In This Newsletter:
Captain of Casot:
Additional May Sale Wines
Tens on Tuesday:
New Wines arriving May 10th
Bordeaux to Bekka:
Chateau Musar’s Journey
Top Shelf Napa Selections
Fancy a Franciacorta?
Berlucchi ’61 rose in stock now
Sink into Soufrandiere’s Chardonnay
New Grapelive Review: Hundred Suns
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Captain of Casot:
“We have clean and perfumed Barbaresco with plenty of fresh, if not tart, fruit character and softer extraction, resulting in wines that are poised right now: a gift for the current consumer trend which favours polished wines with complexity yet minimal austerity.” – Aldo Fiordelli, Decanter
After several jaw dropping vintages, the 2018 is welcomed as a relative “Return to normal” for the appellation. Barbaresco saw substantial amounts of rain and snow during the entire season that replenished groundwater reserves that were largely parched during the at-times scorching 2015 and 2017 vintages, making the 2018 an overall much softer and plush year. These promise much better drinking windows than 2016, of which many examples remain almost painfully austere without extensive decanting. One of the few producers to bottle their single vineyard expression, Nada Giuseppe offers a snapshot of Barbaresco’s past, before the prying eyes and words of the international wine press put the areas farmers under a microscope.
Nada Giuseppe Wines in stock now:
Nada Giuseppe Casot Barbaresco DOCG 2018 750ML ($49.95) $33 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Nada Giuseppe Casot Barbaresco DOCG 20182018 750ML ($269) $189 special, (That’s only $31.50 per bottle)
Case-12 Nada Giuseppe Casot Barbaresco DOCG 20182018 750ML ($539) $359 special, (that’s only $29.92/bottle!)
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2018 Barbaresco Casot is a fragrant and immediate wine that shows a good amount of ripeness and richness up front. This was a cool vintage overall, although the fruit ripened quickly toward the end of the growing season. There are sweet cherry aromas with spice and licorice. The wine drapes over the palate with silky and smooth intensity. The Casot vineyard is distinguished by layers of bluish tufo soil and layers of looser sand. Production is 10,000 bottles.”
Additional May Sale Wines
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 Herzog Rieslaner Trockenbeerenauslese Pfalz 2018 375ML was $119, now $99, 24 half-bottles in stock now
Winery Note “The Rieslaner Trockenbeerenauslese delights the nose with a virtual cornucopia of various herbal aromas, which treat the palate to a magnificent interaction between fruitiness and acidity and a finish that just doesn’t seem to want to end – a wine concentrate for eternity.”
Muller-Catoir Gimmeldinger Mandelgarten Riesling Spatlese Pfalz 2018 750ML was $33 now $29 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Winery Note “An exceptionally vivacious and intense combination of fruitiness and acidity with a precisely balanced aftertaste characterises this Spätlese from the Gimmeldingen Mandelgarten, complete with notes of peach and ripe citrus.”
Don’t forget our other sale wines like Gran Moraine Brut Rose, Vajra’s Coste Rose Barolo or any other selections Shop our ull assortment of May Sale wines on our website today
Tens on Tuesday:
New Wines arriving May 10th
Foillard Arriving Tuesday, May 10th:
Domaine Jean Foillard Morgon Cuvee Corcelette Beaujolais 2019 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special, 36+ bottles arriving
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 94 points “Saturated magenta. Expressive aromas of red and dark fruit preserves, star anise and potpourri pick up a smoky mineral topnote with air. Juicy and energetic in the mouth, offering concentrated raspberry and cherry liqueur, fruitcake and floral pastille flavors supported by a core of smoky minerality. At once powerful and lithe, finishing on a gently tannic note with superb, floral- and mineral-driven tenacity.”
One of the oldest and storied negociants in Burgundy, Faively is known for producing wines from nearly every part of Burgundy as a whole. In spite of their size their offerings remain stellar examples of their respective villages, while still showing a definitive house style.
Domaine Faiveley Les Cazetiers Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru 2018 750ML ($149.95) $135 pre-arrival special, 24 bottles arriving
Wine Spectator 94 points “Charming and classy, this red is lush and saturated with black cherry, blackberry, earth and a hint of tobacco flavors. It’s balanced, turning firmer midpalate, with powdery tannins lining the tangy finish. An accent of iron creeps in at the end. Best from 2024 through 2042. 3,300 cases made, 270 cases imported. — BS”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 92-94 points “Mingling aromas of sweet wild berries with rich bass notes of forest floor, spice and grilled squab, the 2018 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Cazetiers is medium to full-bodied, broad and concentrated, with rich structuring tannins, comparatively low acidity and a long, sapid finish.”
Bordeaux to Bekka: Chateau Musar’s Journey
Founded by Gaston Hochar in 1930, his son Serge took the world by storm in the late 1970’s after leaving Bordeaux for the Bekka Valley. Lebanon is one of the world’s first producers of wine that dates back over 6,000 years and was mentioned throughout antiquity for its quality, but has seen almost constant unrest since World War 2. The Hochar family has reported driving finished wines through minefields, witnessing the spillover of the Syrian Civil War, and delaying harvest in 2017 because ISIS and the Lebanese army were on their vineyard’s doorstep!
In spite of that, Musar has consistently delivered exceptional reds, whites and rose year after year to the international market. This is in part from their vineyards located in the Bekka Valley of Lebanon, a high elevation region between Mt. Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon Mountains. The elevation and mountainous conditions allows for massive temperature shifts during the evenings, allowing for the grapes to slowly ripen with good acidity.
Working exclusively with old vines that have always been farmed organically, Musar makes a fantastic single village wine named after Gaston in addition to their Cuvee that’s made them world famous. Working with a blend of varietals including Cinsault, Carignan, Grenache, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvigion for reds, the reds are built for serious aging and collecting. Expect all the power and nuance of a super Tuscan, with the lift of Bandol and a totally unique frankincense, oud, cumin and sumac character that is definitively Middle Eastern.
In spite of the extensive history growing winegrapes, there are only two indigenous varieties that see commercial production anymore. Obaideh and Merwah as they’re called are white varietals produced in highly limited qualities and are famous for their age worthiness. Musar theorizes that the varietals are native to the mountains and describes them as “perfectly suited for the Lebanon, requiring no irrigation, canopy management or agrochemical application”. Full bodied and textured the Musar Blanc exhibits a creamy and spiced character underscored by Meyer lemon, black lime, frankincense, apricots and beeswax with high acidity and incredibly long finish.
Chateau Musar wines in stock now:
Chateau Musar Blanc Bekaa Valley 2013 750ML ($69.95) $57 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Winery note “In their youth: yellow-gold, subtly oaky, and creamy-textured, rich yet dry and intensely citrusy, with honeyed nuances. Wholly unique, the style has been described as resembling ‘dry Sauternes’ or mature white Graves. Chateau Musar Whites develop tawny hues and mellow spicy characters as they age. The cellars at Ghazir hold bottles of this wine dating as far back as 1954. Seven years in the making, Chateau Musar White is a blend of ancient grape varieties Obaideh and Merwah, indigenous to the mountains of Lebanon and said to be related to Chasselas Chardonnay and Semillon. The Obaideh vineyards are in the foothills of the Anti-Lebanon mountains on stony, chalky soils, while the Merwah vines are on the seaward side of Mount Lebanon, on calcareous gravels. Yields are very low for these untrained bushvines: 10 – 20 hl per hectare. At high altitude (around 1400m) they are still on their own roots, among very few vineyards in the world of this calibre.”
Chateau Musar ‘Hochar Pere et Fils’ Red Bekaa Valley 2017 750ML ($34.95) $28 special, 27 bottles in stock now
Decanter 91 points “This single-vineyard wine, from Aana, is made in a modern style: concentrated and slightly reductive. It shows notes of new oak barrels, lovely red berry fruit (reminiscent of Grenache) and garrigue aromas. So Mediterranean on the palate, with sweet tannins, spices and a meaty hint on the aftertaste. A very friendly, easy-to-drink and enjoyable wine. It becomes even better and more refined a day after the bottle is opened. I would recommend decanting it.”
Antonio Galloni 90 points “The 2017 Hochar is powerful and dense in the glass. Ripe flavors and incisive tannins give the 2017 much of its brooding personality. Readers should plan on opening the 2017 at least an hour or two in advance, as the tannins are rather grainy at the outset. With time ripe black cherry, spice, leather and licorice flavors emerge nicely. The blend is 55% Cinsault, 35% Grenache and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.”
Chateau Musar Bekaa Valley 2015 750ML ($69.95) $54.50 special, 25 bottles in stock now
Top Shelf Napa Selections
With dozens of California Cabernet Sauvignons to choose from, we have no shortage of incredible options from the Golden State. From Napa Valley and beyond, the state continues to produce some of the world’s finest examples of the world’s most beloved grape.
Napa Selections in stock now:
Stonestreet Estate Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley 2016 750ML ($44.95) $33 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points “Moving to the reds, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 19 months in 37% new French oak) offers impressive notes of tobacco leaf, damp earth, cedar, and blackcurrants. It’s look-alike for a top Bordeaux, has nicely integrated acidity, plenty of tannins, and is going to keep for over a decade.”
Anakota Helena Montana Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, 5 bottles in stock now
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 96 points “Fruit for this was harvested on September 8th, and the wine was bottled six months ago. Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Helena Montana Vineyard gives up exuberant notions of warm blueberries, crème de cassis, lilacs and chocolate box with hints of fertile loam, licorice and menthol. Medium-bodied, elegant, very fresh and juicy, the palate has beautifully ripe, fine-grained tannins supporting the generous fruit, finishing long and perfumed. 1,200 cases produced.”
Anakota Wines Helena Dakota Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, 4 bottles in stock now
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Helena Dakota Vineyard, bottled six months ago, is very deep purple-black in color. Red roses waft sensuously, provocatively out of the glass, taking center stage until the notes of kirsch, blackberries and black raspberries come through, followed by Ceylon tea and forest floor. The palate is medium-bodied, very freshly perfumed and drop-dead gorgeous in the mouth, with a firm, grainy frame and long, mineral-laced finish. 900 cases produced.”
Galerie Wines ‘Latro’ Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley 2016 750ML ($44.95) $38 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 95+ points “The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Latro is in the same ballpark yet has more savory characteristics as well as plenty of conifer, California bay leaf, currants, and loamy soil aromas and flavors. This full-bodied beauty has plenty of tannin, terrific purity of fruit, no hard edges, and a great finish. Give it a few years.”
Galerie Wines ‘Plenair’ Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2017 750ML ($49.95) $33 special, 30 bottles in stock now
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 91 points “The 2017 Pleinair Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon has a very deep garnet-purple color and bursts from the glass with crushed blueberries, black cherry compote and boysenberries with touches of raisin cake, Chinese five spice and potpourri. Full-bodied, rich and spicy in the mouth, it has lovely freshness and a lovely bit of chew texturing the finish.”
Antonio Galloni 91 points “The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Pleinair is racy, silky and super-expressive. Sweet floral and spice notes give the 2017 pretty aromatic top notes and brightness. This is a very solid value in the world of Napa Valley Cabernet, marked by plush red fruit and floral notes.”
Bevan Cellars Tench Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville 2016 750ML ($249.95) $199 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 97+ points “The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Tench Vineyard is very deep purple-black in color with an earthy, meaty, broody nose with notes of mocha over baked plums and crème de cassis plus wafts of spice box and mincemeat. The palate is full-bodied, concentrated, rich and earthy with great vibrancy on the finish. 839 cases produced.”
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points “From a steep hillside in Oakville, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Tench Vineyard offers a more savory, masculine, layered style as well as a huge nose of red and black fruits, dried herbs, chocolate, and earth. It hits the palate with a full-bodied, mouthfilling style that carries plenty of tannins, a deep, concentrated mid-palate, and a great finish. I like it today, yet it’s going to continue drinking brilliantly for two decades.”
Fancy a Franciacorta?
Berlucchi ’61 rose in stock now
In Stock now:
Berlucchi ’61 Rose Brut Franciacorta DOCG NV 750ML ($44.95) $26 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “Bright and savory, this refreshing, polished sparkler boasts alluring aromas of juicy raspberry, wild cherry, baking spice and a whiff of bread crust. The inviting aromas follow over to the vibrant palate along with a continuous refined perlage. A tangy candied nectarine note closes the finish.”
Wine Spectator 91 points “Enticing aromas and flavors of ripe strawberry and raspberry fruit are set on the fine, lively bead in this clean-cut, mouthwatering rosé, with a chalky underpinning. Lightly spiced on the lingering finish.”
#93 Wine Spectator Top 100 Of 2021 “Classic (Champagne) Method Rose from the most important quality sparkling region in Italy… Pinot Nero, Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay. It’s just killer! This producer created the Franciacorta sparkling wines in 1961, hence ’61 on the label.”
Sink into Soufrandiere’s Chardonnay
Looking for meticulously farmed Chardonnay that walks the line between the Côte-d’Or and Chablis? Check out our offerings from Soufrandiere, a biodynamic producer based in the village of Vinzelles in the Mâcon. Located in Southern Burgundy, the wines are classified by their climat or vineyard and bottled accordingly, with all production taking place in neutral oak cask.
Some of the best offerings are sourced from the Les Quarts climat, which features exceptionally old vines over 80 years old and the perfect mix of red clay and limestone soils. While demonstrating the shyness of youth that’s found in current release Burgundy, there’s still a full spectrum of orchard fruit, white flowers, lemon oil and saline minerality. The exceptionally long finish and high acid make this something to cellar or decant prior to serving, with additional notes of grapefruit pith, Pomelo rind and Cara Cara orange emerging with patience.
Soufrandiere Wines in stock now
Bret Brothers La Soufrandiere Pouilly-Vinzelles Maconnais 2019 750ML($59.95) $49 special, 12 bottles in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 90 points “A cuvée of declassified Les Quarts, the 2019 Pouilly-Vinzelles offers up aromas of sweet orchard fruit, meadow blossom and clear honey. Medium to full-bodied, satiny and layered, with fine concentration and bright acids, it’s charming and expressive.”
Bret Brothers La Soufrandiere Pouilly-Vinzelles Climat Les Quarts Maconnais 2019 750ML ($79.95) $69 special, 9 bottles in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 92+ points “The 2019 Pouilly-Vinzelles Les Quarts unwinds in the glass with notes of clear honey, white flowers and fresh bread. Medium to full-bodied, satiny and incisive, it’s vibrant and youthfully reserved, showing promise for the cellar.”
Neal Martin-Vinous 91 points “From the domaine’s oldest vines, the 2019 Pouilly-Vinzelles Climat “Les Quarts” has a brisk, lemon verbena, crushed rock and subtle blackcurrant leaf scented nose that is beautifully defined. The palate is taut and linear on the entry, a fine bead of acidity here, slightly waxy in texture towards the finish with hints of pear and peach skin lingering on the aftertaste. Drink now and over the next decade.”
Burghound 90-93 points “Outstanding. Restrained and decidedly cool aromas grudgingly exhibit notes of citrus, white and yellow orchard fruit and pretty spice whiffs. There is a bit less concentration though more finesse and minerality to the sleek middle weight flavors that deliver excellent persistence on the balanced, clean and very dry finale. One to check out.”
Bret Brothers La Soufrandiere Pouilly-Vinzelles Climat Les Quarts Cuvee Millerandee Maconnais 2019 750ML ($99.95) $85 special, 5 bottles in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93+ points “The 2019 Pouilly-Vinzelles Les Quarts Cuvée Millerandée is even more reserved, opening in the glass with scents of clear honey, orange oil, white flowers and pear. Full-bodied, layered and textural, it’s concentrated and tightly wound, with tangy acids and chalky structuring extract. This will warrant a bit of patience.”
Neal Martin- Vinous 93 points “The 2019 Pouilly-Vinzelles Climat “Les Quarts” Cuvée Millerandée” comes from the upper part of the vineyard on shallow soils, combined with vine age and massal selection that produced millerandé bunches and smaller berries. It has a wonderful, very pure and mineral-driven bouquet with red apple, peach skin and yellow plum scents and soar from the glass. The palate is very well balanced with fine delineation, a superb line of acidity and more nervosité compared to the regular cuvée. Pure class.”
Burghound 91-94 points “Sweet Spot. This too is quite firmly reduced, and the nose reveals only the discreet wood treatment. There is terrific intense to the dense, serious and focused larger-scaled flavors that brim with both minerality and dry extract on the powerful, youthfully austere, bone-dry and hugely long finale. This possesses excellent potential.”
Bret Brothers La Soufrandiere Pouilly-Vinzelles Climat Les Quarts Cuvee Zen Maconnais 2019 750ML ($99.95) $71.90 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Burghound 91-93 points “Sweet Spot. This is aromatically quite similar to the regular cuvée but even more restrained, indeed to the point that it’s all but mute. There is outstanding volume to the rich, full-bodied and opulent medium weight plus flavors that brim with sappy dry extract before culminating in a textured finale that is slightly more persistence as well as a bit more complex too. This should drink well early but reward 4 to 7 years of cellaring if desired.”
Soufrandiere wines arriving June 2022:
Bret Brothers La Soufrandiere Pouilly-Vinzelles Climat Les Longeays Maconnais 2019 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 91 points “The 2019 Pouilly-Vinzelles Les Longeays opens in the glass with notes of pear, almonds, white flowers, mint and citrus zest. Medium to full-bodied and textural but tightly wound, with a sweet core of fruit and lively acids, it has turned out well.”
Neal Martin-Vinous 91 points “The 2019 Pouilly-Vinzelles Climat “Les Longeays”, the most precocious climat of the domaine according to the Brets, comes from the middle of the slope on four-metre deep clay soils. This offers enticing orchard fruit on the nose mixed with Vervane tea, honeysuckle and jasmine scents. The palate is tensile on its opening, full of energy that counterbalances the richness that comes through on the finish. There is just a hint of white chocolate lingering on the aftertaste. Excellent.”
Bret Brothers La Soufrandiere Pouilly-Fuisse Climat au Vignerais Maconnais 2019 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Neal Martin-Vinous 93 points “The 2019 Pouilly-Fuissé Climat “Au Vignerais” has the most Zen-like bouquet that demands the most coaxing from the glass, eventually revealing green apple and crushed rock scents. The nose is very well defined. The palate is taut and fresh, quite saline and tensile, building in concentration towards a very harmonious, orange pith and pear-tinged finish. This is a lovely, cerebral Pouilly-Fuissé.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 92 points “Aromas of pear, citrus zest, toasted almonds and vanilla pod introduce the 2019 Pouilly-Fuissé Au Vignerais, a medium to full-bodied, satiny and ample wine that’s lively and saline. Seamless and elegant, it’s already showing well.”
Christophe Baron selections in stock now:
Christophe Baron ‘Les Alouettes’ Brut Nature Champagne 2016 1.5L ($299.95) $259 special, 5 magnums in stock now
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2016 Brut Nature Les Alouettes (Magnum) is ample and broad, with a real sense of volume that grows over time. Layered and beautifully resonant, the Alouttes is also the most sensual and immediate of these wines. Even with all of its intensity, the Alouttes is translucent and so expressive, even in the early going. Spice, dried pear, flowers and nutty accents linger. Disgorged: March, 2020.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93+ points “The most reserved wine in the range is the 2016 Brut Nature Les Alouettes, from a southeast-facing site in Charly-sur-Marne. Unwinding in the glass with scents of citrus zest, apricot, orange oil and pear, framed by hints of wet stones and struck match, it’s medium to full-bodied, tightly wound and chalky, with racy acids and an elegant pinpoint mousse. Interestingly, a magnum tasted in November 2020 was rather more open and expressive than this one, tasted in early 2021.”
Christophe Baron ‘Le Dessus du Bois Marie’ Brut Nature Millesime Champagne 2016 1.5L ($319.95) $279 special, 2 magnums in stock now
Antonio Galloni 96 points “The 2016 Brut Nature Le Dessus Du Bois Marie (Magnum) is a wine of cut and precision. Lemon confit, spice, baked apple tart and pear notes abound. Here the expression is all about energy, tension and delineation. Tangerine oil, spice, crushed rocks and white flowers add the closing shades of complexity. Disgorged: March, 2020.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 95 points “Disgorged in March 2020 without dosage, Baron’s 2016 Brut Nature Le Dessus du Bois Marie is showing nicely, wafting from the glass with delicately exotic aromas of mandarin orange, pear, musky peach, clear honey and white flowers. Medium to full-bodied, satiny and vinous, it’s fleshy and saline, with an enveloping core of fruit, lively acids and a long, mouthwatering finish.”
Cayuse Vineyards Wallah Wallah Special Series Syrah Walla Walla Valley #12 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.”
Cayuse Vineyards En Chamberlin Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2019 750ML ($149.95) $128 special, 9 bottles in stock now
Cayuse Vineyards Cailloux Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2019 750ML ($149.95) $128 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Cayuse Vineyards ‘Widowmaker’ En Chamberlin Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 2018 750ML ($189.95) $159 special, 3 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “Lots of earthy tobacco, gravelly earth, shiitake, and assorted darker fruits emerge from the 2018 The Widowmaker En Chamberlin Vineyard. Medium to full-bodied, it has a wonderful core of sweet fruit, polished tannins, and a great finish. It leans heavily into the earthy, foresty side of the spectrum. Give bottles 2-4 years in the cellar if you can, and it should have two decades of prime drinking ahead of it. This is only for those who like plenty of savory earthiness in their Bordeaux blends.”
Anthony Mueller-Wine Advocate 94 points “Opening with a mineral-driven nose, the 2018 The Widowmaker en Chamberlin Vineyard offers up elements of dusty blackberry, hints of leather and resinous purple flowers with cinnamon and nutmeg tones. Medium to full-bodied, the wine displays a ripe, lush expression that is coated with a delightful mineral tension before displaying elements of bitter dark chocolate, dried sage and dusty purple flowers. Concluding with a long, winding finish, the Cabernet should continue to deliver an elegant, dark-fruited and delightful drinking experience for the next decade and a half. The wine rested for 19 months in French oak barrels, one-third new. Just over 3,000 bottles were produced.”
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 93+ points “Dark red. Claret-like aromas of raspberry, strawberry, black tea, leather, menthol and minerals; a bit less wild than the 2017 version. Enters the mouth smooth, fine-grained and rather thick, then saturates the palate with red and darker fruits and spices. Substantial dusty tannins call for at least a few years of patience. Not currently showing the sweetness of The Lovers, this wine needs time to express itself and gain in nuance. It would appear to possess the balancing acidity and firm mineral spine to evolve positively. (Tasted June 2021; Published September 2021)”
Cayuse Vineyards Impulsivo Tempranillo Walla Walla Valley 2019 750ML ($179.95) $149 special, 16 bottles in stock now
Grapelive 96 points “While renowned for his Syrah and Grenache based wines, Cayuse’s Christophe Baron also does some fantastic Bordeaux blends, Cabernet Sauvignons, and this awesome Tempranillo, called the Impulsivo, which is very much in the mold of a great Ribera del Douro, with incredible fruit density and thrilling palate impact. It’s a real head turner, something you’d not want to miss…This 2019 Impulsivo has a seductive inky blue/black and garnet hue in the glass and a sultry dark and smoky nose that leads to a complex array of flavors on the concentrated full bodied pale with blackberry coulis, black cherry, plum and grilled orange fruits that are accented by graphite, cedar, sweet pipe tobacco, caramelized fennel, mineral tones and a subtle floral dimension. Think of this wine as an American Pingus! Thick and opulent for sure, but with some nice lift from natural acidity and an earthy and transparent personality, along with a young taut structure and balance that certainly gives the impression that it will age well… These new releases from Cayuse are tight and powerful wines that should be decanted and paired with hearty cuisine, but they also possess a raw beauty and finesse that truly make them so alluring, especially the God Only Knows Grenache, which has a soulful expression, reminding me of Rayas and Sadie Family, and this very sexy Tempranillo that should drink well for decades to come. Cayuse employs all organic and biodynamic farming and minimal intervention in the cellar to make wines influenced by place first and foremost, which has made them incredibly hard to get, but well worth the effort!”
Check out our complete collection of Cayuse wines on our website and in-store!
New Grapelive Review: Hundred Suns
Hundred Suns The Rocks District Cab / Syrah 2020 750ML ($49.95) $44 special, 21 bottles in stock now
Grapelive 93 Points “A new wine from Grant Coulter and his Hundred Suns label, the River Rock Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah blend from the Oregon side of Walla Walla is an intriguing blue fruited wine with dense fruit and supple ripe tannins, proving these varietals can play nicely together in an expressive way. This 2020 shows an array of blackberry, plum, brandied cherries and currant fruits along with bay leaf, tobacco, cedar, acacia flower and mission fig accents. Coulter, one of Oregon’s best Pinot Noir specialist, originally left California for Oregon’s Willamette Valley some 16 or so years ago, where he first worked as assistant winemaker at Hamacher wines before spending, as he notes, the bulk of 10 years as assistant winemaker and then (head) winemaker at the legendary Beaux Freres. After which, seeking a new and personal direction, Coulter and his wife Renée Saint-Amour founded their own Hundred Suns label in 2015 as well as buying a piece of land in the Eola-Amity Hills zone, where there was an old vineyard that they are now re-planting in hope to create a special estate for the future. In the meantime Coulter is consulting for Flaneur wines and doing his micro bottlings of single vineyard of regional Pinots, an exciting Gamay, Grenache, Chardonnay and a couple of Syrah offerings, as well as this tasty Cab/Syrah. I hope Hundred Suns continues with this special addition to the lineup for years to come, it is an intriguing effort and a delicious dark purple/garnet nectar that is fabulous with robust cuisine.
This unique Cab/Syrah was sourced from the famed River Rock Vineyard located in the The Rocks District of Milton Freewater, Oregon, an area made famous by Christophe Baron of Cayuse. These soils (or lack thereof), called the Freewater Series, as Coulter notes, are eroded basalt cobbles and pebbles from the Blue Mountains, these rocks, sand, and silt were laid down in layer upon layer forming an alluvial fan on the flat Walla Walla valley floor, leaving us a great terroir. These dynamic soils, Grant adds, require the vines to push roots deep between the rocks to find nutrients while the warmth absorbed by the rocks helps ripen the Cabernet grapes. Coming in at 14% natural alcohol, this is a ripe wine, but incredibly well balanced, or as Grant Says, its a Pinot Noir winemaker’s rendition of noble Cabernet Sauvignon, with a little dose of co-fermented Syrah that adds complexity. These grapes were hand-harvested and brought back to the winery in McMinnville where they were fully de-stemmed into a single one ton open top fermenter. After three days the native yeast took off and fermentation was on. Coulter gently pumped-over the juice twice daily and after ten days the primary fermentation was completed, then the must was pressed to neutral French oak and 450 liter amphora. The Cab/Syrah then was matured, unmoved, for one year and then the wine was gently racked into a bottling tank and was bottled unfined and unfiltered. As readers of grapelive.com know, the Hundred Suns wines are a favorite of mine and I highly recommend chasing some down and I suggest joining their mailing list as soon as possible, as these wines have truly been discovered and sell out fast.”