2017 Château Massiac Syrah “Cuvée Espérance”
This new wine from our stalwart Minervois producer is the brainchild of Jean-Baptiste Boudourèsques, Bernard’s young son who just completed a stage at Domaine Coursodon in Saint-Joseph and has returned to work for the family domaine full-time. The well-drained clay-limestone and silex soils of Massiac’s sector of the appellation are particularly suited to Syrah, and “Cuvée Espérance” comes from vines planted in 2003 in the best part of their holdings. Aged for 18 months in used Saint-Joseph barrels, it offers varietally pure notes of spice and smoked meat, with impressive concentration and terrific acidity. Though powerful, it lacks the coarseness that can sometimes mar Syrah from this region, and it furthermore offers phenomenal value. Hats off to Jean-Baptiste, and to this lovely domaine’s bright future!
2016 La Manarine Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Pied de Baud”
Gilles Gasq is a master of Grenache, as his ever-stellar Côtes-du-Rhône perennially attests. In 2015, Gilles debuted a cuvée from loftier real estate, having recently acquired a hectare’s worth of old Grenache in the sandy northeastern sector of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. He possesses an intimate familiarity with the appellation, having worked as chef de cave at Domaine Monpertuis for many years, and certainly his “Pied de Baud”—comprising 80% fruit from that lieu-dit and 20% from Les Cabrières—reveals the hand of a master at work. Pure Grenache vinified with 50% whole clusters and aged two years in a combination of large foudre and steel tank, this 2016 emphasizes the dazzling spice Grenache can achieve when not overburdened by excessive ripeness or extraction. The sandy soils of its sector of origin contribute a marked elegance, which marries beautifully to its core of robust, sun-kissed southerly fruit.
2016s from Philippe Foreau, plus library releases of Demi-Sec and Brut
The master of Vouvray praised the 2016 vintage to the skies, admitting a personal preference for it over the iconic and future-legendary 2015s, and we eagerly await the arrival of the crystalline, lip-smackingly tensile 2016 Vouvray Sec and Demi-Sec, plus the monumental 2016 Moelleux Réserve. Furthermore, we will receive a splash of Foreau’s 2003 Demi-Sec, a breathtaking expression of well-aged Chenin Blanc whose precision defies expectations of that sweltering vintage and speaks to Philippe’s unparalleled skill. And, for those who are curious to experience the mindboggling complexity of Foreau’s long-lees-aged sparkling Vouvray, pittances of 2007 and 2005 Brut—both bone-dry—will reach our shores as well.
2015 Philippe Gilbert Menetou-Salon Rouge “Les Chandelières”
In addition to new vintage of his basic Menetou-Salon Blanc and Rouge, we will debut this outstanding new cuvée from Philippe. Les Chandelières is an east-facing vineyard of pure Kimmeridgian limestone planted in 1970 by Philippe’s father, and Philippe renders a Pinot Noir of such purity and expressiveness here as to make a Burgundian blush. Fermented with 25% whole clusters in large open-top wood, and aged two years in a combination of used demi-muid and stainless steel, the 2015 is luscious but controlled, with clean, lifted tannins and a profound mineral core. Philippe was the first biodynamic practitioner (now certified as such) in Menetou-Salon, and the health of his fruit is brazenly apparent in the finished wines. Ultra-low sulfur (around 30 milligrams per liter of total sulfur-dioxide) and a lack of new oak make for a Pinot Noir both terroir-transparent and ravishingly delicious.