July Sale Savings Add Up
Stately and Plump: A New Classic Napa Cab
Staff Pick – Dark Horse Bandol Rosé
New Reviews for Two Classics
X Marks the Spot for Big, Powerful Wine
New Wines from Delas Arrive Soon
Trending Wines of the Week
Mark of Greatness: The Sundial of Wehlen
Wine Spectator Reviews Tignanello
A July Sale Recap
Grenache, Mourvedre, Bourboulenc, Cinsault. Organic.
VinopolNote: Charvin remains one of the best producers of old school, traditional Chateauneuf du Pape (the 2013, in stock now, is savory, gutsy and delicious). They also make a fantastic Cotes du Rhone rosé, all peaches and cherries on the nose. On the palate you get more of the same with a touch of citrus zest and a bright crisp finish. This wine is nicely medium bodied and one of those that you can pair with everything from grilled fish to hamburgers and grilled lamb. Like their reds, this is made from organically farmed grapes and fermented with indigenous yeasts.
Peyrassol ‘Chateau Peyrassol’ Rose, Cotes de Provence 2017 750ML ($31.95) $26 special
Peyrassol ‘Chateau Peyrassol’ Rose, Cotes de Provence 2017 1.5L ($99.95) $79 special
Peyrassol ‘Chateau Peyrassol’ Rose, Cotes de Provence 2017 3L ($199.95) $169 special
Peyrassol ‘Chateau Peyrassol’ Rose, Cotes de Provence 2017 6L ($399.95) $319 special
Importer note “Made entirely from estate fruit in 2017, “Chateau” is primarily Cinsault, with increasingly smaller amounts of Grenache, Mourvedre, Tibouren, and Syrah. This is a higher-toned, more floral, more filigree wine than its brother above, with subtle herbal notes framing clean, lifted fruit on the nose. Though equally as dense—and perhaps more penetrating due to its more overt mineral character—it is no richer than the “Commanderie,” and it expresses the vintage’s firm tension with elegance.”Done in a much more serious, rich style, this is a wine that pairs as well with grilled lamb as it does with a salad and fish. Really special, complex stuff.
Chateau Simone Palette Rose, Provence 2016 750ML ($64.95) $51.90 special
Chateau Simone Palette Rose, Provence 2016 1.5L ($139.95) $119 special
“The Château Simone Rosé is a wine that belies the notion that rosés are simple wines to be drunk up young. We have indulged ourselves with 10-year old Château Simone Rosé and have marveled at the tenacity, vibrancy and complexity of this very serious wine. The blend is identical to the rouge: 45% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 5% Cinsault, 20% Syrah, Castet, Manosquin, Carignan, Muscat Noir & Blanc. Aged in barrel, it is powerful and age-worthy with a steely character and a grey-tinted aura to the faded rose-petal robe.”–Importer Notes
The best Sancerre rosé we’ve discovered, this packs all of the brightness and minerality of the appellation in to rosé form.
Lucien Crochet Sancerre Pinot Rose, Loire 2017 750ML ($34.95) $29 special
Lucien Crochet Sancerre Pinot Rose, Loire 2017 1.5L ($79.95) $61.90 special
Importer note “Always among our most coveted rosés (and for very good reason), Gilles Crochet’s 2017 Sancerre Rosé (100% direct-press Pinot Noir) is wonderfully classic in character, with tangy strawberries and punchy chalk on the nose, and a soft, mellow, pale pink color in the glass. The fruit is very cool and pure this vintage, with great drive and persistence on the acid-driven yet scrumptious palate. While Sancerre overall experienced around 15% losses due to frost in 2017, Crochet was thankfully spared completely.”
This is a delicious, fruitier rosé from Saint Tropez. A perfect drink if you want to feel glamorous.
Fleur de Mer Ile de Saint-Tropez Rose, Provence 2017 750ML ($19.95) $16 special
This wine is spectacular year after year. Made from one of the most beautiful vineyards on earth, this year’s version is a little lighter and brighter than last year. You want to have some pristine seafood to go with it, or at least a nice patio.
Clos Sainte Magdeleine Cassis Rose, Provence 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Domaine de Triennes Rose, IGP Var 2017 1.5L ($39.95) $26 special
Domaine de Triennes Rose, IGP Var 2017 750ML ($19.95) $14 special
VinopolNote: A long-time customer favorite at the shop that is the side project of some certain big names of some certain cult Burgundy producers (Jacques Seysses of Domaine Dujac and Aubert de Villaine of DRC). The sunny slopes of Mediterranean have been the home of this winery and vineyard since 1990 where the friends found the perfect terroir to craft these limestone-influenced, refreshing wines. The rosé is light, bright and refreshing, with notes of red berries and white flowers.
Winemakers’ note “We make our wines the way we like to drink them. For the whites and the rosé, this means a constant search for freshness and aromas. Triennes rosé is the perfect accompaniment to a sunny summer afternoon.”
Savings Add Up
In the July Sale
We’ve got so many great wines on our Clearance Sale that we can’t list them all here (or even close). You can see the full list on our web store (here) or at the bottom of our newsletter. That said, we’ve got a few highlights we think will entice you.
A true Cult Classic—$9/btl cheaper than at the winery!
Merry Edwards Olivet Lane Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley 2014 750ML ($99.95) Was $66, Now $59 Clearance Price, 18 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 92 points “Pale to medium ruby-purple in color, the 2014 Pinot Noir Olivet Lane offers an earthy nose of underbrush, moss, dusty soil and truffles over notes of crushed Bing cherries and cranberries, plus a waft of bay leaves. Medium-bodied, elegant and fresh in the mouth, the red berry and earth flavors are well-supported by chewy tannins and give a nice long finish.”
Now it’s even lower!
The next best price is $77.43
The average price is $83
Wine Spectator 93 points “This smells like beef bouillon, picking up pure cherry and plum fruit on the palate, along with savory elements. Lean, with well-integrated tannins and a long, meaty finish of tobacco and earth. Best from 2018 through 2030.”
Antonio Galloni 92 points “Col d’Orcia’s 2010 Brunello di Montalcino Vendemmia is all finesse. Sweet floral and spiced notes open up in the glass, followed by veins of bright red stone fruits. Hints of orange peel and white pepper add an attractive, beguiling upper register of aromatics. The 2010 is still a bit raw and much less expressive than it was from barrel, but it is promising.”
Antonio Galloni 93-95 points “The 2012 Clos de Vougeot is alive and vibrant in the glass. Powerful yet also beautifully delineated, the 2012 impresses for its balance and poise. Mint, anise, smoke and a host of blue/black fruits flow through to the finish. This is an intense Clos Vougeot that captures both the concentration and energy of the vintage.” AG
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 91-93 points “Bright ruby-red. Aromas and flavors of ripe red and blue fruits take on floral and peppery spice notes as the wine opens up. Silky and expansive on the palate, showing very good depth as well as energy and back-end lift. Leaves notes of candied flowers and allspice behind on the gently gripping, subtly tannic, very persistent finish.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “Elegant, leading off with perfumed aromas of rose, cherry, strawberry and white pepper. The profile is sleek, with a solid base of acidity and tannins. Shows terrific length, evoking fruit and mineral on the aftertaste. Best from 2019 through 2033.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today
Antonio Galloni “Brovia’s 2012 Barolo is classy, polished and absolutely delicious. With a little bit of air, the 2012 can be enjoyed now, but it also has enough freshness and balance to drink well for at least a handful of years. I have seen Brovia’s straight Barolo age well, so I won’t be surprised if that turns out to be the case here as well. Floral and red stone fruit notes give the 2012 much of its freshness and mid-weight feel. This is an especially lifted, gracious Barolo for the vintage.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “Deep, inky and enveloping, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Hirondelle Estate Vineyard captures all the elements that make Stags Leaps Cabernets so compelling. A host of lavender, mint, sage, graphite and crème de cassis notes flesh out in an effortless, noble Cabernet Sauvignon endowed with notable depth and intensity.”
Stately and Plump
A New Classic Napa Cabernet
Christian Moueix, of the family behind Petrus and individually the driving force behind the Dominus Estate in Oakville, La Fleur-Petrus and Trotanoy in Pomeral, and Belair-Monange in St Emilion, acquired this century-old estate at the foot of the Mayacamas Range in Oakville in 2008. He has meticulously transformed it into a world-class vineyard, having renovating the vineyards and converting to dry farming.
The result is an important new player in the high-end Napa Cabernet market. This is more of a truly Napa-styled wine compared to Dominus, his other project (which has always been Bordeaux inspired). This is big, rich and flamboyant and in its first few vintages has already established itself as a wine to watch in the scene. Luckily, pricing has yet to explode (for now—though the same could have been said about Dominus for quite a while…) but we have a suspicion that this could become a very hard wine to find over the next few years.
Ulysses Vineyard, Napa Valley 2013 750ML ($189.95) $149 special
James Suckling 98 points “Fabulous subtle aromas of black currants, violets and lilacs with a hot stone undertone. Full-bodied and dense, it shows such wonderful energy and synergy that delivers a firm yet gentle tannin backbone and complex mouthfeel that seduces you. Evolves wonderfully. Second wine from this new estate, which is owned by Christian Moueix of Dominus and Bordeaux.”
Robert Parker 96 points “The 2013 Ulysses is absolutely mind-boggling, as so many wines from this vintage are. Gorgeous blueberry and blackberry fruit, along with the telltale cassis and floral notes, jump from the glass. Again, this is Pauillac-like, with some cedar wood and subtle barrique smells. Again produced nearly all from Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine is full-bodied, powerful, rich and long, with slightly sweeter tannins than the 2012. Production in 2013 was 960 cases, and Moueix told me that the entire growing season averaged about two and half weeks ahead of schedule from bloom break to harvest. This is a prodigious effort and will certainly stand as the great Ulysses of the first trio to be released. I suspect it will be drinkable in 3-4 years and keep for 30 or more, given the Moueix track record.”
Antonio Galloni 95+ points “Gravel, smoke, graphite, savory herbs, tobacco and iron are some of the signatures in the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon. A typical wine from the eastern sector of Oakville on the border with Yountville, the 2013 is loaded with feral, savory notes, while the expression of blue/blackish fruit lies a bit more in the background. In 2013, the main signature is an expression of structure that is both vertical but also incredibly insistent through to the finish. In other words, this is a super-classic 2013 built for the cellar.”
Arriving Later This Month:
Ulysses Vineyard, Napa Valley 2014 750ML ($199.95) $169 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 98 points “The evolution of this wine has been phenomenal since I tasted it in barrel a year ago with the same black cherry, plum and citrus character but with a turn to orange leaf, dark Chinese tea, and mushroom. Full body, fine and velvety tannins with a touch of dust to the texture. So much chocolate and fruit undertones with forest floor and hints of tobacco, too. The mouthfeel and complexity are seductive. Better from 2022 but a joy to taste.”
Robert Parker 94 points “The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, which was aged for 17 months in 45% new French oak, is a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The wine is dense purple, with sweet cedar wood, unsmoked cigar tobacco, crème de cassis, and black raspberries in a classic, almost St.-Julien/Pauillac style. This emerged from a valley floor vineyard on the west side of Napa, where Christian Moueix told me that 2014 was characterized by generally slightly higher than average temperatures for the summer with only minor heat spikes in June and July. August and September went off without a hitch, and the harvest took place during the month of September. This full-bodied wine will hit its peak in 3-5 years and last for 25-30.”
The average price is $174
While many folks wait anxiously for their bottles of Tempier (which I still adore, but the diaper budget dictates as being off limits) I am always happier when the Bastide Blanche arrives. The wine is a bouquet garni of herbs, with fresh citrus peel, white peach and perfectly ripe melon. The stony backbone gives it the feel of a long life ahead of it, but, why? It’s drinking beautifully; it adds a little extra weight to glass with dinner, especially useful if you’re in the mood for a red but it’s just too hot. You should be happy drinking it on its own, of course, but paired with olives and a shady spot to enjoy the afternoon is next to perfect.Domaine de la Bastide Blanche Rose, Bandol, Provence 2017 ($27.95) $21.90 special
Wine Advocate 92 points “This American version of La Bastide Blanche’s 2017 Bandol Rose is 71% Mourvèdre, considerably higher than what you’ll find on the market elsewhere. It’s slightly austere in its youth, with crushed stone framing delicate fruit notes of melon and peach, retaining a laser-like focus across the medium-bodied palate and through the lingering finish.”
Mourvedre, Grenache, Cinsault and Bourboulenc. Organic.
Socre Barbaresco DOCG, Piedmont 2013 750ML ($41.95) $36 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Grapelive 92+ points “The 2013 Socre Barbaresco is a pure and ripe Nebbiolo with striking profile and rich character… Socre’s Barbaresco comes from estate vines in the sub zone of Roncaglie that form the heart and soul of the winery. The soils are formed by 50 million year old deposits of alluvial material, with a composition that is a majority clay, with a limestone base derived from the ancient seabed. I’ve always admired what I’ve tasted from Socre and this 2013 does not disappoint with the vintage’s open knit palate and sweet tannins. It’s a great value to for such pleasing Barbaresco. This winery near the tiny hamlet Tre Stelle, which is a village of Barbaresco, not far from the historic town of Alba, is a label to discover if you’ve not done so. Heady on the nose and richly opulent in the mouth this Barbaresco leads with classic earth, flowers, cedar and minty herbs along with its deep cherry, damson plum and distilled strawberry fruits adding a touch of tar, anise and mineral with air. While 14% natural alcohol, it remains lively and sharply detailed delivering everything in seductive layers and with plenty of charm and vigor. The Socre 2013 is an impressive wine and a real winner for the price. It can be enjoyed now and certainly will be rewarding Nebbiolo for another 5 to 10 years easy.”“Treasure this”
Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Steinriesler Riesling, Wachau, Austria 2004 750ML ($99.95) $71.90 special, 3 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 98 points “Swirl this awake to reveal a world of dried hayflower, lemon peel and tart, baked apple. Its lifted, elixir-like chamomile scent goes straight to the pleasure center of the brain, signaling a celebration of maturing Riesling. Dry, taut and fresh, it shimmers with lemon zest and lemon-scented incense. Although immensely concentrated, it’s also quite lithe. Treasure this, with its deep, lingering flavors. Lovely now, it will continue to develop. Drink now–2040.”
X Marks the Spot!
The Powerful Wines of Xavier Vignon
Xavier Vignon is a consulting winemaker to the stars of the Southern Rhone. Responsible for some of the most lauded wines in France (think the 100 point Grand Veneur VV, Usseglio’s 99 point Impériale, etc), he makes wines that are rich, powerful and impressive, no matter where he goes. While consulting, Xavier takes some of the payment for his work in barrels of wine that he selects—these are the basis for the Xavier wines that we have here at the shop.
From some of the best wineries in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Vacqueyras, and Rasteau, he brings them to his facility for blending and bottling under his own label. The resulting wines have the polish, poise and class of the big name estates, but much lower price tags. These are big, rich, wines with big scores and incredible textures, owing to the experience and talent of this master of the Rhone.
In Stock Now from Xavier:
Anonyme is Xavier’s top CDP. The 2011 is drinking perfectly now.
Xavier Vignon Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Anonyme X, Rhone 2011 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Advocate 95 points “The top wine of the estate, the 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Anonyme is a hidden gem in the vintage! A blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah, Counoise and Vaccarese, from 90-year-old vines and aged in one-third new barrels (although you wouldn’t know it), it possesses fabulous notes of blackberry and currant fruit, big minerality, roasted meats and leather. Full-bodied, with beautiful freshness, big tannin and a layered, thrillingly concentrated mid-palate, it will be better in another year or two, and have over 15 years of longevity. Drink 2015-2026.”
One of the most powerful Chateauneufs from the 2012 vintage.
Xavier Vignon Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Anonyme X, Rhone 2012 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Advocate 95 points “The top wine from the portfolio, the 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvee Anonyme offers thrilling purity and focus in its lively dark fruits, roasted meats and underbrush-scented bouquet. Full-bodied, ripe and textured, with fantastic polish and sweetness to its tannin, it has a supple, forward feel, yet will easily evolve for 10-15 years.”
A rebellious wine, Xavier blends across vintages for maximum everything–complexity, drinkability, richness, etc.
Xavier Vignon Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Reserve VII IX X, Rhone NV 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Wine Advocate 96 points “While I reviewed this NV Châteauneuf du Pape La Reserve VII IX X (a blend from the 2007, 2009 and 2010 vintages) last year, I was able to taste it again this go around, and it still blew me away. Fabulously full-bodied and decadent, with loads of lavender, incense, black raspberry and cured-meat nuances, it’s still youthful and vibrant, with notable freshness and purity. Enjoy this brilliant wine through 2028.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “The NV Côtes du Rhône S.M. is thrilling stuff. Made from equal parts Grenache and Syrah and aged half in concrete and half in barrel, it offers a full-bodied, voluptuous and decadent style to go with overflowing notes of plum and darker fruits, licorice and violets. Gorgeous on all counts, it’s a shockingly good Côtes du Rhône to drink over the coming 4-6 years, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see it last even longer.”Xavier Vignon Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2010 750ML ($47.95) $38 special
Wine Advocate 91+ points “Richer, fuller and denser is the 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape, which is composed of 65% Grenache and the rest equal parts Mourvedre and Syrah. Its dense ruby/purple color is followed by abundant notes of black fruits, licorice, lavender, Provencal herbs as well as a meaty richness.”
Delas makes some of the most powerful, intense wines in the Northern Rhone at prices that make them one of the superior values in the region. Density and richness are a hallmark of both the reds and the whites—there are no shrinking violets in the lineup. The Condrieu is all about the rich, opulent side of the AOC, with a thick mouthfeel and powerful aromatics. Ditto the St. Joseph, which is among the more structured, ageworthy examples to come of the region. Finally, we’re offering the legend-in-the-making Hermitage Les Bessards, from Delas’ choicest parcel of the fabled hill. If you love the wines from Chapoutier and Jaboulet, these need a place in your cellar.
For whatever reason, the market has yet to catch up to the quality coming out of Delas’ cellar. The Northern Rhone has turned into one of the hottest markets in the wine world and we keep seeing producers blowing up and getting expensive. That hasn’t happened to Delas—yet. With the quality of recent vintages and the scores involved, we definitely see it happening soon, though, so if you love these wines now is the time to back up the truck.
Newly Reviewed and Arriving This Friday, July 20th:
Delas Freres Hermitage Les Bessards, Rhone 2015 750ML ($249.95) $219 pre-arrival special
Wine Enthusiast 96 points “There’s a striking balance here calibrating bold, almost muscular ripeness against an invigorating granite edge. This wine is plump and full bodied, full of supple blackberry and plum flavors balanced by pert acidity and taut, penetrating tannins. It should be in peak from 2020–2035 but hold further.”
Jeb Dunnuck 100 points “The top cuvée from Delas is the 2015 Hermitage Les Bessards, and it’s always 100% Syrah from the steep, broken granite soils of the Bessards lieu-dit. Aged 18 months in 30% new barrels, its purple/plum color is followed by a huge nose of blackcurrants, graphite, toasted spice, crushed rocks and saddle leather. Powerful, massively concentrated, and tannic, it has a broad, expansive, heavenly texture, a thick mid-palate (you could almost use a fork for this beauty), and a great finish. Despite the richness level, it stays balanced and graceful on the palate, and is never over the top or heavy. It’s a perfect Hermitage that will start to shine with 4-5 years of bottle age and keep for three decades or more. Bravo!”
Wine Advocate 95-97 points “The top cuvée is the 2015 Hermitage les Bessards, which comes from the middle to lower portion of the steep, granite hillside known as Bessards, unquestionably one of the best terroirs for Syrah in the world. Its inky purple color is followed by a full-bodied, rich, thrillingly concentrated red that has huge tannin, bright acidity and a solid mid-palate concentration. It still tastes like it just came from the press and will need to be forgotten for a decade. As normal, it’s completely destemmed and will see 18 months in 30% new oak.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 96 points “Inky ruby. A highly aromatic bouquet evokes candied black and blue fruits, along with complicating suggestions of smoky minerals, candied flowers, olive and vanilla. Deep, chewy and expansive in the mouth, offering impressively concentrated dark berry liqueur, fruitcake and salty olive flavors that are complicated by a hint of smoky minerality and a building floral pastille note. Distinctly rich and powerful but surprisingly graceful as well, showing noteworthy clarity and mineral-driven thrust on the strikingly long finish.”
Also Arriving Friday from Delas Freres:
A Vinopolis Exclusive!
Delas Freres Condrieu Clos Boucher, Rhone 2016 750ML ($89.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 95 points “Pale green-hued yellow. Penetrating, mineral-tinged aromas of fresh citrus and pit fruits are complemented by chalky minerals, violet and fennel accents. Juicy, focused and concentrated, offering intense pear nectar, Meyer lemon and honeysuckle flavors that show outstanding clarity and minerally lift. The mineral and floral notes carry emphatically through a silky, appealingly sweet finish that hangs on with superb focus and tenacity.”
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “A step up, the bigger, richer 2016 Condrieu Clos Boucher is blockbuster stuff, offering serious notes of crushed rock, buttered citrus, orange blossom, and a smoky, meaty, mineral character that’s hard to describe. Possessing full-bodied richness, beautiful mid-palate concentration and a seamless texture, this beauty will be even better this time next year and keep for 4-6 years.”
Delas Freres Saint-Joseph Francois de Tournon, Rhone 2015 750ML ($44.95) $38 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Delas Freres Saint-Joseph Francois de Tournon, Rhone 2015 750ML ($279.95) $199 pre-arrival special (that’s only $33.17/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Wine Advocate 93 points “Inky and concentrated, the 2015 Saint-Joseph Francois de Tournon is no easy-drinking Saint-Joseph. It’s smoky, herbal and ashy all at once, yet it’s buoyed by ample black cherry fruit and vibrant acidity. This medium to full-bodied Syrah has plenty of tannins, but they’re ultimately silky and most apparent on the long, licorice-tinged finish. This is approachable now but should be even better in 3 years and should drink well for at least another 10 after that.”
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points “Both Saint Joseph releases are brilliant in 2015. The 2015 Saint Joseph François De Tournon comes vines around Tournon, Mauves, Saint-Jean-de-Muzols, and Vion, and is always destemmed and aged in 30% new barrels. This full-bodied, rounded, sexy beauty shows the power and fruit of the vintage. With classic notes of black and blue fruits, violets, incense and pepper, drink this textured, expansive, terrific Saint Joseph over the coming 10-15 years.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92 points “Dark ruby. High-pitched red and dark berry and violet aromas show excellent focus and pick up hints of cracked pepper and sandalwood with air. Sappy and seamless in texture, offering fresh black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors and a hint of candied licorice. Turns sweeter on the penetrating, impressively long finish, which features smooth, even tannins and lingering boysenberry and floral qualities. “
Bastille Day Edition
Mousse Fils L’Extra Or d’Eugene Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $44 special
Terry Theise note “80-20 Meunier-PN, disg. 3/2017, a “superior” NV with longer tirage from older material (solera 2003/2012), I am offering this extremely dry Champagne both for those pathologically averse to RS and also to show Cédric’s “serious” side. It has a certain depth and is certainly aligned with the Zeitgeist.”This is perpetually one of the best deals in Champagne.
Thierry Triolet Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($44.95) $33 special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 90 points “(90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir; 10 g/l dosage): Light yellow. Vibrant, mineral-accented aromas of fresh citrus and orchard fruits, with suave floral and candied ginger notes adding complexity. Fleshy and broad on entry, then tighter in the mid-palate, offering juicy green apple and orange zest flavors and a touch of white pepper. Closes silky and smoky, with good clarity and length.”
Domaine Marc Colin et Fils Les Castets, Saint-Aubin Premier Cru 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Advocate 89-91 points “The 2015 Saint Aubin 1e Cru Les Castets, matured for ten months in barrel with 20% new oak, has a very generous and controlled bouquet with hints of brioche and grass clippings infusing the citrus fruit that contains great energy. The palate is very well balanced with a more peachy opening than the Clos des Meix, gently unrolling with a slightly honeyed second half that betrays the warmth of the growing season. Very fine, indeed.”An under the radar Beaujolais producer that over delivers.
Domaine de la Chapelle des Bois Morgon Les Rontay, Beaujolais 2014 750ML ($21.95) $19 special
Importer note “Chantal and Eric Coudert-Appert, the proprietors of the Domaine de la Chapelle des Bois, represent the seventh generation of this family line to work the vineyards of this estate in the heart of Fleurie. The domaine comprises 8.4 hectares of vineyards, all of which are hand-harvested. This energetic couple follows the precepts of “lutte raisonnée” when working the vineyards, which is to say they use an organic approach, treating the vines only when absolutely necessary to produce a healthy, ripe crop. At Domaine de la Chapelle des Bois, the wines are vinified in a traditional manner using a “semi-carbonic” maceration. The cuvaison extends for 10 to 15 days depending on the specific cuvée. A grill placed on top of the cuve and then partially submerged is often utilized during the fermentation period to keep the solid matter in continuous contact with the fermenting juice; this process of extraction is supplemented by a twice-a-day “remontage” or pumping of the juice over the solids during the cuvaison.”
Domaine Bott-Geyl Metiss, Alsace 2015 750ML ($19.95) $16 special
Saul’s Staff Pick “Lower tier Alsatian blends can be hit or miss depending on the producer and vintage, but this blend from Bott-Geyl is great. It’s got texture and lushness but also just enough snap on the back end that you’ve got to have one…more…sip. You’re going to enjoy it and your mom is going to kill the rest of the bottle while you aren’t looking.”
Thibaud Boudignon Anjou Rose, Loire 2017 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
Importer note “100% Cabernet Franc from 37 year old vines grown in shallow soils of grey schist and rhyolite (volcanic soil) and sand. Indigenous yeast fermentation with no malo. Aged 4-6 months stainless steel.”
Mark of Greatness
Profound Wines from the Sundial of Wehlen
There are three great “sundial” vineyards in the middle Mosel and of those the most famous is the Wehlener Sonnenuhr. The vineyard, whose name translates to “the Sundial of Wehlen” is defined by a giant sun-clock in the center of it. Placed there because it was perfectly exposed to receive sun all day, the sundial told vineyard worker when it was time for daily meals and prayers (and of course when the workday was over).
That perfect exposure not only allows for fairly accurate timekeeping, but more importantly for exceptional ripening of grapes. Over the years, Wehlener Sonnenuhr has come to be known as the best vineyard in its stretch (the same can be said for the other two sundials—the Urziger Wurtzgarten and the Zeltinger Sonnenuhr) and one of the top two or three sites in the whole Mosel Valley.
JJ Prum is obviously the producer most associated with the vineyard and one of the primary reasons for the modern renown of the wines, but we wanted to highlight other wineries that worked with the vineyard. These wines are excellent in their own right and in a variety of different styles from the Prum wines (they also tend to be less expensive). One of the things we love best about the Mosel is how producers can put their own touch on hallowed terroirs—making it their own while keeping the essence of the vineyard.
Here’s a selection of a few wines from one of our favorite vineyards in the Mosel, the majority from the epic 2015 vintage as well as a special cellared release!
Selbach-Oster Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese, Mosel 2015 750ML ($39.95) $36 special
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2015 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese is bright, pure, very fine, floral and flinty on the nose. It is provided with perfectly ripe and concentrated, slate-flavored fruit aromas intermixed with lemon and grapefruit notes. This is a lush, piquant and elegant, filigreed and finessed Auslese. It has great finesse and provided with a lot of Spiel and salt. The finish is pure, piquant and salty, but also lush and generous. This is a very precise, straight and stimulating, highly digestible Auslese with a lot of energy, tension and aging potential. It is very clear and there is no hint of botrytis here.”
Mosel Fine Wines 93 points “This offers a beautiful nose of cassis, grapefruit, greengage, apricot tree flower, white flowers and herbs. A more yellow fruit driven side comes through on the palate with yellow peach playing with acidity to produce a mouth-watering cocktail of Mosel charm. A hint of sweetness in the finish is still in need of integration of this gorgeous Auslese in the making. 2025-2045.”
Mosel Fine Wines 94 points “This “maiden wine” comes from the “new” parcel in the central part of the vineyard which was replanted after the 2011 vintage. This shows a quite smoky nose at first and only gradually reveals a fruity side driven by apricot and orange as well as mint and yellow peach. The wine is creamy and smooth on the palate, with just the right amount of acidity to keep things interesting. The unctuous feel to the finish in the finish adds to the pleasure of enjoying this deep and direct expression of Sonnenuhr Auslese. 2025-2040”
David Schildknecht – Vinous 93 points ““This was the one place where we had early botrytis,” explained Willi Schaefer, “but that was simply because of the replanting and young vines that had so few clusters, with berries so tiny and thin-skinned that they were vulnerable to botrytis and needed early picking regardless.” Mango and passion fruit wreathed in heliotrope and lily make for a head-turningly heady nose, then pick up a welcome bit of fresh apple juiciness and tartness on the expansive, buoyant palate. The lingering, lusciously fruited finish is soothing and enveloping, yet not without refreshment. Given the amazing focus, clarity and energy that characterize so many wines in the Schaefers’ 2015 collection, one has to recalibrate to appreciate the manifest but very different virtues of this Wehlener – almost the alter-ego of the corresponding Himmelreich rendered from later-picked, wind-desiccated berries.”
The next best price is $64.98
Bernkastler Ring Auction Wine 2016
David Schildknecht – Vinous 92 points “This “one-star” Spätlese reflects Kerpen’s best parcels in the Sonnenuhr as well as a more stringent selection than in the corresponding “regular” bottling. The floral dimension here turns to heady honeysuckle and lily, and to the extent that the appley fruit remains cidery, it’s now the refined, pure Normandy sort. At the same time, there is a refreshing, tangy citrus dimension here, favoring lime and grapefruit, that’s riper, more colorful and more efficacious than in other wines of this collection. The feel is polished, if (for now at least) not quite creamy, and the lingering finish is transparent to a dynamic interchange of diverse fruits and mineral nuances.”
Mosel Fine Wines 92 points “This special bottling of Spätlese * (there is also one offered via regular channels) offers a very elegant and flowery nose of white peach, herbs and spices. The wine is gorgeously fruity and loaded with herbs on the palate. It is lively, fresh and elegant and gradually gains in presence and richness. The finish is however light, airy and incredibly long. What a beautiful wine! 2025-2040”
Terry Theise writes: “In general Justen’s wines are more lush and peachy than, say, Merkelbach; not as stern as, say, Christoffel. They are comparatively straightforward and “easy” to understand because the fruit is overt and in-your-face. Even a cursory glance into that fruit, though, will reveal the proverbial Coat of Many Colors: interplays of flavor and texture that can be absorbing and rewarding. And the wines both keep and age.”
Grapelive 96 points “J.J. Prum, founded in 1911 (which is young for such a heralded winery in Germany), is one of the world’s great wineries as well as being a top Mosel or German estate with an amazing history and collection of fantastic wines. When I was starting in the wine business, one of my first magical epiphanies came from tasting a set of J. J. Prum wines from Kabinett to Auslese. It was a moment that changed my whole understanding of Riesling, sweetness, and balance. These wines revealed terroir, they removed the stigma of sugar levels and gave me the insight, that not only can Riesling thrill the palate with sexy hedonism, but can be vigorous like a red wine with power/extract and structure…. This 2015 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese, while densely sweet, is also remarkably focused and svelte (openly transparent) with amazing depth of character. Most would consider a wine like this nectar of the gods! Brilliant and lightly golden in the glass with a smoky/flint bouquet that slowly unfolds, as this young (baby) starts to wake with air [it] gains floral and spice notes along with clear stone fruits with a non-botrytis seriousness. Understanding Auslese is still a confusing art: it is a fruity wine, though not strictly a dessert wine, in fact it is much more than that and can be matched with many cuisines and is one of the true pleasures of the wine world. These are wines that can be sipped alone, can be an aperitif with fruit and cheeses, [are] brilliant with fiery Asian dishes, [and can] be enjoyed with savory foods from smoked meats to pate. This wonderful Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr opens on the palate with intense liquid mineral, apricot, peach, dried ginger, rose oil, wet shale/rock, vibrant though ripe creamy citrus (mandarin orange) saline/brine, honeycomb and tropical essences all which form a textural nirvana of mouth feel and depth, while still remaining firm and not cloying at all. It’s that almost perfect scale of tension and release with its stony vitality, brisk acidity and sweet opulence. Wehlener Sonnenuhr is a rocky site of blue slate, which gives this beautiful wine its soul.…These are wines of eternal life and cellar with exceptional pureness and rewarding grace, and this 2015 is set for many decades of pleasure. Do. Not. Fear. (Sugar).”
Mosel Fine Wines 95 points “This offers a hugely elegant nose of pear, grapefruit, herbs and white flowers. The wine is intensely zesty yet also delicately creamy on the palate and leads to a finish which is, simply put, to die for. What a wine! 2025-2045”
Mosel Fine Wines 96 points “This delivers a stunning nose of infused pear, slate and white flowers which give way to coconut and pineapple. A deliciously exotic side runs through the wine on the palate. This, combined with zesty acidity, gives the wine great freshness, vibrancy and finesse. The finish is all about whipped cream, pear puree and candied grapefruit. What a beauty! 2030-2055”
Marchesi Antinori Tignanello Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 97 points “Dense and intensely flavored, with violet, black currant, blackberry, graphite, wild herb and spice aromas and flavors, this is concentrated and solidly built, yet also harmonious, vibrant and pure. Approachable now, but should be better in a few years. Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2021 through 2035.”
See the complete list of wines on our July Clearance Sale below or click here to shop the sale on our web store!
Thanks for reading!