- 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_352097Bottle Size: 750mlThere are few winemakers in history as bullish or brazen, roguish or renegade, as the Loire Valley's Didier Dagueneau. High-standards, incredible risk-taking, impeccable attention to detail, zealous allegiance to his terroir, and a willingness to take a stand against convention made this once-professional motorcycle sidecar racer the stuff of legends.
However dare-devilish in both winemaking and in life, Didier's untimely death in a plane crash in 2008 shook the wine community to its core. Fortunately for all who love Didier's wines, his oldest son, Louis-Benjamin, is now steering the domaine with the audacity, passion and talent that many critics and wine-lovers agree equal those of his father.
Famous in the Loire and throughout the world for perfumed Sauvignon blanc, Pouilly-Fume sits due east, across the Loire River from Sancerre. Limestone soils with clay and flint (also called silex) contribute to the wines' freshness and often times smoky, flinty, mineral character.
- Item #: i_351796Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 93WINE SPECTATOR 93 POINTS - "Piercing and pure, with pear, green apple and green almond notes carried by a sleek, minerally edge. Shows juiciness along the edges and flashes of honeysuckle and bitter almond in the background. Drink now through 2033."
- Item #: i_353637Bottle Size: 750mlPRACTICING ORGANIC VITICULTURE
The wines of François Pinon are considered among the finest of Vouvray. François, a former child psychologist, took over the estate from his father in 1987, and has steadily made a name for the estate over the past 10 years. He is a serious winemaker whose main focus is "to keep the typicity of both the appellation and the vintage" in all his wines.
The vineyards are in the corniche of the Vallée de Cousse. The soil is clay and silica on a base of limestone (tuffeau) with flint (silex) and the area is rated among the top sites in the appellation for Vouvrays of distinction and long life. Pinon follows a discipline of plowing the vineyards, not using chemical fertilizers and pesticides and, of course, he harvests by hand and uses no cultured yeasts. All new plantings are done by selection and no nursery clones are used; the vines are an average of 25 years old. He is slowly moving towards organic certification with confidence that these methods produce the finest fruit.
The Trois Argiles cuvée is what is termed a vin tendre; the sweetness is between a sec and demi-sec. It has a delicate sweetness in the attack that gives over to a pleasant citrus finish with resonance and length. It has flavors reminiscent of apples and quince with a slightly spicy accent. This wine will continue to develop with age, but is affable and charming when drunk young.
- 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.