"Les Gruches from Bobinet was my gateway into Chenin Blanc. This wine showed me the versatility and power this grape has and I've never looked back. It's now my favourite variety and it's because of this wine." - Pete L
'Producing wine without destroying nature or harming mankind, using the simplest and healthiest means.'
This is the mantra that Sébastien Bobinet and Emeline Calvez live by. They are the heart of Domaine Bobinet, situated in Saumur, between the banks of the Loire and the surrounding hills. From the outset, their approach has been one of natural winemaking, working hand in hand with the innate ecology of the vineyard, rather than trying to impose their will on it.
The Domaine was founded in 2002 when Sébastien took over 1.8 hectares of vineyard from his maternal grandparents. He is the seventh generation in a long line of family winemakers. Initially he grew 1.5 hectares of Cabernet Franc, with just 0.3 hectares of Chenin Blanc. But over time he has expanded the Domaine, adding an additional 2 hectares of Cab Franc in 2010, as well as planting Pineau d'Aunis, Gamay and Cot. After his partner Emeline joined the estate in 2011, Domaine Bobinet took a new turn, opening up to the international market, and expanding the winery and cellar door.
Everything that Sébastien and Emeline do in the vineyards and winery is by hand. They eschew the use of any kind of chemical treatments in the vines, and abstain from using harsh, automated machinery in the winery.
'We try to stay as close as possible to the grape itself and what it brings us naturally,' says Sébastien. 'Working in this way requires a greater investment of labour, time and energy, and also calls for a higher level of risk-taking compared to conventional winemaking.'
But the results are definitely worth it. The purity and elegance seen in the wines from Domaine Bobinet are simply exceptional. As Pete said, Les Gruches was his gateway into Chenin. I think they should be your gateway too, not just for Chenin, but for incredible, natural wines from the Loire. Don't miss them.
2019 Domaine Bobinet Poil de Lievre Chenin Blanc - $57.00 single / $48.45 in any six
The second time we've seen this wine from Domaine Bobinet. Poil de Livre uses their younger vines, picked much earlier than Les Gruches. The fresh younger sibling to Les Gruches' linear precision. Give this some air before diving in! - Pete L
2018 Domaine Bobinet Les Gruches Chenin Blanc - $93.00 single / $79.05 in any six
Old vines over pure limestone, pressed directly to old oak and aged on lees for 16 months. Waxy golden delicious apple, mineral drive and a honeyed richness. There's some breadth to the palate but the citrus like acidity keeps everything in check. Decant and let it come up to (cool) room temp for the best experience. Forget food for thought, this is wine for thought. - Nick F
2018 Domaine Bobinet Ida Maceration Chenin Blanc - $133.00 single / $113.05 in any six
Ida is a tribute to Sebastian's grandmother who formed a huge part of his journey into wine. It is a maceration of 45 year old Chenin Blanc vines, grapes are de-stemmed and fermented on skins for 3 weeks before elevage for 18 months in sandstone amphora.
2019 Domaine Bobinet Hanami Cabernet Franc - $49.00 single / $41.65 in any six
This is a fun, interesting and highly sought after Natural Wine from the Loire Valley. Domaine Bobinet is among that unique crowd of natural winemakers in the Loire Valley. The Hanami is a funky, bunchy, herbal, earthy wine of medium body and savoury nature. For the more adventurous wine drinker. - Chris L
2018 Domaine Bobinet Ruben Cabernet Franc - $57.00 single / $48.45 in any six
Ruben was first made in 2011 after the Domaine acquired some new vineyards. It's the first wine Emeline and Sebastien made together. Ruben is Cabernet France and sees a 30-day traditional maceration where it is then transferred to barrel and aged for 7 months. It is deep, delicately structured and has plenty of freshness.
2018 Domaine Bobinet Amateus Bobi Cabernet Franc - $80.00 single / $68.00 in any six
Sébastien's first cuvée, Amatéüs Bobi is the estate's “historic” cuvée. The balance between structure and minerality is the signature. Originally from a clay-limestone plot called Bois Blanc planted in 1952, this cuvée has since been enriched by the selection of new vineyards giving a snapshot of the harvest. The grapes are de-stemmed, then macerated for 4 to 5 weeks during which a few punching down and pumping over are carried out which allow an always measured extraction. Aged in barrels for 1 year.
2018 Domaine Bobinet Greta Carbo Cabernet Franc - $110.00 single / $93.50 in any six
The name is a giveaway of the mode of vinification! The Cabernet Franc grapes come from the tiny 60 year old plot Hardouine where the fruit is subtly different to the other cabernets of the Domaine. Here, carbonic maceration gives the wine a singular identity; its silky texture holding a flavour all its own. Vegetal, fruity and peppery, it has a delicate and magical depth on the palate.
Find the Domaine Bobinet range here.
2020 Konpira Maru At Last Perfection Semillon Sauvignon Blanc - $28.00 single / $23.80 in any six
A blend of 50% Semillon & 50% Sauv Blanc and fully oak fermented. Light citrus and tropical notes coupled with an oaky gloss for added dimension. Bright and textural on the palate with lovely fruit weight and shape. Delicious and smashable. – Felix G
2020 Konpira Maru Gymkata Syrah Stubbies 375ml - $16.00 single / $13.60 in any six
This wine screams cool climate Syrah. It's unoaked, unfined, unfiltered and unreal. It's medium bodied with juicy dark fruits, pepper, spice and a certain smoky element to it. - Chris L
2020 Express Winemakers Great Southern Syrah - $33 single / $28.05 in any six
Organic cool climate shiraz with a savoury edge. Black pepper spice and dark blue fruits, silky tannins and a great acid line. These wines seem to be getting better with every vintage! - Nick F
2020 Express Winemakers Great Southern Riesling - $33 single / $28.05 in any six
Aged in a combination of old oak and ceramic egg and under natural flor for 10 months, it’s clearly Riesling, but with a sherried, nutty edge from the flor. It’s a bit of a mind-bender, but I love wines that make you think. This is not your average Riesling, but why settle for average?- Felix G
2020 Ravensworth Long Way Around Gewurztraminer - $34 single / $28.90 in any six
A slightly skinsy Gewurz with help from Jo Perry of Dormilona and AJ Hoadley of La Violetta. Classic rosewater on the nose, with a generously textured palate filled with exotic fruit. Everyone always ask, 'I’m having spicy Thai for dinner, what should I drink?' This. – Nick F
2020 Ravensworth Long Way Around Tamar Valley Pinot Noir - $41 single / $34.85 in any six
Another of Brian Martin’s series working with fruit from different Australian regions. This Pinot comes courtesy of Two Tonne’s own Ricky Evans. Fresh red berries, vibrant and layered, amazing value from some of the country's best winemakers. – Nick F
See the latest Fresh Drops here.
'Faurie is currently making the best wines of his career, which is now well into its fourth decade.' - Josh Reynolds, Vinous
Bernard Faurie has certainly cemented his status as one of the legends of the Northern Rhone. He is the fifth generation in a long line of Hermitage producers, who have owned vines on 'The Hill' since 1935. These vines are now well over 100 years of age, and produce wines of incredible transparency, even in riper years.
Bernard’s parcels are spread among three principal vineyards of Hermitage: Bessards, Méal, and Gréffieux. From these, he produces several single site cuvées, as well as blends across all three. He works his vines as naturally as possible, using a horse to plough, and makes wine in the classic manner - no de-stemming, whole bunches crushed by foot, natural fermentation, no fining and only a light filtration if necessary. The wines are aged for up to 24 months in predominantly 600 litre demi muids, with only 10-30% new oak, depending on the vintage.
It is nice to be reminded of how great this storied terroir can be in the hands of a master vigneron.
See the collection here.
Il Palazzone Le Due Porte Brunello 2015
A small producer based in Montalcino, Tuscany, Il Palazzone consists of a tiny 10 acres spread across three sites. All work in the vineyards is carried out organically, with sustainable practices utilised throughout the winery and cellar.
Their star vineyard is Le Due Porte which directly surrounds the winery. Previously all three vineyards have been vinified separately, then blended together to create their estate Brunello di Montalcino. However in 2015, the fruit coming from Le Due Porte was so good, that a single vineyard wine was produced.
See it here.