Champagne Rene Marie Catel Blanc de Noirs ($31.99)
From the importer:
"Varieties : Pinot Noir 100%
Vinification : Traditional
Aging Bottle: 24-month
Radiant nose, revealing white-fleshed fruits (apple, pear, peach white), citrus (lemon) and floral nuances. Ample in the mouth, combining generosity and subtlety. Full, fresh and crisp.
Coming from families who have been growing grapes in Champagne since 1710, René and Marie-Noelle Dautel started producing their own champagne in 1971. Sylvain Dautel, their son, is now in charge of the vineyard located in Loches-Sur-Ource, a small village in the heart of Côte des Bars. Sylvain is perpetuating the tradition of his ancestors, using environmental friendly practices to create the most delicate, yet intense Champagnes. Cuvée René-Marie Catel is a rare Brut Blanc de Noirs (100% Pinot Noir), aged for two years on lees before disgorgement."
This wine is incredible value for money. It's a grower Champagne (the people who own the vineyards make the wine), it's 100% Pinot Noir, it drinks like a dream, and it's under $35. This kind of bargain is very hard to find in Champagne, and it is thanks to the source of this product: Côte des Bar in the far south of the region. This used to be considered a second-rate area of Champagne, but in the last decade it has become more prominent, and a place in which winemakers aren't afraid to think outside the box. Read Wine Folly's excellent blurb about it here.
Jean-Marie Reverdy et Fils "La Villaudiere" Red Sancerre ($22.99)
Loire Valley, France
From the producer:
Planted 40 years ago, our vines are now reaching the pinnacle of their quality potential. 50% is planted in clay-limestone soil locally referred to as «Terres Blanches» and 50% in dry, stony limestone soil called «Caillotes.» Vines on all plots are disbudded and have the leaves thinned. The grapes enjoy ideal conditions for ripening in the summer. We take regular samples of grapes before the harvest to determine the optimum time for picking.
After rigorous sorting, the grapes go directly into tank. A few days cold maceration is then carried out. The cap is kept deliberately submerged. This technique results in a light, fruity wine. The grapes are then pressed and made ready for malolactic fermentation. Following a few months’ ageing on the lees in stainless steel tanks, stabilization and clarification operations are carried out ready for bottling.
With a strong garnet hue with crimson highlights, this wine opens with a bouquet which is a delectable blend of ripe red fruits (blackcurrant, blackberry). Supple on entry, with noticeable maturing tannins on the finish, the wine confirms the elegance of this light, fruity Sancerre on the palate.
Food-wine matching is important. A successful pairing turns a meal into a hospitable and enjoyable occasion. Served between 12 to 14°C, this red Sancerre goes perfectly with white meat, small game or cheese."
RED Sancerre? C'est vrai! It's Pinot Noir. It's light, elegant, completely different than what you've had from California, Oregon, or even Burgundy. This is a perfect red to pair with poultry.
Château Petit Mangot Saint Emilion Grand Cru 2015 ($24.99)
From the producer:
"Henriette and Armand, Paulette and Jean, Chantal and Jean-Yves and Nadia... These people represent the identity of Château Petit Mangot. They are the women and men in the Decamps family who over the years have made this wine they are so proud of. The history of a wine is often the history of a family. Our history is to be found in our bottles.
'It has taken a lot of determination, stubbornness and passion to produce our special nectar, but our greatest success has been to pass on our attachment to this vineyard to our daughter. She will be at the helm of Château Petit Mangot for many years to come.'
Vine-growing methods: sustainable agriculture
Ageing potential (bottles laid down away from heat and light) of between 5 and 15 years depending on the vintage.
4 generations of know-how
12 hectares of vines
70,000 bottles a year
50% private customers - 40% trading houses - 10% export
Appearance: Carmine red color
Nose: Nose of ripe fruit. At aeration the nose becomes thinner
Palate: Powerful notes of crushed strawberry. Silky attack, sticky tannins. Beautiful evolution. Long finish on ripe fruits."
This wine represents great value for the money. The blend is 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. The tasting note above was probably more accurate upon release when the wine was a little younger. Now I would say that the tannins grip slightly less, the wine is smooth, with dark red fruit and a little earth. Really lovely and your last chance to try it. This is the end of this vintage, which was an excellent one.