In Today’s Newsletter:
The Only Reason to Buy Celebrity Wine
Drink this Now: Glantenay’s Burgundy
Saint Cosme’s Historic Value
The White Whale of Champagne
Including Scott Paul, Owen Roe,
G. Conterno and More!
The Only Reason to Buy Celebrity Wine
At these prices, these are stellar values—representations of classic California styles, made in a decidedly premium fashion (but without the premium price tags). The Chardonnay and Pinot are sourced from the best vineyards in the Russian River Valley and the Cabernet from the Alexander Valley in Sonoma—clearly some time and effort went into the production of these wines. These prices are one-offs, though—once these sell out the Calling wines go back to their normal $35+ pricetags and we’re out of the game again.
In Stock Now:
The Calling Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley 2016 750ML ($27.95) $18 January Sale Special
Case-12 The Calling Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley 2016 750ML ($299.95) $189 January Sale Special (that’s only $15.75/bottle!)
Winery Note: This full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon presents blackberry and plum aromatics typical of the Alexander Valley. On the palate, the rich fruit is complemented by accents of sweet tobacco, vanilla, chocolate, and mocha. The elegant tannins, oak structure and balanced acidity will age this wine for 10-12 years.
The next best price is $26.90
The average price is $31
The Calling Dutton Ranch Chardonnay, Russian River Valley 2017 750ML ($29.95) $19 January Sale Special
Case-12 The Calling Dutton Ranch Chardonnay, Russian River Valley 2017 750ML ($319.95) $199 January Sale Special (that’s only $16.58/bottle!)
Winery Note: Fruit for this vintage was sourced from several locations within Dutton Ranch’s Russian River Valley vineyards. Plots in the warmer end of the valley contributed ripe tropical elements, while those from cooler areas lent minerality and a structural backbone. Inviting notes of honeysuckle, white rose, lemon meringue and baked brioche on the nose. Balanced yet with crisp acidity on the palate with flavors of ripe Asian pear, melon and Meyer lemon with a lingering, elegant finish.
The next best price is $24.92
The average price is $28
The Calling Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley 2014 750ML ($39.95) $19 special
Wine Enthusiast 91 points “A generously fruity, just-ripe and refined wine, this offers classic notions of the appellation in a warm, welcoming vintage, from rhubarb, cranberry and cherry to cola spice and clove. Still young, it shows an intensity that should meld and mellow in the bottle in short order.”
The average price is $35
Drink this Now: Glantenay
“The disarmingly modest Thierry Glantenay is emerging as one of the Côte de Beaune’s most exciting producers of red wine. From his hillside winery overlooking the Marquis d’Angerville’s Clos des Ducs, Glantenay is producing a lovely range of elegant, pure and intense Volnays and Pommards that are increasingly consistent and stylistically assured….In the cellar, no matter which barrel you choose, the wines taste reliably wonderful: indeed, after my first tasting with Glantenay, some years ago, I was compelled to return a week later to verify that I hadn’t been imagining things, and that so serious a producer could really be so little known.” – William Kelley, Wine Advocate
Top producer Burgundy is a game we’re always excited to play—as long as the pricing is right, which is generally the problem. For Thierry Glantenay, though, we couldn’t be happier to be in the game. His wines, from old vines in Pommard and Volnay, have a purity and class that immediately mark them as absolutely top tier—and recent Wine Advocate scores have only confirmed that these wines are no longer a secret.
These are stunning wines for which the clock is ticking—there’s no way they’ll be priced this affordably for long. Once a producer gets made the wines are going to skyrocket in pricing and so let’s take a moment to appreciate that you can currently buy Glantenay’s Bourgogne for nearly half the price of d’Angerville, or his Santenots for a third of Arnaud Ente’s (a third!!).
The Bourgogne, especially, is an absolute stunner right now and we’ve been recommending it right and left. Red Burgs that are inexpensive and drinkable now are always a hot commodity. The 2015 vintage has produced a number of killer bottles for drinking now—none morso than Glantenay’s entry level.
His premier cru Volnays are even better—still under $100 and from some of the top terroirs in the village (and from extremely old vines as well). This is d’Angerville/Lafarge/Lafon level stuff for $50+ less per bottle from the same vineyards. The 2015 Santenots is one to buy and stash for 20+ years, if you can keep your hands off it now. The clock is ticking though and it’s only a matter of time.
In Stock Now:
Domaine Bernard & Thierry Glantenay Bourgogne Rouge, Burgundy 2015 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
“Thierry Glantenay’s 2015 Bourgogne Rouge is lovely, wafting from the glass with notes of smoky red cherry, cocoa and raspberries. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, supple and delicious, with a succulent core of fruit, light structuring tannins and juicy acids. This will deliver great pleasure for the best part of a decade.” –Wine Advocate
Importer note: 30 year old vines grown in deep clay soil. Thierry Glantenay has taken over at his family domaine and is now producing exquisite, ethereal Volnay and full, powerful Pommard from many of the best terroirs. They farm their own vines and make their own wines ensuring the best available quality. Across the board these wines are precise, focused and reflective of their underlying terroir, with great sappiness and depth in the mid-palates, coupled with brilliant structural integrity that makes them, to me, amongst the finest wines made in the southern half of Burgundy.
Neal Martin – Wine Advocate 90-92 points “The 2015 Volnay 1er Cru Santenots was completely de-stemmed and apparently some of the berries showed some fig-like characteristics just before harvest, therefore Thierry wanted to avoid any sur-maturité. It has a perfumed and floral bouquet with a light marine/seaweed scent lending complexity. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, well-measured acidity and a gentle but insistent grip in the mouth. There is good depth here, a Santenots with substance, though it needs a tad more complexity and nuance to develop on the velvety, rich and generous finish. One to watch.”
Saint Cosme’s Historic Value
Are you a fan of historic – and we mean Greco-Roman historic – estates crafting their region’s best (and best value) wines? You’re a newsletter subscriber, so we know the answer is yes. Turns out, you don’t have to hunt through the back roads of who-knows-where to drink who-knows-what (skin-fermented, brett-afflicted mud anyone?) to find such a gem. It’s Saint Cosme!
Yes, St Cosme. We’ve mentioned them a time or two before, sure. But have you checked in with the wines lately? They are a joy to drink. And our pricings are ridiculously below average, with most wines clocking in at $10 or more below the next best price out there.
But really, are they good?
There’s plenty of upfront appeal, fruit, spice, charm, balance, value, hands-off winemaking, purity, points, terroir, history and cellaring-potential to tick boxes for just about any wine lover out there. And these wines do appeal to just about anyone. Ask James Molesworth at Wine Spectator, Joe Czerwinski at the Wine Advocate, Josh Raynolds at Vinous Media, Matt Walls at Decanter Magazine, Anna Iijima of the Wine Enthusiast, Jeb Dunnuck, James Suckling, and Kerry Winslow of Grapelive – all of whom have declared the greatness of the wines in recent vintages.
So what are you waiting for? Mother Nature just gifted the Southern Rhone two glorious vintages in a row (2015 and 2016), with an equally great, yet tiny, vintage in the wings (2017). To cap it all, we’ve got back vintages at crazy-low prices from back before they got “discovered.” Without a doubt, Saint Cosme should be on your short list. We suggest you follow Joe Czerwinski’s advice and “snap up” the best and your favorites.
“The 2016 vintage in the Southern Rhône seems comparable to 1982 in Bordeaux (also a high-cropping vintage) for the profound impact it’s likely to have on the market. These are incredible wines produced in reasonable quantities that are still largely undervalued (outside a few trophy collectibles). The wines are approachable yet age-worthy… Smart consumers will snap up wines from their favorite producers and any of the microproduction cuvées as soon as they can, as the 2017s will be even more expensive and harder to find when they’re released….” – Joe Czerwinski, The Wine Advocate
“For the reds, Barruol sees 2016 much as the other vignerons I have visited on this trip—with bold ripeness reminiscent of vintages like 2009 and ’10, but with a level of freshness that sets it apart….The pHs are low here too. But not as obviously different from the normal as in Châteauneuf ’16,’ he says, comparing it to his own Gigondas…The quality and style of the vintage is very consistent all over though. The impression of freshness is in all the wines.” – James Molesworth, Wine Spectator
“The reference standard for the Gigondas appellation for the better part of two decades now” –Josh Raynolds, Vinous Media
“Louis Barruol’s Chateau de Saint Cosme is unquestionably one of the reference point estates in Gigondas. It’s certainly going to be another outstanding wine from Barruol [and will] shine for a decade or more.” –Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com
“It really is hard to imagine a better wine under $40… it’s a wine that screams Rhone and terroir from start to finish” –Kerry Winslow, Grapelive, writing on the 2016 Saint Cosme Gigondas
Shop the complete list on our web store!
Newly Arrived from Saint Cosme:
Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone 2017 750ML ($17.95) $14 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone 2017 750ML ($189.95) $149 special (that’s only $12.42/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
James Suckling 91 points “Beautiful, garrigue herbs and flowers across fragrant, red berries. The palate has a very deep-set, plush and ripe core of dark-berry flavors, amid glossy, ripe tannins. Great value. Drink or hold.”
Highlight Wines, In Stock Now:
Saint Cosme Condrieu, Rhone 2016 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 35 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 95 points “This delivers a textbook display of peach, apricot, star fruit and anise notes, but in a package that is livelier than other versions from Condrieu, as racy honeysuckle, quinine and verbena hints add layers of energy through the finish. Drink now through 2022.”
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “The 2016 Condrieu is straight-up brilliant stuff, the finest Condrieu I’ve tasted from Luis Barruol. Awesome notes of orange blossom, white flowers, citrus oil, and crushed rocks all flow to a deep, rich, textured effort that has fabulous purity and precision. It’s a great example of Viognier from these steep, granite soils and is well worth seeking out.”
The next best price is $69.95
The average price is $78 – yikes!
Chateau de Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone Les Deux Albion, Rhone 2016 750ML ($24.95)
$19 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Chateau de Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone Les Deux Albion, Rhone 2016 1.5L ($49.95)
$39 special, 15 magnums in stock now
Grapelive 93 points “Louis Barruol uniquely with the Chateau version of Cotes du Rhone, Les Deux Albions, uses multiple vineyard sites to gain complexity, but still co-ferments all the grapes (together) which includes mainly Syrah, but with a good dose of Grenache, Carignan, Mourvèdre and Clairette. This 2016 is gripping stuff, deep and earthy highlighting its 100% whole cluster fermentation and Syrah-based power, especially in such a vintage. This is very serious stuff. This is not your grandpa’s Cotes du Rhone. In fact it would be hard not to think of this as a full blown Chateauneuf or Crozes-Hermitage… It’s a full bodied red that just gets better and better with each and every sip.”
Wine Spectator 91 points “A solid, slightly gutsy version that sports dark cherry, plum and cassis flavors inlaid liberally with violet, pepper and bramble notes. Reveals a flash of licorice root on the finish. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault. Drink now through 2020. 4,000 cases made.”
The average price is $22
Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas, Rhone 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, only 36 bottles remaining in stock!
Wine Spectator 95 points “Perfumy and stylish, with rooibos tea, blood orange and cherry aromas and flavors weaving through, infused with sandalwood, anise, bay leaf, sage and pepper notes along the way. A very fine and persistent chalky spine supports it all. Best from 2020 through 2035.”
Joe Czerwinski-Wine Advocate 93 points “Even better than I remember it from cask, the 2016 Gigondas features hints of mocha and ripe raspberries. Slightly bitter herbal notes balance the sweetness of the fruit and impart a savory edge to this full-bodied, creamy-textured wine. It finishes supple and long, loaded with character and richness.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92-93 points “Vivid ruby. Highly perfumed aromas of candied red and blue fruits, incense and peppery spices pick up a hint of potpourri as the wine opens up. Appealingly sweet and seamless on the palate, offering juicy raspberry, boysenberry and lavender pastille flavors and a spicy jolt of white pepper. Shows excellent clarity and mineral lift on the long, smooth finish, which is framed by slow-building tannins.”
The average price is $55
Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas Le Claux, Rhone 2014 750ML ($99.95) $69 special, 13 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 94 points “Intense, with lots of grip along the edges, as rosemary, tobacco and charcoal notes coil around the core of steeped plum, blackberry and red currant fruit. Best from 2018 through 2024.”
Jeb Dunnuck – Wine Advocate 92-94 points “The most mineral-driven in the lineup, the 2014 Gigondas le Claux is almost 100% Grenache, and was fermented with 100% stems and aged in Burgundy barrels. Freshly crushed rocks, black currants, forest floor and truffle notes all flow beautifully to a medium to full-bodied, layered, sexy and nicely concentrated Gigondas that has enough fruit to drink well on release, yet the structure, balance and depth to evolve for 10-15 years. It’s an undeniable success in the vintage.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92-94 points “Vivid ruby-red. Highly perfumed red fruit liqueur, potpourri and Asian spice scents show impressive clarity and vivacity. Sappy, tangy and precise, offering lively raspberry and floral pastille flavors and a touch of spicecake. Closes on a smoky mineral note, displaying superb focus, silky tannins and emphatic, floral-driven persistence.”
The next best price is $85
The average price is $97 (those digits aren’t backwards…)
Saint Cosme Cote Rotie, Rhone 2016 750ML ($64.95) $52.50 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “The 2016 Côte-Rôtie comes all from the Côte Brune side of the appellation, which is all schist soils. Fermented with no destemming and aged mostly in older barrels, it’s a rock star Côte-Rôtie and offers loads of blackberry fruits, spice, tapenade, cured meats, and pepper. With medium to full body, a deep, layered mid-palate, present tannins, and a huge finish, it needs short-term cellaring but is an undeniably gorgeous Syrah that will have two decades of longevity.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92-94 points “Bright purple. A complex, expansive bouquet evokes candied dark berries, olive, smoked meat and incense, and floral and mineral notes build steadily. Sweet, focused and penetrating on the palate, offering sappy boysenberry, cherry and violet pastille flavors braced by a spine of juicy acidity. Impressively blends concentration and energy and finishes with impressive, gently tannic persistence.”
The next best price is $66.39
The average price is $76
Saint Cosme First-in-the-Nation Offer
Arriving Friday, January 18th
Saint Cosme Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2016 750ML ($59.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 94-96 points “Blended, but still aging in barrel, the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape will likely be bottled in March 2019. Brandied cherries and dried spices mark the nose of this full-bodied, plush wine. It’s slightly warm, and certainly rich, but it remains fresh and long on the finish. It should be a beauty.”
The Hardest to Find Prestige Blanc de Blancs?
Imagine there was a Champagne, produced by a top tier, historic house. Imagine that Champagne was a blanc de blancs, from some of the top Grand Cru villages and aged for an extended time on the lees before release. Further still, this mythical Champagne has only been released five times in the last forty years—truly, only the best vintages made the cut. You’d think this wine would be outlandishly expensive and impossible to acquire. You’d be wrong, though, because we’re offering Charles Heisieck’s Blanc de Millenaires for about the same price as a bottle of NV Krug. If you want great Champagne to taste like Grand Cru White Burgundy with fine bubbles, this is something you need to jump on.
Charles Heidsieck is one of the great, historic houses of Champagne, but because of their small size, they tend to be overlooked in conversations about elite wines in the region. That’s unfair on so many levels, from their excellent and inexpensive NV to this wine, the top-of-the-line Blanc des Millenaires, produced only in the (truly) best years. Millenaires is a white whale of the Champagne world. Even most “picky” houses declare 5-6 vintages a decade, but Heidsieck will only release this wine under the most perfect of circumstances (the last vintage released was the epic 1995). The resulting wine is powerful, intense but beyond elegant, as only Chardonnay given extended lees aging can provide. We’ve secured a small parcel arriving this summer and are excited to offer it at exceptional pricing. The winery has been mum on how long it will be until the next release, so this may be your best chance at this wine for some time.
Arriving ETA June:
Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires, Champagne 2004 750ML ($199.95) $169 pre-arrival special
Decanter 97 points “It says much that Charles Heidsieck went for the 2004, not the richer 2002, as the long-awaited successor to the epic 1995 Millenaires – the ’04 has an admirable beauty and finesse in the classic mould that fits the style of this wine so well. It’s an intriguing blend of great Chardonnays from Oger, Mesnil, Avize and Cramant, but also from Vertus, a premier cru punching above its weight. Vanilla and butter flatter this wine famously, but there’s no oak. It has controlled richness, with precision and purity ruling over the green and tropical fruits. A magnificent champagne with impressively elegant acidity, a triumph now and for years to come. Disgorged in 2016. Drinking Window 2020 – 2035.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “A seamless Champagne, showing a texture of raw silk, this weaves vibrant acidity with an expressive range of glazed apple and poached white cherry fruit flavors, with pickled ginger and saffron spice details and rich notes of pastry cream, toast and coffee liqueur. More about finesse than power, this is long and creamy on the mineral-tinged finish. Drink now through 2028. [Reviewed Dec 2018]”
A richer, lusher style from Scott Paul. Like other recent SP offers, a steal.
Scott Paul D122 Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge 2014 750ML ($39.95) $24 special
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 93 points “Bright ruby-red. A strongly perfumed bouquet displays scents of black raspberry, gingerbread and potpourri. Sappy, incisive red and dark berry flavors are framed by silky tannins and perked up by a nervy orange zest quality. Becomes more heady with aeration, picking up an exotic Asian spice note that carries through the impressively long finish. There’s lots going on here already.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Wildstock Pinot Noir, Willamette Valey 2015 750ML ($19.95) $11.90 special
Case-12 Wildstock Pinot Noir, Willamette Valey 2015 750ML ($219.95) $119 special (that’s only $9.92/bottle!)
“Lithe and polished, with pretty red berry and floral flavors, finishing with moderate density.” – Wine Spectator
(Scott Paul Wines) Winery’s note “This wine is the perfect entry level Oregon Pinot Noir made with the same overriding philosophy of non-manipulated winemaking as the Scott Paul Pinot Noirs. We let the natural character of the Willamette Valley shine through in each bottle.”
The new vintage of Owen Roe’s classic is as good as ever.
Owen Roe ‘Ex Umbris’ Syrah, Yakima Valley 2017 750ML ($24.95) $19.50 special
Stephen Tanzer – Vinous 90+ points “Bright ruby-red. Very fresh scents of blackberry, white pepper, licorice and violet. A juicy, brisk, very pretty style of Syrah with terrific floral lift to its penetrating dark raspberry and spice flavors. Focused but quite tight and backward, showing no easy sweetness. Finishes with suave, fine-grained tannins and lovely sneaky length. David O’Reilly told me he’s shipping this wine this year but that it really needs another year of cellaring. I’d give it two to show its underlying density of material, at which point it may well merit a higher rating.”
One of Washington’s flagship GSM blends.
Owen Roe Sinister Hand Red, Columbia Valley 2016 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Stephen Tanzer – Vinous 91+ points “(David O’Reilly uses carbonic maceration for the Cinsaut component in order to round out its tannins and enhance primary perfume and fruit notes): Moderately saturated medium red. Perfumed, highly nuanced nose offers scents of red raspberry, cherry, meat, red licorice, spices and purple sage, plus a whiff of graphite minerality and a faintly candied quality that carries through onto the palate. Savory and classically dry, with its boysenberry and blackberry fruit flavors complemented by salty minerality. The tannins are fairly light but firm.”
The 30th vintage is one of the best Cigares ever.
Bonny Doon Vineyard Le Cigare Volant, Central Coast 2013 750ML ($44.95) $33 special
Grapelive 94 points “The 30th Anniversary edition of Randall Grahm’s iconic Le Cigare Volant is a ripe and full bodied effort of sublime fruit, spice and depth. It’s a Grenache-led Chateauneuf-style red blend that perfectly celebrates Grahm’s milestone achievement. A regional cuvee rather than a single terroir, the Le Cigare Volant marries a combination of selected sites from Santa Maria to Contra Costa County with the main Grenache component coming from Monterey County and the Rancho Solo Vineyard plus a tiny bit of Lodi’s Bechtold Vineyard, a hot spot for Cinsault, included and of which looks to be a bigger part of future Cigare Volant. The final break down was 55% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 16% Mourvèdre and 4% Cinsault which resulted in this wine’s opulent fruit and its lush texture… Those that love modern Chateauneuf du Pape will adore this hedonistic vintage of Cigare Rouge. Its 14.5% natural alcohol compares well with the current or more modern French versions… This vintage of Le Cigare Volant Rouge is very sexy stuff, adding candied cherry, almost like pie filling and exotic spices with air. It thrills with Grenache charm, the Syrah, the Cinsault and the Mourvedre really act as a stage platform for the Grenache to take center stage and deliver a mind blowing performance. It reminds me of Domaine Charvin Chateauneuf du Pape 2007, and I find it crazy this wine doesn’t get more serious attention! Enjoy this Cigare over the next 5 to 10 years. It certainly drinks gloriously now, but has the underlying stuffing to go a long time in the cellar. Impressive for what some thought was a more difficult year, this is exceptional and a masterpiece of blending, get it while you can.”
One of the best values in Italian wine. Dense and bold.
Ca’ del Baio ‘Autinbej’, Barbaresco DOCG 2015 750ML ($34.95)
$28 January Sale Special
Case-12 Ca’ del Baio ‘Autinbej’, Barbaresco DOCG 2015 750ML ($419.95)
$299 January Sale Special (that’s only $24.92/bottle- the lowest listed price in the USA!)
James Suckling 94 points “Sweet berry and cherry aromas with hints of flowers following through to a full body, with lots of fruit and chewy tannins. A long and rich finish. Needs four to five years of bottle age. Try in 2022.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “A briny mineral note in the aroma signals this high-tension red. There is ample fruit and flesh on the palate, with cherry, strawberry, stone and white pepper flavors. Tightens up again on the finish. Best from 2021 through 2038.”
The more floral, perfumed offering between the two from CdB.
Ca’ del Baio ‘Vallegrande’, Barbaresco DOCG 2015 750ML ($37.95) $28 January Sale Special
Wine Spectator 94 points “This red combines beautiful cherry, strawberry and floral aromas and flavors with a firm, dense structure in an aerial style, with fleeting accents of tar, mineral and underbrush leading to a racy finish. Best from 2022 through 2040.”
James Suckling 93 points “Complex aromas of tea, berries, bark and sweet tobacco follow through to a full body with chewy and dusty tannins. A long and flavorful finish. Tannic. Needs to soften. Try in 2020.”
Giacomo Conterno Cerretta Barbera d’Alba, Piedmont 2016 750ML ($99.95) $69 special
Antonio Galloni 95 points “Whereas the 2016 Barbera d’Alba Francia is reticent, the Barbera d’Alba Cerretta is a total showstopper. A rush of dark red and purplish berry fruit, lavender, mint and white flowers fills out the wine’s ample, broad frame. The Conterno Barberas typically need a few years in bottle to be at their best, but the 2016 is going to be virtually impossible to resist when its young.”
Giacomo Conterno Vigna Francia Barbera d’Alba, Piedmont 2016 750ML ($99.95) $59 special
Antonio Galloni 94 points “Conterno’s 2016 Barbera d’Alba Francia is a wine of extreme finesse and nuance. It is also dark, inward and mysterious in that it is nowhere near ready to show all of its cards. In most vintages, Francia is a bit more floral and mineral, but in 2016 it is the purity of the fruit that is most striking. I imagine the typical Francia nuances will develop with a few more years in bottle.”
You can click here to see all of these (extra) great deals or keep reading for all the wines, sorted by category.
Thank you for reading!