In This Newsletter:
Back in Town
Re-Arrivals: In Stock Now
“Mourat. J Mourat”: The James Bond Rose
Down the Rhine and Through the Donau:
Vinopolis Tours Germany
Bordeaux to Bekka:
Chateau Musar’s Journey
Shades of Summer:
Re-Arrivals: In Stock Now
William Fevre Beauroy Chablis Premier Cru 2017 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 18 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The 2017 Chablis Beauroy 1er Cru is beautifully lifted and nuanced. Floral and citrus notes give the Beauroy striking lift as well as nuance. Readers will find a gracious, super-expressive Chablis that drinks well now and also has the potential to develop nicely in bottle.”
Burghound 88-91 points “There is a back wisp of exoticism to the ripe and fresh aromas of white orchard fruit, petrol and discreet honeysuckle nuances. The exceptionally rich flavors possess reasonably good verve if only average concentration though they offer good persistence on the citrusy, clean and balanced finale.”
William Fevre Bougros Chablis Grand Cru 2017 750ML ($99.95) $89 special, 9 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2017 Chablis Bougros Grand Cru is a dense, phenolic and powerful wine that captures the tiny yields of the vintage. Lemon confit, pear, white flowers, mint and lightly honeyed notes explode from the glass in a Chablis endowed with tremendous character as well as persistence. This is an especially ample, full-bodied edition of this wine.”
Wine Advocate 93 points “I was unduly conservative with my assessment of Fèvre’s 2017 Chablis Grand Cru Bougros, as this bottle was showing very well indeed, unfurling in the glass with aromas of white flowers, fresh peach, Meyer lemon and crushed chalk. It’s full-bodied, deep and fleshy, with excellent concentration, racy acids and chalky structuring extract, concluding with a precise finish. While this Bougros is still quite demonstrative, it is showing more complexity and tension after another six months in bottle and is well worth seeking out.”
William Fevre Les Lys Chablis Premier Cru 2017 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 18 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2017 Chablis Les Lys 1er Cru is a dense, potent wine that will appeal most to readers who enjoy concentrated whites. Although not exactly subtle, the 2017 possesses superb depth and creaminess. Dried herbs, chamomile, crushed flowers and dried pear notes add character. There is no shortage of intensity, that much is clear. In this tasting, the 2017 comes across as a bit bombastic.”
William Fevre Montmains Chablis Premier Cru 2017 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 18 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2017 Chablis Montmains 1er Cru is a dense, powerful wine that very much shows the low yields of the vintage in its sheer richness. Citrus, floral and savory notes are front and center, but more than anything else, the 2017 stands out for its concentration, power and persistence. This is impressive.”
William Fevre Vaillons Chablis Premier Cru 2017 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2017 Chablis Vaillons 1er Cru brings together tremendous textural richness with striking layers of floral brightness and minerality that add complexity. Powerful and yet wonderfully finessed, the 2017 possesses superb energy and vibrancy, with pedigree to burn.”
William Fevre Valmur Chablis Grand Cru 2017 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, 4 bottles in stock now
William Kelly – Wine Advocate 92-94 points “The 2017 Chablis Grand Cru Valmur was cropped at less than 20 hectoliters per hectare this year, but it remains quite classic in profile, unfurling in the glass with notes of green orchard fruit, lemon oil and anise, framed by light reduction. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, glossy and concentrated, with bright acids, a tight-knit core and a long, mineral finish. It’s a promising Valmur.”
Neal Martin – Vinous 91-93 points “The 2017 Chablis Valmur Grand Cru, harvested at less than 20hl/ha due to frost, has a clean and precise apple blossom, orange pith and white chocolate-tinged bouquet that gradually opens with time. The palate is well balanced with crisp acidity, full of tension and with good bite, leading to a saline finish that gets the taste buds going. Very classic in style, this should age nicely in bottle.”
Burghound 90-92 points “A citrus and mineral reduction tinged nose is comprised mostly of green fruit and honeysuckle nuances. The palate impression is much like that of the Bougros as the big-bodied flavors are dense and muscular while exhibiting excellent power on the only moderately complex if solidly persistent finish.”
Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Steiner Hund Reserve Riesling Wachau 2014 750ML ($79.95) $49 special, 36 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 96 points “Cellar Selection. The beeswax, wet stone, hayflower and dried lemon notes on the nose of this wine suggest development. Its dry, slender yet concentrated palate has a weightless fluidity that echoes with eloquent beeswax and citrus oil flavors. The combination of lightness and beautiful depth make it so intriguing and moreish. Subtle, lovely, taut and fresh, it’s nowhere near its peak. The finish reveals a brilliant dash of mandarin. Drink 2028–2040.”
Domaine Faiveley Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru Cote de Beaune 2017 750ML ($299.95) $269 special, 4 bottles in stock now
Neal Martin – Vinous 91-93 points “The 2017 Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru comes from a single parcel on the Ladoix side of the hill, the last parcel one faces toward the east. It has an attractive bouquet of lemon curd, yeast and orange peel that gains intensity with aeration. The palate is fresh on the entry, with touches of apricot and quince, a fine bead of acidity and good weight on the finish. This is a classy Corton-Charlemagne that should offer at least 12 to 15 years of drinking pleasure.”
Domaine Faiveley Les Cazetiers Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, 19 bottles in stock now
Neal Martin – Vinous 91-93 points “The 2017 Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers comes from Faiveley’s substantial four-hectare parcel. I find this has more gumption and detail than the Lavaux Saint-Jacques at the moment. The nose features layers of blackberry, raspberry and crushed stone aromas, and the sweet, candied palate is medium-bodied with fine-grained tannin. Blood orange and quince infuse the red fruit toward the finish. Excellent.”
Petrolo ‘Boggina C’ Valdarno di Sopra Tuscany 2016 750ML ($59.95) $39 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 94+ points “The 2016 Val d’Arno di Sopra Bòggina C is a pure expression of Sangiovese from vines planted in 1952. Give the wine a little time to open in the glass; once it does, it offers a beautiful display of forest fruit, spice, leather and earthy tones. Unlike the Bòggina A that is aged in amphorae, the Bòggina C is fermented in concrete vats using ambient yeasts. It sees extended maceration times and is aged in French 40-hectoliter casks and tonneaux. This single-vineyard expression of Sangiovese reveals impeccable balance and elegance.”
“Mourat. J Mourat” The James Bond Rose
Have you ever heard of the varietal called Grolleau? Named after the black color the grapes develop as they ripen, it was the most popular rose in France for nearly a century both domestically and abroad. It was so famous as a style that it was codified in the original James Bond novel Goldfinger; with Bond preferring to drink it over Dom Perignon!
Grolleau is still used to make rose today, usually in conjunction with its gray skinned mutation, Grolleau Gris. We can’t get enough of Mourat’s iteration, which is grown just 12 miles away from the Atlantic Ocean on the far western part of the Loire Valley called “Fiefs Vendeens”. This appellation is special not only for its historic patronage by Cardinal Richelieu, but also for having one of the highest percentages of certified organic and biodynamic vineyards in all of France.
The appellation receives almost as much sunlight as Provence, with the temperature being mitigated by the ocean breeze from the Atlantic. These factors marry together to feature both ripe fruit notes like fresh melon, strawberries and peaches in addition to a lifted, peppery finish. The soils of the appellation are primarily quartzite with schist, creating a nuanced, mineral underpinning. Mourat is lucky enough to have a unique site that is predominantly purple schist, which further emphasizes a mineral driven spine.
The Ovni is a rare offering in that it is entirely composed of Grolleau Gris, in stark contrast to the rest of the appellation which are field blends. With an average vine age of 25 years old, this is a multidimensional rose that is applicable pretty much anytime, anywhere. We also carry another rose by Mourat, featuring the a field blend of grapes that are traditional to the region.
J. Mourat O.V.N.I. Rose IGP Val de Loire 2020 750ML ($21.95) $17 special, 30 bottles in stock now
100% Grolleau Gris
J. Mourat Collection Rose Fiefs Vendeens Mareuil 2020 750ML ($19.95) $16 special, 5 bottles in stock now
Gamay, Cabernet Franc, Negrette & Pinot Noir
Looking for more? We have 83 different examples from around the World in stock now!
Vinopolis Tours Germany
Their terroir is incomparably diverse, with the highly compressed soils yielding examples of every geological family. These geological factors range from iron rich sandstone, to pure slate, and even chalk limestone. Most impressively these differences are often a kilometer or less apart, permitting a huge spectrum of what the average Nahe tastes and smells like in addition to giving winemakers leeway for any style of Riesling they desire. Framed by the crossroads of the Hunsrück Hills, Nahe River and the Black Forest; The Nahe sees one of the driest growing seasons in Germany. This is on account of the surrounding topography creating a channel of cold air that mimics a wind tunnel, which in turn helps mitigate heat spikes and the development of disease. Much like the rest of Germany, the Nahe is considered a “cool” growing region, but has had little problem with ripening historically due to the southern aspect of most vineyards.
The wines from the Nahe are difficult to describe under a monolithic regional style, however most Rieslings will present a mineral character ranging from river rock, to a crystalline influence on the aromas and fruit. There are also examples that can be seen that feature a smoky, spicy character depending on if they were grown with a high percentage of volcanic stone underneath. One of the most unique characteristics of Nahe wines is how they can be enjoyed both in their youth and after extended aging, especially in light of the success of recent vintages. We carry an entire plethora of the Nahe’s best including Crusius, Dönnhoff, Kruger-Rumpf and Schäfer-Fröhlich!
Available and In-Stock now:
Dr. Crusius Muhlberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs Nahe GG 2016 750ML ($69.95) $49 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Stuart Pigott – Jamessuckling.Com 91 points “A very minty cool nose, then a sleek and cool wine that’s really underplayed, but has quite some power behind it. A long, rather complex finish. Should be more open from 2018 and drink for some years beyond.”
Mosel Fine Wines 90 points “This delivers a ripe and fruit-driven nose of quince, pear, peach, gooseberry and dried mango. With airing, notes of smoke and licorice join the party. The wine is broad and juicy on the palate, and the initial feeling of fruits and smoothness is nicely balanced out by some tickly acidity as well as quite some tartness. The finish is spicy and slightly powerful. This ostentatious expression of dry Nahe Riesling will please lovers of more forceful expressions of dry Riesling.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Dr. Crusius Traiser Bastei Riesling Spatlese Nahe 2016 750ML ($49.95) $33 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 91 points “The 2016 Nahe Riesling Traiser Bastei Spätlese (AP 29 17) offers a clear, intense and complex nose that is fresh and stony/mineral rather than fruity and benefits from aeration. Very elegant, precise and noble on the palate, with a lovely mineral piquancy and lingering salinity, this is a complex as well as delicate Spätlese with a stimulatingly clear and piquant finish. Delicious but not as luscious and sexy as the auctioned Felsenberg. 9% alcohol.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Weingut Donnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling Grosses Gewächs Nahe 2018 750ML ($99.95) $89 special, 23 bottles in stock now
John Gilman 97 points “Cornelius Dönnhoff has crafted one of the very best dry Rieslings that I tasted on this trip from the Hermannshöhle in 2018! The bouquet is deep, complex and again, so very elegant out of the blocks this year, delivering scents of pink grapefruit, tart tangerine, white flowers, a superb base of slate, lemongrass, citrus peel and just a dollop of upper register wild yeast tone. On the palate the wine is racy, focused, full-bodied and extremely mineral-driven, with a great core, laser-like focus and seamlessly balanced on the very, very long, very complex and utterly refined finish. Chapeau! 2033-2075+. 97.”
Wine Advocate 95+ points “The 2018 Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling trocken –GG– is fascinatingly pure and fragrant on the nose. Crystalline, lush and intense, this is a full-bodied, crystalline, precise, salty and persistent wine with linear tension, great grip and intensity. Tasted in July 2019.”
David Schildknecht-Vinous 95 points “Bittersweet, smoky herbal and nutty notes, along with an ore-like sense of deep mineral earthiness, serve as ideal foils for generously juicy ripe white peach and bright Meyer lemon. The feel is full and firm, and the finish is superbly multileveled, but with a strong emphasis on darkly earthy and minerally low-tones whose resonance sets the tongue and tonsils quivering. (And yes, it also refreshes.)”
Weingut Donnhoff Oberhauser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett Nahe 2018 750M ($31.95) $27 special, 22 bottles in stock now
John Gilman 93 points “The Leistenberg has the oldest vines of all the Dönnhoff parcels and they have really excelled in 2018. This beautiful Kabinett offers up a complex bouquet of white cherries, apple, salty slate, bee pollen and a lovely mix of spring flowers and fruit blossoms. On the palate the wine is medium-full, pure and filigreed, with its beautiful fruit tones stretched taught over its minerality, with bright, zesty acids and lovely lift and grip on the long and complex finish. Just beautiful. 2022-2060.”
David Schildknecht-Vinous 92 points “The relatively cool Leistenberg is ideally suited to a wine of brightness and levity even in a growing season as precocious and warm as that of 2018. Lime, pear and apple deliver stimulating aromatic penetration as well as zest and crunch on a polished, downright delicate palate. The penetrating, animating, ultra-refreshing finish is strikingly transparent to underlying wet stone.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2018 Oberhäuser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett is darker toned and ripe on the flinty nose, with its crushed stone aromas. Richer and more intense on the palate, this is an almost creamy-textured and persistently salty Leistenberg that is quite rich but still playful and stimulating. It’s just more generous and solemn on the palate. Perhaps more a Spätlese style but very stimulating in fact. Tasted in July 2019. This is riper and more powerful than the 2017.”
Decanter 92 points “Grown on grey clay slate soils on a steep southeast-facing site, this has a fresh nose of green apple. In the mouth it has evident sweetness (55g/l as it turns out – levels in 2018 were higher than usual), with more of that fresh apple but this time fleshed out with some richer honey and a hint of stone fruit. Despite this, it retains great balance thanks to its very present acidity. Barrel sample.”
Terry Theise note “My WINE OF THE VINTAGE this year. In ancient times, before you were born (shit, before my primeval ass was born), Leistenberg was the top site of Oberhausen. “Brücke” didn’t yet exist; the vineyard was part of Niederhäuser Hermannsberg, and Helmut hadn’t begun to acquire his necklace of Grand Crus in Niederhausen, Schlossböckelheim and Norheim. Though its exposure is less than perfect (southeast rather than due south), this is favorable in the modern climate era, as it permits longer hang-time, which enables wines like these Kabinetts to be made, and to be outstanding. I sense my old friend Helmut was feeling wistful about Leistenberg, as though it was the child who doesn’t get enough attention. Often I feel, do I need Dönnhoff’s wines to be better than this? This ’18 is like lace curtains of spindrift, as if it were snowing the little crystals from the pears.”
Kruger-Rumpf Dorsheimer Burgberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs Nahe 2018 ($59.95) $49 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Grapelive 94+ points “Coming from a tiny incredibly steep Grand Cru site, the Burgberg Vineyard, that is set on volcanic and quartz soils near Munster in the village of Dorsheim. The Kruger Rumpf Burgberg GG is one of the most exciting wines of vintage at this small winery… It is fantastically mineral-driven dry Riesling. This latest set of wines, especially the Rieslings, from Georg Rumpf and his family are some of the best yet from this estate. The GG’s and the Premier Cru Trockens are gorgeous wines. No one is going to want to miss these 2018 Nahe offerings, especially the Pitterberg GG, the Abtei Erste Lage 1937 old vine, one of my secret favorites and this beautifully detailed Burgberg GG. Rumpf has turned to mostly all organic practices, and the Burgberg parcel is farmed organic. [He] prefers to do natural fermentations, or Sponti, with his Cru wines with the GG’s getting less aging in large cask, Stuckfass, to allow less reduction and enhance generosity, while retraining freshness and vitality in the wines. [It] shows here in this barrel sample of Burgberg… These Kruger-Rumpf GG’s are some of the best values out there, they really deserve much more attention, as do the lesser bottlings and their wildly tasty Scheurebe, which is one of the best examples in Germany. The Kruger-Rumpf winery, which dates back to the 1790’s, is focused on purity and the expression of the distinctive terroirs in the family’s holdings, but only began making estate labeled wines in 1984 when Georg’s dad Stefan began crafting small production bottlings. Now, mostly retired Stefan has turned things over to his sons Georg and Philipp, who are continuing the traditions here with a renewed energy and technical skill. [Their work] impresses Terry Theise, their importer, who considers Kruger-Rumpf one of best under the radar estates in the region. [Theise] notes that Kruger-Rumpf is innovative and is always striving to reach new levels of quality. I visited Kruger-Rumpf in the fall of 2016 at harvest time and was thrilled with the stylish wines I found and was blown away with the individual vineyards they farm and the hard work they have been putting in the restore the Abtei site. The iron rich volcanic and quartz influenced 2018 Burgberg GG starts with white flowers, stone fruits and vibrant citrus before expansion on the medium full palate with layers of lime/tangerine, apricot, green apple, papaya, bitter pit white peach and white cherry fruits along with steely form, spearmint, verbena, mouthwatering saline, exotic spices and subtle leesy elements. This is going to be a legendary wine and is already showing Georg’s signature finesse and vinous personality. It has masses of potential and its delicacy is utterly delicious! There’s a lot to admire at Kruger-Rumpf these days and this crisp 2018 Burgberg is a stunning effort that gains with air in the glass and will more so with a few years in bottle.”
Wine Advocate 93+ points “From low-yielding vines planted in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the 2018 Burgberg Riesling GG is absolutely great on the pure, clear and refreshing, super flinty and mineral nose. On the palate, this is an intense, highly complex and elegant dry Riesling with crystalline acidity and a long and refreshing, crystalline and salty finish. Bottled and tasted in July 2019.”
David Schildknecht-Vinous 93 point “Scents and luscious palate presence of white peach, yellow plum and grapefruit are wreathed in iris. Gloss and textural plushness – there is an almost doughy midpalate impression – are allied to a striking finishing sense of buoyancy and clarity. The salinity tugs at the salivary glands and, along with the wine’s sense of animation, leaves the tongue quivering. I tend to believe that the conjunction of such pronounced salinity and the site’s high percentage of quartzite is more than mere coincidence, though it would be nice to learn of relevant scientific investigation.”
Terry Theise note “Here’s how it goes. I taste through all the GGs and try to glean where they each will go, and which are likely to be best. Then a year or two later I drink them in their finished form and see how wrong I was. Or was I wrong? I make the best guess I can, with 30-some years behind me, knowing how wines generally behave and how they might surprise you, and to feign certainty under those circumstances is a knave’s game. But what else can I trust? I’m not always wrong; sometimes I’m right! Maybe even often. Just know, please, that this is educated guesswork—but with that out of the way, this is what I found on the day…. Burgberg demonstrates profundity or the strong potential thereof. It is resolutely un-trivial. It’s not “austere,” it simply has no time to suffer fripperie.”
Kruger-Rumpf Abtei ‘1937 Reserv’ Riesling Trocken Nahe (RESERV) 2018 ($41.95) $36 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Grapelive 94-96 points “The 2018 barrel sample of Kruger-Rumpf’s Abtei 1937 was stunningly gorgeous with brilliant details, ripe extract density, vivid mineral tones and vibrant acidity showing a purity and vitality of youth, but with the complexity and length of its old vine material. Georg Rumpf has crafted a Trocken beauty here with layers of delicacy and substance. This juice is on par with almost any GG, making it an incredible value already. Be sure to book your allocation of this ultra-limited bottling from Terry These and importer Skurnik Wines. You will not be disappointed, I know I will be hustling to get some myself. The regular Abtei offering is one of my new favorite Nahe Rieslings and while I love all the latest Kruger-Rumpf wines, especially from the Grosse Lage: Münsterer Dautenpflänzer, Münsterer im Pitterberg and Dorsheimer Burgberg, as well as exotic Rumpf’s Scheurebe plus their off dry Kabinett, Feinherb and wonderfully balanced Spatlese(s) I have become obsessed with the Bingerbrücker Abtei im Ruppertsberg vineyard and wines. This ’18 starts with subtle aromatic charm with orange blossom, rosewater, flinty stones, salt lick and quinces before thrilling the palate with energy and white peach, tangerine, lime intensity, verbena, mint tea and tart green apple. This light/medium dry Riesling is brisk and racy, at first but gains depth and builds with air in the glass adding some leesy texture, it is totally thrilling and will only get better with bottle age. Terry Theise adds that, Kuger-Rumpf’s vineyards are farmed sustainably; bees are kept nearby to facilitate pollination and aid in overall bio-diversity. Periodically sheep are allowed to roam the vines helping to control underbrush. All vineyards are hand harvested to ensure that only optimally ripe grapes are selected. Stefan believed that “you can’t improve wine in the cellar, only make it worse…” and Georg has continued his cellar work with this philosophy in mind, which to me shows in wines like this fantastic Abtei.”
David Schildknecht-Vinous 91 points “This bottling is sourced from the oldest vines, planted in 1937, on an exciting steep, stony site that the Rumpfs are restoring (and about which you can read much more in my reviews of the Rumpfs’ vintage 2016 and inaugural vintage 2015 renditions of Abtei Riesling, both of which originated entirely in this oldest parcel). In electing to segregate the fruit of these old vines for a separate bottling – while fruit from younger parcels 2020 informs the “regular” Abtei bottling (which in 2018 is designated A.P. #30) – the Rumpfs also decided to permit the fruit a bit longer skin contact and to raise the wine in a relatively new 1,200-liter cask. The nose anticipates the deeper sense of peachy fruit on tap here vis-à-vis the A.P. #30. The feel is glossy and silken, and the impressively sustained finish features a stony, alkaline and as such rather hard and austere sense of mineral matter, which serves for suitable counterpart to the fruit. What I miss are the mouthwatering salinity, herbal pungency and brightly juicy abundance of the A.P. #30. Those are not virtues that I anticipate emerging here with time in bottle, and since they were characteristics of previous Abtei bottlings, I tend to believe that skin contact and wood influence have made the unfortunate difference. But would that I might be lucky enough to one day re-taste the two wines side by side and perhaps be contradicted!”
Terry Theise note ” A special lot aged in a Hösch 1200-liter cask, it comes from the best part of the site, planted in 1937 and shows a lovely old-school touch, from the bright silvery mineral and the warm breathy caskyness.”
Schafer-Frohlich Fruhlingsplatzchen Riesling Grosses Gewächs Nahe 18 ($99.95) $89 special, 9 bottles in stock now
John Gilman 95 points “The 2018 Frühlingsplätzchen Grosses Gewächs is going to be closer to 8.5 grams per liter of acidity in this vintage, as is the Halenberg, and this gives the wine just a touch more precision and backend lift than the lovely Felsenberg this year. The bouquet is stellar, wafting from the glass in a blaze of lime, pink grapefruit, a touch of herb tones, salty minerality, citrus peel and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, laser-like and gloriously transparent, with a superb core, zesty acids, laser-like focus and a very long, very minerally and complex finish. This is stunning young wine! 2024-2070.”
Schafer-Frohlich Felsenberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs Nahe 2017 750ML ($99.95) $89 special, 19 bottles in stock now
John Gilman 96 points “The 2017 Felsenberg GG is a masterpiece in the making, with the bouquet soaring from the glass in a youthful and very elegant constellation of pink grapefruit, wild yeasts, tart peach, plenty of smokiness, a great base of salty soil tones, dried flowers and a topnote of citrus peel. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and rock solid at the core, with ripe, snappy acids, superb complexity and great length and grip on the poised and perfectly balanced finish. This is a stunning young vintage of Felsenberg!”
James Suckling 96 points “Despite the ample concentration and power, this is really filigree with great delicacy and breathtaking freshness at the finish.”
Mosel Fine Wines 95 points “This Schlossböckelheimer Felsenberg GG is quite smoky and reductive at first, and only gradually reveals its complexity as notes of thyme, orange zest, black tea and a hint of fennel emerge from the glass. The nose expands by the minute yet remains highly smoky. The wine proves beautifully fruity and delicately smooth side on the palate, where some cream and pineapple juice add to the overall charming yet complex side of this Riesling. The finish proves still quite compact and beautifully linear, which gives a gorgeously focused and restrained feel to the wine. . This is in need of aging, but the potential at maturity is huge. 2027-2047.”
Bordeaux to Bekka:
Chateau Musar’s Journey
Looking for a cult producer that’s still affordable? There are very few producers who are synonymous with the production of their entire region’s output. Dal Forno in Valpolicella, Dönnhoff and the Nahe, Cayuse and Walla Walla, the list is as long as there are production zones. In that same vein you cannot talk about Lebanese wine without mentioning Chateau Musar. 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.
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 wines 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 and cumin character that is definitively Middle Eastern. We were only able to secure limited quantities of the reds, with these wines usually being snapped up by restaurants in New York before they can reach our market, so get these while you can!
In stock now:
Chateau Musar, Bekaa Valley 2013 ($69.95) $51.90 special, 25 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 93 Points “The 2013 Chateau Musar is bold, punchy and intensely perfumed. Rose petal, ripe red fruit, sage, mint, cinnamon and sweet tobacco gives the 2013 a very strong aromatic presence that continues to build. Medium in body, with lovely red fruit character, the 2013 Musar could use a few years in bottle to fully come together. I expect it will always have a strong pungent signature.”
Decanter 92 points “This wine needs vigorous decanting otherwise it appears reduced. It shows evidence of French oak ageing: notes of vanilla with a cedar touch along with the plum fruit. Slightly meaty flavours suggest development. Amazingly balanced, with some volatile acidity providing additional freshness. With time it picks up hints of liquorice like an old Hermitage. Impressive volume yet a suave touch – a classic Musar!”
Chateau Musar ‘Hochar Pere et Fils’ Red, Bekaa Valley 2017 ($34.95) $28 special, 36+ 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.”
Southern Rhone Rose
The Southern Rhone is best known for full bodied reds and powerful whites, but have you tried a rose made from the same grapes? The villages surrounding Gigondas and Châteauneuf-du-Pape that comprise the Cotes du Rhone have similar terroir and grapes as their more famous siblings, but feature cooler growing seasons in comparison. This works out perfectly for Rose production, as it allows for more acidity to remain as the grapes ripen.
Domaine les Aphillanthes has vineyard holdings in three villages of Cote Du Rhone, with soils that are largely composed of iron rich sand with veins of limestone and a smattering of Galets, or “pudding stones” Certified biodynamic and plowing exclusively by horse for over 10 years, the owners Daniel and Hélène Boulle suspect that the roots of their grapevines go 100 feet underground!
Their rose is the same blend as their red with Grenache leading followed by Cinsault, Mourevedre and Counoise. Expect an entire spectrum of fruits including raspberries, bing cherry, fresh redcurrant and watermelon. From an aromatic perspective there’s a symphonic combination of rose petals, fresh ground espresso and cinnamon apples.
Domaine Les Aphillanthes Cotes du Rhone Nymphea Rose France 2020 750ML ($17.95) $14 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Weygandt-Metzler Import note “Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvedre, Counoise. Biodynamic. Gailloux/Galets Roules over clay & limestone. Tasting note: Red fruit and bright acidity. Full body with a long and balanced finish.” Region: Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France.
Other Southern Rhone Rose in stock now:
Domaine Charvin Cotes du Rhone Rose Rhone 2020 750ML ($21.95) $18 special, 27 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 91 points “Light orange-pink. Mineral-driven red berry and pit fruit aromas are complemented by a suave floral topnote. Seamless and energetic on the palate, offering fresh strawberry, blood orange and nectarine flavors that deepen with air. Shows fine definition and spicy cut on the persistent finish, which leaves repeating pit fruit and floral notes behind.”
Weygandt-Metzler Import note “Grenache, Cinsault. Organic. Clay, galets roules & sand. Tasting note: Crushed strawberry, Bing cherry with hints of grapefruit and crushed stone. Medium body with a long finish.” Region: (Chateauneuf-du-Pape), Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France.
Chateau de Manissy Tavel Cuvee des Lys Rose Rhone 2019 750ML ($21.95) $16 special, 21 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 91 points “Brilliant orange color. Mineral-accented red berry and citrus fruit aromas are complemented by a sexy floral nuance. Concentrated and energetic in the mouth, offering juicy redcurrant, cherry and candied rose flavors that slowly turn sweeter on the mid-palate. The mineral and floral notes echo on a penetrating finish that hangs on with very good tenacity. Drink 2020 – 2023.”
Importer note “Grenache, Clairette & Syrah from clay, river rock and sandy soils. Biodynamic. Juicy raspberry, watermelon, crushed minerals and burnt sugar. Full body with a long finish… Entirely hand-harvested. Maceration of 12-24 hours to extract primary aromas. Fermentation with only indigenous yeasts at a very low temperatures over 2 days, then increased in temperature to 25°C for 7 days in order to increase the fruity taste. Aged in concrete tanks and stainless steel. Natural balanced acidity of about 3.6hg/L and PH of 3.5mg/L with less than 1gr/L residual sugar. This cuvée comes from a plot of 10 hectares that is enclosed by a forest.”
Chateau de Manissy ‘La Belle Etoile’ Rose Rhone 2020 750ML ($14.95) $11.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 89 points “Pale orange-pink. Lively and focused on the nose, displaying fresh strawberry, white peach and orange zest scents, with floral and mineral nuances. Red berry and pit fruit flavors show sharp detail and a bracing hint of juicy acidity. The floral note repeats on the tight finish, which lingers with good tenacity.”
Weygandt-Metzler Import note “Cinsault, Syrah, Grenache. Clay & limestone. Tasting note: Crushed stone, pressed flowers and white cherries. Medium body with a long finish.”
Region: (Tavel) VDF, Rhone, France.
Much like Cabernet Franc, Freisa is often passed over in favor of its child grape: Nebbiolo. Once widely planted throughout Piedmonte, Freisa is now only found in in 1000 hectares across the region. With that relative scarcity in mind, Kye is a unique find. Sourced from a single vineyard in Barolo at 1100 feet above sea level, Kye delivers rustic aromas of turned loam, hyssop and seco tobacco leaf. Flavor profile is similar to Nebbiolo but with more emphasis on botanical and spice elements. In addition to a lip smacking fruit component evocative of fresh cranberry and Bing cherries, there is an electrifying Szechuan pepper note that makes each taste mesmerizing. Acid and tannins are medium plus and perfectly harmonized after a handful of years in the bottle. There is plenty of room for Kye to continue evolving with more bottle aging, but provides immediate reward for the impatient. Given how this wine is sturdy without being overpowering, Kye is ready for a plethora of cuisine. Lebanese, Chinese or even pizza would be at home with this Northern Italian gem.
G.D. Vajra Freisa ‘Kye’ Langhe Rosso 2015 70ML ($39.95) $33 special, 33 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 92+ points “The 2015 Langhe Freisa Kyé is incredibly finessed. Once huge and bombastic, the Kyé has developed into a much more refined wine in recent vintages. The 2015 Kyé is dark and mysterious, not to mention quite closed in on itself. I won’t be surprised if there is more to this wine. Time will tell.”
The next best price is $45.99
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