Established in the northern part of Chateauneuf du Pape, the Jaume family has been dedicated to the art of wine growing since 1826. The family still runs the company today – the eponymous Alain Jaume is still very much involved in the business, but his two sons Christophe (winemaking) and Sebastian (sales and marketing) are now in day to day command.
The cellars are located in Orange, just up the road from Chateauneuf du Pape. All the family’s wines are impressive, balancing sweet fruit with classic southern Rhone warmth and spice. As each vintage is so different from the last, they are constantly evolving their growing techniques to accommodate the ever-changing behaviour of the vines, grapes and terroir. Organic viticulture is in place in two of their vineyards, but across the board the health of the vines is paramount. Yields are low to keep the quality high, and their age-worthy reds capture the power and age-worthiness of the Rhone perfectly.
"This venerable profession is our legacy, but above all it is our passion, requiring discipline, perseverance and a respect for nature and the challenges she presents us with. Every vintage is different from the last and we must skillfully adapt our growing techniques to the ever-changing behaviour of the vines, the grapes and the terroir."
This wine is a blend of the following: Grenache Noir, Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvèdre.
To see an information sheet and tasting note for this wine (this sheet describes the previous vintage - 2017 sheet expected soon, but it's hard to see how it would alter...), please click on the blue link below.
ABV = 13.0%.
Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their June 2019 feature, Weekday Wines (see blue link below).
Domaine Cazes is situated in Rivesaltes in the Roussillon. With 220 hectares of vines planted, Domaine Cazes is the largest certified organic and biodynamic estate in France. It was founded in 1895 by Michel Cazes and the wines are made by the fourth generation of winemakers, headed up by Emmanuel Cazes. The family makes a range of interesting dry wines alongside the regional specialities, Vin Doux Naturels. They took the decision to move to organic and biodynamic viticulture in 1997. Based on their view that the natural environment needs natural preparation, they plough the soils and use only natural ingredients as treatments, arranging their work according to the lunar calendar.
Maison Cazes is set in the sunniest French region. Since the family started farming biodynamically, they have found that the vineyards are healthier and the vines are stronger, with longer roots. Vines grow on clay and limestone soils, covered by 'galets roulés' (the 'pudding stones' also found in Châteauneuf-du-Pape). The low yielding vines are about 30 years old, and produce 30 hectolitres per hectare.
2017 was a very early vintage thanks to the good water reserves in the soil and the mild temperature from February. The warmer temperatures in July and August aided the vegetative cycle. The grapes were picked early, when the optimal sugar and acidity levels had been obtained.
40% Grenache, 40% Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre. The three varieties were 100% de-stemmed and before being put in separate stainless steel vats. Only naturally occurring yeasts were used; no yeast was added to the must. Fermentation was temperature controlled at 28°C. The residual matter was circulated by pump-overs and the sediment was broken up by hand twice a day to extract the best qualities. The wine was macerated for four weeks before pressing after which it underwent malolactic fermentation.
As well as being biodynamic and organic, this wine is suitable for vegans.
The palate is bright with ripe red and black fruit aromas and rich liquorice notes, balanced by delicate tannins. This wine has a remarkable balance, thanks to its good acidity and freshness. Long finish with white pepper flavours.
ABV = 15.0%.
Laurent and Sylvie de Bosredon have modernised Château Bélingard both in the vineyards and the cellars, while ensuring they take care of their vineyard and its environment. The philosophy at Château Bélingard is summed up in their own words: "The generations that went before, within their own era, at their own pace, and with their own views, shaped the soul of Bélingard."
The vineyards used for this wine are located on on rolling countryside to the left bank of the Dordogne Valley with clay and limestone soil. This wine is made using Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
The grapes are picked from a selection of old vines. After the harvest, grapes are put into stainless steel vats for 24 days of maceration with the must being pumped over several times a day during the alcoholic fermentation. Then malolactic fermentation takes place in vats before wine is transferred into French oak barrels (30% new) and matured for 13 months. After racking, the wine is bottled.
60% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec.
This wine has a beautiful deep colour with a ruby tint. The floral aromas on the nose are supported by red berries and balsamic notes. In the mouth, the taste is round supple and intense with red fruits flavours which also have a full well-balanced tannin structure. It is a very smooth wine with a long lasting aftertaste. This wine can be left for around 8 - 10 years before drinking. This wine pairs well with poultry, (turkey, duck) red meat, roasts, game and good cheese.
ABV = 13.0%.
See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at Chateau Coupe-Roses.
60% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 20% Carignan.
Its expression is a blend of power and complex aromatic characters, candied fruits, spice, pepper and blackcurrant, with a fresh acidity.
ABV = 14.0%.
The Panis-Mialhe family has been passionate about wine production since the 15th century. Techniques have evolved through the generations to combine traditional values with modern methods. Jean Panis produced his first vintage in 1996 and since then his trademark has been the production of wines which are rich in fruit. He is a man that is dynamic and energetic and he always moves in an assured and precise manner. Managing his vineyard and winery is both a labour of love and his birthright.
The vines for this wine are grown in the Val de la Clamoux, which are gravelly alluvial fields that become very dry during the summer. The climate can be described as Mediterranean, hot and dry with oceanic influences.
There is traditional working of the soil in the vineyards of Chateau Donjon. They follow sustainable agriculture practices and are certified by the ‘Vitealys’ organization.
Traditional vinification takes place with with long tank fermentation. There is strict temperature control to ensure the best flavours are extracted from the grapes. The grapes undergo de-stemming in the cellar.
This wine has a dark ruby colour with garnet hues. There are red fruit and spices on the nose. It has an excellent balance in the mouth, with elegant tannins followed by a long finish which melts on the palate. It is a perfect match for regional dishes from the South of France. It will also pair well with red meats, grilled or with a sauce, as well as cheese. It is also a great accompaniement to a pork, chicken liver and prune terrine.
ABV = 13.5%.
Awarded 88 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2018 edition review of the St-Emilion satellite appellations 2015 vintage (see blue link below).
The Durand family has owned the seven hectare estate in the Montagne district since the 18th century. In 1969, M. Carrère, Mme Durand's husband took over the estate, shaping it to its current form. Since 1997, his daughter Isabelle Carrère, oenologist from Michel Rolland's team, has been running the estate having taught viticulture and oenology for 10 years.
The vines are grown on slopes in clay soils. The vineyards are carefully managed throughout the year, with debudding, manual removal of the vine-shoots, leafthinning and green harvesting all being carefully performed. Chemical fertilisers are not used; instead vegetal based compost is added moderately to the soil having monitored its equilibrium. A manual harvest takes place when the grapes are slightly overripe to get a better phenolic maturity of the skins and the pips.
Generous flowering took place followed by a hot, dry early summer. August was slightly cooler and damper, followed by good weather in September enabling the grapes to reach full maturity. Generally the harvest took place earlier than the previous year. 2015 has been cited as a great modern Bordeaux vintage of excellent quality.
The grapes were carefully sorted by hand after a total destemming on the sorting table. 20% of the wine was bled off. A cold maceration took place prior to fermentation, which lasted three to four days. The fermentation was carried out in temperature controlled stainless steel vats, with daily pump-overs and lasted for three weeks. The wine was then matured, with 80% aged in vats and 20% in oak barrels.
Merlot 80%, Cabernet Franc 15%, Cabernet Sauvignon 5%.
A medium bodied Bordeaux , with spicy, dark fruits and herbal notes combined with earthy hints. A beautifully balanced wine with silky tannins and a light finish. A lovely match for beef wellington or barbequed chicken.
This wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
ABV = 14.0%.
** THIS WINE SHOULD ARRIVE AT EXEL/WITH CUSTOMERS BY MONDAY 16th MARCH, quite possibly earlier **
Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their forthcoming April 2020 edition panel tasting of Corbières (see blue link below).
Situated in the south of France, near the Mediterranean coast, the estate is located in the heart of Corbières, on the terroir of Boutenac, with its clay-limestone soils and round pebbles, in a century-old pine forest. Château Saint-Estève revels in the beauty and the charm of a protected landscape. This is a special place: the estate echoes to singing cicadas in summer, sits among magnificent pine trees and visitors can admire the garrigue, blue sky, protruding rocks and magnificent nature.
Owner Eric Latham has been cultivating the Château's 120 ha of vineyards since 1984. The adventurous and daring spirit of the family, has been strongly influenced by the experiences of their ancestors and their bold lifestyle choices. For example, his great-grand-uncle, Hubert Latham, an aviation pioneer, was known for his attempts to cross the Channel and his rivalry with Louis Blériot. Eric's grand-father, Henry de Monfreid - after whom this wine is named - was a famous adventurer, photographer and writer, native to Corbières and best known for his exploits in the Red Sea.
Carignan and Syrah principally grow on the lands of Saint-Estève; Grenache Noir, Mourvèdre and Cinsault (also varieties of the Corbières appellation) to a lesser extent. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Caladoc are also present in addition for the production of IGP wines. The red varieties naturally dominate although Grenache Blanc, Chardonnay and Muscat are also grown.
Syrah 60%, Carignan 20%, Grenache 10%, Mourvedre 10%.
For more/full details of this wine, see the blue link below for a detailed data sheet from/by the Château themselves. <NB: an additional precision to information listed there, having checked with the producer is: 50% of the wine is aged in barrels which are 2 to 3 years old.>
Garnet colour with ruby glints. Intense nose of ripe fruits (blueberry, blackcurrant), spices and vanilla. In the mouth, cocoa and praline notes. Tannins are silky and round. Carignan brings elegance and freshness to this distinguished wine.
ABV = 14.0%.
** THIS WINE SHOULD ARRIVE AT EXEL/WITH CUSTOMERS BY MONDAY 16th MARCH, quite possibly earlier **
This family-owned estate was established in 1947 and the Brusset family has managed to combine the savoir-faire of traditional winemaking with the new techniques introduced by each generation. The founder, André Brusset (1910-1999), his son Daniel, and his grand-son Laurent: three wine-growers and wine-makers with a variety of experiences have all contributed to the distinctive character of the Domaine Brusset, where three generations have complimented each other to achieve the best results. The Domaine Brusset is located in the heart of the southern Côtes-du-Rhône valley vineyards, at Cairanne. With a total of 70 hectares, their vineyards extend over 5 prestigious appellations : Gigondas, Cairanne, Rasteau, Côtes-du-Rhône and Ventoux.
Grenache 60%, Syrah 20%, Mourvedre 10%, Carignan 10%.
To see Brusset's information sheet - including full vineyard and winemaking detail - for this wine please click on the blue link below.
This wine not only looks like raspberries in the glass, but it shows them on the nose as well. On the palate it is supple, elegant and harmonious, and the aromatics give it a lift which can be very moreish!
ABV = 13.0%.
The 2017 vintage was awarded a Gold Medal and 95 points at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).
The Marionnet family arrived in Soings, in the eastern part of Touraine (30 km south of Blois), in the middle of the last century. Their vineyards were completely replanted and expanded between 1967 and 1978. The total vine area is today some 60 hectares, producing some 400,000 bottles of red and white wines. The cellar is fully equipped with stainless steel vats and modern winemaking technology.
Domaine de la Charmoise is mainly planted with Gamay for red wines and Sauvignon for whites. Gamay covers an area of 33 hectares. Average yields are around 55 hl/ha. Sauvignon occupies an area of ~20 ha. The soil is of a type locally known as perruche (= parakeet!), composed of flint, clay, silica and gravel. The estate is located at the highest point between the Loire (to the north) and the Cher (to the south). Thanks to its position, the most easterly of Touraine, the domaine benefits from a continental climate conducive to Gamay and Sauvignon. In addition, a favourable microclimate ensures both excellent maturity and good protection against one of the upper Loire's main hazards: spring frosts.
The harvest is entirely picked by hand with great care and this, the domaine tell us, intriguingly, is “almost exclusively by women”. The clusters undergo rigorous selection and a severe sorting if necessary. These are then placed in vats intact for intracellular fermentation/(semi)-carbonic maceration, yielding a most elegant wine with a brilliant ruby red/purple color. On the nose and palate, it's a real explosion of strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrant, kirsch, coffee, and bonbons anglais. It's a "pleasure wine", and - (al)so say the domaine - "a wine for an entire meal" (best served chilled).
This wine is made using 100% Gamay.
ABV = 12.5%.
In 1967, Aimé Sabon came back from his military service. He took over his father’s vines, who used to take his grapes to the wine cooperative. In 1973, Aimé built his own cellar. Domaine de la Janasse was born and named after the family farm that was in Courthézon, in the locality of “La Janasse”. Aimé was ambitious. He knew he had fabulous soil and he wanted to expand the estate by acquiring new plots. From 15 hectares at the very beginning, La Janasse has now reached more than 90 hectares.
This wine comes from a single plot located to the east of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, in the city of Courthézon. The vines are grown without pesticides or insecticides and the manure used is natural. The land is worked without herbicide to maintain the health and flexibility of the soil.
Featuring a beautiful structure, this Côtes-du-Rhône develops notes of fresh fruit (crushed strawberry, blackberry) on crisp, supported by a hint of liquorice. Moderately tannic, this wine retains its gluttony on grilled meat or fresh tomatoes pie. Drink within the next five years.
ABV = 13.5%.
In 1967, Aimé Sabon came back from military service and took over his father’s vines. His father used to take his grapes to the wine cooperative but in 1973, Aimé built his own wine cellar. Domaine de la Janasse was born and named after the family farm that was in Courthézon, in the locality of “La Janasse”. Aimé was ambitious. He knew he had fabulous soil and he wanted to expand the estate by acquiring new plots. From 15 hectares at the very beginning, La Janasse has now reached more than 90 hectares. It is now in the hands of the next generation with Aimé's son, Christophe and daughter, Isabelle taking care of the winery.
Marked by several periods of strong heat and a few timely thundery storms, the 2015 vintage is generous in colour, generous in structure, in ripeness. Generous also in quantity, a rare occurrence for an appellation known for its low yields. Favourable weather conditions all year long meant that the 2015 crop reached ripeness in excellent conditions, and the thundery storms mid-September did not affect the quality of what already appeared to be an excellent vintage.
55% Merlot, 25% Syrah, 10% Grenache, 10% Cabernet.
To see Domaine de la Janasse's notes on this wine, please click on the blue link below.
ABV = 14.5%.
Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their November 2018 edition tasting of Best Buy Red Burgundy (see blue link below).
Domaine de Monterrain is a small domaine owned by the Ferret family. This domaine has been passed down from father to son for over 5 generations. Patrick and Martine Ferret are the current owners and take great pride in tending their 10 hectares of hillside vineyards situated around the village of Serrières in the Saône et Loire. 9 hectares of vines are planted with Gamay and, as a new venture, 1 hectare was planted in 2003 with Chardonnay grapes. Harvesting is carried out manually. The Ferret family takes great pride in its Mâcon Serrières which is produced in an easy drinking style typical of the area.
The vines are grown in granitic soil, which warms up quickly and retains the heat well. The soil's high levels of acidity works to minimise the acid levels in the grapes, which works well with acidic varieties like Gamay.
The grapes were harvested at optimum maturity levels. Fermentation took place in temperature controlled vats, preserving the integrity of the primary aromas and the nuances of the terroir from which it hails. Following the fermentation, the wine was then left to mature in tank for a minimum of six months prior to being bottled.
100 % Gamay.
An easy drinking style of wine made from the Gamay grape. Light bodied and fresh, with notes of spice and minerality leading to a dry finish. A great match with cold meats, garlicky stuffed mushrooms, roasts and mild cheeses such as Brie and Pont l'Evêque.
ABV = 13.0%.
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.
The 2018 vintage in Loire was excellent. The vines were spared from hail and frost this year. High temperatures, sun and the lack of rain in July and August accelerated the ripening. The quality and quantity of grapes were up compared to the last two vintages.
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.
ABV = 13.0%.
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.
Founded in 1880 by the then 22-year-old Joseph Drouhin, this famous Burgundy negociant is still family-owned. Of the current (fourth) generation, Veronique Drouhin is the winemaker, Laurent is the brand ambassador in the USA, Philippe is in charge of the vineyards, whilst Frederic “conducts the orchestra”. Maison Joseph Drouhin owns extensive parcels throughout the region and in Chablis extending to 73 hectares, including the world-renowned Clos des Mouches, one of the earliest purchases made by Joseph. From Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche through to Meursault and to Corton Charlemagne in the Côte de Beaune, Echezaux to Clos de Vougeot in the Côte de Nuits, the domaines produce a wide spectrum from Laforêt Bourgogne Blanc and Rouge to Grands Crus in Musigny and Chambertin.
Drouhin’s foremost concern is to express the exact character of each terroir. Since 1993 they have worked their vineyards to organic and biodynamic principles, “bringing natural answers to natural problems”. Vine stocks are grown in their own nursery to preserve their genetic heritage and control quality, and vineyards are ploughed by horse with treatments based on herb infusions and the use of natural predators instead of synthetic products. Planting is dense and yields deliberately kept low.
Vinification is traditional using indigenous yeasts and as little technical interference as possible, varied according to the needs of each terroir. Ageing takes account of the origin of each wine: stainless steel vats to enhance fruit and freshness in Chablis and Mâconnais, oak barrels to develop complexity and finesse in Côte d’Or. New oak barrels are made from oak trees individually selected by Drouhin which are then weathered for three years so that all coarse tannins can be eliminated. Their use, and the time the wine spends in them, are determined by the appellation and the vintage.
The progress of every wine is meticulously monitored and recorded at every stage; Drouhin were one of the first houses in Burgundy to apply bar codes to the barrels to ensure total traceability and every cork is stamped with Joseph Drouhin, the appellation and the vintage, in order to guarantee the authenticity of the wine.
Pinot Noir 100%.
For more detail on this wine, see the blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from Drouhin themselves (from 2017, 2018 sheet due shortly).
A wine full of charm: bright ruby colour and a nose rich with aromas of red fruit (raspberry, red currants, wild strawberry). On the palate, the wine is pleasant, fruity and refreshing, with light tannins and great elegance
ABV = 13.0%.