In This Newsletter:
New Week New Arrivals
Staff Picks: Top 10 of 2021:
Merkelbach’s Old-School Mosel Riesling
New Decanter Reviews
Decanter’s Top NV & MV Champagnes
Italian Rose for all Seasons
Bordeaux to Bekka: Chateau Musar’s Journey
Aldo Conterno: The Sultans of Serralunga
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The Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Gris Dundee Hills 2019 750ML ($24.95) $17.70 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Winery note “2019 was perhaps the most “Burgundian” growing season we have yet had. Typically the Willamette Valley features wet winters and dry summers, whereas Burgundy distributes its rain evenly throughout the year. In 2019 we had a more Burgundian pattern, with rain and cooler days scattered throughout the summer. Vines make sugar from air, sunlight, and water. 2019s well-timed rains increased sweetness while still retaining acidity – which leads to some of the best qualities a wine can have: refreshing and food friendly when young, but with superb cellar potential. 2019 is remarkable for another reason. This vintage was our 50th pick, and our 55th year growing grapes. On September 24th, 1970, with the help of friends, the first generation of Letts picked their very first harvest. The second generation started our pick in 2019 on September 24th as well, a fitting call-back on which to enter our 6th decade of winemaking.”
Wine Enthusiast 93 points “The tawny gold color belies the youth of this wine, and sure enough it’s moved ahead on the aging curve to where it is already in a prime drinking window. Full-bodied, chewy and tannic, it’s a potent wine with an assortment of herb, citrus and tree fruit elements all in a pleasing tangle. Drink through 2030. -Paul Gregutt”
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Dominus Estate Napanook Napa Valley 2018 750ML ($89.95) $79 special, 14 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 97 points “Gorgeous aromas of plums and currants with some wet earth, mushroom, bark and incense undertones. Woody. Medium-to full-bodied with such beautiful depth and length. So subtle and long. Fabulous harmony. One of the best I have ever tasted. Drink or hold.”
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “The 2018 Napanook showed incredibly well, with fabulous crème de cassis, spring flowers, graphite, and green tobacco aromas and flavors. With terrific ripeness, medium to full body, and ripe, yet polished tannins, this beauty should be snatched up by savvy readers. It should evolve for 15 years or more. The blend is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, and the rest Petit Verdot, aged in 20% new French oak.”
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 93+ points “Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2018 Napanook leaps from the glass with vivacious scents of fresh blueberries, black cherries, crushed blackcurrants and redcurrant jelly with hints of pencil shavings, red roses and dusty soil plus a waft of bay leaves. Medium-bodied, the palate is very tightly wound, allowing glimpses at loads of mineral and savory nuances among the taut black and red fruit notes, supported by fine-grained tannins and bold freshness, finishing with a compelling herbal lift.”
Gaston Chiquet Special Club Grand Cru Brut Millesime, Champagne 2013 750ML ($99.95) $79 special, 2 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 94 points “Chiquet’s 2013 Brut Spécial Club Millesime is superb. Rich, ample and super-expressive, the 2013 boasts tremendous richness and breadth. All of the natural intensity of the year comes through in this striking, multi-dimensional Champagne. Tangerine oil, dried flowers, chamomile, almond and spice add complexity, but it is the wine’s presence that stands out most. There is so much to like about the 2013. It’s a fabulous wine.”
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Louis Roederer Cristal Millesime Brut, Champagne 2013 750ML ($319.95) $289 special, 18 bottles in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 96 points “Notes of crisp yellow orchard fruit, white flowers, blanched almonds and warm brioche introduce the 2013 Cristal, a full-bodied, layered and incisive wine that’s taut and chiseled but also notably exuberant in a vintage that I admire immensely but which can sometimes present an austere side. Deep, concentrated and penetrating, it’s complemented by a pinpoint mousse and concludes with a long, saline finish. Less introverted than its 2012 predecessor, readers won’t regret trying a bottle of the 2013 Cristal young—even if I’d recommend forgetting some for a decade too.”
Decanter 96 points “The peak of drinkability is between 15 and 20 years from the harvest; so says Jean-Baptiste, but he has not spared the taster the wondrous early impression of perfection in the making. A soft gold with glistening highlights, like the river meadow at dawn; the nose effortlessly marries a panoply of flavours, the citric grip nodding to hints of passion fruit and Mirabelle plum, with hazelnut and almond signalling the grace of development. Texturally generous, yet tightly wound, taut and flinty yet ripe and open, the wine faithfully underlines the vigneron’s philosophy, every nuance of its template deftly rehearsed and charmingly enacted. Disgorged: autumn 2020. Dosage: 7.5g/L. Drinking Window 2021 – 2033.”
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points “I think the 2013 Cristal checks in behind the 2008, but it’s nevertheless a beautiful wine. Lots of ripe orchard fruits, toasted bread, brioche, and chalky mineral notes define the nose, and it’s medium to full-bodied, with a layered, nicely concentrated, tight, inward style, beautiful precision and purity, and a great finish. It needs a good 5-7 years of bottle age to hit its stride and will keep for two decades or more.”
Louis Roederer Cristal Brut Rose Millesime, Champagne 2012 750ML ($699.95) $599 special, 6 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 99 points “This is a great vintage for Cristal Rosé. The pinot noir finds a band of power and expressiveness. The power here is impressive, very assertive and rich, really mouth-filling and super deep. This is exceptional and has intense, chalky and fresh, white-peach and nectarine aromas, underpinning red flowers and pink fruit. The palate has a scintillating blend of flesh and mineral cut, packed with such sweet, pristine, white-strawberry flavor and texture. This has such incredible potential. So exciting. Will take another two or threw years to resolve. Look out for this! Drink from 2025.”
Jeb Dunnuck 99 points “Just about as good as it gets, the 2012 Cristal Rosé is a magical effort based on 56% Pinot Noir and 44% Chardonnay. It’s a powerful, medium to full-bodied, incredibly textured rosé offering a huge amount of salty, chalky minerality as well as awesome notes of white cherries, orange blossom, caramelized apples, and toasted bread. It shows the ripe, rounded richness of the 2012 vintage yet has bright, racy acidity, perfect balance, and a great, great finish. It opens up nicely with air and will ideally be given 2-4 years of bottle age, and it should evolve for 2-3 decades.”
Antonio Galloni 98+ points “The 2012 Cristal Rosé is magnificent. When Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon started to move Roederer towards organically farmed fruit, he started with Cristal Rosé, Roederer’s smallest production cuveé. Because of that, Cristal Rosé is the wine in this range that shows the current Roederer style in its fullest expression. Rich, vivid and crystalline in the glass, the 2012 Cristal Rosé is a Champagne of tremendous gravitas. Chalk, white flowers, sweet red berry fruit, mint and blood orange are all beautifully delineated. The 2012 is 55% Pinot from Ay and 45% Chardonnay from Mesnil and Avize. The Pinot fruit gets a 7-10 day cold soak an is the infused into the fermenting Chardonnay musts. Readers who can find the 2012 should not hesitate, as it is truly magical. Dosage is 8 grams per liter.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 98 points “The 2012 Cristal Rosé is showing brilliantly, unwinding in the glass with a beautiful bouquet of fresh peach, bergamot, strawberries, tangerine and blanched almonds that’s still quite reserved. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, deep and strikingly complete, its vinous attack segueing into a multidimensional core that exemplifies the ideal of power without weight, built around a racy but integrated spine of animating acidity and complemented by an exquisitely refined mousse. All the concentration of the 2012 vintage is on display, but it’s rendered with terrific finesse. Decidedly youthful and introverted—indeed, I spent several hours with a bottle to compose this note—the 2012 will really come into its own with five or six years in the cellar and displays all the attributes necessary for considerable longevity. It’s a blend of 56% Pinot Noir and 44% Chardonnay that saw no malolactic fermentation, and it was disgorged with eight grams per liter dosage.”
Wine Enthusiast 97 points “Years in the making, this is the first fully biodynamic Cristal rosé. The very fine 2012 vintage is a good starting point for this new era. The Champagne is just right, beautifully rich and showing some maturity while also having tension and crispness from the golden-apple and spice flavors. The wine could be drunk now but its future is assured. Organic and biodynamic. -Roger Voss.”
Wine Spectator 96 points “An elegant rosé Champagne, starting quietly with a subtle range of white cherry, Marcona almond, pink grapefruit zest and saffron flavors that gain momentum and volume as they expand, gliding across the palate’s fine, raw silk–like texture. This is mouthwatering and minerally, the symphony concluding with accents of oyster shell and chalk that echo on the finish. Drink now through 2032. — AN”
Dom Perignon Brut, Champagne 2010 750ML ($219.95) $199 special, 12 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 98 points “A firm and vivid Champagne with a precise, focused palate. Full-bodied and dry. It’s very layered and bright with light pineapple, peach, praline, cooked-apple and stone aromas and flavors. It’s very subtle and focused at the end. Integrated with richness and high acidity. Good depth. Reminds me of the 1995. Very clean. Solid. Lovely to drink already, but will age nicely.”
Wine Spectator 96 points “A graceful Champagne, featuring fragrant notes of toasted brioche and grilled nut that are more subtle on the palate, with a rich underpinning layered with a pure chime of tangerine and accents of candied ginger, toasted saffron and lime blossom. This bundles a lot of concentrated flavor into a lithe frame, with the fine mousse caressing the palate through to the lasting finish. Drink now through 2035. — AN”
Wine Enthusiast 96 points “The new release of this iconic Champagne shows its richness to perfection. The floral aromas lead to a wine that has weight and density as well as a balance that encompasses ripe fruits that have now matured to reveal nuttiness, toast and a tight salinity at the end. Drink through 2028. -Roger Voss”
John Gilman 95 points “The 2010 vintage of Dom Pérignon is a beautiful wine, and rather uncharacteristically for this long-distance runner of a Tête de Cuvée, the wine is quite flattering to drink out of the blocks, as its customary steely structure is more giving than usual at such a young age. The bouquet wafts from the glass in a very refined blend of apple, lime, menthol, chalky minerality, gentle smokiness, a delightful touch of DP’s signature botanicals and a topnote of citrus peel. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, focused and complex, with a fine core of fruit, excellent mineral drive, bright, bouncy acids and a very long, very complex and surprisingly wide open finish. This is the rare vintage of Dom Perignon that drinks well out of the blocks, and of all the recent vintage releases of this wine, the 2010 is unequivocally the one I would choose for drinking over the next decade! That said, it is also very well-balanced and may well surprise us with how well it ages! 2021-2050.”
Krug Grande Cuvee 169eme Edition Brut NV 750ML ($249.95) $199 special, 13 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 96 points “A vivid Champagne, with a chiseled frame of acidity and a chalky underpinning cloaked in a fine mousse that caresses the palate with its gossamer-like texture. Lovely aromas of coffee liqueur, anise and verbena accent the layered flavors of tangerine, Macadamia nut, brioche and ripe plum, a profile that expands on the long, mouthwatering finish. There’s power and expressive character to this, with a delicacy to its fine integration and length. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. Disgorged winter 2020. Drink now through 2030. — AN”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 96+ points “Based on the 2013 vintage and complemented by some 40% reserve wines dating back to 2000, Krug’s newly released NV Grande Cuvée 169ème Édition is showing very nicely, unfurling in the glass with notes of citrus oil, buttered toast, dried apricot, warm biscuits and marmalade. Medium to full-bodied, deep and incisive, it’s a tauter, more chiseled rendition of Grande Cuvée by comparison with the richer, more textural and more demonstrative 168ème Édition (based on the 2012 vintage) that preceded it; but its bright spine of acidity is nicely cloaked in fruit. Concluding with a long and sapid finish, this is a very classically balanced Champagne that will reward bottle age”
Decanter 96 points “Great intensity and drive combine with a rich and complex palate, where truffle and woody notes develop as the wine breathes. This feels very youthful and, although it is non-vintage and designed to be drunk on release, I think this will gain more complexity with some extra time in bottle. Powerful yet refined – a very fine Krug based on the 2013 vintage, utilising wines from 11 different years, of which the oldest is 2000. Drinking Window 2022 – 2024.”
Doyard Cuvee Vendemiaire Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru Brut NV 750ML ($69.95) $54.50 special, 11 bottles in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 92 points “The NV Brut Blanc de Blancs Cuvée Vendémiaire (2014 base) Doyard’s latest release. It was disgorged in February 2020 with four grams per liter dosage after 89 months on the lees. Wafting from the glass with aromas of honeycomb, yellow orchard fruit, dried citrus peel, warm bread and toasted almonds. Medium to full-bodied, fleshy but incisive, it’s elegantly layered and racy, with a pinpoint mousse and a long, sapid finish.”
Doyard ‘Revolution’ Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Non-Dose NV 750ML ($89.95) $69 special, 8 bottles in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 94 points “Based on the 2014 vintage and disgorged in March 2020 without dosage, the latest rendition of Doyard’s NV Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Non Dosé Révolution offers up aromas of lemon oil, white flowers, mandarin, golden orchard fruit and buttered toast. Full-bodied, layered and muscular, it’s tangy and incisive, with a satiny attack that segues into a generous core of fruit, concluding with a long, mouthwatering finish.”
Gaston Chiquet Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs d’Ay Brut NV 750ML ($69.95) $49 special, 9 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 92 points “One of the hidden gems in this range, the Brut Blanc de Blancs d’Aÿ is striking. It is also pretty tightly wound, so a year or two of cellaring is absolutely essential. Citrus peel, white flowers, mint and crushed rocks abound. I have to say, I am pretty surprised how taut the Blanc de Blancs is. Time in the glass releases attractive tropical accents that add character and also provide some hints as to where the wine is headed. More than anything else, the texture and persistence are so alluring. As always, the NV Blanc de Blancs d’Aÿ, is in reality a vintage wine, in this case 2014. Disgorged: November, 2019.”
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Hebrart Cuvee Reserve Premier Cru Brut NV 750ML ($59.95) $44.50 special, 8 bottles in stock now
Wine & Spirits 93 points “Mostly pinot noir (82 percent), the balance chardonnay, this underwent its primary fermentation in glass-lined stainless steel. Jean-Paul Hébrart based this blend on the 2017 vintage (45 percent), with contributions from 2014 through ’16, all of the fruit from his parcels in the Marne Valley. It’s a powerful wine, almost astringent in its spice notes of coriander and its mineral notes of chalk. But the texture overrides any sensation of tannins, as does the ripe apple freshness, making it compelling to drink.”
Wine Spectator 92 points “There’s a subtle chalkiness to this mouthwatering Champagne. A minerally edge is enmeshed with flavors of Asian pear, white cherry, honeycomb and pickled ginger as they ride the fine, creamy mousse. Disgorged June 2020. Drink now through 2024. — AN”
Hebrart Special Club Brut Millesime 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, 5 bottles in stock now
Skurnik Imports note “Cépage: 100% Chardonnay. Village/vyd: 50% Oiry Grand Cru, Chouilly Grand Cru, and Avize Grand Cru; 50% from Dizy 1er Cru. Elevage: stainless steel. Sur latte: 36+ months.”
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Marie Courtin Resonance Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut (2018) 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 8 bottles in stock now
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Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs ‘Millesime de Collection Vieilles Vignes de Chardonnay’ 2008 1.5L ($249.95) $289 special, 2 bottles in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 95+ points “Released only in magnum, the 2008 Brut Millésime de Collection Vieilles Vignes is the same wine as Gimonnet’s Special Club, bit it sees more than 10 years sur lattes before disgorgement. Unwinding in the glass with a deep and complex bouquet of pear, green apple, citrus zest, oyster shell, smoke and pastry cream, it’s full-bodied, chalky and incisive, with terrific depth at the core, promising reserve and a long, resonant finish.”
Saint Cosme Les Deux Albion Blanc IGP Vaucluse Principaute d’Orange 2020 750ML ($24.95) $19.90 special, 36 bottles in stock now
Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone Le Poste Blanc Rhone 2019 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas Rhone 2019 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine Specator 95 points “Dark and winey, this structured offering packs red and black currant paste flavors together with threads of charcoal, warm stone, bay leaf and savory, ending with a long tug of cast iron through the finish. A blue chip for cellaring. Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah and Cinsault. Drink now through 2035.”.—J.M.
Matt Walls-Decanter 94 points “Great sense of concentration and vibrancy with acidity that is marked for the vintage and the oak well integrated. Extremely vibrant, dark fruited this year, damson, shot through with very fine tannins. All whole bunch fermented in concrete with natural yeasts, then aged in concrete, recently used barriques and some new ones (around 20%).”
Jeb Dunnuck 93-95 points “Starting off the 2019 barrel samples, the 2019 Gigondas reveals a deeper ruby/plum color to go with a rich, powerful, medium to full-bodied and concentrated style that carries lots of classic dark fruits, ground pepper, and scorched earth-like aromas and flavors. This rich, dense 2019 will reward 3-5 years of bottle age and have two decades of prime drinking.”
Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone Les Deux Albion Rhone 2019 750ML ($24.95) $20.90 special, 36 bottles in stock now
Case-12 Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone Les Deux Albion Rhone 2019 750ML ($299.95) $219 special (that’s only $18.25/bottle!)
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Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone Les Deux Albion Rhone 2019 1.5L ($59.95) $45 special, 12 magnums in stock now
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Saint Cosme Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rhone 2018 750ML ($54.95) $45 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 93 points “Brilliant violet. Pungent red berry and cherry aromas are complemented by emerging floral and succulent herb nuances. Alluringly sweet and juicy on the palate, offering concentrated black raspberry, cherry and candied lavender flavors that deepen through the back half. Finishes supple, spicy and long, with lingering floral and cherry notes and gentle tannic grip.”
Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone France 2020 750ML ($17.95) $14 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone France 2020 2020 1.5L ($37.95) $29 special, 3 magnums in stock now
Grapelive 93 points “The deep purple/blue/garnet 100% Syrah Cotes du Rhone from Saint Cosme is without question one of the world’s greatest values and this 2019 vintage is thrillingly delicious with wonderful purity and layers of boysenberry, black cherry, plum and blueberry coulis along with some spicy accents, a hint of earth, graphite and salty melted black licorice. Louis Barruol’s Chateau de Saint Cosme is one of the Rhone’s finest producers, most famous for the estate’s classic Gigondas bottlings from his ancient and historic cellars at the site of a Gallo-Roman villa from the 1400s….The latest vintage of Saint Cosme’s Co^tes du Rho^ne Rouge was crafted using Syrah grapes that were partially de-stemmed with some whole cluster from vines set on sandy limestone, red clay and pebbles on Villafranchian terraces and it was fermented and aged solely in tank. This 2019 is concentrated and impressive in the mouth adding pretty touches of violets and wild sage to its array of opulent dark fruits and lingering creme de cassis, this little Cotes du Rhone is simply outstanding, as goes without saying it’s a steal at the price. Even Barruol is saying the 2019 is one of the best versions he’s made, rivaling his 2010, and I couldn’t agree more, this is a vintage you’ll want to stock up on. Known as a Grenache specialist, Barruol is quite handy with Syrah, he also has made some fantastic Northern Rhone wines from purchased grapes, these include a brilliant collection of Hermitage, Saint-Joseph, Cote-Rotie and Crores-Hermitage bottlings, all which are worth searching out. Most recently, Barruol added the Cha^teau de Rouanne in Vinsobres to his lineup and this property is very exciting, with the first efforts here showing amazing potential. There’s so to admire in Saint Cosme’s latest set it’s hard to stay focused, but this edition of their Cotes du Rhone deserves a lot of attention, be sure not to miss it!”
Importer Note “Saint Cosme Côtes-du-Rhône is produced from 100% Syrah and is from the rocky and cool vineyards of Vinsobres and the stony Villafranchian terraces of the Gard. Vinsobres brings freshness and complexity while the terraced vineyards of the Gard contribute color and power. The wine is partially destemmed, fermented with natural yeasts, and vinified in concrete vats. Syrah requires a warm climate to fully ripen but enough moderating effect to produce intense, aromatic wines that are not overwhelmed by sweetness and alcohol. This Syrah grows in ideal terroirs of the southern Rhône and shows the varietal’s typical spicy notes of sandalwood, violets, and black pepper.”
Casarena Owen’s Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Agrelo 2016 750ML ($31.95) $24 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 92 Points “(from 90-year-old vines on pergolas in sand and clay soil, with rocky subsoil allowing for good drainage): Bright red-ruby. Pungent aromas of cassis, licorice and minerals, along with a whiff of smoky reduction. Juicy, penetrating wine with lovely energy and concentration to its sharply delineated flavors of redcurrant, raspberry and savory minerality. Very suave and firmly built, with no rough edges. Finishes with a fine dusting of tannins and rising floral perfume. A lovely soil-driven Cabernet Sauvignon with the energy of the vintage. At $30, this wine is a bargain compared to most Napa Valley Cabernets–and I suspect that most drinkers would find this more food-friendly.”
The staff at Vinopolis is curating their top 10 lists of wine in 2021. We’re selecting our favorite wines of 2021, no ties to points, price or prestige, but rather wines we simply enjoyed the most this year.
Sourced from 40+ year old vines, biodynamically farmed from the creator of the appellation. It’s refreshingly pretty. And, while you could compare it to Champagne for its quality, lees character, and length, its aromatics are decidedly Spanish: leaning more towards floral and spice than Champagne.
Raventos I Blanc ‘Blanc de Blancs’ Espumoso Conca del Riu de Arnoia Catalonia 2018 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special, 18 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92 points “Pale, green-tinged yellow. Lively, mineral-accented citrus and orchard fruits and succulent flowers on the nose, along with fennel and ginger accents that build as the wine stretches out. Sharply focused and lively on the palate, offering intense Meyer lemon, pear skin and honeysuckle flavors underscored by a smoky mineral quality. Shows impressive energy and minerally thrust on the finish, which hangs on with strong tenacity.”
Diebolt-Vallois was a favorite discovery a couple of years ago. Their quality is astounding for the price point, up and down the line. As a fan of Blanc de Blancs in particular, my go-to is the NV.
Diebolt-Vallois Blanc de Blancs Brut NV, Champagne 750ML ($49.95) $37.70 special, 20 bottles in stock now
Diebolt-Vallois Blanc de Blancs Brut NV, Champagne 375ML ($31.95) $24 special, 14 half-bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 91 points “Rich aromas and flavors of poached apricot, melon, tangerine and hazelnut are enlivened by vibrant acidity in this well-knit Champagne, with a creamy finish of graphite and spice. Disgorged December 2019. Drink now through 2023. 6,250 cases made, 650 cases imported. — AN”
New Champagne Producer:
A somm friend in NYC first recommended this estate when the importer began working in Oregon. No regrets here. The 2018-base NV is a riot of flavors, bringing to mind a Bollinger-like experience minus the toast. Would cellar beautifully for the next few years, or pop a bottle this NYE. You won’t be disappointed.
R. Pouillon & Fils Reserve Brut (2018) NV, Champagne 750ML ($59.95) $51.90 special, 33 bottles in stock now
Importer note “Each year this is a blend of crus from all of Pouillon’s holdings and is composed of roughly 65% pinot noir, 20% pinot meunier, and 15% chardonnay. This cuvée has evolved over time and improved in quality to better reflect the evolution of the domaine at large. Today the “Réserve” Brut is fermented with native yeasts, half in neutral barrique and half fermented in enameled tank. Elevage continues a minimum of 6-8 months before the wine is is blended with the previous vintage and the “perpetual cuvée” to be refermented in bottle. Variety: Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir. Appellation: Vallée de la Marne, Montagne de Reims. Soil: Argile-calcaire. Farming Practice: Biodynamic. Vinification: 50% neutral barrique, 50% enameled tank.”
The average price is $65
I will always have a few bottles of this in my cellar. Aside from aging like it’s bottled at the fountain of youth, this is always delicious at any point in its maturity. Of particular note: this is 2018-base. This vintage looks incredibly promising, with a crunchy mineral texture up front and oodles of fruit on the back end. Those looking to stock their cellar with Champagne should keep an eye out.
Bereche et Fils Brut Reserve NV, Champagne 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 30 bottles in stock now
Disgorged June 2021. L18
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 92 points “Disgorged in July 2020 with seven grams per liter dosage, the NV Brut Réserve (2018 base) is the latest rendition of this wine. Bursting with aromas of orange oil, crisp orchard fruit and fresh bread, it’s medium to full-bodied, fleshy and gourmand, with tangy acids and an enveloping, pillowy profile. [Review is for prior disgorgement of the same base year.]”
A regular recommended I check out this estate, and many thanks to him for the suggestion. I adore classically-styled Mosel wines (think JJ Prum, Willi Schaefer and Merkelbach). The wines can age for decades and are food friendly. This Juffer Kab stood out of those I tried for its zippy acidity and length. To quote Stephan Reinhardt, “This is a great Mosel Riesling indeed.” (Those looking for a more decedent experience should try the Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kab.)
Weingut Max Ferd. Richter Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2018 750ML ($29.95) $24 special, 26 bottles in stock now
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 93-95 points “Mostly from very old vines (80 to 90 years old) and vinified partly (one-third) in stainless steel, the 2018 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett offers a fine, flinty, super sensual, mind-blowing bouquet of perfectly ripe but coolish, precise and even quartzite-like aromas. On the palate, the wine is wide, pure, elegant and energetic—a powerhouse but in the most delicious and delicate way. The palate is complex, opening wide but always precise and very, very long, with great mineral grip and tension but also lush and sensual features. This is a great Mosel Riesling indeed. Tasted from the cask in March 2019.”
The average price nationally is $27
Boudignon first caught my eye as a Thomas Calder Selection – this is the same broker that works with some of my favorite Champagne producers, such as Bereche and Prevost. The wine is bright and minerally, like one wants in a dry Chenin, with class and potential. I’ll be checking in on my bottles in 5-6 years to let the hint of oak incorporate.
Thibaud Boudignon Anjou Blanc, Loire 2019 750ML ($47.95) $44 special, 28 bottles in stock now
No reviews for the 2019 vintage. 2018 review provided for reference.
Jason Wilson-Vinous 92 points “Quiet, elegant nose of beeswax, ripe pear and smoke. Rambunctious, lively and textured in the mouth, bursting with grilled lemon and green apple plus notes of salt and smoke, all underpinned by smooth stoniness. A cool, youthful wine that is full of energy.”
Importer note “With a tight core of saline terroir enveloped within ripe medium bodied fruit, this chenin blanc delivers a focused example of Thibaud’s style of ripe fruit matched with elegance and precision.”
Did you know that Vermont and New Hampshire make some of the finest ciders in the country? This is partly in thanks to Eden Ciders and Poverty Lane Orchards. Eden works with Poverty Lane’s incredible variety of heirloom cider apples (they make their own cider under the name Farnum Hill) as well as sourcing cider apples and herbs from their estate. Widely considered two of the best cideries in New England, I adore their “Orleans Herbal” aperitif: an aromatic blend of minty anise hyssop, basil and lightly sweet cider. Enjoy chilled (or frozen)… it’s wicked good.
Eden Specialty Ciders Orleans Herbal Cider, Vermont NV 750ML ($29.95) $14 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Cidery note “Perfect over ice by itself, or split 50/50 with your favorite sparkling white wine with a squeeze of lime, this bright and perfumed aperitif is defined by the apples and herbs that make it. Basil is a classic culinary herb from the family of Lamiceae, or mint, and originally from the tropical regions of central Africa to Southeast Asia. Sometimes, the leaves so pungent with essential oils, are reminiscent of the sweet smell of anise. In folk medicine, basil is thought to be useful for digestive health and to ease headaches and anxiety. Agastache foeniculum, commonly called Anise Hyssop is also in the mint family. The plant is native to much of north-central and northern America. It is tolerant of deer and drought, and also is a beacon to hummingbirds, butterflies, bumblebees, honeybees, and night flying moths. Anise Hyssop is in the same family as Hyssop, but not closely related. Hyssop hails from the Mediterranean. Anise Hyssop was used medicinally by American Indian tribes for coughs, fever and wounds, as well as digestion. The leaves can be used as a tea or in salad. The purple flower is attractive to honeybees who make a fragrant honey from the nectar. Winner: 2017 GLINTCAP First in Class + Gold.”
The next best price is $28
We love, adore and admire John Paul’s wines. Full of as much energy as the man himself, these are always top tier Oregon wines. I especially love them in vintages that read a bit cool, such as 2019. This is highly concentrated with zippy acidity, and one of the finest releases to date.
Cameron Winery Abbey Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills 2019 750ML ($89.95) $79 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
I saw it every year: Tyson Crowley’s wines are somehow both rank among the best Oregon has to offer and they still manage to get better every release. The 2019 La Colina, a favorite in my cellar, is no exception. I prefer the darker mineral, forest, and cherry aromatics found in the La Colina to the saline and strawberry notes in the Four Winds, but that’s just a personal preference. Want to see how well these wines age? We have two bottles of the 2012 in stock!
Crowley La Colina Vineyard Pinot Noir Dundee Hills 2019 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 23 bottles in stock now
Winery note “Our La Colina bottling is a pure expression of this corner of the Dundee Hills. We have been working with this site since our first vintage in 2005. A nose of tangerine, spicy sativa and ripe cherry weave into an airy palate layered with ripe pomegranate and wild mushrooms.”
If you look at our vermouth selection, you can tell someone (cough, cough) is a little obsessed with the category. I wouldn’t be caught dead without a bottle or two in my fridge for when I want something to sip. Liquore delle Sirene was the discovery of the year in the category hands-down. It’s rich and concentrated, perfectly balanced between bitter and sweet, and loaded with spicy and spiced aromatics. Enjoy over ice with a splash of soda.
Liquore delle Sirene Americano Rosso Aperitivo, Piedmont 750ML ($39.95) $34.50 special, 7 bottles in stock now
Distributor note “Natural red aperitif made by somm Elisa Carta, inspired by the Venetian heritage. Handmade in small batches, blending wines from the Lake Garda area and single botanical macerations. The natural color is extracted from Hibiscus and Monarda flowers. Not artificial colors or flavorings.”
They have a charm and an energy that’s unlike almost any other wine we’ve tasted. In fact, their closest comparison might not be in the Mosel at all, but rather with Truchot’s wines in Burgundy—another producer who managed to create unbearably delicate, ethereal wines that seemed to trigger Stendhal Syndrome anytime you had the pleasure of drinking them.
Highlights, in Stock Now:
Merkelbach Kinheimer Rosenberg Riesling Spätlese #2, Mosel 2018 750ML ($39.95) $31.90 special, 31 bottles in stock now
John Gilman 92 points “The 2018 AP #2 Spätlese from the Rosenberg vineyard has a beautiful touch of exotic fruit to its aromatic constellation, wafting from the glass in a very refined blend of kiwi, strawberry, lime zest, an almost salty expression of slate, apple blossoms and bee pollen. On the palate the wine is vibrant, complex, medium-full and filigreed, with a lovely dollop of fruit at the core, superb mineral drive and grip, zesty acids and a long, complex and beautifully balanced finish. This is such a classic example of middle Mosel Spätlese, with stunning interplay of slate minerality, pure, precise fruit and floral tones. Just lovely. 2020-2050+. 92.”
The average price nationally is $33
Merkelbach Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Kabinett #13, Mosel 2018 750ML ($34.95) $28 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Mosel Fine Wines 91 points “The 2018er Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Kabinett was harvested from old un-grafted vines at 90° Oechsle in the part of the vineyard situated above the cellar of the Merkelbachs, just behind the village, and was fermented down to fruity-styled levels of residual sugar (50 g/l). It offers a hugely aromatic nose of white peach, apricot, floral elements and spices. The wine is beautifully balanced on the palate and leaves a long and refined feel of herbs in the finish. 2028-2048.”
The average price nationally is $33
Merkelbach Ürziger Würzgarten Auslese #8, Mosel 2019 750ML ($44.95) $36 special, 31 bottles in stock now
Mosel Fine Wines 94 points “The 2019er Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Auslese AP 08 was harvested in the sector next to the Sonnenuhr. It offers a hugely attractive nose of vineyard peach, whipped almond cream, minty herbs, spices, William’s pear, and candied grapefruit. The wine is still on the sweet side on the palate, but its refined fruity and creamy side are superbly appealing. Add to this a great zest and a sense of purity side in the long and animating finish, and you have all the elements for a great playful Auslese in a decade and more. 2029-2059.”
The next best price is $45.99
Merkelbach Ürziger Würzgarten Auslese “Urglück”, Mosel 2018 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
John Gilman 94 points “The Urglück section of the Würzgarten is the Merkelbachs’ filet section, still planted with ungrafted old vines. The 2018 Urglück Auslese from Weingut Merkelbach is an utterly refined and effortless example of the vintage. The bouquet is the epitome of elegance, wafting from the glass in a blend of pear, apple, strawberry chiffon, bee pollen, lovely minerality, lime blossoms and hints of the honeycomb to come with bottle age. On the palate the wine is pure, bright and fullish, with lovely filigree and focus, a fine core, good mineral undertow and a long, nascently complex and simply superb finish. This is not flashy, but the one more pays attention to it, the further one is drawn into its bottomless sense of beauty. 2026-2065. 94.”
Mosel Fine Wines 93 points “The 2018er Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Auslese Urglück was harvested at 102° Oechsle in this prime part of the vineyard still planted with ungrafted vines, and was fermented down to fully sweet levels of residual sugar (80 g/l). It offers a beautiful nose made of apricot, cream, strawberry, smoke and herbs. The wine is beautifully playful and delicately zesty on the fruity and nicely creamy palate. The finish is sweet but still remarkably mouthwatering. 2028-2048.”
The average price nationally is $41
Love German wine? We have almost 400 different options (not a typo!) in stock. Shop the entire selection on our web store now, including staff favorites like Dönnhoff, Lauer, and Willi Schaefer, as well as more from Merkelbach.
New Decanter Reviews
Simon Field MW’s Top NV & MV Champagnes
Louis Roederer Collection 242, Champagne MV 750ML ($69.95) $55 special, 12+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Louis Roederer Collection 242, Champagne MV 750ML ($419.95) $313 special (that’s only $52.17/bottle!)
Simon Field MW-Decanter 93 points “Softly shimmering straw gold, green tints, with a delicate filigree dancing at will around the glass. The nose is gently authoritative; spring flowers garlanding stone fruit, a hint of hawthorn maybe, then lemongrass. The palate has encyclopaedic depth, the intricacies of the Perpetual Reserve weaving their early magic; almond, sloe, gingerbread and apples; the finish has a pleasing twist of bitterness, courtesy the small percentage of oak-aged reserve wine. Maybe the dosage can come down even further, such is the engaging and subtle complexity harnessed elsewhere? Drinking Window 2021 – 2026.”
Philipponnat Royale Réserve Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($69.95) $55 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Simon Field MW-Decanter 92 points “Always open in the exposition of the origins of its wines, Philipponnat has upped the stakes of late by not only adding foudres to its vinification armoury but also increasing volumes from two separate Réserves Perpétuelles. The result is impressive; Pinot power writ large in red fruit and biscuity complexity, with resonance on the back palate, the ensemble still harnessed by disarmingly energetic freshness. Drinking Window 2021 – 2025.”
Gaston Chiquet Cuvée de Réserve Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 21 bottles in stock now
Simon Field MW-Decanter 91 points “A terrific expression of a Pinot-dominated wine from sites around the village of Dizy, with Meunier in the ascendant, lending notes of brioche, soft red fruit and an approachably fruity personality. The wine wears its 8 g/L of sugar effortlessly, and combines an autolytic elegance, courtesy the inclusion of a healthy slug of reserve wines, with a complexity bequeathed by long ageing on the lees. Drinking Window 2021 – 2024.”
Krug, Grande Cuvée 169ème Edition Brut, Champagne MV 750ML ($294.95) $199 special, 13 bottles in stock now
Simon Field MW-Decanter 96 points “Soft burnished gold, with a fine and persistent bead. The nose is suitably encyclopaedic, Mirabelle plum, fig and lemon pith and then hints of almond and brioche, the older reserve wines keen to contribute too. Beneath it all steely foundations, an edifice for posterity, not immediately flamboyant but magisterial in its grip and liminal potential. Deft acidity over untroubled waters, with orange groves and a spice market espied from the prow. All is set fair for this voyage. Impressive length. Drinking Window 2021 – 2030.”
Looking for a rose made next door to one of the most sought after cult wines of Italy? Torre Beati is an organic estate located in the foothills of Gran Sasso d’Italia, the highest of the Appenine Mountains. Originally planted in 1972 to the traditional abruzzese style of Pergola and always farmed organically, their only neighbors are the illustrious Valentini estate (whose bottles sell for $hundreds a bottle on release). The estate eschews all chemical inputs, including fungicides in order to allow for the purest expression of Abruzzo possible.
Made in the cerasuolo style of rose from Montepulciano D’Abruzzo grapes that’s traditional to the region; its name is derived from the Italian word for cherry and certainly lives up to that in both color and primary flavors. There’s an entire spectrum of red fruit to be perceived like pomegranate and cherry juice with botanicals like marjoram and basil at play. There’s a savory acid structure knitting everything together beautifully on the finish, making it sturdy enough to pair with anything spicy. Oaxacan mole, Moroccan tagine, or Szechuan chicken would make a symphony of flavor when paired with this wine.
In stock now:
Torre dei Beati ‘Rosa-ae’ Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Italy 2019 750ML ($21.95) $16 special, 33 bottles in stock now
Region: Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, Abruzzo, Italy. 100% Montepulciano.
Paolo De Marchi is the winemaker and owner of the legendary Isole e Olena in Tuscany, but he has also retained a small family estate in the foothills of the Italian Alps. Sourced from a combination of vineyards that begin at 1,000 feet above sea level, featuring vines between 30-90 years old, with the varietals being primarily Nebbiolo (Or Spanna as it’s called locally) with a splash of Vespolina. Loaded with a plethora of oranges ranging from Seville, Blood and Mandarin and accentuated by notes of crushed rose petal and white peach. There’s also a slight spice on the finish in addition to a refreshing muskmelon component. Absolutely delicious and incredibly versatile on the table, with this being especially good with fatty fish, fried chicken or South Asian curries.
Proprieta Sperino ‘Rosa del Rosa’ Rosato Coste della Sesia Piedmont 2020 750ML ($21.95) $19 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Eric Guido Vinous 92 points “The 2020 is an understated and delicate rendition of Rosa Del Rosa. Nuances of peach tea, chamomile, green apple and hints of ginger can all be found with coaxing. It’s silky and pliant in feel, the vibrant acids and mineral tones mixing to create a tug-of-war of sweet and salty tension, as notes of ripe melon give way to pretty inner florals. This tapers off persistent, lightly structured and buzzing with residual energy, completely refreshing the palate with a twang of sour citrus. The Rosa Del Rosa is a blend of Nebbiolo and Vespolina. It’s very enjoyable already, but it will likely blossom further with a bit more time in bottle. “
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 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 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 750ML ($69.95) $51.90 special, 14 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, 33 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.”
Aldo Conterno: The Sultans of Serralunga
Can you think of a producer more integral to the modern success of Barolo? Aldo Conterno is synonymous with Barolo and the meteoric success of the region since their establishment in 1912. Much like the other growers in Barolo, the wines used to be sold by the cask or in large demijohn’s meant for quick consumption by locals. This all changed when Aldo Conterno was handed the reigns to the family operation by his father Giacomo in 1969. He expanded the estate holdings and ceased buying tonnage from elsewhere in Piedmont.
Already know for high quality across the country, Conterno began to introduce modern techniques to their otherwise steadfastly traditional vinification like temperature control during fermentation, machine assisted destemming and new fermenting mediums. Considered a modernist in winemaking, yet also evocative of “old school Barolo” this is a juxtaposition that has to be experienced.
Tradition still leads however, with Conterno practicing the same long maceration, cask aging, and delayed releases of at least 4 years for their Nebbiolos (Sometimes as many as a decade).
Their crown jewel, the Gran Bussia rests for a minimum of 9 years and is made from earmarked clusters from the oldest vines across their portfolio. Easily their most famous offering, “Conterno’sGran Bussia is universally acknowledged as one of the finest interpretations of Barolo” according to the Wine Atlas of the Langhe.
With all of their estate holdings being located at least 1200 feet above sea level, and soil consisting of sandy limestone the wines display dark fruited character, refined tannins and multidimensional aromas across the board, reflecting their favorable growing conditions. That said, each of their wines stand out as being a benchmark for their pedigree. For example their Barbera is sourced from a hilly, old vine site in Bussia and remains one of the most sought after expressions of the varietal.
In stock now:
Poderi Aldo Conterno Conca Tre Pile Barbera d’Alba Piedmont 2017 750ML ($37.95) $33 special, 16 bottles in stock now
Case-6 Poderi Aldo Conterno Conca Tre Pile Barbera d’Alba Piedmont 2017 750ML ($219) $189 special, That’s only #31.50 per bottle!)
Case-12 Poderi Aldo Conterno Conca Tre Pile Barbera d’Alba Piedmont 2017 750ML ($419) $359 special, (that’s only $29.92/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2017 Barbera d’Alba Conca Tre Pile is piled high with dark fruit intensity, soft tannins and a pinch of fresh acidity that breaks apart the wine’s rich fruit flavors. The hot vintage has taken well to the Barbera grape, accentuating its volume, richness and generosity. The bouquet offers black fruit, dried plum, spice, truffle-infused earth and toasted hazelnut”
Poderi Aldo Conterno Colonnello Barolo DOCG 2016 750ML ($219.95) $179 special, 10 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 96 points “Very fine-grained with pretty berry, spice, roasted-nut and cedar aromas and flavors. It’s full-bodied and chewy, yet polished and intense. Very, very long. Try after 2022.”
Wine Advocate 95+ points “The Poderi Aldo Conterno 2016 Barolo Bussia Colonnello shows dark fruit intensity, dried cherry, spice, licorice and tilled earth. The wine delivers its aromas in a direct and immediate manner, with menthol and balsam herb fitting into oaky aromas of sweet spice. For whatever reason, I notice the oak more in Colonnello, but this will relax with time. The wine will be ready to drink after the 10-year mark. Approximately 6,000 bottles were made.”
Poderi Aldo Conterno Bussia Barolo DOCG 2010 750ML ($149.95) $125 special, 2 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2010 Barolo Bussia is a gorgeous expression that hits all the high notes, both in terms of bouquet and mouthfeel. The nose is redolent of pressed cherries, tar, licorice, crushed granite and chopped mint. It offers the special characteristics that are so forth coming with the Nebbiolo grape. The wine caresses the palate with a fine and enduring sense of freshness and structure. The 2010 vintage is a stunner. Drink: 2016-2028.”
Antonio Galloni 93+ points “The 2010 Barolo Bussia is gorgeous and super-classic in every way. Dark red cherry, plum, spice, new leather and tobacco are some of the many notes that take shape in the glass. The 2010 is a beautiful version of the Bussia, with less of the approachability of some previous vintages, but tons of potential for the future. There is a lot to look forward to here. This is one of the best versions of the Bussia I can remember tasting. The 2010 stands out for its precision and crystalline purity. Readers looking for a great 2010 Barolo that won’t kill the budget should check out the 2010 Bussia.’
Poderi Aldo Conterno Bussia Barolo DOCG 2016 750ML ($99.95) $85 special, 28 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 95 points “A fresh and elegant red, showing aromas and flavors of cut hay, strawberry, cherry, iron, eucalyptus and tar. Lithe and intense, with a long, savory aftertaste. Best from 2024 through 2045. 1,500 cases made, 500 cases imported. -BS”
Poderi Aldo Conterno Bussia Cicala Barolo DOCG 2006 750ML ($179.95) $149 special, 2 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2006 Barolo Cicala is another serious, austere Barolo that is tightly wound at this stage. Here the fruit is darker and more intense than in the Colonnello, while the aromatics tend towards menthol, pine, spices and all things balsamic. Sweet, powerful and layered, the 2006 Cicala finishes with a blast of roasted coffee beans, licorice and mint. This is an absolutely wonderful, complete Barolo from Aldo Conterno. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2031.”WA
Arriving in December:
Poderi Aldo Conterno Bussia Barolo DOCG 2017 750ML ($99.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 92 points “The Poderi Aldo Conterno 2017 Barolo Bussia shows a dark but busy quality of fruit that speaks more to the power of this hot vintage than it does the nuanced side of Nebbiolo. In this respect, the wine is quite typical of the 2017 growing season. It takes a while before the wine finds focus in the glass, but it does slowly come together to reveal broad layers of dark cherry, cassis and plum. There is some tannic tightness that leads to sour berry. A bit awkward at this young stage, it needs a few more years of cellar age to flesh out and reach balance.”
Poderi Aldo Conterno Bussia Cicala Barolo DOCG 2017 750ML ($219.95) $179 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 95 points “A solid, powerful style, this expressive red is well-marked by new oak, with plum, cherry, cigar box, menthol and sun-kissed hay flavors. Balanced and lively, with refined tannins and a long, spice-infused finish. Best from 2025 through 2042. —B.S.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 91 points “The Poderi Aldo Conterno 2017 Barolo Bussia Cicala reveals a deep garnet color with some dark copper. Like the other 2017 wines from this celebrated producer, I can’t help but suspect that these areas of Bussia suffered from the heat and some of the other weather challenges associated with this growing season. A clear note of overt ripeness comes across as dried strawberry or sweet crème de cassis. The finish is similarly weighed down by the fruit weight and oak tannins.”
Poderi Aldo Conterno Colonnello Barolo DOCG 2017 750ML ($219.95) $189 pre-arrival special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94+ points “The Poderi Aldo Conterno 2017 Barolo Bussia Colonnello shows good focus, structure and a sharper character that is often the distinguishing factor in this wine. The bouquet is redolent of dark fruit and plum, but it also shows a solid framing of iron ore and dark stony mineral. These give the wine greater lift and contoured edges. This is not the first time that Colonnello is my favorite wine in this lineup, and I suspect it won’t be the last.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “Offering plum, cherry, iron, eucalyptus and black pepper aromas and flavors, this broad red has absorbed the oak treatment pretty well already, with a dense matrix of tannins and lively acidity. Balanced and long, ending with elements of mineral and spice. Best from 2025 through 2043. —B.S.”
Poderi Aldo Conterno Granbussia Barolo Riserva DOCG 2012 750ML ($999.95) $889 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 95 points “The earthy, woodsy aromas show some evolution in this red, with just a hint of white truffle, yet there’s still a hefty dose of spicy oak to be resolved. Rich and sumptuous midpalate, showing plum, cherry, tar and tobacco flavors shaded by vanilla and toasty spices, with firm, dusty tannins laying a grip on the long finish. Give this another year or two in the cellar. Best from 2024 through 2042. From Italy. —B.S.”
Poderi Aldo Conterno Romirasco Bussia Barolo DOCG 2017 750ML ($319.95) $289 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 95 points “Though well-marked by new oak, there’s a vibrant quality to this Barolo, along with cherry, raspberry, iron, tar and tobacco flavors. Supple, almost elegant, with a long, spicy aftertaste, this shows plenty of detail and energy. Best from 2025 through 2040. —B.S.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94 points “Opening to a dark color and robust consistency, the Poderi Aldo Conterno 2017 Barolo Bussia Romirasco is perhaps the most powerful of the four new releases reviewed here. Wearing broad shoulders and sporting a heavy gait over the palate, the wine sees a solid construction of dark berry and spicy or toasted oak aromas. There is a lot to behold in this bottle, and it definitely shows the potential to soften and relax with more cellar aging. However, you definitely need to put the bottle aside for many years.”
Conterno Fantino Mosconi Barolo DOCG 2017 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Decanter 96 points “Among the 27 hectares of Conterno Fantino is Vigna Ped, an east-facing cru within the Mosconi MGA. Similar to Ginestra, in 2017 it seems to be a bit rounder and less austere. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation naturally in the spring. It displays intense leafy lightness with wild strawberry puree and liquorice root, but also whiffs of truffle and cocoa powder. The attack is firm and assertive, with both acidity and tannins – which are large, grainy and ripe. The structure is well balanced by fruit concentration, vibrancy and complexity. Despite its meatiness, it’s not ready to drink yet. For the long haul. Drinking Window 2022 – 2040.”
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2017 Barolo Mosconi Vigna Ped is deep, resonant and expansive, as wines from this site tend to be. In this tasting, the Mosconi is wonderfully deep. Its stature alone is compelling. And yet there is so much to the Mosconi. Readers will find a Barolo that melds together a rich, racy expression of fruit with plenty of structure that wraps everything together. Rich red fruit, blood orange, tar, spice and cedar build as the 2017 gains volume through to the finish.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2017 Barolo Mosconi Vigna Ped sources its fruit from a small vineyard plot measuring less than one hectare that is composed of sand, silt and clay soils. This special wine shows dark fruit with cherry and blackcurrant, all followed by spice, tar and earth. The hot and dry growing conditions in 2017 make for extra intensity and concentration, with firm tannins that hold it all together. The cooling altitudes at 360 to 380 meters above sea level and the general conditions of Monteforte d’Alba mean that this wine shows good integration. 6,424 bottles were released.”
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