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.
This 16.5ha property is situated near Mercurol. The vineyards are highly fragmented and spread over many sites within the appellation. The grapes are hand picked with careful selection both in the vineyard and on the sorting table in the winery. Low yields give a great concentration of flavour in the wine.
The 2016 vintage in the Rhône Valley is superb. 100% Syrah, the wine is dark and opaque in the glass. The nose is rich with fruit and spice in the background with a full and rounded palate. Strong flavours of blackberries and blackcurrants, hints of pepper and leather over a soft, but well structured, tannin base.
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.
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.
30% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre ,10% Cinsault, 10% Carignan from 40 year-old, low yielding vines farmed according to biodynamic principles.
The grapes are harvested by hand at optimum ripeness, then transported to the winery. After destemming, 30% of the fruit is crushed, with the remainder used for semi carbonic maceration; grapes are vinified separately by variety and parcel. Fermentation takes place with natural yeasts, with pumping over at the onset of alcoholic fermentation, followed by punching down through to the end of the time in tank (22 days in concrete tanks, at 25°C). Malolactic fermentation took place while the wine was maturing in barrel.
Ageing was for 20 months in 2000-litre wooden casks, with some wine put into smaller barrels for a year. The wine was bottled without filtration.
A highly expressive wine. Notes of spice, eucalpytus, mint and liquorice on the nose, followed by more complex, secondary aromas including juniper. Excellent freshness and balance, with fine tannins, small berry fruit and spice.
Savennières is renowned for making some of the finest dry Chenin Blanc in the world. The wines are noted for their intensity of flavour and nerve and energy.
It is a small appelation (145 hectares) on the north bank of the Loire just to the south west of Anjou.
This estate was created in 2007 when Philippe Fournier amalgamated two existing estate. The vineyards are now certified organic with low yields (25hl/ha), and a purely manual harvest conducted by making several passes through the vineyards.
“La Croix Picot” is from vines grown on a clay/schist soil. The wine is aged for 12 months in oak barrels and then for a further 6 months on its fine lees in larger oak vats.
It is a dry, full bodied Chenin Blanc with succulent mouthfeel, intense aromas and extraordinary ageing potential. The wine does not undergo the malolactic fermentation to enhance the freshness and bouquet.
Legend has it that this property was originally owned by a ruthless warlord who was nicknamed “Le Noir” due to his black armour and his tendency to attack his enemies under cover of night!
Now owned by the much friendlier Ducourt family, Jacques Noir is 100% Merlot, vinified in temperature controlled stainless steel vats and then aged in oak for 12 months.
Dense red in appearance with purple hues, the nose is big and full of ripe black fruit aromas and chocolate. The palate is soft with ample fruit and good structure from the gentle tannins. The finish is long and persistent.
This small co-operative, founded in 1954, has 110 members and 200 hectares of vineyard in the Haut-Rhin, nine kilometres from Colmar.
The 5.6 hectare Rosacker vineyard is north of Hunawihr, a small village between Ribeauvillé and Riquewihr. This is also where the famous parcel of Clos St Hune is located. It lies 260-330m above sea level, facing east/south-east, with heavy, clay soils rich in calcium and magnesium, with limestone pebbles. The vines are 35 years old on average.
All of the grapes were harvested by hand. There was a gentle cold settling of the must for 48 hours before a long, slow fermentation for four weeks, with selected yeasts. The wine was aged for four months in stainless steel tanks on the lees with regular stirring and then some further time resting in tank before being filtered and bottled.
The wine is light yellow in colour with an elegant silver tint. On the nose, there are delicate nuances of lime and grapefruit. It is complex and fresh on the palate, with aromatic hints of citrus fruits with beautiful acidity and a zesty finish.
Michel Maret has now been joined by his two daughters, Véronique, helping with the wine making, and Caroline, running the office with Madame Maret.
Always a top Domaine and making rich succulent wines of great style.
Domaine la Charbonnière has 12 hectares of prime vineyard in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and 4.5 in Vacqueyras – this is a serious, established, top quality Domaine.
The Vacqueyras is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah from vines aged between 20 – 35 years.
No destemming takes place. Vinification is traditional, in stainless steel and concrete vats, and now open-top wooden fermenters. Élevage is in a mixture of new barriques, foudres and demi-muids for 6-8 months.
There is now a temperature controlled cellar which gives Michel more room and the ability to bottle when he wants and all in one go.
Copyright 2014 | Richard Granger Fine Wine Merchants