Pre Arrival Offer April 2023


Pre Arrival Offer April 2023

Producers included in this offer:

  • Jean-Paul Morel; Verzenay, Champagne
  • JL Vergnon; Le Mesnil sur Oger, Champagne
  • Domaine Lucie Thieblemont; Cremant de Bourgogne, Chablis
  • Domaine Merlin-Cherrier; Sancerre, Loire Valley
  • Domaine Pascal Janvier; Jasnieres, Loire Valley
  • Domaine Alain Chavy; Puligny-Montrachet, Burgundy
  • Santini; Auxey Duresses, Burgundy
  • C. Cayran; Cairanne, Southern Rhone


It feels quite unusual not offering predominately Burgundy in this Pre Arrival Offer. I didn’t think I would enjoy putting the offer together as much, but I have to say it has been truly enjoyable. With 2021 being a bit of a disaster in France, prices have risen across the board but none as much as Burgundy. It is important to note that many producers have increased their 2020 pricing also in order to soften the blow of the disastrous 2021 vintage. We saw flowering begin earlier during the Saint Ice period in April resulting in damaged buds. This started the broad trend of dramatically low yields with different regions experiencing different weather events or agricultural hurdles furthering yield and grape health problems. On top of this, as we have seen in all aspects of production across the globe, dry goods have become increasingly difficult and expensive to obtain.

The positive? 2021s are sensational. Heard differently? So have I, however, I find those that oppose the vintage are either in the American camp of looking for density and concentration over vitality and terroir expression. I cannot stress just how incredibly happy I was to taste through the wines and for my mouth to once again be salivating and to talk terroir with the vignerons. Yes, there has been more dense and structured wines in the previous few vintages but I am particularly enjoying the nuance that is 2021. God bless marginal, difficult years (don’t tell the vignerons I said that!).

The takeaway? Wine is more expensive than ever before and purchasing via the means of pre-arrival etc, to keep the costs down, is more important than ever.

Any questions at all, please get in touch!

Cheers and all the best!

Jono Hersey


Jean-Paul Morel; Verzenay, Champagne

Jean-Paul seems to be everyone's friend. Yes he is an absolute gem of a human and his wines match his character. Based in Verzenay, he is in Pinot Noir territory with most cuvées around 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. That being said, there are fantastic sites for Chardonnay and as such JP Morel makes an exceptional Blanc de Blancs.

As is tradition when we offer these wines, I explain the pricing. These are not cheap Champagnes, they are, using corporate marketing lingo, ‘loss leaders’. We want you drinking JP Morel for your value Champagne instead of sub par, big house Champagne. Unfortunately, the Carte Noire did go up $10 and the Blanc de Blancs went up $6 but this is out of our hands.

NV Champagne JP Morel 'Carte Noir' Brut 
Grand Cru Champagne: 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay | A nose of red apple, cinnamon, preserved lemon, fresh croissant and brioche. A nuance of toffee-apple balanced with taut salinity lifts in the glass as it is exposed to oxygen. The same character of red toffee-apple, preserved lemon and sea spray drives through the palate with a powerfully round, yet fresh structure and persistence.

NV Champagne JP Morel 'Blanc de Blancs' 
Grand Cru Champagne. 100% Chardonnay | Light and bright. Lifted lemon pith, salinity and green apple. A nuance of delicate fresh croissant. The palate has a beautiful airiness to it, akin to the smell of freshly baked croissant wafting through Epernay on a near zero degree spring morning. A long, fresh finish with present but not overpowering minerality.


JL Vergnon; Le Mesnil sur Oger, Champagne

Run by Didier Vergnon and son, Clement (4th and 5th generation respectively), and founded in 1950, this domaine is one of the finest in the Côte des Blancs. With predominantly grand cru sites and a good portion within the infamous ‘Les Chetillons’ vineyard and surrounds, JL Vergnon produces intensely powerful and taunt Blanc de Blancs. It was Didier’s father who believed that mature, clean and ripe fruit was the key to fine Champagne. It enabled them to chaptilize less and use less dosage. They also found it helped translate the terroir of the incredibly white soils of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, in the wine.

“This is one of the top estates in the Côte des Blancs today.” - Peter Liem,

NV Champagne JL Vergnon 'Murmure' 1er Cru Blanc de Blancs 
NV Champagne JL Vergnon 'Murmure' 1er Cru Blanc de Blancs MAGNUM 
50% Vertus 1er Cru, 50% Villeneuve. No malo, fermented and aged in 50% stainless steel and 50% seasoned 400 litre barrels. 36 months on lees. Tasting note: Beautiful crystalline purity. Defined, lifted floral notes with fresh lemon pith. The palate has a fine line of minerality that does not overwhelm but effortlessly carries the detailed fresh citrus and Granny Smith fruit flavours.

NV Champagne JL Vergnon 'Eloquence' Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs 
NV Champagne JL Vergnon 'Eloquence' Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs MAGNUM 
90% Le Mesnil sur Oger, 10% Oger/Avize. No malo, 80% stainless steel with the remainder fermented and aged in seasoned 400 litre barrels. 36 months on lees. Tasting note: White of almond, white floral notes, quite subdued and restrained. There is a whisp of delicate mountain herbs and fresh breeze. The palate is very energetic, pure, mineral, saline and long.

NV Champagne JL Vergnon 'Rosemotion' Grand Cru Rosé 
90% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir. 90% Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, 10% Oger and Avize. No malo, 80% stainless steel, 20% seasoned 400 litre barrels. 36 months on lees.

2011 Champagne JL Vergnon 'MSNL' Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs  | 
2011 Champagne JL Vergnon 'MSNL' Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs JERABOAM 
From entirely within Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. 70% from Les Chetillons, 30% Mussettes. No malo, 100% stainless steel. 84 months on lees. 3g/l. Tasting note: The nose is subdued but laced with brioche, saltiness and butter notes. A wine of breadth but not heaviness. A lovely line of minerality and saltiness.


Domaine Lucie Thieblemont; Cremant de Bourgogne, Chablis

Terroir: It is between Tonnerre and Molosmes, on a Kimmeridgian-type terroir close to that of Chablis. The limestone subsoil and the stony ground, remarkably well drained, ensure the grapes an optimal development. Situation: Added to Burgundy's soil are the advantages of the Champagne climate, with Champagne being only a few kilometers away. On perfectly exposed hillsides - south, south-east - the Pinot Noir vines flourish beautifully and condense the best of the two great wine regions that surround them. In the vineyard: Plowing and tillage to limit inputs. Manual harvest of course! Vinification and elevage: Pressing in pneumatic presses for slow and "gentle" juice extraction. Fermentation - natural alcoholic and malolactic, under regulated temperatures. The base wine is aged for a year before being bottled. It is then kept for two years minimum "on slats". No liqueur is added at the time of disgorging: this Crémant extra-brut is said to be non-dosed, hence its name "BRUT ZÉRO"

NV Lucie Thieblemont Brut Zero Blanc de Noirs 
Huge red fruit energy that jumps out of the glass. Raspberry, rhubarb, strawberry, fennel and mountain herbs. The palate is alive and focused with beautifully defined red fruits. This is seriously fine, exciting fizz - Jono Hersey, FWC


Domaine Merlin-Cherrier; Sancerre, Loire Valley

I think I might, actually, genuinely love Thierry. To this day he may be the happiest man I have ever met and definitely the happiest Frenchman I have ever met! During my last trip we spent a little time in the cellar and knocked the tasting on the head before heading down by the Loire [river] for lunch with a few wines. Then, after a taste at Domaines des Fines Caillottes across the river, we regrouped for dinner at La Tour in the old town of Sancerre. They say you actually lose weight when drinking Sancerre!

2021 Domaine Merlin Cherrier Sancerre Blanc 
2021 Domaine Merlin Cherrier Sancerre Blanc 1500ml  
2020 Domaine Merlin Cherrier Sancerre Blanc 6000ml 
Cut grass, lemon pith, seaspray, gooseberry, classic chalky Sancerre tensions. The palate is tense and straight with an incredible line of razorsharp acidity wrapped in lemon and grapefruit pith.

2020 Domaine Merlin Cherrier Sancerre Blanc ‘Chene Marchand’  

2020 Domaine Merlin Cherrier Sancerre Rouge 
Plum and black cherry with underlying spice. Small griotte berries with particular concentration. The palate is fresh yet full of fruit with a nice firm structure. Decent length.


Domaine Pascal Janvier; Jasnieres, Loire Valley

Pascal looks after no less than 66 parcels of vines covering 9 hectares. The wines are classic in style and are of particular interest, at very reasonable prices. Pascal began his working life as a butcher, turning to the grape life in 1991. Chris Santini of Santini in Auxey-Duresses, put me onto this address. Chris works with Kermit Lynch so the introduction was made.

The Loir estuary sits above the Loire River and is a fertile, beautiful, quieter place to visit than the Loire River. Less touristy, beautiful gardens and quaint waterways. It really is like taking a step back in time. Jasnieres and Coteux du Loir are minute wine regions that are hard to find, both sought after for their structured savoury Chenin Blancs.

Andrew Jefford, The New France...

“Jasnieres and the larger neighbouring AOC of Coteux du Loir. Jasnieres is the cru of these slopes, and it AOC is for white wines based on the Chenin Blanc grape alone, grown on flint, clay and limestone soils into which the tinkling Loir has carved its course. The geology, however, is less important here than topography and latitude: these are, for the late ripening Chenin Blanc, almost arctic conditions, and its cultivation is only possible thanks to south facing slopes and tough minded growers. Great Jasnieres is France’s riposte to Germany’s classical Saar Riesling. These are, in other words, piano wire wines out on the far edge of ripeness. Their apple and grapefruit flavours can have a shocking, jangling intensity; the juices seem drawn from a cold stone well rather than from vines on a sun warm hillside. Yet with late harvesting even these wines can begin to hint at honey and apricot.”

2020 Domaine Pascal Janvier Jasnieres Silex 
Grape Variety: Chenin Blanc. Vine Age: 15-40 years. Terroir: the entirety of Jasnieres is 128 hectares, Pascal’s vines are divided into four plots totalling 2 hectares. The soils consist of limestone, flint and clay.

2021 Domaine Pascal Janvier Jasnieres Silex 
Grape Variety: Chenin Blanc. Vine Age: 15-40 years. Terroir: the entirety of Jasnieres is 128 hectares, Pascal’s vines are divided into four plots totalling 2 hectares. The soils consist of limestone, flint and clay.

2020 Domaine Pascal Janvier Cuvee Henri IV Coteux du Loir Rouge 
Grape Varieties: Gamay, Cabernet, Cot, Malbec and Pineau d’Aunis (60%). (6000 vines per hectare). Vine Age: 20-40 years. Terroir: divided into four parcels in the commune of Ruillé l’Homme. Clay limestone soils.


Domaine Alain Chavy; Puligny-Montrachet, Burgundy

Alain Chavy and his brother Jean-Louis worked together at their father's Domaine (Domaine Gerard Chavy) until 2003 when they decided to split the 12.8 hectare domaine. Alain was left with 6.8 hectares and moved into a house in the heart of Puligny-Montrachet.

Alain built a new underground cellar, the deepest in the village (due to the high water table, no one has historically had a deep cellar like those found in Meursault). At 18 feet deep, the cool long fermentations at Domaine Alain Chavy, completely change the structure and energy of the wine.

Alain runs his incredibly well-heeled collection of vineyards ‘lutte raisonee’. His winemaking philosophy is of a true ‘terroirist’. A combination or 400 litre and 228 litre casks are used. No batonnage. For a couple of reasons; Alain rightly so believes this practice is oxidatively handling the wine. Secondly, he never tries to force flavour as he does not want to muddle the message of the vineyard. Malolactic fermentation starts late and is quite slow. Again, thanks to his deep cool cellars.

The style he is chasing is structured and long-lived White Burgundy that truly shows each wines terroir and charm. Remarkable, 'old school' white wines.

2020 Domaine Alain Chavy Bourgogne Blanc 
One hectare from predominately within Puligny-Montrachet except for one parcel in Meursault.

2020 Domaine Alain Chavy Puligny Montrachet 
Two hectares across various plots in Puligny-Montrachet planted between 1965 and 1974.
While tight and taut with a beautiful sea spray salinity there is an underlying array of complex tropical fruits of rockmelon, dried pineapple, very juicy white and yellow peach. Dry extract.
The palate is tight and muted with discreet power and complexity that drives and builds. Wonderfully aggressive razorblade like minerality.

2020 Domaine Alain Chavy St Aubin 1er Cru 'en Remilly' 
St Aubins premier vineyard, steep and stony. It has a beautiful view of Montrachet, Chevalier Montrachet and counterparts. Brilliant value due to the parcel size.

2020 Domaine Alain Chavy Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru 'Champs Gains' 
0.17 hectare plot planted in 1970. High on the hills above Les Folatieres, it is separated by a forest line. Relatively thin top soil at an altitude between 300 and 360 metres above sea level.

2020 Domaine Alain Chavy Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru 'Clavoillons' 
0.5 hectares planted in 1955. An infamous vineyard as it is one of the most accessible vineyards offered by Domaine Leflaive (who own the lion's share). Alain and his brother Jean-Louis own the rest. It sits below the steep vineyard of Les Folatieres, in between Les Perrieres and Les Pucelles. The resulting wines have a smokiness which needs to dissipate with time in bottle to then reveal more fruit and minerality.

Showing a little more richness with dried fruitsof mango, pineapple and very rip, juicy, white fleshed peach. Sweet spice frame.

The palate is far tighter than the nose leads on. Filled with dried extract and fine minerality. Very long and mouth filling with savoury citrus pith.

2020 Domaine Alain Chavy Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru 'Folatieres' 
1.3 hectares planted in 1982 and 1966. A vineyard favoured by those that adore airy, structured and skeletal White Burgundy. At a 15% gradient, erosion has created a terroir that sits on boney rocks and limestone with a wine to match.

Far tighter, floral and citrus focused than the above. Extremely detailed with an ‘airy’ quality. A lovely ripe lemon zest quality builds with time in the glass. Lemon oil and lifted sea spray.

The palate is muted before releasing an extremely straight, long yet entwined line of citrus pith, aggressive minerality and salinity. Folatieres 101.

2020 Domaine Alain Chavy Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru 'Pucelles'
0.17 hectares planted in 1992. While we talk of premier crus Le Cailleret, Les Folatieres of Puligny and Les Perrieres of Meursault being the grandest for white on the Cote d’Or,  almost everyone will after some thought come back to Les Pucelles as the grandest of them all. Located alongside Batard-Montrachet, Bienvenue-Batard-Montrachet and below Le Cailleret at an altitude of between 230 and 250 meteres, with a gentle gradient of 5%. The vineyard experiences near perfect exposure with brilliant drainage.

2020 Domaine Alain Chavy Chevalier Montrachet Grand Cru 
From a 0.1 hectare plot planted in 1976. I have sung its praises before, but Chevalier-Montrachet while it doesn’t demand the price nor top position that Montrachet does, it delivers the ultimate white wine drinking experience. While not as long lived as Batard-Montrachet or Montrachet, it is ready far earlier. Lodged high between Montrachet and the woodland that crowns the hill, there is less top soil and a distinctly different fault line which introduces a much lighter, almost white, grey soil compared to the more iron rich red soil of Montrachet.


Santini; Auxey Duresses, Burgundy

Chris Santini has quickly become a great friend. I adore his approach to life, he is one of the most welcoming, relaxed and generous people I have met. His cave is based in Auxey-Duresses and is home to many young vignerons from Burgundy and throughout the world. A definite minimal intervention approach, the cave has never seen commercial yeast in its 100 plus year timespan. The vintage house above, fills with all nationalities during harvest, with an open door policy. If you stay you are expected to help in the winery but no minimum required hours are enforced, however if you are handy in the kitchen then you are absolutely expected to cook!

The Santini wines are made from within Burgundy as well as the surrounds, from organic sites. Chris knows the organic growers of France extremely well, his second job is at the Beaune Kermit Lynch office. From the northern limits of Burgundy in Sens and Champlitte, to just north of Provence where he sources Grenache from the vineyard of a friend. The wines are all bright and fresh with intricate acids and bright fruits. Sulphur is used but very sparingly.

2021 Santini Beaujolais Lantignie 'Bastys' 
Words from Chris: “Fred Berne was hit hard by the frost and had no grapes to sell, so he hooked us up with a new neighbor of his, a young vigneron certified organic, who sold us this parcel (Bastys is the parcel name) which sits on pink granite. Vinified with Vin Noe in Jons cuverie in St Aubin. Fermented whole cluster in open wood fermenter, walked on every other day, two weeks maceration, then pressed off with half to barrel and half to stainless tank. Racked back together in May and bottled in June. 

Aromatic and open with some flesh and grip.”

NV Santini Vin de France 'au Vin Rouge!' 
This is the most delicious red wine we have imported since the last Champlitte that we received from Chris. Below is what he has to say about the newly created cuvee.

“This is a blend of equal portions Champlitte (Gamay and Chardonnay coferment), barrel aged, with 2021 Beaujolais (all stainless tank ferment and elevage). 

The Beaujolais half is from a small parcel in the Pierres d'Orees section of southern Beaujolais near Lyon, with a straight up semi-carbonic whole cluster ferment for 2 weeks in tank.”


C. Cayran; Cairanne, Southern Rhone

Cave de Cairanne is a cooperative founded in 1929 in the heart of the Cru’s of Southern Rhone.

A total of 65 growers make up the Cooperative. The key to combining economy of scale and quality is having quality conscious and proud growers who take pride in the fruit they supply the Co-op. This is proven with the majority of their vineyard area being run Organically.

The vines are predominately located in and around the town of Cairanne and mostly facing the Dentelles de Montmirail and Mont Ventoux. They are planted on stony chalk rich clay slopes with well exposed aspects.

In the winery the same mindset of the most artisanal producers is followed. Either minimal or no sulphur, concrete tanks and wines spend time on their fine lees for silkiness and protection against oxygen The results are wines of freshness, personality, texture, silkiness, structure, elegance and finesse. All of this is achieved at some seriously sharp pricing. A very very good effort!

2021 C. Cayran Cotes du Rhone 
A tight and primary nose with a nuance of crushed, dried violets that lift from the enveloping wild black and blue berry spectrum. With time in the glass fruit builds and matches spice and mountain herbs.

The tannins are ripe and wrapped in bright red fruit. There is a lovely 2021 vintage stamp of freshness that is laced around the fruit and structure.