The Vigneau brothers, Christophe and Stéphane, have 30 hectares of Chenin Blanc grown on prime Vouvray vineyards spread over a variety of sites.
They also control the “Clos de Rougemont” vineyard that is part of the historic Abbey of Marmoutier. At its height, the Abbey was one of the grandest churches in Europe and played host to Popes and Kings. However the Abbey and its vineyard fell into disrepair following the French Revolution and the scourge of phylloxera in the 19th century. In the early 1990s, Vigneau-Chevreau was awarded the rights to the vineyard for a 50 year period in return for restoring it to its original condition.
The vineyard was replanted with carefully selected vines from their best vineyards and today the results are there for all to see.
“Clos de Rougemont” has great depth of flavour, and a delicious long dry finish. It is planted on pure limestone soil and vinified in barrel with a tiny proportion of new oak. A really great Vouvray!
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.
Founded in 1995, Calmel & Joseph is a négociant house specializing in Languedoc-Roussillon wines from private wineries from across the region. Over the years, they have built close personal relationships with a large number of growers from all appellations. Convinced of the extraordinary potential of this region, oenologist, Laurent Calmel, and Jerome Joseph work together on the vinification, blending and ageing of wines with the common purpose of demonstrating the little known, yet unique quality of these Mediterranean terroirs.
60 % Chardonnay, 30 % Chenin Blanc, & 10% Pinot Noir from vines planted to the west of Limoux at 200-300 metres altitude.
The grapes are hand-harvested and transported to the winery in small crates, where they are pressed and processed in temperature-controlled tanks at 15°C. The wine is then carefully blended and bottled before undergoing the secondary fermentation of the méthode traditionelle after which it is left for 15 months to age before disgorgement.
Pale straw in appearance the wine has a lovely mousse with fine, tightly-packed bubbles. Fresh green apple and citrus aromas leads to a palate which is soft and rounded with peachy flavours and refreshing acidity.
Vignerons for 5 generations, Domaine Vessigaud is a small, family-owned property situated in the hamlet of Pouilly, in the heart of the Pouilly-Fuissé appéllation.
The grapes for “Le Haute de Fuissé” are from 15-25 year old Chardonnay vines grown in a 2 hectare vineyard on the higher hillsides of Fuissé – they are characterised by producing wines with good minerality, fine structure and elegance. The soils are a mixture of clay and limestone and the general aspect of the vineyard is south/south west.
The harvest is manual followed by fermentation in a mixture of casks and vats using only natural yeasts. The young wine is allowed to rest on its lees to add depth and complexity before being aged in old oak casks for 10 months.
Pale straw in appearance, the nose has ripe fruit with zesty citrus notes in the background. The palate is round and generous with layered tropical fruit flavours supported by fresh acidity and elegant minerality. The wood flavours are restrained.
David Moret is a micro-négociant making only white wines in his small cellar in Beaune. He studied oenology, but then went on to sell winemaking supplies before he finally decided to make wines himself.
Moret makes excellent Meursault but his Aligoté is a real stand out wine. Aligoté is Burgundy’s forgotten white grape variety often giving wines that are harsh and lacking any real style. Not so Moret’s “Le Grand A”. Produced from 60 year old vines, it is not your typical Aligoté, extremely concentrated (due to the old vines) and given several months in French oak, a portion new.
Louis and Simon Dezat, who have been running the family domaine (made famous by their father André) for more than twenty years, have now been joined by their respective sons, Arnaud and Firmin. Their wives, Sylvie and Nadine, run a very efficient office.
Firmin studied in Tours and spent several months at Cuvaison Estate in California.
Their 20 hectares are superbly situated around five villages. Low yields and enormous care in the vineyards and cellars make for only the finest Sancerre.
The Sancerre Blanc is fermented and matured in stainless steel and it is outstanding – mouthfilling, steely and packed with gooseberries.
This is a lovely domaine, but not one that can boast a history of multiple generations of winemakers. From a cereal farming family, Sebastien Treuillet created Domaine Treuillet in 1991 and today has just over 4ha of Sauvignon Blanc vines grown on a mixture of different soils.
His Pouilly-Fumé is textbook. Very pale in appearance the nose has intense notes of citrus and white fruit aromas that follow on to the palate that is full of lovely minerality and fresh acidity. The wines are vinified and aged in stainless steel to emphasise its vibrancy and floral chareacter.
Jean-Paul Balland has handed over the running of the domaine to his two daughters – Burgundy-trained oenologist Isabelle makes the wines, and Elise runs an impressively efficient office. They have some 20 hectares with fine plots on Le Grand Chemarin and Le Chêne Marchand.
The wines of Bué are full and rich in style, the Balland wines are a classic example from this village. It is said that Jean-Paul made the best wine in the village: we certainly don’t believe that Isabelle is doing any less well – lovely wines.
The Sancerre Rouge is 100% Pinot Noir from a small, 1 hectare, vineyard.
The maceration and alcoholic fermentation takes place in stainless steel, temperature regulated tanks. Daily pumping over gives a delicate extraction of colour and flavour. The ageing and malolactic fermentation is in 600 litre barrels (demi-muids) for 1 year.
A brilliant ruby-red appearance, clear and bright. On the nose the initial aromas are of violets and red fruits with a hint of smokiness. The palate is initially very dry with tannic attack that fades to a fruity character with hints of spice, pepper and smoke on the finish.
Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe, established in 1891, has been run by the Brunier family for five generations. The estate’s vineyards are situated on the famous “Plateau de la Crau” the stony terrace where there is nothing but “galets roulés”, or rounded stones, as far as the eye can see. This special terroir imparts a highly distinctive minerality to the wines.
With the Bruniers’ expansion into the satellite appellations, Daniel and Frédéric have produced some delightful fruit driven, crunchy wines.
“Mégaphone”, Ventoux AOC, comes from a number of plots on the southern slopes of the Dentelles de Montmirail. The blend is 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah and the vines are 25 years old. Ageing is in foudres for 10 months.
A very reliable Cru Bourgeois property, Château Caronne Ste. Gemme is located in the Haut-Médoc adjacent to St.Julien. Owned by Jean and Francois Nony, the property consists of 45 hectares of vineyards and produces over 20,000 cases a year.
Caronne Ste. Gemme 2012 is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot. The wine is fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel before being transferred for maturation in oak barriques (20% of which are new, the rest being 2nd or 3rd fill) for 12 months.
Ruby red in colour with a touch of brown creeping into the rim, the nose has good red and black fruit with notes of wood, pencil shavings, spice and vanilla. The palate has good depth with black fruit flavours, soft tannins and a good structure and long finish.
Copyright 2014 | Richard Granger Fine Wine Merchants