2015 Pierre André, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, $58
Winery info: This estate is based in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape village of Courthézon in France’s southern Rhône valley. The family dates back four generations and is now led by Jacqueline André, who took over from her father, Pierre, in 1983. They have 16 hectares of vineyards, which they have farmed organically since 1980 (they were the first winery in Châteauneuf-du-Pape to be certified organic) and they were certified biodynamic in 1992.
Grapes: 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 8% Mourvèdre, and 2% a mix of Cinsault, Vaccarèse, Counoise, Muscardin, and Picpoul Noir. Aged two years in concrete vats and oak casks.
Vineyard: Their vines average 70 years in age, with some up to 130 years old. They are planted on a diverse range of soil types: with clay soil contributing structure and body; sandy soil adding finesse, and limestone-rich sandy soil providing overall harmony.
Flavor Profile: The wine has intense aromatics and complex flavors of black fruit, cherry, floral spice, and a nice touch of earthiness. It is elegant and full, with fresh, juicy tannins that give it an overall sense of richness.
Availability: It is in decent supply for now.
Drinkability: It is beautiful now, or you could let it develop over the next five years or so, up to 2025.
Food Pairing: Try it with roast duck, braised rabbit, grilled lamb, game birds, prime rib, pepper steak, or with grilled eggplant or mushroom dishes.
2016 Domaine du Clos des Rocs, Pouilly-Loché Monopole, $42
Winery info: Pouilly-Loché is a small white wine appellation in the Mâcon region of southern Burgundy. The entire appellation is only about 32 hectares in size (roughly 79 acres), nearly a third of which belongs to Domaine du Clos des Rocs. Mâconnais native Olivier Giroux acquired his domaine in the mid 2000s and now has vineyards in seven parcels, principally in Pouilly-Loché. He uses no chemical products in his vineyards and is committed to organic processes. As farmer, winemaker, and owner, he says, “It is just me here—I’m a peasant. I tend the vineyards. I make the wine. I take care of the marketing.”
Grapes: 100% Chardonnay. Aged 60% in barrel and 40% in stainless steel tanks.
Vineyard: A three-hectare walled single vineyard located next to the winery, with iron-rich red clay and limestone soil. The resulting wines tend to be leaner than those from neighboring Pouilly Fuissé with a hint of earth, excellent minerality, and robust structure.
Flavor Profile: The wine is beautifully textured and complex, with saline notes and impeccable balance. Olivier says it is “energetic, delivering intense brioche flavors and notes of plum jam.”
Availability: The importer has just switched to a new local distributor. We may be able to get more of this vintage but they are also listing the next vintage in their inventory.
Drinkability: Ready to drink now through 2028.
Food Pairing: Roast chicken, grilled fish (especially salmon), sole meunière, or sautéed scallops. Sweetbread piccata has also been suggested as a pairing for this wine.