A few of the things we love in wine are small producers, older vines, sustainable practices, and great quality value. These all play second fiddle to pure hedonic pleasure, but there is no reason to not have it all. This Saturday we’re tasting some wonderful French wines that fill the whole bill. They come to us from Wine Traditions, a small but discerning importer who specializes in all the above. Come discover them for yourself.
2011 Château Magneau, Graves Blanc $14
45% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Semillion, 15% Muscadelle
Château Magneau has been run by the Ardurat family since before the reign of Henri IV. Its 30 year old Bordeaux vines are sustainably farmed without chemicals. Muscadelle used in a small proportion gives the wine an extroverted and inviting bouquet. Semillon offers both ripe stone fruit flavors and a rich texture on the palate. Sauvignon Blanc adds melon and citric flavors and provides a clean citric finish to the wine. The result is a full bodied wine with a nice progression of mixed fruit, clean citrus and rich texture.
2011 Domaine Les Grands Crays, Viré-Clessé $20
Clos du Chateau ,Chardonnay
In Viré-Clessé in the Haut-Maconnais, Dominique Terrier farms 20 hectares of vineyards, sending 25% of his crop to the local co-op and vinifing the rest himself. Clos du Chateau comes from the estate’s upper parcels (average age 40 years). The soils are very stony with some veins of flint and very little topsoil. Vinification is done using indigenous yeasts. The wine then rests sur lie until bottling. The Clos has a big voluptuous body with herbal and mineral notes throughout and a clean citrus core. It’s an amazing Burgundy for the money.
2009 Château Jouclary, Cabardès $12
Merlot, Syrah, Grenache
Cabardès gets influences from both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean creating a unique clime allowing it to grow these differently suited varietals. Merlot supplies the backbone of the wine, while the old vine Grenache and Syrah from the stony upper hillside contribute ripe flavors and warmth on the palate. The wine has fine mineral aromas and deep dark fruit.
2002 Chateau Guerosse, St. Emilion Grand Cru $30
85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc
Chateau Gueyrosse has slightly under 5 hectares vineyards of 40 year old vines that they farm without any chemicals. Yields are kept exceptionally low. It undergoes a long maceration of 3 to 5 weeks. The wine is aged in tank for 1 to 3 months and then in older barrels for 18 more. The 2002 is showing lovely fruity aromas, and a good full structured body with a long finish. It is aged and ready to drink.
2008 Loupiac- Gaudiet, Loupiac $16 / 500ml
80% Semilon, 20% Sauvignon Blanc
Château Loupiac-Gaudiet dates from the 15th century in the village of Loupiac directly across from the appellations of Barsac and Sauternes. Harvesting is done in stages to allow botrytis to fully affect the grapes and concentrate the sugars. The wine is one of delicate flavors and pristine balance. It is a lovely desert wine with good fruit and noble rot at a better price than a Sauterne.