In This Newsletter:
Featured New Arrivals:
New Sake Selections
Pre Arrival Feature:
New Vintage of Peyrassol Estate
Baron is Back: New Vintage of Cayuse
Southern Right’s Oceanside Delights
Best of the Iblei:
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Featured New Arrivals:
New Sake Selections
For those unfamiliar with Saké let us provide some context. Fundamentally different in production and classification than the wines that we carry, Saké is produced from milled rice that is then fermented with yeasts and fungi (Known as kōji). This process leads to higher levels of residual sugar on average, with lactic acid providing movement on the palate and lessening the perception of sweetness. The higher alcohol content of 16-20% also creates a dryer perception, making the majority of Saké taste off-dry.
Kōji is ubiquitous in East Asian food production and plays a role in everything from soy sauce to miso production due to the fungi’s ability to convert starch and other carbohydrates into sugars. Because rice doesn’t contain juice like winegrapes water is also added, oftentimes from mountain runoff or underground spring water. The primary variables that lend to the difference of flavors, aromas and sugar range from the constitution of the water used, yeast cultivar, rice varietal and most importantly: the polishing ratio or amount of milling that occurs prior to fermentation.
Our new selections hail from the province of Niigata, an area of Japan famous for extensive snowfall and subsequently immaculate water quality. Most producers draw from underground springs that are fed from the nearby Japanese Alps, creating a mineral spine in the finished sake as a result of the mineral composition. Beyond the climatological benefits of Niigata the area is also home to the Niigata Sake Research Institute which also functions as a training center for brewers across the country, not unlike the University of Dijon’s winemaker programs in Burgundy.
New Sake arrivals in stock now:
Senjo Jumai Daiginjo, Nagano Sake 720ML ($49.95) $37.50 special, 5 bottles in stock now
Vinpol Note: mineral and floral, there’s a delightful juxtaposition of melon and white flowers against a cooling alpine minerality.
Producer note “Juicy and refreshing. Floral nose, round and smooth mouthfeel. Full of fruity flavors [that] are pleasantly balanced with clean sweetness. Hitogokochi sake rice locally developed and grown in Nagano, is polished to 40% of the original size for brewing with soft water sourced from Mt. Senjo of the Southern Alps of Japan. SMV: -15. Acidity: 1.8. 16% ABV.”
Yuki Otoko – Yeti Junmai Sake Japan 720ML ($39.95) $28 special, 5 bottles in stock now
Vinpol Note: After over 300 years in sake production, the Yuki Otoko is a dry sake made without any sulfur or other preservatives. The weighty and umami character make it perfectly suitable for blackened or roasted foods that would otherwise overpower more delicate sake. Refreshing and saline, the primary flavors are white peach, hazelnut paste and tangerine with a white lily flower aroma.
Distributor note “Producer: Aoki Shuzo. Rice: Miyama Nishiki milled to 60%. Water: On-site well water from an underground current originating at Makihata-yama. Soft water. SMV +12. Acidity 1.2.”
Matsunoi Tokubetsu Honjozo Lone Pine Sake, Japan 720ML ($31.95) $27 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Vinpol Note: A savory and complex sake that walks the line of umami and fruit driven at the same time. The texture and slightly oaty/cereal component lends itself to pastry and dessert courses.
Producer note “Aromas of peach, almond, and hazelnut. Crisp, nutty and dry. The rice has been polished to 58% to achieve the special (Tokubetsu) taste. 15-16% ABV. Moderate aroma. Dry. SMV: +6. Acidity: 1.3.”
Check out our full selection of Sake today, available both online and in-store
Pre Arrival Feature:
New Vintage of Peyrassol Estate
There are few places that have been cultivating wine grapes for as long as Provence having been originally settled by the Phocian Greeks in 600 BC. Fast forward a few centuries and you have Chateau Peyrassol continuing these traditions (With a restored historical site at that) under the guidance of the Austruy family, which has invested in the vineyard and winery and has expanded the line up to include non-estate bottlings.
These are historic wines from the foothills of the Massif des Maures along the Mediterranean coast. Wine production dates back to 1256 under the Knights Templar and has been in continuous production since. The wines are produced organically with limited yields due to the severe climate, low-vigor soils, and age of the vines. Provencial rose is famous for being light in color and perfectly crushable. Usually made from blends of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan there are a few rarities that are made predominantly with Tibouren, one of the original grapes planted in the area. Peyrassol is one of the few estates that grow all of the permitted varietals on their estate, with Tibouren being the chief grape of their highest offering; Les Clos. We’ve just secured our 2021 allocation, with back vintages and large formats of the producer on sale through the end of the month!
Peyrassol wines arriving May 20th:
Peyrassol Cotes de Provence ‘Chateau Peyrassol’ Rose France 2021 750ML ($41.95) $38 pre-arrival special
Importer note “50% Cinsault, 25% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 8% Mourvèdre, 4% Tibouren, 3% Rolle and Ugni Blanc. Very pale, lychee pink in color. The nose is fine and elegant. Complex, releasing white fleshed fruit and citrus fruits aromas, along with white floral notes. The palate is straightforward and clean. Fine and silky, it is soft, delicate and lively. The freshness of the finish is balanced with a subtle hint of saltiness.”
Peyrassol Cotes de Provence ‘Cuvee des Commandeurs’ Rose France 2021 750ML ($29.95) $24 pre-arrival special
Importer note “40% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, 15% Syrah, 10% Vermentino, 5% Mourvèdre. A soft color reminiscent of rose petals. A beautiful nose of English candy, strawberry and raspberry aromas followed by light redcurrant and citrus notes. The delicate and tender palate, marked by the complexity of red and exotic fruit flavors, fully releases all the grape varieties’ expression.”
Peyrassol ‘La Croix des Templiers’ Rose IGP Mediterranee 2021 750ML ($21.95) $18 pre-arrival special
Importer note “50% Cinsault ; 40% Grenache ; 8% Syrah ; 2% Carignan. Beautiful pale pink in color, with distinct bluish hues. This expressive blend opens immediately with notes of small red fruits carried on a savory undertone of garrigue. There is a refreshing touch of greenness on the palate which gives this fresh, lively wine its truly thirst-quenching character.”
Peyrassol Cotes de Provence ‘Le Clos Peyrassol’ Rose 2021 750ML ($79.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Importer note “40% Cinsault, 30% Grenache, 30% Tibouren. With an extremely pale pink color, this emblematic cuvée cultivates elegance, finesse and concentration. Aromas of white cherry blossom, citrus and white fruits such as peach and pear. The fresh and generous palate immediately delivers a complexity typical of great wines. The aromas are gradually released and intermingle to offer all the expression of the grape varieties of Provence from their favorite terroirs. Built around the acidity of the fruit, very long on the palate, this wine is elegantly prolonged by bitterness and dosed salinity.”
Check out our full list of May sale wines, available online and in-store!
Baron is Back:
New Vintage of Cayuse
“The Horsepower wines are made at Cayuse yet from their own set of vineyards which are farmed exclusively by horses. The wines share plenty of similarities with the Cayuse releases, yet have slightly more backward profiles that demand bottle age to show at their best.” –Jeb Dunnuck
“As part of the Bionic Wines lineup, these sensational wines made by Elizabeth Bourcier have poise, flavor density and exquisite stony terroir. These are wines with more tension than the more massive 2018s, which is attributable to the cooler 2019 vintage.” –Owen Bargreen, Vinous
Horsepower Vineyards Fiddleneck Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley 2019 750ML ($219.95) $199 special, only 2 bottles available
Owen Bargreen-Vinous 99 points “The stunning 2019 Grenache Fiddleneck Vineyard was sourced from a beautiful site where fiddleneck flowers were established before the vines were planted in 2015. The utterly mesmerizing nose features red rose petals, Linzer torte, umami and green olive tapenade, offering an air of aromatic complexity that is impossible to replicate in North America. On the seamless, beautifully textured palate, juicy red fruits collide with shades of white truffle, a dusting of salinity and an exquisite stony character. This is a wine unlike anything else in the world.”
Horsepower Vineyards Sur Echalas Vineyard Grenache, Walla Walla Valley 2019 750ML ($219.95) $189 special, only 2 bottles available
Owen Bargreen-Vinous 98 points “The 2019 Grenache Sur Echalas Vineyard is an utterly sensational new wine that screams terroir. Made from a tightly spaced vineyard, it shows off green peppercorns, nori, pomegranate seed, guava, satsuma zest, freshly tilled earth and stony undertones. The palate is plush with a soft texture and an incredible sense of tension. Layers of very delicate red fruits collide with stony minerals, blood orange zest and green olive tapenade. Utterly sensational to savor right now, this has another decade or more ahead of it.”
The average price is $200
Horsepower Vineyards ‘High Contrast Vineyard’ Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2019 750ML ($219.95) $189 special, only 1 bottles available
Owen Bargreen-Vinous 97 points “From a site partially set on silty loam and ancient cobblestones, the 2019 Syrah High Contrast Vineyard shows beautiful stony character on the nose, alongside soy sauce, marionberry compote, asphalt and black olive tapenade, plus shades of smoked bacon. The palate is seamless and very elegant with a silky texture. Light tannins line the beautiful core of pure black fruits, alongside salty and savory tones. Utterly sensational to enjoy now, this beautiful wine will cellar well for another decade.”
Horsepower Vineyards The Tribe Vineyard Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2019 750ML ($219.95) $179 special, only 3 bottles available
Owen Bargreen-Vinous 96 points “The gorgeous 2019 Syrah The Tribe Vineyard is a gorgeous effort that is already drinking beautifully in its youth. On the nose, it shows off green peppercorns and smoldering stones alongside black cherry compote and roasted dates. The balance and feeling of tension and finesse midpalate are gorgeous. The weight of the core of dark fruits plays well with white pepper, umami, orange rind and shades of red cherry candy. Gorgeous in its youth, this will cellar well over the next decade.”
“Made at the same winery as Cayuse, Horsepower, and Hors Category, these No Girls wines are made by the talented Elizabeth Bourcier, who makes a more perfumed, elegant style of wine and pulls largely from the La Paciencia Vineyard in the Rocks region of Walla Walla. These are singular, gorgeous wines across the board.” –Jeb Dunnuck
No Girls La Placiencia Vineyard Grenache, Walla Walla Valley 2018 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, only 3 bottles available
Owen Bargreen-Vinous 97 points “The 2018 Grenache La Paciencia Vineyard is a standout bottling that was aged entirely in neutral large-format oak and saw more than 50% stem inclusion. The stony tones on the nose really entice as orange zest, teaberry, saline-drenched red cherry and charcuterie tones all come together marvelously. The palate is seamless and elegant, with impeccable texture and beautiful length. Obviously a bit richer than other vintages, this shows crazy good finesse and offers one-of-a-kind terroir.”
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “From the same site, the 2018 Grenache La Paciencia Vineyard reveals a translucent ruby hue as well as a sappy, fresh bouquet of wild strawberries, blackberries, sappy flowers, pepper, orange blossom, and rose petals. Made in a medium-bodied, ethereal, elegant style, it has terrific purity of fruit, ripe yet crunchy tannins, and a beautiful finish. Some smoky, meaty notes emerge with time in the glass, and it has enough tannins to warrant 2-4 years of bottle age and will impress for over a decade.”
No Girls La Placiencia Vineyard Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2018 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, only 3 bottles available
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points “The 2018 Syrah La Paciencia Vineyard is all Syrah from a single vineyard in the Rocks region of the Walla Walla Valley. Offering a Côte Rôtie-like perfume of black raspberries, blueberries, rose petals, smoked meat, and iron, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, a smoky, meaty, layered mouthfeel, ripe yet present tannins, and a great finish. Its purity of fruit is off the charts, it’s perfectly balanced, and while approachable today, it will benefit from 2-4 years of bottle age and keep for 15-20 years in cold cellars. It’s an incredible, singular Syrah.”
Owen Bargreen-Vinous 97 points “The 2018 Syrah La Paciencia Vineyard underwent roughly 70% stem inclusion and was aged only in neutral large-format barrels prior to bottling. The nose is ridiculously complex, offering green olives, barnyard, wet stone, tangerine zest, beautiful red fruits and red floral accents that all brilliantly sing in unison. The palate is deeply concentrated with a gorgeous sense of mouthfeel and a beautiful core of dark fruits. With more air, shades of salted smoked meats, black truffle crudo and orange rind mingle together. Savory and complex, this beautiful wine is drinking marvelously even at the three-year mark and has another decade or more to go.”
No Girls La Placiencia Vineyard Tempranillo, Walla Walla Valley 2018 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, only 1 bottles available
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points “Also gorgeous, the 2018 Tempranillo reveals a more opaque purple hue as well as a great nose of redcurrants, blueberries, raspberries, exotic flowers, and loads of savory spice. This carries to a rich, meaty, medium to full-bodied Tempranillo with polished tannins, notable freshness, and a beautiful finish that keeps you coming back to the glass. It’s another 2018 from this team that has the purity and elegance to drink brilliantly today yet the balance and structure to evolve for at least 15 years or more.”
Owen Bargreen-Vinous 95 points “The exceedingly good 2018 Tempranillo was aged in roughly 30% new French oak before bottling. The palate is exceedingly salty and savory, with firm tannins that hold everything in place. Bright black cherry, orange rind and salted Parma ham flavors mingle with black olives and exotic spices. Beautiful to enjoy now, this has another decade or more to go.”
Shop our full lineup of wines in stock now from Christophe Baron, including his exquisite Champagnes on our web store now!
Southern Right’s Oceanside Delights
Being the country’s flagship grape, Pinotage is famous for its chameleonic expression depending on pruning style, growing conditions and vinification practices. This is no better evidenced by Southern Right’s iteration of Pinotage, grown less than two miles from the Atlantic Ocean. In warmer and drier conditions the varietal takes on a spectrum of blue, black and purple fruits underscored by a tertiary plethora of smoke and earth.
In the Hemel-En-Aarde Valley these characteristics are toned down and express a more Pinot Noir-esque showing of strawberry, rosehip, amarena cherry and orange peel. Southern Right’s Pinotage features the varietals classic smoke character, but more along the lines of incense and Cuban tobacco. Pinotage is traditionally paired with braai, South Africa’s flame grilled meats and vegetables but compatible with other foods like tagine, chili adobo fish or kimchi-jjigae. Their Sauvignon Blanc reflects the native herbs and flowers found only in South Africa, called fynbos. Their influence emphasizes the blackcurrant leaf and oregano flower character of cool-climate Sauvignon Blanc with a wet stone minerality and continued herbaceousness on the finish.
Southern Right wines in stock now:
Southern Right Pinotage Hemel-en-Aarde Valley 2020 750ML ($49.95) $30.90 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Importer Note: Southern Right is re-defining Pinotage with this intense classically styled, clay-grown wine, packed with complex berry
fruit, beautiful tannins, and subtle spice. Full ripeness and the longer hang-time afforded by cooler sites, combined with the
complex, more classic fruit aromas and structure resulting from clay-rich soil, make this wine a highly individual expression
of South Africa’s unique grape variety
Southern Right Sauvignon Blanc Walker Bay 2021 750ML ($21.95) $17 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Importer Note: Made in a way ensuring the personality of site and soil is not over-ridden by the forceful character of the variety, this wine exhibits the typical Southern Right balance of “Old World” minerality and length with hints of “New World” palate coverage and body. The 2020 is a wine that favours origin expressive individuality, minerality and palate complexity ahead of pure, pungent varietal aroma. A significant percentage of fruit from iron and clay-rich soil has added a mid-palate structural component and additional overall complexity to this wine. The Sandstone soils have contributed their typical bright, tensile character and a marked minerality.
Best of the Iblei:
Gulfi represents the best of Sicily’s new generation of winemakers, and is a champion of indigenous Sicilian varietals and growing practice. This is exemplified by his work with Nero D’Avola, which he farms without any chemical input, mechanized farming or even irrigation! Exclusively using the Sicilian bushvine for production and biodynamic farming practices, Gulfi is critically undervalued to say the least. Across their portfolio of Nero D’Avola, there is a pervasive minerality, clean aromatics and nuanced finishes to each wine that is unlike anything you experience in an example from Marsala or Agrigento. This is on account of the protection and shadow provided by the Iblei Mountains of Southeastern Sicily, which encourages a phenolic driven course of ripening.
Gulfi wines in stock now:
Gulfi ‘Valcanzjria’ Sicilia Sicily2019 750M ($21.95) $18 special
Gulfi Nerobaronj Sicilia IGT Sicily 2017 750ML ($34.95) $31.90 special
Ian D’agata – Vinous 93+ points “Good full medium red. Riveting high-pitched perfume of raspberry, blood orange and violet, lifted by hints of lemon and talc. Clean, focused, and well delineated, with strong minerality and fresh spices lifting the raspberry fruit and very floral flavors. Easygoing and very drinkable already, this expresses a very silky texture. Finishes vibrant and very long, with subtle perfume of strawberry and violet. A pretty wine.”
Case-6 Gulfi Neromaccarj Sicilia IGT Sicily 2016 750ML ($249.95) $189 special, (That’s only $31.50 per bottle!)
Ian D’agata – Vinous 93 points “Deep ruby. Amazing floral and spicy nose of black fruit, herbs and grilled steak. Then rich and tactile, but vibrant and energetic, with well delineated flavors similar to the aromas. Finishes long with mounting but relatively polished tannic bite.”
Gulfi Nerosanlore Sicilia IGT Sicily 2011 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Ian D’agata – Vinous 94 points “Fully saturated ruby-red. Super-ripe aromas of black cherry, raspberry jelly, incense and coriander are very typical of the Sanloré site. Then surprisingly light on its feet, offering vibrant flavors of red and black cherry, tar, licorice and pomegranate liqueur. The finish is bright and juicy and features a lingering saline nuance. Knockout Sanloré that manages to be at once powerful and graceful, the latter a quality not always evident in wines from this site, which are usually known for their richness and size.”
Wine & Spirits 94 points “This dark and brooking wine comes from 40-year-old vines rooted in reddish-brown sand and clay soils; it grows half a mile from the sea and just 30 feet above sea level, where the temperature doesn’t change much between day and night. Savory notes of black olive and roasted mushroom saturate the wine’s dark plum flavors, intensified by a trail of salinity so intense it feels almost gritty, yet the wine is brightened by mouthwatering acidity. The contrast is extreme, and it works.”
Love Italian Wine? Check out our full selection on our web store
They’re dense and sumptuous, intense but full of finesse, complex and long-lingering on the palate, with the individuality of a monarch. Vega Sicilia is one of the rare instances were a singular producer is synonymous with the entire region as a whole, not unlike Biondi-Santi in Brunello, Dönnhoff and the Nahe and Ridge Vineyards in Sonoma. Prized and often fought over by celebrities, collectors and the best restaurants in the world these are “Blink and you’ll miss it wines” given the exceedingly low production.
Vega Sicilia in stock now:
Vega Sicilia Tinto Valbuena 5 Ribera del Duero 2016 750ML ($219.95) $179 special, only 12 bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2016 Valbuena was produced with a blend of 94% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) and 6% Merlot from 140 hectares dedicated to this wine. It fermented with indigenous yeasts, and the first year it matured in barrels (75% French, 25% American) and the second year in large oak vats. This is again a floral and elegant vintage of Valbuena, very much in line with what has happened in the best vintages since 2010. 2016 is going to be a wine that the public is going to like; it has an extroverted personality and is perfumed and generous, juicy and tasty and nicely textured, with fine-grained tannins and very focused and clean flavors. 2016 was a year of very good freshness in Ribera del Duero, a year they like even better than 2018.
Wine & Spirits 96 points “This is the second vintage of Valbuena for Gonzalo Iturriaga, the Rioja-born technical director of Vega-Sicilia. And if it is any indication of his talents, the young Iturriaga has a lot to contribute to this iconic Castilian estate. The fruit for Valbuena comes from vines on Vega-Sicilia’s north-facing hillside in Valladolid, below the parcels that go into Unico, and above the road that separates the hillside from the bodega itself and the richer soils approaching the Duero river. In 2016, it has the exuberant energy of spring, cool and sunny with scents of Queen Anne’s lace and wild anise. The floral fruit ranges from the high-toned brightness of an August tomato to the deeper tones of green figs and dark plums. Then, the spicy note of crystalized ginger in the finish has an earthiness that calls to mind the crystalized gypsum in the soil on this hill. A remarkably elegant take on Valbuena, this is a wine to covet for your cellar.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 95 points “Dark violet. Powerful red and dark fruit preserve, pipe tobacco and potpourri aromas are complemented by exotic spice, mocha and incense flourishes. Sappy and energetic in character, offering palate-staining blackberry, cherry liqueur, floral pastille and spicecake flavors underscored by a vein of juicy acidity. Gently chewy tannins build steadily on an impressively long, focused and penetrating finish that leaves smoky mineral, floral and juicy dark berry notes behind.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “This red shows both power and finesse, with generous flavors of ripe red plum and currant accented with anise, cedar, olive and wild herb. Spice and loamy earth notes fine-tune the finish. Tinto Fino and Merlot. Drink now through 2040.