Sébastien Bobinet “Échalier”, Saumur-Champigny 2011 @La Buvette

The main complaint people seem to have with Cab Franc is that it can really taste green pepper-y, and even they will get down with this stuff. Older sister to Greta Carbo, aunt of Amateus Bobi, Bobinet has done it again. This guy makes amazing wine-  all Cab Franc. It’s awesome to be able to taste the progression in his wines, not only for the grape’s character but for Bobinet’s tastes.

The young woman quietly hanging out behind the bar is Camille Fourmont. She owns and runs the shop, an unassuming hole-in-the-wall for passers-by, friends, wine geeks, anyone looking for a genuine place to hangout. After walking in and being blown away by her wine selection (I recognized a few of my all-time favorites and the rest I’d never heard of), I knew I was in the right place. And she picks all the wine. Later I realized that she may in fact be a source of inspiration for a few importers here in the NorthEast, who are looking for quirky, natural wines from small producers in lesser-known areas. What an incredible position to be in.

We stayed for hours, delaying other plans several times in favor of a round of oysters, salumi and truffle butter, another glass, and more conversation. We had been to a chocolaterie earlier (can’t remember at the moment), and I found a few semi-melted chocolates in my bag. My friends laughed, but I had saved them just in case. I thought to give one to Camille as a gesture of thanks- at this point we had been there for a while, laughing and arguing, tipsy and euphoric vacationers. I placed one next to the bar, thanking her for putting up with our boisterousness. She shrugged, smirked and said “I barely noticed”.

On our way out, a particularly obscure white wine on the shelf caught my attention. When I asked about it, she rattled off about the bottle as if it were her cousin. It’s such a different experience knowing that she cares about each and every wine in the shop.  As a wine geek, knowing that the wine is selected by one person makes it more interesting to taste, to compare, and understand the spectrum and character at La Buvette. As a guest, it makes all the difference in the level of trust I have. I hope this place sticks around. It’s the kind of timeless spot we need more of.

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