April 6, 2018
Nathalie and Isabella Oudin are the proprietors of this domaine in Chichée, a small village of 350 people, and just a handful of winemakers. The two took over from their parents, Jean-Claude and Christiane, who moved from Paris in 1988. Christiane’s family had 2 hectares of chardonnay vines, the grapes from which they would sell to negociants. For ten years, Jean-Claude continued to work in Paris during the week, and tended to the vines on weekends. The domaine is now about 8 hectares of 30 to 70 year old vines, planted on clay and limestone, with southern exposures. Farming here is without chemicals, and the harvest is by hand. Fermentation is in stainless steel with natural yeast, and the wine rests on the lees for a year or more.
This is the main cuvée of the domaine, with the grapes coming from across multiple sites. We feel quite lucky to get this Chablis, since the 2016 yield was down by as much as 50% across the region due to frost and hail. Despite the extreme weather, the wines produced are classic, with acidity, alcohol, body, and fruit concentration all in balance. There’s some malo here softening up the citrus, saline and limestone notes. It’s an elegant wine, ready to drink or cellar for 4-5 years.
Domaine de l’Aumonier Touraine Rosé 2017
Domaine de l’Aumonier has a mini-manifesto on their website:
The Domaine de l’Aumonier it’s,
mainly a love story, singular …
work every moment,
a search for meaning in our actions,
the respect for life and our environment, because we are one,
the way of reason because it is inconceivable to overcome,
the pleasure of creating and composing each year, with what nature gives us.
And this quote by Antoine de St Exupery: ” We do not inherit the Earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children.”
So it’s no surprise that Sophie & Thierry Chardon farm their 47 hectares in the village of Couffy organically (certified). They started in 1996 with 10 hectares purchased from retired winemakers. Their vineyards are now split between 26 hectares on the slopes around Couffy, on soils of clay and flint, and 21 hectares around the village of Mareuil sur Cher, on soils of chalk and clay. This rosé is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Gamay from three hectares on their southern slopes. It’s delicate and floral, with notes of honeysuckle, and tart, refreshing citrus.
La P’Tite Vadrouille 2016
We managed to snag another drop of this wine, which we love.
This is a side project for Domaine du Mortier, a 9 hectare, certified biodynamic property located in Saint Nicolas de Bourgeuil. Brothers Fabien and Cyril Boisard were quite young when they started Domaine du Mortier nearly ten years ago. And while they don’t hail from a long line of winemakers, they do employ the most traditional method of propagating vines: Selection Massale, a labor intensive and time consuming practice of selecting the best vines in a vineyard and propagating through cuttings. Their wines are made and bottled with little to no SO2.
Heavy frost in 2016 left the brothers needing grapes (it was a tough vintage across the board), so they sourced from friends growing organically in Bordeaux. La P’Tite Vadrouille is 55% merlot and 45% Cabernet Franc from vines planted along the Dordogne. They picked the grapes themselves and then brought them back to Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil in a refrigerated truck, where the grapes then underwent a 12 day maceration with semi-carbonic fermentation, producing a lively wine with bright fruit aromas. Unfortunately this vineyard also froze in 2017, so they’ll have to source again for next year.
Vinca Minor Old Vine Carignan, Mendocino 2016
Jason Charles worked as a photographer in the US, Mexico and Europe, then waited tables in NYC, where he became interested in wine. He then worked vineyards in Bordeaux and the Sonoma Coast before starting the Vinca Minor label. He’s a believer in organic farming and works as naturally as possible, using only indigenous yeast and never filtering or fining, and bottling with minimal sulfur. This wine is from 85 year old vines that are dry-farmed on a property that has been tended by the same family for over four generations. It’s fermented 85% whole-cluster in neutral french oak. It’s spicy, high-toned and herbal, with red fruits & flowers throughout.