In This Newsletter:
Arriving this April
A Cellar Gem for a steal!
Syrah from around the world
Drappier and their Heart of Gold
High Sierra Gredos:
Telmo Rodriguez wines
Chianti, Castello’s and Conspiracies:
Del Trebbio’s Storied Reds
Royally delicious Tokaji
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Arriving this April
The Hirsch Vineyard is a meticulously farmed, biodynamic estate that is nestled within the newly established Fort Ross Seaview appellation of the Sonoma Coast. One of only a handful of producers, their Pinot Noir is among the most elegant and nuanced of any you can find in California. With high acids, elegant tannin structure and picture-perfect farming these are among the most collectible and age worthy in the state, while still maintaining the fruit that’s a quintessential part of California’s wine reputation.
Hirsch wines arriving April 22nd
Hirsch Vineyards East Ridge Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2018 750ML ($99.95) $84.50 pre-arrival special, only 6 bottles arriving
Wine Spectator 95 points “Powerfully fresh and crunchy, with plenty of minerality to the dried cherry and berry flavors that are backed by crisp acidity. Shows cedary notes and hints of juniper berry on the lithe finish. Best from 2022 through 2027. 527 cases made. — KM”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2018 Pinot Noir Estate East Ridge is juicy, open-knit and seductive. Sweet red cherry, red plum, spice, mint and blood orange infuse the 2018 with tons of nuance and character. In this tasting, the East Ridge stands out for its mid-palate density and creaminess, along with slightly darker/purplish tonalities of fruit.”
Wine & Spirits 94 points “Bright, spicy and clean, this pinot noir shows the riper side of the Hirsch far-coast vineyard, from parcels on the relatively protected eastern ridge. It opens to immediate pleasure, rich with a smoky sandstone rasp to the tannins, but it really only shows its depth of flavor a day or two later. What starts out as glossy gains complex detail, refreshed by mineral tones layered with red-grapefruit and cardamom spice. (527 cases) —J.G.”
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “Similarly hued, the 2018 Pinot Noir East Ridge has a slightly more mineral-laced, marine, and savory earth-driven bouquet that includes plenty of ripe red fruit, forest floor, and spring flower-like aromas and flavors. It’s vibrant, racy, and nicely focused on the palate, with good acidity, building minerality, and a great finish. It’s certainly a racier, more vibrant style of wine compared to the East Ridge and will benefit from short-term bottle aging. It has a kiss of background oak as well, but that will integrate with a year or two in the cellar. It’s another Burgundian, complex, age-worthy wine from this estate.”
Decanter 94 points “Smouldering, introspective nose of black cherry, red plum, cocoa and potting soil. The same characters are subsequently broad and mouthcoating on the palate, which has a spry, lifted finish. You could cellar this a few years to let it unwind. This site, with low-yielding, 30-year-old vines on steep slopes, has less oceanic influence than the rest of the property, producing the richest of the Hirsch single-block wines. Drinking Window 2024 – 2039.”
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “Cellar Selection. Structured and wildly complex, this wine is just starting to reveal itself, offering a quiet wealth of juicy pomegranate, black tea and rocky tannin. Textured, it is both savory in nature and bursting in acidity, providing a lengthy freshness as it goes. Still, time in the cellar is recommended; enjoy best from 2025–2028. -Virginie Boone”
Hirsch Vineyards West Ridge Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2018 750ML ($99.95) $84.50 pre-arrival special, 6 bottles in stock now
Decanter 95 points “Hirsch produces both an East Ridge and West Ridge bottling, and vintage conditions seem to determine which shows better; the West Ridge in 2018 is exceptional. The nose is charming and poised, with ripe but delicate redcurrant fruit. The attack is fresh and svelte, and the palate has ample grip without being extracted. It shows far more punch and drive than the low alcohol suggests, and the finish is balanced and long. Drinking Window 2022 – 2035.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2018 Pinot Noir Estate West Ridge is soft and gracious, yet retains the nervousness and translucence that runs through the 2018s here. Deceptive in its mid-weight feel, the 2018 possesses striking depth. Sweet red cherry, red plum, spice, new leather and cedar all flesh out. Vibrant and intensely mineral, the West Ridge is compelling. The core of West Ridge is a Block 7, which is planted with Mt. Eden Clone planted in 1990 that are now heavily virused and therefore naturally produce a small crop.”
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “One of the more lightly colored Pinot Noirs in the lineup, the 2018 Pinot Noir West Ridge has a translucent ruby color to go with a more subtle nose of ripe mulled cherries, dried flowers, savory herbs, and a touch of marine-like minerality and iodine. More round, supple, and elegant on the palate, it still brings plenty of ripe tannins, terrific overall balance, and just a charming, interesting, satisfying style. My money is on it benefiting from another year or two of bottle age and keeping for a solid decade.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “Vibrantly fruity and minerally, with cherry, currant and berry flavors that are sculpted and precise. The juicy finish hums with cedar and underbrush accents. Drink now through 2025. 486 cases made. — KM”
Erin Brooks-Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2018 Pinot Noir West Ridge opens with touches of leather and angostura bitters over a core of bright red berry fruit and citrus peel. The light-bodied palate offers firm, fresh, crunchy fruits with loads of spicy accents, and it finishes long.”
Wine & Spirits 93 points “This comes from a collection of parcels on the ocean-side of Hirsch’s far-coast estate, on ridgetops once covered in redwoods—timbered more than a century ago to rebuild San Francisco after the city burned. The wine carries a memory of those coastal redwoods in its foresty red-berry flavor, along with a gentle rain of tannins, persistent in their mineral spice. You might imagine the exposed sandstone of the ridges or scents of the kelp beds of the Pacific as the pretty red fruit lasts. (486 cases) —J.G.”
Wine Enthusiast 93 points “Exotic elements of blood orange and tangerine are lifted by a carbonic underbelly of complex freshness in this salty, subdued wine. Silky in texture, it has a beautiful nose of rose petal and sea spray, with finishing touches of cardamom and black tea. -Virginie Boone”
A Cellar Gem for a steal!
For those that say the Right Bank in Bordeaux does not produce wines of structure and power should look to Chateau Sansonnet. Unlike the other soils in Saint Emilion, which are predominantly clay based, Sansonnet is situated at the top of a plateau, making their soil primarily limestone with a marginal percentage of clay for topsoil. This composition and aspect paid off brilliantly in 2018 with the site managing to escape the majority of climatic issues that arose in the vintage, dodging everything from hail to mildew. This allowed for them to bring in perfectly ripe fruit, without any disease influence. This is evident when tasting, with a spectrum of black, blue and purple fruits with an undercurrent of vanilla, cloves and graphite. Raised in 100% new oak this is something to purchase in multiples and try over the course of a couple decades, drinking beautifully now but with almost endless potential.
Chateau Sansonnet Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2018 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 27 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 96+ Points “This estate has been on fire of late and that doesn’t appear to have changed with the 2018 Château Sansonnet. Revealing a dense purple hue as well as a young, unevolved bouquet of pure crème de cassis, graphite, crushed violets, bouquet garni, chocolate, and distinct chalky minerality, it delivers remarkable purity, full-bodied richness, silky tannins, and flawless balance. A wine that builds slowly with time in the glass, offering a beautiful mix of richness, elegance, and length, it’s as good, if not even better than the 2016. Don’t miss it!”
Antonio Galloni 96 Points “The 2018 Sansonnet is super-impressive right out of the gate. In recent years, Sansonnet has been opulent. The 2018 captures all of that richness but also has an extra kick of vibrancy that works so well in balancing things out. The style is still concentrated, and there is plenty of new oak, but it all works so well together. Inky red fruit, chocolate, plum, rose petals and spice linger on the exotic finish. The 2018 is so expressive today. Moreover, it is flat-out delicious.”
James Suckling 96 Points “Blackberry, black truffle, red tile and walnut on the nose. Full-bodied with a very dense, polished palate of ripe, firm tannins and beautifully pure fruit. Transparent and gorgeous. This will age nicely. Try after 2024.”
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 94+ Points “The 2018 Sansonnet is a blend of 90% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Cabernet Franc. With 15% alcohol and a deep garnet-purple color, it opens a little broody, offering glimpses at tar and damp earth notes before bursting forth with expressive plum preserves, blueberry pie and licorice scents, followed by hints of cedar chest and pencil lead. Full-bodied, rich and impactful in the mouth, the generous black fruits are nicely framed by firm, rounded tannins and loads of freshness, finishing long and earthy.”
We carry both Red Bordeaux and White Bordeaux from both sides of the river at a variety of price points!
Syrah from around the world
Depending on the climactic and soil conditions there is a range of blue and black fruits that are underscored by pipe tobacco, bacon fat and a mineral spine.
Syrah from around the world available now:
Cayuse Vineyards Wallah Wallah Special Series Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2018 1.5L ($319.95) $289 special, 2 magnums in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points “Christophe often releases a special blend in magnum (he never says which vineyards it’s from), and the 2018 Syrah Special #12 is another gorgeous wine. Revealing a deep ruby/plum hue as well as classic Rocks notes of blue fruits, ground pepper, bacon fat, lavender, and violets, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, a seamless, elegant texture, ripe yet certainly present tannins, and a great finish. It needs 4-5 years of bottle age and will cruise for two decades.”
Domaine Belle Crozes-Hermitage Les Pierrelles Rhone 2018 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 90-93 points “The 2018 Crozes Hermitage les Pierrelles made for a great start to my visit at this standout estate. It’s grapey and intense, with hints of cedary wood accenting blueberry and blackberry fruit. It’s full-bodied and supple, finishing lush and even a bit warm. It should be a lot of fun to drink as a young wine.”
Barr-Eden Estate ‘Dreams of Gold’ Mengler’s Hill Shiraz Eden Valley 2020 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Joe Czerwinski-Wine Advocate 90 points “A new addition to the lineup, the 2020 Dreams of Gold Shiraz comes from relatively young vines, planted in 1997 and 2013. Aged in older French oak, it boasts scents of “Eden Valley garrigue”—notes that suggest eucalyptus, bay leaf and wild thyme—set against a backdrop of blueberries. Less intense and concentrated than the other bottlings, it’s still medium to full-bodied, suave and silky in feel, with a clean, mouthwatering finish and a soft dusting of tannins. Barr-Eden Estate is the new name for the Love Over Gold partnership between Tim Howser, Joel Mattschoss, Pierre-Henri Morel and Michael Twelftree. Morel is the general manager of Two Hands and Howser and Twelftree are owners of Two Hands, while Mattschoss is a grape grower, with vines on Mengler’s Hill.”
B. Leighton Olsen Brothers Vineyard Syrah Yakima Valley 2017 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 5 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “The 2017 Syrah comes all from the Olsen Brothers Vineyard in the Yakima Valley and is a mix of the 383 and Phelps clones of Syrah. It was not destemmed and was brought up in just 15% new French oak. Ground pepper, meat, smoked game, and decayed flower notes all emerge from this Northern Rhone look-alike. It’s beautifully balanced, medium to full-bodied, and a rock star expression of Syrah to enjoy over the coming 8-10 years.”
Chateau de Saint Cosme Cote Rotie Rhone 2018 750ML ($79.95) $69 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 92-95 points “One of the gems in the Northern Rhône lineup is the 2018 Côte Rôtie, which, as with all of Louis’ wines, wasn’t destemmed and was brought up in 30-40% new oak. Stunning aromatics of black raspberries, olive tapenade, ground pepper, violets, and assorted meat notes all flow to a medium to full-bodied, opulent, seamless Côte Rôtie that has a smoking good texture. Count me impressed.”
Importer Note “Côte-Rôtie is produced from 100% Sérine, an ancient and local variety of Syrah that is markedly different from modern selections. It is more oval, with lots of space in the bunch, resulting in a very aromatic wine. It is sourced from the schist soils of Le Plomb, Besset, La Viallière, and Neve climats. These hillsides are among the steepest in France with an incline as much as 55 degrees. On the palate, it reveals a fresh attack followed by an ample, structured, long-lasting finish. The wine unfurls in successive stages and ends with top-quality tannins produced by whole cluster fermentation. It features aromas and flavors of smoked ham, violet, graphite, graphite, and licorice.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Famille Perrin Vinsobres Les Hauts de Julien Rhone 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 26 bottles in stock now
Case-6 Famille Perrin Vinsobres Les Hauts de Julien Rhone 2015 750ML ($299.95) $219 special, (That’s $36.50 per bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “The 2015 Vinsobres Les Hauts De Julien comes from the Vinsobres region, which is a cooler terroir located in the northern part of the southern Rhône. Based largely on very old vine Syrah blended with Grenache, it offers a vibrant purple color as well as a sensational bouquet of blueberries, cracked pepper, violets, lavender, and exotic spices. Incredibly textured, full-bodied, deep, and opulent, with awesome purity of fruit, it’s another sensational vintage for this cuvée that would pass undetected in a blind lineup of top Cornas. Drink it anytime over the coming decade.”
Drappier and their Heart of Gold
Forbes placed the estate’s Carte d’Or, as the #3 “Best Champagne You’ve Never Heard Of” for good reason. Drappier makes big, flamboyantly rich Champagne that is always a crowd pleaser—at prices that mean you can actually pour it for crowds. It’s hard to find better bubbly under $40/btl, so if you’re a Champagne drinker you should stock up now. Drappier recently made waves in Europe after refusing to rename their Champagne to “Sparkling Wine” costing them several lucrative contracts with the Russian Federation, including one with the National Airline for the country.
Drappier in stock now:
Drappier Carte d’Or Brut Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $38 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Drappier Carte d’Or Brut Champagne NV 750ML (299.95) $219 special, That’s only $36.50 per bottle)
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 91 points “Disgorged in April 2021, Drappier’s new NV Brut Carte d’Or delivers attractive aromas of golden orchard fruit, stone fruit, honeycomb and white flowers. Medium to full-bodied, fleshy and enveloping, it’s charming and elegantly vinous, with a flavorful core of fruit, lively acids and a chalky finish.”
Wine Spectator 90 points “Racy acidity enlivens this crisp and lacy Champagne. Well-knit, with the delicate mix of ripe white cherry, blanched almond, yellow plum and grated ginger flavors. Drink now. 3,000 cases imported. — AN”
[Disgorgement date may vary from reviews]
Can’t get enough Champagne? We have over 197 bottlings in-store and online
High Sierra Gredos:
Telmo Rodriguez wines
With the rise in higher production farming and urbanization there are vast swaths of vineyards across Spain abandoned simply because no one is around to work them. This happened even in Rioja, where Telmo began his work, eventually expanding beyond the region to incorporate 43 different native varietals spread across 355 plots. Given the precipitous conditions of many of the sites, labors of love to not begin to cover how much work goes into the finished wines. Due to the majority of the vineyards being located high in the Sierra Gredos Mountains, mechanized labor and harvesting is impossible. This light touch combined with the mountainous conditions lend themselves to incredibly elegant and transparent expressions of “Old Spain”.
Telmo Rodriguez in stock now:
Compania de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez ‘Pegaso Barrancos de Pizarra’ Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon Spain 2013 750ML ($44.95) $33 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Compania de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez ‘Pegaso Barrancos de Pizarra’ Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon Spain 2013 750ML ($259.95) $185.50 special, That’s only $30.91 per bottle)
James Sucking 96 points “Exuberant red berries and cherries with a fine, rose-like edge and some coal smoke. Very juicy, fleshy, rich and ripe mid-palate with a dense, long and showy, glossy black-cherry finish. Drink or hold.”
Wine Advocate 94 points ” Cropped from a cooler and late ripening vintage, the 2013 Pegaso Barrancos de Pizarra resulted in fresh wines and certainly worked well with the slate soils of these old Garnacha vines in Cebreros. This has a very good balance between ripeness and freshness, power and elegance, with the character of the soils slowly coming through in the shape of fresh meat and beef blood, with the iron-like notes still pretty shy. This should develop nicely in bottle. 8,931 bottles produced.”
Compania de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez ‘Pegaso Barrancos de Pizarra’ Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon Spain 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 16 bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 94+ points “The 2015 Pegaso Barrancos de Pizarra has subtler tannins and has a more Mediterranean twist with notes of thyme and rosemary, ripe without excess. In fact, it felt quite elegant for the natural conditions of the harvest. On the palate, it is rounder and more approachable than the granite version, with the rusticity of the zone but more elegant. less extracted and with better oak integration than the initial vintages. It gives me the feeling that the best is yet to come… 2,700 bottles produced. It was bottled in July 2017.”
Importer note “Cebreros, a village within the Sierra de Gredos mountains outside of Madrid, was a forgotten region Telmo Rodriguez discovered while traversing the Cañadas Reales with his father in 1999. Then, the region was known only for bulk wine and the idea was to write a book. However, enchanted by the old-vines and incredible natural beauty of the terrain, Telmo began to make his first wine that year. He decided to use the name Pegaso, a tribute to the famous Spanish car and truck manufacturer of the 1940s, which is dear to collectors with an eye for design and style. In the village of Cebreros, a rare band of brown slate is folded into the mostly granitic mountain range. They began by recovering the gran cru slope of Arrebatacapas, at an elevation of over 1100m, which is the most important pizarra (slate) landscape in all of Gredos. The wine from this special slate vineyard and other slate vineyards they have recovered is called Pegaso Barrancos de Pizarra. Barrancos de Pizarra is sourced from 930m to 1100m slate vineyards near Cebreros. Produced with 100% traditional, EU organic, bush-trained garnacha vines. Hand-picked grapes are fermented with native yeasts. The wine is then aged for 24 months in French oak barrels sourced from different forests.”
Compania de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez ‘Pegaso Barrancos de Pizarra’ Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon Spain 2017 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 95+ points “The explosive nose of the 2017 Pegaso Barrancos de Pizarra is all thyme and flowers, really expressive, aromatic and redolent of the herbs found in the surroundings of the Gredos Mountains. It’s especially representative of the Mediterranean character of the year. It has powerful aromatics that keep growing in the glass, floral and spicy, with notes that are reminiscent of curry, nutmeg and Jamaica pepper. It’s very showy and intoxicating, with the tight tannins of the slate soils—they are chalky and finer grained than the slightly coarser tannins from granite. I am really impressed by this 2017, which is as good or better than the 2016. Bravo! 2,800 bottles were filled in July 2018.”
Compania de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez ‘Pegaso Granito’ Vino Tinto de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon VT Spain 2017 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 95 points “The floral 2017 Pegaso Granito is quite different from the Pizarra from the same vintage, with more light and red fruit rather than the slightly darker Pizarra. It’s floral and expressive and doesn’t show any heat despite having full ripeness. It has grainy tannins, deep flavors and a remarkable finish. I think it transcends the character of the year, delivering balance and elegance at the same time as power. It’s fresher than I expected. It’s closer to the 2016 than the 2015. 2,800 bottles were filled in July 2018.”.
We carry a number of regenerative farmers from Spain including Raul Perez, Daniel Landi and Mesquida Mora
Chianti, Castello’s and Conspiracies:
Del Trebbio’s Storied Reds
Approved but not endorsed by the current Pope at the time, the Pazzi family sought to kill Lorenzo and Giuliano d’Medici in order to depose their extensive influence in both banking and the Signoria (The merchant republic predating the unification of Italy). The Pazzi Conspiracy as it’s now known was a monumental failure, resulting in Lorenzo d’Medici erasing the entire family from public eye and confiscating their assets.
In the resulting decades the Castello was used primarily as an agricultural operation, with the current generation of owners bringing the estate in to the current millennium. Needless to say they’ve been much more successful as a winemaking operation than conspiracy startup, farming biodynamically with no synthetic inputs. Everything at the estate is done with as little disturbance to nature as possible with this philosophy also guiding the winemaking.
Castello Del Trebbio wines in stock now:
Castello del Trebbio Chianti Superiore DOCG Tuscany 2018 750ML ($24.95) $14 special, 5 bottles in stock now
Falstaff 92 points “Sparkling ruby red. Intense and appealing nose with notes of cranberries and cherries. Good consistency on the palate, opens with fine-meshed, well-integrated tannins, clear fruit in the final.”
Castello del Trebbio De’ Pazzi Toscana IGT Tuscany 2014 750ML ($34.95) $21.90 special, 23 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 92 points “This rich red has mellowed, offering black cherry, blackberry and plum fruit, accented by leather, tobacco and herb hints. The chalky tannins are integrated. Should become even more supple with time. Drink now through 2023. 1,280 cases made, 350 cases imported”
Royally delicious Tokaji
Have you ever had something that tasted so good you thought there was a secret ingredient? Marzio Galeotto, an Italian merchant in the 1460’s widely proclaimed that Tokaji contained flecks of actual gold. This sparked a centuries long obsession with the region, with an inexhaustible list of historical figures who proclaimed their love for the wines including Thomas Jefferson, Catherine the Great, Tolstoy and the Sun King himself, Louis the 14th, who made it the court wine of Versailles. We offer a plethora of examples from Royal Tokaji Co, a producer credited with reintroducing Tokai to the world of fine wine after the elimination of the Iron Curtain. These are benchmark wines that you should try at least once in your lifetime, and have at least one in the cellar.
Tokaji Hightlights in stock now:
Royal Tokaji ‘Betsek’ Single Vineyard Aszu 6 Puttonyos Tokaj 2017 500ML ($149.95) $119 special, 8 bottles in stock now
Neal Martin-Vinous 96 points “The 2017 Tokaji Betsek 6-Puttonyos comes from Royal Tokaji’s largest vineyard site, a crescent-shaped parcel on black volcanic soils. This has a very harmonious, Sauternes-like bouquet with orange blossom and wild peach aromas percolating through with time. The palate is poised and focused, delivering vibrant energy, a touch of spiciness on the back palate and outstanding length. This could turn out to be their finest single-vineyard release. Brilliant. 4,606 bottles produced.”
Royal Tokaji ‘Mezes Maly’ Aszu 6 Puttonyos Tokaj 2017 500ML ($179.95) $149 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Neal Martin-Vinous 95 points “The 2017 Tokaji Mézes Mály 6-Puttonyos, which comes from vines on loess soils, has a beautiful nose. Very pure but not intense, it offers scents of honeysuckle, clementine, lemon sherbet and a touch of black currant leaf, all showing wonderful definition. The palate is is very well balanced with impressive weight, but like the nose, there is a subtlety, a lightness of touch from start to finish. Elegant and poised, this is a very classy effort from one of Tokaji’s most renowned sites and it will age with class. 2,665 bottles produced.”
Royal Tokaji Ats – Mad Cuvee – Late Harvest Tokaj 2017 500ML ($24.95) $19.90 special, 22 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 93 points “This late-harvest wine carries aromas of pear and acacia flower, with flavors of Bartlett pear, apricot and dried rosemary. It has nice weight on the midpalate and the finish is pleasantly sweet without being too cloying. -Jeff Jenssen”