|Emil & Matt|
Matt selected 5 Chenin Blanc and 2 Cabernet Franc from Middle Loire. Both of these grapes produce age worth wines of depth, character, balance and soul as was the case with each one tonight.
2012 Thibaud Boudignon White Anjou à Françoise. A similar terroir of shallow soils on grey schist, ryholite (volcanic soil) and sand as in Morgat. Mr. Boudignon crafts his wines using gentle pressing, indigenous yeast fermentation, barrel vinification (new and used French & Austrian oak) and no malolactic fermentation. Tonight’s wine had a brilliant fresh floral nose, a crisp & mineral driven palate the displayed intense focus, bracing acidity, with a textured and rather unique, almost tart-like finish that added a lovely dimension to the wine. I was smitten by this wine. $49. Manhattan Wine Company.
2012 Richard Leroy Les Noels de Montbenault. Montbenault is a 2 hectare parcel within the appellation Coteaux du Layon Faye de Anjou, situated on the top of the hill with superb exposure. The soil is volcanic and the vines are 50 years old, making this is one of the great terroirs of the Coteaux. Bottling occurs one year after the vintage with no chaptalization (added sugar). Production is limited to 1500 bottles. Tonight’s wine was round and delicious wine, with crisp, soft elegant palate and lengthy finish. $49. Manhattan Wine Company.
2011 Domaine Guiberteau Saumur Blanc Clos de Guichaux. Romain Guiberteau, a disciple of Dani Foucault (Clos Rougeard), made his first wine in 1997. The Clos de Guichaux vineyard is composed of a shallow clay and limestone topsoil over chalk bedrock. Whole cluster pressing. No chaptalization. Native yeast. VInification and 10 month ageing in two to four year old large 600L barrels. Light filtration. Production is limited to 575 cases. This is a wine with great pedigree and potential. Tonight’s bottle was tightly closed upon opening. It began to open a wee bit after 2 hours in the glass. Probably needs 5+ years in the cellar. $44. Wine-Searcher.
2008 Montlouis-Sur-Loire, Le Volagré, Stephane Cossais. Stephane trained under the legendary Foucault brothers. After tasting a bottle of their 1996 Brézé, Rougeard’s iconic dry Chenin Blanc, he was convinced that his calling was to make a wine of this style, not the reds for which the Foucaults are largely known. He began making his own wine in 2001, but was not proud of any until 2004. He was poised to become the greatest winemaker in Montlouis when he passed away unexpectedly in 2009 of a heart attack, leaving his last two vintages still in barrel. Tonight’s wine, his final wine, and was simply brilliant, possessing an enticing fruity and stony bouquet with a crisp and gloriously fresh palate. The monster finish was elegant and lengthy. $50. Manhattan Wine Company.
1985 Olga Raffault Chinon Les Picasses. In my opinion this is one of the finest estates in the Loire. Their wines are crafted with tons of soul, making for an exciting drinking experience. Les Picasses is the most classic and age worthy wine from the domaine. It comes from a limestone terroir, where the vines have reached a respectable fifty years of age. The fruit is hand-harvested and fermentation is carried out in stainless steel controlled to less than 30°C, followed by a maceration of 25-30 days. The resulting wine goes into large foudres where it will rest for between 12 and 14 months before bottling. Tonight’s wine, 100% Cabernet Franc, was absolutely stunning. It exhibited a deep earthy bouquet with great length and purity on the palate and on the finish. Round and delicious. A wine with soul! $75. Manhattan Wine Company.
1989 Olga Raffault Chinon Les Picasses. Matt thought the wine was slightly corked. You could have fooled me, as I thought it was quite good, albeit not a match on this night for the ’85. I have had the ’89 a couple of years ago and found it to be on that night on a par with the ’85. Bottle variation is something we all learn to live with. $70 Manhattan Wine Company.
2009 Clos Rougeard Samur-Champigny Les Poyeux. Clos Rougeard is considered the reference point for Cabernet Franc in Saumur and Saumur-Champigny. These incredible wines, made by the Foucault brothers, are considered a cult wine in France and every 3 star Michelin restaurant there scampers to get a small allocation (rumor has it that only 3 are successful). US allocations are miniscule, and acquiring the wine takes more than a bit of luck. I have been fortunate to acquire a mini stash. Charles Joguet, the great winemaker of Chinon, once said: “there are two suns. One shines outside for everybody. The second shines in the Foucaults’ cellar.”
Quite simply these wines are among the best red wines I have ever tasted. I would put them up against any red wine on the planet. The vineyards have been farmed organically for generations; with the wines see extended fermentation (18-24 months) in old oak barrels before being bottled unfiltered.
The Saumur-Champigny “Les Poyeux” is one of their signature wines. “Les Bourg” being the other. Tonight’s wine simply soared from the glass and threw a party for the olfactory and gustatory senses. It began with compelling and enticing earthy aroma, before gracing the palate with impeccable balance, seductive elegance and a long velvety finish. All of this and still the wine is in its infancy and will reward 5+ years of patience.
We finished the evening with a 1976 Dujac Morey St. Denis, that Jeff brought along. What a lovely aged burgundy with the bouquet, fruit, balance and finish hitting on all cylinders. Jeff explained that he did not believe Dujac made a premier cru that year so this wine probably included a mixture of village and premier cru grapes. Most likely explains why it drank so well despite being a village wine and a difficult vintage.
Our sincere thanks to Emil, Matt, Peter and Larry for a wonderful evening.
|A happy and contented group (Emil is taking the photo)|