This year felt like its start was a bit unexpected. We were ready for the “new normal” a groove that we had come a little more accustomed to over the Summer and Fall since the start of the pandemic and then things got all scary again. Thankfully this time around we’re all a little better seasoned. This months’ wine club relates to just that. We’ve come across some unexpected wines, and they’ve just made us feel good and we’ve enjoyed them, so we want to share them with you.
P. & E. Mullins
2020 Domaine Franck Besson Note Blanche
There’s a good chance I’ve shared a wine from this producer with you. Specifically, his sparkling rose made in the champagne method called Rosé Granit. Winemaker Franck Besson is one of a kind and we are fortunate to experience a glimpse of who he is through his wines. In the appellation of Jullié in Beaujolais, on the granitic slopes farmed with organic practices are the Gamay Noir vines of Besson’s Estate. Franck’s style is all encompassing, from working the vineyard by hand to the vibe he has created in his cellar. He believes that to produce a beautiful wine, the atmosphere must be Zen. He hangs Japanese lanterns; also decorating the walls handwritten quotes about wine and photos of his favorite people. He practices Tai-Chi and keeps a mediation space. In addition to his aura of calmness, he is also full of joy and fun. Who are we to argue, these practices do seem to shine through in his wine? This Note Blanche is a Blanc de Noir, a white wine made of black Gamay grapes. It does not see any skin contact which allows it to have the pale crisp clean color. It is vibrant with aromas of citrus and stone. The palate is lush and bright with deep fruit notes and an elegant structure.
2019 Mas De Valériole
There is a place where the wild horses gallop through salt marshes and rice fields between the Rhone River and the Mediterranean Sea, that place is the Bouches-du-Rhone (the mouth of the Rhone) it’s an appellation at the edge of Provence where the Rhone begins. The estate of Mas de Valériole is in the nature preserve of Camargue Regional Nature Park. Originally founded in 1426 by François de Vallériole, the estates namesake it now has been in the Michel family for three generations. Brothers, Jean-Paul oversees growing wheat, sunflower and rice and Patrick is the winegrower. Since 2006 the land has been certified organic by Ecocert B. Patrick also continues the natural practices in the winemaking. It is all fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tank. No sulfites are added in the winemaking process. It is unfined with light filtration, and holy moly, this wine is gorgeous. The Beauduc is pure Marselan, a varietal that is a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. It has notes of red berry fruits, violets, and a wetness on the nose. The palate is like a wandering of flavors with blueberries, anise, and more violets. Its mouthfeel is delicate and pure.
2018 Domaine de Montcy Cheverny Rouge
Time and time again we fall in love with a wine and to no surprise once again, it’s from the Loire Valley. It is such a large region with diverse varietals and terroir. There are so many unique gems in this region, and we can’t help wanting to uncover them all. One of our favorite little AOCs is Cheverny (about an hour outside of Sancerre). To our delight, we discovered that within Cheverny is a tiny appellation of Cour-Cheverny, meaning the heart of Cheverny. This is where Domaine de Montcy is located. This is quite fitting because every detail of what takes place at Montcy is done with heart, from the vineyard work to the care of the workers themselves, to the winemaking process. Biodynamic practices steer the methods with the intent to be respectful of the earth, the vines and the team that works the vineyards and, in the cellar, with the desire to keep everything healthy and happy and ultimately produce beautiful quality wine. The Lunar calendar leads the cycle of the vineyard work. The care continues in the cellar with natural fermentation and minimal use of added sulfites. This Cheverny Rouge is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir, 35% Gamay and 5% Malbec. In the glass it is a light ruby color. Aromas of red fruits and cherries hit your nose with a little spiciness on the finish. The palate is soft with silky tannins. It’s elegant and long on the finish.