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Phillippe Chevarin, “Les Sentinelles” 2017

Phillippe Chevarin, “Les Sentinelles” 2017

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Here we have a pristinely balanced and juicy red from a place made famous by its briny, refreshing whites. On the western end of the Loire Valley, where the Atlantic Ocean feeds into the historic river’s mouth, Muscadet (grape: Melon de Bourgogne) reigns supreme. The ideal wine to pair with oysters and selfsame Atlantic fare. Some forty-five minutes inland, Phillippe Chevarin fell out of a life of audio-engineering and into a life of the vine where he has since been making supremely drinkable reds (in addition to one or two white cuvees). He tends 5.3 hectares in an area that would be - if he were to apply for appellation status - in the AOCs Muscadet des Coteaux-de-la-Loire and Coteaux d’Ancenis, about half an hour northeast of Nantes.

Tasting Notes: Ripe, juicy strawberries dominate, with a tangy acidity and a pleasant earthiness underlying the fruit, like foraged mushrooms plucked fresh from the soil. Drink chilled and try not to guzzle the whole bottle down.

Vinification: The 30-year old Gamay vines sit atop soils composed of Schist, Quartz, and Sandstone. The grapes are hand-harvested and undergo a kind of semi-carbonic maceration whereby half of the grapes are whole-cluster fermented without oxygen and the other half are de-stemmed. There is slight pigéage over the course of its fermentation. Unfined, unfiltered, and without additional SO2. 12.5% ABV. 

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