Last night, SJ brought in M. Christian Chabirand from Prieure La Chaume who has a story that is unusual in a lot of ways. He’s an oenologist (not unusual for a winemaker) that after gaining much experience around the world, went back to France and found a place which was not yet identified by the INAO as having the best terroirs for growing wine grapes.The site itself was an island 300 years ago and now sits about  25 kilometres from the sea about halfway between the Medoc and the Loire. Technically it is the southern most vineyard of the Loire Valley.

The soils have proven to be wonderfully rich and are farmed using certified organic methods. Christian calls his wines, “wines of memory”. They are hand-crafted and carry the memory of both the vintage (time) and the terroir (place) where they were grown.

We had a lot to talk about and I felt a real connection with this man who is clearly an artist. His medium is different from mine, but he operates with the same passion and modesty that I bring to my own work. It was so wonderful to be able to share his wines and learn about them straight from the horse’s mouth!

We tasted:

La Chaume Prima Donna 2012

A brilliant clear gold blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, it smells of fresh-cut Macintosh apple and carnation flowers. Like a fresh-baked apple pie. Lush, bright attack that opens to chewy apple fruit with an orgasmic mouthfeel… silken and velvet. It’s made using no barrels and no malo-lactic fermentation and yet it’s incredibly complex. Crazy, Perfect for this time of year. A must try for anyone. +764117 $$

La Chaume Bel Canto 2012

I’ve served previous vintages of this wine at Bibo because it’s 100% Merlot and everyone knows how much I adore a great Merlot. It shows a velvet dark mid-ruby hue. The nose is a complex mix of roast meat and veg and Christmas cakes. It’s spicy, sweet and savoury, like walking into mom’s house on Christmas day. Rabelais wrote of wines of memories and this is just that. I get notes of cigar and comfy old wool sweater and my mind is filled with images as I take in all the aromas. The attack is dry and open with sweet red licorice notes that stick to the teeth. A long, dry, expressive, complex palate with a never-ending finish that makes you want more. Dreamy. Truly. +764119 $$

La Chaume Orfeo 2008

Deep, dark, mysterious lake of ruby. Dark aromas that pluck at the strings of memory. Cassis, baby powder, turmeric and fenugreek all make an appearance on a canvas of salt air. Sexy, strafing attack that makes the teeth itch. Big open tannins with giant fruit and well-balanced acidity. Black licorice and Christmas cake. Grippy and delightful. The finish goes on and on…+763059 $$ 6 packs.

La Chaume Rigoletto 2010

Bright silken, deep black ruby hue. Aromas of purple alfalfa, wet clay, beach ball, hot summer’s day, squashed pin cherries and black currant fruit and black licorice. Nin Jom cough syrup, herbaceous and rich. Wildly silken mouthfeel that opens gracefully to smoky notes of iodine and buttered rum. Deep earthy, beautiful wine with real staying power. +764118 $$$

On days like this when I’m gifted with the opportunity to taste such magical, wonderous wine… I really love my job.

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