2018 Domaine Laroche, Chablis, "St Martin", Chardonnay
100% Chardonnay. This Chablis is pale gold in colour. It has an intense freshness typical of the area, with ripe white fruit and white blossom aromas. On the palate, its minerality gives a lingering finish and wonderfully distinct character.
Ripe, white fruit and blossom aromas are complemented by the beautiful minerality so typical of top quality Chablis.
Saint Martin refers to the patron saint of Chablis, whose relics were kept in the domaine's ancient monastery for many years. Domaine Laroche owns 63 hectares of Chablis vineyard on the famous Kimmeridgian soil that gives the wines such precision. Each plot, of which there are 30 in total, has a different exposure, soil depth and vine age which contributes complexity to the wine and means that every parcel ripens at a different time. Gregory Viennois refers to Chardonnay's 'two-day window' of maturity - if the parcels aren't harvested in this time the precious Chablis aromas are lost.
The grapes were pressed and settled at low temperatures for 12 hours in wide tanks, to help the settling process and minimise the need for sulphur dioxide. Fermentation lasted 21 days at 17°C, followed by full malolactic fermentation. After filtration with Bentonite, the majority of the wine was aged for eight months on fine lees in stainless steel tanks with a small amount (8%) in large oak casks (foudres). Filtration was light to preserve the natural body of the wine.
Domaine Laroche epitomises Chablis, with impeccable quality and a remarkable 100 hectares of vineyards, including 30 hectares of Premier Cru and six hectares of Grand Cru sites. Founded in 1850, there is still a dynamism which permeates everything they do. Michel Laroche merged with another family-owned producer, Jeanjean, in 2009 and he remains involved in the business, along with his wife Gwénaël. As part of their aim to retain purity and minerality in the finished wine, Laroche was the first Burgundian producer to move to screwcaps in 2002.
2018 Picpoul, Baron de Badassière
100% Picpoul. A youthful Picpoul with fresh, crisp apple and a touch of citrus on the nose. No oak and early bottling helps retain freshness and delicate aromatics. This wine is pale lemon in colour with a youthful rim. On the nose, it has aromas of citrus fruit, grapefruit, lemon and lime, and floral notes. On the palate, it has attractive weight, with a good balance of zesty acidity and minerality, as well as a touch of saltiness on the finish.
The grapes for this wine come from selected vineyards around the Etang de Thau, planted on clay and limestone soils.
The grapes arrived in the winery in the early morning and were macerated on the skins for a few hours, then pressed by pneumatic press. The must was cold settled for 48 hours and then fermented at a controlled temperature of 15 °C for 16 days. No oak was used and the wine was bottled early to retain freshness and delicate aromatics.
Baron de Badassière is from the Picpoul de Pinet region of the Languedoc, near the coast of the south of France. The name of the wine refers to the Badassière vineyard which lies near the small town of Pomérols. In the 18th century, the vineyard belonged to Baron Charles Emmanuel, a colourful character who was rumoured to be the illegitimate son of King Louis XV. The wines are made exclusively for Liberty Wines by New Zealand winemaker Graeme Paul, with consultant Matt Thomson, at the Cave de Pomérols cooperative where the Vignes de L'Eglise range is also produced.
Mersault, Vallet Freres
Founded in 1864 by Pierre Bourée, Vallet Frères is now in the hands of the fourth generation of the family, Bernard.
Meursault lies between the villages of Volnay and Puligny-Montrachet and produces some of the world's greatest white wines. This has a wonderful creaminess on the nose and the palate is well-rounded, poised and elegant with a classic balance between richness and acidity and complex savoury character. This flavoursome wine is already delicious but will benefit from some more time in bottle.
Sancerre, J.P. Balland
The initial impression on the nose is one of fine intensity with varietal fragrances and aromas of citrus and white peach. with subtle notes of quince. The lively attack on the palate brings a refreshing acidity, enhanced by nuances of citrus fruits and hints of peach.
It can be drunk as an aperitif. Served with starter dishes, it accompanies very well seafood and fish as well as goat cheese.
Jean-Paul is always passionately and actively in charge of the vineyard. Isabelle, oenologist and cellar master is responsable of winemaking process.
Domaine Schlumberger, Riesling, Les Princess Abbes
Pale yellow with green hues. Aromas of citrus fruits, clementine, pineapple and ginger which follow to the palate. Lime, yuzu zest and white flowers. This wine is lively, medium-bodied with an attractive underlying mineral finish.
Now run by the 6th and 7th generations, Domaines Schlumberger was founded in 1810 by Nicolas Schlumberger, who established vineyards on the renowned slopes above the town of Guebwiller. These vineyard sites have a history of viticulture, having been planted since 207AD. Through successive generations the holding has grown to be one of France’s largest and finest domaines.
Sauvignon "A Peu Pres"
A stunning little gem from David Maudry, whose family have a long old history of wine production in Tracy-Sur-Loire. This Sauvignon Blanc comes from young vines directly next to their Pouilly-Fumé vineyard. Whilst this vineyard remains unclassified, the soils and aspect are the same, indeed the wine tastes almost identical (at a fraction of the price)... lots of that struck-flint note we all love in Pouilly-Fumé, and then a nice elegance and gentle tang.
Seeing Pouilly-Fumé (and Sancerre) getting rather out of reach price-wise this was an exciting find.
The name, ‘À Peu Près’, means ‘as good as’ (as good as Pouilly Fumé) and we were delighted to have this wine on our list.