Chateau Guilhem Chardonnay ($11.99)
From the distributor:
"I first met Bertrand Gourdou some years ago during a tasting in Paris. I was immediately seduced by his wines that had the depth of the south with a well balanced fruit. Bertrand is an energetic young producer that can claim over 10 years of experience in wine making. He is the 6th generation producing wine on the property. Chateau Guilhem is today the leading estate in the Malpere appellation, an AOC (Appellation d’Origine Controllee) his grandfather helped to create by being the first in 1970 to plant Bordeaux grapes in this typical grenache, carignan and syrah country. In 2007 Malpere became a standalone appellation based solely on merlot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon grapes.
The 92 acre estate produces mainly red wine and went bio in 2013. The grapes are harvested and fermented per field, giving Bertrand great material to assemble his various cuvees. Cement tanks and barrels are used to age the wine in order to keep the freshness and the structure of the wine. Chateau Guilhem has undergone major transformations in the last 5 years and today is one of the up and coming stars in the area.
Description: Color: golden, light yellow color. Aromas of white flowers and tropical fruits. Flavors of ripe white fruits. A fresh aftertaste, resulting in a blend of toasted brioche."
This Chardonnay is a great value for an elegant, lighter wine. Those who shy away from big, oaky Chards will appreciate the freshness and bright flavors that this one shows.
Chateau La Croix des Pins Ventoux Les Trois Villages ($16.99)
From the producer:
"Protected from the Mistral by the Mont Ventoux and the Dentelles de Montmirail, the vineyard is in a natural site classified 'Biosphere reserve' by Unesco. Fed by magnificent wide spaces, the clay-limestone soil brings out the fruits of an unique typicity in Provence.
Hand harvesting at optimal maturity
Grape varieties are fermented separately to develop their individual characteristics
Fermentation on skins for around 15 days through a process especially develop to bring out the best of the fruit
Wine is racked off and undergoes to malolactic fermentation
Ageing in vats for 8 months"
80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre
This wine presents fresh red fruit flavors, thanks to its stainless steel aging. It has a medium tannin on the front of the palate and finishes cleanly. Its lightness and bright acidity make it a wine for all seasons, including summer.
Chateau de l'Engarran Gres de Montpellier ($25.50)
From the distributor:
"59% Syrah, 32% Grenache, 4% Carignan, 4% Mourvedre, 1% Cinsault
Soil made from large stones and gravette
Aged for 15 months 1/3 in old oak, 2/3 in stainless steel
Aromas of prune and bay overlaid with toast and cocoa, harmonising with its gentle liqorice, red fruit jam flavours"
I'm currently having a bit of a love affair with this wine. There's such complexity of flavor and elegance of body! It is lighter on the palate than I had expected, but that doesn't take away from its rich bouquet. This is just a beautiful wine, and one that, even at $25, is a bargain for what you get.
Domaine Bouchier Chatellier Pouilly-Fumé La Renardiere ($26.99)
From the distributor:
"Arnaud is the 5th generation of vine growers crafting wine on the 55 acre family estate. All the members of the family have been trained in great wine estates. When his dad, Bernard Bouchié, left the village school he already knew how to prune vines, but he wanted to learn more. He went to study wine in Beaune and worked in the Hospices de Beaune vineyards. He then worked for a well-known Champagne House before heading to the vineyards of the South of France. He came back from the School of Agronomy in Montpellier as a qualified oenologist.
Arnaud also spent a few years in Burgundy studying oenology and the wine trade. Now he is as passionately devoted to the family business as his ancestors. The family’s working methods combined with a strategic vineyard location on the top of the St Andelain hill give the wines their unique character which distinguishes them from other Pouilly-Fumés.
Description: The terroir brings out the typical characteristic aromas of the Blanc Fumé (Sauvignon) with underlying gunflint notes. Harmony on the palate and long finish. As the wine ages, yellow fruit aromas develop.
Characteristics: aromatic nose, fresh, fruity structure with good length.
Aging potential: Will improve with age (3 – 5 years)"
I don't know when it happened, but I've come to adore Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc. My go-to is Sancerre, but when I want something a little more refined, Pouilly Fumé is it. We will pour the 2012 and 2015 vintages so that you can see how age affects the wine. Both will be for sale.