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Andrew Guard is a long time friend, but also an importer of some of the most beguiling Euro-wines coming in to the country. His brief is low-intervention, usually organically or bio-dynamically farmed, and often free of sulphur and other additions. He also seems to specialise in small production, high personality producers, and if you take the time to read through his portfolio, it isn’t much of a stretch to feel you have first-hand experience with his producers. Perhaps not hug status, but certainly a warm handshake.

Andrew has parcelled together a bunch of his favourites, and we are passing them on as mixed dozens or half dozens … the mix is over to you.

The wines will be shipped from Sydney, so please allow three working days.

2018 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie ‘Gras Moutons’ Dom’ de la Pépière
$34 each / $30 in mixed 6 / $28 in mixed dozen
If the late Didier Dagueneau could be described as messianic (and I certainly read such a description somewhere – and who would argue with it?) then I see no reason why I can’t liken Marc to King Solomon. Put simply, this warm-hearted and gentle (and surely wise) man has his hand on the tiller of one of the leading domaines not only of Muscadet, but of the entire Loire Valley.
Chris Kissack,

We haven’t been able to get this for a few years but happily this year got some! This lovely wine clearly illustrates the difference between the granite and gneiss terroirs in Muscadet. Gras Moutons, a great parcel on gneiss with clay and amphibolite stones, produces lovely, classic Muscadet. A wine to drink over the next 5 to 8 years, it has a more herbal and floral bouquet than the granite-based wines and the palate, although refreshing and bright, is softer and more open.  This 2018 is a beautiful wine showing pretty herbal, citrus,  and white fruit aromas.  The palate is elegant and bright with pear, quince, lime-flower and lemon backed by silky lemony acidity and mineral flavors.. This is great Muscadet! (Andrew Guard)

2018 Riesling ‘Reserve’, Meyer-Fonné
$39 each / $36 in mixed 6 / $34 in mixed dozen

This is always a very smart wine for the price as it contains fruit from the younger vines from the estate, some from Grand Cru sources.  This year it shows precise and very vibrant aromas of crisp citrus fruits and red apple with an attractive floral lift. Fresh and tactile, with a supple mouthfeel that glides into a finish of yellow plum and ripe grapefruit flavors. It finishes dry, saline, full and long. This is always a superb dry Riesling and is most definitely in 2018.

The winemaking is very traditional here, since most of the investments have been made in the low-yielding vineyards, with top old-vines parcels in the best sites, high density plantings and the vitalization of the soils. No synthetic fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides are used at all.

The fermentation of the naturally cleared musts takes place with native yeasts in either stainless steel or traditional oak, and after racking, the wines are kept on the lees until May (Alsace AOC) and respectively September (single vineyards) before bottling.

I have been importing these excellent and distinctive wines for 10 years now and each year they are consistent and brilliant. (Andrew Guard)

2018 Confluence – Vin de France Chenin Blanc, Les Arches de Bellivière
$53 each / $50 In Mixed 6 / $48 in Mixed Dozen.

Over the last five years or so it has become clear that certain vignerons and terroirs when combined together in the Anjou region are producing some of the most spellbinding dry Chenin Blanc wines on the planet and certainly among the finest white wines in all France.

They are produced in tiny volumes (Richard Leroy, Bernaudeau) and so are rare and have become cultified and hard to find. There is another vigneron, much further North in the Sarthe, making wines as good, sometimes better – Eric Nicolas at Domaine de Bellivière.  As with his Anjou colleagues The style at Bellivière is one of crystalline-cool fruit with a laser-like precision to the structure, only softening as it slowly evolves with age.

A beautiful dry wine, Spring fresh with a nice, tight line marked by fresh white fruit, especially peach. This is a spirited, crisp and energetic wine that will reward those who have patience and also those looking for something special young. Great drinking!

2018 Chardonnay/Savagnin ‘Justice’, Domaine Belle-Vue
$72 each / $69 in Mixed 6 / $66 in Mixed Dozen.

Jerome Bretaudeau set up on his own in 2005 having made wine for others for the previous 10 years, in particular with Jo Landron and Guy Bossard. His Domaine de Belle‐Vue is today one of the leading lights in the region and the quality of his wines is quite simply outstanding.

His estate is certified Organic since 2009

Three things set him way apart from the rest and are the reason that his wines are so good;
•      He harvests by hand
•      His vines yield only 35hl/ha (in a region where 90hl/ha is normal!)
•      He only uses the available natural yeasts for fermentation.

This is made from a parcel of Chardonnay and Savagnin on gneiss soils. The expressive potential of Chardonnay is known. It is a great grape and in this wine you see it’s myriad possibilities. It is inflected with Western Loire sea spray yet has some of the buxom flesh seen in Burgundy, additionally it has a salty umami length from Savagnin and altogether it has a mystique, a pull to the senses. This is another dimension altogether – richness, spine tingling acidity and a generosity across the palate that is immersive.

A superb wine, if not conventional, it is quite without doubt, exceptional. Meditation …

2018 Fleurie ‘Les Moriers’ Non Filtré, Domaine Chignard
$43 each /  $40 in Mixed 6 / $38 in Mixed Dozen.

As ardent defenders of traditional Beaujolais methods, the Chignards take a minimalist approach in both the vineyards and the cellar. The finished wines couldn’t be more reflective of Les Moriers’ splendid location: light and playful, with deep, ripe fruit and finesse. Noted French publication ‘La Revue du Vin de France’ claims that the aromas from their wines evoke memories of the great Chambolle-Musignys from Burgundy.

• All grapes are harvested by hand

  • Vinification is natural, in keeping with the local tradition, including whole cluster fermentation, and vatting for 6 to 8 days before pressing
  • Fermentation takes place in stainless steel and cement cuves
  • Wine is aged in old foudres (large oak barrels) for 13 months
  • Blending occurs in the spring, and then the wine settles for 3-4 months before bottling.
  • Wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered
2016 Savigny les Beaune Rouge ‘VV’, Catherine et Claude Maréchal
$92 each / $86 in Mixed 6 / $82 in Mixed Dozen.
The quality of these wines is nothing short of phenomenal compared to the usual quality of the respective appellations’ Allen Meadows, Burghound.

I was able to purchase a little more of this outstanding wine from the frost ravaged 2016 vintage. The fruit that remained  was perfect and made stupendous wine. The mouthfeel is a delight – racy, light, pure, and saline with dark cherry fruit – a very sensual wine. The grapes come from the following lieux-dits: Pimentiers, Peuillets, and Planchots that provide for a wonderful young Burgundy with real depth and persistence in the mouth. The old vines no doubt contributing to give the wine a good sappy richness and great silky length. Excellent and will make a magic old bottle in 15 years if you can keep hands off! (Andrew Guard)

2017 Volnay, Thierry Glantenay
$130 each / $125 in Mixed 6 / $120 in Mixed Dozen

The disarmingly modest Thierry Glantenay is emerging as one of the Côte de Beaune’s most exciting producers of red wine. From his hillside winery overlooking the Marquis d’Angerville’s Clos des Ducs, Glantenay is producing a lovely range of elegant, pure and intense Volnays and Pommards that are increasingly consistent and stylistically assured.
William Kelley. The Wine Advocate

As usual, the 2017 Volnay Village includes two small premier cru parcels that Glantenay doesn’t wish to vinify separately, and it’s shaping up very nicely, offering up a fragrant nose of sweet cherries and berries, violets and orange rind. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, satiny and supple, with an ample core of sweet fruit and a fine-grained, elegantly chalky finish.  89-91/100 The Wine Advocate (William Kelley)

2018 Côtes du Rhône ‘Grillons’ (Grenache, Syrah), Clos des Grillons
$40 Each / $37 in Mixed 6 / $35 in Mixed Dozen.
Formerly a history teacher – with no family ties to wine or ownership of land – Nicolas slowly began renting parcels of land in areas that were overlooked by the cooperatives, who were on the search for more productive vines. Of course these old vines and low yields were exactly what Nicolas was looking for. The domaine is now 18ha and lies just a few miles south-west of Tavel. The vines are trained low to help cope better with the strong winds of the region.

Like his friend Eric Pfifferling at L’Anglore he practices organic viticulture with a zeal and in the cellar, as at L’Anglore, he vinifies with natural yeasts and minimal intervention.

2014 Barolo del Comune di Barolo, Scarzello Giorgio et Figli
$130 Each / $122 in Mixed 6 / $118 in Mixed Dozen.
This diminutive, traditional, Barolo domaine owns a mere five and a half hectares, nearly half of which are in Sarmassa, one of the region’s top crus located between Cannubi and Cerequio. Sarmassa delivers wines that are aromatically enticing, bursting with juicy sweet red fruits and irresistible silky textures.

Federico and his father, Giorgio, took the bold decision to make a wholesale replanting in the late nineties. In 2001 Federico – after completing his studies in winemaking and agriculture at the Scuola Enologica (School of Enology) in Alba and the University of Turin – took over sole running of the estate and set about taking it to the next level, adjusting certain aspects of the winemaking whilst remaining greatly respectful to the family’s traditional ways.

Federico uses spontaneous fermentation, traditional long maceration and large cask aging (he even has a few from Stockinger) — the hallmarks of traditional-style Barolo — to make these elegant and long-lived wines. The estate’s top label, the Barolo Sarmassa Vigna Merenda, can spend up to 30 months in 25-30 hectoliter Slavonian cask

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