Domaine Henri Bourgeois, now in its 11th generation of the Bourgeois family, covers 72 hectares in the Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé appellations. Started by Henri Bourgeois over 50 years ago, the vineyards lie on some of the most rugged hillside terrains, offering the best exposures in the Loire Valley. Though the family is forever striving to perfect their craft, they remain committed to Henri’s original viticultural vision of showcasing the purity of the Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir grapes and the unique beauty of the Loire Valley. They have several dozen small plots of land (the family are pioneers in plot-based winemaking in the Sancerre region) including some of the very best soils for Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir in the region, being:
- clay-limestone, which gives rise to fresh, fruity vintages;
- Kimmeridgian marls, the memories of fossilised shells from the Jurassic era that give intense flavours of exotic fruits and a superb structure;
- flint, which initiates elegant wines with smoky, roasted notes and minerality of great finesse.
Vines are cultivated with complete respect for the environment. The grapes of each plot are tasted so that each one is harvested at optimum maturity. Grapes of which the flavours are then expressed with complete respect for the fruit.
For the specifics on the Les Baronnes rouge, see blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the team at Bourgeois.
100% Pinot Noir.
The bouquet is marked by morello cherry, violet, wood notes and with aging it develops aromas of game, truffle and cherries in brandy. On the palate, it reveals good roundness and a light, pleasant astringency (tannins from the grapes as well as the oak barrels) assuring good aging for 8 to 10 years.
This small, family-owned estate has been managed since 1994 by Christine and Christophe Drag, after the retirement of Jean Chauvenet, who founded the business in 1964. They work only with Pinot Noir and their wines are of incomparable texture, delicate and silky.
The domaine is run by them and they work to a single golden rule; respect for the expression of each terroir to yield a range of different wines. Since 1994 the domaine has turned to low-input cultivation which aims to minimise the use of chemical treatments, and they are working towards organic certification.
Christophe’s wines differ in temperament according to whether they come from the north or south of the Nuits-St-Georges commune. All have black fruit and complexity. Only about 33% new oak is used and the wines are bottled without filtration or fining.
This 100% Pinot Noir wine has a mid-crimson colour. It is deliciously fragrant with red fruit and almost a touch floral. Light and juicy on the palate and then with decent persistence. Scented on the palate as much as on the nose. Dry, chalky texture well suited to the fragrance. No need to wait too long to enjoy this.
The 2015 vintage was awarded 87 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2017 edition review of Beaujolais Crus (see blue link below).
Jean Foillard and is universally recognised as one of the very best Beaujolais producers and is one of the band of 4 of Morgon with Guy Breton, Jean-Paul Thevenet and Marcel Lapierre, who are all adepts of the works of Jules Chauvet on non sulphured vinification. Jean met Jules Chauvet early in his career and became an un-official member of “La Bande a Marcel”. Chauvet’s mantra was that winemaking should be a natural process. He felt that great winemaking started in the vineyard with vigorous canopy management, absolutely no use of chemicals on the vines, low or no use of sulphur etc. To Jean, this all made sense and he’s remained true to these philosophies ever since.
Foillard now uses minimal interventionist viticulture, but his wines are neither officially organic nor biodynamic even though he actually applies many of the rules. What’s in a name? What is more important for him, he says, is the result in the bottle, and the certifications on the labels are not his first concern.
This Morgon is fabulously pure, an unfiltered, unfined, unsulphured Gamay. Its colour is on the dark side of cloudy ruby red, whilst aromas boom happily out of the glass, notably kirsch, rhubarb and sweet blackberries; there’s a more fugitive bouquet of warm earth, stones and dried spice evolving into dark chocolate and cinnamon. It is extremely refreshing, bright sweet fruit is complemented by a smooth, silky tannic structure, somehow immediate and pleasing yet subtle and complex.
Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their March 2019 edition article: Older vines, better wines? (see blue link below).
The 2015 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their June 2017 edition review of "Everyday Wines" (under £25) (see blue link below).
Jean-Claude Lapalu assumed control of just under 30 acres of Gamay from his father in 1996, and made his first commercial wines in 2000. His eight parcels of east and southeast facing vines are scattered from Mont Brouilly south through the rolling hills of Odenas and his hometown of Saint-Etienne-la-Varenne.
Jean-Claude’s most significant early influence came from the writings of Jules Chauvet, France’s Father of Natural Winemaking. He is committed to a strict organic regimen and employs several tenets of biodynamic viticulture. The domaine received its organic certification from Ecocert with the 2010 vintage but he has no interest in seeking any further bureaucratic validation.
The wine is made using whole cluster fermentation (without crushing). Carbonic maceration is used for the Brouilly Vieilles Vignes. It is fermented in stainless steel tanks. Bottling happens in early April after a brief six-month élevage. Jean-Claude only uses indigenous yeasts and doesn’t use any sulphur during vinification (some is added at bottling in very small quantities: 2gr/hl)
Very fragrant and expressive, it displays aromas of violet and juicy red berry. Fresh and very much alive on the palate, it has depth and plenty of dark berry and spice character.
Impossible to miss, the small jewel of Domaine Jessiaume sits at the entrance to the tiny spa town of Santenay. Built in 1850, it comprises over 37 acres, with large plots in Santenay, important holdings in the Premiers Crus Auxey Duresses Les Ecusseaux and Volnay Les Brouillards and a terrific section of Beaune les Cent Vignes vineyard. Domaine Jessiaume always create wines with elegance and finesse.
After sorting in the vineyard and winery, the grapes are destemmed then directly put in tank. The spontaneous fermentation then starts. The grapes will stay in tank for roughly 3 weeks during alcholic fermentation. The wine is then put in oak barrels, by gravity, for 11 months (no new oak). No filtration or fining is performed.
This wine is garnet red in colour and is moderately intense. The nose exudes aromas of cherries and currants accompanied by slightly musky notes. On the palate, it has delicate fruit with fine tannins leading to a nice supple finish.
The wine has a ruby red, clear colour, with a bouquet of red fruit (cherry and rasberry). The fruit then continues on the palate and leads to a nice supple finish. This Bourgogne Pinot Noir has the capacity to age for around 4 to 6 years.
It goes particularly well with rotisserie chicken, grilled meats and vegetables.
A complex Burgundy showing expressive aromas of violets with chunky plum fruit on the palate and a long finish, full of finesse.
One of the greatest producers in Southern Burgundy, the Joblot family has been producing fine wines for over four generations. They own 14 hectares of vineyard in four red and two white Premier Cru areas in Givry and lay great emphasis on vineyard management with small yields. Their total production is 6,000 cases per annum. The wines are vinified with a high proportion of new barriques resulting in powerful but elegant wines of top class quality. These sought-after wines have limited availability.
2016 was a vintage which benefited from a mild spring, providing optimal conditions for flowering. Unlike other areas in France, the vintage was not hampered by any episodes of hail or frost. The summer was characterised by hot days and cool temperatures at night, encouraging a full maturation of the berries and resulting in a classic Burgundy vintage. Harvest took place mid-September.
L’Empreinte means ‘Footprint’ in French and this cuvée is the result of the best parcels of Domaine Joblot’s four 1er Cru vineyards: Clos Maroles, Clos Du Cellier Aux Moines , Bois Chevaux and clos de la Servoisine, in the Burgundian appellation of Givry. The soils are all limestone, except in clos du Cellier Aux Moines where brown clay components can be found. The soils are lightly harrowed rather than ploughed to avoid soil erosion. The vines are pruned to the single cane Guyot method and are planted at a density of 8,000 per hectare; they are low-yielding, producing small, concentrated flavoursome berries. The vineyards are cultivated according to a philosophy of minimum intervention, in order to retain the essence of the terroir.
Juliette Joblot aims for an early harvest in order to retain the freshness and acidity in the grapes; each vintage it takes place before the autumn equinox. The grapes were harvested in three tonne bins, pressed in a horizontal press and racked. Fermentation took place at controlled temperatures with an automatic and gentle pigeage (punching down) twice daily. A very slow, cool extraction lasted for two weeks before the wine was transferred to Allier oak barrels (50% new) for 12 months, where slow malolactic fermentation took place. Following a minimal intervention approach, the wine did not undergo further racking, minimal sulphur was added during vinification and the blend was lightly fined prior to bottling.
Pinot Noir 100%.
A very expressive nose with pure, ripe red and black fruit aromas which lead to a silky, smooth palate with velvety tannins, great length and aromatic persistence.
Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2019 tasting/review of carbonic maceration reds (see blue link below).
Domaine Joël Delaunay is a family-owned estate, located in the Touraine AOC. Today, fifth-generation owner Thierry Delaunay runs the domaine. Like his forward-thinking father, Joël Delaunay, who insisted on estate bottling in 1970, Thierry was the first Touraine producer to bottle under screwcap in 2004. Domaine Joël Delaunay has 34 hectares of vineyards, practising sustainable viticulture. 90% of their production is white, with Sauvignon Blanc being the predominant grape variety, and 10% is red, mostly Gamay and Cabernet Franc.
Domaine Joël Delaunay is situated on the bank of the Cher Valley, 50 kilometres east of Tours near the famous Château de Chenonceau. The soil is clay and silex (a mixture of flint and sand) and the training method is Guyot. The vineyards are planted with grass between the vines to control yields, and leaf thinning occurs in July to aid the ripening of the grapes.
Semi-carbonic maceration took place over a period of eight days. Alcoholic fermentation occurred at 24°C with one soft pumping over of the juice. Malolactic fermentation occurred at 22°C. The wine was aged on its fine lees, and then cross filtered prior to bottling.
This wine is bright ruby red in colour. On the nose, red fruits dominate with aromas of strawberries, red plums and cherries. The palate is light and supple with soft tannins and a fruity finish.
Domaine la Garrigue was founded in 1850 by the same family that runs the property today, Famille Bernard. Siblings Maxime, Pierre and Martine Bernard, of the 5th generation are at the helm of the estate with Maxime acting as chef with Martine taking care of operations while Pierre focuses on the family’s restaurant nestled in the hills below the Dentelles, Les Florets. Their spouses, children, nieces and nephews all have roles at the domaine and there is plenty of work for all, as this is the largest domaine in the appellation covering 83 hectares. They farm vines of Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Syrah, Grenache Blanc and Clairette on the three primary terroirs of Vacqueyras. The average age of their vines is about 50 years old with some vines well over a century. The reticent but very talented Virginie Combe, a member of the 6th generation, is in charge of the winemaking with guidance from Philippe Cambie.
The traditional structure of the family business carries through to the wines as well. Farming is sustainable – as much for its inherent benefits as a seeming distrust of modernity. In fact a visit to the cellars is like stepping back in time. There’s nary a barrel in sight and the walls are lined with concrete tanks and stainless steel fermenters. Fermentations are conducted on the stems and macerations are long and gentle, followed by reductive aging in concrete. As a result the natural ferocity of the terroirs of Vacqueyras are captured and preserved in each bottle. These are not shy or polished Rhônes but engaging and forceful examples hearkening to the past.
Aged for 18 months in concrete tanks.
Grenache 80%, Syrah 10%, Mourvedre 5%, Cinsault 5%.
This Vacqueyras possesses a notable meaty quality with firmer tannins and a seriously dense core of black fruit and iron. The nose is of black fruit with a touch of liquirice and very elegant spicy notes. The mouthfeel is full and fleshy with long-lasting fruit flavours. Should you find yourself with a fairly large piece of beef or lamb on your hands you’d be hard–pressed for a more suitable assistant at the table.
The 2013 vintage was Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their December 2018 panel tasting of Languedoc's cru reds (see blue link below).
This proudly independent family estate owned estate which was bought by the Léonor family in 1956 is located in the renowned Cru La Livinière area of Minervois. Wines are made from blends of Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault and Carignan from the best and oldest plots of the estate. Great care is taken to hand harvest the grapes at optimum ripeness and to express the terroir of the area. The wines have been certified as organic since the 2011 vintage.
The vines are grown on a hillside vineyard which benefits from more than 300 days of sunshine per year. Grown in chalky and clay soils, the vines are over 40 years old and produce an average yield of 30 hectolitres per hectare. Debudding takes place in May and a green harvest in July in order to concentrate the flavours in the berries. The grapes are hand harvested in two tranches in September, when they have reached the optimal maturity and ripeness levels, from the best plots of the vineyard.
The grapes were carefully hand harvested, with only the grapes that had reached optimal maturity and from the best plots of the vineyard, being chosen. The wines were traditionally vinified. The Syrah component of the blend was aged for 12 months in French and American oak barrels, of which 50 % were new barrels and 25% were second fill. The Grenache was aged in stainless steel tanks, to retain the fruity flavours, prior to the final blend.
A rich, full bodied red wine with aromas of dark fruit with spice complemented by elegant oak flavours through to a fine, smooth finish. Great with leg of lamb or a ribeye steak.
Didier Barral represents the thirteenth generation to grow grapes in the tiny hamlet of Lenthéric, within the confines of the Faugères appellation deep in the heart of the Languedoc. While his forebears made a living off of cultivating the vine, Didier took the family business to the next level when he began estate-bottling and commercializing his wines on a larger scale in 1993. Named for Didier's grandfather, Domaine Léon Barral is a beacon of revolutionary winegrowing: shortly after founding the domaine, Didier decided that biodynamic practices were the best choice for farming his thirty hectares of vineyards. He has pioneered numerous innovative agronomic techniques with the goal of establishing his vineyards as a self-sustaining ecosystem. This Renaissance man, naturalist, and biodynamic expert commands tremendous respect among his peers for his visionary approach to topics like soil management, pest control, and drought mitigation in his vineyards.
Didier Barral is one of the champions of the biodynamic movement in France and is highly respected among his peers for his uncompromising respect for the environment in which he lives and works—meaning the entire ecosystem surrounding his vineyards. Didier’s red Faugères, grown in rugged schist soil, displays power, rusticity, and incredibly fresh, pure fruit. Treat it as you would the wines of Gramenon and Magnon—organic, living beings that demand care and respect. His Faugères ages beautifully in a good cellar.
A superb biodynamic wine, La Valinière is a blend of 80% Mourvèdre and 20% Syrah and is one of the finest wines to emerge from the south of France in the past few years. Maceration takes place for 3 to 4 weeks with regular, manual punch-downs in cement tanks. After maceration, the must is lightly pressed with an old, wooden, vertical basket press. This wine is aged for 24 to 26 months in barrel (10% new oak). The Syrah in this cuvée comes from a north-facing parcel of vines.
Didier Barral produces wines of great depth and character, of which La Valinière is a typical example. As with many Mourvèdre-dominated wines, La Valinière is intense and velvety with savoury and 'gamey' flavours. There are also notes of cloves and cinammon. The Syrah completes the package by contributing black fruit and a touch of pepper. The acidity and tannins are well balanced making this an ideal food wine.
The yet-to-be-released (and not for some time) 2017 vintage was awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2018 focus on the Jaboulet family (see blue link below).
(and, of this, the 2016) "A fresh, mineral-driven style, with sanguine and iron notes running from start to finish while cherry, redcurrant and raspberry fruit keeps pace. Mouthwatering finish. Drink now through 2022". Wine Spectator 92/100, 2018
Domaine Les Alexandrins was founded in 2009 by two friends, viticulturalist: Alexandre Caso and winemaker: Guillaume Sorrel, son of Hermitage producer Marc Sorrel. The cellar, located in the village of Mercurol, is in a 17th century farmhouse right on the plain of CrozesHermitage. In 2015, they partnered with Nicolas Jaboulet under the same name Domaine and Maison Les Alexandrins. As the name suggests, the wines from Domaine Les Alexandrins are made from fruit which comes from their own vineyards.
The wines come from 12 hectares of vineyards that are sustainably farmed, four of which are in Crozes-Hermitage. The vineyards are planted on clay and sand soils located in the villages of Pont d’Isère (Les Flouris) and Beaumont Monteux (Vie Magne). The climate here is semi-continental.
2016 has been hailed as a great vintage but it wasn’t without its challenges. The growing season did not get off to a great start. Spring was marked by cloudy and wet weather. Hail storms also posed a threat with some loss of yield yet luckily it was early enough in the season for vines to recover vegetative growth. As a result of this weather, flowering and budburst were delayed. The summer months were very hot and without rain which halted some ripening but sorely needed rain fell at the beginning of September allowing ripening to continue. Fortunately, good weather then resumed until harvest, which resulted in fruit of good quality and moderate alcohol levels.
Grapes for this wine were hand harvested then taken to the winery where they were 100% destemmed. Cold maceration lasted for three days prior to fermentation. Once fermentation began, the must had two pump overs and two punch downs daily to ensure optimum extraction of colour and aromatics from the skins. Fermentation to dryness took 20 days before the wine was aged in barrels for between 12 -18 months prior to bottling.
This wine is deeply coloured with a purple hue. On the nose, it is concentrated and rich with notes of blackcurrant, blackberries, sweet spice and hints of smokiness. The palate is smooth and well-balanced with red and black fruit notes framed by fine grained tannins and bright acidity.
The yet-to-be-released (and not for some time) 2017 vintage was awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2018 focus on the Jaboulet family (see blue link below).
Domaine Les Alexandrins was founded in 2009 by two friends, viticulturalist: Alexandre Caso and winemaker: Guillaume Sorrel, son of Hermitage producer Marc Sorrel. The cellar, located in the village of Mercurol, is in a 17th-Century farmhouse right on the plain of Crozes-Hermitage. In 2015, they partnered with Nicolas Jaboulet under the same name, Domaine and Maison Les Alexandrins. As the name suggests, the wines from Domaine Les Alexandrins are made from fruit which comes from their own vineyards.
The wines come from four hectares of vineyards that are sustainably farmed in Saint-Joseph. The vines are grown on the round pebbles of the Les Chassis plains. The vines are on average 25 years old and are trained on a gobelet trellising system.
2016 has been hailed as a great vintage but it wasn’t without its challenges. The growing season did not get off to a great start. Spring was marked by cloudy and wet weather. Hail storms also posed a threat with some loss of yield yet luckily it was early enough in the season for vines to recover vegetative growth. As a result, flowering and budburst were delayed. The summer months were very hot and dry which halted some ripening but sorely needed rain fell at the beginning of September allowing ripening to continue. Fortunately, good weather then resumed until harvest, which resulted in good quality fruit and moderate alcohol levels.
The grapes were destemmed and then fermented in stainless-steel tanks, with two punch downs and pump overs daily of the cap to extract silky tannins. Malolactic fermentation took place in barrel. The wine was then aged in oak barrels for 15 months, all of the barrels used were between one and two years old.
This wine is deep ruby in colour with aromas of black fruit and freshly cracked black pepper and roasted cocoa. It is beautifully structured and full bodied with fine tannins. The finish is long and very harmonious.
Although equipped with the most modern tools and equipment, the winemaking methods at Domaine Louis Latour remain simple and traditional. The Louis Latour style is an auspicious combination of the richness of nature and the skill of man's labour. They respect the natural rhythm of the vines and make wines in harmony with nature, with the aim of offering full expression to the elegance and the balance of the great terroirs of Burgundy.
At Maison Louis Latour, we imprint each wine with an individual style that our customers can rediscover year after year.
Domaine de Valmoissine is located on the site of the ancient monastery and university of Valmoissine at 500 metres above sea-level. This guarantees sunshine during the summer months whilst remaining cool at night and limits the possibility of spring frosts. The vineyard's southern exposure gives the raisins perfect maturity at the same time as the Grands Crus of Corton. The yield is small in order to ensure perfect maturity and concentration of the grapes, the factors that create the best quality wines. This results in an elegant wine with remarkable finesse.
The Pinot Noir Domaine de Valmoissine is a fruity wine, offering a soft and silky palate with soft tannins. It matches well with grilled red meat, cheese and red fruits.
We like this because we love the accessible fruitiness of this Pinot Noir (far less austere than many French PNs) that makes it perfect for many different dishes.
Pierre Boillot is a rare master of both the Côtes de Beaune and the Côtes de Nuits–not only does he have the vineyards but also the savoir-faire and skill. Pierre inherited this domaine from his father Lucien, whose name it still carries. Pierre worked together with his brother Louis for years, but a few years ago they parted ways and split up the family holdings. Pierre’s talent has become much more evident as he has had full control over this domaine, and in addition to retaining the original cellars in Gevrey-Chambertin, Pierre has instituted a rigorous revitalizing of the soils and vines in all of his vineyards. Pierre inherited very old vines from his father in the Côtes de Nuits and from his great-grandfather Henri Boillot, who was originally from Volnay, in the Côtes de Beaune.
Many of his vineyards are under-appreciated treasures: Volnay Les Angles, which was originally classified as one of the top premier cru sites in Volnay in the 19th century, Pommard Croix Noires right below Rugiens, Gevrey Cherbaudes right next to Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru and Gevrey Corbeaux right next to MazisChambertin Grand Cru. Every wine is a classic representation of its appellation–from Volnay and Pommard to Gevrey and Nuits-Saint-Georges, as Pierre’s work in the cellars is geared towards transparent, terroir-driven wines of purity and finesse. He is not, however, against a rich, plump, lusciousness in his reds.
This wine is medium to full-bodied, exceptionally complex with aromas of bacon, black cherries, liquorice, pencil lead, raspberry jam, a smokiness and dry toast. On the palate one can find a balanced acidity, integrated oak, modest tannins and cocoa powder, coffee, mushroom, peat moss, plum flavours jam, smoky.
Domaine Maillard was founded in 1952 by Daniel Maillard, whose family have been viticulturists in Burgundy since 1766. Domaine Maillard now covers 19 hectares. His two sons, Alain and Pascal ensure the future of the estate and continue to respect the culture of the vineyard.
This Aloxe-Corton is drawn from vines averaging 40 years in age. Grapes are picked by hand to ensure that only the best grapes are used. Fermentation lasts some 12 to 15 days with 1-2 punch-downs per day. It is aged for 18 months in 228-litre French oak barrels (Burgundian pièces), of which some 25% are new. It is then bottled after only a light filtration to preserve the full integrity of the wine.
100% Pinot Noir.
An opulent and ripe, red wine with flavours of strawberry fruit. Wonderfully expressive and powerful in the mouth it finishes with soft silky tannins and an animal richness so typical of Pinot Noir.
Only 4,000 bottles made each year!