Showing 25–36 of 61 results

  • Luneau-Papin Muscadet Excelsior 2018

    £29.49

    “This is a lightly aromatic, youthful expression of Excelsior that has florals and nectarine characters, showing the warmer season. The 2018 retains a delicacy despite the warmer season providing fuller body and blossoming. It has still maintained its structure and sense of tension and could be approached at this early stage despite it being a cuvée that typically has longevity. I wonder if it has the intensity of concentration that some of the longer-lived vintages display. Drinking window: 2022-2034. 92 points

    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)

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  • Luneau-Papin Muscadet L d’Or 2020

    £21.99

    “Definite step up in quality from their Grange, with that distinct mineral quality and loads of lemon juice, apples, herbs and marine breeze. Persistent fruit with superb clarity and purpose. Drink: 2022-2032. 17+ points”

    Richard Hemming, JancisRobinson.com (03/22)

    “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)

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    Macle Cotes du Jura Ouille 2017

    £31.49

    “2016 was not produced because it developed veil, so we jumped to the 2017 Côtes du Jura Ouillé, a very clean and powerful wine from a warm and ripe vintage aged one and a half years in barrel (when the 2015 aged for three years). It’s from a good year for ouillé wines and has a good alcohol level but more important, a good pH that gives the wines it’s freshness. It’s fresh and young and was bottled without filtration. The wine is bright and clear, as the vintage produced wines that were naturally clear pretty soon. Only 900 bottles were filled in April 2019. Drink: 2019-2024. 93 points

    Tasting chez Macle in Château Chalon is always exciting. Laurent Macle seemed in top form, happy and full of energy, so he proposed that we start with some younger wines, taste the bottled and current releases and work our way down to some older wines, including a wine vinified by his grandfather!

    So, I tasted quite a lot of experimental wines, like an oxidative Chardonnay from 2014 that was aged in the oldest barrel they have, over 100 years old, and the wine had all the curry (sotolon) and morel mushroom aromas the sous voile and will eventually make it into a small new cuvée. Also a 2016 Chardonnay that started ouillé and later developed a veil of yeasts, so it has a faint Jura twang, very subtle but with the roundness of Chardonnay; the veil came later and seems to have had a rounding effect on the wine.

    There is a small solera started in 2015 with Chardonnay that now has been blended with 2017 and next year will get wine from 2018; the idea to age the wine for some six years, and it already had a great complexity. There is also a 2012 that contains 50/50 ouillé and veil wine, labeled with a white label; 2012 was a concentrated year, and the wine felt a little oxidative (from the ouillé wine, according to Laurent Macle).

    As for the Château Chalon, the last good vintage in volume was 2011, and the next one is possibly 2018. I was relatively disappointed with the performance of the 2010 compared with the previous 2009, and even in the context of the 2011. As for the older wines, I didn’t want to make a separate article here like I did last time; so, I included the notes here even if they are not necessarily available and might distort a bit the rest of notes for the current releases. But I thought the information was worth it.”

    Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate (243)

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  • Marc Colin Chassagne-Montrachet Margot 2019

    £59.99

    “The 2019 Chassagne-Montrachet Village “Margot”, the name of this particular cuvée rather than the lieu-dit, comes from four parcels and is raised in 15% new oak. It has a well defined bouquet with orange pith and yellow plum aromas that gain intensity with aeration. The palate is full of energy with impressive depth, gorgeous orange zest and mandarin notes, almond and a little walnut. Very harmonious and very persistent on the finish, this punches well above its weight. Drinking window: 2022-2036. 91-93 points

    Since splitting with his brother Joseph, whose wines will hopefully be added to this report in the not-too-distant future, winemaker Damien Colin, together with his sister Caroline, has continued to create some of the best Burgundy wines you will find in Saint-Aubin, Chassagne and Puligny-Montrachet, from his winery based in the confusingly-titled village of Gamay. “It is a complicated growing season with the frost and the ‘canicule’ [heat wave]. In some appellations we produced just 30% of a normal crop in 2019, though there are others that produced a normal yield.” Damien Colin added that in Saint-Aubin, parcels located on the slopes that normally escape frost, were affected in 2019. Vines on flatter areas that are prone to frost damage seemed to escape Scot-free. He continued saying that in Saint-Aubin, buds had already begun opening, allowing moisture to enter, causing some of them to ‘explode’ when it turned to ice.

    “Flowering was normal and then there was a heatwave in the summer, but the vines did not suffer much hydric stress despite the high temperatures that reached around 40°C. The harvest was small, so the maturity came very quickly. The vintage was expected to be 15 September but by the end of August the natural alcohol was around 12.0° to 12.5°. Therefore, we brought the picking forward and began on 7 September until 18-19 September. For the whites the alcohol degree is 13.5° to 14.0°C but with high acidity, mainly tartaric. The malic was low so after the malolactic fermentation the acidity levels are still good. The harvest was rapid because of the small yields, though we had to keep stopping and starting to be precise in terms of picking. The fermentation was quite quick, finishing around mid-November and the malos passed normally in springtime. From 2019 we no longer use SO2 until after the malolactic, which was fine in 2019 as the fruit was healthy. The SO2 inhibits some of the natural yeasts and without SO2 we have a broad spectrum of yeasts that engender more complex wine. The Village Crus are matured in around 15% new oak and the Premier Crus between 20% and 25% new oak. The 2019s are all taken from vat and will be bottled next spring with the final six months in tank.”

    The 2019s from Domaine Marc Colin do not disappoint and it is remarkable, almost irrational that such freshness could be conjured in such a dry and warm season. Standout? Perhaps surprising to some, it is not their morsel of Montrachet, good as that is, but a thrilling Bâtard-Montrachet, a Grand Cru that I feel over-performs in this vintage. If unable to splash the cash, then head for their outstanding Saint-Aubin Les Charmois or Les Combes or just buy both. I also found much to admire apropos their nervy Chassagne-Montrachets, particularly in Les Vides Bourses. Not every cuvée hit the bulls-eye, but generally these 2019s continue to consolidate Damien Colin’s reputation as winemaker par excellence. Pressing him to choose between 2018 and 2019 he replies: “It is difficult for me to say one vintage is better than the other. I find more terroir character in 2019 and I think that they will need more time.””

    Neal Martin, Vinous (12/20)

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  • Marc Colin Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru Les Caillerets 2019

    £119.75

    Three bottles available

    “The 2019 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Caillerets is very promising, opening in the glass with notes of pear, fresh peach, white flowers, beeswax and pastry cream. Medium to full-bodied, layered and concentrated, with terrific structuring dry extract, lively acids and a long, mineral finish, it’s once again one of the highlights of the portfolio. 93-95 points

    Damien Colin reported that his yields were some 30% below average and that the crop ripened rapidly, “even very rapidly.” Indeed, having projected a September 15 start, he began picking on September 7. Alcohol levels came in for the most part between 13% and 13.5%, with good phenolic maturity and lower pHs than in 2018. Having learned from a succession of warm vintages, every effort was made to retain freshness: working with cool grapes, minimal bâtonnage and moderate percentages of new oak. And in the vineyards, Colin is backing off rognage, working more flexibly to adapt to the vintage. All this translates to a very fine vintage chez Colin, delivering wines that are more concentrated and more clearly defined by site than the charming, open and expressive 2018s, also revisited here.”

    William Kelley, Wine Advocate (01/21)

     

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    Marc Tempe Riesling Schoenenbourg Grand Cru 2017

    £42.75

    Review to follow

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  • Mas de Daumas Gassac Blanc 2021

    £41.99

    “These wines from Mas de Daumas Gassac and the Guibert family were among the clear highlights of my tastings from this report. The Blanc, a blend of mostly Viognier, Chardonnay and Petit Manseng is incredibly distinctive. It also needs quite a bit of air to show at its best. The Rouge is a Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend that includes dollops of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Nebbiolo, Dolcetto and other grapes done in a traditional Bordeaux style with several weeks on the skins and 12-15 months in mostly neutral oak. It, too, boasts a spectacular track record. Even with several decades in bottle, the Rouge retains terrific acidity and plenty of tannic verve. The very top wine is the 100% Cabernet Sauvignon Cuvée Émile Peynaud, which is named in honor of the renowned Bordeaux professor who looked after the estate in its early days. I can’t recommend these wines highly enough.”

    Antonio Galloni, Vinous (10/20)

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    Ostertag Pinot Gris Muenchberg Grand Cru A360P 2017

    £49.99

    Review to follow

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    Ostertag Pinot Gris Zellberg 2018

    £29.99

    Review to follow

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  • Thierry Germain Saumur Blanc Clos Romans 2020

    £52.99

    “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)

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  • 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)

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  • Thierry Germain Saumur-Champigny Les Memoires 2019

    £48.95

    “From vines planted in 1904 that sit on both flint and limestone, which is a rare combination in Saumur-Champigny, the 2019 Les Memoires is all purity of coulis-like fruit. It offers incredible concentration yet floats in the mouth like a weightless cloud. If there were a Cabernet Franc equivalent of Chambolle Musigny, this would be it. I love it. The finest of chalky tannins are just present on the finish, as if to remind you this is a red wine. Drinking window: 2021-2035. 96 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 wines from Domaine des Roches Neuves have a transparency, delicacy, and ease that you encounter too infrequently. Red wine represents the majority of production at this estate, which owns vineyards scattered around the appellation, but lightness of touch and purity of fruit are common threads no matter the soil type or orientation. Even in the “entry-level” Saumur-Champigny, whose label changes color every year just to keep us confused, the hands-off approach 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 method of farming, the results speak for themselves. Readers will 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 child’s life.””

    Rebecca Gibb, Vinous (10/21)

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