2018 Château Pierre-Bise, “Clos le Grand Beaupréau” Savennières, $39
Winery Info: Château Pierre-Bise is based in Anjou, in the heart of France’s Loire Valley, with vineyard holdings in other regions, including Savennières, source of this wine. Owner Claude Papin is considered one of the leading producers in the Loire Valley, with an almost fanatical understanding of and curiosity about the geological diversity throughout his vineyards. He practices minimal intervention, using no fertilizers or pesticides on his vines and indigenous yeasts in the winemaking process. For his white wines, Papin uses somewhat riper fruit, usually with a bit of botrytization, (or “noble rot,” the benevolent fungus that produces some of the world’s finest sweet wines) without which, he feels, the wines would be too “hard.”
Grapes: 100% Chenin Blanc from the Clos du Grand Beaupréau lieu-dit (or named site) situated at the highest point in the Savennières appellation. The small plot has a variety of soil types which, depending on the specific location of the vines, provides precision and freshness, minerality, and power. It sees some malolactic fermentation and is aged in neutral barrel for several months.
Flavor Profile: The partial botrytization in the fruit adds enormous concentration, depth, and subtle honeyed notes to this wine, which is perfectly balanced by the mouthwatering acidity and minerality from the schist and slate soils. It’s a rich, complex wine with great texture and a long, lingering finish.
Availability: There is still some of this wine available.
Drinkability: This wine should continue to develop for another five years.
Food Pairing: Enjoy on its own, or with fish, seafood, grilled white meats, or even Asian fare.
2016 Domaine Sylvain Pataille, Marsannay, “Clos du Roy,” $60
Winery info: This estate is based in Marsannay, the northernmost appellation of Burgundy’s Côte de Nuits district of the Côte d’Or. Sylvain Pataille grew up in his grandfather’s vineyards and began wine school in Beaune at the age of 14. He released his debut vintage in 2001 and today has 15 hectares of vineyards, which are certified organic and farmed biodynamically. This wine comes from the Clos du Roy, the northernmost lieu-dit (see above) in Marsannay, located in the commune of Chenôve. It sits at 270 meters elevation with a variety of soil types, from light, gravelly calcium rich soil in the upper portion, to ancient alluvium in the lower parts. The site is overall gravelly and rich in iron.
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir, aged 18 months in barrel.
Flavor Profile: Medium-bodied and supple, with elegant depth and texture and warm, savory plum flavors with a touch of black pepper. It has a nice, balancing freshness and minerality with supple tannins.
Availability: There is not a lot of this vintage left.
Drinkability: Being from a fabulous vineyard and a really good vintage, this wine should continue to drink well over the next five to seven years.
Food Pairing: This wine would be great with game or duck dishes, or with your best boeuf Bourguignon.