From: Loire Valley, France
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Taste: Red fruits abound on the nose and the palate. Red currant, raspberry, a medley of cherries (sour, bing, morello), and blood orange meld with hints of herb and spice notes once the wine opens. We recommend giving your glass a few swirls to get this lovely red going, then let the bottle sit after pulling the cork. You’ll notice the difference in 20-45 minutes— and, to be fair, this wine will show well as soon as you pull its cork, so there’s no need to take this recommendation too seriously. We were so impressed by how much this wine opened and evolved that we included this tidbit.
Pairing: The red wines of Reuilly can be enjoyed slightly chilled and are a good match for grilled poultry, charcuterie, mushroom-based dishes (check out the recipe below), stroganoff, meatballs, roasted squash and salmon.
By Martha Rose Shulman
About. Many thanks to Kermit Lynch Wine Merchants for the information that follows. When tasting the wines of Denis Jamain, it is clear that the appellation of Reuilly, in the eastern Loire, is experiencing a renaissance, moving far beyond its former status as the “poor man’s Sancerre.” This land was once a source of great pride, having been part of a gift of the 7th century king, Dagobert, to the Royal Abbey of Saint Denis. Phylloxera had ravaged the majority of the vineyards here in the late 19th century, but Camille Rousseau (Denis’ maternal grandfather) had faith in the future of Reuilly. In 1935, he planted his first vines here, in addition to farming a large oak forest on the outskirts of town. Denis shares his grandfather’s passion for the vineyards and the forest, as well as his hometown pride. Though he studied in the United States and speaks excellent English, this charismatic and friendly gentleman wanted nothing more than to return home to take over the family domaine. In 1990, Denis began adding to the family holdings. Today, he farms a total of seventeen hectares in the heart of the appellation, with eleven planted to Sauvignon Blanc, four planted to Pinot Noir, and two planted to Pinot Gris, which makes his superb and distinctive Reuilly rosé.
The soils here are rich, resting on the prized Kimmeridgian limestone, a geological chain that connects the Loire Valley with Chablis in Burgundy. This limestone is valued for its high content of marine and shell fossils dating back 150 million years ago to the Jurassic period. These minerals are without equal for producing some of the most beautiful whites in France. Denis has been practicing sustainable agriculture for many years and has recently started the conversion process for organic certification. Though he uses both stainless steel tanks and oak, Denis is very proud to be able to select special oaks from his grandfather’s forest to make his barrels. This is the concept of “local” in its purest form.
VITICULTURE / VINIFICATION
• Domaine is certified organic as of 2011
• As of 2015, all vineyards except the Pinot Gris are certified biodynamic
• Vineyards are all worked by hand
• Limited yields
• Harvested by hand
• Vinifications are traditional and temperature-controlled
• Cold maceration before the alcoholic fermentation last 3-4 days
• Fermentation lasts 15 days with only indigenous yeasts
• Daily punchdowns and pumpovers for approximatively 5 days depending on the vintage and then one pumpover every 2 days until the end of the fermentation
• Reuilly rouge “Les Chênes” is aged for 12 months in barrel (25% new, 25% 1 year old, 25% 2 years old, 25% 3 years old)
• Oaks are harvested from Jamain’s own forest to make the barrels for the Pinot Noir
• Pinot Gris made by direct press, does not undergo malolactic fermentation
Reuilly is in Sauvignon Blanc territory, an ancient winemaking village that today has only about 300 acres in vines. Our bottling, Pierres Plates, is from a specific vineyard with Chablis-like soil full of chalk, fossils and sea shells. Try to imagine Sancerre grown at Chablis. The fruit is lively, with white flower perfumes, citrus and minerality. It has finesse and precision.
If you want to experience what I mean when I say minerality, notice the first impression on the palate, which is of fresh, cushiony, Sancerre-like Sauvignon Blanc. Then, immediately, there is a firmness, a stony firmness that appears from within the wine. Let’s call it Terroir to the Rescue, because a wine with nothing but pure fruit seems banal. - Kermit Lynch
“An hour south of Orléans, in the heart of France, the commune of Reuilly sits at a singular crossroads in the Loire Valley. Reuilly’s bread and butter is Sauvignon Blanc, one of the Loire’s most beloved grape varieties, but you can also hear echoes of Burgundy in this tiny appellation. Not only are Reuilly’s soils graced with Kimmeridgian limestone—the iconic ancient marine bedrock that defines Chablis—but Reuilly is also home to a long tradition of Pinot Noir cultivation. We now have one in stock, and it is simply delicious.
In spite of these Burgundian associations, though, Pinot Noir from the central and eastern Loire—namely Reuilly and Sancerre—yields wines that are entirely distinct from their exalted and more illustrious relatives to the east. In recent decades, Reuilly rouge has been a staple of Parisian bistros because, at its best, it delivers unrivaled suppleness and an ethereal quality—ideal for quaffing alongside classics like pâté, coq au vin, and steak frites. Thanks to a long history working both organically and biodynamically in his vines, these virtues of Reuilly are on full display in Denis Jamain’s rouge, particularly after a little time spent opening up in a decanter or in your glass. There’s vitality and freshness in the wine, which evokes cherries, blood orange, herbs, and flowers. In addition to the bistro classics above, this Pinot is wonderfully suited to a wild mushroom pasta, sautéed root vegetables, a hard and flavorful cheese like Comté, or roast rosemary chicken.” —Tom Wolf
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