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Mélusine Wines Winemaker
Roadtrip 2019

For 6 weeks of summer 2019 we navigated the twists + turns of the French countryside to visit our current producers and meet new ones! Here’s a snapshot of who we saw + what we learned:

  • Day 1, Alexandre GIQUEL. Loire Valley, Vouvray

Day 1 found us leaving the hustle of Paris and heading South to the village of Noizay, in the Loire Valley.
It was beyond refreshing to see a sea of vineyards out the window as we entered the Loire Valley.
We met Alexandre Giquel at his new wine cellar + chai, he’s the newest member of the #melusinewines family. 
 
Alexandre is approaching his 2nd vintage of production under his own name, but has been well-implanted in the world of winemaking for over a decade. His ‘side hustle’, which he has been doing for years, is training horses for work in the vineyards. He has worked in vineyards across France bringing his team of horses to work the rows between vines. 🐴 🍇 🍃
 
We arrived to his new chai, tucked into the infamous tuffeau-slopes of this area of France, known as the ‘garden of France’ for its agricultural wealth.
 
📣 Alexandre GIQUEL
🗺 Noizay, France
✏️ Vin de France + Vouvray appellation
🍇 Grape varietals planted: Melon de Bourgogne, Chenin Blanc, Cot, Pineau d’Aunis, Gamay. Average age of his vines is between 60-90 years.
🌎 Soil types include: Limestone, clay and flint-rich dirt.
% His wines all ring in under 13.5% alc. They’re wines of thirst, yet express a complexity and finesse that show the outstanding skill of this young vintner/farmer.
 
Alexandre is connected with his land, passionate about his craft, and in every way makes for a great fit to our portfolio.
We’re proud to represent him and eager to get his wines in front of our importer/distributor partners!
  • Day 2, Loïc TERQUEM (La Folie LuCé) Loire Valley, Saumur

Day 2️⃣ finds us reunited with Loïc Terquem, the first winemaker to join in on the adventure of #melusinewines 🌟
Loïc Terquem’s 5 ha of 13 vineyard parcels are scattered around and above the picturesque village of Saumur, perched on tuffeau cliffs, the soils are majority silt loam which lends to the richness, roundness and softness of the Cabernet Franc juice which is often a grape difficult difficult to achieve balance with.
We tasted upcoming vintages;2018 Encore (young vine, concrete tank aged Cab Franc), 2014 Autrement (older vine, smaller parcel selection, neutral oak aged for 24 months Cab Franc) not to be forgotten, the 2018 Écart Chenin Blanc, the wonder-wine that finds a beautiful balance between warm spice, rich fruit and salty minerality.
 
Loïc’s wines are loaded with acidity, freshness and perfect fruit, balanced with a presence of power only the greats can achieve.
 
Find his wines currently in Massachusetts + Rhode Island with Vineyard Road, soon in DC/VA/MD with Comete Wines, and NY with 1 of the 2 importers currently vying for representation. Loïc is a winemaker to watch! 🔥
📣 Loïc Terquem, La Folie LuCé
🗺 Saumur
✏️ AOP Saumur Champigny + Vin de France
🍇 Cabernet Franc, Chenin Blanc
  • Day 3, Marie-Caroline + Anne-Cécile ROZIER (Chateau des Arras) Bordeaux

Day 3️⃣ has us driving into the long gravel driveway that leads to the entrance of the Château des Arras, in 🗺 Saint-Gervais, Bordeaux.
This 30 hectare family owned, female-run winery got its start back in 1950 when Marie-Caroline + Anne-Cécile’s grandfather first planted vines around the family castle.
For more than a decade these two sisters, a power-couple of skill, intuition and positive energy, have brought their family estate into the spotlight.
 
They make sincere, terroir driven whites, rosés and reds from their clay-rich soil, grounded in limestone bedrock.
The estate has been in total organic conversion for more than 2 years, the cherry on the cake of a 1-2 punch 🤜🏼 as they set their sights on Massachusetts, and beyond! 🚀
Find their white blend , Gaïa, made from SAUVIGNON BLANC + MUSCAT + SÉMILLON as well as their cuvée Rhéa rouge, MERLOT + CAB SAUV + CAB FRANC making landfall in the 🇺🇸 in the coming weeks with @nsdistro 🙌🏼
Our afternoon visit left our palates wanting more, and our hearts warmed knowing that these fine ladies are a part of our #melusinewines family.
 
The sky is the limit for this #womanownedbusiness + we are thrilled to be along for the ride 💥
  • Day 4, Alain TOURENNE (Chateau Beynat) Bordeaux

Day 4️⃣ finds us on the right bank of Bordeaux @chateau_beynat with Alain Tourenne, le vigneron magicien. 🎩
His 17 hectares of vines cover 4 different appellations : Castillon, Bordeaux rosé, Bordeaux blanc and Saint Emilion.
 
Saint-Magne-de-Castillon
 
📣 Alain TOURENNE
 
The vineyards are located on hillside slopes, facing south towards the Dordogne River. 4 generations of family tradition bring us to where the Château Beynat finds itself in history, today.
Alain purchased the winery in 2008.
 
🍃 The soils are majority limestone clay and sandy clay.
🍇The vines are planted to 55% merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Malbec.
 
💎 a special shout out to a treasure that this winery possesses, and which lends itself to the uniqueness of these wines:
The working grape press from 1926 ~ the presses juices are reinstated into wines by gentle drops.
🌙 bottling takes place according to the lunar calendar, the vineyards are certified organic, with biodynamics being a founding principal of this estate.
 
#melusinewines #organicbordeaux #alaintourenne #naturalwine
 
‼️ Coming soon to Massachusetts via @hogsheadwinecompany and Washington D.C, VA + MD with @cometewines
 
@ Saint-Magne-de-Castillon
  • Day 5, Grégoire ROUSSEAU (Domaine Coquelicot) Perigord

It’s day 5️⃣ and we are in the rural village of Carsac-de-Gurson in the Perigord region.
Saint Emilion is this regions most notorious neighbor, being only 20 minutes to the East.
 
We met with Grégoire Rousseau, owner, operator, farmer, winemaker, wearer of many hats 🎩at the Domaine Coquelicot, since 2012.
 
His 9 hectare of vines fall under the classification of the IGP Perigord, a micro-appellation at the far west of the Dordogne department in the Perigord region.
 
🍷 For now, Grégoire produces only red wines … for now. He aims to plant Riesling grapes in the coming year to eventually flex his winemaking muscles with a his most preferred wine grape, and show what it can achieve in this region.
 
🍇 Merlot is king at Domaine Coquelicot, harkening again to the proximity of this winery to the prolific limestone / clayey soils that have helped St. Emilion wines rise to fame.
Gregoire’s reds are full-bodied and delicate, showing the beautiful combination that dark fruit grapes such as merlot + Cabernet Franc can achieve when combined with mineral-rich soil and vinified with the preservation of the fruit in mind. This combined with a little to no sulfur regime = 🔥
This a winemaker you need to know about, and wines that you need to discover!
 
…and that’s where we come in 😉
 
#melusinewines
 
#domainecoquelicot #gregoirerousseau #igpperigord #igppérigord #vinnaturel #naturalwine #newproduceralert #rawwine #merlot #cabernetfranc @ Carsac-de-Gurson Grégoire Rousseau 🙌🏼
  • Day 6, David LARGE (David Large Vigneron + Négoce) Beaujolais

Day 6️⃣ David Large Vigneron, Beaujolais.
 
After a slight detour (missed turn because we were so caught up in the beautiful countryside en route to Montmelas-Saint-Sorlin, belting out the lyrics to ‘Emmenez-moi’ by Aznavour) …
we arrived at David Large’s cellar in Southern Beaujolais.
 
The cellar and family homestead is built into the hillsides that make a drastic incline to the heights of David’s most extreme vines, planted at a pitch which requires extreme caution for vineyard maintenance and harvest.
The view over the valley, across to the Mont Blanc is breathtaking.
 
David took over the domaine from his father, continuing the tradition of the family trade. What he hasn’t continued however is the way that wine was made by his predecessors.
David’s priority since day 1 is to cultivate his vines organically, (he has 5 HA certified organic) and to produce his wines with little to no intervention. Nothing taken away, nothing added.
 
His soils are a healthy mix of granite, limestone clay with volcanic rocks strewn about for good measure. 🌋
 
#davidlargevigneron #beaujonomie #rivolet #montmelassaintsorlin #beaujolais
@davidlargevigneron @ Montmélas-Saint-Sorlin, Rhone-Alpes, France
  • Day 7, Cave de Clairmont, Northern Rhone Valley (Crozes-Hermitage, Saint Joseph, IGP Collines Rhodaniennes)

We crosssed the Rhône River on day 7️⃣ to meet with Michel Galliere of the Cave de Clairmont, a microscopic cooperative winery made up of 10 families, (more than half of these families have women at the helm of grape growing and vineyard maintenance.)
 
Clairmont is a pioneer in the region, for quality as well as for establishing the high standard for the terroir of this region in leading the charge towards organic farming, since 1997.
 
Jean-Michel Borja, one of the vignerons of this co-op, was the first winemaker of Crozes-Hermitage to convert his vineyards to organic farming. 🙌🏼
 
They’re also exceptional in that each of the grape growers participates in vinification and elaboration of their wines. Once again, the strength and richness of this small group allows such a luxury of organization. Participating in the development and creation of the wines, this is another facet of their model that allows each individual to measure the importance, complexity and cohesiveness of each stage of the winemaking/creation process.
 
The 115 HA of this co-op winery is divided over 4 unique soil + exposure zones, lending to an incredible depth and strength to their portfolio:
– the 1st is composed of a thick and draining layer of pebbles from different ice ages mixed with red clay.
– 2nd, on ancient Rhône terraces of Chanos-Curson.
– 3rd, high on the terraces of Beaumont-Monteux, on sandy-clay soil and draining glacial soils, very stony.
– the 4th zone is located on the granite slopes of the municipality of Crozes-Hermitage.
 
That soil/terroir nerd session is just a glimpse into the richness of this land that lends to the stellar wines this co-op brings to the table!
 
🍃☀️ 🍇
 
#cavedeclairmont #crozeshermitage #saintjoseph #northernrhone #melusinewines
 
@ Beaumont-Monteux, Rhone-Alpes, France
  • Day 8, Frédéric AGNERAY (Domaine Frédéric Agneray)

On day 8️⃣, our travels take us further South, to the land of lavender, cicadas and platane trees ~ to the crossroads of where the Southern Rhône Valley, Languedoc Roussillon + Provence regions meet.

Our first stop of the Southern version of our tour takes us to Domaine Frédéric Agneray, in Sabran.

Fred has been installed here since 2014, starting with 3 HA, now at 10 HA under vine.

🍇 The majority of his vineyard is planted to Grenache, with Syrah + Cinsault rounding out his plantings.

🍃 His vines average 35 years.

Fred’s style is marked by high acidity, bright fruit and all around wines with beautiful characters. He leans towards low alcohol levels, with most wines clocking in at 12.5%, with the exception of the cuvée D’Equerre, at a happy 10.5%. This wine was made from grenache grapes harvested just before full maturity.
Fred balances between long macération, (10-days for the cuvée Gare du Nord) carbonic macération (for cuvée Kalamite) and de-stemmed macération.
In certain cases he makes his wines from a combination of those methods, always with an average of 1 g/ per liter of sulfur.

He plans to eventually introduce neutral barrels to his cellar, but for now prefers stainless steel.

We were blown away by the nuance and delicacy of Fred’s wines, harkening from our favorite corner of France, the Gard department.

Super excited to show these wines in the US soon!

#fredericagneray #departementdugard #vinnaturel #melusinewines #kalamite
@ Domaine Frédéric Agneray

  • Day 9, Lori HAON (Domaine du Petit Oratoire) Southern Rhone Valley

Day 9️⃣ finds us in Valliguières, meeting Lori Haon of the Domaine du Petit Oratoire, @petitoratoire
 
This young winemaker cut his teeth working in the regions of Burgundy, Alsace and Champagne before purchasing the 15ha of the Domaine du Petit Oratoire, near Tavel, in the Gard department of Southern France.
 
Why do you need to know about Lori Haon? He is a humble, down-to-Earth farmer/winemaker who in his debut years as a winemaker is already showing and producing everything that the “big boys + ladies” have done in a lifetime.
 
He devotes every working hour of each day to bring the best of his magnificent, diverse land to each bottle of wine he produces. Chemical or synthetic products are not allowed, same goes for weed killers. His wines are created without any added sulfites nor additives. This is a producer who practices what he preaches : respect for the health of the environment and for humankind 🙌🏼 🍃 👫
 
His wines express themselves in the following wonderful ways :
#juicy#croquant / #easytolove#faciledaccès / #tasty#gourmands
 
They are beautiful examples of what Côtes du Rhône can and should be. Powerful & complex, yet delicate and refined.
 
To resume, if you like wines from the Rhône Valley, or more generally, delicious wines made w/o added sulfites, that reveal their terroir and notes of silky fruit and floral blends … you need to know this producer and discover his wines.
 
#lorihaon #domainedupetitoratoire #syrah #grenache #carignan #mourvedre #vinnature #vinnaturel #biodynamicfarming #biodynamicwine
 
#melusinewines @ Valliguières
  • Day 10, François REBOUL, (Domaine Malaïgue) AOP Duché d’Uzès, IGP Cévennes

Day 1️⃣0️⃣, it was at least 💯 degrees F and there was no place we would rather be than meeting with François Reboul, visiting his vineyards & cellar, eating edible flowers, and tasting through the lineup of his wines @ Domaine de Malaïgue, in the Gard ‼️
 
François marks the 8th generation of the Reboul family to farm the 50+ hectares of land on the outskirts of Uzès.
 
With 30 ha planted to vine, the remaining 20 are planted to 3 different kinds of organic cereal and wheat crops, (which make their way into the kitchens and into dishes of some of the finest Michelin-starred restaurants across France).
 
The winery has been farming under the organic certification since 1998. The vineyard is located on a clay-limestone soil with characteristics that allow the vines to express themselves fully.
Work in the vines and in the cellar is constantly being questioned, in order to limit disturbances in the soil and to the plants. With this in mind: the soils are not turned nor tilled, cover plants are sown that maintain different layers of microorganisms and protect the soil from the elements ; especially extreme heat and drought as if often the case in this area of France.
The cover crops act as a buffer to the soil maintaining a cool, moist root base and allowing microorganisms to flourish.
 
This all boils down to the goal of leaving the soil better off from one year to the next 🍃
 
In the cellar, the same philosophy that accompanies the work in the vineyards is paralleled : minimizing the interventions on the wines. They produce an average of 40 to 50 hectoliters per hectare, far from authorized yields, which François believes can weaken and overwork the vines.
 
Domaine de Malaïgue is a winery you need to know, not only because the wines are outstanding, but because they are true examples of devotion and respect of the earth and to the fruits it can yield.
 
#domainedemalaïgue #newproduceralert #melusinewines #natureetprogres
@ Domaine Malaigue
  • Day 11, Imogen Berry & Robin Althoff, (Le Quai à Raisins) Gard

Day 11 starts with an early morning visit to Robin Althoff & Imogen Berry of Le Quai à Raisins, two young winemakers who operate from an old refurbished wine-cellar in the village of map 🗺 Aubais, in southern France.
 
🐶 Their cellar-hand, Matcha, is never far from arms reach for constant encouragement and moral support in this physically & mentally demanding craft that is growing vines and making wine.
 
💡 In addition to working their vineyard on a limestone plateau, they also travel around France to source different grapes. 🚙 🍇
 
Throughout the year they are in partnership with their viticulturists, to ensure that they can get their hands on the best quality grapes that are representative of their region.
#terroirdrivenwines
 
🍃 All of their vineyards are farmed organically and biodynamically in order to achieve the finest expression of the terroir.
 
🍇 All grapes are hand-picked and wines fermented with indigenous yeast and no added Sulphur. #sanssoufreajouté
 
Their winemaking is minimalist + precise to produce the purest, exceptional expressions of their fruit.
 
They currently produce 7️⃣ wines featuring the following palette of grapes : 🎨
 
• rolle
• clairette
• roussanne
• muscat
• grenache
• syrah
• cinsault
• grenache noir
 
Imogen + Robin exude a passion, energy and love for their craft that radiates.
 
This dreamteam is onto something great and we’re over the moon to have them as a member of our #melusinewines tribe 🖤
 
#lequaiàraisins #suddefrance #dreamteam #newaddition @ Aubais
  • Day 12, Marie-Hélène & Thomas, (Domaine les LYS) AOP Duché d’Uzès, IGP Cévennes

On day 12 we stopped by to see our friends Marie-Hélène + Thomas of Domaine les Lys.

@domaine_les_lys is tucked between the verdant vines + aromatic garrigues at the foothills of the Cévennes mountain range, with the turrets of Uzès visible from the tasting room.

The 30 hectares of this winery has its vines planted on the slopes descending from the winery on the hilltop of Blauzac, and interspersed between the piney woods at the extremities.

⛰ The vineyards benefit from the beneficial influence + moderated climate of the beautiful Cévennes mountains, to the North. It is in the middle of this protected nature between the pine forests and the oaks that the vines of Chardonnay, Syrah and Grenache grow to give the best grapes.

🍇 Vines that draw their strength from the sandstone and limestone of this privileged terroir. This is how wines are born full of freshness and minerality. #recipeforauccess 🏆

🍃 The work of the vineyard is naturally-focused and consistent with biodiversity. The Domaine is in the process of organic certification. ✅

Find their wine in Massachusetts via @nsdistro + ask for them at your favorite bottle shops, restaurants + wine bars! You’ll be happy to have discovered these gems from one of the most breathtaking areas of France 🇫🇷

#melusinewines #domaineleslys #igpcevennes #departementdugard #duchéduzès #nightshiftdistributing

@ Les Lys

  • Day 13, Audrey + Camille LaLaurie (Domaine LaLaurie) Aude

Day 13 took us to the banks of the #canaldumidi for a visit to the cellar + tasting room of #domainelalaurie

…Side note, our visit was at the height of the heatwave back in June 🔥 we found refuge in their cellar!) Luckily, the vines at Domaine LaLaurie didn’t experience any damage due to the heat, we had one producer not far from the Aude who lost 30% of his crop on that same day 🙁

Twin sisters Audrey + Camille rolled out the red carpet for our visit. We toured the cellar, visited the vineyards + tasted through current vintage + up coming wines.

The 52 hectares of the family estate have been passed down for 10 generations 🤯 Blows your mind to think of the dedication in the family over the centuries to cultivating grapes and making wine!

🌟 Since their US debut with @nsdistro in Massachusetts at the start of the summer, we can’t keep these wines in stock – A perfect example of the power-combo of having amazing wine at an incredible price, in the sample bags of a stellar sales team 🙌🏼

Post-winery visit we drove along the Canal du Midi where Ben showed me how it works!

#melusinewines #domainelalaurie #vigneronnes
#paysdenarbonne #igpcoteauxdenarbonne @ Domain Lalaurie