Loire Valley


Showing 13–24 of 29 results

  • Henri Bourgeois Pouilly-Fume La Demoiselle de Bourgeois 2020

    £32.95

    “Based in the village of Chavignol, Domaine Henri Bourgeois is one of Sancerre’s biggest and most savvy producers. Not only does it have parcels in some of the finest vineyards in Sancerre, but it also produces wines from Pouilly-Fumé and other Centre-Loire appellations like Menetou-Salon, as well as Marlborough, New Zealand. The entry-level styles offer a clean, crisp, uncomplicated expression of their appellations, but things get more interesting higher up the scale. If you want to discover the spectrum of terroirs, whether it’s Kimmeridgian marls (try the cuvées Le MD de Bourgeois and Jadis), chalky clay (Les Côtes aux Valets) or flint (Les Ruchons), the Bourgeois tasting room would be a good place to start. The on-site restaurant is also worth putting on your must-dine-at list in the region, dishing up possibly the best beef tartare I’ve ever had, as well as the full spectrum of Chavignol cheese.

    Rebecca Gibb, Vinous (08/22)

    In Stock

  • Henri Bourgeois Sancerre d’Antan 2020

    £43.95

    “In Sancerre, flint soils are in the minority and typically give wines that are not as tender as those on chalk-based vineyards. This provides an upright structure, meaning they are usually last in a lineup at a winery. And yet, while the 2019 Sancerre Cuvée d’Antan is very direct, with its firm line on the finish, it’s still full-bodied, silky-smooth and amazingly rich. It’s fermented entirely in older oak barrels and spends a year on lees, which certainly has something to do with its delectable texture. There’s the merest hint of smokiness on the finish too. Drinking window: 2023-2030. 91-94 points

    Based in the village of Chavignol, Domaine Henri Bourgeois is one of Sancerre’s biggest and most savvy producers. Not only does it have parcels in some of the finest vineyards in Sancerre, but it also produces wines from Pouilly-Fumé and other Centre-Loire appellations like Menetou-Salon, as well as Marlborough, New Zealand. The entry-level styles offer a clean, crisp, uncomplicated expression of their appellations, but things get more interesting higher up the scale. If you want to discover the spectrum of terroirs, whether it’s Kimmeridgian marls (try the cuvées Le MD de Bourgeois and Jadis), chalky clay (Les Côtes aux Valets) or flint (Les Ruchons), the Bourgeois tasting room would be a good place to start. The on-site restaurant is also worth putting on your must-dine-at list in the region, dishing up possibly the best beef tartare I’ve ever had, as well as the full spectrum of Chavignol cheese.”

    Rebecca Gibb, Vinous (08/21)

    In Stock

  • Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Jadis 2020

    £43.95

    “Based in the village of Chavignol, Domaine Henri Bourgeois is one of Sancerre’s biggest and most savvy producers. Not only does it have parcels in some of the finest vineyards in Sancerre, but it also produces wines from Pouilly-Fumé and other Centre-Loire appellations like Menetou-Salon, as well as Marlborough, New Zealand. The entry-level styles offer a clean, crisp, uncomplicated expression of their appellations, but things get more interesting higher up the scale. If you want to discover the spectrum of terroirs, whether it’s Kimmeridgian marls (try the cuvées Le MD de Bourgeois and Jadis), chalky clay (Les Côtes aux Valets) or flint (Les Ruchons), the Bourgeois tasting room would be a good place to start. The on-site restaurant is also worth putting on your must-dine-at list in the region, dishing up possibly the best beef tartare I’ve ever had, as well as the full spectrum of Chavignol cheese.”

    Rebecca Gibb, Vinous (08/21)

    In Stock

  • Jeanne Germain Saumur-Champigny La Foulee 2021

    £29.95

    Review to follow

    In Stock

  • Jo Landron Muscadet Sevre & Maine Le Fief du Breil 2018

    £29.95

    “Matured 36 months in underground concrete tanks, the 2018 Le Fief du Breuil, crafted from vines planted on orthogneiss and quartz soils, evokes aromas of pastry, exotic fruits, ripe pear, herbs and smoke. Medium-bodied, round and fleshy, it’s tense with bright acids that are animated by a delicate, racy bitter finish and iodine, maritime aftertaste. Drink: 2023-2025. 90 points”

    Johan Castaing, Wine Advocate (08/23)

    In Stock

  • Luneau-Papin Muscadet Sevre & Maine Excelsior 2020

    £35.95

    “If you aren’t convinced of just how good Muscadet can be, buy a mature bottle of Domaine Pierre Luneau-Papin’s Excelsior and have your mind blown. It was my ah-ha Muscadet moment. Domaine Pierre Luneau-Papin sits in the Goulaine area of Muscadet, with an increasing portion of vines on the much-loved admired Butte de la Roche hill, which go into the Terre de Pierre and Gula Ana cuvées. Having returned to the family domaine in 2005, Pierre-Marie Luneau worked alongside his parents until they retired in 2018. Assisted by his seemingly indefatigable wife Marie Chartier-Luneau, the couple and their young family are carrying on the work of the previous eight generations. They are focused on making the finest quality, structural Melon wines and respecting the land including the conversion to organic and biodynamic viticulture. Harvesting is almost entirely by hand, which is unusual in the region, but you don’t get to make some of the best wines in the region through machine harvesting. They produce nine Muscadet Sèvre et Maines and two under the Muscadet cru of Goulaine. Fine-wine lovers looking to add Muscadet to their cellar need look no further. Visitors can also expect an exuberant welcome from Jupiter, the dog.”

    Rebecca Gibb, Vinous (11/21)

    In Stock

  • Luneau-Papin Muscadet Sevre & Maine L d’Or 2009

    £56.95

    “Pierre Luneau-Papin’s family has been growing Melon around Le Landreau for two centuries. Nowadays, 45 hectares split into some dozen principal parcels are farmed in that commune as well as those of La Chapelle Heulin and Vallet. Pierre’s son Pierre-Marie officially took over in 2011 after six years’ employment at the estate (before which he worked his way through cellars in far-flung regions of France). But this is still a conspicuously two-generation operation, with Monique Luneau-Papin and Marie Chartier comprising the female half of the domaine “directorate.” The Luneau-Papins have long been plowing their vines and eschewing herbicides, but following Pierre-Marie’s lead, a gradual conversion to certified organic viticulture has just been completed. Harvesting, carried out by a crew that is enormous by regional standards, is almost entirely by hand, especially important in that the Luneau-Papins like to allow for pre-fermentative skin contact (whose duration varies with their assessment of site potential). As a self-professed fan of Riesling who likes to draw comparisons with the “minerality” and ageability of Muscadet, it’s unsurprising that Pierre-Marie was enthusiastic about 2014’s qualities (though not, to be sure, about the quantities), but in fact the 2015s at this address are superbly focused and unusually bright, easily surpassing most Muscadet from that vintage. Interestingly, harvest in 2014 finished on October 6, only around a week later than it would in 2015. I tend to be relatively uninhibited in my prognostications of ageability for Luneau-Papin wines because I cellar many of them myself and consequently have a lot of positive experience with their evolution. For an idea of the slow pace at which they mature, just consult my notes below on wines from the impressive 2012 and 2010 vintages, as well as on one remarkable success from challenging 2011.

    Since I am reporting in detail on two vintages as well publishing notes on the just-mentioned older wines, a brief synopsis follows of the various Luneau-Papin cuvées, only two of which rely on vines younger than 40 years. “Pierre de la Grange,” while it’s their intro-level cuvée and sourced from a number of sites, is still terroir-focused and geographically specific, issuing from degraded gneiss and mica-schist near the winery in Le Landreau. There’s also a “La Grange Vieilles Vignes” variant grown entirely on schist. Also bottled in spring is the “Clos des Allées Vieilles Vignes,” from an eroded mica-schist enclave near the winery that has been in the family for many generations and was last replanted in 1970. “Le L d’Or,” bottled in summer, now also proclaims on its label “Granit Vallet,” though this site incorporates some regionally prevalent gneiss and mica-schist. “Les Pierres Blanches” issues from an eponymous site with 60-year-old vines, and its label now also carries the prominent information “Gneiss la Chapelle Heulin.” It always ferments spontaneously and is usually bottled in early summer. “Terre de Pierre” reflects a high-elevation location, La Butte de la Roche, featuring rare serpentine rock (depicted on the label) and vines recently turned 40. It gets raised in foudres and has usually been bottled within 14 months, though the élevage may be extended in some future vintages, which would preclude the wine from retaining a “Sur Lie” designation. (Talk about perpetuating a fundamentalist faith in terroir: the label for “Terre de Pierre” not only depicts a colorful cross-section of serpentine rock, but superimposed over that are the periodic symbols for its constituent elements: Mg, Fe, Si, Na and Ca.) “Excelsior,” named for the family motto emblazoned over the winery doorway, issues from a two-hectare schist and mica-schist site (the Clos des Noëlles, for which the wine was formerly named) whose 80-year-old vines reflect sélection massale. Its Chapelle-Heulin location, along with two years’ élevage, qualifies for “Cru Goulaine” status. From similar soils but vines of diverse clonal origin and still in their forties, “Pueri Solis” was first essayed in 2005. It will be rendered only in especially ripe vintages (2009 being, thus far, the only other one) and spend roughly three years in tank. Beginning with vintage 2015, a “Vera Cruz” has been designated from Vallet vines planted in 1975 on relatively clay-rich, mica-schist- and gneiss-derived soil; and a “Le Verger” – to be bottled exclusively in magnum – issues from La Chapelle-Heulin schist and vines planted in 1998 on the site of a garden grown by Pierre-Marie’s grandmother.”

    David Schildknecht, Vinous (05/17)

    In Stock

  • Luneau-Papin Muscadet Sevre & Maine Vera Cruz 2022

    £26.95

    Review to follow

    In Stock

  • Saint Nicolas Le Haut Chemin 2021

    £36.95

    Review to follow

    In Stock

  • Thierry Germain Saumur Blanc Clos Romans 2022

    £59.95

    “Thierry Germain might be a Bordelais by birth, but having ended up in Saumur Champigny “par hasard”, he is now one of the appellation’s leading lights. The range of wines from Domaine des Roches Neuves has the transparency, delicacy and ease you encounter too infrequently. Red wine represents the majority of production at this estate, with vineyards scattered around the appellation, but a lightness of touch and purity of fruit are common threads no matter the soil type or orientation. Even at the ‘entry-level’ Saumur Champigny, whose label changes color every year just to keep us confused, the hands-off hand of Germain is clear. You’re sure to be indoctrinated in the ways of biodynamics if you encounter the affable Germain, but whatever your thoughts on this farming, the results speak for themselves. You’ll find the wines on the market comparatively early. “A wine that is young should be good all its life – you shouldn’t have to wait five years; it’s like missing the first five years of a child’s life.””

    Rebecca Gibb, Vinous (10/23)

    In Stock

  • Thierry Germain Saumur Blanc L’Insolite 2019

    £26.49

    “Much of the finest Cabernet Franc from Saumur-Champigny is being now made by Thierry Germain at Domaine des Roches Neuves. After growing up at his family’s Château Yon-Figeac, in Saint-Émilion, Germain arrived in Loire from Bordeaux in 1991. He immediately became a leader in organic viticulture. By 1998, he was farming organically and by 2002 he had the first certified biodynamic vineyards in Saumur-Champigny. (Now a third of the vineyards in the appellation are organic.) Germain suggests that his farming has transcended science at this point: “Three years ago, I stopped all analysis, because it takes out all my emotion.” Currently, the estate is 28 hectares, with red wine making up about 85% of the 120,000 bottles annually produced. “Cabernet Franc is a rustic variety,” Germain said. “It’s vegetal, it’s volatile and it’s important to work around that. For me, Cabernet Franc over 14% loses all freshness and typicity. After 14% you lose the terroir.” The elegance, precision and purity of Germain’s Cabernet Franc is something else entirely, almost Burgundian. “It’s all about balance,” he said.”

    Jason Wilson, Vinous (07/20)

    In Stock

  • Thierry Germain Saumur-Champigny Franc de Pied 2021

    £37.95

    “The 2021 Franc de Pied is mellow and supple yet precise, with its line of 2021 vintage acidity piercing its core and pulling it tight. Savory and herbal, it shows aromas reminiscent of fennel, wormwood, black olives and violets. It has a floaty-light, gentle nature, a sense of roundness and notable purity of fruit, which all elevate it above the crowd. The delicate extraction of fine tannins is commendable. While the 2021 is neither as long as in the previous vintage nor as deep, it is still in the upper echelon of what could be produced in 2021. Drinking window: 2023-2033. 93 points

    Thierry Germain might be a Bordelais by birth, but having ended up in Saumur Champigny “par hasard”, he is now one of the appellation’s leading lights. The range of wines from Domaine des Roches Neuves has the transparency, delicacy and ease you encounter too infrequently. Red wine represents the majority of production at this estate, with vineyards scattered around the appellation. Still, a lightness of touch and purity of fruit are common threads, no matter the soil type or orientation. Even at the ‘entry-level’ Saumur Champigny, whose label changes color every year just to keep us confused, the hands-off hand of Germain is clear. You’re sure to be indoctrinated in the ways of biodynamics if you encounter the affable Germain, but whatever your thoughts on this farming, the results speak for themselves.

    While Louis Germain, Thierry’s son, called 2021 a nightmare, the resulting wines are some of the best in the region: charming, balanced and delicately poised. But that should be expected from this domaine.”

    Rebecca Gibb, Vinous (01/24)

    In Stock