This week's Dozen stays close to the eastern border of France, starting up in northern Burgundy and winding all the way down south to Provence with some off the beaten path excursions in between. Here's the lineup:
Bourgogne Blanc, Domaine de Grisy 2019 $16 (Auxerre) This is an old shop favorite that many of you might recognize. 100% Chardonnay from Cotes d'Auxerre on the northern side of Chablis, grown sustainably and produced by Pascal Sornin, whose family has been working this land for 18 generations. Crisp, fresh and mineral driven, but enough fruit to round it out and put this on the lighter side of medium bodied.
Auxerrois, Pascal Henriot 2018 $20 (Franche-Comte) Due east of Auxerre is another Pascal in the tiny mountain village of Champlitte in Franche-Comte, just north of Jura. Pascal is the only independent producer here (the few other growers are part of the local co-op) and has been working naturally (organic vines, native yeast, low sulfur) since 1985. Pinot Auxerrois is usually seen in Alsatian blends, but this one is all on it's own and made in stainless steel showing high toned stone fruit, citrus and wild mountain flowers.
Cotteaux de Champlitte Blanc, Pascal Henriot 2018 $20 (Franche-Comte) Staying in Champlitte with Pascal, this is a blend of Pinot Gris and Gewurtztraminer, again made all in steel with really low sulfur just added at bottling. This shows some more exotic and fleshy notes, but just like the Auxerrois above, maintains that crisp mountain freshness. Great with stinky cheese or anything spicy.
Jacquere, Domaine Demeure-Pinet 2018 $15 (Savoy) Staying in the mountains and moving south to the other side of Jura, in Savoy, to another tiny village called Saint Genix-sur-Guiers where, like Pascal Henriot, Chrystele and Philippe Demeure-Pinet are the only independent winemakers. They grow mostly this one grape, Jacquere, which makes crisp, easy whites that sometimes have a little fizz and definitely belong to the patio pounder club.
Costieres de Nimes Blanc "Maz Caz", Michele D'Aprix 2018 $17 (Rhone) Moving out of the mountains of Savoy brings you to the border of southern Rhone and Provence in the area around the town of Nimes where our globe trotting friend Michele D'Aprix sources organic fruit to make her line of Maz Caz wines. This is a blend of Grenache Blanc and Roussanne made all in steel with native yeast and low sulfur. As the oyster shell on the label implies, this wine belongs to sea with ripe juicy citrus and salty minerality. You can also find her delicious Bordeaux wines below.
La Londe Blanc, Chateau Les Valentines 2018 $18 (Provence) This is a blend of 50% Rolle (aka Vermentino), 30% Ugni Blanc and 20% Clairette all from 60-80 year old organic vines just inland from St. Tropez made by the Pons-Massenot family in their 100 year old farmhouse. Bottled sunshine.
Cote Roannaise Rouge, Domaine des Pothiers 2018 $20 (Loire) We don't usually think of Loire as being eastern France, but this is the Cote Roannaise on the eastern border of the region, right next to southern Beaujolais and not far from the Rhone. Here they grow a special local clone of Gamay called Gamay Saint-Romain which has smaller berries and produces a more densely structured, darker expression than their neighbors in Beaujolais. Domaine des Pothiers works completely naturally (organic, native yeast, low sulfur) and this is their flagship bottling, made partially carbonic and aged in concrete and large old barrel. Black berries, dried flowers and crushed rocks. We also have another cuvee from them below.
Beaujolais, Paul Durdilly 2019 $16 (Beaujolais) Speaking of southern Beaujolais, the Durdilly family has been growing Gamay here for generations. Paul has been at the helm since the 70s and presides over a handful of older plots planted on the trademark limestone soils of the Pierres Dorees (the Golden Stones that we talked about with the Saint Cyr wines a little while back). This is Paul's entry level bottling and is a blend of 40-80 year old plots planted on high elevation steep slopes, none of which see chemicals. Fermentation is with native yeast, semi-carbonic, then aged in a combination of concrete and old foudre before getting bottled unfiltered with minimal sulfur. This wine is a steal.
Vin de Savoie Pinot Noir, Jean Perrier et Fils 2018 $17 (Savoy) Moving due east from Pierres Dorees, back to the mountains of Savoy, Gilbert Perrier and his son are the fifth and sixth generation to work this land in the sleepy ski village of Apremont. This is Pinot Noir from a few different plots, non of which see chemicals, made all in steel. Fresh, high-toned crunchy red berries and mountain herbs for days.
Vaucluse Rouge, Domaine Fenouillet 2019 $14 (Rhone) Back down the hill and a little south to Vaucluse in the heart of southern Rhone, the Soard brothers are the fourth generation to farm this land and do so organically. This is an usual blend of Marselan and Merlot made all in concrete producing a perfect medium-plus bodied bistro wine with red plum fruit with a little grip to the medium tannins. Perfect burger wine.
Cotes du Rhone Rouge, Chateau de Manissy 2018 $14 (Rhone) Just south of Vaucluse, outside of Chateauneuf du Pape, Florian Andre makes wines in an old monastery with the permission of the monks, where he farms the vines biodynamically and makes the wines completely naturally. This is a blend of Grenache, Cunoise and Carignan made all in concrete with native yeast and low sulfur. It's packed with spicy dark red fruit in a velvety full bodied frame. Serious bang for your buck on this one.
Cotes du Provence Rouge, Le Bernarde 2018 $18 (Provence) Finally, we move all the way south, just inland from the Mediterranean coast in the hills between Cannes and Marseille, in the village of Luc where vineyards are planted on clay and rocky limestone about a thousand feet above sea level. This is a blend of 70% Syrah, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Grenache, all from organic vineyards, hand harvested and fermented and aged all in concrete. Full bodied with deep dark fruit and spiced earthy notes.
Get all 12 for $145 and save $60!
Have a great weekend everyone!
drink wine every day
Even though it feels different this year, the holiday season is here! Among other things, that means Beaujolais in every flavor and today we'll start with a Cru that doesn't make the rounds as much as its famous neighbors like Moulin-a-Vent and Fleurie, but produces a really distinct and delicious expression of Gamay: Chenas.