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Clau de Nell Grolleau 2011

Clau de Nell Grolleau 750ml 2011     
Sku: 1851928

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The story of Clau de Nell is one of timing and serendipity. In 2006, Anne-Claude Leflaive – winemaker and owner of the famed Domaine Leflaive in Burgundy – had just established a marketing company to promote and communicate the benefits of biodynamic agriculture and viticulture. While touring biodynamically farmed vineyards in the Loire Valley, she discovered Domaine Clau de Nell. The owners of the estate, Claude and Nelly Pichard were young winemakers who had rapidly established themselves as the “rising stars” of the region. Unfortunately, financial circumstances prevented the couple from producing wines and in 2008, Anne-Claude and her husband Christian Jacques bought the centuries-old Domaine. The estate is located in the village of Ambillou-Chateau in Anjou, France. The estate vineyard is a long contiguous parcel – 19.77 acres to be exact – which is located on a south-facing knoll at 295 feet above sea level. From the top of the vineyard one can see the Loire River and, from a distance, the Atlantic Ocean 75 miles away. The vines are planted on sandstone grit and red flint over tuffeau (the soft limestone indigenous to the region) and range from 30-90 years old. In 2011, Anne-Claude and Christian bought a two acre parcel called “Clos des Noyers” to which they planted Chenin Blanc, and in 2012 they signed a long-term lease for additional Chenin fruit from a two acre, biodynamically farmed parcel located in Saumur. The estate vineyard is primarily planted to Cabernet Franc (12.35 acres), followed by Grolleau (4 acres) and Cabernet Sauvignon (3.42 acres). The Chenin planted in 2012 and 2013 in Clos des Noyers and the leased vineyard will come into production in 2015. In 2009, estate manager Sylvain Potin was hired. He keeps yields at the Domaine low (less than 30 h/h). Harvest is done by hand. The fruit is destemmed prior to cuvaison, which lasts for 20-30 days. The goal is not extraction but proper flavor development – the caps are gently punched down and pump overs are kept to a minimum. The wines age for 18 months in five year old Burgundy oak casks in the estate’s centuries old limestone cellar. The wines are bottled unfined, unfiltered on a fruit day, as defined by the biodynamic calendar. Domaine Clau de Nell is part of the prestigious Renaissance des Appellations association and is Demeter certified as 100% biodynamic.

Tasting notes
A varietal native to the Loire, this wine is true to form, offering a ripe, sweet nose redolent with dark fruit, asphalt and sweet spices. A vibrant core of acidity lends balance and elegance.

 Wine Advocate 87 points (Oct 2014)
Grolleau is - by now-a rare grape variety planted in the Loire valley. The rather high-yielding and early-ripening variety has an accentuated acidity and does not deliver high alcohol. This characteristic makes the former Loire classic interesting for producers such as Anne-Claude Leflaive, Christian Jacques and Sylvain Potin, the joint venture of Clau de Nell who strive for digestible, well-balanced wines with lower alcohol levels. The inky colored 2011 Grolleau is from 60- to 90-year-old goblet vines on a silty-clay terroir, comprising grit and red flint on tufa (limestone). Aged for 12 months on fine lees in fifth-use Burgundy casks and another 12 months on fine lees in vats, the unfined and unfiltered wine shows an attractive, well-balanced bouquet of red and black forest fruits (including elderberries and sloes) intertwined with delicious floral and earthy/fungous aromas. It is a fresh, straight, rather light to medium-bodied, meaty and slightly spicy wine with an accentuated acidity and an unpretentious expression of fruit. The ripe, meaty tannins are exclusively from the skins and give this attractive red a serious expression and a good structure. This wine should be served at 16° C.

Technical notes
Estate grapes from 60-90 year old vines were fermented naturally. The wine aged for 12 months – half in vats and the other half on its fine lees in oak.

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Regional Varietals:
Cabernet Franc
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Cabernet Sauvignon
Regional Wineries:
Baron Bernard Selection
Domaine des Baumard
Les Freres Couillaud
Country: France
Region: Loire
Grape Varietal: Grolleau
Type: Still wine
Reg. $47.99
19% discount, On Sale $38.99
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