinous Media: 92 PointsDecanter: 92 PointsDECANTER 92 POINTS - "The late Anne-Claude Leflaive bought this struggling biodynamic domaine in 2008. From 2ha of old vines, Grolleau – normally used in bland rosés – is taken to another level: bright acidity lifts crunchy pomegranate fruit, with spice and texture from 18 months in old Leflaive barrels."
- Item #: i_300049Bottle Size: 750MLWine Spectator: 91WINE SPECTATOR 91 POINTS - "This shows cassis, cedar and black pepper notes, fueled by vibrant acidity and imparting lovely freshness. A very elegant red, with lots of character, this is well-crafted and harmonious. The finish shows a bit of a grip. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2020 through 2026. 500 cases made, 75 cases imported."
- Item #: i_353223Bottle Size: 750mlEvelyne de Pontbriand took over her venerable family estate—known historically as the Château des Vaults but now as Domaine du Closel—in 2001 in a career change from teaching French literature. Her mother Michèle de Jessey was a notable figure in the Chenin-only appellation of Savennières, having inherited the estate from her aunt, Madame du Closel; she was devoted to all things Savennières, and even became its president, the first woman to run an AOC.
Evelyne inherited her mother’s passion and technical acuity and now meticulously manages the estate, which comprises 13 hectares of Chenin Blanc (as well as 3 of Cabernets Franc and Sauvignon). The estate was certified organic in 2006 and received full biodynamic certification as of the 2015 vintage. Savennières is a famously unique, intense, savory and structured expression of Chenin Blanc, thanks to the preponderance of schist, a form of slate, in its soils; Evelyne has learned from her 16 years on the job that meticulous, minimal farming and winemaking is the most effective way to convey its essence.
100% Chenin Blanc. La Jalousie is a blend of several parcels of younger (20-year-old) vines planted in schistous soils on gentle hills. Like the rest of the Closel vines, they are biodynamically farmed, low-yielding and harvested by hand. They are the first of the estate to be harvested, when the grapes are pale yellow, crisp and totally healthy. The bunches are direct-pressed, then fermented with native yeasts and a small amount of sulfur in tank. The wine is tank-aged on its lees, without any exposure to air, for 9 months before bottling. Normally, Jalousie doesn't go through malo but in the warm 2018 vintage, it did so. Jalousie is intended to be a modern rendition of Savennières: approachable and fresh in its youth, as a result of not being over-ripened, botrytis-influenced or long- or wood-aged.
- Item #: i_350578Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 94WINE SPECTATOR 94 POINTS - "Green plum and verbena notes lead the way for now, with a flash of quinine on the finish. This is juicy, but still a bit compact overall, with the core of ample pear, quince and ginger flavors in reserve. Just wait for everything to knit together and stretch out, as the purity and length are there. Best from 2018 through 2028."
- Item #: i_351571Bottle Size: 750mlSince the Middle Ages, Fronton, just north of Toulouse, has been the home of the Negrette grape variety, which is nearly exclusive to the area. The region encompasses 2,300 hectares of vines dominated by dry heat and rocky soils and the landscape is marked by hills and valleys, ranging from 300 to 600 ft above sea level. The banks of the Tarn and Garonne rivers have particularly poor gravel soils. Vines grown in this area are forced to struggle and dig deeper for nutrients to establish a stronger root system. This gives the grapes very distinct flavors and they are commonly characterized as having notes of violets and licorice.
- Item #: i_351095Bottle Size: 750mlBIODYNAMIC
You learn a lot about a man by his compost pile. One of the few producers in the appellation of Saumur-Champigny to farm naturally, Thierry Germain is extremely proud of his, reaching into the heart of his compost to show off the smoking debris to visitors. While others are pumping as much synthetic fertilizer into their vineyard as possible to reach the highest potential yields, Thierry Germain is going the other direction, using his compost only when necessary, and asking the vines to suffer to produce much, much less fruit. The end results are stunning.
- Item #: i_352623Bottle Size: 750mlThe Pinards have been passing down winemaking techniques for generations, with the goal of always creating the most precise, pure, and fine wines possible. While many wineries are reverting to these natural winemaking practices, the Pinards have been implementing these methods for hundreds of years on their 17 hectares. They do everything as naturally as possible; intervene as little as feasible, limit yields, harvest by hand, and do not use herbicides, insecticides or anti-rot treatments. They believe that if the fruit is healthy, there is no need to use artificial products during the vinification process. With every vintage, the Pinards want to continue to improve the quality of their wines.