Easthope Winegrowers and a couple of Loire icons
Dhall & Nash wine distributor, a joint venture of Puneet Dhall and Brandon Nash established in 2007, now grown to a very impressive portfolio of quality, rare and trendy wines, representing over 70 wineries from all around the world. I recently received four bottles of samples from D&N: Alphonse Mellot Sancerre La Moussiere Blanc 2019, Domaine des Pothiers La Colline Em Flamme Chardonnay 2020, Easthope Family Winegrowers Two Terraces Vineyard Chenin Blanc 2020 and Home Block Syrah 2020.
Alphonse Mellot - The Mellot family history goes way back, as far as XVI century, local records mentioned the Mellot family produced wines of excellent quality. Today, this century-old winemaking tradition is perpetuated by Alphonse Mellot, father and son. Their wines are made from the upper Sancerre vineyard. The Domaine la Moussiere comprises one single vineyard of over thirty hectares. Its ideally exposed location on the south-western tip of Sancerre, its chalk soil and its specific sub-soil are all perfect conditions for the cultivation of the vine. The wine represents finesse, showing delicate fruit and a refined mineral line with a long finish. Mellot is the only estate in Sancerrois to have the prestigious "hors concours" (beyond competition) distinction bestowed upon them, and the La Moussière vineyard is their cornerstone.
Domaine des Pothiers - Located in the village of Villemontais, in the Massif Central, under the Upper Loire appellation Côte Roannaise of the Loire Valley. It's very inland, located in the south part of the river, much closer to Lyon than Nantes; underneath lies mountains of granite, stretching right the way across to the hill of Hermitage in the Rhône Valley, especially favourable to Gamay. The Pothiers family has been in the Loire for centuries, raising cattle and cultivating vines. The recent generation has been practising biodynamic in the 21-hectare vineyard. La Colline En Flamme - "The hill in flame" refers to the superbly sited plot where the Chardonnay vines are planted at Domaine des Pothiers.
Easthope Family Winegrowers - Five silhouette images on their wine labels represent Rod Easthope and his wife Emma and three young sons. Rod and Emma are originally Hawke's Bay locals, and they are no strangers to the wine industry. Emma has worked at Stonyridge Winery and Martinborough Vineyard. Rod, as Head Winemaker at iconic Craggy Range. After the 2012 vintage, they quit their dream jobs and started their family operation, seeking no approval of classically accepted standards, but to tell their unique story from the soil to the bottle is their philosophy. The Chenin Blanc is sourced from the Two Terraces Vineyard in Maraekakaho, owned by innovative growers Ian and Linda Quinn. The Home Block vineyard is located in the Mangatahi sub-region, inland with 150 metres elevation. The use of 100% whole bunch of the Syrah created an immensely fragrant wine, and if there's an Eau De Parfum of Easthope Home Block Syrah, I will be using it everyday!
Read my reviews in the expansions below.
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Alphonse Mellot Sancerre La Moussiere Blanc 2019, FranceSauvignon Blanc from France - LoireReview Date : 19-Oct-2021Bright, pale yellow with a slight green hue, even colour throughout. The nose is gentle and lifting, with flinty minerals overlaying aromas of ripe lemon, grapefruit and zest, white spice, floral and a suggestion of green mango. Medium-bodied, aromas of lemon, grapefruit, and zest interweave a hint of peach and blossom followed by prickling white spice, lingering with crushed rocks and flinty minerals. The mouthfeel is almost chalky, along a smooth, oily flow carrying delicate spice and minerals through the palate. The fruit is ripe with an excellent balance of weight and soft acidity. This is an immensely elegant, textural Sancerre with balanced fruit, floral and flinty mineral details. Match with shellfish and goat's cheese tart over the next 3-4 years. 100% Sauvignon Blanc from a single vineyard in Loire Valley, fermented to 13% alc. 18.5+/20 pts (94 pts) Oct 2021 RRP $60
Domaine des Pothiers La Colline En Flamme Chardonnay 2020, FranceChardonnay from France - LoireReview Date : 19-Oct-2021Bright, yellow with a gold sheen, slightly lighter edged. The bouquet is softly penetrating stonefruit, citrus, white blossom and a hint of mineral. Medium-bodied, the palate is mineral-driven, entwined with white peach, lemon and pink grapefruit, rich white floral enriched the presence along with graphite. The palate is crisp and crunchy, reflecting acid tension and mineral textured mouthfeel. The fruit is pure with balanced ripeness and acidity. This is a neat Chardonnay with pure fruit expression, rich floral and a crunchy mineral line. Match with butterfish and pork dumplings over the next 3 years. 18.5-/20 pts (92 pts) Oct 2021 RRP $33
Easthope Family Winegrowers Two Terraces Vineyard Chenin Blanc 2020, Hawke’s BayChenin Blanc from New Zealand - Hawke's BayReview Date : 19-Oct-2021Bright, even, pale straw-yellow with some depth. The bouquet is alluring, gently filled the glass with stonefruit, pineapple, citrus zest entwined with ginger and magnolia. Medium-light bodied, aromas of apricot, pineapple, melded with lemon and its zest, along with ginger, blossom and stony minerals. The fruit shows purity and is poised and concentrated, leaving a long, lingering finish. Mouthwatering acidity provides focus, persists on the palate along a crunchy mineral line, slightly chalky in texture. This is an elegant Chenin Blanc features pristine fruit, acid precision and minerals. Match with oysters and blue cod with beurre blanc over the next 5+ years. Handpicked, whole bunch pressed, wild-fermented to 13.5% alc, matured in concrete egg. 18.5+/20 pts (94 pts) Oct 2021 RRP $40
Easthope Family Winegrowers Home Block Syrah 2020, Hawke’s Bay Syrah from New Zealand - Hawke's BayReview Date : 19-Oct-2021Deep, full, dark purple with a ruby hue, lighter on the rim. The nose is gentle full, structured and youthful, aromas of plums, black raspberries entwined with herbaceous stalks and violets, unfolding liquorice and delicate peppery dusting. Medium-full bodied, complex aromas of red plums, black raspberries enlivens by black pepper, violets; deep nuances of liquorice unfold, followed by herbaceous, fragranced element. The mouthfeel is elegant, fine-grained tannin extraction leaving a firm yet velvety grip, unveiling spices and framed a fine structure. Lacy acid precision draws a long, lingering fragranced finish. The wine is perfectly balanced between freshness, delicate fragrance and richness of fruit and herbal presence. Match with Provencal lamb and wild boar over the next 8 years. Handpicked, 100% whole bunch pressed and fermented to 13.5% alc, basket pressed and matured in French oak puncheons for 12 months. 19/20 pts (95 pts) Oct 2021 RRP $45