Featured New Arrival: D. la Garrigue’s Finest
A Titan of Burgundy Delivers
Salon / Bereche / Marguet
J. Christoffel Jr in the September Sale
2015 Eisele Estate Cab – Perfect!
The Sweet Spot of Bordeaux
Back Vintage Burgundy at Great Pricing
Ridge Monte Bello 1995 – Rare Winery Cellar Release
A Steal of a Super Tuscan
Top Values from a Top Northern Rhone Estate
The September Sale, In Full
Featuring New Arrivals from Felsina!
“‘The 2015 vintage is the greatest vintage of my career,’ says Carlo Ferrini, the veteran consulting enologist who has made some of the most exciting wines in the region over the last three decades. ‘The weather was near perfect the entire growing season, yet it was our knowledge of viticulture and winemaking that really enabled us to capitalize on this.’
“’The best wines of 2015 have an incredible richness yet maintain freshness and fantastic energy and intensity,’ adds Renzo Cotarella, the general manager of the vast wine holdings of the Antinori family
“The wines above not only highlight how great 2015 and 2016 are as vintages for the region but also the diversity of these great wines. Producers made fantastic wines in almost every winegrowing district — from traditional appellations such as Chianti Classico and of course Brunello di Montalcino to Toscana IGT or even Costa Toscana IGT or Valdarno di Sopra. And don’t forget that many of the whites are also rockin’ quality!
“It’s interesting to think back to a recent pair of great vintages such as 2007 and 2006 in Tuscany and begin to compare them with 2015 and 2016. In general, we think the wines from 2015 and 2016 that we tasted so far seem more precise and better made than those from the last great duo years.” – James Suckling
Felsina Berardenga Fontalloro Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($69.95) $49 special
James Suckling 96 points “This shows serious density and balance with a blackberry, licorice and blueberry character. Medium to full body, firm and silky tannins and a flavorful finish. Sleek and racy. Structured yet wonderfully polished. Drink in 2021.”
The average price is $57
Felsina Berardenga Rancia, Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2015 750ML ($59.95) $45 special
Felsina Berardenga Rancia, Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2015 1.5L ($139.95) $115 special
James Suckling 95 points “Plenty of dark plums, black cherries, blackberry pie, cedar, tobacco and a hint of orange rind. There’s a real vitality to the palate, which is so well carved out by firm, savory tannins and seriously bright acidity. A chewy finish. Drink in 2022.”Casanova di Neri Tenuta Nuova, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2013 750ML ($134.95) $99 special, 14 bottles in stock now, more arriving this fall!
James Suckling 98 points “A vivid and bright red with intense blueberries and raspberries. Floral undertones and tons of citrus, too! Full-bodied, dense and layered. Polished tannins and fantastic fruit. The muscularity of the structure is what gives this wine focus and intensity. So serious for the vintage. Give it time to show its greatness. Drink in 2022.”
Casanova di Neri Cerretalto, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2012 750ML ($399.95) $319 special, 6 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 97 points “The density is so impressive in this great single-vineyard wine of Casanova. It’s full yet agile at the same time. Shows such integrated tannins and fresh acidity at the finish. Energized and focused. Tangy and citrusy. Mineral undertone. One of the great Brunellos of 2012. Better in 2022.”
Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($34.95) $28 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
James Suckling 94 points “What a delicious nose that’s ripe, but also really well defined with dried red plums, hazelnuts, Indian spices, baking spices, cedar, tar and licorice. The dusty tannins are a delight, and so are the dried fruit and spices that warm the palate. They also penetrate all the way through to the long, charcoal-laden finish. Drink in 2021.”
Newly Reviewed Wines Arriving This Month:
Isole e Olena Collezione Privata Chardonnay Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special, ETA Friday, September 21st
James Suckling 94 points “A pretty chard, showing limes, green apples, kiwis, cinnamon and vanilla. Full body, creamy texture with fresh acidity. I like the roundness here. The finish is harmonious and long. Drink or hold.”
Isole e Olena Cepparello Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 1.5L ($179.95) $149 pre-arrival special, ETA Friday, September 21st
James Suckling 96 points “Shows lots of black cherries, cranberry tea, caramelized orange peel, roasted herbs and citrus peel. Full-bodied with ripe and quite round tannins that frame layers of cherries. Bright and fresh, yet rich and long at the same time. The sangiovese character really springs out of the glass. Drink in 2020.”
The next best price is $163.99
The average price nationally for the 750ml is $82
James Suckling 93 points “Shows plenty of red peppers, dried spices, nutmeg and blackcurrants. Full body, ripe and chewy tannins and a medium-long finish. Very well done for the vintage. Drink in 2020.”
The next best price is $74.98
Isole e Olena Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany 2015 1.5L ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($319.95) $259 pre-arrival special (that’s only $21.58/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
James Suckling 93 points “Aromas of blueberries, blackberries and burnt orange follow through to a full body with round yet firm tannins. A lovely, pure finish. Shows focus and finesse. Drink now or hold.”
The average price nationally is $26
James Suckling 98 points “Fantastic aromas of dark berries, sandalwood and Spanish cedar that are ever so deep. Full body, an incredible spin of polished tannins and bright acidity. Incredible depth. Like looking over the edge of a skyscraper. Powerful and structured. A great Tignanello. A little more sangiovese than usual. Best since the legendary 1997?”
Featured New Rhone Arrival
La Garrigue’s Stunning Top Wine
With Hard to Believe Pricing
La Garrigue makes some of the best values in the southern Rhone every year. They specialize in Vacqueyras and we sell a ton of their entry level bottling every year. We just tasted their top cuvee, the Cantarelle and boy is it stunning. Big, rich, powerful and soft, it drinks like a modern Chateauneuf in the $50+ dollar range. We have a mere four cases, just arrived, of this special wine, so if it sounds appealing to you, jump on it fast.
Domaine La Garrigue Vacqueyras La Cantarelle, Rhone 2015 750ML ($29.95) $26 special
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “Saddle leather, chocolate, peppery herbs and savory red and black fruits emerge from the 2015 Vacqueyras La Cantarelle. A blend of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah, it’s a ripe, sexy, concentrated 2015 that has terrific tannin quality, a plump, sumptuous texture, and a great finish. It’s a blockbuster Vacqueyras that readers shouldn’t miss!”
Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2015 Vacqueyras la Cantarelle features wonderfully prominent scents of lavender and bay leaf alongside plenty of raspberry fruit. This medium to full-bodied blend of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah is supple on the mid-palate, then spicy and firm on the finish, gradually growing into an intense yet elegant wine. Drink it now and over the next 5-8 years.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
A Titan of Burgundy Delivers
Dujac is undisputedly one of the top producers of Burgundy and the domaine’s collection of vineyards is impressive by any measure. The wines are incredible—built to last and as complex as the day is long. These are some of the most sought after wines in the world and quantities are extremely limited!
2016s In Stock Now from Domaine Dujac:
Orin Swift Abstract Red, California 2015 750ML ($37.95) Was $24, Now $21.90 Clearance Price
Case-12 Orin Swift Abstract Red, California 2015 750ML ($419.95) Was $259, Now $239 Clearance Price (that’s only $19.92/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 90 points “Moderately complex, though loaded with zesty, supple fruit and offering appealing notes of black raspberry, smoky beef and cracked pepper. Grenache, Syrah and Petite Sirah. Drink now through 2022.”
The next best price is $28.95
The average price is $33
Varner El Camino Vineyard Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County 2015 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
Case-12 Varner El Camino Vineyard Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County 2015 750ML ($299.95) $236 special (that’s only $19.67/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2015 Chardonnay El Camino Vineyard from the Varner brothers is lovely, wafting from the glass with an expressive bouquet of honeycomb, ripe peaches and fresh apricot. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, pure and textural—displaying a touch more mid-palate ripeness than the 2014 rendition—and concludes with a long, saline finish. This is a characterful Chardonnay that represents terrific value.”
The average price nationally is $23
Domaine de L’Edre Cotes du Roussillon Villages 2013 750ML ($49.95) $38 special
Wine Advocate 95 points “One of the wines of the vintage is the 2013 Cotes du Roussillon Villages Domaine de l’Edre. While this cuvee had a rustic edge in the past, today it’s incredibly polished and pure, with brilliant aromatics of cassis, black raspberries, licorice, crushed flowers and chalky minerality. Medium to full-bodied, ripe, yet elegant and balanced, it’s a classic Roussillon that can be enjoyed today or cellared for a decade.”
The next best price is $47.99
Selbach-Oster Pinot Blanc Dry, Mosel 2016 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
David Schildknecht – Vinous 89 points “This bottling now encompasses some vines in Wehlener Klosterberg (epicenter of Markus Molitor’s memorable Pinot Blancs) as well as those long established by the Selbachs in Zeltinger Himmelreich. It’s raised largely in tank, supplemented by fuder. Apple blossom, corn shoot and smoky hints of toasted nuts combine for a pungent nose, which segues into a palate Pinot Blanc-typical in its delightful combination of textural creaminess and fresh apple juiciness. Due to hail in the parcel of Himmelreich where most of this was grown, the Selbachs ended up picking it in two tranches to compensate for late ripening of secondary buds. The upshot is 12.5% alcohol yet a welcome sense of buoyancy, and a tension of richness and tartness that is pleasantly stimulating on the seriously sustained finish.”
Terry Theise note “This is being used by a restaurant group (with impeccable taste!) and for a while Johannes was worried we’d gobble up the supply and leave the group gasping and flopping on the beach. Nah, I’m only a little greedy. The ’16 is a beauty, toasty and mineral, a super vintage for a wine with some qui behind it. It’s steep-slope grown and made in discreet wood, so you get “recognizable” PB flavor but with the mineral energy of slate. There’s a long finish of really clean shrimp-stock, and the salty mid palate suggests just-caught monkfish.”
F.X. Pichler Durnsteiner Liebenberg Gruner Veltliner Smaragd, Wachau, Austria 2015 750ML ($69.95) $48 special
Wine Advocate 93-94 points “The 2015 Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Dürnsteiner Liebenberg comes from 70- to 80-year-old vines on a rare calcareous slate soil. The wine displays a very clear and pure, pretty open and lovely spicy, crystalline and flinty bouquet with ripe pip fruit aromas. Very distinguished and rather coolish in its expression. Full-bodied, round and elegant, with tension, salt and grip in the finish, this is a charmingly ripe and juicy but also challenging mineral and piquant Veltliner from one of the most exciting terroirs. The finish is powerful and complex but also fresh and stimulatingly piquant. Pichler has bottled this wine since 2010.”
“Champagne has always been a highly competitive sector of the wine world and that hasn’t changed; I doubt it ever will. But what has changed is the playing field and the rules of engagement. Whereas once it was a battleground of sheer quality or price point, today’s skirmishes are decided less in terms of traditional commercial attributes and more along lines of interest, imagination and personality…. Any way you like it, Champagne is ahead of the game, offering you a myriad of styles to follow from producers large and small, old and new.” – Nick Stock, JamesSuckling.com
Bereche et Fils Le Cran Premier Cru Brut Nature, Champagne 2010 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, 4 bottles in stock now
JamesSuckling.com 95 points “A very different Champagne to the 2009, which is touched strongly by the vintage. This has more classic chardonnay on the nose, in the orange and grapefruit zone, with smooth pastry notes. The palate has terrific texture and depth, holding smooth and even with great length and power. The acidity highlights fresh cashew nuts and smoky, mineral-flecked lemons on the finish. Drink or hold.”
Marguet Pere & Fils ‘Sapience’ Premier Cru Extra-Brut, Champagne 2009 750ML ($219.95) $189 special, 5 bottles in stock now
JamesSuckling.com 93 points “Very complete, multifaceted style with strong, pastry-like lees influence and grilled cashew nuts, as well as a lightly peppery, spicy edge. Yellow-plum and subtly toasty brown-mushroom and grilled-hazelnut finish. From organically grown grapes. Drink or hold.”
Salon Cuvee ‘S’ Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs, Champagne 2007 750ML ($699.95) $599 pre-arrival special
JamesSuckling.com 97 points “Such an impressive wine for the detail in every respect. The nose delivers fresh lemon and grapefruit peel, together with white, stony minerals and very, very fresh and light pastry notes. Some grilled hazelnuts, too. The palate is super fine, supple and crisp with attractive, dry, salty minerals on the finish that holds super long, fine and focused. Elegant citrus and light brioche to close. Drink or hold.”
J. Christoffel Jr.’s Finest
Just Added to the September Sale
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. Cristoffel Jr. winery, related by marriage to the Prum family. They are a wonderful middle Mosel estate, run by Karl Josef Christoffel, that make very traditional wines and sells them for incredibly reasonable prices. The Christoffel estate’s Mönchhof winery in Ürzig dates back to the 12th century. Although the family didn’t begin making wines here for another six centuries, their skill and reputation today exceed most others along the Mosel
We stock a number of the wines from this venerable estate and have just added four beauties to our September Sale. These are all Auslesen—rich, decadent wines that in the case of three of the bottles have fifteen years of bottle age already but can age for decades more. Lovers of German wine—take note, these are some epic deals on epic wines.
Weingut Jos. Christoffel Jr. Christoffel-Prum Erdener Pralat Riesling Auslese***, Mosel 2003 750ML ($59.95) Was $49, Now $39 Clearance Price
2003 Vintage: Wine Spectator 94 points “Ripe, opulent wines; best in Mosel, Nahe and Rheingau. Terrific BA and TBA, though not much botrytis.”
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.
2003 Vintage: Wine Spectator 94 points “Ripe, opulent wines; best in Mosel, Nahe and Rheingau. Terrific BA and TBA, though not much botrytis.”
“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]
Just keep reading to the end of the newsletter for the full list!
Arriving September 21st
Eisele Vineyard (Araujo) Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2015 750ML ($699.95) $549 pre-arrival special, only 12 bottles available!
Eisele Vineyard (Araujo) Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2015 375ML ($349.95) $289 pre-arrival special, only 10 half-bottles available!
Eisele Vineyard (Araujo) Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2015 1.5L ($1,299.95) $1,149 pre-arrival special, only 6 magnums available!
Wine Advocate 100 points “Medium to deep garnet-purple in color, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon charges from the gate with exuberant red and black cherries notes, black currants and mulberries with a beautiful roses and lavender perfume, plus hints of sandalwood and cinnamon stick. Full-bodied, concentrated and downright explosive in the mouth, it is still wearing loads of gorgeous puppy-fat fruit flavors, offering suggestions of the complex, multilayered blockbuster that it will emerge into. The structure deserves its own mention: wonderful, seamless freshness and oh-so-fine, pixelated tannins, with an extraordinary persistence of fruit and mineral nuances. Wow.”
This is the only listing in the USA for the half-bottle!
The average price is $575 for the 750ml
The magic price range for Bordeaux is $30-$80 these days. While there are a ton of fantastic value wines to be had under $25 and a number of grand bottles over $80 that promise real magic, the sweet spot for wines of real character is right in between. In that middle zone you find wines that have real character—they taste like the terroir of the estates, rather than a generic Bordeauxishness.
We have three fantastic wines arriving next Friday, two from the left bank one from the right, all in that magic price range. The left bank wines are the 2014 Moulin de Duhart—a “baby Laffite” from a heralded linage in Paulliac and the 2008 Lagrange from St. Julien—a brilliant example of a vintage that’s now seen as a under the radar classic. Finally, we have the 2012 Clos L’Eglise a Pomerol with big aspirations but a price tag far below its fancier neighbors.
Arriving Friday, September 21st:
Chateau Duhart-Milon ‘Moulin de Duhart’, Pauillac 2014 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Wine Enthusiast 91 points “A ripe rich style of wine, with swathes of black-currant fruits and cushioned tannins, this second wine of Duhart-Milon is full bodied and deliciously rich. The fruit carries the wine with its smooth tannins. Drink from 2022.”
James Suckling 90 points “Aromas of ripe fruit and berries with hints of chocolate and cedar. Medium body, firm and silky tannins and a savory finish. Try in 2019.”
The average price is $44
Neal Martin-Vinous 92 points “The 2008 Lagrange has an intense bouquet with blackberry, bilberry, spice box and damp earth/mossy aromas that are well defined. This makes an immediate impression. The palate is medium-bodied, a solid and stocky Lagrange with plenty of freshness. Maybe it lacks the grace of other vintages but the finish is pure and there is a fine long tobacco finish. Too many wine-lovers crack open Lagrange without allowing it the optimal bottle age, so please do give this another two or three years before grabbing the corkscrew. (Tasted at BI Wine & Spirit’s annual 10-Year On tasting.)”
The next best price is $70
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2012 Clos L’Eglise is wonderfully lifted in the glass, with plenty of Cabernet Franc aromatics woven throughout a core juicy, layered fruit. Rose petal, mint, cinnamon and sweet red berries grace the palate. Exquisite and beautifully nuanced throughout, the 2012 offers exceptional balance, with polished, silky tannins that round out the creamy finish. The 2012 is quite open today, but it could use another few years to soften further. The 2012 is 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. Proprietor Hélène Garcin and her husband Patrice Leveque continue to raise the bar here and at their other properties in the region.”
While we love the three most recent Burgundy vintages (14/15/16) we’re constantly amazed at the prices we can offer back-vintages at these days. The value for a vintage like 2008, the highlight of today’s offer, is outstanding. Many of these wines are priced at or below the prices for current vintages, even as they approach their tenth birthday. When you factor in the time you save, they look like even better deals.
2008 was a successful year in Burgundy that, while not up to 09/10, produced a number of fantastic wines. Good producers made classical wines in 2008 that were often a bit stern on release but have blossomed in bottle and still have a long life ahead of them. We’re offering you a selection from a who’s-who of great producers and top vineyards. Each of these wines is a highlight in and of itself and unfortunately quantities are limited to a six pack of each, so these will disappear quickly (especially trophies like that Vogüe Musigny VV!). They arrive in the middle of next month. Happy hunting!
Arriving this Month:
Domaine Fourrier Les Cherbaudes Vieilles Vignes, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru 2008 750ML ($199.95) $169 pre-arrival special
Burghound 89-92 points “An elegant, complex and relatively refined nose speaks of red and blue pinot fruit, plum and plenty of Gevrey style earth notes that are also reflected by the rich yet beautifully detailed flavors that also possess a lovely mouth feel on the firm finish that is supported by dense but fine tannins. A sophisticated 1er.”
Stephen Tanzer – Vinous 90+ points “Good medium red. Raspberry, cherry, crushed stone, smoked meat, orange peel, mint and wild herbs on the highly complex, very ripe nose. Then quite closed in the mouth, less sweet and more peppery than the nose suggests. Densely packed but in need of aging. Fourrier told me he waited at least two months between the end of the malolactic fermentations and the bottling, and this wine was one of the latest to finish its malolactic fermentation.”
Domaine Michel Lafarge Clos des Chenes, Volnay Premier Cru 2008 750ML ($219.95) $199 pre-arrival special
Burghound 94 points “This too serves up a remarkably layered if extremely reserved nose that displays plenty of earth and spice as well as very fresh and cool aromas of red and blue pinot, floral notes and an obvious mineral influence that continues onto the tautly muscular and overtly powerful big-bodied flavors that are long, serious and focused on the presently austere finish. It’s interesting to compare the quality of the tannins between this and the Caillerets – here they are denser but less fine and as a consequence, this will need a few extra years of cellar time.”
Stephen Tanzer – Vinous 93+ points “Good deep red. High-pitched aromas of black cherry, violet, licorice and crushed stone. Like liquid silk on entry, then concentrated, primary and penetrating in the mid-palate, with beautifully integrated acidity accentuating the wine’s dark, medicinal aspect. At once broad and lively on the finish, with rich dark fruit flavors building slowly and staining the palate. I might have picked this blend as a Cote de Nuits wine.”
Domaine Jacques-Frederic Mugnier Clos de la Marechale, Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru 2008 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Antionio Galloni 92 points “The 2008 Nuits St. Georges Clos de la Maréchale offers up black cherries, sweet spices, flowers and licorice, all of which meld together beautifully in a weightless, impeccably elegant style. Floral, minty notes add complexity and nuance on the refined finish.”
Burghound 91 points “In much the same fashion as the 2011 there is an herbal tea element to the super-fresh and beautifully elegant nose that strikes me as being right at an inflection point where the aromas are just beginning to turn toward the secondary. There is a really lovely underlying tension to the dense and much more mineral-driven medium weight flavors that also possess a sophisticated texture, all wrapped in an admirably long and balanced if ever-so-slightly lean finish that belies a trace of austerity. While this is nearing its apogee I would still be inclined to allow it just a few more years of cellaring first.”
Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue Musigny Grand Cru ‘Cuvee Vieilles Vignes’, Cote de Nuits 2008 750ML ($799.95) $699 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 97 points “The 2008 Musigny Vieilles Vignes is a wine I could smell all day. The explosive bouquet literally jumps from the glass, followed by deep, beautifully delineated layers of fruit. This shows terrific concentration and depth, dazzling finesse, and a nicely pointed, direct finish. It is an eternal wine.”
Burghound 96 points “This is also quite reserved at present with an elegant, airy, cool and pure nose that is kaleidoscopically complex as it offers red currant, plum, black cherry and a panoply of floral and spice notes, in particular violet and anise, before marrying seamlessly into mineral-driven and alluring big-bodied flavors that explode on the powerful and almost painfully intense finish that delivers genuinely stunning length. I love the way Musigny can so effortlessly combine a silky palate impression with serious muscle. This should be quite impressive in time though note that it will need a minimum of 18 to 25 years of cellar time.”
Only four magnums of this rare treasure are available, so act fast!
“The 1995 is striking today” –Antonio Galloni writing in 2016
Antonio Galloni 97 points “[Tasted in July 2016] The 1995 Monte Bello is powerful, bright and incisive. At twenty years of age, the 1995 retains gorgeous, refreshing acidity that gives the wine lift and energy. The 1995 is a brooding Monte Bello, with darker tonalities of fruit and accompanying notes of smoke, licorice, spice, menthol, tobacco and cedar. Although the 1995 is striking today, it could also use more time in bottle, as it remains a touch compact and austere, especially next to the 2012 and 2002 tasted alongside it. Readers who enjoy cool, mineral and savory inflected Cabernets will adore the 1995, a wine that will drink well for another 20 years. Vineyard manager David Gates describes 1995 as a cool, relaxed, late ripening season that yielded small berries with elevated tannins. A second recent bottle was a bit more open and ample. Either way, the 1995 Monte Bello is a remarkably vivid, expressive wine that has a long life ahead of it.”
James Suckling 97 points “[Tasted in 2012] Amazing flowers and lavender and blackberries. Love the nose. Tobacco and cigar box. Full-bodied, with firm and round tannins. Then there’s rosemary and berry on the finish. Give it time.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 95 points “[Tasted in 2018] The product of a late-October harvest, the 1995 vintage was Eric Baugher’s first vintage as Ridge’s winemaker alongside Paul Draper, and I remember him telling me in 2012 that he was afraid extraction had been pushed too far and that the wine might always be somewhat monolithic. In the last three years, however, the 1995 Monte Bello has began to shed some of its formidable tannins, and it’s clear that those fears were unfounded. The nose offers up rich aromas of cassis and red plums that mingle with nuances of sweet, loamy soil, cigar box and subtle leather. On the palate, the 1995 is full-bodied, deep and super concentrated, with its powerful core of fruit framed by melting tannins and underpinned by tangy acids, concluding with a long and distinctly stony finish. Today, the 1995 ranks as one of the highlights of the decade. Think of it as a somewhat more rustic cousin of the 2005. It’s a blend of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc that attained 12.5% natural alcohol.”
The next best price for the magnum is $799.99
James Suckling 95 points “Aromas of rosewood, cherries and blueberries follow through to a full body, tight and focused tannins and a long and flavorful finish. This is linear and bright. The tannins are wonderfully polished and poised. Hard not to drink now, but it will improve beautifully in the bottle. A blend of mostly Sangiovese with a touch of Merlot. Drink or hold.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Delas makes wines that are powerful and impressive, with density and richness a hallmark of both the reds and the whites—there are no shrinking violets in the lineup. The St. Joseph is among the more structured, ageworthy examples to come of the region and a fantastic deal for ageworthy Syrah. We’ve also getting in their Hermitage Tourettes—one of the best values in the Northern Rhone. It’s hard to find Hermiage under $100, much less under $70, especially at this level of quality.
Arriving ETA December:
“well worth a case purchase”-Jeb Dunnuck
Delas Freres Hermitage Tourette 2015 750ML ($89.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Delas Freres Hermitage Tourette 2015 750ML ($479.95) $369 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 95 points “This is loaded with well-defined loganberry, blackberry and boysenberry pâte de fruit flavors, flecked with anise and black tea notes and carried by a fine iron streak that lingers wonderfully. A wine of cut, purity and precision. Best from 2020 through 2035. From France.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “A blend of Syrah grapes from several lieux-dits, including Les Bessards, the 2015 Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes is aged in new and second use barrels. It’s a dark, concentrated wine, meaty, rich and tannic but with a bright beam of cassis fruit that lifts it and gives it great definition and shape on the palate. Give this medium to full-bodied wine at least 5 years in the cellar and drink it over the next 15.”
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “While the Les Bessards gets all the attention, the 2015 Hermitage Domaine Des Tourettes isn’t far behind and is unquestionably the value play. Beef blood, cassis, blackberry liqueur and loads of crushed rock nuances all emerge from this ripe, concentrated, full-bodied Hermitage that has a classic, structured profile. It’s well worth a case purchase and will keep for two to three decades. As always, this cuvée comes from two parcels, the lower part of the Bessards lieu-dit and the Les Grandes Vignes located at the highest point on Hermitage Hill. It’s completely destemmed and sees 16 months in 30% new French oak.”
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “Enticing hints of sweet spice, black pepper and bacon fat seduce on the nose of this rich but balanced Hermitage. Blackberry and cherry flavors are fresh and juicy but structured by firm tannins and brisk acidity. A polished wine already, it should intensify its savory, smoky complexities well through 2030.”
The next best price is $81.19
The average price is $86!
Delas Freres St Joseph Sainte Epine 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 94 points “Dark and winey, featuring a deep core of red and black currant fruit steeped gently with anise and apple wood notes. The finish lets a bright iron edge run through. There’s lots to like here. Drink now through 2026. 500 cases made.”
Jeb Dunnuck 93-95+ points “The 2016 Saint Joseph Sainte Epine comes from the cool, fine, granite soils of the Sainte Epine lieu-dit located just outside of Saint-Jean-de-Muzols. Its deep purple color is followed by a sensational perfume of crème de cassis, black pepper, graphite and crushed flowers. Full-bodied, elegant and seamless, with incredible purity, it’s going to be one of the superstars of the vintage.”
Wine Advocate 93-95 points “The Delas wines are among the best in Saint Joseph, and the 2016 Saint Joseph Sainte-Epine doesn’t miss a beat. It shows spicy-herbal complexity on the nose, combined with ripe black cherries. Medium to full-bodied, it’s supple, plush and long. It should be a beauty, capable of rivaling the impressive 2015.”
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