Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Thirst Merchants Selection

This month we highlight a few of the wines we bring in directly. These are hand-made wines from quite small, independent, artisanal winemakers we discovered and whose wines we're especially proud to represent as “A Thirst Merchants Selection.” 

The wines of Camille & Mathias Marquet and Francois Saint-Lo are honest, limited, small-batch -- so if you find that you really like them, BUY MORE before they disappear! This is the first time they are available in the US.

Mathias Marquet

Chateau Lestignac, located in the Southwest of France in Bergerac, was almost sold when Camille and Mathias Marquet convinced their family to let them take it over. Their first vintage was 2008 and they immediately began by farming organically. They’re now certified organic by Ecocert and also apply biodynamic treatments.  

After just one vintage of trying to listen to the advice of an oenologist, Camille and Matthias realized that they simply needed to trust their own instincts. The result: true Thirst wines with great purity and freshness but also deeply reflective of their terroir. As Mathias has eloquently put it: “Ce qui nous intéresse, c’est que le vin ait une personnalité.” [What interests us is wine that has a personality.] Their wines demonstrate that distinctive and profound wines can be made in lesser-known areas like Bergerac. 

LESTIGNAC Les Abeilles des Collinettes 2012 
Made from 60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Semillon, this fantastic white wine is lively on the palate with a chalky limestone minerality, pleasing citrus notes, and mouthwatering crispness. $18/bottle.

LESTIGNAC Le Rouge et Le Noir 2012 
This vivid natural smoky red is a true wine of pleasure. It’s composed of 95% Cabernet Franc and 5% Merlot from grapes grown on clay soil. $18/bottle.

Francois Saint-Lo

Francois Saint-Lo is a young winemaker whose first vintage was 2012. He was born in Normandy and his family was not involved with winemaking. However, he became passionately interested in working the vines and making wine and apprenticed with Olivier Cousin, among others. He has managed to buy a piece of land in the Anjou region of the Loire Valley with troglodyte caves, get a few hectares of vines, and immediately turn out stellar wines. Later this year we will also have his Chenin Blanc, Grolleau, Gamay as well as white and rose pet-nats. Francois’ wines achieve an elegant balance and a taste of place that gives us a feeling of deja vu. Tasting his wines we are reminded why we fell in love with the Loire in the first place. 

FRANCOIS SAINT-LO On L’Aime Nature 2012 
We discovered Francois last year when we tasted samples of his wines at the Raw Wine Fair in London that had not yet finished fermenting and immediately committed to bringing in his wines. 2012 is his first vintage. His patience and gentleness is reflected in the stunning purity of his wines. His Cabernet Franc has a liveliness on the palate, there's a beautiful honesty to it, and gentle tannins. Aaron Ayscough in his excellent blog, Not Drinking Poison in Paris, describes it as "shimmeringly elegant, a real see-through dress of a red wine." $22/bottle.

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