New to the January Sale:
Big Bold Orin Swift Red
Jos. Christoffel Jr.,
Frederic Magnien &
Best Value from Spain: Petalos
Hot Oregon Re-Stocks &
New Champagne Arrivals
Big Bold Red on the Big Bold January Sale
Orin Swift Goes to France
“Hats off to the team here” – Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate
First release of the winery’s exceptional barrel selection from 60-100 year old vines!
Hedonism in a bottle!
Orin Swift Department D 66 ‘Pharaon’, IGP Cotes Catalanes 2014 750ML ($189.95) Was $136, Now $128 January Sale Special, 15 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 95 points “The top wine is the 2014 IGP Cotes Catalanes Pharaon, and it’s a barrel selection that ended up being an even split of Grenache and Syrah that was aged in 75% new French oak. While the cooler, late vintage didn’t favor Grenache, Richard commented that Syrah excelled, hence the larger portion of Syrah in the blend than normal. About as sexy and textured as they come in the vintage, this beautiful 2014 offers lots of crème de cassis, black raspberry, chocolate and peppery nuances to go with a full-bodied, luxuriously textured, hedonistic slant on the palate. Despite the ripeness level, it stays fresh and lively, with notable underlying structure. Hats off to the team here. This beauty will cruise for another decade.”
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Check out all of the non-Burgundy French wines on the sale below or click here to shop!
In stock & on sale now:
Keep reading to see the new sales!
New to the January Sale
Jos. Christoffel Jr.
Like as in Burgundy, the estates of the Mosel are often interrelated through marriage and succession, leading to a number of wineries that have similar names. Sometimes, as a result, wineries slip through the cracks and aren’t as well-known as they should be.
That’s the case with the Jos. Christoffel Jr. winery, related by marriage to the Prum family. They were a wonderful middle Mosel estate producing traditional wines at incredibly reasonable prices, much like the Merkelbach brothers. Beginning in the 2018 vintage, Markus Molitor will produce wines from the vineyard holdings, which hints at the sheer majesty of the terroir the estate. These rare beauties will last a lifetime in the cellar, but much like the January sale, they will soon be no more…
Quantities limited to stock on hand!
“Kajo Christoffel’s 2014 Erdener Treppchen Riesling Kabinett is clearly characterized by honey-sweet botrytis flavors along with dried fruit and overripe Riesling flavors on the nose. Light in alcohol (7.5%), round and racy on the palate, this is a lush and juicy, very aromatic Riesling with a delicate acidity and a lingering minerality in the finish. Should be cellared for six or ten years.” –Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate
VinopolNote: Erdener Treppchen slops southward, allowing long stretches of exposure. The soil comprises of deep layers of iron-infused slate, steeply terraced from the river’s banks up to the rough and rocky summit of nearby hills. The vineyard’s terrain inspired the name, based off of ‘treppe’, or ‘staircase’, in German.
Mosel Fine Wines 91 points “This offers a beautiful nose of pear, citrusy fruits, brown sugar and herbs. The wine proves quite racy on the palate as lively acidity provides the frame to fresh and zesty fruits. The finish is refreshingly tart, with a nice salty side. Still a bit wild, the wine will gain in presence and elegance at maturity. 2023-2036.”
David Schildknecht-Vinous 90 points “Alluring, site-typical scents of lemongrass, sassafras and tangerine set the stage for a lusciously juicy, invigoratingly tangy, zesty palate impression. The finish is unabashedly sweet but so brightly juicy that it refreshes and calls forth the next sip. The vintage’s A.P. #1, this represents its first-picked fruit. But even then, we’re talking mid-October, so early picking goes only a little way toward explaining the modest degrees Oechsle on which this alcoholically featherweight bottling is founded. The vines themselves and how they are handled – certainly including the yields Christoffel permits – are important factors.”
Mosel Fine Wines 89 points “This offers a very fine and nicely perfumed bouquet driven by flowers, vineyard peach, orange blossom and citrus. The palate is full of finesse and smoke with a mouth-coating mid-palate fruity structure. The finish is at first smooth before some refined smoky and herbal flavors come through in the dry after-taste. 2017-2023”
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VinopolNote on Urziger Wurzgarten: The Urziger Wurzgarten, or ‘spice garden’ is an intensely steep, iron-rich red slate vineyard. Though it’s located right next to the Erdener vineyards, the Ürziger wines are vastly different: the volcanic soils and favorable drainage lead to an earthy, spice-laden, tropical fruit-tinged wine.
Mosel Fine Wines 92 points “This off-dry Riesling was fermented to “only” 8.5% of alcohol and exhibits 29 g/l of residual sugar. The first nose is quite captivating as it offers fresh and zesty flavors of citrus, white peach, flowers, mint and herbs all wrapped up in some spicy fermentation notes and reduction. The wine is light as fresh water and dances on the palate. The whole structure is light and airy. At the moment, the finish is rather smooth and delicate but will gain in precision and depth in a few years’ time. 2020-2035”
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Mosel Fine Wines 92+ points “A rather restrained nose hints at more than exhibits some delicate flowers, smoke and a touch of toffee at first. The wine develops more presence and intensity on the juicy palate as juicy yellow peach comes through. The finish proves juicy as grapefruit acidity brings focus and adds depth and freshness in the after-taste. There is plenty of upside potential in this Auslese in disguise. 2025-2045”
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David Schildknecht-Vinous 92 points “Christoffel is fond of saying that too few Würzgarten Rieslings live up to their name, meaning that they lack spice or herbal pungency (Würze). Leaving aside that “Würz” is actually a corruption of “Wirts” (from the expression for a restaurateur or tavern-keeper), he certainly has a point, and indeed his 2016 Spätlese displays Würze. Candied ginger accents its predominant scents and luscious palate presence of strawberry, apple and Persian melon. Glossy in feel and delightfully delicate, it finishes with invigoratingly incisive hints of cress and crystallized ginger lending counterpoint to the sheer sweet lusciousness of fruit.”
Mosel Fine Wines 92 points “This offers a rather reduced but quite elegant nose of fresh herbs and spices. The wine is nicely juicy and fresh, with some typical scents of brown sugar adding depth to the mid-palate. While being loaded with delicately ripe fruits and zesty flavors, the wine remains elegant and playful in the finish. 2023-2036.”
VinopolNote: Erderner Prälat occupies a mere 2.2 hectares. Entirely south-facing, the vineyard is surrounded by cliffs which insulate the vines – as a result, Prälat is one of the warmest plots in the region. Over time, it has also become one of the most sought-after vineyards. Given the limited space, only a few winemakers have access to the vineyard.
David Schildknecht-Vinous 92 points “In his enthusiasm, Kajo Christoffel makes no attempt to disguise the fact that this “three-star” offering is his favorite wine of the vintage. And atypically, here Prälat delivers animation and primary juiciness comparable to what was observed in the same collection’s wines from Würzgarten or Treppchen. A decadent, musky, heady perfume of lily, narcissus and peony shares aromatic billing with glazed pineapple, candied orange peel, marzipan and green herbal essences. The creamy, glossy palate delivers a delectable corresponding layering of flavors and features enough fresh citrus juiciness to animatingly counteract the wine’s strong sheer sweetness. Licorice and vanilla add to the diversity of a lusciously and soothingly lingering finish.”
VinopolNote: Erdener Treppchen is the counterpart to the Wurtzgarten and has similar red-slate soils that provide the wine with an exotic tone. The Treppchen (little staircase, for the vineyard is so steep that steps were carved into the rock for the workers) produces wines that are typically powerful and compact and require several years of age to show their stuff. Luckily, this wine, direct from the producer’s cellar, is in that window now.
Joel B. Payne–Vinous 92 points “Golden yellow. Rich bouquet of mango, pineapple and nut oil, with a hint of honeyed botrytis. Unctuous apricot flavor shows a flattering creaminess, with elegant minerality providing shape. Deceptively suave finish shows a nice touch of brown spice.”
“This Auslese was picked with a significant portion of fine, “clean” botrytis. Vanilla cream, nut oils and crushed stone on the palate, with a polished mouth feel. There is more than enough acidity to keep the finish aloft here, even if it does not quite (yet?) show the striking complexity or penetration of the best wines here today.” –David Schildknecht [reviewed Jan 2005]
Joel B. Payne 90 points “Pale golden yellow. Smoky aromas of peach pit, honeysuckle and nut oil waft over a hint of brown-spice botrytis. The delicately creamy palate is marked by apricot and exotic spices.Crisp, clean finish balances sweetness with a refreshing citrus acidity.”
Joel B. Payne–Vinous 93 points “Pale golden yellow. Rich aromas of pear nectar, mint and sassafras waft over a hint of honeyed botrytis. The decidedly creamy yet delicate palate is marked by apricot, brown spices and mineral salts. Nut oils join the slate on the long finish.”
Mosel Fine Wines 92 points “This offers a gorgeous nose of pear, passion fruit, almond paste, melon and mirabelle. The wine is beautifully balanced on the palate as clean and juicy scents of fruit lead to a long, delicately medium-bodied finish. More almond and marzipan as well as ripe fruits and some floral elements come through in the after-taste, bringing a nice touch of freshness to this intrinsically ripe but finely sizzled sweet Auslese. Now-2037.”
Joel B. Payne–Vinous 92 points “Pale golden yellow. Exalted aromas of papaya, passion fruit and clove. The rich, creamy papaya fruit is laced with a fine saline minerality. Elegant in spite of its depth. But this wine is still quite closed, even austere.”
Mosel Fine Wines 92 points “Harvested at a cool 100 Oechsle in a prime sector near the Urziger Sonnenuhr, this offer a great nose of cassis and strawberry. A touch of acidity comes through on the palate, which adds depth and presence. The finish is pure and fruity, and leaves a superb sense of creamy yet electrifying sense of silkiness on the finish. Everything is nicely balanced in this beautifully racy Auslese. 2022-2042.” MFW
Importer note: The Christoffel family in Ürzig, is related by marriage to the Prüm family in Wehlen. The estate is run by Karl Josef Christoffel (KaJo) has an extensive library of well-aged wines. All wines are fermented in the traditional 1000 Liter barrels with the natural yeast. This gives the wines a great aging potential.
David Schildknecht-Vinous 92 points “The gorgeous nose here suggests this “three-star” Auslese’s origins on the border with Erdener Prälat. Mint- and sassafras-tinged pear, strawberry and orange anticipate the lusciously juicy impression on a buoyant, glossy palate, where a slick of quince jelly points to the ennobling effect of botrytis. The aforementioned sheer juiciness carries the day on a finish that is very prominently sweet but still manages to refresh, and where mint and licorice add soothing allure while a hint of crystallized ginger lends stimulatingly bittersweet bite.”
Mosel Fine Wines 96 points “A Slightly reduced nose of grilled pineapple, citrus and grapefruit gives way to fresh flavors of anise, flowers and coconut. The wine starts off on the compact side of things as ripe and exotic fruits greet one on the palate. The finish proves deliciously creamy and gains in presence and energy as a joyful touch of acidity come through. This is a very delicate and hugely complex Prälat in the making, which only needs to be left alone for more than a decade in order to blossom. 2030-2065.”
Mosel Fine Wines 94 points “This proves very delicate and rather restrained on the nose as scents of anise, yellow peach, smoke (bacon) and bergamot emerge from the glass. The wine only really reveals its intensity and complexity on the palate after some airing. Yet the finish is airy, light and pure. This terrify effort should develop into a great subtle Auslese in a decade or two. 2025-2050.”
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1976 Vintage: Wine Spectator 96 points “Ripe, powerful; plenty of botrytis.”
Jos. Christoffel Jr. Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Beerenauslese, Mosel 2005 375ML ($89.95) Was $69, Now $59 January Sale Special, 15 half-bottles in stock now
2005 Vintage: Wine Spectator 98 points “Lush, ripe Rieslings at all quality levels; acidity, though low in some, balances richness in most.”
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New to the January Sale
A Magnien Clos de Beze Vertical
When Frederic Magnien speaks to you about his wines, there is a light and clarity to his message and visage. His cellars, his notes, and even his haircut are neat, precise. In a land with so much history and tradition, where eccentricities occasionally translate into cache among consumers, how does Magnien harness such precision, and still make wines that have an element of magic inside each bottle? It might all come down to a broken down campervan in Australia.
Magnien was well on his way in Burgundy as 5th generation in a vigneron family, but felt the need to explore the new world to see the other side of the coin. Working with Josh Jensen at Calera, stranded at Bannockburn with Gary Farr after the aforementioned van blew up, Frederic learned that when working with spectacular sites, new world winemakers need precision in the cellars to isolate what made each plot so unique. The true advantage to Burgundy, he realized, was the centuries of understanding of what was underfoot at home. Magnien brought these cellar practices back to Burgundy, where he insisted on separate cuvees from the vineyard holdings spread all across the region. His understanding of the potential magic of each vineyard site grew exponentially, and the wines of the Magnien family developed a purity and expressiveness that was somewhat muted before.
His description as an alchemist of the vineyards of the Cote d’Or is apt. The wines are quite precious and age beautifully. Indigenous yeasts reflect the essence of Burgundy, but the further isolation of individual climats within vineyards allows him to offer a unique take on each offering. He uses quality barrels, but the use of new oak is limited, and the fruit shines in its youth. Unfined and unfiltered at bottling, there is certainly room for magic to happen inside the confines of that bottle, and it usually does. Now you can experience it, too.
In Stock and On Sale Now from Frederic Magnien:
Frederic Magnien Chambertin-Clos de Beze Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2011 750ML ($319.95) Was $249, Now $219 January Sale Special, 6 bottles in stock now
Stephen Tanzer 92-94 points “(the parcel Magnien works with stretches from the bottom to the top of the cru; a substantial percentage of millerandage resulted in a very low yield and low pH in 2011, according to Magnien): Good bright, full red. Aromas of black cherry, raspberry, licorice, menthol and flowers. Highly concentrated and well delineated, with superb energy and lift to the flavors of red berries, spices and dark chocolate. Very rocky and precise on the finish, with firm tannins currently shutting down the fruit. Still an infant but shows outstanding potential.”
The next best price is $290
Frederic Magnien Chambertin-Clos de Beze Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2012 750ML ($319.95) Was $279, Now $228 January Sale Special, 7 bottles in stock now
Stephen Tanzer 94 points “Medium red. Alluring perfume of raspberry, rose petal and high-toned cardamom spice. Broad, rich, dense and fine-grained yet somehow weightless, displaying powerful mineral support to its red berry and exotic spice flavors. The bracing, resounding finish features pronounced soil-driven salinity and a hint of youthful bitterness. Magnien predicts that this will be the last of his 2012 négociant wines to reach full maturity. Superb Burgundy.”
Frederic Magnien Chambertin-Clos de Beze Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2013 750ML ($319.95) Was $279, Now $228 January Sale Special, 6 bottles in stock now
Stephen Tanzer 92-95 points “Bright, full red. Sexy high-pitched perfume combines red cherry, blood orange, lavender, red rose and spearmint. Juicy but youthfully imploded, showing more aromatic complexity than pliancy of texture today. Crunchy flavors of crushed red fruits, spices and licorice are lifted by fresh rose. A very long, scented wine of great finesse, but in need of a decade of patience to fully express itself.”
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The next best price is $279.99
New to the January Sale
Charlopin Grand Cru Superstars at Premier Cru Prices
Philippe Charlopin started his winemaking mark in Gevrey Chambertin as one of the new emerging class of dynamic wine growers. He has developed a big following in the US with his more modern style, and his holdings include some of the best vineyards in the Cote d’Or. We just added three of his 2013 Grand Crus to our January Clearance Sale at prices equal to a good premier cru from many other growers. These are incredible deals, but limited to the case (or less) we have of each wine.
In Stock (For Now) & On Sale:
Domaine Charlopin Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2013 750ML ($249.95) Was $199, Now $189 January Sale Special, 12 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 94 points “There’s a lot of oak here, lending char, vanilla and whisky elements to the core of black cherry and black currant flavors. Fresh and firm, though the finish absorbs the oak better than the initial attack. Vibrant and long, this just needs time to integrate. Best from 2020 through 2036.”
Domaine Charlopin Chambertin Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2013 750ML ($349.95) Was $299, Now $249 January Sale Special, 5 bottles in stock now
Burghound 93-95 points “Dont miss! Reduction flattens the fruit. Here too there is excellent volume and almost painful intensity to the broad-shouldered, concentrated and mineral-driven flavors that culminate in an explosively long, driving and highly persistent finish. This is a seriously impressive effort and as it often is chez Charlopin, it’s the best wine in the range in 2013.”
Domaine Charlopin Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2013 750ML ($249.95) Was $199, Now $179 January Sale Special, 12 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 94 points “Bright and focused, exhibiting spicy black cherry, raspberry, earth, smoke, vanilla and toast aromas and flavors. Bracing acidity offsets the lush texture, driving this to a long, expansive finish. Best from 2019 through 2030.”
Domaine Charlopin Clos Saint Denis Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2013 750ML ($249.95) Was $189, Now $179 January Sale Special, 8 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 94 points “Draws you in, with beautifully fragrant cherry, floral and spice aromas. The oak spice is more dominant on the palate, integrating with the cherry and blackberry fruit and lush texture. Impressive and should come together with time. Best from 2020 through 2034.”
Burghound 92-94 points “A restrained, elegant and airy nose displays both red and blue pinot fruit as well as plum and spice nuances. There is good richness and tension to the medium-bodied and velvety flavors that possess fine mid-palate density, all wrapped in an energetic and refined finish where a touch of mocha surfaces. While this will almost certainly repay extended cellaring it should also be a reasonably good candidate for enjoyment young.”
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Alvaro Palacios’ “Descendientes J Palacios” project in Bierzo makes some of the most captivating wines in Spain at hard to believe prices. Rich yet elegant and bright, these are captivating wines at insane prices for their quality. The Petalos bottling, in particular, is an absolute bargain—there’s a very serious wine in that bottle with the under $20 price tag.
In Stock Now:
Descendientes de J. Palacios ‘Petalos’, Bierzo 2015 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Case-12 Descendientes de J. Palacios ‘Petalos’, Bierzo 2015 750ML ($249.95) $189 special (that’s only $15.75/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 92+ points “The entry level 2015 Pétalos del Bierzo, their regional wine, in the new official category that will start working in the appellation from the 2017 vintage, a blend of many different vineyards planted with field blends, where the breakdown might come to some 5% white varieties (Valenciana/Doña Blanca, Godello and Palomino/Jerez) and around 1% other reds (Pan y Carne, Negrada and Gran Negro), all from vines ranging between 40 and 90 years of age on slopes (half of the grapes around the village of Corullón and the remainder in the rest of Bierzo). It’s a showy, approachable, aromatic and open version of Pétalos, and as I tasted it later on in the season, it felt more polished and round, with a lush texture. It’s extremely aromatic, in a way similar to the 2012. This is always one of the best values not only of Bierzo but for the whole of Spain. 310,000 bottles and 2,000 magnums produced.”
Hot Oregon Re-Stocks &
New Champagne Arrivals
Limited availability – last chance!
Cameron Winery Massale Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills 2015 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Winery note “In the late 19th century, Mssr. Paul Masson emigrated to California from Burgundy, bringing with him a treasure trove of Pinot noir closes which he planted as a traditional massale (random assortment of clones). In 1940, Masson sold the estate to local businessman Martin Ray. When Ray sold the estate to Seagrams in 1943, he gathered budwood from throughout Masson’s massale and planted it in the hills above Saratoga. With this effort, he literally saved the most important collection of Pinot noir clones in the Western Hemisphere (some years later, Seagrams plowed under the historic vineyard). Part of Cameron Winery’s Clos Electrique vineyard is composed of vines collected 33 years ago from this fabled massale. This limited production wine is made exclusively from those vines.”
Our hottest Willamette Valley Pinot!
Scott Paul La Paulee Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2013 750ML ($39.95) $18 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 91 points “Deep red. Bright and energetic on the nose, displaying intense red berry and blood orange scents, along with candied rose and allspice highlights. Silky, sweet and incisive on the palate, offering juicy strawberry and floral pastille flavors and a spicy kick of white pepper. Closes very long and nervy; fine-grained tannins lend shape and closing grip.”
Wine Enthusiast 91 points “Sophisticated and subtle, this lovely wine expresses varietal elegance, with a bouquet of roses and raspberries to begin. The jumble of pretty fruits is framed with citrus peel and a dusting of chocolate.”
The next best price is $19.89
“Monumental” “Beguiling beauty”
Dom Ruinart Rose Millesime, Champagne 2002 750ML ($349.95) $219 special
Antonio Galloni 96+ points “A mysterious, beguiling beauty, the 2002 Dom Ruinart Rosé boasts fabulous intensity and pure resonance. Tangerine, exotic spices, mint, crushed rose petals and sweet red berries blossom in the glass. Still, my impression is that the 2002 is holding back much of its ultimate potential, as it remains tight and much less expressive than so many other wines of the year. When the 2002 finally emerges fully, it is going to be truly monumental.” [Review is for Sept 2012 disgorgement]
Wine Spectator 95 points “($350) This is subtle up front, with delicate aromas and flavors of pink grapefruit granita, pickled ginger, spun honey and biscuit. The smoky underpinning of minerality gains momentum, riding the lacy mousse to a fresh and persistent finish. Drink now through 2027. 92 cases imported.”
James Suckling 95 points “With a true “eye of partridge” nose, this has the boldness of the 2002 vintage and is unique in that the wine is based on 80% chardonnay as a top rosé Champagne. The aromas are floral with sweet decayed rose hip and a clear toasty edge showing through, as well as fine wild red fruits and some peach and stone fruits. There’s a completely unique style here in terms of the chardonnay making a statement of gentle nougat, while some dried red berries lurk beneath. The palate has precise, sleeve-like long texture and is really focused and even. The freshness is startling, meanwhile, and this really looks very young and unevolved. There’s some very gentle tannin in the mix here, adding nutty toasted hazelnut elements on the finish. Acidity is pronounced and, having the last say, keeps everything really fresh. Drink now.”
The next best price is $234
The average price is $324
“[The Yellow Label Clicquot] has moved up dramatically in quality from where it was ten years ago and is a harbinger of even better things to come from this Grand Maison in the not too distant future.” –John Gilman
Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($69.95) $36 special
Wine & Spirits 91 points “[Reviewed Dec 2018] This latest release of Yellow Label impressed our panel with the clarity of its flavors and their concentrated intensity. It’s rich and substantial, a meal in a glass, with flavors of cider apple, salty lemon and bitter lime pith. A satisfying aperitif.”
Wine Spectator 91 points “[Reviewed Nov 2018] A well-cut and lacy Champagne in an elegant, aperitif style, with hints of chalk and graphite underscoring the lively Honeycrisp apple, cherry and lemon curd flavors. Offers a sleek, minerally finish. Drink now through 2021.”