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.
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.
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.
100% Sauvignon Blanc, the grapes are pressed in a pneumatic press before fermentation in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats. Only wild yeasts are used. The fermenting wine is regularly stirred (batonnage) to maximise the flavour and character of the wine.
Dry, fresh and very zippy, this is classic Sancerre at its very best.
To the south of Bordeaux city, near Cadillac, Château Ricaud boasts an exceptionally diverse array of soils. Impressed by its quality potential and the architectural splendour of the château, Alain Thiénot (of Champagne fame) bought the property in 1980 and has subsequently put in place a remodelling plan to transform the estate into a benchmark Loupiac and to create a Côtes de Bordeaux worthy of the finest wines.
Loupiac lies across the River Garonne from Sauternes.
Set in a natural amphitheatre and surrounded by three streams, no other spot in the appellation is more affected by the alternating misty and very dry conditions essential to produce the fungus Botrytis Cinerea or “noble rot”.
Given its location, Château de Ricaud is one of the rare estates where this magic is guaranteed to take place and every year, allowing without fail, the incredible transformation to take place, creating wonderfully aromatic golden nectar.
100% Semillon, vinified and then aged in oak (20% of which is new) for 12 months.
Attractive golden appearance. Lovely freshness on the intense bouquet, full of peach and citrus fruit aromas. The aromas are mirrored on the palate, where they combine with lovely mature noble rot character offering typical apricot and orange rind notes. With beautifully balanced acidity and rich sweetness, the wine has a lingering, aromatic and fresh finish.
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 wine is aged on its fine lees for 10 months in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks.
The resulting wines are beautiful expressions of classic, concentrated, minerally Chablis.
François Raquillet, the 11th generation of grape growers in Mercurey, has 10 hectares of superbly sited, mostly old, vines. He believes in low yields, mature (rather than super-ripe) fruit and a severe selection at the sorting table. The depth, richness and concentration which characterise his wines are a result of this, rather than any over extraction.
The Bourgogne Rouge is from 3 parcels of 60 year old vines aged in old (1-3 year) wood – delicious, juicy and seductive.
Based in Chavanay, Lionel Faury makes lovely wines and has definitely moved his 17 hectare family domaine to the top of the first division of Northern Rhône growers.
The steeply terraced vineyards are on granite soils and have a south/south east aspect. The grapes (100% Syrah from some of Lionel’s younger vines – 10-35 years old) are hand picked and taken to the winery where they undergo a 15-20 day maceration period in steel followed by fermentation, again in temperature controlled stainless steel, with regular pumping over 2-3 times daily. The wine is then aged for 12 months in wood, a mixture of 2,400 -,3,500 litre foudres, 570 litre demi-muids and 220 litre barriques, 15% of which are new. After pressing the wine is bottled without filtration.
The wine is deep, ruby red in appearance with a rich nose full of black fruit (blackcurrant and blackberry) and cherry aromas. The palate is ripe with good fruit flavours and warming spice supported by a firm, yet not obtrusive, tannin structure.
The second wine of Château Climens, Cyprèe de Climens is 100% Semillon.
The history of the estate dates back to the 16th century but today it is in the ownership of the Lurton family with Bérénice Lurton currently at the helm.
The vineyards of Climens cover more than 30 hectares in one continuous vineyard surrounding the château and have an average age of 35 years.
Fermentation is in cask followed by a further 12 month period of maturation in barrel.
The wine has a lovely yellow/ amber colour with an aromatic nose, with vanilla hints, and notes of candied yellow fruits, apricot and honey. The palate is soft and rounded with excellent texture, richness and great length. A lovely Barsac.
Founded by Henri Jacqueson in 1947, succeeded by his son Paul in 1972 and joined by Paul’s daughter Marie in 2006, and more recently by his son Pierre, this domaine has long been recognised as one of the very best in the Côte Chalonnaise and its wines adorn the lists of many of the finest restaurants in France.
They have 13 hectares of wonderfully sited vines, many of which are very old, and prune hard to reduce yields to around 35 hl/ha. They only work the vineyards manually, with very minimal vine treatments. They are one of very few producers in the village (together with Dureuil-Janthial) to hand-pick everything. Extremely proficient winemaking and judicious use of new oak (20% for whites and 25% for reds) make for beautifully crafted, ripe, intense, sensual wines which have the class to belie their origins.
The delicious Rully Blanc is from three sites in Fromanges, La Barre and Chaponnières totalling 3 hectares.
There is toasty oak on the nose as well as fresh mineral aromas. The palate is full and generous with layered flavours and a creamy texture. The finish is long and persistent with firm grip from the balancing acidity.
Copyright 2014 | Richard Granger Fine Wine Merchants