Situated in Cadaujac, Château Lamothe-Bouscaut is an old wine estate dating back to the 17th century and beyond. The 12 hectare estate was bought by neighbouring Château Bouscaut in 1999 and is now part of the Lurton empire.
The white wine is from 35 year old Sauvignon Blanc (70%) and Semillon (30%) vines grown on limestone, clay and gravel soils.
Fermentation is in temperature-controlled stainless steel followed by 6-10 months in old oak.
Pale gold in appearance, the nose has aromas of exotic fruits and hints of vanilla. On the palate, the wine is dry, fresh and rounded with great depth and balancing acidity. The finish is very long.
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.
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.
Dominique Haverlan’s family have been making wine in the Graves for generations. Since taking over the estate in 1985 Dominique has built up a forty hectare estate (34 hectares of which is vineyards) and continues to improve quality by investing in the winery and the vineyards with an ongoing replanting scheme. The low-yielding vineyards have an average age of 30 years . They rest on a classic gravel topsoil above deep clay.
The red wines of the estateare a blend of 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, and see 40% new wood for 12 months.
The style is one of concentrated fruit with an elegant acid profile and balanced oak input playing a supporting role. These are wines that start to hit their peak around 6 years from vintage.
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.
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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