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Bordeaux, Loire Valley

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Bordeaux



Maritime Bordeaux in the west of France is a large producer of quality wines. Although saying that there's a large gap between the top few who produce ultra-premium wines with hefty price tags (Lafite, Margaux, Y'Quem, Petrus….) and the rest of the field.

The Left Bank with its gravelly composition of soils is more suited to Cabernet Sauvignon while the Right Bank is made up more of clay and this is where Merlot and Cabernet Franc dominate (as they are earlier ripens and don't mind getting their feet wet). In the middle, the Entre Du Meurs provides a slew of whites and reds made for early drinking.

On the right bank outside of St Emilion and Pomerol, there are a lot of well-priced merlots made that are more for early consumption. These come from the satellite Bordeaux regions.
The English built up a thirst for the better Bordeaux reds which they have coined 'clarets'. These are often tucked away for a while in their cellars to age and drunk with a few years under their belts. But not all Bordeaux is built for aging, so choose wisely.

Styles
For whites, there are the crisp and easily quaffed whites from Entre De Meurs, or the more ambitious oak-aged Semillion Sauvignon blends from Pessac Legonan. The queen of dessert wines, Sauternes can also call Bordeaux home. French oak maturation is a common thread amongst the elite reds, whites and sweet wines.

Grapes

White:Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle
Red: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot

Some of the most highly rated recent vintages are 2005, 2009, 2010, 2016 and 2018.

Favourite Producers
Montrose, Pichon Lalande, Poitevin, D'Yquem, Coutet,
 



Loire valley



Within France, the Loire Valley region produces the greatest diversity of wine styles. The array of wines made reflects the different sub-regions that share little in common due to the region's sweeping expanse. It's an exciting mesh of sparkling, dry, sweet, rose and reds styles.

Known as the 'Garden of France' the Loire Valley is a prolific food bowl producing delectable treats across cheese, cherries, apples, butter and vegetables. Covering 1000km from east to west, this picturesque region is a feast for both your eyes and tastebuds.

Grapes
White: Chenin Blanc, Melon de Bourgogne (Muscadet), Sauvignon Blanc
Red: Cabernet Franc, Gamay, Pinot Noir, Grolleau

Styles
The Muscadets of the Nantais are influenced by the maritime climate. These wines are subtly textured, freshly fruited and best drunk young with some oysters. Anjou is where Chenin Blanc shines in various styles - sparkling, dry and sweet. Touraine is home to the tuffeau soils which Chenin blanc loves in Vouvray, and we see some red wines here too. Lastly, in the Central Vineyards where the soils are similar to Chablis, Sauvignon Blanc is the cross-bearer producing some exhilarating wines in Sancerre and Pouilly Fume.

Favourite Producers
Pepiere, Baumard, Pierre Bise, Roches Neuves, Huet, Francois Chidaine, Didier Dageneau, Vacheron, Gerard Boulay,


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  1. Chai Saint Etienne Tradition Rouge 2016
    Chai Saint Etienne Tradition Rouge 2016
    60% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 20% Côt
    The Coteaux du Quercy AOC is one of France smallest wine region with only 400 hectares and less than 20 growers. It lies between Cahors & Gaillac. After the Phylloxera, the Quercy, once 50 000 hectares was almost destroyed. Roger Gisbert and his brave mates started their appellation from scratch. With high draining slopes of white clay and limestone soils, Cabernet Franc was chosen to blend with the Merlot, and off course the Cot (aka. Malbec) replanted on the rocky soils. The grapes are harvested and sorted, then fallow slow and gentle traditional fermentation.
    2016
    Cabernet Franc, Merlot
    France
    356
  2. Thibaud Boudignon Rose de Loire 2018
    Thibaud Boudignon Rose de Loire 2018
    Substantially Cabernet Franc, with some Grolleau and a little Gamay, from 38 year-old vines, grown on shallow soils of grey schist, rhyolite and sand. Cool-fermented in stainless steel with native yeasts for 2-3 weeks, followed by maturation in tank for 4 to 6 months before bottling. Malolactic conversion is inhibited to produce a fresh, vibrant, yet textural rosé, with good length and intriguing mineral complexity. V&V
    2018
    Cabernet Franc
    France
    423
  3. Chateau La Vieille Cure 2017- 375ml
    Chateau La Vieille Cure 2017- 375ml

    Fronsac

     74% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon.

    An utterly delicious red with crushed berries, cappuccino and hints of black olives. Medium-bodied, compact and very soft. Really creamy texture. A blend of 75% merlot, 22% cabernet franc and 3% cabernet sauvignon. Hard not to drink now. So do it! JAMES SUCKLING

    The 2017 La Vieille Cure is deep, fleshy and delicious. In 2017, La Vieille Cure is a bit less dense than it often is, but it still packs a pretty serious punch. Dark red cherry, plum, cinnamon, chocolate and floral notes shape this racy, inviting Fronsac. ANTONIO GALLONI

    The 2017 Vieille Cure has a tightly-packed black cherry and cassis scented bouquet that feels as if it could be more intense once in bottle. The palate is medium-bodied with a candied, pastille-like opening: blackcurrant, crème de cassis and vanilla, lower in acidity than its Fronsac peers but smooth as silk towards the finish. NEAL MARTIN

     

    2017
    Cabernet Blends
    France
    356
  4. Mazeris Canon-Fronsac 2016
    Mazeris Canon-Fronsac 2016
    Shows ripeness and power on the nose with ripe dark berries and volcanic salt. Full body, soft and rich tannins and a long, flavorful finish. Drink in 2022. (91) JAMES SUCKLING

    One of the best things agbout the Bordeaux 2016 vintage was the stregth of the satellite appelations - this Canon Fronsac is a freat example - situated on the right bank but with a lot of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon you could easly see this as more left bak in style - it is everything a good claret should be dense dark with chewy tannis and cool clean fruit - absoultly delicous and a great price. ALEX WILCOX


    2016
    Cabernet Blends
    France
    356
  5. Senejac 2018
    Senejac 2018
    36 Bottles available at time of offer

    The 2018 Sénéjac has an attractive bouquet of blackberry and raspberry fruits, touches of graphite and pressed flowers. I admire the precision of this Haut-Médoc. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grained tannins, well-judged new oak (25%) and a touch of dark chocolate toward the finish. This has real panache and class and comes highly recommended. NEAL MARTIN
    2018
    Cabernet Blends
    France
    356
  6. Frederic Mabileau Sans Les Mains 2015
    Frederic Mabileau Sans Les Mains 2015
    This is described as Nathalie's coup de coeur, a juicy, slurpable red made from the rare Loire red grape Pineau d'Aunis. Hand harvested grapes are destemmed and sorted on a table before fermentation in a concrete egg. All up it's on skins for 10 days before spending 10 months in a 16-hectolitre concrete egg. The name 'Sans Les Mains' refers the fact that it's so easy to drink; you could lap it up with no hands.
    2015
    France
    423
  7. Noella Morantin Les Pichiaux 2017
    Noella Morantin Les Pichiaux 2017

    Sauvignon blanc, Touraine, Loire Valley. Always interesting wines from this producer, often a little left of centre, very expressive, usually very exciting to drink.

    Lemon balm, sea spray, faint cashew nut notes and a lift of faint fino sherry or similar. Very lovely perfume. Crystal clear and refreshing, saline lilt through juicy and concentrated lemon flavours, good length, cool, minerally-salty finish. Very excellent expression, full of vivacity and deliciousness.
    (93) THE WINE FRONT

    2017
    sauvignon Blanc
    France
    423
  8. Clos Floridene Blanc 2017
    Clos Floridene Blanc 2017

    1 BOTTLES remain at time of offer
    The 2017 Clos Floridène Blanc has a really classy bouquet, very well defined with citrus lemon, lime and light crushed pebble aromas. This is very pure and focused. The palate is well balanced with a twist of sour lemon on the entry, a fine bead of acidity with a very saline finish. This is a really interesting Clos Floridène thanks to the expressive Sémillon (91). NEAL MARTIN

    A wine of real distinction and class, the 2017 Clos Floridène Blanc also shows just how appealing the vintage is for Bordeaux's dry whites. Lemon confit, tangerine oil, pear, spice and a kiss of new French oak all grace this soft, wonderfully expressive white from the Dubourdieu family. The 2017 is pure class. That's all there is to it. Tasted two times. (91) ANTONIO GALLONI

    2017
    Sem/Sauv Blend
    France
    356
  9. Doisy Daene 2010 375ml
    Doisy Daene 2010 375ml

    Sauternes (1st Growth)

    Denis Dubourdieu's Barsac cru has an attractive bouquet with subtle notes of cooking apple, pear and lime-flower, all with very fine delineation. The palate displays good weight and a fine thread of acidity, lending tension and poise that leads to a taut finish, showing good botrytis levels for the vintage. With its trademark minerality in place, this Doisy-Daene comes highly recommended.  NEAL MARTIN

    Slightly less sweet than the 09, but still just as highly-strung with a healthy acidity and above all a very vibrant tone of fresh fruit running through the sweetness. A classic Doisy Daene, all natural and tensile, that will be lovely young and probably great old.  BILL BLATCH

    PLEASE NOTE THIS WINE IS OFFERED EN PRIMEUR AND YOU WILL BE CHARGED THE FINAL (NOW) PRICE LESS 20% WITH THE BALANCE DUE WHEN THE WINE ARRIVES IN 2013.

    2010
    Sem/Sauv Blend
    France
    356
  10. Chateau Montravel Blanc (Semillon) 2016
    Chateau Montravel Blanc (Semillon) 2016
    This is a 100% Sémillon form a 1 hectare vineyard located in Montravel, a sub-region of Bergerac.
    The grapes are hand harvested in small lug boxes, bunches are selected one by one. Pressed in an air tight press, the must is then barrel fermented and the wine aged on fine lees with regular batonnage. Aged for eleven months in 1/3 new, 1/3 one year old and 1/3 in two years old oak barrels.

    I love this wine - Semillion grown on chalk with a minerally intense core. It is opulent and dense yet has great freshness. A slight touch of stuck match reduction adds complexity to a lifted bright nose of citrus and minerally notes. Great power and mouth coating flavour and yet finishes crisp and clean. ALEX WILCOX


    2016
    Semillon
    France
    356
  11. La Fleur de Bouard 2010 375ml
    La Fleur de Bouard 2010 375ml

    The 2010 La Fleur du Bouard (80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon) is bottled unfined and unfiltered and hit 14.5% natural alcohol. The wine offers up notes of black raspberry and blueberry pie intermixed with incense, lead pencil shavings and plenty of underlying floral notes. Some background oak is also present. The wine is medium to full-bodied, beautifully pure, voluptuously textured, rich, long and hedonistic and satisfying. Drink it over the next 10+ years. The other cuvee, a limited production wine, can be absolutely magnificent with some bottle age, as the 2000 is certainly proving to be.

    The standard of excellence for Lalande de Pomerol is Hubert de Bouard’s 50-acre property, over half of it located on the highly prized Neac plateau, which consists of clay, sand and gravel sub-soils. ROBERT PARKER, 2013

    2010
    Cabernet Merlot
    France
    356
  12. Rieussec 2017 375ml
    Rieussec 2017 375ml

    Sauternes 1er Cru Classé
    24 BOTTLES remain at time of offer

    The 2017 Rieussec captures the natural intensity of the year, while also remaining faithful to the house style that is now favored by the estate. A high percentage of Sauvignon Blanc (17%) adds freshness and lift to the passionfruit, pineapple, mint and lemon confit flavors. Beautifully harmonious and persistent in the glass, the 2017 has so much to offer. In this tasting, it is simply tremendous. (94-97) ANTONIO GALLONI

    The 2017 Rieussec was affected by the frost, losing around 15% of the production although, it was more located in parcels that are designated for the dry white R de Rieussec. Eric Kohler told me that it was a relatively rapid picking. It has around 125gm/L residual sugar. It has a clean but slightly distant bouquet, does not really exude the richness that you expect from Sauternes. The palate is medium-bodied and more promising than the nose: a viscous opening, quite spicy and slightly Auslese in style. The acidity is well balanced and it becomes increasingly lively towards the lychee and fennel-tinged finish, as if compensating for the nose. (92-94) NEAL MARTIN

    2017
    Sem/Sauv Blend
    France
    356
  13. Sigalas Rabaud 2010 375ml
    Sigalas Rabaud 2010 375ml

    Sauternes (1st Growth)

    This has quite a bit of sulphur on the nose at first, but it clears with aeration. It remains tightly-coiled, with lemon, honey, apricot and limestone, demonstrating fine minerality. The palate has great tension on the entry, quite spicy and nutty in style, with a vibrant, zesty finish. This is an exuberant Sigalas-Rabaud with great potential. NEAL MARTIN

    A very full wine, with good but unobtrusive sweetness and above all a great brightness / freshness to the middle-fruit that, together with the just-enough acidity, take this remarkably full yet pure wine through to a very fine, minty, tight finish. This is clearly about to become the closest recent vintage to this château's golden days of the 60s. It reminds me of a latter day version of the great 67.  BILL BLATCH

     
    2010
    Sem/Sauv Blend
    France
    356
  14. Vray Croix de Gay 2013 375ml
    Vray Croix de Gay 2013 375ml

    This tiny estate’s (less than 12 acres) sensational terroir has never been fully exploited, but that will change now that the owner of Chateau Latour, Francois Pinault, has purchased an approximately 50% interest in Vray Croix de Gay. Made from a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, the dark ruby-hued 2013 exhibits notes of black cherries, loamy soil and underbrush. Consume this medium-bodied effort during its first 4-5 years of life. ROBERT PARKER, 2014

    2012
    Cabernet Blends
    France
    356
  15. Le Petit Ducru 2018 AKA Lalande Borie 2018
    Le Petit Ducru 2018 AKA Lalande Borie 2018

    24 bottles available at time of offer

    Sitting on the western side of St Julien sitting alongside the great classified growths of the appellation. It is owned by the Borie family of Ch Ducru Beaucaillou, another top performer the bears .  -Tom Portet
     
    Andrew Caillard MW 94
    Deep colour. Lovely fresh mulberry cassis fruits with inky cedar complexity. Intensely concentrated and juicy with fresh dark berry fruits, some brambly notes, fine slightly gritty tannins and underlying cedar notes. Very good at this level.

    Antonio Galloni 90-92
    The 2018 Lalande-Borie is pliant, supple and wonderfully inviting. Bright floral notes perk up the red/purplish berry fruit in a silky, succulent Saint-Julien that will drink well right out of the gate. In the glass, the 2018 is heady and alluring, and yet it retains its classic mid-weight personality and structure. Readers will have a hard time keeping their hands off this jewel of a wine. The blend is 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon.


     

    2018
    Cabernet Blends
    France
    356
  16. Plince 2018
    Plince 2018

    Plenty available.

    A pleasant blend of 79% Merlot and 21% Cabernet Franc from the famous house of Moueix. Enough said. -Tom Portet
     
    Andrew Caillard, MW 94
    Medium crimson. Fresh mulberry raspberry cassis aromas and flavours, fine loose-knit graphite tannins, lovely minerally textures and supple mid palate. Finishes chalky firm it long and inky. Really surprisingly very good. Elegantly styled but energy buoyancy and persistency.

    James Suckling 92-93
    This is so delicious already with wonderful, tight and polished tannins, medium body and a long, flavorful finish. Always excellent quality for the money.

    2018
    Cabernet Blends
    France
    356
  17. Climens 2016 375ml
    Climens 2016 375ml

    BARSAC

    I tasted the 2016 Climens from four separate lots identified by location, harvest dates, alcohol, residual sugar and the percentage each lot represents of the harvest. The four wines were remarkably different. The Nord was both plush and tropical-leaning, yet with notable freshness, while the Sud managed to be both deep and also light on its feet. I found the Ouest to be the most precise and aromatically lifted of the samples, while the Est was the most concentrated. A simple, impromptu blend of the four lots suggests the 2016 Climens is shaping up to be a magnificent Barsac. The interplay of the various components is quite remarkable. ANTONIO GALLONI

    The 2016 Climens was tasted from the 12 different lots that will go into the Grand Vin, with some selected from the Deuxième Vin, Cyprès de Climens. As usual, I had to assemble them in my mind and relate commonalities, though at a négoçiant a week later I re-tasted four preprepared micro-blends. I found much elegance this year. It is not a powerful Climens in the making and even with the higher alcohol lots that reached 14.9%, you could not feel any warmth and the wines maintained the tension. Some lots displayed saline finishes, perhaps a little more than usual. Perhaps the most important factor was just how "Barsac" they all tasted. Sometimes some lots can taste more Sauternes-like in style, but not this year. NEAL MARTIN

    2016
    Sem/Sauv Blend
    France
    356
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