The Côte de Gien is situated just to the north of Sancerre and Pouilly-sur-Loire.
In 1991, the Thibault family decided to create the “Domaine de Villargeau” on land facing south-southwest and enjoying the greatest amount of sunshine. Two brothers, Fernand and Jean-François Thibault, cleared hillsides abandoned since the phylloxera crisis of the mid nineteen century in order to plant vines. In 2000, they were joined by one of their sons, Marc, returning to the area armed with his apprenticeship and experience in viticulture and oenology.
Made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc the wine is fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel and then aged on its lees, again in steel, before bottling.
Dry, crisp and refreshing, the wine is a slightly lighter and softer style of Sauvignon than that produced in Sancerre and Pouilly. Excellent wine and great value.
André Roméro is a most characterful and talented grower. He founded Domaine la Soumade in 1979 and was joined by his son Frédéric in 1996 on completion of his oenology studies. Today the estate covers 26 hectares, including a new plot of 2.5 hectares of the finest land in Rasteau – pure ‘Argile bleue’ with 60 year old vines.
Domaine la Soumade practices “agriculture raisonée” (sustainable winemaking) in all of their vineyards, only treating the vines where absolutely necessary.
They use organic compost which is only applied when soil deficiencies are revealed, following analysis of the soil and vine vegetation. When climatic conditions dictate they use organically permitted treatments (sulphur and copper) to protect the vines from mildew and oidium.
Domaine la Soumade Côtes du Rhône is 80% Grenache Noir and 20% Syrah from low yielding (45 hl per ha) vines varying in age from 8 -15 years.
The grapes are harvested by hand with the best grapes selected on a sorting table in the vineyard.
Traditional winemaking with punching down of the skin cap and a regular pumping over of juice in open stainless steel tanks.
Maceration of the skins lasts between 14 and 18 days with a temperature controlled fermentation.
This is followed by an 18 month maturation of the wine on fine lees in stainless steel followed by a light filtration and bottling.
A 17 ha property just to the south of the village of Barsac that has been in the Guinabert family for over 350 years.
85% Semillon, 10% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Muscadelle.
Pale golden straw in appearance, the nose is fresh with characteristic Botrytis honey and hints of apricots and marmalade. The palate is middle weight, not too sweet but very elegant. A delicious and very well balanced Sauternes.
Hervé Dubourdieu makes impeccable wine from the 13 hectares of 40+ year old vines at his Graves property of Château Graville-Lacoste. Here the combination of a stony soil and Hervé’s great attention to detail in both the vineyards and the winery result in a dry white wine with great character and a lovely fresh minerality.
Hervé blends a high proportion of Sémillon (75%) and a splash of Muscadelle (5%) with Sauvignon Blanc (20%), creating a rich, full, aromatic mid-palate to complement the clean finish.
Vinification and ageing is in temperature controlled stainless steel and the wine is bottled without filtering.
Based in the village of Vergisson the Drouin family domaine comprises some 11 hectares and is run by Thierry and son Charles-Edouard. Established for several generations it comprises 6ha of prime Pouilly Fuissé vineyards and 3ha of Macon Villages.
The grapes for the Mâcon-Bussières are from low-yielding 35 year old vines planted with a north-west exposure.
The wine is aged for 8 months in 500-litre oak barrels on fine lees to extract maximum flavour and texture.
Pale straw yellow in appearance, the nose of the wine has rich aromas of vanilla, pear and pineapple as well as white flowers. On the palate, the expression is elegant, middle-weight and pure with a touch of citrus/mineral flavour on the finish.
“Le Paradou” Côtes de Provence Rosé is a joint project between Alex and Fred Chaudière of Château Pesquié in Ventoux and US wine shipper Eric Solomon.
A blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Rolle (Vermentino) from 20-30 year old vines from a vineyard at 250 m altidude in the shadow of Montagne Sainte-Victoire in the heart of Provence.
The fruit is hand picked in the cool of early morning and transferred to the winery where it is cooled before a short, gentle maceration to extract the lightest possible colour. Fermentation and ageing is in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats to maximize freshness.
Very pale in colour the nose is fresh and clean with notes of red berries – raspberries and strawberries – with a touch of spice. The palate is dry and refreshing with soft fruit and a lovely supporting acidity that leads to a long, lingering finish.
This small co-operative, founded in 1954, has 110 members and 200 hectares of vineyard in the Haut-Rhin, nine kilometres from Colmar.
Grapes for the Riesling Réserve are grown in vineyards running along the South and South-East facing hillside slopes of Hunawihr, at an altitude of 250-320 metres above sea level. The average age of the vines is over 25 years old.
Wine maker Nicolas Garde selected each parcel individually to ensure the best quality for this Réserve wine. The temperature controlled fermentation took place at around 17°C for three weeks with local Alsace yeasts. The wine was then aged on its fine lees in stainless steel tanks for three months before careful filtration. No malolactic fermentation was allowed to take place.
A bright and elegant straw yellow with delicate silver tints. The nose is nicely complex with citrus, pear and white flower notes.The palate shows lively attack and is rich in the aromas of the bouquet, especially citrus. A long-lasting wine with a refreshing finish.
Situated in Davayé, at the foot of the rock of Solutré, the Chavet family have 12 hectares under vine, 10 of which are in the appellation of St Véran. The current custodian, Christophe, is the sixth generation of Chavets to manage the Domaine.
The vines, which average around 30 years old, are planted on stoney, clay-limestone soils facing south-east to south-west. The planting density is an unusually high 8,000 vines per hectare.
After a combination of machine and hand-picking, a stringent selection and gentle pressing, the wine is simply fermented in cuve at around 18 °C for 6-7 weeks. Once the alcoholic and malolactic fermentations are completed, the wine spends a further 4-5 months in cuve, sur lie, prior to bottling the following spring.
The resulting wine is fine, crisp, clean, and soft with fresh minerally.
A great introduction to white Burgundy, or, for the already converted, a lovely, affordable treat!
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