Raspail Ay is one of the most celebrated, traditional Gigondas estates. Owner Dominique Ay has now been joined by his son, Christophe and daughter, Anne-Sophie. The 18 hectares of vineyards are perfectly positioned all around the house and are a mix of 80% Grenache, 15% Syrah and 5% Mourvèdre with an average vine age of 40 years.
The grapes are hand picked and then 100% destemmed, vinified in cement tanks and aged in a mix of large foudres and old barriques.. The wines are never fined and rarely filtered. These are wines packed with fruit, and age admirably.
A deep ruby red appearance the nose of the wine has black fruit aromas together with hints of cherry and raspberry as well as pepper and warming spice. The palate has a lovely structure with gentle tannins supporting a melange of fruits, leather and spice. The finish is long and persistent.
Situated in Cadaujac, a few miles south east of Bordeaux city, Château Lamothe-Bouscaut is an historic wine estate with its origins dating back to the 12th century. Today the property is owned by Sophie Lurton and Laurent Cogombles.
The vineyards cover 12 hectares with 9 hectares being in current production. The soil is composed of deep gravel and the vines have an average age of 35 years.
The 2015 Lamothe-Bouscaut rouge is 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon.
After a manual harvest the grapes are fermented in thermo-regulated stainless steel tanks followed by ageing in oak barrels for 12-15 months.
Deep red colour in appearance, the nose is very attractive and expressive with lots of black fruit, liquorice and spicy aromas. The palate is full and rounded with layers of ripe fruit, hints of cedar and soft, supple tannins.
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 Mercurey Blanc “La Brigadière” is a delicious revelation, from 25 year old vines and vinified in 400ltr. demi-muids (20% new).
The wine is pale straw in appearance with a taut, mineral driven nose reflecting the limestone soils of the vineyards. The palate is full and dry with notes of dried fruits and honey. A wine of great finesse rather than power.
A 21 hectare property at St-Sulpice-de-Faleyrens on the hillside to the south west of the town of St.Émilion. In recent years new owners (the Escure family) and significant investment has allowed the property to improve and it is now producing very sound wines at sensible prices.
Predominantly Merlot (80%) with 10% each of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine is dark purple/red in the glass with a nose full of ripe plum and prune notes with hints of cedar wood and spice. The palate is round and fleshy with flavours of bramble and plum supported by gentle tannins.
Eric is a young vigneron, based in the village of Vergisson, and currently has 4.8 hectares of vines planted between 1930 and 1979. He has inherited a great knowledge of nature and biodynamics from his grandfather and this has been a major influence in his approach to viticulture and winemaking.
All grapes are hand picked and fermented and matured for ten to fifteen months in barriques and demi-muids. The wines are hand bottled and are, usually, unfiltered.
The Pouilly Fuissé L’Ame Forest is a blend of two complementary, individual vineyards – “Les Tilliers” and ” La Côte” located on the northern slope of the Vergisson hill. The resultant wine is full, rich and minerally with great length.
Pale straw in appearance, the fresh nose displays citrus and stone fruit aromas. Elegant on the palate, with a lively attack. A saline and mineral wine with subtle and harmonious oak flavours. A very long finish.
The Dureuil-Janthials are one of the oldest families in the village of Rully, and they can be traced back to 13th century. Vincent Dureuil has today firmly established himself as one of the top growers in this village, being equally at home with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. His first vintage was in 1994 and in just a few years, he has gained a great reputation for top quality wines. His whites are mineral and expressive, and his reds are juicy and fruit-laden.
Domaine Dureuil-Janthial comprises 17 hectares, mainly in the Côte Chalonnaise, but also with holdings in the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits. They produce wine in 20 appellations and have been certified organic since the late 2000’s.
Vincent’s cellars are very deep and cold and all fermentations, malolactic processes and stabilizations take much longer than is ordinarily the case. This, together with low yielding, old vines contributes to the great richness and complexity which all of his wines demonstrate.
The Mercurey Rouge is from a 0.9 hectare vineyard planted with 40 year old vines. After careful sorting the grapes are cold-macerated for 8 days followed by fermentation using natural yeasts. The wine is aged for 18 months in oak, a third of which is new.
The wine shows good colour with a nose full of dark fruit aromas, hints of spice and “forest floor.” The palate is full and rounded with excellent fruit – cherry, red berries – and spicy flavours. The finish is long.
This fine right bank property has been in the Guichard family since 1832 and at 42 hectares (110 acres), situated next to the Pomerol plateau, it is the largest estate in Lalande. The imposing château is surrounded by parkland and vineyards. The soils are a mixture of gravel and clay.
85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc.
After a traditional fermentation the wine is aged for 12 months in French oak, 15% of which is new.
Dark in appearance the nose is richly perfumed and very enticing. The palate is full and generous with plenty of ripe fruit – cherry and blackcurrant- and gentle tannic strucure – very attractive claret from a great vintage.
This wonderful family domaine has been in the Prieur family for 11 generations and is today run by Luc and Philippe Prieur.
The estate comprises 13.5ha of Sauvignon Blanc in the village of Verdigny, just to the north west of the town of Sancerre. Here the soils are mainly limestone based but the family also have 5ha of flinty, “silex” soil in the village of Thauvenay. The silex soil adds a distinctive smoky edge to the wines. The domaine also has 5ha of Pinot Noir.
Although not currently certified organic, the domaine bans the use of weedkillers and insecticides and the harvest is manual with several sweeps through the vineyards.
Fruit for the lieu dit Pieuchaud cuvée is from the eponymous vineyard on the silex soils of Thauvenay. The grapes are carefully pressed in a pneumatic press before fermentation in temperature controlled stainless steel vats. The wine is then aged for 14 months in a combination of old 1,600 litre wooden vats (80%) and 600 litre barrels.
Production is small at around 5,000 bottles.
Dry and fresh with layered flavours of grass and smoky flint notes, the ageing in barrel adds depth, richness and complexity rarely seen in Sancerre.
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 lees for 12 months – 85% in steel and 15% in old oak.
The resulting wines are beautiful expressions of classic, fine, concentrated, pure, steely, minerally Chablis.
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