Le Sommelier hits Vintages with two very special french wines.
In this Saturday’s Vintages release, we are excited to share a lively, bright Cabernet Franc from the Loire that is ideal for sharing with turkey, ham, goose and roasted root vegetables. With a highly attractive price point of $20.95, plus a deliciously high drinkability factor, J.M. Raffault’s Chinon Rouge Les Picasses 2015 is the red to pour with your holiday feasts.
We’re also thrilled to share two cellar-worthy CLASSICS releases this week, perfect for any wine collectors on your list (hopefully you). Burgundy’s Maison Leroy is the estate that Clive Coates, MW sums up simply with “This is the greatest estate in Burgundy…” We’re pleased to import the youthful beauty Maison Leroy Monthélie 2015, an alluring white Burgundy full of class and charm. If you prefer your Burgundies mature, you have a rare chance to purchase the iconic Maison Leroy Gevrey-Chambertin 2005, an expressive view of Pinot Noir from this classic village.
As always, thank you for your support. From our Le Sommelier family to yours, we wish you a happy and healthy holiday season.
J.M. Raffault Chinon Rouge “Les Picasses” 2015
Domaine Jean-Maurice Raffault is the largest single owner in the 15-hectare Les Picasses vineyard, farming six hectares of 15-to-60-year-old vines, spread across ten parcels. The family has been farming in Chinon for 14 generations. Rodolphe Raffault converted the first parcels of Les Picasses to organic viticulture in 2009 and completed the effort in 2015, with certification expected in 2019. The Les Picasses lieu dit is situated on an exposed plateau at the summit of the hills overlooking the Vienne, and home to vines since the 15th century. The name Picasses derives from a vineyard tool with two points (pics) used to work on vines planted on stony soil. The soil in the Les Picasses vineyard is a blend of limestone and clay with small stones over a subsoil of pure limestone, imparting intensity and structure to the wine.
The grapes for Les Picasses are destemmed, and native fermented in casks. The wine is aged in 3-to-10-year-old barriques for 18 months before it is lightly fined and bottled. 2000 cases produced.
Tasting Note: “A taut, chalky style, with a tight beam of red currant and bitter cherry fruit flanked by a frank minerality. Thyme and savory accents percolate on the energetic finish. Best from 2018 through 2023.” Score: 91 (James Molesworth, winespectator.com, Sept. 30, 2017)
Varietal: 100% Cabernet Franc
Region: Chinon, Loire, France
Price: $20.95 (per 750mL bottle)
Domaine Leroy is arguably producing the greatest red Burgundy wines on the Cote d`Or at present. Lalou Bize-Leroy started out as a négociant, working for her family’s Maison Leroy, which was founded by her father, Henri. There are three entities to the Leroy empire: the Maison Leroy based in Auxey-Duresses; the Domaine d’Auvenay named for Lalou Bize-Leroy’s own home near St-Romain, and the substantial Domaine Leroy in Vosne-Romanée. Lalou Bize-Leroy also owns a quarter of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, where she was co-director until 1992.
The domaine has been farmed biodynamically from the start and is now certified by ECOCERT. Lalou Bize-Leroy oversees 23 hectares of vines, mostly Premier and Grand Cru classified. – Jasper Morris MW, author of the award-winning Inside Burgundy comprehensive handbook.
Maison Leroy Monthélie 2015
The village of Monthélie falls between Volnay to the north and Meursault to the south. The village is home to 15 climats that have earned premier cru designation. Though the area is best known for producing reds, Chardonnay has become increasingly important in recent years. The majority of white Monthélie is produced at the southern end of the village and shares some similarities with the great whites of Meursault. Refined acidity, white flowers, lemon, apple and hazelnut are typical expressions found in Monthélie’s Chardonnays.
Region: Monthélie, Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, France
Price: $326.00 (per 750mL bottle)
Maison Leroy Gevrey-Chambertin 2005
From one of the great Burgundy vintages and from one of the most iconic names in Burgundy, the renowned “Lalou.” Jancis Robinson, MW, said of the 2005 vintage: “If there is one dominant characteristic of these  wines it is their thrilling combination of ripeness and acidity.” (jancisrobinson.com, Jan. 27, 2007)
David Schildknecht writes “… The personality of wines from this luminous, gloriously healthy and ripe vintage is positively kinetic, but decidedly on the dark side of the flavor spectrum. Fresh, sometimes faintly tart black fruits, overt and at times almost austerely mineral flavors, and mysterious, at times brooding forest floor complexities are the norm. Many of the best Pinots of 2005 push the limit of ripeness consistent with freshness, and the limit of sheer density consistent with elegance. Firm, fine tannins are never far from the surface, even where these Pinots’ youthful textures are already silken or creamy. These wines will need time in the bottle to show their true colors …” (robertparker.com, April 29, 2017)
Variety: Pinot Noir
Region: Gevrey-Chambertin, Côte d’Or, Burgundy, France
Price: $1,770.00 (per 750mL bottle)
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