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K&L Staff Recommendations
2015 Eric Cottat Sancerre $18.99
According to the importer: "This new Loire Valley project is a partnership with Rodolphe and Ludivine Marteau, who took over their family’s estate in 2010 (they are the 4th generation) The 29 hectare property is located on South bank of the river Cher, on siliceous-argilo (clay and flint) soils. Of the 29 hectares of estate vineyards owned by the Marteau family, 20 are planted to Sauvignon Blanc. These vines average 30 years in age and are meticulously tended by the family. Short-cane pruning, selective ploughing, spring debudding, deleafing, grass cover... Read More »
This Chardonnay is produced by the three brothers Couillaud at the Château de la Ragotière, a few minutes from the Atlantic near the mouth of the Loire River, where the maritime climate is ideal for producing whites that are refreshing and bright. The Couillauds age most of this wine on its lees until bottling to add weight and texture with around 10% being barrel-fermented in French oak for the faintest touch of toastiness. Saveur magazine wrote about a previous vintage: "This value-priced Chardonnay tastes crisp and bright. It comes from the western Lo... Read More »
Francois and Jean-Marie Cherrier with father Pierre produce steely and citrus-driven Sancerre from fine parcels of Sauvignon Blanc planted in Sancerre's silex (flint) and chalky soils. Yields are kept low and harvest is done strictly by hand before fermenting in 100% stainless steel. Vibrantly aromatic and mineral-driven, this is quintessential Sancerre.
Wine Spectator: "Soft, delivering ginger, brioche and pear notes, with a friendly, open finish. Drink now. (Web Only-2013) (JM)" K&L Notes: A pale yellow wine with tiny bubbles, this Cremant de Loire Brut is rounded and delicate with a fine, nervy, complex nose and the freshness of Chenin Blanc, floral Chardonnay and fruity Cabernet Franc from 20- to 30-year-old vines. With its lively attack, it evolves gracefully across the palate with nice aromatic persistence in the mouth and lingering notes of fresh peaches and pear. A great opener to a memorable night! 12.5% abv. (Eric Story, Lo... Read More »
One of K&L's very finest buys from France. This is a reserve cuvée, made from Millet's chalkiest limestone soils. There is a long maceration at very low temperatures to extract as much flavor and character as possible. The resulting wine is intensely charged with stone fruit and minerality, with bright citrus notes. However, due to the amazingly warm vintage, it's quite soft, with layers of rich fruit.
From a 4.5 hectare plot of vines which average 30 years of age and planted in flint and clay soils. All hand harvested, vinified in 100% stainless steel tanks along with about a week of carbonic maceration. Bright fruits with spice and fresh palate feel. This is a fantastic wine for those mixed meat grill outs, a dream with salmon and a perfect pairing with an array of Asian foods.
Sancerre at half the price! The Fournier family, with roots as deep as their vines in this region, seem to be related to just about everyone in some way. They've been farming and producing wines in Sancerre for generations. We are pleased to have been offered this wine, yet again, at such a great price. Soft, subtle mineral notes are wrapped up in aromatics of melon and citrus. Clean, bright and refreshing, this is a perfect little Sauvignon Blanc. Tropical fruit, citrus and spice aromas and flavors, with vibrant acidity and minerality. Perfect for goat ... Read More »
This Sancerre has a pale yellow color with hints of flashing green. Aromatically, it possesses a nice fruity component of crispy white peaches, melon, yellow plums and the typical presence of place notes of flinty minerals. On the palate, it has a richness and persistence which is nicely balanced with fruit texture, mineral and acidity. The excellent length gets even better as the bottle breathes. If you can get your hands on a round of Crottin de Chavignol, call it a day. Or, try this with pan roasted shellfish with just a touch of butter and a squeeze ... Read More »
We love these wines for their freshness, charm and affordability, and this is easily our best value Sancerre in the store. From soils of clay and chalk in the village of Bue near the Domaine. The Millet keeps you coming back for more. It is vinified entirely in stainless steel to preserve the wonderful citrus and slightly grassy aromatics and gentle mineral finish.
Wine Enthusiast: "Based in Bué, one of the top villages of Sancerre, this producer has made a ripe, crisp and nervy wine that comes from chalk soil. Tangy with a mineral texture, it offers rich currant and lime flavors and full-throated final acidity. (RV)" (5/2016) K&L Notes: We love these wines for their freshness, charm and affordability, and this is easily our best value Sancerre in the store. From soils of clay and chalk in the village of Bue near the Domaine. The Millet keeps you coming back for more. It is vinified entirely in stainless steel to preserve the wonderful citrus an... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur lie Harmonie offers a very clear, elegant and pure bouquet of ripe pears with fresh citrus flavors. Full-flavored, juicy and full of minerals, this is a gorgeously pure and elegant but also sensual and stimulating Muscadet in perfect balance. The finish is pretty long, aromatic and structured, which is what makes this still primarily fruity wine highly attractive to be drunk young, although this Muscadet will gain even more complexity over the years." (10/2016) K&L Notes: Michel & Nathalie Delhommeau farm 28 hectares of vines plan... Read More »
This 100% Pinot Noir rosé comes from limestone-clay soil of their Sancerre vineyards, which are located two hours south of Paris on the fringes of the Loire Valle. This is a wonderfully food-friendly wine that can stand up to Santa Maria-style tri-tip, grilled sausages or spicy Vietnamese banh mi.
Joël Taluau is a fabulous grower in St. Nicolas de Bourgueil known for making some of the purest expressions of Cabernet Franc in the Loire, which are unmarred by the intrusion of oak. He was also the first producer in the appellation to begin domaine bottling. These days, Joel makes wines with the help of his son-in-law, Thierry Foltzenlogel. Their "Expression" comes from vines up to 35 years old, planted on a hillside with clay and limestone. The terroir is perfect for a youthful expression of Cabernet Franc that's immediately drinkable and fresh, with... Read More »
Made from Cabernet Franc grapes grown on a clay-limestone hillside, this fruity and aromatic wine drinks wonderfully, even when the wine is very young. The Cabernet France grapes are completely destemmed and vatted for 12-18 days, depending on the year. Fermentation in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats. The result is is an elegant, round and easy-to-drink wine that smells of violets and tastes of heaven!
Translated to mean "the son of the fat sheep," this delicious Muscadet is made by Claude Branger, a committed grower who farms his 61 acres in the heart of the Muscadet Sèvre et Maine appellation completely sustainably, with an attention to detail that translates to wines of superior quality. He harvests by hand, and bottles without fining or filtration. This is his entry-level Muscadet and a glorious value for the price. It is dry and fresh, with tangy lemony citrus aromas and flavors, delicate creaminess on the mid-palate, and a minerally finish. You w... Read More »
There is perhaps no better match for a dozen oysters than minerally Sancerre from one of the best producers in the region. This release is always a cut above textbook Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc, with bright acidity, smoke, citrus and grassiness. Hippolyte Reverdy's family has been making wine in the charming village of Verdigny, a commune of Sancerre in the eastern Loire, for many generations--perhaps as far back as 1600. Traditional in nature, the farm was planted to multiple crops, and the Reverdys raised goats and made small quantities of wine from ... Read More »
Invigorating and fresh, with lemony citrus aromas and flavors accented by delicate white flowers. The palate is full and fresh, with balanced acidity and minerality on the finish. This a style of wine that keeps your palate fresh and alive. Although easy to drink, it has complexity and intrigue up and down the aromatic and palate. You'll want another after the first one has disappeared. (Eric Story, K&L Loire buyer)
Wine Spectator: "A soft sparkler, featuring cherry, peach and strawberry notes, with a pillowy finish. Drink now. (JM, Web—2013)" K&L Notes: A wine with tiny, long-lasting bubbles, Deligeroy's Cremant de Loire Rosé is a lovely gleaming pink, enticing with a delicate, nervy nose and aromas of fresh red fruit. It's lively on the attack and has lovely aromatic intensity and brightness. Well-balanced in the mouth, this sparkler is enhanced by a fresh but subtle finish. The wine is stored for at least 12 months on racks in freestone cellars before disgorging to make incomparably fine bubb... Read More »
La Noue is a 2.5 hectare vineyard plot from which Domaine Claude Riffault makes their red and rosé wine. The plot is divided into seven adjacent vineyards featuring Terres Blanches and Kimmeridgian marl soils with 100% Pinot Noir vines ranging from 8 to 56 years old. The rosé is allowed some light skin contact to gain color, complexity, and aromatic interest during its vinification.
Vinous: "Light, bright orange. Zesty, sharply focused citrus fruit and strawberry scents are complemented by suggestions of succulent herbs and candied rose. Juicy and gently sweet, offering pliant red fruit flavors and a touch of bitter blood orange. Clings with good, spicy tenacity, leaving a subtle rose pastille note behind. (JR)" (6/2016) K&L Notes: Light and pale in color with fresh, crunchy strawberries on the nose and chalky minerals in the background. Fresh and light on the palate with a good focus of fruit throughout. This is a very well made rosé that deserves some ... Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "Organic farming. Intense crimson. Peppery, crunchy dark-red fruit, just a little smoky. A fine texture - silky but dry. Gentle and fresh, subtle. (JH)" (3/2016) K&L Notes: This is produced all in stainless steel, solely from Cabernet Franc that is grown on a limestone slope. It has a rich ruby color and excellent structure. A nice fruity style of Chinon, this value-priced wine has a subtle peppery spice, ripe dark berries and a soft, chalky mineral character that really makes the fruity core come to life. There are rich tannins on the finish and a juicy freshness th... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Jean-Dominique Vacheron's white 2015 Sancerre shows a very clear and elegant white fruit aroma with elderflowers on the nose. Full-bodied, very elegant and fruit intense, but also with mineral and phenolic grip, it has a long and powerful finish. This is remarkably good, perfectly balanced Sancerre. The 2015 reflects the warm and sunny vintage as well as the elegant and complex Vacheron style. The aromatic aftertaste reveals a nice mango aroma, as well as cassis and refreshing mineral flavors." (10/2016) K&L Notes: The estate wine comes from plantings which are embed... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "This profound, off-dry sparkling pear cider from Normandy comes from biodynamically farmed, 300-year-old trees." (5/2014) K&L Notes: A sommelier by training, in 1992 Eric took over his family's estate and orchards. His goal was to revolutionize the cider industry and bring it into restaurants, high-end retail and export markets. A close friend of his, Didier Dagueneau, the icon wine-maker in Pouilly-sur-Loire encouraged him down the path of producing ciders from apples and pears that are like no others. Ciders that make one draw comparisons to fine vintage wine. The ... Read More »
Méthode Traditionnelle (same process as Champagne) 60% Chardonnay 40% Folle Blanche grown in soils consisting of chalk and flint on the south side of the Loir. This fun bubbly is fresh, vibrant yet delicate and textural. Subtle hints of brioche with a ultrathin spread of fruit which adds to the aromatic. There is a nice richness on the palate which comes from the Chardonnay and then finishes clean and mouthwatering thanks to the Folle Blanche. This is a super food friendly bubbly but will double down and be a fantastic stand around cocktail sipper as wel... Read More »
This is a fresh, snappy berry-driven rosé with delicate floral notes. It's bright and crisp, delicious with or without food. Domaine les Pins has been family run for five generations. They are a small artisanal producer that oversees every stage of the production from start to finish. They have roughly 30 hectares of Cabernet Franc spread out through the Bourgueil and Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil regions. They practice sustainable farming and each and every vine gets singular attention throughout the year. Vines of an average age of 25 years are planted in... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice and #85 of Top 100 of 2015* This rich, structured wine is packed with both firm tannins and rich red fruits. Still young, it has all the makings of a dense, balanced wine that will reflect the great fruit of the vintage. Age this smoky, full-bodied wine and drink from 2017. (RV)" (11/2015) Wine Spectator: "Fresh, with a bright core of black cherry and damson plum fruit flavors backed by light black olive and violet notes. Modest in scale but with very nice purity. Drink now through 2018. (JM, Web-2016)" K&L Notes: A rich ruby red with notes of violets and red berry fr... Read More »
It is a classic "partridge's eye" pale pink color, with delicate fruit aromas and flavors accented by notes of savory herb and earthy, peppery spice. Light, refreshing, and complex, this is the perfect partner to savory snacks, salads, fish dishes, cured meats, or picnic fare. Serve chilled. Jean-François is an up-and-coming winemaker in Touraine who we've become a big fan of over the past few years. The rosé is made by direct pressing followed by a traditional vinification of Pineau d'Aunis, the ancient Loire grape variety that grows on chalky clay soi... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "From a former rock-star sommelier of the Parisian wine scene, this slightly sweet cider is produced from the fruit of apple trees more than 50 years old. Tones of baked apple drizzled with honey beg to be paired with warm apple pie à la mode. Don’t let the sweetness fool you—there’s enough tannin and acid to please even dry-seeking palates. (AP)" (9/2015) K&L Notes: A sommelier by training, in 1992 Eric took over his family's estate and orchards. His goal was to revolutionize the cider industry and bring it into restaurants, high-end retail and export markets. A clo... Read More »
Light in color, as is typical for Sancerre Rosé, this has lively aromas of small red fruits with soft underlying minerals and just a hint of rich citrus. Light and playful on the palate with some Mirabelle, cherry and watermelon. Although a light and fresh style of rosé, this has nice weight and texture to it on the finish and it's very easy and fun to drink while grilling and chilling with friends. 100% Pinot Noir. (Eric Story, K&L Loire Valley Wine Buyer)
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 »
It's unlikely you'll find a more elegant, refined pear cider than this one from famed biodynamic Loire Valley cider producer Eric Bordelet. The tiny little tear-dropped shaped fruit for this comes from a stand of 60-foot tall, 300-year-old pear trees. With a delicate bead and complex flavors that are unparralelled, this would make a stunning and surprising substitution for Champagne at your next party.
Pineau d'Aunis is a dark-skinned wine grape variety whose story began in the Loire Valley in the Middle Ages. Despite once being popular with royalty on both sides of the English Channel, the variety is now increasingly rare, and is limited to a role in the rosés and light reds of the central Loire. It is valued for the gently peppery spiciness it brings to the area's rosé wines, a role mirrored by the Carignan and Tibouren used to make the famous rosé wines of Provence. When the elements grant the Loire a vintage with warm weather more akin to that foun... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Cigar-box aromas and a perfumed, fruity character give this wine a typical Cabernet Franc character. It is structured, with some firm tannins at the core, surrounded by ripe red fruits and fresh acidity. The wine is ready to drink. (RV)" (2/2016)
90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Impressively saturated ruby-red color. Complex aromas of black raspberry, kirsch, Valrhona chocolate, smoke and gunflint. Tactile and quite concentrated; really dense with extract. Ripe acidity gives the deep flavors lovely clarity. A real fruit essence: the wine somewhat chewy tannins and alcohol are hidden by fruit. (ST)" (12/1998) K&L Notes: Joël Taluau is a fabulous grower in St. Nicolas de Bourgueil known for making some of the purest expressions of Cabernet Franc in the Loire, unmarred by the intrusion of oak--which he hasn't used in production since 1986. He w... Read More »
Brégeon's Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie is hand-harvested from vines averaging 40 years old. Yields from the 7.8 hectare estate average a modest 30 hl/ha and wines are fermented on natural yeasts. From importer Kermit Lynch: "Michel Brégeon is part renegade, part crusader, and full-blown terroirist. Over the years, he has become an ardent defender of the Muscadet-Sèvre-et-Maine terroir, the most highly regarded of the four appellations in the Pays Nantais. Thanks to his deep understanding of the nuances of the land, he plays the game much differently t... Read More »
Vincent Gaudry is a traditionalist in Sancerre who has gained respect among his peers for dedication to authentic espression of Sancerre terroir. His was the first domaine in Sancerre to be certified biodynamic, and the naturally low yielding vines endow the wines with richness and volume. Mélodie de Vieilles Vignes is sourced from vines up to 90 years old, and the concentration and complexity show driving minerality and savory flavors adorned with notes of grapefruit zest and cut grass.
Joël Taluau is a fabulous grower in St-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil known for making some of the purest expressions of Cabernet Franc in the Loire. All his hand harvested cuvees are based on vine age and soil composition, and the wines are fermented and aged in stainless steel with a light fining and no filtration before bottling.
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.
Indicative blend: 33% Cabernet Franc, 33% Cot, 33% Pinot d'Aunis
The Château du Hureau is located in the small town of Dampierre sur Loire, about four miles east of Saumur and 15 miles west of Chinon. The Château itself is an impressive sight, with its 18th-century Mansard roof and octagonal tower topped by a boar-headed weathercock, from which the domaine takes its name--a hureau is an old, solitary wild boar. Behind the Château sits the winery carved out of the limestone cliffs in the 13th century and overlooking the Loire river. For wine lovers, the cave is even more impressive than the Château, with numerous paths... Read More »
Made from Sauvignon grapes from both Touraine and Anjou. The wine sees no oak and has a dry, lively nose of white flowers and blackcurrant. The palate is dry, with flavors of passion fruit, lychee and hints of talc along with zippy acidity. Great with fish or cheeses, this lively white wine will perk up any meal.
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 »
This is an everyday Cabernet Franc from organic and biodynamic growers Pierre and Catherine Breton. (Their name, coincidentally, is also the local word for Cabernet Franc.) Made from their younger vines grown on gravelly soils, this is the perfect introduction to this producer's range--youthful, with bright cherry fruit, spicy black pepper and savory herbs. Delicious!
(last of vintage) Noblaie's rosé is produced from younger Cabernet Franc vines, which are planted in the deeper soils at the base of the hillside vineyard. It has a clear and smooth pink color, deep, rich aromas of watermelon and cranberry and loads of lovely fresh red fruits on the palate.
A wonderfully refreshing rosé of Pinot Gris - pale salmon color, pretty aromas of peach and apricot with a hint of lychee; white and yellow fruits on the palate with a healthy dose of saline minerals. Good weight but very refreshing with crisp, tart acidity. A great aperitif or with charcuterie, white meats, Asian foods, fish in sauce. Lovely!
From Joguet's best gravelly parcels, this is a dense wine for the appellation. Very ripe red fruits dominate the aroma, and already one perceives some typical animal notes in this full-bodied wine. A cuvée tres gourmand with lots of vinosity that could age.
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.
The village of Chavignol, located at the foot of the Sancerre appellation, is famous for its goat cheese, and there's nothing better to serve alongside a generous hunk than a crisp rosé from the same region. Enter Roger and Christophe Moreaux, vignerons from one of the oldest families in Sancerre, who make racy wines from Chavignol. Their "Les Lys" is made from Pinot Noir, with aromas of apricots, cherries, currants, and wild strawberries, all supported by vibrant acidity. This refreshing summer sipper is the perfect match to a goat cheese-strawberry sal... Read More »
70% Folle Blanche, 30% Pinot Noir
Château de Brézé is an important historical estate of the Loire, and in centuries past their wines were served in the royal courts across Europe. The terroir of Clos Mazurique is scattered with orange silex stones, and just below the surface is the truffeau limestone that informs the upright mineral profile of this Cabernet Franc. A bright and radiant character outshines the tannins and is marked by complex, perfumed notes of cherry, mulberry, persimmon, cut flowers, and forest floor.