Vinopolpick Thursday: April 10th

April 10, 2014

A Vinopolis Announcement:

We’re Moving!

We’d like to thank all of our customers for over 9 years of business
at our current location, and look forward to many more in the “West Pearl”!
It will be the same Vinopolis and more!
We are pleased to provide parking at our new location, while still remaining within walking distance to Downtown Portland and the many great shops and restaurants in the Pearl.

The move will be happening towards the end of this month and we will not be closed at any point during the transition, we will keep Vinopolis shoppers updated as an exact date becomes available.

And now back to the wine:


The Loire Valley

The Loire Valley wine region of France covers five general sub-regions and a multitude of AOCs producing many different styles of wine.  The region follows the River Loire from the east in the Central Loire to where it empties into the Atlantic in the west.  The climate moves from continental with cold winters and warm summers at its start to temperate maritime at the coast.  The soil varies, but is composed generally of volcanic rock, limestone or carboniferous rock and schist.  

Within the Central Loire is the famous AOC of Sancerre.  This AOC is known for producing Sauvignon Blanc with herbal and mineral flavors from the calcium-rich limestone and flint soil.  These two soil components have excellent heat retention and light-reflecting abilities that aid ripening and impart flinty or smoky aromas known locally as “pierre a fusil.”  It was not until after phylloxera wiped out the Gamay and Pinot Noir vineyards that Sauvignon Blanc became the dominate varietal due to its easy adaptation to phylloxera-resistant rootstock.  Expect Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre to express herbal, citrus and gooseberry aromas.  The best examples have a racy minerality and smoky aromas.  

In the Touraine are the AOCs of ChinonVouvray, and Touraine, among others.  The region and AOC are named for the city of Tours.  The AOC produces several styles of wine, mostly centered on Sauvignon Blanc, Gamay, or Malbec (known as Cot) and Cremant wines from Chenin Blanc.  In the AOC, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir are grown infrequently and used as blending grapes.  The soil is mostly well-draining, calcareous rock known as tuffeau.

Chinon – a small vineyard, as prestigious as many of the great names in wine – dates back to the 12th and 13th centuries, long before it was celebrated by the great writer François Rabelais. A respected appellation in Touraine, Chinon is one of the few areas in the Loire Valley that is cherished for its red wines. Chinon wines are typically Cabernet Franc based, which flourishes in the mild climate and well-drained soils. Chinon reds, known for their bright acidity and strong peppery notes, distinctly reflect the soil in which the vines were grown. The area around Chinon is blessed with two soil key types, both of which are well suited to producing quality Cabernet Franc wines. The gravelly alluvial soils close to the banks of the Loire generate lighter, fresher styles with aromas of red berries and licorice, while those grown in the sedimentary ‘tuffeau jaune’ soil produce richer, spicier wines with aromas such as leather and smoke. Depending on terroir and producer, these wines can range from bright and approachable in youth to dark, rich and extremely age worthy. 

One of the most well-known and respected of the Loire Valley’s appellations, Vouvray covers a variety of incarnations of Chenin Blanc, from sweet to dry, still to sparkling. Located along the right bank of the Loire river east of the city of Tours, the climate of the area is mostly continental and the soil is largely tuffeau, a soft, porous limestone formed during the Cretaceous period, striking an excellent balance of drainage and water retention. There are many parallels made between Vouvray and Chenin Blanc’s other flagship appellation Savennieres, as the two nearby areas share a similar gravelly soil, but Vouvray stands apart from the dry, still wines of Savennieres for its variety of styles and ability to age. The Chenin Blanc wines of Vouvray are characterized by the grape’s naturally high acidity, which allows freshness to maintain in the wines for a startlingly long time, and makes quality Vouvray wines able to age as long as many fine Burgundies. As Vouvray can be made in a wide range of sweetness styles, the wine labels typically indicate the sweetness level, ranging from the driest Sec, to Demi-Sec, Moelleux and, the sweetest designation, Doux. In its youth, Vouvray is known for its floral nose and steely acidity, as it ages, these flavors evolve into richer notes of dried fruits and honeysuckle; flavors well worth waiting for. 

The two regions of Saumur and Anjou produce several styles of wine including roses, sparkling wines from Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, and still Cabernet Franc wines that are floral, fruity, and light bodied with dry tannins.  The Anjou region includes many small appellations including Anjou and Savennieres and also produces excellent dessert wines.  Savennieres, as discussed above, mostly produces dry, intensely flavored white wines from Chenin Blanc.  La Roche aux Moines is one of its two cru vineyards.

The fifth sub-region is the Pays Nantais, the adopted home of the Melon de Bourgogne grape from which is made Muscadet.  Muscadet is a dry, crisp and delicately flavored white frequently described as citrusy and having sea breeze and oyster-shell aromas.  The climate is temperate maritime with steady rainfall, and the soil is composed of rocks from the Armorican Massif.  The most famous appellation is Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine, which produces the longest-lived Muscadets.  Winemakers frequently will age the wines on the yeast, sur lie, to add complexity and texture.  The yeast sinks to the bottom of the wine as it ages.  The dead yeast cells interact with the wine in a process known as aytolysis imparts bread-dough-like aromas and richer body while creating a creamy mouthfeel.  Stirring the lees (batonnage) increases the effect.  Sur lie aging is common in Champagne as well.


Loire Valley Wines Available Now

Andre Neveu Sancerre Le Grands Fricambaults 2012 ($27.95) $21.90 special, 30 bottles available      

Andre Neveu Sancerre Les Manoir 2012 ($31.95) $26.00 special, 3 bottles available

Andre Neveu Sancerre Les Monts Damnes 2012 ($39.95) $33.00 special, 38 bottles available

Daniel Chotard Sancerre Blanc 2012 ($29.95) $24.00 special, 6 bottles available
From the importer 
“Daniel Chotard and his wife, Brigitte, live just outside Sancerre in the village of Reigny. The Chotard family has been making wine for well over two hundred years, though Daniel was initially reluctant to accept the family vocation and started as a teacher. Daniel and his son Simon farm the slopes of the village Crezancy-en-Sancerre, where flint meets clay and the famous Kimmeridgian limestone. He practices sustainable farming, and uses organic composts to treat the vines. Typically, he harvests his grapes later than his neighbors which results in less of the acidity that is so typical of the appellation. Aging the wine on its lees further rounds the mid-palate. Like his jazz, Daniel’s wines are luscious and complex with deep notes and long, satisfying finales.”

Didier Dagueneau Silex 2009 ($129.95) $99.00 special, 11 bottles available
Wine Advocate 93-94+ points
 “From an enclave just outside the cuverie in Saint Andelain, the Dagueneau 2009 Blanc Fume de Pouilly Silex delivers an almost inordinate diversity of floral, herbal, citrus (predominately grapefruit), and pit-fruit (predominately nectarine) elements, with the bitterness of fruit pits, smoky pungency of red currant and crushed stone, as well as notes of shrimp shell reduction and iodine inflecting a long, bittersweet, yet at the same time vibrant, buoyant finish. This silken textured seducer should gain with time in bottle and be worth following for ten or a dozen years.”

Dagueneau Silex 2010 ($139.95) $99.00 special, 8 bottles available
Wine Advocate 93-94 points 
“A pungent suggestion of diverse hedge flowers and high-toned herbs rises from the glass of Dagueneau 2010 Blanc Fume de Pouilly Silex; then migrates to a palate dominated by succulent grapefruit, white peach, and cassis. Breadth, opulence, sheer extract, a silken texture, and high glycerin, all seem to enhance this Sauvignon’s sense of sweet ripeness, though citrus zest and berry skin lend satisfying counterpoint. There is resonance and depth to the finish here, and if for now not quite the dazzling complexity of the corresponding Sancerre Monts Damnes, then certainly a compelling performance that promises to be worth revisiting over the next dozen or more years.”

Dagueneau Silex 2011 ($149.95) $99.00 special, 23 bottles available
Wine Advocate 92-93+ points
 “A delightfully, pungently intense bouquet of hedge flowers and resinous herbs rises from the glass of Dagueneau 2011 Blanc Fume de Pouilly Silex, anticipating the bittersweet presence of herbal essences and inner-mouth floral perfume that are allied to nut and citrus oils on a dense, subtly oleaginous palate. This finishes with an authoritative sense of grip and I expect it will not only perform well for a decade but benefit from being left alone for the first several years in bottle.”

Gerard Boulay Sancerre Monts Damnes 2011 ($41.95) $36.00 special, 8 bottles available
Wine Advocate 91-92 points
 “High-toned, penetrating scents of mint, wormwood, white pepper, and citrus oils rise from the glass of Boulay’s 2011 Sancerre Monts Damnes, along with some yeasty notes not surprising in a wine tasted from tank. Lemon and grapefruit offer an invigoratingly bright palate with their accents of rind, pepper, and chalk; while peppermint and a sweet freesia-like suggestion of inner-mouth perfume add stimulating allure. Long on finesse and refreshment–and just plain long, this Sancerre’s evolution is going to be deliciously fascinating to follow over the next half dozen years, if not beyond.”

Bernard Baudry Chinon Clos Guillot 2011 ($31.95) $26.00 special, 26 bottles available
Importer notes
 “Bernard Baudry is unquestionably one of Chinon’s most outstanding producers. Not only does he have the talent to make delicious and consistent wines, vintage to vintage, but he is also fortunate enough to have vineyard land that showcases many of the varied soil types of the appellation. The Baudrys work vineyards composed of gravel, sand, limestone, silica, and clay. The variations of terroir and vinification methods make each of their cuvées unique and distinct. Bernard and Mathieu focus the lion’s share of their production on Chinon Rouge, five fine cuvées of Cabernet Franc, all aged in old and new barrels in their incredible cellars chiseled out of tuffeau behind the winery. The Baudrys are staunch traditionalists, and you would have a hard time finding a Chinon more classic than theirs. “

Bernard Baudry Chinon Les Granges 2012 ($19.95) $16.00 special, 30 bottles available
Importer notes: 
From 20 year old vines in sand and limestone soil.

Breton Chinon Beaumont 2009 ($27.95) $24.00 special, 4 bottles available
Importer notes
 “The Bretons farm eleven hectares of vines just east of Bourgueil in the village of Restigné. The Bretons first introduced biodynamic practices into their viticulture in 1994, just after receiving their organic certification in 1991. Recently, they started the three-year process of seeking biodynamic certification. The Bretons farm vineyards on varied soil types, including gravel, limestone, clay, schist, and yellow tuffeau. The Wines of Terroir from Chinon and Bourgueil are destined for long life in your cellar. A 1964 made for unforgettable drinking in 2008! Each of the Breton cuvées is unique, with differences in soil, vinification, and élévage all playing a role while still demonstrating a familial resemblance.”

JM Raffault Chinon Clos L’Hospice Rouge 2011 ($39.95) $33.00 special, 6 bottles available
Wine Spectator 90 points
 “Well-defined, showing solid depth for the vintage, this features a bright chalky frame that carries the mouthwatering bitter cherry, black currant, savory and olive notes. The chalky edge adds length on the finish. Drink now through 2016.” 

Olga Raffault Chinon Les Picasses 1990 ($69.95) $59.00 special, 1 bottle available      

Philippe Alliet Chinon 2011 ($24.95) $21.90 special, 19 bottles available
Importer note 
“The entry-level Chinon from Philippe Alliet is one of the truly great values from the Loire. This wine exhibits beautifully exuberant fruit and spot-on regional typicity.”

Philippe Alliet Chinon L’Huisserie 2010 ($41.95) $38.00 special, 20 bottles available
Importer note
 “Philippe Alliet is the proprietor of this small domaine in Cravant-les-Côteaux, location of some of the best Cabernet Franc vineyards in the Loire Valley. Considered by many to be one of the finest producers in Chinon, Alliet is part of a new generation of Loire winemakers dedicated to low yields, optimally ripe fruit, and fastidious vineyard management. Inspired by the greatest wines of Bordeaux – a region he visits several times a year – he aims to create wines of similar structure and power. From his 12-hectare domaine, Philippe produces a stunning lineup of 100% Cabernet Franc wines: a basic Chinon of great purity and balance; “Vieilles Vignes” a gravel-grown cuvée from 50 year-old vines that is aged in 5 year-old barriques; and “Côteau de Noire” aged in new barriques and grown on a superbly situated hillside vineyard.  For all his cuvées, the grapes are totally de-stemmed in an effort to reduce the vegetal characteristics often associated with Loire Valley reds.  A five week maceration period produces a wine with great extract, which is then egg-white fined. “

Foreau Clos Naudin Moelleux 2008 ($59.95) $44.00 special, 24 bottles available
Wine Advocate 96 points 
“The grapes for my 2008 Vouvray Moelleux were very rich, golden, even a bit rose-colored, but not botrytized,” says Foreau, who picked it between October 15th and 20th. Vine flower, chestnut honey, Bartlett pear, and spiced pink grapefruit marmalade are suggested on the intoxicating nose and on a palate whose standoff of high acidity and high residual sugar permits free reign to its luscious, oily, honeyed richness; its spiciness; as well as its sheer refreshment. Nor does the almost endless finish of this beauty, lack for a subtly mineral dimension of salt, crustacean savor, and chalk. It should be worth following for at least a quarter century..”

Foreau Clos Naudin Vouvray Demi Sec 2009 ($39.95) $33.00 special, 16 bottles available
Wine Advocate 92 points
 “Scents of freesia, pink grapefruit, and blood orange anticipate the combination of exotic richness with luscious citricity (despite its analytically modest acidity) that characterize the palate performance of Foreau’s 2009 Vouvray Demi-Sec. For all of its superficial sense of richness, body, and high-glycerin, this displays not just the aforementioned potential for some refreshment, but also an underlying sense of restraint and chalky, alkaline minerality. Foreau thinks this is like a stallion being held back at the starting gate and that when the full range of 2009 richness and complexity is unbridled there will be a much more impressive show. Perhaps-but I find it pretty impressive in its way, already, and at the demi-sec level there is ample precedent chez Foreau for wine that can be worth following for 15-20 years.” 

Domaine Huet Vouvray Demi-Sec Haut Lieu 2008 ($49.95) $33.00 special, 2 bottles available
Wine Advocate 92 points 
“Heliotrope and narcissus set the sweet and musky tone for Huet’s 2008 Vouvray Demi-Sec Le Haut Lieu, which delivers a near-jolt of energy, bright citricity, and the musky bite of Misato rose radishes to the palate. Underlying alkaline and chalky notes as well as a hint of honey add to the musky complexity of a long finish. This should be remarkable to follow for 15 or more years, though I’m not sure I would broach another bottle for 2-3, or that becoming harmonious is really what this wine will be about.”

Huet Vouvray Moelleux Le Haut Lieu 2008 ($59.95) $39.00 special, 25 bottles available
Wine Advocate 92 points
 “With striking clarity and lift welcome in the present context though typical for the very best wines of its vintage, Huet’s 2008 Vouvray Moelleux Le Haut-Lieu smells almost like Gewurztraminer in its evocation of litchi and bacon fat, rose petal, pear and quince. Opulently rich and subtly creamy, its salinity and bright citricity keep it invigorating, and it finishes with admirable refreshment and perspicuous floral and mineral complexities alongside of ripe, honeyed quince and pear. “

Huet Vouvray Moelleux Le Mont 2009 ($54.95) $41.90 special, 10 bottles available 
Huet Vouvray Moelleux Le Mont 2009 375ML ($34.95) $28.00 special, 3 bottles available
Wine Spectator 94 points
 “This wants to be lush, with a core of mango and green fig fruit, but the minerality, ginger blossom and melon rind notes harness it all. The long, pure finish has a lingering green tea note that echoes at the very end. Drink now through 2025.”

Huet Vouvray Petillant Sparkling 1998 ($44.95) $24.00 special, 33 bottles available
Producer notes
 “Our Vintage Pétillant is a sparkling white wine produced at Sec-level dryness using the méthode ancestrale technique. A controlled primary fermentation takes place in 100% French oak barrels using wild yeasts that live within our cellars. After bottling, a late addition of local Chenin yeast starts a secondary fermentation. The wine is then left to age on lees for a minimum of three years until it is ready for disgourging. At this time, we add the dosage, a unique liqueur d’expédition to accentuate the final expression.  We handcraft our Grower Pétillant at a light pressure for enjoyment as an apéritif and a fantastic accompaniment with food.”

Bregeon Muscadet Reserve 2004 ($34.95) $27.00 special, 28 bottles available
Importer notes 
“Michel Brégeon…has become an ardent defender of the Muscadet-Sèvre-et-Maine terroir, the most highly regarded of the four appellations in the Pays Nantais. Thanks to his deep understanding of the nuances of the land, he plays the game much differently than the region’s caves cooperatives and negociants, who produce en masse and lose the subtlety of the appellation.  Michel farms seven hectares of vineyards in clay, silica, and gabbro soils. Gabbro is old, blue-green, volcanic rock, rarely found in vineyard land. Formed by magma eruptions under the ocean floor, it is said to impart intense complexity to Michel’s wines. His corner of the Muscadet-Sèvre-et-Maine, Gorges, is particularly known for this rock, and all of Michel’s vines are planted in it.  Though Muscadet (made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape) has been commonly known to produce young, fresh wines, (even those that spend a few months sur lie), Michel has broken the mold, keeping some of his wines on the lees for as much as seven years! He ages these wines in subterranean glass-lined cuves. In his mind, ­the longer they stay there, the better. The unexpected freshness and depth of these older wines has silenced many a skeptic.  Tastings at the domaine of bottled vintages spanning twenty years are the stuff of KLWM lore. An older wine from Brégeon has similarities to aged Chablis. Michel also makes a cuvée meant for younger consumption, a wine of incredible value and quality that has been the subject of regular accolades by the press. Kermit’s relationship with Michel is one of the longest-running of our portfolio, dating back to 1979.”

Carre L’Oiseliniere Muscadet Ramee 2012 ($14.95) $11.90 special, 3+ cases available
Importer notes
 “Chateau l’Oiselinière is a 10 hectare single vineyard overlooking the confluence of the Sèvre and Maine rivers. The orthogneiss soil and the situation of the vineyard confers to this traditional Muscadet Sur Lie all its specificity.  Tasting Notes – The color is a very pale yellow. There are very small bubbles, called “Perlant,” that come from the Sur Lie vinification process. Citrus aromas of grapefruits and lemon skin on the nose. The wine is very fresh in mouth with bitter and citrus tones, well balanced with white flower and exotic fruit at the end.”

Landron La Louvetrie Muscadet Sur Lie 2012 ($14.95) $11.90 special, 6 bottles available      

Landron Le Fief Du Breil Muscadet 2010 ($19.95) $16.00 special, 1 bottle available

Pepiere Muscadet Clos Des Briords 2012 ($21.95) $18.00 special, 35 bottles available

Pepiere Muscadet Granite De Clisson 2010 1.5L ($59.95) $49.00 special, 2 bottles available
Wine & Spirits 93 points 
“Among the grandest, most ageworthy wines from Pépière’s domaine, Clisson grows on granite covered in well-drained gravel. Marc Ollivier and Rémi Branger grew a fragrant 2010, seemingly delicate in its leesy scents of pear, apple and tart white peach. Spend some time with the wine and you’ll begin to notice how compressed it is, the rainwater freshness of the fruit hiding the firmness of its acidity, the length of flavor continuing on to a lasting memory. A great vintage of Clisson, this is lovely to drink as a young wine, and it will reward after cellaring for a decade.”

R De La Grange Muscadet Vieilles Vignes 2007 ($17.95) $7.70 special, 3+ cases available

Clos Roche Blanche Gamay Touraine 2011 ($21.95) $17.00 special, 17 bottles available

La Grange Tiphaine Touraine Amboise Clef Sol 2011 ($23.95) $18.80 special, 19 bottles available

Marc Plouzeau Touraine Clos Maulevrier Ante Phylloxera 2011 ($59.95) $49.00 special, 11 bottles available      

Pascal Pibaleau Touraine Gamay L’Air Du Temps 2010 ($14.95) $11.90 special, 14 bottles available

Forges Les 3 C Anjou Rouge 2010 ($17.95) $14.00 special, 13 bottles available

Forges Savennieres Roche Aux Moines 2011 ($24.95) $20.90 special, 10 bottles available

Nicolas Joly Savennieres Roche aux Moines Clos De La Bergerie 2009 ($69.95) $59.00 special, 1 bottle available

Hauts De Sanziers Saumur Blanc 2011 ($17.95) $14.00 special, 10 bottles available 
“Soft and gentle, with light butter, brioche, macadamia nut and yellow apple flavors that meld through the light toasty finish. Drink now.”

Pas St Martin Saumur Rouge Pierre Frite 2010 ($17.95) $14.90 special, 14 bottles available