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K&L Staff Recommendations
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A consistent, big-time winner in the value sweepstakes, the 2014 Chenin Blanc / Viognier is a blend of 80% Chenin Blanc and 20% Viognier (145,000 cases produced) is aged totally in stainless steel, has malolactic blocked, and offers what consumers love – big, flowery, fresh honeysuckle and tropical fruit, a light to medium-bodied mouthfeel, beautiful purity, texture and a long finish. (RP)" (8/2015) K&L Notes: Grapes for this perennial summertime value were sourced from Clarksburg, in California's Central Valley. Seriously quaffable but not to be underestimated—five ... Read More »
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Vouvray le Mont Sec is pure, precise and very flinty on the nose, which reveals a concentrated and elegant fruit with lemon and crushed stone flavors. Full-bodied, pure and piquant, with a tight and mineral structure, as well as a very persistent finish, this is a highly complex yet finesse-full Chenin with a great aging potential. I'd love to drink the 2015 today, although I know it will become much more complex over the years. The finish is enormously long and reveals fine tannins." (10/2016) 93 points Wine Spectator: "A light echo of baked apple leads off, followed by qu ...Read More »
This affordable, semi-dry white comes from Domaine Sylvain Gaudron, a family-owned domaine in Vouvray. Made entirely from Chenin Blanc grown in the region's famed clay and limestone soils, this version is fresh and elegant, with delicious quince and apple aromas and flavors and is an ideal partner for spicy Morroccan tagines and Southeast Asian curries.
This is a straightforward refreshing version of Vouvray Chenin Blanc. With a gold color, this wine is dry and smooth. It displays very nice citrus and fruity notes like ripe peach and green pear as well as flower aromas such as sweet acacia. The wine is round and fruity, well balanced and ends super fresh. A killer value in 100% Chenin Blanc. Picked from 45-year-old vines and then vinified in stainless and aged in tank for 2-3 months. Fantastic with fish dishes with an exotic flair and, of course, the typical meat and cheese starter plates.
Established in 1890, the Domaine Sylvain Gaudron is now run by the third generation of the Gaudron family. It comprises 59 acres spread out over 50 little plots. The soils are limestone-clay on a sub-layer of tuffeau. This is an incredibly affordable Vouvray that belies its meager price, delivering honeycomb, jasmine and quince aromas. In the mouth it's explosive, with crisp apple, Mirabelle plum, minerals and honeysuckle flavors. Zesty acidity and a clean finish make a tight package, perfect for seafood, salads and your favorite curry.
This "Cuvée du Silex" is the reserve bottling of Pascal Janvier. The soils are flint-dominated and the resulting minerality is astounding. This is made from Chenin Blanc and comes from the tiny appellation of Jasnières due north of Vouvray. An unctuous white that's full of raw honey, chamomile, and white flowers. Delicious, supple, and an excellent companion to soft and hard cheeses.
90 points Wine & Spirits: "Splash this into a decanter to release its fragrance and you’ll find a fresh, brisk chenin. It has the generous, waxy texture of the variety, the chew of the fruit skin, along with hints of lanolin that make it a natural partner to chèvre. Secateurs is Adi Badenhorst’s "second tier" from the 69 acres of unirrigated bush vines he and his cousin, Hein, own in Siebritskloof, on Paardeberg Mountain." (2/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Secateurs Chenin Blanc, which comes from bush vines planted on granite slopes, has a pleasant, simple bouquet with dried lemon peel, a touch of ...Read More »
Sourced from across the broad Western Cape region of South Africa, Radley & Finch offers this Chenin Blanc at an attractive entry-level price. Grapes were sourced from both bush vines and trellised vines primarily in the Agter Paarl and Swartland regions. Winemaker Thinus Kruger primarily utilized indigenous yeasts in a particularly slow fermentation to develop complexity. The result is a citrusy and yellow fruited profile with hints of spice and grain. It is ready to drink right now, but will fill out and add complexity for a couple of years.
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The citrus-colored 2015 Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Sec is pure, fresh and chalky on the nose where ripe and concentrated fruit aromas along with some subtle herbal aromas are displayed. Full-bodied, very mineral, salty and ripe, this is a concentrated, powerful, densely woven yet finesse-full and elegant Chenin with a very long and grippy, tension-filled finish. Great aging potential." (10/2016) 93 points Wine Spectator: "Solidly ripe, with a full-bodied core of ginger, pear and persimmon notes allied to a racy spine that lengthens the finish, letting ginger, quince and green almond accen ...Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Old Vine White is just a peach of a wine. It is fairly innocuous at first, saunters around for bit, minding its own business. Perhaps your attention is lowered. Then it evolves these wonderful aromas of almond, beeswax and just a hint of creme brulée. The palate is very well balanced with fine acidity, perhaps not quite as complex as the nose at full flight, but it delivers impressive, almost disarming persistence on the ginger-tinged finish. You will polish off a bottle quicker than you wish. (NM)" (11/2015) 91 points Wine Spectator: "Lovely, with white peach, chamomile an ...Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "Perdeberg and Kasteelberg. Spring herbs on the nose. Off-dry impression but with enough acidity. Good tang, this would be a fab house wine. (GV)" (9/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Only recently bottled, the 2015 Kloof Street Chenin Blanc comes from 40-year-old vines. Part of the fruit was matured in stainless steel, as it was done in 2014 for the first time. It has a perfumed pine cone and fennel-tinged bouquet that gently unfurls from the glass. The palate is well balanced, perhaps a little fatter than previous vintages with a fine line of acidity, direct pear, peach skin, and f ...Read More »
The Champalou family farms 22 acres in Vouvray, making the Cuvée des Fondraux from 45-year-old Chenin vines grown in the area's prized clay, limestone and flint soils. Like all of their wines, it is distinctive, with incredible balance and energy... a true representation of the soil and a great value.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "It has an appealing, lightly honeyed bouquet with touches of nectarine and yellow flowers. The palate is well balanced with a pleasant honeyed texture, a little lower in acidity than its peers (despite being picked earlier) with a waxy-textured finish...there is fine length and sheer drinkability here. (NM)" (11/2015) K&L Notes: The grapes for this wine come from a vineyard high in the mountains of Clanwilliam, 25 miles from the sea at 1600ft elevation. Dry farmed, as there is no longer any water available, these 50 +/- year old vines produce a mere 2.5 tons per hect... Read More »
La Capitaine is a family-run winery that farms 27 hectares of the glorious Chenin Blanc grape. This sparkler made in the Champagne method shows a beautiful floral nose that leads to fine, elegant bubbles and a zippy finish. It's a festive wine for parties, but would also make a great accompaniment to a spicy Indian curry.
Vinous: "Vivid gold with an aggressive bead. A complex bouquet of ripe apple, pear and quince, with honey and beeswax nuances. Distinctly chenin blanc in character, offering dried orchard fruit and bitter lemon qualities and a strong mineral undertone. A touch of marzipan adds depth to the dry, stony, precise finish. This will be very flexible with rich fish or poultry dishes. (JR)" (5/2010) Wine Spectator: "Alluring, with ginger, quince and maple hints allied to a soft, brioche-filled palate. The friendly, open-knit finish has an off-dry hint. (JM, Web-2010)" K&L Notes: Produced from Chidaine... Read More »
96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The apricot/golden colored 2015 Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux shows a very intense, elegant and also subtle bouquet of ripe fruit intermixed with flinty aromas. Dense, piquant and concentrated on the palate, this is a great and tension-filled Chenin with grip and persistence, but also great finesse and elegance. This is a highly complex and energetic, but also light-footed and stimulating wine with lots of mouthwatering salinity. A fascinating Chenin with great aging potential." (10/2016) 94 points Wine Spectator: "Offers ginger- and hibiscus-infused creamed yellow apple, quince and pear ...Read More »
Vigneron by way of butcher, Pascal Janvier is one of those souls destined to make wine, despite himself. Fortunately, he wised up at age thirty and yielded to his inevitable fate. Today, Pascal and his wife Dominique farm a total of nine hectares in the department of the Sarthe in the Val du Loir, a tiny, stony hillside along the Loir River (a tributary of the Loire River), north of Vouvray that is also the most northerly--and coldest--of the regions of the Loire. The "Cuvée du Rosier" is 100% Pineau d'Aunis from 25-year-old vines planted to 1.6 ha of sa... Read More »
Some would call this pétillant naturel méthode ancestrale, which is loosely the same thing: a sparkling wine made in bottle with its native yeast and without any sugar additions (no chapitalization during initial fermentation, no sweet yeast liquor added for secondary in bottle, and no sweet dosage at disgorgement the bottles are simply topped off with the same wine and corked). Indeed, Originel is made without any additions or modern interventions of any kind. It is absolutely natural, a requirement enshrined by its makers and, as of 2007, by law for Pé... Read More »
Viticulture and winemaking are done in a classical style at Domaine Laffourcade. The Chenin Blancs of Savennières are exclusively made in a dry style, and this example is a reliable winner for its expression and value. Vines averaging 20 years old are planted in sandy schist soils where they are harvested manually to modest yields. The juice is slowly fermented to preserve fresh aromatics and the wine is aged in tank on the lees before bottling.
The Brunet family has been producing wines in Vouvray for eight generations and they currently cultivate 14 hectares. A medium-sweet wine with some maturity, "moelleux" is a term in French that means "like bone marrow" or "mellow".
Winemaker's Notes: "Expressive fresh, tropical fruit flavour with well structured minerality. Youthful, friendly and inviting, this wine is ready to be enjoyed now. Sirkel encapsulates our dream of fulfilling our mission to be custodians of earth and guardians of man, caring for what has been entrusted to us. This wine completes the full seasonal circle by giving back to the land and the people committed to its creation. Grapes are hand harvested before being de-stemmed, crushed and pressed. Spontaneous fermentation turns the juice into wine, with minima... Read More »
96 points Wine Spectator: "Unctuous, concentrated and refined, this holds a large core of quince, creamed Anjou pear and white ginger notes in reserve for now, while heather, chamomile, orange blossom and white peach flavors take the lead. When the reserves stretch out and catch up with the floral accents, this will be a pure, precise stunner, with a long life. Best from 2018 through 2035. (JM)" (8/2013) 94 points Wine & Spirits: "Glistening in golden hues, this chenin draws you in with its broad, luscious fruit then pounces with searingly fresh acidity and grape skin spice. Luxurious as a young wine, this in ...Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Cartology Bush Vines is Chris Alheit's fourth release since it blazed onto the South African scene. It comes from the same vineyards as previous vintages. Chris said this is completely unfined and unfiltered with a very healthy pH. The nose has a sense of confidence about it, racing out of the blocks with orange zest, honeysuckle, jasmine and a touch of loganberry. The palate is lightly honeyed on the entry, beautifully balanced with a fine line of acidity, gently building in the mouth towards a complex, absorbing finish of lychee, white pepper ...Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "The aromas draw you in with notes of kiwi, pineapple and mango. Brown sugar and tropical fruit flavors are intensely sweet and rich, with an unctuous feel." (11/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The dessert-styled 2014 Red Mountain Chenin Blanc (which was harvest from frozen grapes on the vine) has lots of overt sweetness in its white peach, apricot and honeyed bouquet. This gives way to a pure, clean and well-made dessert wine that comes up a little short on acidity, and I liked the first sip better than the last. It is good, but best consumed over the coming year. (JD)" (6/2015)
Jancis Robinson: "Light but distinctive nose, honey and lemon character. Gentle, soothing sort of character, and genuinely dry (even at 12%). Very subtle, and pretty short, but a great lunchtime option, with a lovely savoury finish. (RH)" (10/2013) Vinous: "Bright gold with a frothy mousse. Pear and white peach on the nose, with complicating floral and spice qualities and a hint of orange zest. At once fleshy and dry, offering tangy citrus and orchard fruit flavors and slow-building spiciness. The finish repeats the orange note and leaves a strong spicy quality behind. This impressi ...Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Demi-Sec has a creamy, intense and elegant bouquet of ripe and concentrated fruits, along with delicate earthy and lemony flavors. Full-bodied, intense and powerful, with a dense texture and firm tannins, this is a very complex and firmly structured Chenin for the next decade. The sweetness is perfectly integrated and the acidity rather mild in the first moment. The finish though is enormously vital and mineral." (10/2016) 94 points Wine Spectator: "Features a wide range of apple, green melon, ginger and green plum notes gliding throughout, with the off ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "This wine offers a fresh, almond and white flower-laced nose and a lively, earthy, and chalk-packed flavor profile. This refreshing sparkling wine is sure to bring a smile to readers' faces on hot summer afternoons. (RP)" (6/1998) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Light gold with tiny bubbles. Subdued aromas of orange zest, lemon, dried pear and honeysuckle. Broad but energetic citrus and orchard fruit flavors are complemented by anise and honey, giving the wine an impression of richness as well as vivacity. The persistent finish repeats the honey and floral notes and clings nicely. This i ...Read More »
95 points Wine Spectator: "Offers a big, broad feel, with layers of glazed pear, apple and peach falling over each other, backed by fresh ginger, honeysuckle and quince notes. Everything pulls together through the finish, with green tea accents and racy minerality providing the foil. Drink now through 2035. 300 cases imported. (JM)" (9/2016) 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Moelleux displays open and elegant ripe fruit (pineapples, oranges) with some dusty flavors of crushed rocks. Powerful but full of finesse and elegance, this is a piquant and stimulating sweet wine with grip and ten ...Read More »
La Capitaine is a family-run winery that farms 27 hectares of the glorious Chenin Blanc grape.
Luis Gutierrez of eRobertParker.com writes: "Gen del Alma is the personal project of Gerardo Michelini and his wife Andrea Muffatto. Fresh, light, sometime irreverent wines that are hugely popular among young sommeliers and wine nuts in Argentina. Some wines are bottled and sold very early and I already tasted some 2015s... that were not only bottled, but also sold out! A name to keep in the radar screen."
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Chenin Blanc is matured in used barrels for around ten months, undergoes a little SO2 and bottled. It comes from two vineyards. It has a phenolic bouquet, a little resinous with honeysuckle and jasmine, a touch of warm gravel. The palate is medium-bodied with a fine line of acidity, but this is more about texture than fruit with hints of ginger and lemongrass towards the finish. Drink over the next 5-8 years. (NM)" (11/2015) K&L Notes: Thinus Krüger, CEO / President / Winemaker / Grape crusher / Sole employee of FRAM, brings us these remarkable "wines of exp... Read More »
Château de Brézé has a long and storied history, first being mentioned in texts in 1068, lauded by King René of Anjou in the 15th century and served at all the royal courts. In 1957, when the AOC of Saumur Champigny was established, the owner of Château de Brézé refused to be part of the appellation, saying that his estate's vineyards were the best and deserved an appellation all their own. And he was probably right. Unfortunately, the wines from those exceptional vineyards were terrible. Lucky for us, the winery sold in 2009 to Le Comte de Colbert, who ... Read More »
Whisky Advocate: "Catherine Breton makes this wine from 40-year-old vines growing on flinty, clay-limestone soils. It has the natural wine scent of apple cider and an austere finish of lemon and flint. Smoky and salty, this is a Vouvray for duck rillettes." (4/2016)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Savennières Les Petites Gorgees ("pg de Damien“) is a full-bodied, aromatic, ripe and elegant Chenin Blanc that is rich and salty and nicely balanced, displaying attractive honey aromas as well as refreshing lime flavors in the delicate finish. It is a clear, fruity-mineral, well-balanced and accessible wine for early consumption, but it can also age for several years. (SR)" (10/2014) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright yellow. Smoky aromas of hazelnut, linseed oil and crushed white pepper on the nose. Fresh, clean and tightly wound, with firm acid structure giving focus to t ...Read More »
Coulée de Serrant is a small AOC located within Savennières and is only about 17 acres in size. Originally planted by Cistercian monks back in 1130 the average vine age is between 35-40 years of age with the oldest being around 80 years old. The dense red schist soils give this wine its renowned concentration, structure and power. The winery converted over to biodynamic farming back in 1980, before it was so hip, and they are committed to bottling a natural "wine-of-place". This is one of the most powerful wines of the world. Cellar for 10+ years or deca... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
89-91 points Vinous: "The 2014 Chenin Blanc, which emerges from 50 year-old vines, is rich, phenolic and intense to the core, with a real sense of apricot/peach pit character that dominates. Sweet floral and spice notes add nuance as the wine opens up, but the Chenin remains quite structured and intense, at least today. This is one of the most distinctive Chenin Blancs readers will come across. Proprietors Bill Wathen and Dick Doré are at the top of their game... These are some of the most expressive, singular wines being made in Santa Barbara County today. (AG)" (6/2015) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "One o ...Read More »
Patrick Baudoin is located in the region of Anjou. He produces intensely mineral driven dry chenin blanc as well as some sweeter more succulent versions of the same grape from Coteaux du Layon. In his youth, Patrick avoided the wine industry but in 1990, he took over the estate that his great grandparents founded in the 1920s. The property is 13 hectares of vineyards situated on a cocktail of ancient eroded rocks, a mix of volcanic and sedimentary soils depending on the site. The vines are all farmed organically, only native yeasts are used and minimal a... Read More »
With their old vines, quality organic viticulture, and modern winemaking, Domaine Guiberteau has quickly become a leading estate in the Loire's Saumur. The family has grown grapes in Saumur for more than 100 years, and for much of that time they provided the fruits of their labor to the local winemaking co-op. Current proprietor Romain Guiberteau is the third generation of vigneron since the family officially founded their own label, and their vines were planted by his father and grandfather just after World War II. According to importer Becky Wasserman,... Read More »
93 points Vinous: "Amber gold. Sumptuous aromas of figs, dates, almonds and vanilla. Velvety and viscous on the attack, then sharply delineated on the middle palate due to the ripe acidity, which further concentrates the honeyed flavors of white chocolate, caramel and peach nectar. While this is fresher and even purer owing to its dried currant depth and lively acidity, it does not have quite the complexity provided by botrytis in the 2011 version. I give them the same score today but the 2011 will probably be the more interesting wine over the years. (JBP)" (12/2014) Jancis Robinson: "Golden ...Read More »
93 points Wine & Spirits: "Xavier Weisskopf makes this wine from his youngest parcel of vines—30 years old—grown in silex and clay. Pascaline Lepeltier of NYC’s Rouge Tomate called this “a chenin for guys who like extra-brut Champagne—super lean, pristine.” That clean precision of chenin on silex captures the breadth of the vintage and cages it, slowly releasing stony minerality, a tart flavor of yellow apple skin, a spicy floral note of white flowers. This is a powerful young wine that won’t be ready to drink for five years or more." (4/2016) Wine Spectator: "This offers bright-edged peach, quince ...Read More »
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Vouvray Clos du Bourg Demi-Sec displays a well defined and complex bouquet of ripe and concentrated fruits intertwined with chalky flavors. Dense and elegant on the palate, with a mouth-filling fruit and a perfect sweetness that counterbalances the raciness and firm mineral structure, this is a finesse-full and powerful Chenin with lots of salt and tension. A gorgeous, precise and vivacious wine with great aging potential. SR" (10/2016) 94 points Wine Spectator: "Quite ripe, with tropical mango and papaya notes mixed with peach, apple and quince flavors. Pretty ginger and h ...Read More »
Wine & Spirits: "This chenin’s broad flavors of quince paste have a fresh lanolin note. It’s bold and juicy, with sweetness cut by slightly starchy acidity, the wine’s youthful tension needing bottle age to mellow." (4/2016) Wine Spectator: "A forward style, with candied ginger, dried pear, quince and chamomile notes that are threaded together nicely. Lingering mineral edge through the finish. (JM, Web-2016)"
Jancis Robinson: "85% Chenin Blanc, 15% Verdelho. Subtle but definite aromas: apricot and apple. Firm, fresh and lightly textured. The blend works well here giving an aromatic profile but also a satisfying texture. Just a slight note of boiled sweets on the finish – some residual sugar, or is it simply fruit sweetness? (JH)" (10/2015)
Patrick Baudoin is located in the region of Anjou in the Loire Valley. He produces intensely mineral driven dry Chenin Blanc as well as some sweeter more succulent versions of the same grape from Coteaux du Layon. In his youth, Patrick avoided the wine industry but in 1990, he took over the estate that his great grandparents founded in the 1920s. The property is 13 hectares of vineyards situated on a cocktail of ancient eroded rocks, a mix of volcanic and sedimentary soils depending on the site. The vines are all farmed organically, only native yeasts ar... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The most recent release of Moulin Touchais (for more about whose unusual operation, see my report in issue 172) is a 1996 Coteaux du Layon that illustrates the striking combination of mineral and nobly sweet characteristics that were possible in this unusual vintage, though its notoriously high acidity is scarcely noticeable thanks to the balance lent by high sugar and the harmony conveyed by time in bottle. Alkaline and wet stone aromas here approach the effect of sticking one’s head down a moss- and algae-covered cistern, accompanied by scents of lily, ...Read More »
In 2008, the famed Loire Valley vigneron Jo Pithon, his wife Isabelle, Isabelle's son Joseph Paillé and his wife Wendy, joined together to start Pithon-Paillé--a négociant not unlike those in the Rhône Valley or Burgundy. This botrytis-affected Chenon Blanc comes from 20- to 30-year-old vineyards in four villages at the center of the Layon Valley. Intense scents and flavors of pears and quince, this vibrant, earthy wine goes wonderfully with funky cheeses.
Made by Matthieu Vallée, who took over Chateau Yvonne in 2007, this is Biodynamically farmed and certified organic Chenin Blanc from three hectares of vines that range in age from five to over 80 years. Native yeast fermented in barrel, with natural malolactic fermentation. Unfined and unfiltered.