Estate: The Chardon domaine is located along the banks of the Cher River in Couffy, in the Touraine region of the Loire Valley. Husband and wife team Sophie and Thierry Chardon cultivate 115 acres of vineyards, with an average vine age of 25 years. Raised on a vineyard in Touraine, Thierry’s family made wine for many generations, until his father was forced to sell the vineyard. Years later, Thierry and Sophie moved their family back to Touraine and purchased a domaine.
Winemaking: Certified organic since the late 2000’s, the believe in minimal intervention in both the vineyard and cellar. “Our wines emerge from grapes cultivated without chemical products, in respect of our environment.”
Tasting Notes: Transparent in red-violet in colour, with aromas of strawberry, resin and earthy funk. Strawberry, raspberry, along with sour cherry wrap around a floral core and are accented by sandalwood, white pepper, a dash of funk and a streak of granite minerality. Black cherry and a trace of tart wild berries linger between each sip. Smooth tannins and food friendly acidity compliment this fantastic, unique expression of Gamay.
Brings the funk like the BT Express.
Estate: Domaine Sainte Croix is located in the rugged hills of the High Corbières on the border between the Languedoc and the Roussillon, in the very southern part of France. The 13 hectare [32 acre] estate is owned and run by the English husband and wife team of Jon and Elizabeth Bowen. The area is known for its fantastic Grenache-centric wines, small stone wall enclosed vineyards and fig, almond and wild cherry trees. The vineyards are comprised of multiple terroir, including “of steel-blue limestone to sandy, gravelly clay shot through with quartz crystals, to sheets of purple-green schist.”
Philosophy: “Fine wine is made in the vineyard. Our aim is to express the terroir of the domaine, we see the cornerstone as being the health of its vineyard ecosystems.”
Winemaking: The estate has been certified organic since 2008. Grapes came from vineyards with a blend of limestone, chalky-clay and sandy loam soil. The Carignon grapes came from vines over 100 years old. Fermented using only indigenous yeasts found on the grape skins. 100% matured sur lie in tank for 18 months. Unfined, loosely filtered.
Tasting Notes: Dark garnet in colour with aromas of wildflowers, peppery spice, candied cherry and funky sawdust. Cherry, blackberry, hibiscus and a shake of black pepper wrap around a flinty mineral, earthy core, backed by balancing acidity and silky tannins. Fruit and funk wrap up the velvety finish.
Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Particularly good accompaniment to the cuisine of the Mediterranean region using tomato-based sauces, olives or wild herbs such as thyme or rosemary.
50% Carignan, 21% Grenache, 19% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre
Mis en Bouteille au Domaine Par J & E Bowen
Estate: Named the “The Biodynamic Apostles of the Languedoc” by Wine Spectator, Chateau Maris is located at the eastern edge of the village of La Livinière at the foot of the Montagne Noire Mountains, in the Languedoc region of southern France. With a goal of “creating “grand cru-level” wines from La Livinière in the Minervois appellation, winemaker Robert Eden took over the estate in 1996. Eden converted the entire estate to biodynamic farming after trying different methods to revitalized the soils that had been rendered unusable due to the previous owner’s overuse of chemicals. Over the years his green approach and biodynamic processes have gained much recognition. He has built “the world’s first hemp cellar” that functions carbon neutrally. The hemp bricks not only capture carbon dioxide, but also maintain temperature and humidity so that heating or cooling is not needed.
Winemaking: Grapes are sourced from vineyards with “hard and soft limestone and alluvial soils”. Only natural yeasts are used, unfined, unfiltered. Aged 16 months in egg shaped concrete tanks and regular tanks.
Tasting Notes: Inky red-violet in colour with aromas of sweet dark fruit, subtle spice and caramel. Well structured with an elegant edge to the wild berries and chocolate flavours abounding in the full, soft body. Silky tannins, herbs and black pepper linger between each sip. So easy drinking, do watch out, as the higher alcohol content is nowhere to be found in all the silky-soft goodness.
Syrah & Grenache blend [I was unable to verify varietal percentage, other then that Syrah is the dominate grape]
Minervois La Livinère
Bottled for Domaine des Comtes Méditerranéens by F-11160-315
Enjoy now thru 2018
Rated 91 points by The Wine Advocate
Estate: Located in the rugged hills of Maremma, near the Tuscan coast in Italy, Ampeleia is the passion project of 3 friends; pioneering winemaker Elisabetta Foradori, Thomas Widmann and Giovanni Podini. [For a detailed account of Elisabetta Foradori’s lifelong work in Trentino, the biodynamic approach, initiatives taken to preserve indigenous plants and wildlife, and the more ethereal, nuances of winemaking, please explore the Foradori website here]. Unlitro is the estate’s 3rd wine; “one litre of Ampeleia is an expression of Ampeleia’s vitality and subtly delicate nature”.
Philosophy: Listening to the land and “creating a deep awareness” of a sense of place. Harmony with nature allows Elisabetta “to express the beauty of the land in her wines”.
Winemaking: All vineyards are farmed biodynamically. As little as possible human intervention in the winery, with only indigenous yeasts used. Grapes were sourced from the estate’s youngest vineyards. Aged for 6 months in cement tanks.
Tasting Notes: Transparent garnet in colour with aromas of wild berries, pink peppercorn and a flash of funk. Vivid cherry, strawberry and blackberry are backed by pepper spice and dusty earth. Black pepper, strawberry and rhubarb comprise the lengthy finish. Engaging and easy drinking with a beatnik edge, well worth seeking out!
Blend of Alicante [Grenache], Carignan and Alicante Bouschet
Costa Toscana IGT
Estate Bottled by Societa Agricola Ampeleia
Enjoy now thru 2018
Winery: Progressive winemaker Frantz Saumon is the man behind the negociant label of “Un Saumon Dans la Loire,” or a “Salmon in the Loire”. His own small estate [6 hectares] located in Montlouis in the Loire, was established in 2002. Un Saumon Dans la Loire has allowed him to buy 3 to 4 hectares of additional grapes each year. He is known for his pure flavours, “always looking for clean wines and thriving for dryness”. His Petillant Naturels [Pét-Nat] are recognized as some of the best in the Loire region.
Winemaking: Frantz Saumon has always practiced organic and biodynamic farming. He uses only indigenous yeasts for fermentation and never fines or filters. Wines are aged in a stainless steel tanks and wood barrels of different sizes.
Tasting Notes: Brilliant cherry red in colour, with aromas of chocolate covered cherries dusted with crushed pink peppercorn. Cherry, blackberry, a slice of red apple, and dry minerals sprightly zip along on solid, frothy bubbles. Chocolate covered cherries return on the dry finish, along with a slight hint of white truffle. Elegant and cheery, fantastic on its own or a fun companion with a wide variety of dishes.
Côt [Malbec], Gamay, and Grolleau blend [percentages vary depending on vintage]
Vin de France
Bottling information not listed