Situated at the foot of Mount Brouilly, this estate of some 70 hectares of vines, produces delicious Brouilly. The vineyards are on weathered granite, the soil is shallow and poor – sandy, acid and containing rock debris. Deeper down the subsoil is rich in mineral elements such as iron, potassium and manganese giving the wine its special character.
The grapes are hand picked, sorted and de-stemmed before being put into temperature controlled stainless steel vats for a long (2-3 week) maceration period during which the chapeau de marc -the cap of the grape skins- is regularly pushed down into the juice (pigeage), to enhance the aromatics, colour and body of the finished wine.
After pneumatic pressing, the malolactic fermentation takes place gently and slowly throughout the winter after which the wine is bottled in the spring. The wines are always aged for several months at the château before release.
Bright, deep purple in appearance, the bouquet is dominated by notes of ripe fruit. In the mouth it is full and silky with soft, supple tannins – serious and classic Beaujolais.
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.
Whilst Frédéric has assumed responsibility for most of the day to day work on the domaine, André is still actively involved, that is when he is not following the fortunes of F.C. Barcelona!
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.
The Domaine la Soumade Rasteau is 80% Grenache Noir, 10% Syrah, and 10% Mourvèdre from low yielding (38 hl per ha) vines varying in age from 10 – 30 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.
The Vigneau brothers, Christophe and Stéphane, have 30 hectares of Chenin Blanc grown on prime Vouvray vineyards spread over a variety of sites.
The delicious, minerally Vouvray Sec “Cuvée Silex” is from flint (silex) and clay soils. Silex is considered the finest soil type for the Chenin Blanc in this part of the Loire Valley.
Pale straw in appearance, the nose has a lovely blend of herby notes, green apple freshness and just a touch of honey. The palate is dry with apple flavours, brilliant zesty structure and a very long finish.
The late Jean-Michel Vigneau began the process of converting to organic production in the early 1990’s and in 1999 Vigneau-Chevreau received certification from Ecocert. The current generation have taken the next step by adopting a biodynamic approach which pays close attention to the natural rhythms of the earth and lunar cycles.
Domaine Vigneau-Chevreau is one of the only two estates in Vouvray to be biodynamic and they own 25% of the appellation’s organic vineyards – 30 ha.
A mature wine from the renowned Sauternes property of Château Filhot.
“Gold Reserve” 1998 is a light and elegant style. Not the sweetest of Sauternes but full of dried fruit and marmalade flavours. It is well suited as an aperitif or to partner rich savoury dishes such as rich pâtés, or cheeses (especially Roquefort). If you want to use it as a dessert wine choose a light, fruit dish.
The Sabon estate has 16 hectares of vineyards in some of the best sites of Châteauneuf – but they also have 17 hectares on the western side of the river in Roquemaure where this fine Lirac is produced.
The wine making is today handled by Didier Negron, the son-in- law of the late Jean Jacques Sabon. The vineyards are managed by Jean Jacque’s brother Denis and his son Julien.
Grenache is predominant as with all the wines of the Domaine. It is blended with Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan.
The young wine is aged in large oak foudres for about six months. Very dark in the glass the nose has aromas of black and red fruits as well as spice and tobacco hints. The fruit flavours follow through to the palate that is full and round with soft tannins and warming spice.
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 Gewürztraminer Réserve are grown in vineyards running along the south and south-east facing hillside slopes around the village of Hunawihr at an altitude of 250-320 metres above sea level. The average age of the vines is 25 years old.
This Gewürztraminer was made from a blend of micro-parcels from the Hunawihr vineyards, picked at optimum ripeness. The temperature controlled fermentation took place between 16-18°C for three weeks, followed by four months in stainless steel tanks to settle before careful filtration. No malolactic fermentation was allowed to take place.
Straw yellow in colour with an elegant silver gold tint. The nose is complex with very delicate flavours of exotic lychee and mango with a hint of rose. Full-bodied, this is a medium dry wine with a refreshing acidity. Rose perfumes continue on the long finish.
A super property beautifully situated just below Le Château du Moulin-à-Vent with very fine terroir. Thierry Janin is a true “vigneron”! He owns 1 hectare and rents and works a further 6 hectares on a metayage basis – receiving a proportion of the production.
Thierry adheres to organic principles in the vineyards. In most years the grapes are whole bunch fermented. Minimal doses of SO2 are usually added during fermentation and just before bottling. The wine is very lightly filtered.
The Moulin-à-Vent comes from 45 – 55 year old vines and is aged in old foudres.
Gilles and Nathalie Fèvre met at university where they both qualified as oenologists. Gilles’ great grandfather began growing grapes and making wine in and around the village of Fontenay-Près-Chablis over a hundred years ago.
Today, they own 40 hectares of vines – all planted on Kimmeridgian limestone – throughout the region. The vines are mainly aged between 25 and 35 years although some date back to when Gilles’s greatgrandfather ran the domaine.
Gilles is in charge of viticulture. The finest possible grapes are grown with a fastidious, environmentally conscious approach to quality, lower yields and scrupulous selection. Nathalie oversees winemaking, where small, temperature controlled stainless steel tanks are used to vinify each parcel separately.
The resulting wines are beautiful expressions of classic, fine, concentrated, pure, steely, minerally Chablis.
Copyright 2014 | Richard Granger Fine Wine Merchants