Friday Feature- Good Times in the Loire.

Hello and Happy Friday!


Don’t miss tonight’s Routier tasting at the store.  Stop in any time between 5 and 8 pm and try a flight that explores the ancient variety Gouais Blanc.  That little sucker was busy, as he had a bunch of babies, some of the names you may know include Riesling, Furmint and Blaufränkisch.




Don’t be, just stop by for a drink today, it’s $25 and it’s fun.


Tonight’s tasting features the following three wines: 2010 Dönnhoff Riesling, 2009 Szepsy Furmint, and 2007 Iby Blaufränkisch “Chevalier.”




Today’s Friday Feature showcases wines that are near and dear to our heart.  For well over a decade we have been selling and consuming the wines of two rockstar Loire Valley producers named Bernard Baudry and Domaine de la Pépière.


Through the years we have always been able to afford these wines on our limited budgets.


Let us tell you a little secret – the Loire Valley is home to France’s greatest white and red wine values.  Luckily for all of us wine nerds, cool climate wines typically don’t fetch as high of a price as those from sun-tanned vignerons.


On top of their great prices, the top examples from the best vineyards in the Loire have the ability to age for some time and gain in complexity.  This bucks the common thought that Loire wines are all inexpensive bistro wines meant to consumer in their first year in a Parisian bistro.


Loire wine fans must not miss today’s offerings!


Have a great weekend,

Craig & Sheb



Friday Feature 



2010 Domaine de la Pépière “Granite de Clisson” Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine


Muscadet is the most underrated white wine in the world.


Maybe it’s the name that confuses people.


No this isn’t Muscat and it’s not sweet.  It is actually a grape called Melon de Bourgogne, which is a cousin to the Chardonnay grape.


Muscadet comes from the Western edge of the Loire Valley of France, near the city of Nantes.  85% of Muscadet comes from the Sèvre-et-Maine appellation which hosts a variety of soil types and expositions.


Marc Ollivier of Domaine de la Pépière is one of the leaders of the region in quality.  He farms 28 hectares of vines, making a wide range of Muscadet, red and even a Pétillant.  Ollivier keeps his yields low, practices organic viticulture and employes natural yeasts for fermentation.


At the top of his range is this wine, one of two Muscadet that come from a specific commune.  The first vintage I tasted of Granite de Clisson, and the last to make its way to our market was the 1997 vintage.  This wine was another example of the excellence that could be achieved  in the region.


Three years later, the newest vintage, 2010, has finally arrived to my doorstep, and I’m quite excited to introduce it to you.  Bright notes of lemon and mineral on the nose lead into bright, citrus-driven flavors that are multi-dimensional and finish with hints of anise and mineral.  This super-racy and fresh white wine really lasts on the palate.


Best of all this is a wine to drink over the course of several years.  Drink it now, drink it ten years from now.  As an example I had another cuvée from Pépière last night with dinner, it was from the 2004 vintage, and was showing fabulously.


What other $23 bottle of white wine from France brings this level of complexity, aging capacity and sheer pleasure?


Believe it or not, this wine was allocated, and will sell out quickly.  I’ve accessed several bottle sizes, as many, including myself enjoy the large format bottles for aging and sharing with friends.










2010 Bernard Baudry Chinon “Le Clos Guillot”


I really care about what you drink!


For example, if you are going to drink the great reds of Chinon, then you must buy the wines of Bernard and Matthieu Baudry.  And if you buy the wines of Baudry, it is worth the extra dollars to buy the two top reds of the domaine, “Le Clos Guillot,” and “La Croix Boissée.”


Yet this wasn’t a given.  These are smaller production wines, and as such they are usually available to our market only via special order.  For the fabulous 2010 vintage, I was the only account in the State of Illinois to special order these for my customers – so you see, I care!


Chinon is one of the great red wine appellations of the Loire Valley, with reds based on the Cabernet Franc varietal.  Vineyard sites with their variance in exposition and soil determine the style and flavors of these wines.  The Baudry family happens to work with some truly excellent parcels within Chinon.


“Le Clos Guillot” comes from a 4-hectare vineyard planted on clay-limestone soil.  It spends a year in barrel.


Of the two reds I’m offering the “Le Clos Guillot” is much more accessible in its youth.  In fact, I find it to be the “Burgundian offering” within the Baudry range, as reds fruits shine, and the aromas really come through with aeration and aging.  Drink now through 2018.






2010 Bernard Baudry Chinon “La Croix Boissée” Rouge


If there ever was a time to listen up, now would be that time.


If you enjoy Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley, and age wines for later consumption you would be absolutely off your rocker if you missed this insanely great wine.


This is one of the stars of the appellation of Chinon.  From the single-vineyard “La Croix Boissée,” 30 year-old vines planted on chalk and clay over white limestone, and aged in barrel for 18 months.  The vineyard sits on the hillsides of Cravant, and faces southward taking in a good amount of sunshine.


The 2010 vintage is stunning.  Complex aromas of dark berry fruit, sandalwood, pepper spice with an underlying meaty quality.  Rich, with a great core of fruit, firm tannins and bright acidity that keeps it fresh.  The finish goes on and on, but there is a realization that this has so much more to give.  Drink from 2016-2025.


This is the way Bordeaux used to be priced 35 years ago, when you didn’t have to be in the top 1% to afford one of the best wines of the appellation.  In the Loire you can enjoy some of the best wines, without having to sell your house first.


Don’t miss this!



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