Francois Mitjavile at Tertre Roteboeuf (Photo credit)
Operating outside of the U.S. press for the past seven years, Francois Mitjavile severed his connection with Robert Parker in 2006. Despite the 98 Parker points that he received for his 2005 vintage, Mitjavile, whose declassified Tertre Roteboeuf is well known in France, had decided to not be beholden to the influence of Big Red. “In France, he’s given the same accolades as the well known St Emilion houses like Cheval Blanc,” said Patrick Burke, our French Portfolio Director, “but here, his wines are unfamiliar. Those who do know the wine consider it a value in comparison to Cheval Blanc and Pavie.” Read more
“They were the third family documented to make wine here,” said Benedicte Bonnet of the family who owned Chateau Maucoil before her parents purchased the estate in 1995. One of the oldest Chateau in the region, Chateau Maucoil’s oldest parts date back to the 1st century, when a Roman legion formed a camp here around a natural spring, today called La Source de Chateau Maucoil. Located in Chateauneuf du Pape in Orange, which is named for the Dutch Prince of Nassau-Orange who resided here in the 13th century when Seigneur Joseph de la Pise first planted vineyards here, the estate is referenced in Pise’s 1,000 page tome entitled, “Tableau de l’Histoire es Princes et Principaute d’Orange”, which sits beneath a glass dome in the winery’s tasting room. It is from this illustrated text that the family drew the inspiration for their wine labels. Read more
At yesterday’s Fall Tasting we uncorked some 50+ bottles of wine along with a number of spirits, and though this bottle of Les Vins de Vienne “Sotanum” Syrah 2008 was near the end of the line, it easily refreshed most any palate with its vibrant waves of undulating complexities and definitive deliciousness. Read more
Luc & Catherine Tardy of Domaine du Murinais
A seventh generation grower, Luc Tardy of Domaine du Murinais lives with his wife Catherine in a house that has been family occupied since it was constructed in 1774. Attached to the house and built around a courtyard in 1683, the currant cellar was once rented by his ancestors to a convent, where the nuns would gather and exchange goods with the monks who lived in an abby in the Alps a few miles away. In another section where barrels now reside, a stable once held horses. Farming organically since 2003, Luc is the first of these seven generations to make and bottle wines from select estate parcels, which for many years had instead supplied fruit to the local co-op (most recently Cave de Tain) in Crozes Hermitage.
Hailing from the village of Fleury, in Languedoc’s AOP La Clape, Château de la Negly “La Falaise” 2010, is a blend of 55% Syrah, 40% Grenache and 5% Mourvedre. A 50ha estate, Negly overlooks the Mediterranean, which sits past the rows of old-vine Mourvedre that reside in front of the 18th century Château. At the base of the hill La Clape, which was once an island during the Gallo-Roman era, there are rocky soils of sandy loam and decomposing sandstone with alluvial deposits. Home to winemakers since Roman times, Château de la Negly has gone through a few incarnations, owned by the Rosset family for several decades, until Jean Paux-Rosset took the place of his then recently deceased father in 1992.
Investing in the cellars and vineyards, Jean reduced yields and increased the quality of fruit selection, which led to the estate’s production of three high-profile red wines, including “La Falaise” in 1996.
When operating at the tip of any frontier there’s power in numbers. Would Kerouac have had the same impact without his accompanying Beats? Rauschenberg without Warhol? Matthiasson without Petroski? Winogrand without Arbus? Parker without Gillespie?
In Vacqueyras resides Cécile Dusserre of Domaine de Montvac, a one-woman operation sandwiched between Chateauneuf du Pape and Gigondas, in an AOC that received its status in 1990 with the help of Dusserre’s father who was instrumental in gaining its classification. Long before buyers and consumers came to seek family-run producers from unknown and upcoming regions, Domaine de Montvac was operating as just that. Silently farming and fermenting wines of elegance in a region that stands on the cusp on neighboring Old World regions that have operated across time, Dusserre has persisted in making natural wines that speak to the palate.
Cécile Dusserre of Domaine de Montvac
With the 2012 vintage, the year that Ecocert began to require organic practices in the cellar as well as in the vineyard, Domaine de Montvac yielded half of its normal harvest. The fact that Cécile Dusserre works annually with the same team of harvesters who know the property and her preferences well was no match for the weather, where January was very cold, and the preceding months were mild. The frigid temperatures at the beginning of the year ended up arresting the sap’s descension through the trunks, which caused most all of her 1.1ha of 90-year-old Grenache vines to explode, and forced Cécile to tear them up from the ground. And though the Mistral generally helps keep the vines free of disease, in this particular vintage, the winds appeared during flowering and blew a lot of flowers from the vines, meaning that there likely won’t be a 2012 “Variation”, which is made from 100% old-vine Grenache in only the best of vintages, but luckily we’re stocked with reserves of the wine’s last great vintage–2010.
What are the main ingredients in an Organic Fine Wine?
Potassium bicarbonate, to deacidify a wine?
Egg white albumin?
We happen to believe that terroir is the most important ingredient here, an ingredient that our winemakers do everything to protect and foster, even if Ecocert’s new regulations happen to neglect it.
From Pascal Pibaleau‘s Demeter certified estate in Azay-le-Rideau, comes one of our most recent additions, the Pascal Pibaleau 2012 Gamay. Originated in 1886 when his great-grandfather purchased 3ha, the estate now totals 15ha under vine, including 1.7ha of Gamay vines that were planted to soils of clay with flint in 1964. Practicing organic since 2005 and certified biodynamic since 2011, the property here is overseen by Pascal and his wife Christine, who have sustained a chemical-free household for over 20 years.
From Cru Chignin, at the base of La Savoyarde in the Bauges mountain range in Savoie, comes Domaine Les Cantatas Cru Chignin Jacquère 2012. From 30-100 year old Jacquère vines, that until 2008 had been owned and farmed by the family of Rene Quenard for over 300 years, comes this light and refreshing white, just in time for peak heat summer-time drinking. With 4 of their 18ha planted to Jacquère, one of the most important varietals to Savoie, Claire Taittinger, who’s a native of Savoie, along with her husband Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger of Champagne, purchased this property in 2008.