In This Newsletter:
New and Re-Arrivals:
Mourat, J Mourat:
The James Bond Rose coming this summer
Kia Ora to North Canterbury’s Hermit Ram
Perrier-Jouët: Belle Époque
Killer Quality at a Cut Rate Price:
Vicar of Vertus, Duval Leroy
The Rachmaninov of Ribera
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New and Re-Arrivals:
Chartogne-Taillet Cuvee Sainte Anne Brut Champagne NV 750ML ($51.95) $44 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
John Gilman 90+ points “The current release of Alexandre Chartogne’s Cuvée Ste. Anne non-vintage Brut is from the base year of 2017. The vins clairs were raised in a combination of both stainless steel and oak and the wine was not bottled up for secondary fermentation until July of 2018. The cépages is its customary blend of nearly equal parts of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier and the wine was disgorged in February of 2020, with a finishing dosage of just over five grams per liter. The wine offers up a vibrant bouquet of apple, white peach, a fine base of soil tones, brioche, gentle smokiness and a topnote of white flowers. On the palate the wine is bright, full-bodied, focused and complex, with a good core, elegant bubbles, fine balance and grip and a long, zesty and quite classy finish. This seems a touch longer on the backend to me than the last couple of iterations of this bottling that I have tasted and is first class, non-vintage Brut. But, this is still a fairly young wine and I would be inclined to give it some bottle age to let it start to blossom properly. 2022-2040.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 90 points “The latest release of Chartogne’s NV Brut Sainte Anne is based on the 2017 vintage, complemented by 40% reserve wines. Disgorged in September 2020 with five grams per liter dosage, it opens in the glass with aromas of crisp yellow orchard fruit, white flowers and fresh pastry. Medium to full-bodied, fleshy and enveloping, it’s elegantly textural, bright and precise, with a seamless, harmonious profile.”
Importer note “60% 2017 base, 40% from 2016 & 2015.” Disgorgement date may vary from reviews.
Larmandier-Bernier Terre de Vertus Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru Non-Dose Champagne 2014 750ML ($89.95) $79 special, 9 bottles in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 94+ points “Disgorged in January 2020, the 2014 Brut Nature Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru Terre de Vertus is a fine follow-up to the excellent 2013 and 2012 renditions. Unwinding in the glass with scents of white flowers, citrus oil, crisp orchard fruit, fresh pastry and almonds, it’s full-bodied, layered and vinous, with more richness and mid-palate amplitude than the tauter 2013, underpinned by racy acids and chalky structuring extract.”
Larmandier-Bernier Vieilles Vignes du Levant Grand Cru Extra Brut Champagne 2011 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, 9 bottles in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 97 points “Revisited from the June 2019 disgorgment, Larmandier-Bernier’s 2011 Extra-Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Vieille Vigne du Levant continues to drink superbly, bursting from the glass with aromas of pear, peach, toasted almonds, white flowers, fresh bread and oyster shell. Full-bodied, layered and concentrated, it’s deep and fleshy, with superb concentration, racy acids and a long, saline finish. I have previously contended that Pierre Larmandier produced Champagne’s wines-of-the-vintage in 2011, and every bottle I open seems to confirm that. Indeed, if one were to taste only his wines, along with those produced by a small handful of other growers, one could easily think very differently about this unheralded year.”
Decanter 95 points “This masterful Champagne comes from the superb Bourron du Levant vineyard, whose oldest vines were planted more than 80 years ago. Brown butter, hazelnut and brioche lead the initial attack, but this never loses sight of freshness and purity, with a crystalline depth and harmonious balance. Fermented in cask with eight years on the lees, this should last for decades. Drinking Window 2020 – 2050.”
Chateau Palmer Margaux 2016 750ML ($499.95) $419 special, only 10 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 100 points “Technical Director Thomas Duroux and his team made one of the most brilliant wines of the 2016 vintage. Palmer is simply exceptional. Rich and dramatically sweeping in the glass, the 2016 is breathtaking. All the elements simply fall into place in a wine of mesmerizing beauty. The counterpoint of dark, sumptuous fruit and floral notes makes for an utterly compelling Palmer that will take its place among the estate’s finest vintages. Dark cherry, lavender, spice and mocha are some of the many notes that build into a deep, substantial finish that is truly unforgettable. In a word: magnificent!”
Jeb Dunnuck 100 points “The finest vintage I’ve ever tasted from this estate, surpassing the 2009 and 2010, the 2016 Château Palmer is a blend of 47% each of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, with the balance Petit Verdot, all of which was brought up in 65% new French oak. This magical effort reveals a saturated purple color as well as a huge nose of crème de cassis, graphite, crushed rocks, and spring flowers, and it develops beautifully with time in the glass. Full-bodied, deep, incredibly concentrated and powerful, it nevertheless just glides over the palate with flawless purity and balance, present, ripe tannins, and a finish that just won’t quit. This is Bordeaux at its most regal and classic. It will be drinkable with just 4-5 years of bottle age and keep for half a century.”
Wine Enthusiast 100 points “#27 Cellar Selection in 2019 Powerful tannins and hugely rich fruit balance together in this superb wine. The velvet texture belies the power behind the concentrated, ripe black-fruit flavor, with vibrant acidity giving ample lift. The wine’s structure will ensure aging for many years. Drink from 2024. -Roger Voss”
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 98+ points “The 2016 Palmer is a blend of 47% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot. Opaque garnet-purple colored, it slowly glides out of the glass with compelling notes of blueberry compote, warm cassis and kirsch with emerging hints of violets, cigar box, black tea, sandalwood and Sichuan pepper. Medium to full-bodied, wonderfully rich, concentrated and packed with latent energy, the palate literally grows in the mouth, revealing layer upon layer of black, blue and red fruits and tons of floral sparks, framed by super ripe, incredibly fine-grained tannins and finishing with epic length. It’s a wine that makes you wanna drape yourself languidly over a chaise lounge, glass of Palmer in hand, sighing with deep satisfaction, ‘This is so wonderfully Palmer.’”
Decanter 98 points “As is always the case with Palmer, the richness, depth and silkiness is just so impressive. Sophisticated and well constructed, with a vertical lift-off, there’s a creamy richness on the palate which supports pencil-lead, liquorice, damson, black cherry and slate. I love the smoky cocoa bean finish. Like the Alter Ego, it’s a different style this year but no less impressive, displaying width, heft and incredible persistency. It’s a wine that’s going to age far into the future and is extremely easy to recommend. The highest ever proportion of grand vin was produced in 2016. Drinking Window 2025 – 2042.”
Neal Martin-Vinous 98 points “The 2016 Palmer has a generous, slightly lactic bouquet of opulent red fruit infused with touches of dark chocolate, although it calms down and gains more grace with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins and well-judged acidity. Very harmonious, revealing cedar and mint toward the extraordinarily persistent finish. This is another classy, persistent Margaux with a long future ahead. Tasted blind at the Southwold tasting.”
James Suckling 98 points “Such attractive fruit and alluring ripeness that it draws you in from the get-go. The discreet power here is delivered with a very astute touch. Assorted dark-berry aromas, as well as red plums, abound on the nose. The richness and depth in the mouth is stunning. The tannins are super polished and layered and they draw pristine dark fruit flavors deep into the finish in effortless mode. This is a star of the vintage. A blend of 47 per cent merlot, 47 per cent cabernet sauvignon and six per cent petit verdot. Try from 2024.”
Chateau Palmer Historical XIXth Century Blend Vin de France ($499.95) $419 special, 10 bottles in stock now arriving
“In fact, seeing a bottle of 19th century Lafite Hermitagé, as it is described on the label, gave me an idea, and from 2004 we produced a small quantity of what we call Historical 19th Century Wine. It’s Palmer plus 15% Syrah from the northern Rhône. It’s labelled as vin de table, so no one would ever mistake it for Palmer.” – Palmer’s director-general Thomas Duroux
The 19th Century practice in Bordeaux of ‘hermitaging’ their ‘claret’ was abandoned with the installation of the AOC regulations. Over the past decade however the always acclaimed Chateau Palmer decided to utilize some of their classifed Margaux to reincarnate the traditition. Those 19th Century Clarets needed the boost of power and structure. Palmer’s Margaux has no such need. Palmer’s ‘hermitaged’ margaux in its early years will be somewhat more fruit forward. After a decade rolls by you might detect a slight difference in flavor but be need to be a gifted taster to describe. The “Historical’ is made to honor the past, not to alter the wine and its future.
Italy- Brunello di Montalcino
Castiglion del Bosco Brunello di Montalcino DOCG Tuscany 2016 750M ($62.95) $54.50 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
James Suckling 99 points “The complexity and beauty to this is really something with cherry, walnut, tobacco and cigar-box character. Sweet cherries. It’s full-bodied and deep with super intensity and power. Layered and beautiful. Really refined tannins. Some whole-berry fermentation gives this added character. Goes on for minutes. Try after 2025.”
Decanter 97 points “We were lucky enough to have a splendid entry from Brunello di Montalcino this year, as this zone’s other Gold and Platinum medals testify, drawing on both the superb 2015 (Reserva) and 2016 vintages. Much effort went into scrutinising these wines to find a worthy candidate for our Best In Show collection — and here it is. Translucent black-red in colour, shading to a glowing garnet rim, with refined, artfully composed scents of subdued berry fruits, warm summer forest, dried mushrooms and soft suede. The wine is intense, deep, perfectly pitched in structural terms between lively, well-rounded acidity and brisk, sober tannins: a dignified, grave yet rewarding wine for a fine dinner. It is fully accessible now, yet the quality of its fruit and its balance suggest many years’ ageing potential, too.”
Vinous 95 points “The 2016 Castiglion del Bosco Brunello di Montalcino really stands out with its vivid display of crushed raspberries, lavender and clove. Further depths are found with each swirl, adding mentholated herbs and flowery undergrowth. It’s dense and dark-fruited, enveloping the palate with notes of black cherry, plum, exotic savory spice and minerals. This is soothing and pliant in spite of the 2016’s youthful state, balancing brisk acids and fine tannins to create a push and pull of structural tension. The symmetry here is spellbinding, and everything is in the right place for a long and fruitful evolution over the next ten to fifteen years. Tasted twice with consistent results.”
Tenuta Fanti Brunello di Montalcino DOCG Tuscany 2015 750ML ($54.95) $45 special, 36 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 95 points “There’s a beautiful interplay between bright, primary florals, such as rose petals and tulips and dust, hay bale and dried raspberries. The palate suggests a ripe, powerful persona with chewy, juicy tannins and a fine line of pretty acidity. Best ever. Drink in 2022.”
Lingua Franca has made quite the name for itself in a very short period of time and has spared no expense in pursuit of quality. Founded by the legendary sommelier Larry Stone, the winery has become emblematic of the Willamette Valley’s exceptional quality. The Estate wines hail from the heart of the Eola-Amity hills (and right next to famed sites like Seven Springs). Like its neighbors, the vineyard shows classic Eola-Amity structure, perfume and concentration. Much like their neighboring estates the wines feature long aging trajectories, particularly in cooler vintages like 2019 with the appellation being a mainstay in any collector’s cellar.
Lingua Franca wines arriving Friday, 04-29-2022:
Lingua Franca Mimi’s Mind Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2019 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Highly perfumed aromas of ripe red and dark fruits, incense and potpourri, along with an exotic spice nuance and a hint of smoky minerality. Palate-staining black raspberry, cherry and fruitcake flavors show sharp definition and deepen steadily as the wine stretches out. Deftly plays richness off elegance and finishes impressively long and chewy, with repeating cherry and floral character and building tannins adding final grip. 8% whole clusters and 26% new French oak.”
The average price is $99
Lingua Franca ‘The Plow’ Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2019 750ML ($69.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Josh Raynolds 95 points “Deep magenta. Expansive red and dark berry and floral aromas are complemented by hints of star anise, sassafras and cola. Sappy, seamless and fleshy on the palate, offering intense black raspberry, cherry cola, candied lavender and mocha flavors underscored by a vein of smoky minerality. Seductive in character, finishing with powerful thrust and supple tannins that meld smoothly with the sappy, persistent fruit.”
Wine & Spirits 95 points “Lingua Franca’s The Plow is taken from blocks 1 and 2 at the top of Larry Stone’s estate vineyard, set on relatively shallow Gelderman and not so shallow Jory soils. Those volcanics yield a wine of pure velvet, firmly planted but silky and sensuous in the mouth. This leads with scents of horhound, sassafras, red and black cherry, a hint of plum and tobacco, all of it firmly expressed, growing more layered and complex over the course of several days. Give it time in the cellar to develop before serving with something substantial, like roast beef.”
Lingua Franca Tongue’n Cheek Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2018 750ML ($69.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Wine & Spirits 94 points “Tongue ’n Cheek is blended from two blocks with shallow soil at the estate’s hilltop, on a soil series known as Gelderman (drawn from Jory with additional basalt gravels). Of the four Lingua Franca pinots in 2018, this might be the tightest, with the most bound tension and reserved intensity. While it’s still years from peak expression, there is a propulsive energy and power that opens the dark fruit to a hint of red-tinged, cranberry brightness. Give it time. —P.J.C.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 93 points “Deep garnet. Expansive cherry and red currant scents, along with hints of botanical herbs and candied flowers. Juicy and penetrating in the mouth, offering black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors that take a sweeter turn through the back half. Finishes very long and subtly chewy, with repeating florality and sneaky, framing tannins. All destemmed fruit; 20% new French oak.”
Wine Enthusiast 93 points “A mix of Pommard and Calera clones, this is a blend that attempts to forge a common ground between sweetly spicy pie-cherry fruit and the more herbal, tannic, austere nature of the Calera fruit. All the parts are there to build a complete and interesting wine. Just add some bottle age—another two or three years at least. -Paul Gregutt”
Mourat, J Mourat:
The James Bond Rose coming this summer
Have you ever heard of the varietal called Grolleau? Named after the black color the grapes develop as they ripen, it was the most popular rose in France for nearly a century both domestically and abroad. It was so famous as a style that it was codified in the original James Bond novel Goldfinger; with Bond preferring to drink it over Dom Perignon!
Grolleau is still used to make rose today, usually in conjunction with its gray skinned mutation, Grolleau Gris. We can’t get enough of Mourat’s iteration, which is grown just 12 miles away from the Atlantic Ocean on the far western part of the Loire Valley called “Fiefs Vendeens”. This appellation is special not only for its historic patronage by Cardinal Richelieu, but also for having one of the highest percentages of certified organic and biodynamic vineyards in all of France.
The appellation receives almost as much sunlight as Provence, with the temperature being mitigated by the ocean breeze from the Atlantic. These factors marry together to feature both ripe fruit notes like fresh melon, strawberries and peaches in addition to a lifted, peppery finish. The soils of the appellation are primarily quartzite with schist, creating a nuanced, mineral underpinning. Mourat is lucky enough to have a unique site that is predominantly purple schist, which further emphasizes a mineral driven spine in both his Rose and Red bottlings.
The Ovni is a rare offering in that it is entirely composed of Grolleau Gris, in stark contrast to the rest of the appellation which are field blends. With an average vine age of 25 years old, this is a multidimensional rose that is applicable pretty much anytime, anywhere. We also carry another rose by Mourat, featuring a field blend of grapes that are traditional to the region. The rarest of his bottlings is his rouge, which is entirely sourced from 80 year old plantings of Negrette. Characterized by supple texture, dark fruited character and violet accentuations in the aromas this is definition of a “Sunshine red”
Mourat wines arriving June 2022:
J. Mourat O.V.N.I. Rose IGP Val de Loire 2021 750ML ($21.95) $17 pre-arrival special
100% Grolleau Gris
J. Mourat Collection Rose, Fiefs Vendeens Mareuil 2021 750ML ($19.95) $17.70 pre-arrival special
Gamay, Cabernet Franc, Negrette & Pinot Noir
J. Mourat Collection Rouge Fiefs Vendeens Mareuil 2020 750ML ($29.95) $24.50 pre-arrival special
80 year old Negrette vines
Kia Ora to North Canterbury’s Hermit Ram
North Canterbury has especially caught our eye with their reputation for cool-climate experimentation, and a hotbed of new winemaking talent. “The coolest little wine region in the country” as the region bills is home to clay-limestone soils that are a dead ringer for top tier Burgundy, and a climate particularly conducive to bright and ageworthy wines. Hermit Ram is taking the wine world by storm with their field blends and Pinot Noir, hybridizing traditional Burgundian practices with “New wave” techniques like low intervention in the cellar, amphora for fermentation and stem inclusion over new oak.
The Pinot Noir is beautifully structured and derives its tannins entirely from skin, stems and seeds as opposed to new oak. This combined with the marginal growing conditions seen in North Canterbury creates a plethora of flavors ranging from Assamese black tea, fresh rhubarb, black raspberry, lavender and redcurrants. Beyond the fruit and floral components there is also a mineral component redolent of crushed stone and turned loam.
Hermit Ram wines in stock now:
The Hermit Ram Whole Bunch Zealandia Pinot Noir North Canterbury 2019 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special
Winery Note: “This Pinot Noir comes from two vineyards, one a small close planted vineyard on the Omihi slopes and the other on the valley floor. The soil in Omihi is predominantly clay with bands of limestone and iron oxide, and the valley floor has glacial gravels with layers of silt and the odd bit of broken limestone dispersed throughout the profile. The clay parcel brings a richness and flesh to this wine whilst the gravel site adds spice and finesse. The use of whole bunches helps to add floral aromatics and length to balance out these textures and to knit the whole wine together. The structural elements and aroma gained from using whole bunches in Pinot Noir from North Canterbury also serves to promote longevity in the wine. It’ll make for fascinating drinking over the coming years. This wine has approximately 50% whole bunches in the ferment. It was fermented with indigenous yeasts. It underwent natural malolactic fermentation. It has no Sulphur added until bottling. It is unfined and unfiltered. 20 ppm SO2 Total.”
The Hermit Ram Field Blend Rose North Canterbury 2020 750ML ($44.95) $39 special
Riesling/Pinot Noir/Cab Sauv/Gewurz
Winery note “The act of fermenting which ever varieties are planted in your vineyard together is intriguing and the results can be delicious and a really unique picture of a particular vineyard site and region. This wine is a field blend of Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Gewurztraminer. It comes from one of North Canterbury’s earliest planted vineyards. It presents itself like a delicate pinot with insane aromatics. The fruit was picked on the proportions it grows in the vineyard. It was destemmed and naturally fermented on skins for 6 weeks. Pressed off in to Amphora and allowed to go through a natural malolactic ferment. This wine was bottled with no fining, filtration or Sulphur.”
The Hermit Ram Amphora Salty White North Canterbury 2020 750ML ($44.95) $38 special
Julia Harding MW 17 points “Slightly cloudy very pale gold. Intensely citrus with a light herbal quality. Sour apricot and dried grasses are very subtle. This is complex, creamy, extremely salty. Great complexity and a lovely blend with nothing dominating. Dry, finely tannic, the best flavours of Sauvignon at the core, citrus and herbal and finally green fruits like greengage. Deep, long, salty, a wine for the evening. Good value. Drink 2021–2024”
Love Natural wine? We carry producers from around the world including Ovum, Daterra Lorenzo and Chateau Musar
Perrier-Jouët: Belle Époque
Tête de Cuvees are the crown jewel of any Champagne producer, and that goes double for a Grande Marque due to their roles as the region’s metaphorical “Face”. Of these houses, few are as synonymous with Chardonnay as Perrier-Jouët. Their first vintage of the Belle Époque was in 1964, and has only been made 30 times in decades since. In comparison Dom Perignon has been made 74 different times between Brut and Rose bottlings. Sourced from 5 different villages and aged for 6 years prior to disgorgement, there is meant to be both fruit and tertiary character present. We have released our final allotment of the 2011 bottling with no ETA on our next vintage! We also have a small amount of the vintage rose bottling as well, with no further bottlings to be expected.
Perrier-Jouët in stock now:
Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque – Fleur de Champagne Millesime Brut Champagne 2011 750ML ($179.95) $149 special, 19 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “Always a light, ethereal style of wine, this is also very fresh and still young. It will age with its taut minerality from the Chardonnay in the blend. A softer background will become toasty over the next few years. The vintage date on this bottle is 200 years after the foundation of this producer. Drink from 2021.”
Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque – Fleur de Champagne Brut Rose Millesime Champagne 2005 750ML ($319.95) $279 special, 2 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “The palest of rosés, this crisp, bright and fruity wine is full of tight acidity, freshly picked raspberries and steely acidity. It could age a few more years to bring out a toastier character.”
Killer Quality at a Cut Rate Price:
Cune Organic arriving Friday, April 8th:
CVNE ‘Cune’ Ecologico – Organic Rioja DOCa 2019 750ML ($17.95) $12.50 special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 91 points “There is a new organic red, the debut of which is the 2019 Cune Organic, a blend of 60% Garnacha, 30% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano from external suppliers. That’s quite an unusual blend for them, as they tend to use more Tempranillo, and it brings a different combination of freshness and power. The grapes were handpicked and fermented separately by variety with indigenous yeasts, and the wine matured in used 300-liter oak barrels for six months. I nearly fell off my chair when I put my nose in the glass, as the wine screamed GARNACHA—but traditional Garnacha at its floral and herbal best, with the sweet cherry fruit, red licorice and the chalky tannins from the limestone soils. It’s balanced, tasty and juicy, truly delicious. The idea is to eventually produce this wine with their own grapes, as they are moving toward organic farming and removed herbicides years ago. They have never released a wine like this or such a young red. Amazing young Garnacha for the by-the-glass market. Bravo!”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Cune Wines in stock now:
CVNE Vina Real Crianza Rioja DOCa 2017 750ML ($19.95) $14.50 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 CVNE Vina Real Crianza Rioja DOCa 2017 750ML ($219.95) $166 special, (that’s only $13.83/bottle!)
*****IN-STORE PICK UP ONLY. SHIPPING NOT AVAILABLE*****
James Suckling 93 points “A Rioja with plum, blackberry, black truffle and hints of chocolate. Some walnut, too. It’s medium-to full-bodied with firm, chewy tannins and a flavorful finish. Drink or hold.”
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 91+ points “The popular red 2017 Viña Real Crianza is a gastronomical blend produced with grapes from Rioja Alavesa: 90% Tempranillo and the rest Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano fermented in stainless steel and matured in oak barrels for 13 to 14 months, during which time it was racked every five to six months. The first thing that is going to catch your attention is the new label, which takes things from the past but put in a new, more modern style, which also reflects what the wine is like. The Viña Real range (white, rosé and Reserva) is gradually going to adopt this same label but with the letters in different colors. The second thing that I also loved is the Garnacha character that clearly comes through, even if it represents a small percentage in the final blend (Garnacha and Graciano like heat and do well in warmer years). The oak is nicely folded and integrated into the fruit. Very enjoyable and fresh, in line with what consumers expect but with an extra spark of red fruit that is quite remarkable for the 2017 vintage. The palate is textured, fine and polished, with very fine tannins and high drinkability. I think this is one of the Crianzas that I have enjoyed the most in recent times. I love it. Remarkable for a year like 2017.”
Wine Enthusiast 91 points “Editor’s Choice. Full berry and plum aromas are complete as they lead to a racy palate with lively acidity and spirit. Cherry, plum and a dusting of cocoa are lead players on the flavor profile, while this crianza finishes long and fresh. This is everything you want from Rioja crianza. -Michael Schachner”
CVNE ‘Imperial’ Gran Reserva Rioja DOCa 2012 750ML ($79.95) $69 special, 3 bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 95 points “The wine that represents the traditional and serious reds from Haro, the 2012 Imperial Gran Reserva is a classical blend of Tempranillo with 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo that matured in barrel for two years. It has a textbook serious Haro nose, with dark spices, ripe fruit, something balsamic and a round, full-bodied palate within the straight and serious style of the wine. 2012 was a warm year, but the wines are fresher than those from 2011. This has fine, slightly grainy tannins with good grip. A textbook Imperial Gran Reserva. 50,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in May 2015.”
Josh Raynolds 94 points “(raised in new and used French and American oak barrels for two years) Vivid ruby-red. An intensely perfumed bouquet evokes ripe raspberry, cherry-cola, potpourri and exotic spices, with a suave vanilla topnote and a smoky mineral flourish. Sweet and broad in the mouth, offering lush red fruit, spicecake, mocha and coconut flavors that steadily tighten up on the back half. Finishes extremely long and spicy, with a resonating floral quality, well-knit tannins and lingering oak spice notes. This one is still quite young.”
James Suckling 94 points “A tight and beautiful wine with blackberries, bramble berries, rose petals and lemon grass. Medium to full body, ultra-fine tannins and a beautiful finish. Very fine-grained. Lovely now. Even better in 2020.”
Vicar of Vertus, Duval Leroy
They aren’t all talk either, having contributed to the advancement of Champagne for generations. In addition to being the first House to produce Cru-Specific bottlings in 1911, the house was one of the first to begin converting their holdings to organic farming methods with their Brut Cuvee being the first on the market to be labeled as such.
Like all vintage Champagne, Femme de Champagne is only made in the most spectacular years (only three were made in the 1990s and only seven vintages have ever been made). 2000 was warmer than average and Duval-Leroy was delighted with their top quality fruit. Long known for elegance and finesse, this bottle exemplifies Duval-Leroy’s House style with its juxtaposition of tertiary character and minerality.
This is not the loudest voice at your dinner party, but instead the most compelling. Speaking of dinner parties, these beautiful magnums would provide the perfect centerpiece at your next celebration at a price similar to what you’d pay for a 750ml of other top Têtes. For the collection minded these are also an excellent option, as the bottling is no longer made by the House.
Duval-Leroy in stock now:
Duval-Leroy Femme de Champagne Grand Cru Millesime France 2000 1.5L ($349.95) $299 special, 6 magnums in stock now
*****In-store pick up only. Shipping not available*****
Wine Spectator 94 points “A rich version, with beautiful integration and mouthwatering acidity that seems to amplify the flavors of toasted raisin bread, black currant, candied orange zest and salted almond. Fresh and focused, showing hints of oyster shell and spice on the lasting finish.”
The Rachmaninov of Ribera
Sourced from some of the oldest Tempranillo vines in the entire Ribera del Duero and farmed biodynamically by visionary founder Peter Sisseck, meticulous doesn’t begin to cover the pedigree of these wines. Aggressively pruned to produce only 1-2 buds per bushvine, each hand sorted berry is loaded with concentrated flavor. As you can expect with such an aggressive farming regimen, production volumes are minuscule to say the least. We were only able to secure a 3 bottle allotment of this wine, so you’d better act fast!
Dominio de Pingus ‘Pingus’ Ribera del Duero 2019 750ML ($1499.95) $1199 special, 3 bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 99 points “I tasted the bottled 2019 Pingus two weeks after bottling. Even at this early stage and after the operation, the wine is super harmonious and elegant. They really outdid themselves here and produced an amazingly fresh, aromatic and harmonious wine in a warm vintage. It’s incredibly textured, with refined, very fine-grained and chalky tannins. It’s very balanced, and there’s no excess of anything; it has 14% alcohol, perfect ripeness and a velvety mouthfeel. It gets more floral with time in the glass, getting nuanced and really interesting. It delivers what the barrel sample promised one year ago, when the wine already surprised me. I think the word that best describes this wine is precision—it’s clean, focused, balanced and delineated. Bravo! 7,900 bottles produced. It was bottled in September 2021.”