Asheville’s Best Wine Tasting W/Skip Hale
Famille Lieubeau Cru Muscadet
Certified organic 100% Melon de Bourgogne 50+ year old vines Hand harvested, basket press, natural yeast fermentation in tank 24 months in tank on lees Some of the greatest values in French wine, as well as the “newest,” are the cru communaux of Muscadet. Chief among these is Clisson which comes from vineyards along the southern edge of the Muscadet region. Sourced from profoundly granitic soils that are some of the oldest in France, these wines have a lash of savory acidity and a remarkable longevity. These vines are nearing 50 years old and their roots dig deep into the granite bedrock making for wines that are rich without being fat but piercingly mineral above all else.
Dom. Saint Nicolas Les Clous Fiefs
Certified biodynamic (DEMETER & BIODYVIN) Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Groslot Gris Hand harvesteded, pneumatic pressing, natural yeast fermentation in tank A blend of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Grolot Gris, Les Clous comes from scattered plots near the ocean on sandy schist and clay soils with quartzite gravel. Usually the first wine you taste when visiting the cellars and always accompanied by shellfish, Les Clous is mineral with a salty, iodine-like character (think of a fresh breeze off the sea) complimented with added weight and fruit from the Chardonnay.
Dom. Saint Nicolas Pinot Noir
Certified biodynamic 100% Pinot Noir For Thierry Michon, the gregarious force behind one of the Loire’s best-kept secrets, Domaine Saint Nicolas, it’s all about the soil. Working on schist and silex a stone’s throw away from the Atlantic, Thierry is the prophet of biodynamics in this tiny viticultural area. His vineyards never see a non-organic product. He has slowly purchased buffer zones all around his property to prevent chemical products from other winemakers from seeping into his parcels. For him, biodynamics isn’t a pragmatic consideration, it’s a religion. Domaine Saint Nicolas sits at the extreme southern end of the Loire delta, just south of Muscadet, but there is no Melon de Bourgogne planted here. Instead, Thierry works old vines of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Groslot, Pinot Noir, Negrette, and Cabernet Franc. If you think working 40 hectares biodynamically (certified by Biodyvin) is easy, you’re crazy. Working by horse and tractor, Thierry usually answers his cell phone from the vineyard, often as late as 10:00 at night. You will not find a more dedicated vigneron in France. Harvest is, of course, by hand. The whites pass through a sorting table and are then gently pressed and allowed to ferment in large wooden tanks. The reds are sorted and then crushed by foot in foudre. The whites and rosés are released as early as March of the year after harvest while many of the reds are aged for up to 18 months. One of the few in the area to age in barrel, Thierry’s years of hard work are starting to pay off. For years he worked all week in the vines and then took off on Friday afternoons for the 5 hour drive to Paris. From the back of his truck he sold his wines to restaurants and small shops. When the wines starting showing up on the lists of Guy Savoy, Taillevent, and Arpège, people starting paying attention. Now he is a leader of the biodynamics movement in France, the defender of his little appellation, and one of France’s most respected winemakers. These are soulful wines of amazing purity.
Jean-Francois Merieau Cent Visages Côt
Cent Visages, meaning 100 faces, is the name Jean-François gives to his cuvée of 100% Côt (Malbec) from a single vineyard in St. Julien de Chedon. These 50 year old vines are an old massale selection of Cot and ones which are the source for many of his new plantings. Cent Visage is fermented in concrete tanks by natural yeasts and aged in concrete for at least 24 months before bottling. This is such a departure from the modern style: it’s lifted and fragrant, with rose petals and fresh strawberries drifting from the glass. There’s real elegance and a mouth-coating texture, while the finish carries hints of stone and black olive.
Our Wine Wednesdays, include one *free sample from each of our hand selected fine wine features (up to four wines). New wines are chosen each week.
*tasting free with purchase of $10 or more per guest