Wine Offerings

Legends Old & New in the Beaujolais and Mâconnais Regions of Burgundy

These weeks leading into the holidays have us thinking about the affordable and refreshing wines that work so well with the great variety and abundance of food on the table during gatherings of friends and family.

Jean-Jacques Robert is one of the few winemakers in the Mâconnais held in the same esteem as those to the north in Burgundy’s famous Côte de Beaune. In 1988, Jean-Jacques took over 12 acres of his grandfather’s vines just outside the village of Fuissé. Influenced by Marcel Lapierre, one of the great producers in Morgon, Jean-Jacques soon began to work his vineyards and cellars with the philosophy that the wines should reflect the place that they come from. He achieves this through organic viticulture practices and minimal intervention in the cellar.

The domaine now covers almost 25 acres of remarkably old vines across more than 30 parcels in the appellations of Mâcon-Fuissé, Mâcon-Solutré, Pouilly-Fuissé, Saint-Véran, and Beaujolais-Villages. In 2007, Jean-Jacques elder son, Nicolas, joined the domaine after studying viticulture and working in the field internationally. 2013 saw his other son, Antoine, begin work at the domaine after a stint with Nicolas Potel in the Côte de Beaune.

All prices based on the purchase of a 6-pack (mix-and-match)

~$28 Domaine Robert-Denogent “Cuvée Jules Chauvet” (Beaujolais-Villages 2015)
“Cuvée Jules Chauvet” is made from a three acre parcel of Gamay vines in a 15 acre vineyard that was owned by the late Jules Chauvet – a legend for his pioneering work with organic viticulture in Beaujolais and his leadership in the French natural wine movement. The wine is made with rigorous sorting in the vineyard and minimal intervention in the cellar and then aged for 16 months in seven-year-old barrels. The aromatics are all strawberries and cinnamon, the telltale of a semi-carbonic maceration process that keeps the wine light and lively. A sip is fresh and bursting with berry fruit, a downright pleasure to drink.

~$31 Domaine Robert-Denogent Mâcon-Villages (2015)
Mâcon-Villages is 100% Chardonnay blended from different vineyards and parcels with clay and limestone soils. The grapes are harvested by hand, pressed gently by pneumatic press, and fermented naturally with indigenous yeasts. Mineral notes precede aromatics of citrus and honey. On the palate the wine is rich and opulent with a mix of orchard and exotic fruits, a touch of brine, and a lengthy finish.

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Posted on 2018.10.25 in Burgundy, France, Saturday Sips  |  Read more...

 

Pure & Succulent Chardonnay from Burgundy’s Viré-Clessé

The Mâconnais region of southern Burgundy is white wine country and the Chardonnay variety is particularly at home on these limestone slopes with just a bit more warmth than the Côte d’Or.

One of the top producers in the region, third generation winemaker Jean-Marie Chaland, owns a little over 20 acres of vineyards mostly planted with vines aged 50 to 100 years old in and around Viré-Clessé. With organic certification since 2006, fermentation with indigenous yeast, and only the top cuvées maturing in a tiny proportion of new oak barrels, Jean-Marie’s wines are pure, complex, and expressing all of the fleshiness of this unique subzone.

The composite of two top communes in the Mâconnais, Viré-Clessé was recognized in the late 1990s with appellation status for its superior quality Chardonnay-based wines. What makes Viré-Clessé so special is a combination of chalky clay soil over limestone as well as hillside vineyards with favorable exposition to the sun. In the right hands the result are wines plump with fruit yet balanced by a streak of minerality. At their best, they are as close to a properly matured Côte de Beaune white you can get for a fraction of the price and without spending years in a cellar.

The wines of Jean-Marie Chaland are fresh, well-balanced, and joyful. From the easy drinking Mâcon-Villages to the complex single-vineyard, old-vine Viré-Clessé to the elegantly sparkling Crémant, Jean-Marie’s wines all offer heady aromatics and typicity of place.

The holidays are closing in fast and the crowd-pleasing, food-friendly wines of Jean-Marie Chaland are an ideal addition to any gathering.


 

The Wines of Jean-Marie Chaland

 

All prices based on the purchase of a 6-pack (mix-and-match)

 
~$33 Domaine Sainte Barbe “ Perle de Roche” (Crémant de Bourgogne Brut Nature) SPARKLING
From a parcel of 45 year old vines on a shallow limestone slab in the commune of Viré. The bottles are cellared for two to three years before disgorgement. No dosage is added. The wine is only produced once every two years for a total of about 3,200 bottles.

 
~$22 Domaine Sainte Barbe “Les Tilles” (Mâcon-Villages 2016)
From a 3.75 acre plot of vines planted in the late 1960s situated on the silty, clay-limestone plateau of Montbellet. It is fermented with indigenous yeast and matured on fine lees for eight months in stainless steel tanks. 3,000 bottles produced.

 

~$25 Domaine des Chazelles “Vieilles Vignes” (Viré-Clessé 2016)
From a five acre plot of 60+ year old vines that’s well protected from prevailing winds, allowing an advanced ripeness.

 

~$32 Domaine Sainte Barbe “L’Epinet” (Viré-Clessé 2016)
From a 1.75 acre plot planted in 1940 on a southeast facing hilltop in the commune of Clessé. Fermentation and aging on lees in barrels for one year (with only one new barrel added per year). 4,500 bottles produced.

 

~$38 Domaine Sainte Barbe “Thurissey” (Viré-Clessé 2016)
From a gently sloping, southeast facing 1.3 acre plot of 95+ year old vines in the northern zone of Viré-Clessé. Fermentation and aging on lees in barrels for one year (with only one new barrel added per year). 2,000 bottles produced.

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Posted on 2018.10.17 in Burgundy, France, Saturday Sips  |  Read more...

 

Beguiling Provençal Wines from a Virtuoso of the Vine

The appellation of Les Baux-de-Provence is unmistakably Provençal. Between olive groves and pine forests the rocky landscape is wild with the fragrant garrigue that marks its wines. Although the appellation is small and relatively new, the handful of winemaking estates there have earned well-deserved praise for their farming practices. As much as 85% of the area is devoted to an organic or biodynamic approach. It is the home of perhaps the most well-regarded estate in all of Provence, Domaine de Trévallon.

Not far behind Domaine de Trévallon in stature is Dominique Hauvette. In the early 1980s Dominique left her job as a lawyer in the Savoie, began studying oenology, and eventually amassed a little over 40 acres of vineyards along with an international reputation for producing model Provençal wines.

Domaine Hauvette is situated at the foot of Les Alpilles mountain range outside Saint Rémy-de-Provence, a small commune perhaps most famous for a little painting called “The Starry Night” that was created by Vincent van Gogh as he was being treated in the psychiatric center at Monastery Saint-Paul de Mausole. As the crow flies it’s about 15 miles from Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the southern Rhône. Indeed, the Rhône River is just a few minutes away by car.

The limestone foothills of Les Alpilles create a distinct landscape and microclimate. The soils retain moisture during the arid summer months, the legendary Mistral wind cools the vines and expels mold-fostering humidity, and Les Alpilles buffer the vines from potential damage.

Dominique began converting to biodynamic cultivation in 2000 with the goal of growing ideal fruit. At harvest, grapes are picked by hand and sorted in the field. She employs minimal intervention in the cellars, fermenting with indigenous yeasts. Many of her wines are fermented and aged in concrete eggs that allow a continuous flow of liquid during the process as well as stabilize temperature.


 

The Wines of Domaine Hauvette

 

All prices based on the purchase of a 6-pack (mix-and-match)
~$34 “Jaspe” (IGP Alpilles Blanc 2016)
From a five acre plot of Rousanne with an average age of 15 years. Cuvée “Jaspe” is fermented in cement eggs and aged briefly in stainless steel tank.

~$53 “Dolia” (IGP Alpilles Blanc 2013)
A field blend of equal portions Roussanne, Marsanne, and Clairette from a 1.7 acre plot with an average age of 23 years. Cuvée “Dolia” is fermented and aged in cement eggs.

~$44 “Cornaline” (Les Baux-de-Provence 2011)
A blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon from vines with an average age of 40 years. Cuvée “Cornaline” is fermented in wood tanks and aged in foudre.

~$80 “Améthyste” (IGP Alpilles Rouge 2015)
It’s rare to find a wine this ambitious made predominantly of Cinsault. 60% Cinsault, 30% Carignan, and 10% Grenache from vines with an average age of 40 years. Cuvée “Améthyste” is fermented in wood tanks and aged in cement eggs.

~$117 “Compendium” (Vin de France 2007)
A truly special Roussane-based dessert wine elaborated by the passerillage method of desiccating the grapes to concentrate sugars much like the great Vin de Paille (straw wine) of Hermitage. Cuvée “Compendium” is only made in vintages that have the optimum conditions to create this type.

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Posted on 2018.10.11 in France, Provence, Saturday Sips  |  Read more...

 

Corsican Beauties

Dry farming is a bit of a buzzword when talking about fruit quality in New World wines but for most of Europe’s classic grape-growing regions dry farming is obligatory because irrigation is illegal. This is possibly at its most extreme in the dry, scrub-covered landscape of Corsica’s Desert des Agriates. It is there, in the appellation of Patrimonio, that the isolated estate of Domaine Giacometti coaxes wonderfully balanced wines from this rugged swath of land on the northern end of the island near the tiny hamlet of Casta.

While one might expect wines from such a hot and arid place to express as overripe, in the right hands the wines can be models of freshness and grace with a subtle herbality whispering of the mints, laurels, and myrtles of the aromatic maquis shrubland that blankets the coast.

There are two driving characteristics of the Casta climat that help shape the unique expression of terroir in Giacometti’s wines. First is the granite and clay soils that impart elegance and delicacy to the wines. The second is a steady wind called the Libecciu, most prominent during the summer. This wind not only moderates the temperatures during the heat of the growing season, it also helps reduce the risk of disease in the vineyards.

Laurent Giacometti purchased the domaine in 1987 with his son, Christian, taking over vines that had been planted in 1966. Today it is the 3rd generation of Giacomettis, Simon and Sarah, that run the operation. The first goal of the estate is to create wines that express place. To accomplish this lofty pursuit the family focuses on organic farming and minimal intervention in the cellars. They are succeeding. With a nod to the old pudding proverb: The proof of the wine is in the drinking.


 

All prices based on the purchase of a 6-pack (mix-and-match)

 

$18 “Cru des Agriate” (Patrimonio Rouge 2015)

97% Niellucciu and 3% Grenache fermented with indigenous yeasts and then aged for 10 months on fine lees in stainless steel tank. While the grape variety Niellucciu is thought to be a strain of Sangiovese likely introduced to the island by the Genoese sometime around the 13th century, it has clearly been adapted to Corsica. “Cru des Agriate” exudes a heady bouquet of herbal maquis and lusty flowers over smoky cherry fruit. A sip is ripe, juicy, and downright poundable, finishing with a twist of pomegranate sap. It’s like a staid Chianti Classico went on a Mediterranean sailing vacation and came back with a shaggy beard and suntan – easily one of the most expressive under $20 wines available.

 

$27 “Sempre Azezzu” (Vin de France Rouge 2015)

100% Syrah fermented with indigenous yeasts and then aged for 12 months on fine lees in 500 liter barrels. While the Giacomettis mostly like to work with the regional varieties, they chose to plant a tiny plot of less than one acre of Syrah with the aim of producing a wine with the unique expression of Casta within the frame of an international grape variety. Along with a varietal purity in the aromatics and on the palate, “Sempre Azezzu” hints at the herbal maquis of the island while oozing generous aromas of bright fruit, flowers, and spice. A sip is lively and fresh with wild berries and a lengthy mineral finish. In a blind tasting this wine might be confused with an approachable version of Northern Rhône’s Saint-Joseph, also known for its granite soils.

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Posted on 2018.10.03 in Corsica, France, Saturday Sips  |  Read more...

 

The Champagne Society

Welcome to The Champagne Society

Congratulations! In the coming months you will be drinking some of the best Champagne and sparkling wines known to humanity.

As a member of The Champagne Society, you’re in a select community of like-minded folks that appreciate the exceptional in wine and in life. Meet and mingle at dinners and events at hip local venues that are arranged exclusively for The Champagne Society.

All selected wines are from passionate grower/producers or small houses that are deeply connected to the particularities of each of their vine parcels and believe that wine is made in the vineyard first. Many of these wines are highly allocated and we quite often only have access to a few cases of a particular cuvée. The Champagne Society will enjoy wines that quite often aren’t available in any other wine shop in Michigan.

And if you’re a traveler, we’ve already started organizing a group trip to the Champagne region of France, including winery tours and tastings.

As a member of The Champagne Society you’ll receive the following benefits:

  • Every other month we will select a bottle of Champagne for you, ready for pickup or delivery by the 10th of the month. The first bottle will be ready for pickup in April. Expect a new bottle in June, August, October, December, & February.
  • The price will be $50 – $90 per bottle, which includes a significant discount from our store price (at least 15% off). Your credit card will be charged when the bottle is ready for pickup or delivery.
  • With each bottle we’ll include the details of the producer and the cuvée via email, on our website, and a hard copy.
  • You have the option to pick up your bottle at the store or we can ship it to you. If you haven’t picked up your bottle by the end of the month it will be shipped to you at minimal cost.
  • No membership fees but we ask that you commit to at least six bottles.

If you’re interested in joining the Champagne Society please give us a call at 248-398-0030 or email elie@eliewine.com


 

 

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Posted on 2018.10.02 in Champagne, France, Special Selections, The Champagne Society  |  Read more...

 


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