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The Covid pandemic has had a large impact on life in France, but as you might guess, a lesser impact on life in the vineyard. It will surprise no one to know that France declared viticulture and winemaking essential occupations; and of course shutting down vines is not an option. What is more, most work in the vineyard at this time of year is individual, if not solitary, so distancing is not that difficult. Winter pruning was ending about the time the virus began spreading widely; and the current exercise involves breaking off extra shoots and tying the fruit-bearing wood to the steel wires that support it. We’re not sure what they’re going to do come the harvest, but at least they have a few months to figure it out.

Sadly, the virus put the kibosh on our annual visit to the vineyards, so unlike most May offerings, we have no restaurant discoveries to report and no new dishes to try back at home. We have also missed tramping through muddy rows and chilly cellars, along with the chance to spend time and share meals with the many friends who make our wine.

To have at least an echo of our annual travels, we have gathered the Ansonia team and a boatload of samples in Harpswell, Maine, where we can inhale a few oysters and enjoy a lobster or two while doing the “work” of assessing dozens of wines. There’s plenty more to consider in our boxes of samples, but we’re pleased to report that we have completed our May Futures selections — if not exactly on schedule, pretty close to it. This offering includes 2018 red Burgundy from the Côte d’Or, 2018 white Burgundy from the Côte de Beaune and Chablis, organically grown wine from two superb producers in the Southern Rhône, Cornas from the Northern Rhône, and red and white from both ends of the Loire Valley.

We’re excited about the wines we have in this offering, and we hope you’ll find some of interest. If so, please submit your orders in case or half-case lots, by the ORDER DEADLINE of May 31, 2020.


Amiot (Red Burgundy)
Thomas Morey (White Burgundy)
Collet (Chablis)
Joncuas (Southern Rhône)
André (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)
Tunnel (Cornas)
Martin-Luneau (Muscadet)
Paget (Central Loire)
Fruirouge (Crème de Cassis)


Domaine Pierre Amiot

Morey-St-Denis, Burgundy

At the Domaine Pierre Amiot, the 2018 vintage is a clear success. It was a hot year in a string of warm vintages, so there was no problem achieving ripeness. In fact, it was so hot that producers who missed the optimal picking window risked making overripe, out-of-balance wines. Jean-Louis Amiot got it just right. His 2018s are beautifully rich and round, but also have the support of excellent acidity and tannin. The wines should drink well in their youth, but we think they will also pay keeping.

At the village level, Gevrey-Chambertin 2018 is the standout. The nose is surprisingly expressive, and plenty of dark, ripe fruit greets the first sip. The wine shows excellent breadth on the palate, with plenty of richness. The structure shows up on the finish, but not in an aggressive way. Look for notes of raspberry and cinnamon, with a dark complexion and attractive tannin.

All four of the Amiots’ premier cru wines are gorgeous in 2018. The first two, “Les Millandes” and “Aux Charmes” are on the north side of the village. Millandes typically shows its structure in its youth, and needs time to round out. In 2018 the tannins are present, particularly on the finish, but they are nicely ripe. Burghound praised the “liqueur-like aromas of red currant, plum, and a whiff of sauvage.” Like the Charmes, Millandes 2018 fills the mouth beautifully, but with more tension and mineral core. For those with long memories, it reminds us of the 2003 vintage, which won a Coup de Coeur from the Guide Hachette and provided much pleasure for many years.

We often say that the Morey St. Denis 1er cru “Aux Charmes” is well named, and it has never more seemed so than this year. The vineyard lies along the border with Gevrey (next to Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru, in fact) and the wine seems to borrow some of its neighbor’s depth and intensity. Yet it is always opulent, always approachable, even in its youth. In 2018, the nose offers ripe black cherries, violets, and a touch of earth. In the mouth the oak arrives as a very nice complement to the fruit. The wine is rich and round, with excellent volume.

Morey St. Denis “Les Ruchots” lies on the other side of the village, next to Chambolle-Musigny and the Grand Cru Clos de Tart. It’s usually considered Morey-St-Denis’s best premier cru, and in 2018 it is a thoroughbred racehorse, classy and elegant. It has particularly nice balance and the promise of many years of pleasure. There are the same aromas of plum, dark cherries and violets, but they seem particularly well integrated. Burghound found it “sleek, delicious and appealingly textured,” and we think he is right. This is top level Morey-St-Denis from an excellent vintage — a winning combination.

The Amiots’ sole premier cru from Gevrey-Chambertin is “Aux Combottes.” A premier cru surrounded by Grand Crus, most authorities rank it a notch above the nearby Morey premier crus; and so it commands a higher price. In depth and intensity it very much resembles a Grand Cru, and we have had some superb bottles over the years. The 2018 is a big, dense wine, surprisingly expressive at this juncture.

The 2018 Grand Cru “Clos de la Roche” shouts “Grand Cru.” It’s a very big wine, with plenty of silky material wrapped around a dense, ripe core. The nose is complex — Burghound found “notably ripe plum liqueur, anise, earth, sauvage, and forest floor scents.” Like all grand crus, this wine will need some time to develop its subtleties, but beginning in five years or so it can be expected to offer something special.

(case prices)

Gevrey-Chambertin 2018:  $595

Morey-St-Denis 1er “Millandes” 2018:  $685
Morey-St-Denis 1er “Charmes” 2018:  $725
Morey-St-Denis 1er “Ruchots” 2018:  $725
Gevrey-Chambertin 1er “Combottes” 2018:  $995

Clos de la Roche Grand Cru 2018:  $1,395

Morey-St-Denis 1er “Millandes” 2018 (6x 1.5L):  $685
Clos de la Roche Grand Cru 2018 (6x 1.5L):  $1,395

Domaine Thomas Morey

Chassagne-Montrachet, Burgundy

When Bernard Morey retired with the 2006 vintage, he split his properties between his sons Vincent and Thomas. Over the years since, Thomas Morey has put his personal stamp on the fine properties allocated to him. Today the wines resemble the man: precise and focused. Thomas Morey’s wines always show their terroir beautifully, and the 2018s are no exception. This is partly because he uses oak with such a light touch; even his biggest wines see no more than 20% new oak. His other choices also contribute — he vinifies parcels separately and unifies them carefully to preserve their essential character. In 2018 he picked relatively early to assure good acidity and this too enhances their precision.

The 2018 Chassagne-Montrachet comes from 6 plots, all on the north side of the village. The 2018 is a refined wine, with a nose of pure fruit and a mid-palate that brings in just a touch of wood. The fruit is citrus: ripe lemons with maybe a hint of orange. It will pair beautifully with subtle dishes like sole meuniere or butter-poached scallops. Jasper Morris, MW (author of “Inside Burgundy”) praised its “notable class” and “excellent length,” adding that he “would love to sip this on a warm spring evening.”

The 2018 Chassagne premier cru “Embrazées” is a notable step up in both intensity and depth. The nose is very expressive, showing plenty of ripe fruit. In the mouth there is a pleasant fleshiness and excellent depth of flavor. Jasper Morris thought it “really beautifully balanced on the palate with a sensual ripe fruit perfume,” awarding 91-94 points. It’s a strikingly good effort.

The Puligny-Montrachet “Truffiere” 2018 may well have been the wine of the week during our sample tastings this month. Beautifully knit together and showing a perfect harmony among its elements, it seemed alive after a few minutes in the glass. The wine shows the power possible from Puligny — a muscly core of stones and shells ripples through the classy, polished fruit. The fruit is perfectly ripe, and the faintest splash of oak completes the palate with style. As Burghound wrote: “This terrific effort exhibits all of the intrinsic class of a great Puligny.”

The Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru is very much up to its pedigree. It’s a lavish wine with a lavish price, but those with enough budget and patience will definitely find something special in the 2018. The ripe fruit comes in layers: a bit of pear, a bit of peach, a bit of lemon. They mingle with floral notes of white flowers and just a touch of vanilla. Morey’s Bâtard is a powerful wine, but it’s an iron fist in a velvet glove. Give this wine the time it needs and you will have some memorable experiences. Morris called it “ethereal,” awarding a whopping 94-98 points. (Available in 3-, 6-, and 12-bottle lots.)

Morey also makes some very nice reds. Reds from the Côte de Beaune have a distinct character, and usually require a bit more time to soften and integrate their structures than those from the Côte de Nuits; but they can provide much pleasure, particularly at table.

Santenay adjoins Chassagne to the south, and Thomas Morey has a nice plot in the premier cru Grand Clos Rousseau. The vines are a bit less sun-drenched than those of Roger Belland, so the structure and freshness will show through more in the early years than they do in Belland’s Santenay. When this wine rounds out, expect a medley of red- and black-currant fruit and a hint of cedar. It will be a fine choice to accompany flavorful meats like grilled lamb chops.

From Beaune, Morey makes a red from the premier cru “Grèves” vineyard. The structure of this wine is denser and the tannins are finer than in the Santenay, but the wine will still need some time to show its best. This is piercing, subtle, and elegant. There is very nice dark cherry fruit, a little like you’d find in a high-end chocolate bar. In four or five years this wine should unwind and show very well.

(case prices)

Chassagne Montrachet 2018:   $650
Chassagne-Montrachet 1er “Embrazées” 2018:   $795
Puligny-Montrachet 1er “Truffière” 2018:   $1,095
Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2018:  $2,850

Santenay 1er “Grand Clos Roussot” 2018:  $495
Beaune 1er cru “Grèves” 2018:  $550

Domaine Collet

Chablis, Burgundy

The 2018 vintage provided the Chablisiens with something they hadn’t seen in years: decent volume. The 2016 and 2017 growing seasons brought the trials of Job — hail, frost, freezes and everything else, it seemed. In 2018, catastrophe turned to fruitfulness, as the vines produced strikingly large quantities of ripe fruit. The warm growing season meant wine with a different profile from the usual Chablis — rounder and riper — but it is delicious and still carries the advantageous pricing that is Chablis’s calling card these days.

At the village level, we just loved the Chablis Vieilles Vignes 2018. It marries a lovely, expressive nose with good mouthfeel and volume, and offers surprising length and persistence. It’s rounder and more complex than most Chablis at the village level, and will pair well with a wide range of dishes calling for white wine.

Moving to premier cru, our first suggestion is a pair of wines: the entirely vat-raised Montmains and the half-vat / half-foudre raised Vaillons. They’re not that far apart in mouthfeel and volume. Montmains offers a little more freshness and pure lemon fruit; Vaillons has some peach-like orchard fruit blended in with the lemon and flows a bit more broadly across the palate. Both are delicious right now and will be over the next couple of years. They’ll serve well as apéritifs or at the table.

Our other idea in premier cru is Butteaux, which is raised in small oak barrels and somewhat resembles white Burgundy from the Côte d’Or. Burghound praised its “expressive and mildly exotic nose . . . of fresh and ripe yellow orchard fruit, citrus, mineral reduction and a hint of ocean breeze.” It has very good breadth in the mouth, with enough punch to maintain the balance. It’s still Chablis — far less buttery and golden than a Meursault or Puligny — but just a bit more modern. The finish is impressively long.

Both Grand Crus are remarkable bargains in their class — where else can one touch Grand Cru white Burgundy for less than three figures a bottle? Valmur 2018 begins with an explosion — tropical fruit, oak, coconut, pineapple, and a mouthfilling, lush texture. There’s plenty of volume in the mouth, and its pedigree shows up in the very long finish. The wine will need a little time to integrate its oak, but in a year or so we think it will begin to drink very well. Les Clos 2018 tends more to elegance than power. It’s subtler and longer than Valmur, with similar flavor profile with a slightly more serious bent — more lemon peel than peach. Like the Valmur it will need a little time for its elements to integrate, but the equally long finish promises an impressive glass when that moment arrives.

(case prices)

Chablis VV 2018:  $295

Chablis 1er “Montmains” 2018:  $365
Chablis 1er “Vaillons” 2018:  $365
Chablis 1er “Butteaux” 2018:  $385

Valmur Grand Cru 2018:  $750
Les Clos Grand Cru 2018:  $750

Clos du Joncuas

Gigondas, Southern Rhône

The Clos du Joncuas was our very best find of last year. Sisters Dany and Carol Chastan learned their craft from their parents and grandparents, and have themselves been farming organically for more than four decades. Their processes are a model of simplicity: they use only ambient yeasts; their élevage is entirely in cement vats; they don’t fine or filter or destem; and every nook and cranny of their cuverie is spotless and cool. We don’t know what else goes into their alchemy, but we are sure of what comes out: wines that are gorgeous and alive, top-of-class examples of the villages in which they work.

This year we are adding a Joncuas wine to our recommendation: the 2016 Séguret. Like the Chastans’ Gigondas and Vacqueyras, Grenache dominates the red version of this wine, with complements of Carignan and Cinsault. In the nose, the Chastans manage to conjure a floral bouquet of violets that recalls Syrah. The mouthfeel is very classy — attractively round, with some tannin following, but entirely fine-grained. This is just a lovely wine — smooth and ripe, silky smooth and easy to sip — and a startling bargain at the price.

The Vacqueyras 2018 is also delicious. Here just a touch of mourvedre completes the Grenache. A floral nose gives way to ripe raspberries, sweet plums and earth. This is rich wine whose first impression is nonetheless freshness. There is good underlying structure, but the wine utterly without harsh or drying tannins. This would make an attractive $30 Gigondas, but in Vacqueyras it barely cracks $20.

Gigondas is their top wine. The 2016 was absolutely delicious, and we’re pleased to report to its many friends that there is still some in stock at the Domaine. Vinous’s Josh Raynolds gave a 93 and described it well, finding “smoke-accented cherry and red berries on the highly perfumed nose, which takes on sexy incense and baking spice nuances with air. . . . Finishes silky, sweet and impressively long, with harmonious tannins and lingering spiciness.” Enough said. What makes these wines so nice is that they combine complexity with easy approachability. The professionals’ notes are not out yet for the 2017s, also in this offering, but we expect similar enthusiasm. This wine blew us away last week — tasted blind you’d swear you were in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It beautifully integrates gorgeous grenache fruit with an earthy, mineral line and a judicious dose of Provençal spice. There’s plenty of material here, but it comes wrapped in a fine-grained structure that will make it drinkable from day one. Look for violets, plums, strawberries, and earth — the mouth is rich but impeccably balanced.

There’s a bonus from the Chastans’ Séguret property as well: a white that does a fine imitation of white Chateauneuf du Pape at about half the price. Their Séguret blanc is half Clairette blended with equal parts Roussanne and Viognier. The nose is of white peach flowers and the fruits are pear and apricot or quince with a little bit of spice and candied lemon. Drink it as an apéritif or serve it with some fresh goat cheese. It’s best enjoyed young.

It’s hard to see how you can go wrong with any of these wines. They should all drink well when they get here, and (if you can keep your hands off them) they will also age gracefully.

(case prices)

Séguret rouge 2016:  $235
Vacqueyras 2018:  $250
Gigondas 2017:  $325
Gigondas 2016:  $350

Séguret blanc 2018:  $235

Domaine Pierre André

Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhône

The Southern Rhône has a host of appellations, each with its own charms, but the big dog has always been Chateauneuf du Pape. It’s a large appellation with a long list of storied producers, and the Domaine Pierre André is among the very best. This winter the British publication Decanter ran an article on the 2018 vintage (not yet on the market) in which it listed the Domaine as one of five “Key Producers” offering “Top Value.”

The Domaine Pierre André may be the only producer in the Rhône that can claim to have farmed organically longer than the Clos du Joncuas. Jacqueline André’s grandfather decided in 1963 that chemicals were not good for his old vines, so he stopped using them then and there. The domaine has been certified organic since 1980 (the first in the appellation), and the vines Jaqueline’s grandfather left her have reached 140 years old. The domaine is one of a handful that continue to make just a single cuvée of red and a single cuvée of white.

The wine is as extraordinary as the story of the Domaine. The 2017 Châteauneuf-du-Pape red offers a beautifully expressive nose of plum/raspberry fruit, smoke, and pan drippings. It fills the mouth but is neither hot nor heavy; there’s plenty of support but the structure is beautifully knit together. This wine will be delicious in its early years when the fruit dominates, and it will be equally delicious as it evolves over the years to show notes of leather, licorice, and forest floor. (Available in 750s and magnums.)

White Châteauneuf du Pape is not all that easy to find. It makes up a mere 5% of the appellation and usually is an afterthought in the “we also have” category. But it can be delicious, and if you like keeping wine, it can have two lives. The first life is about flowers and fruit in a rich, mouthfilling base. Jacqueline André sent us a tank sample (brût de cuve, see photo for charming label) of her 2019 Châteauneuf-du-Pape blanc and we found it really delightful. It shows some exotic fruit like quince with a little bit of spice or chamomile tea and a touch of bitter lemon peel. It’s dry in the technical sense, but generous and rich on the palate. The result is a delicious and unusual apéritif. If you have the patience to leave it at the back of the cellar for 7 – 10 years, so the aromas transform to honey and dried exotic fruits like apricot and mango.

(case prices)

Châteauneuf-du-Pape rouge 2017:  $525
Châteauneuf-du-Pape rouge 2017 (6x 1.5L):  $525

Châteauneuf-du-Pape blanc 2019:  $525

Domaine du Tunnel

Cornas, Northern Rhône

On the Domaine du Tunnel, Vinous’s Josh Raynolds writes “This domaine, by my estimation, is among the top producers of Cornas, but production is small and widely spread, making them hard to track down.” Indeed it took us many years to gain an audience here, and our allocations have been of an “introductory” size.

But despite our cancelled trip we have managed to secure another allocation this year, and we’re pleased to offer it here. We haven’t tasted these wines yet, but the critical reviews have been effusive. Nor have we worked with Tunnel long enough to have any of the cuvées we’ve imported reach peak maturity; still we’re confident that those who put Tunnel in their cellar will be pleased with their foresight.

All three Cornas cuvées are pure Syrah, grown at the southern end of the Northern Rhône. They combine the lithe, elegant character of Syrah from the north with a sunbaked richness of the South. Winemaker Stéphane Robert oaks even his fanciest cuvées with only 10% new oak, allowing the purity and depth of fruit to show through. Tunnel’s regular Cornas cuvée (V93, WA 90-92) is the quickest to mature — both Vinous and Wine Advocate suggested a drinking window beginning in the next few years. They found notes of “incense” and “raspberry preserve,” with “ripe, silky tannins,” and “an impressively long, sappy finish.” Raynolds concluded “this is really quite elegant.”

Their Cornas “Vin Noir” (V95, WA 94-96) is a cuvée of older vines, up to 100 years old. The result is a more intense, more ageworthy wine. The reviewers noted “violets and cassis… roasted meat and mocha,” as well as “deeply concentrated blackberry, mulberry, bitter chocolate.” They found the finish “Rich yet surprisingly energetic…with lithe tannins…and superb persistence,” suggesting a 2025-2035 drinking window.

Finally we have a tiny amount of Tunnel’s 2018 Cornas “Pur Noir” (V96, WA 94-98). There are only 300 bottles of this made per year, and while we’ve not yet had the pleasure of sampling it ourselves, its reputation precedes it. It’s from only the oldest vines in the finest parcels. The reviewers from Vinous and Wine Advocate called it “tremendous,” “expansive,” and “highly complex.” They found notes of “peony and smoky bacon,” alongside “olive, licorice, and dark chocolate.” The wine concluded “broad, spicy and extremely long.” This one will need time to reach a payoff (one reviewer forecast a drinking window ending in 2040), but we anticipate serious dividends for those with cellar space and patience. (Available in 3-, 6-, and 12-bottle lots.)

(case prices)

Cornas 2018:   $535
Cornas “Vin Noir” 2018:  $635
Cornas “Pur Noir” 2018:  $1,395

Domaine Martin-Luneau

Muscadet, Loire Valley

The Loire is France’s longest river, so the great variety in grapes grown along it should be no surprise. Nor is it surprising that near its mouth the emphasis matches the wonderful variety of seafood available in the region, both shellfish and finfish. Muscadet dominates the winegrowing world near Nantes. Its grape is “Melon de Bourgogne,” utterly misnamed by the word “Bourgogne,” but less so by the word “Melon,” since the aroma readily recalls honeydew.

Most Muscadet is carafe wine — simple, one dimensional stuff that nonetheless does a fine job washing down fresh oysters, mussels, clams and boulots. The Sevre et Maine sub-region is long known as the place from which better Muscadet comes, and in the last decade the very best terroirs have achieved recognition as Cru Muscadet. The rules require the Cru wines to spend two years on the lees, and in these particularly favored sites the extra élevage elevates the wine. In our view these Cru wines are well worth the extra effort to track down for the small additional cost.

Our source for Cru Muscadet is the Domaine Martin Luneau, which owns fine terroir in two cru villages: Gorges and Clisson. One lies on Granite, the other on Gabbro, and the different rock makes for different profiles. They’re not all that far apart. Both 2016 Cru wines in this offer have classic Muscadet fruit — pure, clean honeydew melon in the nose. Both wines integrate a beautiful salinity into the palate. In the mouth, the Gorges is a touch rounder and fatter, perhaps a bit softer. The Clisson shows a little more definition today, meaning maybe more acidity and a longer life; and in its nose shows a little more right now: a mineral line and maybe a floral note. Gorges has a touch of yeastiness from the lees that Clisson does not. But these are subtle differences. You won’t go wrong with either — if you don’t have a favorite yet consider getting some of each.

The other surprising virtue of these Crus is their ability to age well. We have greatly enjoyed bottles reaching back as far as 2010, and there is every reason to think that most vintages gain something with a few years under their belts. In case you want to get a start on aging some Muscadet, we’ve included in this offer the 2013 Clisson, of which there are a few bottles left at the Domaine.

Finally, for a bit less money Martin Luneau offers a blend from the two terroirs, appropriately named “Deux Roches.” It can’t be named (or priced) as a Cru because it doesn’t meet the appellation’s strict criteria, but we find it delicious and drink it regularly. The current vintage for this wine is the 2015, the same as last year. All three wines provide exceptional value.

(case prices)

Muscadet “Gorges” 2016:  $225
Muscadet “Clisson” 2016:  $225
Muscadet “Clisson” 2013:  $250
Muscadet “2 Roches” 2015:  $195

Nicolas Paget

Touraine Azay-le-Rideau, Loire Valley

Nicolas Paget is a young winemaker of enormous energy in the area of the Loire near Azay le Rideau and Vouvray. He makes quite a range of wine, including café quaffers from the local Grolleaux grape and barrel aged dessert wine. We have chosen four to recommend this year.

First, Melodie 2018. Paget is still on the 2018 vintage of “Melodie,” a dry Chenin blanc that we brought in last year and have completely sold out. This offers Chenin’s pear-like fruit — clean, pure, and delightful — in an entirely dry wrapper. It works equally well as an apéritif at the end of the work day or with any dish calling for a cool glass of white, say cheese fondue or fish tacos. We find ourselves reaching for a bottle of this regularly, particularly when we want a break from the usual suspects. It’s exactly what we went looking for in the Central Loire: all the classic fruit of Chenin blanc, wrapped in a perfectly dry package.

Harmonie 2018 is a delicious off-dry cousin of Melodie, more a pear tart than liquid pears. The wine has plenty of energy, but also 12 grams of residual sugar. This doesn’t make it seem affirmatively sweet (Champagne Brut, for example, has anywhere from 5 to 12 grams of sugar), but does soften it on the palate. The French have a term called sec tendre (tender dry), and that fits this wine well. But the softness is not all — this wine spends a year in small oak barrels, adding lots of complexity in vanilla and spice. (If you are a fan of Mersiol’s Alsatian Grand Cru Pinot Gris from the Frankstein vineyard, you’re sure to like this wine.) Serve it with a Thai Shrimp stir fry, as we did the other night, or something spicy like Szechuan pork, and you’re certain to be looking for more dishes to pair with it.

“Pét Nat” is all the rage these days, but it’s not exactly a new process — in fact it predates Champagne. The Champagne method begins with a fully fermented, completely dry wine. To this the producer adds sugar and yeast, then caps the bottle and promotes a second fermentation, which makes the carbon dioxide that fills the bubbles. After some time on the lees (maybe a lot of time) the wine is disgorged (removing the lees) and bottled. Pétillant Naturel is the product of a single fermentation. Before the yeast consumes all the sugar, the producer caps the wine and lets the fermentation finish, making the bubbles that show up in the finished wine. This is a different bubbly, often with fewer bubbles, and often with yeasty notes that add their own dimension. There’s often a bit of funk coming through with the bubbles, but that’s part of the charm.

We got a kick out of Paget’s dry Pét Nat “Aborigine.”, which you should consider buying for the Garden-of-Eden label alone. It’s the same Chenin fruit, but this time fueled by a rough energy and presented in a leesy wrapper. It’s perfectly dry and refreshing, with apple and pear notes that might remind you of an earthy cider. It’s a wine to pop open (you’ll need an old-fashioned bottle opener to pry up the crown) at a picnic, or a barbeque or a casual gathering of any sort. Just nothing serious.

Quinquenays 2017 is barrel raised Chinon. This very drinkable red offers fruit of dark black currants and black raspberries, pleasant and ripe, with a bit of graphite. The oak is apparent but in good balance with the fruit. It’s nicely round and ready to drink, without the bell pepper or herbal notes that often show up in young Cabernet Franc from the region. The tannins are straightforward and blended beautifully into the dark fruit. This has more complexity than you’d expect, and we’re excited to have it for drinking this summer and fall.

(case prices)

Chenin Melodie 2018:   $195
Chenin Harmonie 2018:   $225
Pét Nat Aborigine:   $235
Chinon Quinquinays 2017:  $265

Ferme Fruirouge

Concoeur, Burgundy

Several years ago we happened upon a small farm in Burgundy’s Hautes-Côtes de Nuits making the purest, most impressive crème de cassis we’d ever tasted. It’s just as honest an expression of Burgundian terroir as Vosne-Romanée or Époisses.

The Olivier family has run the Ferme Fruirouge for nine generations. Today they raise their fruits organically and biodynamically, and their crèmes are the cleanest, purest, most intense extraction of tree fruit we’ve ever seen. Their cassis is the signature crème, but they also make crèmes from framboise (raspberry), pêche de vigne (peach), and cerise (cherry).

The French most often use these crèmes for a kir or kir royale — a glass of dry white wine (usually aligoté) or sparkling wine with a splash of crème. It’s a refreshing, delightful cocktail that’s distinct, elegant, and festive. Those with a knack for cocktails will also find plenty of uses. And for those early rising readers, it’s a delicious addition to crèpes or waffles.

This also makes the perfect gift for the foodie or craft-food enthusiast in your family: a handmade product of the highest order, and one they certainly don’t already have. We’re offering them this year in half-bottles (375ml) by the half-case. For those looking to try the range, we’re also offering a crême sampler: three each Cassis, and one each of Framboise, Pêche, and Cerise.

NOTE: Due to a longer production schedule, these crêmes will likely come over with the boat that arrives in September.

(case prices)

Crême de Cassis (6x 375ml):   $150
Crême de Framboise (6x 375ml):   $150
Crême de Pêche (6x 375ml):   $150
Crême de Cerise (6x 375ml):   $150

Crême Sampler (3x Cassis, 1x Framb., 1x Pêche, 1x Cerise):   $150

If you have any trouble submitting the new order form, you can always email us your order. Or give us a call with questions: 617-249-3657, or

The deadline to place orders for this issue is: SUNDAY, MAY 31.

Questions? Need advice? Call us: (617) 249-3657.

Pick-up in Massachusetts. We store our inventory in a basement in Newton (437 Newtonville Ave), and open it up to the public for pickups Saturday afternoons. Futures customers can pick up their orders here during Saturday open hours, or by appointment.

Shipping elsewhere. In most states we can arrange for shipping at an additional cost that varies by location ($3.50 per bottle to the addresses west of Chicago; $2.50 per bottle east of Chicago). If shipping interests you, let us know the state and we will figure out if it can be done.