__ Fanny Sabre Beaune 1er Cru Vignes Franches 2008. This Pinot Noir has a clear, even very clear color, with a nice vibration. Refined, light, elegant tannins. Fanny says that she uses whole clusters harvested ripe for a vinification à la bourguignone. Needs a total hygiene in the chai (harvest boxes rinsed after emptying), there's no oxygen but CO2 poured on the grapes in the fermentation vat. 2008 was a "minor" vintage, chaotic year, low yields and barely 12 ° or 12,2 ° in alcolhol. All her wines stay on lees, no racking. Empty glass : beautiful aromas of soft-textured prune, also meat juice.
__ Fanny Sabre Vignes Franches 1er Cru 2009. Lightly darker. Intense, more complex. This is nice while aerial.
__ Fanny Sabre Beaune 1er Cru Chouacheux 2008. Some reduction maybe here. More spices and pepper. Light color, more evolved. Nice mouthfeel and substance, but this wine still sleeps, his potential is for tomorrow.
__ Fanny Sabre Aloxe Corton 2008. 3 casks of this. Grey label (not as nice as the previous). Nice juicy nose, evolved color. That IS a great wine, all the range of fresh red fruits on the nose. In the mouth, it's such a pleasure and pure harmony, all of a sudden, you distinctly feel the assembly happy like in heaven, chatting and laughing. Spices, gingerbread, tobacco. On the market recently. The king-wine of the evening, for me. 34 € at la Contre-Etiquette.
__ Fanny Sabre Volnay 209. The last red of the tasting. Stones on the nose. B. feels warm air and sun on the nose. Lightly higher alcohol feel. More opulent.
__ Fanny Sabre Savigny les Beaune 2009. Chard. Ripe harvest, says Fanny.Light aroma of anise or Pastis on the nose. Minerality in the mouth, nice wine.
__ Fanny Sabre Meursault Charmes 1er Cru 2008. Light vanilla side, I feel lots of minerality, even rock in the mouth. Very nice, all these whites are a refined pleasure.
__ Fanny Sabre Meursault Charmes 2007. She made two casks of this, one being a 350-liter and one 228-liter. 12 months in casks and 6 months in a vat. Simply magic wine, says B.... She is so true. Enormous length, complexity and a wide range of aromas. And Christophe passes around a tray of Brillat Savarin cheese with a thin layer grinded black truffles in its middle (pic on right), not only an amizingly-tasty cheese, but an incredible pairing success with this outstanding wine. This guy is inspired, I tell you. He got the cheese from a cheese shop and affineur in Paris : the Fromagerie Secretan.
The Contre Etiquette sells 7 different cuvées from Fanny Sabre, most priced between 26 € and 37 €, and one at 44 € (the Meursault Charmes).
I asked B. if she remembered how it was when she bought it, I was there too and tasted it along with her, but it has sure changed quite a bit compared from back then. That's how real wines can make wonders, they're bottled with a great potential which opens itself along the years. This wine cost probably a bit less than 10 € when purchased at the winery in 2006.
I was having a haircut in Saint Aignan (it's much cheaper than in Paris) and while I was waiting for my turn and leafing through a local newspaper, I heard the haidresser and the man he was working on discussing wine, the customer praising a Sauvignon from the area of Saint Aignan as being exceptionnal. Never look down opinions that come to you out of nowhere, you now and then discover gems. When it was my turn on the armchair, I started a discussion on the topic again as I hadn't clearly heard where this estate was located. The man gently gave me the informations, and as I asked about where some Pineau d'Aunis could be found around there, he told me about an estate near Saint Romain, a handful of kilometers north from here. So after a brief tour on the marketplace where I bought a couple of creamy goat cheeses on my favorite stand (picture on left), I headed first to Patrick Léger's Domaine de la Girardière to buy a bottle of Sauvignon (4,2 € if I remember). Then I drove north to St Romain at Domaine de la Renne, near which I discovered a goat cheese farm and bought two young and soft goat cheese (at 1,7 € each - pictured above). The guy at Domaine de la Renne was very friendly and eager to explain his work. I bought him 3 bottles of Pineau d'Aunis rosé at 3,45 € each and as I asked to taste his Sauvignon which had been named in the Guide Hachette des Vins, he just gave me a bottle of it to taste at home as he didn't have any of it opened.
The Girardière Sauvignon was so-so for me, I found it unbalanced somehow but it may be me because the wine got a gold medal at the Concours Mondial du Sauvignon in 2010 in Bordeaux (for less-than-12€ Sauvignons). I may try again to be sure.
The Pineau d'Aunis, which is made from a small surface has these unmistakable charecteristics, this spicy something or peppery side. Makes a wine fit for an apéritif in the spring or summer. While labelled at 12,5 ° in alcohol, the 2009 may be riper than average. The winery is a large-size conventional family winery, with a total surface of maybe 65 hectares. With most prices between 3,2 € and 3,6 € (including Gamay, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir), it seems a place to visit occasionally for cheap, reasonably drinkable wine.
This other wine on the left is another exceptional treat : Domaine Hubert Lamy Saint Aubin 1er Cru En Remilly 2008. The nose of this Burgundy Chardonnay has almost a Sauvignon style with some lemon notes. The vivid mouth is a bit perly with a light sugary side and resin notes. Deep and full of life. Again, here is a wine that goes down very easily, a real pleasure for something like 40 € at the estate (sold out now).
__ les Amidyves Blanc 2009. 50 % Grenache Blanc and 50 % Roussanne. Vinified & raised in casks for 10 months. Tasting temp too high but very good nonetheless, very elegant and mineral with a nice bitterness at the end.
__ les Amidyves 2007, 60 % Grenache and 40 % Syrah, raised respectively in vats and in casks for 10 months. Carafed wine. Very nice wine, length.
__ La Première 2007 of which Olivier B. made 1002 (sic) bottles is a Syrah with a 18-month élevage in casks. Beautiful mouth with at the same time a striking minerality and aromas of garrigue, stone, dry herbs and chocolate. Lots of deposit in the bottle. 15 ° alcohol, not a problem.
__ La Première 2009 (will be named la Deuxième actually). Still in its élevage now, bottled next may. Great glycerol on the glass walls. The nose is intense and complex, and this wine has such a freshness ! Very very nice wine indeed. Will cost 30 €.
As I was tasting, I spoke with two Italian guys who were here too (pic above) : Bernardo Conticelli (left), is a wine consultant who is based in Firenze and travels for his job, and Ciro Beligni who runs a wine bar in Florence, Le Volpi E l'Uva. Now, that's it, I'll not be lost in Firenze, I know where to have a glass, I mean a glass of real wine, and I'm quite eager to learn on the Italian side of this trade. Le Volpi E L'Uva bar has been profiled as offering a good selection of artisan wines at affordable prices (begins at 3,5 € a glass). Seems the food is tasty too. Chatting with them reminds me that in spite of its closeness, I haven't been to Italy for years, shame on me.
The wine is very strange but interesting per se, it is a vintage 2000 with a dark color and high alcohol (could be 16 ° as Oberlin is known for high-alcohol wines). The aromas are on the caramel and coffee side, with something like a Port style. Not really a wine that I'd drink often, but I was happy to make another try.
We are here in La Chartre sur le Loir along the Loir river (not to be confused with the mighty Loire), this is Coteaux-du-Loir country, home of both Chenin Blanc and Pineau d'Aunis. I stopped there after visiting Christian Chaussard and found that people in the area were very lucky : Pascal Ouvrard has some 200 different wines in his Cave-des-Coteaux wine shop, there are wines from all the French regions even if Loire makes up the majority of his portfolio. Most of the wines in the shop are made from organic vines and all are vinified by artisan winemakers who look for the real thing, not for productivity or short-term returns. For someone looking for local wines not always easy to find in the big urban centers, his wine shop is a gem of a place. Being biaised toward Pineau d'Aunis these days, I focused on them as soon as I walked in. Pascal has no less than 10 red Pineau d'Aunis on his shelves :
Domaine de la Bellivière, Eric Nicolas le Rouge Gorge 2009 at 16 €
Domaine des Maisons Rouges, Coteaux du Loire Garance 2009, 12 €
Domaine Patrice Colin, Coteaux du Vendômois les Vignes d'Emilien Colin 2009 (100 % PA), 7,3 €
Domaine de Cézin, Coteaux du Loir Aunis 2010 (100% PA), 5,8 €
Domaine Régis Breton, Percheron 2010 (Gamay/PA), 6 €
Vignes de L'Ange Vin, Jean Pierre Robinot, Vin de France, Regard du Loir (100% PA), 18 €
Le Briseau, Christian Chaussard, Patapon 2009 (100% PA), 13,7 €
Domaine de la Roche Bleue, Coteaux du Loir, la Guinguette 2009 (40% Gamay/60% PA), 9,7 €
Michel Boulay, Coteaux du loir Tendrière 2008 (Gamay/PA majority), 7,4 €
Domaine Lelais, Coteaux du Lor Rouge 2009 (80% PA, the rest Gamay, Côt, Cab Franc), 7 €
I bought two bottles (of course when I'm thinking about it I'm lamenting that I didn't buy more), one Colin and one Guinguette. The Colin was quite disapointing for me, too extracted maybe and not easy to drink. It took us several meals to finish the bottle. The other one, a blend of Pineau d'Aunis and Gamay, was a very pleasant experience, with a savory and harmonious mouthfeel and notes of cooked burlat cherries.
Pascal Ouvrard also runs a wine distribution business for foreign buyers.
He is also a writer. He co-wrote a spy novel, Loire, Baltes et Mourir where wine, Russia, the baltic countries, wine and spies make an explosive blend. A sequel is on its way.
The wine shop is part of a Facebook group gathering alternative cavistes in France and Europe.
Read Michel Freyssinet's book on Pineau d'Aunis.
See the Wine Doctor's page on Jo Landron (atmosphères at the end).
I visited the place recently with a friend from abroad and I spotted this Quincy. Quincy is a very affordable alternative to Sancerre. Thank god, the Quincy appellation is still under the international radar and it's not very difficult to find good value Sauvignon over there. This wine gives us even more incentives to look next to expensive, well-known appellations when you can't afford them.
Here is a beautifully fruity wine with notes of citrus and hazelnut. But foremost, it was such an easy drink. We did finish the bottle right there in the wine bar sitting at our table (if you don't finish your bottle, the people at the bar wrap it in a paper bag to go). I paid 12 € for this Quincy and it probably costs less than 9 € in the estate.
A few infos on Trotereau's owner Pierre Ragon on this page.