In This Newsletter:
Roederer Champagnes arriving May 13th
Down the Rhine and through the Danube:
New Sale wine
Value of Vaudieu
Mature and Rare Champagne from de Venoge
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Roederer Champagnes arriving May 13th
One of the most prolific Grand Marques of Champagne, the house has become synonymous with quality and sustainability. Converting their estate vineyards to Organic farming practices and in the case of their Cristal holdings, Biodynamics these are easily the most meticulously farmed plots in comparison to other producers. Favoring Chardonnay as the principle grape, the resulting wines are among the most ageworthy and elegant on the market, with a pervasive house style even in their New World holdings in the United States.
Roederer wines arriving May 13th:
Louis Roederer Collection Brut Champagne NV ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special, 13 bottles arriving
Decanter 97 points “Fresh, vibrant nose displaying aromas of orange, lime peel, almond, honey and brioche with ripe quince and sweet pear undertones. Great focus and length on the palate, seriously harmonious, joyful and unforced. Wines of the Year 2021: the top Classic wines. Drinking Window: 2022-2040.”
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The NV Collection 242 is a new wine from Roederer that replaces the Brut Premier in the range. The Collection (which now will be numbered by harvest) is a blend of three components: a perpetual reserve done in the classic non-malo Roederer style, reserve wines in oak with a touch of malo, and a base vintage, in this case 2017. That blend results in a NV Champagne that offers lovely richness and resonance, with plenty of yellow orchard fruit and floral character. Whereas Brut Premier was typically a focused, nervy wine that, while consistently excellent, also was not always in line with the Roederer house style, the 242 tastes more like a Roederer Champagne in terms of its complexity. Incidentally, there is no Vintage, Cristal or Cristal Rosé in 2017, so all the best lots went into this bottling. Dosage is 8 grams per liter, so lower than the 9 or so that was typical for recent Brut Premier and much lower than the 12-13 that was once customary. The 242 was also bottled with a bit less sugar than the norm, which results in lower atmospheres of pressure in the bottle and silkier texture. ‘Brut Premier was created in the late 1970s and 1980s, when we struggled to ripen,’ Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon explained. ‘It was our way of compensating for lack of ripeness in the field and the variability of quality across vintages. Because of climate change, achieving ripeness is not an issue today. Instead, our challenge is maintaining freshness and precision. For that reason, we decided to re-think our NV and start from a place of positive rather than negative selection.'”
Louis Roederer Cristal Millesime Brut Champagne 2014 750ML ($379.95) $349 pre-arrival special, 18 bottles arriving
Antonio Galloni 98 points “The 2014 Cristal is another in a long line of gorgeous wines from Roederer and long-time Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon. A dazzling, vibrant Champagne, the 2014 impresses with a stunning combination of fruit density and linear energy that brings to mind a hypothetical blend of 2012 and 2008. At times, the bubbles feel totally wrapped up in waves of creamy, resonant fruit to the point the mousse is barely perceptible, especially with aeration. The flavors are bright and finely sculpted, leaning very much into the citrus, floral and mineral end of the spectrum.
“The blend is a classic: 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay taken from 39 of the 45 parcels that comprise the Cristal estate. In most vintages, the Pinot components are roughly equally split between Verzy/Verzenay and Aÿ, but in 2014, Lécaillon favored Verzy and Verzenay, two north facing villages in the Montagne de Reims (where rain was less problematic) known for conferring saline energy and vibrancy. Rain was much more of an issue in the Vallée de la Marne. Consequently, some of the Pinots in Aÿ were diluted and did not make it into the blend. Chardonnays were sourced from historic plots in Avize, Mesnil and Cramant. About 32% of the lots were fermented in wood, the rest were done in tank. As always, all of the malolactic fermentations were blocked. In 2014, the growing season was marked by a good spring followed by a cool, wet summer and then very favorable weather in September. I vividly recall that there was not much enthusiasm for the vintage at the outset. Today, though, opinions are starting to change, at least with regards to some wines.
“Since 2012, Cristal has been made entirely from organically-farmed grapes, an approach Lécaillon adopted in order to achieve a more ideal and parallel relationship between sugar and phenolic ripeness. “Champagne is always a battle between picking too early and rot,” Lécaillon has often said during our tastings. One of the other benefits of organic farming is that it naturally lowers yields. As Champagne fans know, the great wines of the 1950s and 1960s were made at a time when yields were in the 5,000 kilo per hectare range. Then, in the 1980s, widespread planting of higher-yielding clones led to an entirely different situation in the vineyard. Today’s permitted yields are 11,000 kilos per hectare, with some variation in years that present unusual growing conditions. With organic farming, yields for Cristal are in the 7,000-9,000 kilo per hectare range. Another innovation at Roederer has been a focus on higher-density plantings with newer vineyards, an approach that encourages low production per vine. But back to the wine.
“The 2014 Cristal is a riveting Champagne. Don’t miss it.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2014 Cristal is a terrific effort that transcends the vintage. Bursting from the glass with expressive aromas of ripe citrus fruit, nectarine, white flowers, freshly baked bread and subtle hints of honeycomb, it’s medium to full-bodied, vinous and fleshy, with an exuberant core of fruit that’s girdled by racy acids, resulting in a wine that’s simultaneously chiseled and demonstrative, meaning that early appeal doesn’t come at the expense of the requisite tension for long-term cellaring. Concluding with a long, aromatic and intensely chalky finish, it is a brilliant Champagne that will offer a broad drinking window. This bottle was disgorged in June 2021 with seven grams per liter dosage.”
Simon Field Mw-Decanter 95 points “The rollercoaster growing season of 2014 is reflected to perfection by the innate tension here; ripe citric fruit and even a touch of exoticism (mango and fig) tempered by a fine shard of acidity and a lifted ethereal character, described paradoxically by chef de caves Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon as ‘weightless density’. Purity, energy and power make for very happy bedfellows, courtesy the chalky terroir and its organic husbandry. The texture is silky, the bubbles joyfully integrated and the finish resourceful and precise, its salinity deferential to the deep-digging roots. Disgorged: June 2021. Dosage: 7g/L. Drinking Window 2022 – 2030.”
Louis Roederer Collection Brut Champagne 241 NV 1.5L ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special, 12 magnums arriving
Vinpol Note: Based around the 2016 vintage with two separate types of reserve wine (One kept in steel, the other in barrel) the vintage was marked by low yields of intensely flavored grapes that had minimal disease pressure.
Roederer wines in stock now:
Roederer Estate Brut Anderson Valley NV 750ML ($29.95) $24 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Roederer Estate Brut Anderson Valley NV 750ML ($359.95) $259 special, (that’s only $21.58/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 93 points ” The current release of the NV Estate Brut is made up mainly of fruit from the 2015 vintage. It is a blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir and was made with about ten grams per liter dosage. Disgorged in October of 2018, it has a fresh, open nose with pure fruit expression: crushed apples, pears and lemon peel mingle with touches of stone, flowers and toast. The medium-bodied palate offers a lovely dichotomy of toasty fruits with uplifted citrusy, minerally accents with a finely beaded mousse, and it finishes long and ultra fresh.”
Roederer Estate L’Ermitage Brut Anderson Valley 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 9 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 94 points “Classically styled and expressively vibrant, this bubbly opens to flavors of baked apple, roasted hazelnut, clove, nutmeg and other spices. The finish fans out, building a lingering richness. Drink now through 2023. —T.F.”
John Gilman 93+ points “I know that there are a lot of extremely good sparkling wines now made in the United States, but to my palate, the Roederer Estate ?“l’Ermitage” bottling is the finest. The 2015 vintage of this excellent wine is composed of a cépages of fifty-two percent chardonnay and forty-eight percent pinot noir. It was finished with a dosage of eight grams per liter in this vintage. The wine delivers a superb and very refined bouquet of tart pear, apple, fresh-baked bread, a complex base of soil, discreet smokiness and a topnote of dried flowers. On the palate the wine is deep, young, full-bodied and very elegant in profile, with a lovely core, excellent soil signature, bright acids, extremely elegant mousse and a long, complex and beautifully balanced finish. This is so seamlessly balanced that it is already drinking very well at six years of age, but it has the potential to blossom and improve with bottle age and I would love to drink it a decade down the road! The 2015 is clearly a very, very special vintage for the l’Ermitage bottling at Roederer Estate! 2021 – 2045.”
James Suckling 93 points “A lovely, aromatic nose of autumn leaves, fresh cream and pears. Medium-bodied with fresh, bright acidity. Citrus and nutmeg wash over the palate. The tight mousse lifts the palate upward, while remaining grounded by notes of white pepper and candied ginger. Yeasty finish. Drink now.”
Scharffenberger Cellars Brut Mendocino County NV 750ML ($21.95) $16.60 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 91 points “A well-rounded, supple texture surrounds attractive toast and nut flavors in this suave and mouthfilling wine. Notes of biscuit, peach and toasted bread give it a nice sense of maturity and complexity. -Jim Gordon”
Wine & Spirits 91 points “[Best California Sparkling Buy of 2021 by Wine & Spirits] This is clean and crisp with rich undertones of brioche and lemon custard. It offers a balance of the soft and the lively, a refreshing sparkling wine to kick off a dinner party. —J.G.”
Down the Rhine and through the Danube: Pfalz
Does Germany have growing regions other than cool climate? The Pfalz and her 1800 hours of sunshine during the growing season would make a strong argument for just that. Closer to Strasbourg than Berlin; the Pfalz is nestled between the Haardt Mountains and the Rhine River in a veritable oasis of forests and hills. Archeological records show that the district was one of the first areas in the entire world to have widespread consumption and production of wine, dating back to 550 B.C.E.
The beneficial growing conditions make for some of the most interesting and diverse expressions of German wine, with Riesling still being the crown jewel. The warmer average temperature that’s seen creates Rieslings with less acidity and concentrated fruit flavors like apricot, mango and nectarine. Aromas usually feature a headier and effusive quality in comparison to other regions that brings to mind daffodils, yarrow and lilies. In spite of the richer character, the Pfalz is a major hub for dry Riesling and features some of the most full bodied expressions of the category, with sweeter examples being made by only a handful of producers. In spite of being one of the largest growing districts the soils are relatively uniform, with sandstone, limestone and loess being the most commonly found, further boosting the organoleptic qualities of the finished wine. We carry some of the best producers in the Pfalz in house, including Müller-Catoir, Eugen Müller and Von Winning!
In stock now:
Muller-Catoir Haardter Burgergarten ‘Im Breumel’ Riesling Grosses Gewächs Pfalz 2017 750ML ($79.95) $49 special, 9 bottles in stock now
Stuart Pigott 98 Points “Stand back for the arrival of a giant! Super-fresh nectarine, vanilla and Thai-basil aromas that don’t leave you in any doubt that this is a very remarkable dry riesling. Then the tidal wave of minerality comes through at the finish and sweeps everything away. From organically grown grapes. Drink or hold.”
Stephen Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 94+ Points “From a 2.8 hectare clos that is the highest, coolest and stoniest (sandstone/gravel) plot of the Bürgergarten, the 2017 Riesling Bürgergarten “Im Breumel” GG offers a deep, ripe, lush and intense bouquet with fascinating flavors of crushed stones and ripe fruits. Lush and intense on the palate, this is a deep, dense, very complex and powerful dry Riesling with lingering salinity and very fine tannins. Great but way too young. Tasted in Haardt, December 2019.”
Wine Spectator 94 Points “Extremely elegant and precisely crafted, with notes of star anise and lavender framing the core of crunchy pear and blood orange flavors. The acidity is appreciable, fueling the flavors and spice accents. Savory mineral details linger on the finish. Best from 2021 through 2031.”
Muller-Catoir Haardter Burgergarten Riesling Spatlese, Pfalz 2017 750ML ($49.95) $33 special, 26 bottles in stock now
Stuart Pigott – Jamessuckling 95 Points “Stunning nectarine, peach and papaya character, together with lovely succulence and enormous vitality, make this a breathtaking sweet Spätlese with a finish that’s straight as a laser beam and super-clean. From organically grown grapes. Drink or hold.”
Muller-Catoir Haardter Burgergarten Riesling Trocken, Pfalz 2017 750ML ($49.95) $29 special, 25 bottles in stock now
Stuart Pigott 94 Points “Effusive aromas of apricots and lemon zest with hints of summer flowers. At once succulent, graceful and finely nuanced on the palate, then very long and filigree at the finish. From organically grown grapes. Drink or hold.”
Grapelive 93 Points “The Burgergarten in the Haardt vineyard as used by the famed Mueller-Catoir, or hill garden, is a Premier Cru site that is composed of weathered yellow sandstone interspersed with layer of loess and clay giving the perfect conditions to make a lush, but crisply dry Riesling of refined elegance and with a concentrated underlying power, which in 2017 is incredible and joyously perfumed. ….The 2017 Burgergarten Trocken [has] exotic tropical fruit and floral aromas with plumeria, jasmine, dried pineapple, gingery/peppery notes and grilled citrus leading the way on the racy palate, this Riesling feels a bit like Trimbach’s Cuvee Frederic Emile, adding layers of wild peach, while cherry, tangy apricot and zesty lime notes along with loads of tannin like structure, zippy acidity, chalky stones and a Chablis like steely edge! Air brings more body out and clears the touch of reduction that easily blows and this Riesling becomes in fact more white Burgundy like in some ways, while also gaining hints of spearmint, chamomile and verbena, which clearly are Riesling influences and it is strikingly impressive for keeping its tension , clarity and severity, like a firm GG should…This area can produce monumental dry Riesling, as witnessed here with this Erste Lage Trocken from Mueller-Catoir….Terry Theise, Mueller-Catoir’s famous importer, says the estate produces wines of outstanding transparency and density, and remains emblematic of Riesling at its most sophisticated, and I totally agree, these are amazingly pure wines that are both wildly entertaining in expression and wines of remarkable class and finesse…. This Burgergarten grows on you with every sip and should get even more intriguing with 3 to 5 years more are on it, patience I think will be well rewarded, and I hope I get to revisit it a few more times.”
Stephen Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 92+ Points“From yellow-colored sandstone soils, the 2017 Riesling Bürgergarten “VDP. Erste Lage” is intense yet fine and pure on the slightly salty/stony, very elegant nose with its ripe and concentrated yellow-fleshed fruit aromas. The palate is pure and salty, very long and intertwines weathered terroir aromas with an airiness and lingering, very stimulating salinity. The wine is less textured than the Haardter but even more pure, deep, finessed and salty. Bone dry, with less than three grams of residual sugar, this is a concentrated yet still young Riesling that will shine in five years. Tasted in Haardt, December 2019.”
Muller-Catoir Gimmeldingen Riesling, Pfalz 2017 750ML ($29.95) $24 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Winery Note “The well-balanced and delicately structured Gimmeldingen Riesling makes a floral and juicy impression, with hints of white peach and jasmine.”
Muller-Catoir Haardter Muskateller Trocken Pfalz 2018 750ML ($29.95) $24 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Stuart Pigott-Jamessuckling 92 Points “Wonderful pink-grapefruit and muscat nose that bowls you over. So joyful and really rather subtle for a seriously aromatic grape variety. Very bright finish. From organically grown grapes. Drink now.”
Muller-Catoir Haardter Riesling Trocken Pfalz 2017 750ML ($29.95) $21.90 special, 13 bottles in stock now
Stuart Pigott-Jamessuckling 94 Points “A stunning, bone-dry riesling for this moderate price level! Fine nose of sliced pears and honeysuckle. Stunning freshness and purity on the medium-full palate. The finish is subtlety reminiscent of Mosel. From organically grown grapes. Drink or hold.”
Grapelive 92 Points “The 2017 Müller-Catoir Haardt Trocken is exotic and highly aromatic with lovely fruit and mineral intensity, it is a wonderful and crisply dry Riesling that reflects the vintage and its remarkable Pfalz terroir.… the talented Martin Franzen [is] running the cellar here. Franzen, who in the past ran the operations at Schlossgut Diel, employs a strict program with a move to organic practices and severe selections in the vineyards, where everything is worked and picked by hand now and focuses on ultra-transparency in the wines with a reductive approach, with every wine getting a hand crafted attention to detail. The Haardt, a village bottling is a pure example with expressive bright flavors and a heavenly floral perfume, while being brisk, tangy and dusty dry on the light framed palate. Müller-Catoir does a gentle crush and gives the juice plenty of time on the skins before a slow and soft pressing before an stainless steel fermentation and aging, all to preserve vibrancy and purity, the wines are always stylish and evocative.…The Haardt Riesling Trocken is all from organic grapes that were grown on standstone soils, which gives this wine its pretty nose and steely form, and this 2017 is absolutely seducing with a complex array of sensations that ranges from tropical essences to flinty wet stones, it is clear and with a tiny hint of sunshine in the glass. In the mouth this calcareous influenced Riesling shows jasmine, oyster shell, peach, tart apricot, green apple and saline notes, adding guava/papaya, rosewater and hint of zesty lime.…this one itself is fabulous and a true value offering from this great estate. I am glad I got a few bottles of Müller-Catoir from 2017, they are looking like classics. This is a great Summer refresher, but serious enough to hang out with haute cuisine, it gets more intriguing with matching food, it can go with a wide variety of foods from fresh shellfish, spicy prawns, sushi as well as cured meats, picnic fare, street tacos and Moroccan lemon chicken even. This vivid and zippy young Riesling is a quality white that makes for a nice alternative for Chablis, Kiwi Sauv Blanc and or Albarino, drink it over the next 3 to 5 years.”
Stephen Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 90 Points “From younger vines and partly from sandier soils than the regular, yellow-colored Buntsandstein, the 2017 Riesling Haardt is deep, fine and ripe on the elegant and balanced nose. Full-bodied, lush and intense on the palate, this is a deep, dry, well-balanced and textured Riesling with a ripe but salty-mineral acidity and a long, well-structured and slightly salty finish with nice bitters and citrus flavors. This is an excellent vin de terroir that slowly opens up. It’s an impressive wine in the lower/medium price range. Tasted in December 2019.”
Muller-Catoir Haardt Scheurebe Pfalz 2018 750ML ($29.95) $24 special, 21 bottles in stock now
Stuart Pigott-Jamessuckling 93 Points “The whiff of smoke gives the cassis nose of this wine an extra dimension. Concentrated and racy with a dangerous amount of energy. So juicy and vibrant with a long and very clean finish. From organically grown grapes. Drink or hold.”
Muller-Catoir Gimmeldinger Mandelgarten Riesling Auslese Pfalz 2015 375ML ($39.95) $31.90 special, 7 half-bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 94 Points “The 2015 Riesling Auslese Gimmeldinger Mandelgarten is super pure and fine on the nobly concentrated, stony nose with its honey and bright fruit aromas. Rich, sweet, lush and piquant on the palate, this is an excellent Auslese with great finesse and a lingering piquancy. Despite its sweetness, this is a very stimulating and pure Auslese with great ageing potential.”
Muller-Catoir Haardter Mandelring Scheurebe Trocken Pfalz 2017 750ML ($59.95) $33 special, 17 bottles in stock now
Stuart Pigott-Jamessuckling 95 Points “Why drink a dry white called scheurebe? Here’s the answer. An enormously complex nose of grapefruit, cassis and pineapple, then breathtaking purity and elegance on the palate and a totally uplifting and super-long finish. From organically grown grapes. Drink or hold.”
Grapelive 93 Points “I love Scheurebe and this Mueller-Catoir is one of, if not the, best dry version, with this ripe and expressive 2017 showing everything the grape has to offer, it delivers intensity and aromatic quality. It’s a thrilling German white wine from one of the most admired wineries in the Pfalz. This vintage is bursting from the glass with jasmine, liquid roses and spearmint lifting to the nose while the light to medium bodied palate delivers tangy grapefruit, white peach, quince, sour apple and pineapple fruits along with chalky mineral, saline, clove spice, wild fennel and the crisp, lip smacking finish keeps things severe and refreshing.… Scheurebe grows best in Calcareous soils, with Muller-Catoir’s Pfalz version regarded as maybe the greatest expression of this grape, in particular their Trocken single Cru Haardter Mandelring example. The full range of wines at this property are amazing from the thrilling dry wines to the finely balanced sweet wines, everything at Mueller-Catoir is class, when it comes to the Pfalz, this and Von Winning are must try wines….Müller-Catoir has gone holistic in recent years and farm mostly organic, but remain very practical with absolute quality demanded of the grapes here, there is no compromise at this place, they focus on purity and terroir. The vineyards in Haardt, where this wine comes from, are composed of primary rock (urgestein) and sandstone, with an increasing proportion of gravel lower on the slopes. This estate and the region has a long history of winegrowing with the Burgergarten site being first planted close to 700 years ago, and, as the winery notes. Mueller-Catoir which has a tradition of reductive winemaking implementing a gentle crush, a long skin contact, slow gentle pressing, and then ferments at warmer, according to the winery again, than customary fermentation temperatures in stainless steel to promote transparency, which this lovely Scheurebe shows, drink it over the next 3 to 5 years.”
Von Winning Riesling Trocken Pfalz 2020 750ML ($24.95) $19.50 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Importer note “Limestone, Loam, & Red Sandstone. Fermentation & Elevage: Stainless Steel.”
Von Winning Sauvignon Blanc II – Royale Trocken Pfalz ‘II’ 2020 750ML ($24.95) $19.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Importer note “Multiple vineyards in Deidesheim, mostly Paradiesgarten, but there is also fruit from Deidesheimer Herrgottsacker and Kallstadter Steinacker. Soil: sandy loam, red sandstone, basalt, & löss. Fermentation & Elevage: Fermented entirely in stainless steel.”
Weingut Eugen Muller Forster Kirchenstuck Riesling Auslese Pfalz ’12 500M ($34.95) $24 special, 38 bottles in stock now
Terry Theise: “Every year for the last fifteen or more, this wine has been a masterpiece, and I can think of few if any parallels in the wine world- or in my wine world- of such sustained stellar performance year after year. 2011 is and remains a masterpiece of the exotic flowery style, “a city made of cherry blossom” as I wrote last year. Bearing in mind that these wines are never very sweet, this one is more typical for the “Auslese” idiom. The 2012, though, is a swollen subterranean wave of mineral. You start at OMG and end with WTF, because even in the context of so many great years this is singular and amazing. Fantastically salty and cherry-blossomy, with obdurate length and deeply embedded mineral.”
New Sale wine
Sourced from a high elevation area of Chianti Classico and Maremma to the south, the grapes used are Sangiovese and a sprinkling of Cabernet Sauvignon and grown organically. The vineyards in Chianti are among the highest elevation plantings in the entire region and see exceptionally cooler nights as a result of high diurnal variation. Fermented in steel the resulting wine is exceptionally juicy presents a plethora of red fruits, making this perfect with Pizza or a Bolognese sauced dish. We’ve put the wine on clearance throughout the rest of May for those looking to spruce up their springtime wine selections!
Castello di Volpaia Citto Rosso Toscana IGT 2017 750ML ($19.95) Was $14, Now $11.90 super special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Castello di Volpaia Citto Rosso Toscana IGT 2017 750ML ($199.95) Was $149, Now $127 super special (that’s only $10.58/bottle!)
Importer Note “In the tradition of Bordeaux Châteaux — Mouton Rothchild has its Mouton Cadet, Cheval Blanc has its Petit Cheval — Castello di Volpaia has its Citto. Mostly Sangiovese with some Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes were destemmed and crushed, then fermented in stainless-steel vats for 10 days at 26 C to 30 C (80 F to 86 F). After eight days, the juice was drained off the skins. This generous, silky wine displays ripe fruit aromas with intense cherry and red berry flavors on the palate.”
Now it’s even lower!
Check out our other May sale wines including Rouanne Sparkling, Zuni Café Chardonnay and Gran Moraine Brut Rose
Value of Vaudieu
Château de Vaudieu is one of Chateauneuf’s stars—one of the most exciting producers in the region who have a set of vineyards that are envy to the rest of the appellation. With bold fruit and rich, powerful textures, they’re not wines for the faint of heart, and they deliver outlandish quality for their price. The sapidity and character of the wines far exceed their price point especially when compared to their legendary neighbor, Chateau Rayas.
Château de Vaudieu is owned and helmed by the dynamic Brechet family—the same clan that run Domaine de Bosquets, one of our best-selling Gigondas. This is a family hell-bent on quality and the pursuit of perfection. The family purchased Vaudieu in the 1950’s in a state of disrepair and has driven the historic Château to the prominence it held in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The estate sits on a confluence of soils and the myriad of terroirs yield exemplary complexity in the wines, which are made by the all-star team of Laurent Brechet and Philippe Cambie. The wines show Cambie’s trademark style, with big, opulent fruit and power to spare. This is one of the truly elite producers in all of the Southern Rhone and it’s always a treat to sell you these wines.
Vaudieu Wines in stock now:
Famille Brechet Chateau de Vaudieu Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rhone 2017 750ML ($49.95) $44.50 special, 24 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “Moving to the 2017s and starting with the base Châteauneuf Du Pape, it’s a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah that was brought up mostly in demi-muids. Revealing a ruby/purple hue as well as notes of black raspberries, kirsch, garrigue, incense, and loamy soil and earth, this beauty hits the palate with beautiful depth of fruit, a layered, rounded, sexy texture, no hard edges, remarkable purity, and just tons of charm. Drink it any time over the coming decade or more.”
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 91-92 points “Deep red. Highly perfumed red berry and floral aromas are complemented by suggestions of cracked pepper and smoky minerals. Sweet and penetrating on the palate, offering ripe raspberry, cherry and floral pastille flavors braced by a core of juicy acidity. In a seamless, energetic style, displaying a smooth blend of richness and finesse and finishing gently sweet and impressively long, with even tannins and building spiciness.”
Famille Brechet Chateau de Vaudieu Chateauneuf-du-Pape L’Avenue… Rhone 2016 750ML ($119.95) $89 special, 21 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 97+ points “The 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape L’Avenue is all Grenache sourced from a single parcel near the estate and aged 18 months in demi-muids. This deeply colored beauty boasts a huge perfume of black raspberries, blackberries, dried flowers, bouquet garni, and sandy/loamy soil notes. With a powerful, concentrated, structured style, incredible purity of fruit, and tons of tannin on the finish, hide bottles for 3-5 years, count yourself lucky, and enjoy over the following decade or more.”
Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape l’Avenue is entirely Grenache from the lieu-dit Vaudieu, aged in demi-muids. Loaded with black cherries, cedar and vanilla, it’s a full-bodied, plush sexpot of a wine. Velvety, intense, long and layered, this wine has it all. If only there were more than 350 cases of this elixir.”
Wine Spectator 96 points “Intense, with a gorgeous core of crushed plum, boysenberry and blackberry pâte de fruit flavors, inlaid liberally with fruit cake, licorice snap and graphite notes. Fruit pumps through the finish while a graphite edge lends support and a black tea hint checks in. Best from 2020 through 2040. 75 cases imported.”
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 95 points “Glistening ruby-red. Powerful red and blue fruit, floral pastille, exotic spice and incense aromas pick up a smoky mineral nuance as the wine stretches out. Fleshy and expansive in the mouth, offering spice- and smoke-inflected raspberry, boysenberry, lavender pastille and succulent herb flavors and a touch of candied licorice. Finishes seamless, sweet and impressively long, with an echo of juicy red fruit and delicate tannins that add discreet grip.”
Tan Fruit is sourced from vineyards throughout the Willamette Valley, these represent dry-farmed artistry at its finest. These Chardonnays exhibit a complete and unique showing of Oregon’s terror as well as the varietals reputation for being a “winemaker’s grape”. Regardless of vineyard location, vine age and élevage these are both delightfully accessible now and yet demand further bottle age.
Tan fruit in stock now:
Tan Fruit Dux Vineyard Chardonnay Dundee Hills 2019 750ML ($89.95) $69 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Erin Brooks-Wine Advocate 98 points “The aromas of the 2019 Chardonnay Dux Vineyard are alluring and savory, with ripe peach layers, beeswax, roasted almonds and pastry. The palate has a singular satiny texture and impressive concentration, enlivened by tangy acidity and streaks of graphite and finishing with tremendous length and energy. Wow!”
Tan Fruit Vojtilla Vineyard Chardonnay Chehalem Mountains 2019 750ML ($79.95) $64.50 special 36+ bottles in stock now
Erin Brooks-Wine Advocate 97 points “Vojtilla is a small, four-acre vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains that sits at around 500 to 600 feet in elevation and, says Jim Maresh, is influenced by the nearby Willamette River. Harvested in October this vintage, the 2019 Chardonnay Vojtilla Vineyard comes from Dijon clone vines planted in 1991, and it was matured in about 25% new Damy barrels. It has a stunning perfume of quince paste and mushrooms, pastry and flowers, and the palate is satiny, plush and pure, with a seamless tangy streak and long, powerful finish.”
Marcus Goodfellow is one of the most talented winemakers in Oregon. He founded Matello wines, his original label, in 2002 and hasn’t looked back, making wines that have continually improved—both in bottle and from vintage to vintage. The house employs a variety of mediums for fermentation and élevage including foudre, stainless steel and barrel which creates additional texture and complexity.
Goodfellow Chardonnay in stock now:
Goodfellow Family Cellars Richard’s Cuvee Chardonnay Oregon 2019 750ML ($69.95) $55 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Goodfellow Family Cellars Richard’s Cuvee Chardonnay Oregon 2019 750ML ($379.95) $309 special, (That’s only $51.50 per bottle)
Winery note “Oh boy…first gravel and smoke, opening to fresh pear, hazelnuts, straw and raw grain, then lime and yuzu blossom. Old world notes of river stones, and seashells. Palate is immediately bright, stony, mineral, lime, clean, lucid, direct, and steely. Acidity runs through the wine from the front palate to the long, long, long finish. Like Corton from the mid-90s… 11.8% abv, finished under Diam 30. 155 cases.”
Mike Etzel, the founder and winemaker of Sequitur, is a living legend in the Willamette Valley. He co-founded Beaux Frères in the late 1980s and was the winemaker there until recently passing the duties to his son. Never one to rest on his laurels or stay still, though, he began planting a vineyard adjacent to Beaux Frères in 2010—a project that became what we know as Sequitur.
It’s helpful to think of Sequitur as a distillation of everything Mike Etzel learned while starting and producing Beaux Frères over the decades. The Sequitur vineyard sits right next to the Beaux Frères “Upper Terrace” but is planted to a wider array of clones at tighter spacing. It’s been farmed biodynamically since the beginning and is sheltered with Douglas Fir—in short, it’s the fully realized vision of a man who’s helped define Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.
The winemaking style is exactly what you’d expect—these are wines that are made by the same hand that delivered so many high scores to Beaux Frères. Big, powerful and bold, these nevertheless have energy and grace that we think comes from the extra-attentive farming and unique clonal selection in the vineyard. In short order, Sequitur has established itself as one of the very best producers in the Willamette Valley and deserves your attention as such.
Sequitur wines in stock now:
Sequitur Chardonnay Ribbon Ridge 2015 750ML ($89.95) $66 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 94+ points “The 2015 Sequitur Chardonnay delivers toasted almonds, baker’s yeast, fresh ginger and coriander seed on the nose with a core of grapefruit, white peaches and spiced apples. Light to medium-bodied, it gives a great intensity of savory flavor layers intermingled with stone fruit and citrus notions, finishing long with great freshness and mineral notes.”
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 94 points “Light, brilliant yellow. Powerful, spice-accented orchard and pit fruit aromas pick up lemon pith, honey and floral nuances with air. Fleshy and broad on entry, offering white peach and pear nectar flavors that steadily firm up on the back half. Blends power and finesse with a smooth hand and finishes very long and precise, with resonating mineral and floral notes.”
Sequitur Chardonnay Ribbon Ridge 2018 750ML ($89.95) $66 special, 23 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 95 points “Glistening straw-yellow. Vibrant, mineral-accented aromas of white peach, Anjou pear, melon and Meyer lemon carry a bright floral overtone. Juicy and densely packed, displaying a suave blend of richness and vivacity to the mineral-drenched citrus and orchard fruit and floral flavors. Picks up smoky lees, honey and iodine notes with air and shows outstanding clarity on a strikingly long, penetrating finish that echoes the mineral and citrus fruit notes.”
Winery Note “The 2018 growing season was warm and dry, resulting in yet another remarkable vintage on Ribbon Ridge. Towards the end of the summer, just before harvest, Jack was born. With the arrival of our first grandchild, we felt for the first time the presence of a new generation on the farm, reminding us of the cycle of renewal and growth. This vintage has the bright freshness of new breath—we hope you enjoy it! “
Mature and Rare Champagne from de Venoge
De Venoge has a strong following in Europe for good reason—they source from some of the best vineyards in Champagne and produce prestige cuvées of immense quality, built on long lees aging. They source Pinot Noir from Grand Cru villages like Verzenay, Ambonnay and Bouzy and pair it with a murderer’s row of Chardonnay sources, including Avize, Mesnil, and Cramant. The resulting wines capture the essence of classical Champagne and are in high demand in Europe’s top restaurants.
De Venoge prestige cuvées are outstanding wines for lovers of truly mature Champagne in all its glory, rich, creamy textures from extended lees aging married to surprisingly fresh, mineral personalities. There’s a reason this house has such a following overseas, they produce stunning wines and then age them until they’re ready to go, so consumers don’t need to leave them in the cellar for decades. Now’s your chance to try them for yourself! These are perfect “occasion” wines that make for fantastic birth year or anniversary gifts.
In Stock Now:
De Venoge Louis XV de Venoge Brut Millésime, Champagne 2006 750ML ($219.95) $189 special, 21 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 96 points “The assemblage of the 2006 Louis XV Brut Millésimé is about the same as the 1995 and 1996—composed of 50/50 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, all from grand cru villages. The only difference is that the Chardonnay from Le Mesnil-sur-Oger (10% of the assemblage) spent 12 months in oak barrels. Disgorged in January 2017 (dosage: six grams per liter), the 2006 has a golden color and opens with a deep, ripe, elegant and vinous bouquet with toasty and chalky lemon and fresh white fruit flavors. On the palate, this is an intense, round, fresh and complex Louis XV with great purity and finesse. The wine opens on the palate like a soufflé, coating the whole palate without any pressure or weight—gorgeous! This is a delicate and fresh yet well-structured and persistent Louis XV whose intense and long but weightless finish reveals lovely, almost juicy fruit concentration with perfectly integrated freshness and lasting minerality that seems to give additional structure. The 2006 shows a lot of Chardonnay features right now and drinks perfectly today; however, it can be kept under perfect conditions for decades. Just keep it in the box, because the bottle is white and nothing makes a Champagne age faster than exposure to daylight. (Tasted in November 2017 from Lot LL15067017BT.)-SR”
De Venoge Louis XV de Venoge Brut Millésime, Champagne 2008 750ML ($299.95) $249 special, 15 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 95 points “This is really punchy and broad-shouldered with muscular structure and citrusy undertones. Full body. Lightly tannic and a fresh and vivid finish. This is the first vintage without malolactic fermentation ever. One for the cellar. Better in 2022.”
Wine Advocate 93+ points “The straw-yellow/white-golden colored 2008 Louis XV Brut Millésimé blends 50% Chardonnay (20 % from Avize, 15% from Oger and 15% from Mesnil) with 50% Pinot Noir (41.5% from Verzenay and 8.5% from Bouzy). Disgorged in January 2018 with a dosage of six grams per liter, the 2008 displays a clear, pure, fresh, chalky-tinged and vinous nose with lemon, white fruits, brioche, hazelnuts, white blossoms and some caramel notes. Pure, lean, fresh and elegant on the palate, with a lingering hazelnut flavor, this is a straight yet complex cuvée with grip and a long, well-structured and textured finish. This 2008 is still terribly fresh and should benefit from further bottle aging. For the moment, I am missing the mouth-filling generosity of the 2006 and 1995. Mind that this is the first vintage of de Venoge’s prestigious Louis XV where the base wines didn’t undergo malolactic fermentation! Total production: 10,326 bottles. Tasted October 2018.”
De Venoge Louis XV de Venoge Extra Brut Rosé Millésime, Champagne 2002 750ML ($219.95) $189 special, 25 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 93 points “Harmonious, with fine intensity, offering rich notes of spice cake, toasted almond, dried cherry, grilled plum and smoky mineral. Almost velvety in texture, with juicy acidity that brings you back for another sip. Delicious. Drink now through 2022. 54 cases made.”
De Venoge ‘Princes’ Tour Eiffel 130 Anniversary Edition Champagne NV 750ML ($99.95) $79 special, 7 bottles in stock now
Envie de Champagne “The Maison De Venoge was founded in 1837 by Henri-Marc De Venoge. Innovation in the production and marketing of champagnes were the founding values of this of champagne house, which won the Excellence Price in Philadelphia in 1876. A few years later, in 1889, during the World Fair in Paris, the house became the partner of the event. This exhibition celebrated the centenary of the French Revolution and it is on this occasion that the Tower designed by Gustave Eiffel has been inaugurated. This monument, with a height of 312 meters during its construction can now 337 meters in 2019 following the installation of antennas. In addition to its cultural and tourist use, the Eiffel Tower is used as a transmitter for TV and radio programs. The Eiffel Tower, object of discord at the time of its creation has become today the most visited paying monument of France. It has about 7 million visitors a year. It is also inseparable from the history of the French capital. For the 130 years of this first collaboration, De Venoge signs a beautiful partnership with the company in charge of the exploitation of the iron lady (surname of the Eiffel Tower). This collaboration is obvious because of the common history of both parties but also because of the characteristic shape of the bottles of the Princes cuvée. This limited edition vintage is named “Cuvée Princes Tour Eiffel”. Only 10,000 bottles have been marketed for this partnership.”
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