This was the last of Le Caveau's 1 year Anniversary Events:
We met Certified Sommelier and owner of Integrity Wines, Doug Strickland while tasting some unique, natural wines from their portfolio:
- 2010 Chateau Tour Des Gendres 'Cuvee des Conti' Bergerac Sec - $18.99 - 13% alcohol - 70% Semillon, 20% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Muscadelle - The nose is pure and expressive with waxy white peach and pink grapefruit with cashews and a dash of ginger. The wine has a fresh, herbaceous character on the palate with its acidity offering freshness within the full, rich texture. The De Conti's have 52 hectares, all in Bergerac, all organically farmed since 1994, AGROCERT certified since 2005. Yields are managed based on grape varieties, soil, vintages, the style and balance of the wines, and their agricultural plots. Vinification techniques are customized to reflect the true vintage expression. If you look up Bergerac in Hugh Johnson's Book The World Atlas of Wine (also affectionately referred to as "the huge johnson")- you will see that Luc De Conti is the only winemaker he mentions in that section.
- NV Ampelidae Armance B - $18.99 - 12.66% alcohol - 80% Chardonnay, 20% Folle Blanc - Has a fine and nice bouquet, inspired of pastry and croissant. Bubble's very delicate, light, and at the palate gives us nuances of white nougat, mature peach, and fresh almond. The final taste prolongs with delicacy, purity, but unique freshness and body complicity (I think he meant "complexity.") Armance B. takes its name from the first name of the winemaker, Frederic's grandmother who initiated the sparkling production in 1899. She was born with the name Baillet (name of a big bucket where you put grapes), and married a Brochet, thus signing all her life with a B, without anymore precision except her tricky smile. Frederic started winemaking at age 14, and another of his wonderful wines is the Marigny Neuf (a Pinot Noir also sold at Le Caveau for a very reasonable price).
- 2010 Chateau Tour Des Gendres Bergerac Rouge - $14.99 - 13% alcohol - 50% Merlot, 50% Malbec - the color, deep and steady, is garnet red with purple tints. The nose is powerful with notes of cherry, blueberry, and soft spices. The palate is aromatic and fresh. Known since the 12th century as the winery of "Chateau de Bridoir", Chateau "Tour des Gendres" (literally Tower of the sons in law) is located on the site of an old Gallo-Roman villa. Owned and run for the past 3 generations by the "De Conti" family, Chateau Tour Des Gendres is the flagship of the Bergerac appellation.
- 2009 La Reserve d'O Coteaux du Languedoc - $22.99 - 15% alcohol - 50% Grenache, 40$ Syrah, 10% Cinsault - The nose shows rich, ripe blackberries and chestnuts with lots of sweet but not jammy fruit. On the palate it's supple with a nice mouth-filling structure, yet elegant at the same time. After 10 years of searching for her own vineyards, Marie Chauffray, with her husband Frederic, found their unique property and have dedicated themselves to biodynamic viticulture. The 10 hectare estate is certified organic from ECOCERT and biodynamic from Demeter. The vineyard is situated 400m above sea level, is located on terraces of limestone pebbles, on very dry soils, and high winds with vine 30+ years of age. Being imported for the first time into the US, Maria won Silver Medal at Millesime Bio 2010 for La Reserve d'O. Of interest is that her husband is a rock and roll guy.
- 2010 Mathieu Barret 'La Banniere' Crozes-Hermitage- $27.99 - 13.5% alcohol - 100% Syrah - has bear on the label (due to the winemakers recently having a baby) - In the glass this is a very dark, medium-opaque purple. The nose is intense with scorched earth and blue fruit with animale notes. In the mouth there is rich black fruits presented with nice acidity. There are young, fine-grained mouth-filling tannins that provide structure for the wine. The long mineral-driven finish is slightly juicy. The wine is 100% destemmed and undergoes natural yeast fermentation in a concrete "egg" with a daily punching down of the cap and vinified without sulfur. The wine spends 18 months in 400 liter barrels that are 10 years old.
Organic means no pesticides, no chemicals, no fertilizers, etc.
Biodynamic means all of these things, but ALSO looks at farming in a holistic way. The belief is that we are all inter-related with the earth, and the terroir, some even farm on the lunar cycle, it is a purist view of making wine. The farm is a cohesive, interconnected, living system.
Read more here