A vintage year of discovery

A vintage year of discovery

L’Art du Vin’s three wine men – Philippe, Richard and Lewis – have travelled near and far in 2019 in search of great producers. And as a result of their efforts, we’re delighted to have added several fabulous wines to our list this year. Among them are some classic styles and a few that are a bit different.

If you’re looking for some high quality bubbly with an interesting back story, Régis Poissinet’s champagne certainly fits the bill. The estate in the Marne Valley has been in the family for more than seven decades but, since taking over, Régis has changed its philosophy. He no longer uses herbicides in the winemaking process, and he has reintroduced working horses to the vineyard, enabling him to work the steeper patches of land that would otherwise be inaccessible. Our festive tip is his Terre d’Irizée, which is made by mixing several vintages in a combination that aims to capture the subtleties of this unique terroir. Meunier is the dominant grape and there is also a small amount of Chardonnay, giving hints of citrus zest, white peach and bright nectarine as well as a smooth finish. If you like champagne with pronounced flavours, we think you’ll love this.

Domaine La Ligière in the Rhône Valley sits on the slopes of the Dentelles de Montmirail mountains which protect it from being buffeted by the Mistral, a local wind that folklore claims drives people mad. The current winemakers, Philippe Bernard and his wife Elizabeth Serra, are the latest generation to have responsibility for the vineyard, having assumed control in 2008. They have created their own winery and secured biological certification. The vineyard, planted with Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre vines, is now biodynamic and organic. The grapes are harvested by hand and are fermented in temperature-controlled tanks using only natural yeasts. No fertiliser, weed killer or chemicals is used on the vines, and the wine is bottled without any fining or filtration. We have added four Domaine La Ligière wines to our list, and we think the Côtes du Rhône Les Costebelles is a particularly good example of what Philippe and Elizabeth are doing. It’s a fruity red combining Grenache and Syrah grapes and has a light, fresh finish that makes it an ideal partner for almost any food.

Tim Schäfer-Fröhlich’s attention to detail is evident in all the wine he produces and played a big part in us adding it to our German whites. In addition to the vines he inherited, he has boosted his output by taking over other vineyards and employing a painstaking approach to managing them. His determination to focus on quality rather than quantity was another of the reasons that attracted us to the Schäfer-Fröhlich wines. The Riesling Trocken has all the standard features of that grape, together with greater refinement than many other Rieslings. We love the floral notes as well as the minerality that draws on the slate and volcanic soil in the Schäfer-Fröhlich vineyards. Typically for this type of wine, the alcohol level is lower than some of the big whites from elsewhere.

We’re thrilled to have had these three wines among the many exciting 2019 additions. Please keep watching for more discoveries in 2020.
Have a great festive season!