2017 Jean-Claude Boisset Chardonnay, "Château London", Mâcon-Igé
100% Chardonnay. Ripe fruit perfumes characterise this golden wine, with a touch of oak and lovely mineral acidity on the finish. This Chardonnay has golden nuances in the glass. There is a nice complexity on the nose with aromas of ripe yellow fruits, citrus and white rose. This wine is clean and fresh on the palate with good acidity. The finish is long and lively.
This wine is from Igé, one of the Mâconnais' top villages. Château London is the specific vineyard or 'lieu-dit' of the grapes. Vine age is approximately 20 years and the yield is 7,000 vines per hectare. The vines are Guyot trained to a height of 1.3 metres, to ensure enough light exposure for photosynthesis. Soils are stony and clay, with a high proportion of chalk. The grape is a clone of Chardonnay, Chardonnay-Muscaté, which gives the typical structure, poise and freshness of Chardonnay together the aromatic expression of Muscat.
The grapes were harvested manually into 20 kilogram crates, then whole bunch pressed for 2.5 hours, before the juice was transferred to 450 litre oak barrels. Indigenous yeasts were used for a long fermentation without racking or lees stirring. The wine was then aged in 30% new French oak barrels for 12 months without being racked. The barrels used are toasted at low temperatures to impart a subtle, delicate flavour to the final wine.
Jean-Claude Boisset was radically transformed with the arrival in 2002 of viniculteur Grégory Patriat, one of the best viticulturalists/winemakers of his generation in Burgundy. Grégory had spent the previous three years working in the vineyards at Domaine Leroy and still spends a great deal of his time in the vineyards, paying his growers by the hectare in order to ensure low yields. He also prefers to work with organic growers, as he finds they produce better fruit. Unlike other Burgundian négociants, Grégory specialises in making wines from 'lieu-dits' or tiny plots of vines, something which accounts for the limited production of most of his wines.
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.
This unoaked Chardonnay has aromas of lifted peach and ripe apple with notes of white flowers and honeysuckle.
2019 Les Caves de la Loire, `Wally` Sauvignon Blanc
100% Sauvignon Blanc. The Sauvignon Blanc is zesty with lively acidity, hints of passion fruit and gooseberry with great balance and a clean finish. There is a touch of richness on the palate without giving any sweetness.
The grapes were sourced from the Anjou area in the Loire Valley, just south of the city of Angers. The vineyards are planted on two different types of soil: carboniferous rock and schist in the north and the visibly whiter, limestone-rich soils of the southern and western sides of the appellation.
The grapes were harvested in the early hours of the morning to retain freshness. They were stored at 16°C for 5-10 days before a cool fermentation (at 14°C) took place in stainless-steel tanks. Post fermentation, the wine remained on its lees for three months, with occasional lees stirring to add depth and complexity.
Les Caves de la Loire is a co-op located in Brissac-Quincé, south of Angers. It was established in 1951 and has 160 growers and 1,600 hectares of vineyards, the majority of them located in Anjou. Its winemaking facilities are overseen by technical director, Agnès Bardet, who has been working with the growers and their vineyards for many years. The harvest is coordinated by Frederic Moreau, who liaises with each grower and offers technical advice all year long. Les Caves de la Loire is certified AgriConfiance et Démarche Vignerons En Développement Durable. AgriConfiance ensures traceability from grape to bottle and adheres to AFNOR's (Association French Normalization Organization Regulation) sustainable pratices.
Duffour Père et Fils Côtes de Gascogne
This wine is bright pale yellow in colour, with youthful highlights. It is very aromatic with white peach and tropical fruit notes. On the palate, it is crisp with bright citrus flavours, good weight and a lasting, clean aromatic finish.
80% Colombard , 10% Gros Manseng, 5% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Ugni Blanc
A quality driven approach in this family run vineyard leads to a classic, great quality wine. The traditional grape varieties of Colombard, Gros Manseng and Ugni Blanc are expertly blended to give vibrant citrus and exotic fruit with an aromatic finish.
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.