Platonic Ideal: Loire Perfection from a Rosenthal House Favorite

Posted on: 08/8/18 12:01 PM


This is one of those wines that I almost don’t need to ‘sell’. There are scores of you who follow this wine loyally, there’s not a lot of it to go around, and whenever the odd unsold bottle appears on the shelf it flies away at great speed. It’s no surprise, as this is an absolutely ridiculous wine for the money. Elegant and easy to drink, yet a complex and truly refined single vineyard wine. Beautiful now, but also with the stuffing to last for many years. To quote legendary importer Neal Rosenthal…

“We have had the pleasure of drinking the 1959 with Messrs. Gambier and Petit at a fine lunch of braised boar some 50 years after its birth. We have the privilege of importing 1800 bottles plus some magnums annually.”

Not bad for $21.

2015 Domaine de la Petite Mairie Bourgueil Cuvée Ronsard

If you’re not on board already- there couldn’t be a time to hop on. Not only is this the best value Loire Cabernet Franc that I know of year in and year out, but their 2015 vintage, benefiting from a magnificent summer, is particularly insanely delicious. Not a hint of anything unripe here, this is brightly fruited and floral, yet with considerably more spice and structure than the forward nature of the fruit might initially suggest.

You need at least a case of this. It is a wine that begs to be matured, equally as it begs to be drunk now. At this price there is absolutely no reason that you need to choose between the two. Buy enough to be sure you can do both.

More about the wine:

Domaine de la Petite Marie has impressively gone from strength to strength under James and Corrine Petit’s stewardship, following the retirement of widely adored owner and winemaker Jean Gambier. These would have been giant steps to fill, but the task was made considerably easier by the fact that James is Jean’s nephew, and has benefited from being able to share in and build on the lifetime of knowledge and know-how that his uncle had developed.

Our pick of their wines and a huge favourite here, is the “Cuvée Ronsard”. Coming from a single vineyard site on south facing slopes by the banks of the river Loire, it sees no new oak, and all of the incredible complexity and intensity here comes simply from some remarkable terroir, a gentle hand, and slow ageing. There’s no fuss or dogma to the winemaking, no official subscription to biodynamics or organics, but a dedication to winemaking the old school way. Natural wild yeasts, and intervention in the vineyards only when strictly necessary, with any sort of treatment kept to an absolute minimum. This is the way France’s best wines have been made for centuries, long before organic became a buzzword.

A wine this good, with this track record and this ageability, almost seems like a joke at this price. We offer an awful lot of good deals here, but this is one you cannot miss.

Posted in Daily Flash By Guy Davies