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Ultimate Cellar Pack

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Ultimate Cellar Pack
Ultimate Cellar Pack
Producer International Fine Wines
Product Code 21140-4500

This limited pack includes half a dozen wines from six of Europe’s most prestigious appellations: wines often in very short supply and naturally rarer and more expensive—think Premier Cru Burgundy, Barbaresco and grower Champagne, for example. The average bottle price is just under $85; these wines can be cellared or consumed immediately.

Clos de l'Écotard Saumur Blanc Le Haie Nardin 2018 (France)

Le Haie Nardin is a one-hectare lieu-dit of 50-year-old vines on sandy clay over limestone on the Courchamps plateau. The Chevré family has owned and farmed this parcel organically since 1996, and before 2017 the harvest formed part of Roches Neuves Insolite cuvée. Thibaud Chevré explains that the sand-rich terroir here results in his most expressive and approachable wine, something borne out by this fine release. Le Haie Nardin is fermented wild and aged for nine months in 50% stainless steel tank and 50% oak vessels, split between 25-hecolitre foudre and 500-litre demi muid. 

In just its’ second release, this is a splendidly controlled and taut Chenin that opens with layers of minerality, salinity and a hint of spice, and progresses through ripe citrus, green apple and preserved lemon fruit. It's an impressive gateway to the wines of this producer, with terrific balance in the mouth and a long sapid finish.

La Soufrandière Mâcon-Vinzelles Le Clos de Grand-Père 2020 (France)

Biodynamic. Here we have a wine that is grown in one of Mâcon’s very best sites. Les Quarts is sectioned into four lieux-dits (or historic place names): Haut, Bas, Le Clocheton and Les Quarts Touches. This is a blend of those parcels which do not make it into La Soufrandière’s Les Quarts cuvée. Planted at 230 metres altitude on classic Bajocian clay and Jurassic limestone soil, this beautiful slope has been certified biodynamic since 2006. The 2020 was vinified mainly in tank (60%) with the balance in older barriques. The Domaine uses no new oak by the way, with the barrels in the cellar having an average age of 10 to 12 years. As well as ex-Leflaive and Lafon barrels, the Bret brothers also buy used 300-litre casks from Olivier Lamy. 

Here you have pure fruit, savouriness, classy reduction and mineral freshness. 

Alphonse Mellot Sancerre La Moussière 2021 (France)

Biodynamic. La Moussière is one of the great vineyards of the Loire Valley. Cultivated with incredibly rocky, limestone-rich soils, this gently rolling vineyard lies on the ancient Saint-Doulchard marls, which form a part of the great Kimmeridgian chain (à la Chablis). Coupled with Mellot’s meticulous biodynamic farming and low yields, it’s a terroir responsible for some of Sancerre’s most striking and atypical wines. 

50% of this wine underwent fermentation in huge wooden fermenters and was raised in oak casks—a fact that in no way compromises the fabulous purity and energy on offer. The balance of the wine was fermented and raised in traditional concrete vats before blending. All the wine was aged on fine lees for a period of roughly 12 months, further enhancing the wine’s famously deep and pulpy texture. 

Reminiscent of topflight Chablis, those who crave flesh, purity and tension in their white wines can expect great company here. From a cooler year that harks back to the incisive 2017, it’s charged with vivid citrus flavours and chalky texture, expertly offset by electric acidity and mouth-watering salinity. The wine unfolds on the palate not unlike a coiled white Burgundy. A great Moussière.

Gregoire Hoppenot Fleurie Les Moriers 2020 (France)

Hoppenot farms almost three-hectares of this imposing east-facing terroir overlooking the famous windmill of Moulin-a-Vent. Les Moriers shares a border with Poncié, Les Roches and Les Garants and the vines at the top of the vineyard lie a stone’s throw from the winery. Vine age varies from 35 to 90 years. Rising from 260 metres on the Moulin-a-Vent border to 340 metres at the top of the slope, this steep hillside contains two mineral rich soil types: the vines at the top of the slope are on very poor soils of shallow granitic sand; then it becomes heavier in the Bas de Moriers with increasing clay concentration over the granite bedrock. Grégoire Hoppenot farms in both sectors, reserving the best fruit for this single-terroir bottling.

Recognising the power of this terroir, the winemaking incudes eight months in both large oak foudre and mature Burgundian barrels that have seen five vintages. In the right hands, Les Moriers gifts a Fleurie of singular intensity and aromatic detail, and that is what we have here. With layers of wild berry fruit wreathed in smoke and a long, slow-releasing finish, it’s the most intense and structured of this grower’s wines yet remains deliciously bright, silky and poised. Brilliant.

Jaeger Defaix Rully Rouge 1er Cru Clos du Chapître 2020 (France)

Diam. The Clos du Chapître is a Monopole vineyard for this producer. The one-hectare plot is located behind the family house and cellars within the Rully 1er Cru Chapître, enclosed by a two-metre-high stone wall. The Pinot yields here are controlled by severe pruning, de-budding and green harvesting. There is also manual sorting of bunches to keep only the most beautiful clusters of fruit. This year, only 20% of whole bunches were retained and the wine was aged in oak barrels (50% new) for 15 months before bottling. 

Jancis Robinson MW has written that the wines from this site “offer proof that the Côte Chalonnaise can now field wines of serious interest to those raised on Côte d’Or wines.” Defaix’s 2020 does not disappoint! It delivers the expected step up from the village Rully in depth, structure and complexity, yet there’s no lack of levity and brightness. The nose is an engaging and perfumed brew of red fruits, bramble and briar, with some bunchy notes peeking through. The palate has density and texture with bright acidity and well-judged tannin wrapping around a core of deliciously silky fruit. Impressive length keeps you tethered to the glass. When you factor in the price (this is a 1er Cru wine!) and remember that many in the Côte d'Or are charging similar or even higher prices for a Bourgogne level, it’s a no brainer.

Massolino Langhe Nebbiolo 2019 (Italy)

Screwcap. This wine just gets better and better. Early vintages of the Nebbiolo were sourced exclusively from Massolino’s younger vines in Serralunga—a declassified Barolo if you like. Today there are two more parcels in play: Monforte’s Cascina I Maschi vineyard lies at altitude right on the border of the Barolo area where the soils are rich in chalk (Massolino credits this cool site with the resultant vibrant perfume and ripe acidity); then there’s a parcel in Alba on lighter, sandy clay soils, which brings power and fruit concentration.

The blend is roughly one-third from each terroir, and there’s little doubt the sum of these three sites has bought even more brightness and early drinking appeal to what was already an outstanding Langhe Nebbiolo. Like all Massolino Nebbiolo, it was aged in large Slavonian oak casks (although the Langhe only spends 15 months in wood, as compared to 24-plus months for the Barolo wines). 

From a classical vintage that spotlighted perfume, purity and freshness, this is a strikingly pretty wine: wonderfully vibrant and perfumed with great acidity and energy and aromas and flavours that suggest rose, cranberry, blackberry and all kinds of spice. Super drinking already.

Ultimate Cellar Pack
Ultimate Cellar Pack

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