Les Jardins de la Martiniere 3-Pack
Anjou, France

Helmed formerly by the legendary Xavier Caillard, infamous for his insanely long elévages, and now taken over by a Japanese investment company called Nichifutsu Shoji, who have hired Hirotake Ooka to oversee the project (so many names!), this is the first batch of wines from the beautiful estate’s new proprietors. Released quietly late last fall here, the wines have no doubt sold out everywhere, but are truly meant to be tucked away for a long rest in the cellar. 

Shi Ro 2018
Chenin Blanc

Ko Ki 2018
Cabernet Franc

Akane No Oka 2018
Cabernet Franc


Clos Fantine Tradition 2008
Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre
Languedoc, France

GSM of a high rustic order from the Andrieu sisters’ 2008 vintage—early southern sans-soufre pioneers of the Faugères AOC.


Fabrice Monnin (Mazière) G21
Grenache Noir (cire noire)
Corbières, France

Grenache Noir from the elusive Fabrice Monnin’s 2021 vintage—sexy, sleek, deep, elegant. Put on your best clothes for this bottle, and share it with someone you care about.


Hirotake Ooka Saint-Joseph 2012
Rhone, France

For some reason, there seems to be a whole camp of natural wine drinkers that are afraid of Syrah. While I probably fell into that sect during my ‘youthful days’ of binging natty (too dark, not light enough, too high in alcohol), I started to realize that in the grand scheme of things, cépage absolutely never matters. To say one doesn’t like Syrah, or Cab Sauv, or whatever, kind of just doesn’t make any sense—it’s just like being a picky child. If you are devoted to the pursuit of natural wine, you are ultimately going down a path of flavors and textures never experienced before, and you realize that thats part of the beauty of the whole thing. Anyways, Hirotake Ooka (pronounced OH-KAH—I was corrected many times in Japan), a former student of Thierry Allemand, and even while getting kicked out of France for visa issues, has established himself as one of the greats of the grape. Saint-Joseph 12, technically VdF and declassified, just the way we like it, is about as natty and yet elegant as it gets.


J-F Chéné Amazones 2008
Chenin Blanc
Anjou, France

A late pick of Chenin Blanc from one of the absolute masters of the game, who stopped making wine after the 2018 vintage, and whom the Japanese only seem to care about. Amazones was bottled in 2017 after nine years of untopped elévage, and yet the oxidative qualities are more integrated and less obvious than one would think. This is a powerful wine and an absurdly good expression of nobly rotten Chenin Blanc that is truly quite unlike anything else. It is recommended to open at least an hour before drinking, and the wine, as rich and concentrated as it is, will stay good for weeks after opening.


Saurigny 21 2-Pack
Anjou, France

Piu 2021
Red & White Blend

Grold 2021
Chenin Blanc

2021 sees Jerome Saurigny hitting form once again, after—although I wouldn’t say lackluster—but maybe not the most inpsired 2020 vintage. Piu is classic Sau stylings, an insanely aromatic cocktail like tonic vinified infusion style that makes it impossible to tell whether this wine is made up of majority red or white grapes. It doesn’t really matter, though as it’s simply delicious. Grold is maybe the more enigmatic of the two; Chenin showing its wild ginger side. A year or so ago this felt a little more delicate, but recently more muscular and nonetheless insanely drinkable.


Anders Frederik Steen
Parfois je monte... (L. PN.18)
Pinot Noir, Alsace + Ardeche, France

Oh Anders, you confuse me. To be fair, this is as experimental as it gets with liquids meant to be put into one’s body that I’m pretty sure don’t do (that much) harm—Pinot Noir chez Bannwarth pressed directly and raised untopped—a sort of vin jaune in the style of Steen’s previous master Jean-Marc Brignot. But where Brignot’s oxidative white wines (the top tier Jura IMO) sit aplomb with fruit, an integration that only few are capable of, like say in J-F Chéné’s l’02 Vigne cuvée—just masterful—or Schueller’s Zero Default, Steen’s wine here feels less fruit forward, relying mostly on its combination of an oxidative halo and an acidic backbone, leaving me searching for the pleasure I get from those other said wines. That’s not to say this is bad wine—it’s not at all, but considering the hype around these wines, from, to be fair, mostly younger drinkers, I’m left scratching my head sometimes, waiting for that moment where I’m just completely taken aback from Steen’s wines rather than having to intellectualize them. It did happen once to me at ZJ’s house a couple of years ago when he popped Sweet Beginning of A Better End, a more or less simple but highly soulful GSM blend made with Brignot from 2013 that felt so appropriate coming from its Ardechoise terroir; a grand vin non compliqué.


Yvon Metras
Fleurie 2019
Gamay, Beaujolais, France

It’s difficult to think about a Beaujolais in which northstar wildling Julie Balagny doesn’t exist anymore, but at least we still have one of her mentors, Yvon Metras still producing uncompromising Gamay every year sans fuss—a rare wine that all camps tend to agree on.


Plein Sud 2020 MAGNUM
Trousseau, Jura, France

It’s not that I don’t like the Jura, it’s just that I’m particular, and maybe a little bit fussy about producers and cuvées. I tend to not love a lot of Ganevat, but then there’s what I consider his benchmark red wine, Plein Sud, a near picture perfect Trousseau from the south of the region whose lightness belies its absolutely incredible depth. This is a wine meant to be shared out of magnum, and 20 is already showing superbly.


l’Arbre Blanc 3-Pack
Auvergne, France

Les Orgues 2017
Pinot Noir

Les Fesses 2018
Pinot Gris / Sauvignon maceration

Ma Carotte 2018
Sauvignon Blanc direct press