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K&L Staff Recommendations
2014 Le Paradis Chinon $9.99
Always a favorite value-priced Chinon, perfect for everyday drinking. The color of polished garnets, it has bright red and black fruit aromas and flavors, a hint of a violet and pepper, and a vein of spice threaded carefully through from start to finish. Perfect with charcuterie, cool weather braises or grilled lamb chops with gremolata.
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 throughout. I swear to you that you can actually taste the glow of the summertime sun right in this bottle. Absolutely stellar while enjoying a burger right off ... Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is a solid, firm and ripe wine. With its dry structure and still youthful tannins, it has weight and the potential to age. The smoky aromas and fragrant berry fruits are bursting out of the glass, giving a ripe wine that should be drunk after 2016." (3/2015) K&L Notes: A rich ruby red with notes of violets and red berry fruits, this Cabernet Franc is nicely layered on the palate with brightness running throughout and just a touch of smoke mixed in with some purple fruits. Soft waves of mineral with a nice soft tannin make this a true delight to drink. Domaine le... Read More »
The low-alcohol Millet Sancerre Rouge is 100% Pinot Noir, partially barrel aged, and absolutely delicious. Aromas of cherries and purple flowers give way to a vibrant, crunchy red-fruited palate with just a enough tannins to balance out the juicy fruit.
Inventory: San Francisco
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. Everything is hand-harvested, cuvées are based on vine age and soil composition, and the wines are fermented and aged in stainless steel before being bottled without filtration.
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2011 Chinon Vieilles Vignes is the top wine of Alliet; no other wine of this estate has a comparable finesse, elegance and balance. You might call it unspectacular, but to unite these three merits is much rarer than often frivolously claimed. Indeed, this seems to be an unspectacular wine since its spectacle only starts after you have finished the bottle and started to think to order another one for a business lunch. This authentic, spicy, joyful, black currant flavored, unpretentious 100% Cabernet Franc has everything a wine requires. And thus is no ...Read More »
An average vine age of fifty years old and from the outstanding vintage of 2009 - especially good for Cab Franc. Ripe fruit with good depth and concentration throughout. Ripe tannins and fantastic length. Drinking nice now but, can be cellared for many more years. Over all, pretty wine with a darker core. (Eric Story, Loire Buyer)
Wine Spectator: "Offers a racy feel, with graphite framing the black cherry, tobacco and sage notes, melding pleasantly through the finish. (Web Only—2013)" K&L Notes: Yet another fantastic example of what happens when you have a winemaker who cares about the land, the vines, the region and the ancient craft which they were born to do. Frédéric Mabileau has just 27 hectares under vine across the appellations of St-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, Bourgueil, Saumur and Anjou in the Loire Valley, all farmed organically since 2007. Frederic works mostly with his passion varietal, Cabernet Franc w... Read More »
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 »
The nose is teeming with loads of red fruit up top and a slightly denser core of blue fruits underneath. The chalk of the soil comes through on the mid-palate while the classy fruit texture of the Pinot Noir envelops a silky tannin structure which leads into a tasty finish that lingers on the palate for quite some time. This is definitely a denser and more concentrated version of the regular Cheverny Rouge and would greatly benefit with about three years of bottle aging, or a good hour of decanting.
Antonio Galloni: "Dark ruby. Wild aromas of raspberry, mocha and pistachio. Supple on the attack, showing a restrained sweetness to the flavors of red fruits, graphite and vanilla. The tannins are slightly herbal but avoid turning dry on the finish. Almost Beaujolais-like in style, this Cabernet Franc will only be released next year. (JP)" (12/2014) K&L Notes: The is a delicious Cabernet Franc from the Domaine de Saint Just, established by Yves Lambert and his son Arnaud in 1996. The organically farmed vines are planted in iron-rich soils that lend the wine minerality, power and spici... Read More »
Only 300 cases produced and just happens to be the first vintage of Gamay produced by Xavier. I absolutely love Gamay from this region of the world. It has a rich depth of color and fruit structure, good spicy aromatics but light and easy to drink without being overly serious. Try it with grilled sausages or an herb marinated skirt steak. (Eric Story, Loire Buyer)
From Vinous on the producer: "Eric Nicolas is the leading producer from the Sarthe, a confluent of the Loire. Made exclusively from Chenin Blanc, his biodynamic wines from Jasnières—the total appellation has only 65 hectares—are lauded for their steeliness in their youth and their ability to improve with age." (12/2014)
One of Chinon's oldest and most famous sites, Clos du Chêne Vert is located in the actual town of Chinon on the bank of the Vienne. It is a two-hectare vineyard on a very steep slope with southwest exposure. Joguet's vines are 35 years old and produce a wine known for its elegance and longevity.
From a gravelly terroir right next to the Bretons’ little house and winery, Galichets was harvested at 12° natural alcohol. Showing marked minerality, impressive purity, and a core of delicious ripe blackberry fruit, enjoy this organically grown and vinified Cabernet Franc from one of the Loire masters. It will drink well for several years, but there is no reason to deprive yourself of its pleasures now.
Notes about the Winery: "The Domaine de l'R is a fairly new, it was founded by Frédéric Sigonneau in 2007, and it is already counted by Chinon amateurs among the ones where cabernet franc shines. Frédéric and his parents have been living next door to Bernard Baudry, he was a childhood friend of Mathieu, Bernard's son. He then worked at Fabrice Gasnier, an organic (and now biodynamic) vigneron 4 km away. Then at the end of the wine school in 2002 he went to Spain where he stayed 2 years, working on biodynamicly-farmed ungrafted vineyards. Back in France... Read More »
100% Pinot Noir. This has a rich yet translucent purple color with dark cherries and blackberries filling the glass. There is a nice richness to the nose along with that classic Pinot spice. Very bright and pure on the palate with a fine tannins, sweet fruits and really nice lift on the finish. Drinking nice now with some decanting or continue to drink over the next few years. Can be served with beef dishes, lighter meats, salmon and cheese. (Eric Story, Loire Buyer)
The Domaine's masterpiece, the Clos de l'Echo, lies within this calcareous clay soil and is the stuff of legend. This walled vineyard and it's castle earned it's nomenclature from the echo sent back by the castle walls. Once owned by the great French satirist Francois Rabelais and his family, the vineyard was purchased in 1952 by the Couly-Dutheil family and re-planted the following year. The Clos de l'Echo is a wine of grand proportion, complex, structured, and very ageworthy. This 2002 is a legendary wine in the making, with great concentration and per... Read More »
91 points Wine & Spirits: "Bretêche is higher up the slope than Galichets (recommended below), its soils layering clay and limestone over tuffeau. The Caslot family ferments their wines without added yeast and ages them for two or more years in 400- to 500-liter oak casks. This is an ambitious wine, powerfully extracted, clean in its highlights of blue fruit, warm and ripe in the finish. It’s a mouthwatering, juicy pleasure, suited to aging or to decanting for roast meats." (4/2015) Antonio Galloni: "Medium ruby. Floral aromas of redcurrant, graphite and tobacco. Supple on the attack, then juicy on t ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "A structured wine with tannins from wood aging, as well as rich blackberry fruit. The wine has fruit and structural intensity, layering spice and juiciness atop a dry core." (10/2013) K&L Notes: The fruit for the "Clos les Pins," as the name suggests, comes from the walled vineyard which is just right outside the winery's doors. I was lucky enough to taste this limited bottling while visiting this last spring, and I had to have it for the shop! Darker fruit up front with a nicely knit surrounding structure and sweet tannins on the finish. As per the house style, real... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Cherry, sage and tobacco are the main themes in this moderately structured red, with juicy acidity and dry tannins on the finish." (10/1998) K&L Notes: Direct from the Estate!! Just an adolescent, chewy and deep, almost sappy with briary hints in the nose and a definite minerality on the palate. Cool and very long. Now till 2015+ Clive Coates- Couly-Dutheil's "...Clos de l'Echo, a 17 hectare vineyard which produces the greatest red wine of the Loire Valley."
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Fermented in an ancient chalk "tuffeau" vat, the 2011 Chinon Cabernet Franc Pierre de Tuf is a crimson-colored, delicious, spicy, greenish shimmery Cabernet Franc with the initial aroma of a filled pencil-sharpener that leisurely reveals its ripe and meaty cherry and dark berry aromas. You should give it time in a decanter and you will enjoy a full-bodied, ripe, intense, but very elegant Cabernet with earthy perfumed blackcurrant aromas and very fine tannins. (SR)" K&L Notes: Another fabulous Chinon from the folks at Domaine de la Noblaie, this comes from Cabernet Fr... 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. "Grand Monts" is an organically grown, ripe, full yet fresh Loire Cab Franc. From the domaine: "This Bourgueil comes from slopes descending into the Loire River close to the town of Benais. This is considered the most beautiful terroir of the appellation. Old vines grow on thin top soil on top of tuffeau. The wine is deep, concentrated ... Read More »
From the importer: "80% Pinot Noir, 20% Gamay. The name of this cuvée refers to the shape of the stones that are found in these vineyards. Less structured, this wine shows more finesse than structure and can pair well with lighter dishes. It will age gracefully for 10-15 years in the bottle."
100% Cabernet Franc for the lover, enthusiast and collector of Cab Franc. Only being produced in superior years, this comes from 80 - 100 year old vines planted in the clay and limestone earth that is Saumur Champigny. The harvest is 100% de-stemmed then vinified in cement for 20-30 days before being moved into barrique (mostly old but some new) for up to 6 months and then bottle aged deep within the safe cool surroundings of a limestone cellar. Although fairly tight this wine shows the seductive beauty Cab Franc can have. Lots of perfumed violets and fr... Read More »
Cédric Garreau began his modest 2.7 acre domaine in 2010 with a commitment to organic farming. That year, he secured two parcels of established, organically farmed vineyards. The Gar'O'Vin Anjou Rouge is 100% Cabnernet Franc which was farmed with small yields of 30 hl/ha and an emphasis on quality. It was macerated and fermented on native yeasts for a period of three weeks with no chapitalization before being aged for 10 months in barrique. It offers an aromatic profile with red fruit and excellent mouthfeel and fine tannins.
Rocfontaine's Saumur Champigny rouge is sourced from 15-20 year-old Cabernet Franc vines planted in calcareous clay. Grapes are hand-harvested, and the individually managed lots are fermented quickly to extract a generous fruit profile without hard tannins. The result is a fine Loire red, which happens to be wonderfully drinkable and food-friendly in its youth.
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 is hand harvested, cuvees are based on vine age and soil composition. Then the wines are fermented and aged in stainless steel, with a light fining and no filtration before bottling.
Maison Couly-Dutheil is undeniably one of the finest estates of Chinon, with 80 acres of prime Chinon vineyards as well as seven hectares of Saumur and Saumur-Champigny. The estate's holdings are impressive indeed as they spread over three distinct Chinon terroirs: Sand and gravel along the Vienne River which produce light and fruit driven wines, siliceous slopes and plateaus which impart a certain finesse and elegance to Chinon; and finally clay and limestone slopes which produce Chinon's most serious and profound wines. The Domaine's masterpiece, the ... Read More »
Maison Couly-Dutheil is undeniably one of the finest estates in Chinon, with eighty acres of prime Chinon vineyards as well as seven hectacres of Saumur and Saumur Champigny. The estate's Chinon holdings are indeed impressive, spreading over three distinct Chinon terroirs: the sand and gravel along the Vienne River (which produce light and fruit driven wines), the siliceous slopes and plateaus (which impart a certain finesse and elegance), and the clay and limestone slopes where Chinon's most serious and profound wines. It is here on these calcareous cla... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
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. The "Dessus Narçay" is sourced from 50-year-old Cabernet Franc vines, in the process of being converted to organic farming, in the commune of Cravant les Coteaux. A bright, vibrant Cab Franc from Chinon, a great picnic red for cold cuts.
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 was also the first producer in the appellation to begin domaine bottling. The Vieilles Vignes, from a single plot of Cabernet Franc planted in 1934, is prized for its power, depth and grace. This flagship wine is meant to age, and the large format bottle will have helped to preserve freshness. Enjoy now!
50% Malbec, 50% Cabernet Franc
From vines over 25 years old planted mid-slope in soils that are composed of clay and sand. Aged in neutral barrels and tank, this beautifully balanced Cabernet Franc has a dark, brooding nose of plums, minerals and some berries. Fairly thick on the palate, the ripe tannins are quite present, but also coated by a fairly large dose of red fruit. Good acidity and fresh minerals on the finish keeps you coming back for more. A serious, shy man, Philippe Alliet is the proprietor of this small domaine in Cravant-les-Côteaux, location of some of the best Cabe... Read More »
This comes from the little known AC of Côte Roannaise, which was established in 1994 and sits about 50 kilometers west of Lyon in the Loire Valley. The granitic soils of this southern appellation are well-suited to Gamay, and especially to the family-owned Domaine Robert Sérol, now being run by the fifth generation. The domaine's namesake, Robert, was the first in the family to bottle the wines, and he can be still found wandering the property today, though it is his son Stéphane who has been managing their 20 hectares since 2000. The Vieilles Vignes com... Read More »
The Clos Nouveau is surrounded by ten foot walls and has been historically prized as one of Bourgeuil's top sites. The vines are planted on a thin layer of clay which covers a deep bed of limestone. Classic 2009 with its seductive seet fruit but shows deep finesse and mineral structure. A grand showing of what Bourgueil can do with Cabernet Franc. Fantastic wine! (Eric Story, Loire Buyer)
Inventory: San Francisco
French Pinot Noir outside of Burgundy? Quelle...interesting diversion! This Reuilly Rouge, from a sommelier turned vinter, is made from Pinot Noir grapes.
Wine Spectator: "Firm, with a nice structured edge to the black cherry, olive, tobacco and iron notes. There's solid length through the finish. (Web Only—2009)"
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. The Vieilles Vignes, from a single plot planted in 1934, has power, depth and grace; this, their flagship wine, will improve for the next 7-9 years but can be enjoyed now for those of you who like a mouthful of wine.
2009 was a fantastic vintage for Cabernet Franc from the Loire and this bottling helps prove that. Coming from a selection of the estates oldest vines this has a really expressive aromatic of lush fruits and wild flowers up front with layers of balanced texture, tannin and lift. Could use a good hour of decanting. 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 ... Read More »
Made only in exceptional years and only in small quantities. This is an example of what Bertrand feels is the upper tier of what Chinon can be. Fresh cherry and red currant is backed up by a touch of mocha and mineral. Well defined with big character. Decant of drink in 5+ years. Bertrand Sourdais is a native of Chinon in the Loire Valley, but he left to pursue his winemaking career in Spain of all places. He created Atauta in Ribera del Duero and has received many accolades for his work there. In 2004, with his father nearing retirement, he returned to ... Read More »
A most elegant and supple style of Chinon, with sweet blackberry in the nose mixed with tobacco and a subtle, earthy warmth. This big bottle would be a hit at your next big gathering, whether you're serving grilled burgers or rack of lamb.
Wine Spectator: "This is about as big as a Loire red gets. It has a deep, young color, open aromas of smoke, meat and plums, and it's firm on the palate, with plenty of plum and tobacco flavors. It's distinctive and rich." (10/1994)