In This Newsletter:
New Grapelive Review:
2017 Vietti Lazzarito
Pride of Penedès:
Kia Ora to North Canterbury’s Hermit Ram
Cellar Del Roure: Rarity of Valencia
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New Grapelive Review:
2017 Vietti Lazzarito
*Edited for length with Full review available on Grapelive.com*
Grapelive 95 Points: Having tasted through most of the Vietti collection of Barolo wines, I find their Lazzarito cru bottling singular and iconic, it usually tops my list in their exceptional lineup. This 2017 vintage is proof of the quality here at Lazzarito, and it is not far off the brilliant 2016, one of my favorite years since the mighty 2010s and 2006s, and the Lazzarito impresses with every sip and will please Nebbiolo lovers for many years to come. Located, as the winery notes, at a top of hill near Serralunga, the Lazzarito vineyard, which is now all organically farmed, is set in a historic site long known for its fresh air and favorable exposition, making for Nebbiolo of density, gripping structure, but with loads of natural acidity and beautiful perfumed fruit. Located in the Eastern part of the Barolo region, wines from this vineyard, the winery continues, are best known for their more “masculine” style, with intensity and powerful, which is true to the territory and Barolo, as it is also known as the King of Wines.
This epic Barolo comes from mature vines, planted in 1983 on clay and limestone, this along with the climate here make for Nebbiolo of Grand Cru quality, think Mazi-Chambertin! Luca Currado does a natural yeast fermentation and cool maceration with the Lazzarito then seeing close to 30 months in cask, which vary slightly with each vintage’s nuances, with a combination of small French barriques and traditional large Slovenian casks employed. People were concerned when Vietti sold recently, but I can tell you that so far there is absolutely nothing to worry about with the quality of the wines, in fact they are even more precise than they have ever been and the future looks secure. This winery is one of Piedmonte’s best and continues to lead with pride and passion, this Lazzarito Barolo is a masterpiece and helps cements Vietti’s place in the regions elite producers. I hope to re-visit this Lazzarito in the future to see how it progresses, in the meantime I will drink Vietti’s “Perbacco” Langhe Nebbiolo, which is one of the best values and a great way to start exploring the Vietti wines.
In stock now:
Vietti Lazzarito Barolo DOCG 2017 750ML ($199.95) $169 special, 13 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points “From the southwest facing amphitheater of Lazzarito in Serralunga d’Alba the 2017 Barolo Lazzarito was aged for 30 months in a combination of large oak casks and barrique. The nose is layered with elegant spice and floral notes of cedar, red plum, and brushed leather. There is incredible balance within its structure, which has deceptive ease for early drinking. Hold 3-5 years or drink 2023-2046.”
Antonio Galloni 95 points “Vietti’s 2017 Barolo Lazzarito is absolutely gorgeous. Whatever the challenges of the growing season, they appear to have been no problem here. More than anything else, the Lazzarito impresses with its magnificent depth and stature. Super-ripe red fruit, white pepper, mint, tobacco, cured meat, spice and rose petal open gradually with time in the glass. I would not be in a rush to open bottles anytime soon. The Lazzarito has been one of the most improved wines at Vietti for a number of years. The 2017 is so captivating.”
Pride of Penedès:
Avinyo is synonymous with delivering exceptional quality at a proletariats price. Growing organically and with holdings at 820 feet above sea level and higher, these are benchmark examples of “Grower Cava”. Their entry level is sourced from an indigenous cultivar of Muscat grown at 1,000 feet above sea level and bottled as a Petillant, resulting in lower pressure than the Champagne Method. Delivering the classic navel orange, musk, sea salt and pear flesh with the slightest hint of residual sugar the petillant is perfectly suited to everything from spicier fare to more delicate options like sushi.
Their other offerings are equally as compelling even before their price point is considered, with Avinyo being one of the few producers to grow enough Pinot Noir to vinify by itself. Coming from a single vineyard nestled in the mountains, there is a distinctively oceanic and botanical flavors reminiscent of Mont Blanc’s Ultra Blue cologne. Additional notes include Fuji apple skin, orange peel, seashell and mint making this taste more like it came from the Aube in Champagne over Penedès.
Avinyo wines in stock now:
Avinyo Blanc de Noirs Reserva Cava, 2018 Catalonia ($39.95) $31.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Importer note “Avinyó was one of the very first wineries in Spain to plant pinot noir on an experimental basis when Avinyó founder Joan Esteve returned from France with vine cuttings in 1980. The resulting Blanc de Noirs comes from this original single-vineyard called La Fassina, planted in 2000 in Avinyonet del Penedès at 250m to 275m. La Fassina receives the most rain of the estate’s vineyards while being protected from the easterly winds by mountains. The fertile soil is deep and well-drained with a silty-clay-loam texture and accumulations of calcium carbonate ideal for pinot noir to flourish and express the unique terruño of the site. The surrounding mountains provide a perfect channel for the cool air to enter the vineyard at night, preserving pinot noir’strademark acidity. Blanc de Noirs is an extremely elegant expression of the La Fassina vineyard, a limited release once a year. Farming is organic.”
Avinyo Seleccio La Ticota Gran Reserva Cava 2014 Catalonia ($49.95) $37 special, 14 bottles in stock now
Importer note “La Ticota, Avinyó’s oldest single vineyard, is a 2ha plot planted in 1940 by their grandfather to 85% xarel-lo and 15% macabeo, in primarily clay-calcareous soil. La Ticota produces one of the most distinctive and complex single-vineyard méthode traditionnelle wines from Spain. Produced in very limited quantities from the best vintages, it is among the great single-vineyard sparkling wines of the world. La Ticota is currently undergoing the certification process in the newly-formed Cava de Paraje designation of the Cava D.O., a new category that recognizes the uniqueness of “a smaller area” of the appellation on the label, similar to Burgundy’s climats or lieux-dits.”
Avinyo Petillant Blanc Catalonia 2020 750ML ($19.95) $16 special, 3 bottles in stock now
We carry over 6 different bottlings of Spanish Sparkling wine including Raventos, Agusti Torello and Ameztoi
First planted to grapevines in 1655 by the Dutch East India Company, the country has been a wine exporter since the 18th century. Morgenster was one of the first wine estates in the entire country, having been established in 1711. New life was breathed into the estate in 1992 after being purchased by Giulio Bertrand, who kick started the South African olive oil industry at the same time. Collaborating with Pierre Lurton of Chateau Cheval Blanc and Chateau d’Yquem, the winemaking program underwent a ground-up renovation with the results clearly paying off in the finished wines.
The wines of Morgenster are definitively South African, with a clear nod to Giulio’s Italian heritage and Bertrand’s winemaking know how. The 2014 delivers layers of blackcurrant, cassis, fynbos and tarragon with a deep minerality that’s evocative of warm earth, cinnamon and antique wood. The years in bottle have paid off tremendously with the acid, tannins and body featuring picture-perfect integration. Delightful as a solo act, and compatible with a variety of cuisines including barbeque, roasted Brussel’s sprouts, Italian and Lebanese.
In stock now:
Morgenster Lourens River Valley Stellenbosch 2014 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Neal Martin-Vinous 92 points “The 2014 Lourens River Valley is a Bordeaux blend that offers light blackberry, tobacco and smoky scents on the nose; a hint of hickory develops with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied, fleshy and ripe, with supple tannins and a pinch of sour cherry and balsamic toward the finish. Quite mellow, so much so that you almost overlook the concentration here. Excellent.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
We carry exceptional wines from a variety of South African producers including Meerlust, Southern Right and Mother Rock!
Kia Ora to North Canterbury’s Hermit Ram
North Canterbury has especially caught our eye with their reputation for cool-climate experimentation, and a hotbed of new winemaking talent. “The coolest little wine region in the country” as the region bills is home to clay-limestone soils that are a dead ringer for top tier Burgundy, and a climate particularly conducive to bright and ageworthy wines. Hermit Ram is taking the wine world by storm with their field blends and Pinot Noir, hybridizing traditional Burgundian practices with “New wave” techniques like low intervention in the cellar, amphora for fermentation and stem inclusion over new oak.
The Pinot Noir is beautifully structured and derives it’s tannins entirely from skin, stems and seeds as opposed to new oak. This combined with the marginal growing conditions seen in North Canterbury creates a plethora of flavors ranging from Assamese black tea, fresh rhubarb, black raspberry, lavender and redcurrants. Beyond the fruit and floral components there is also a mineral component redolent of crushed stone and turned loam.
Hermit Ram wines in stock now:
The Hermit Ram Whole Bunch Zealandia Pinot Noir North Canterbury 2019 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special, 20 bottles in stock now
Winery Note: “This Pinot Noir comes from two vineyards, one a small close planted vineyard on the Omihi slopes and the other on the valley floor. The soil in Omihi is predominantly clay with bands of limestone and iron oxide, and the valley floor has glacial gravels with layers of silt and the odd bit of broken limestone dispersed throughout the profile. The clay parcel brings a richness and flesh to this wine whilst the gravel site adds spice and finesse. The use of whole bunches helps to add floral aromatics and length to balance out these textures and to knit the whole wine together. The structural elements and aroma gained from using whole bunches in Pinot Noir from North Canterbury also serves to promote longevity in the wine. It’ll make for fascinating drinking over the coming years. This wine has approximately 50% whole bunches in the ferment. It was fermented with indigenous yeasts. It underwent natural malolactic fermentation. It has no Sulphur added until bottling. It is unfined and unfiltered. 20 ppm SO2 Total.”
The Hermit Ram Field Blend Rose North Canterbury 2020 750ML ($44.95) $39 special, 14 bottles in stock now
Riesling/Pinot Noir/Cab Sauv/Gewurz
Winery note “The act of fermenting which ever varieties are planted in your vineyard together is intriguing and the results can be delicious and a really unique picture of a particular vineyard site and region. This wine is a field blend of Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Gewurztraminer. It comes from one of North Canterbury’s earliest planted vineyards. It presents itself like a delicate pinot with insane aromatics. The fruit was picked on the proportions it grows in the vineyard. It was destemmed and naturally fermented on skins for 6 weeks. Pressed off in to Amphora and allowed to go through a natural malolactic ferment. This wine was bottled with no fining, filtration or Sulphur.”
Julia Harding MW 17 points “Slightly cloudy very pale gold. Intensely citrus with a light herbal quality. Sour apricot and dried grasses are very subtle. This is complex, creamy, extremely salty. Great complexity and a lovely blend with nothing dominating. Dry, finely tannic, the best flavours of Sauvignon at the core, citrus and herbal and finally green fruits like greengage. Deep, long, salty, a wine for the evening. Good value. Drink 2021–2024”
Love Natural wine? We carry producers from around the world including Ovum, Daterra Lorenzo and Chateau Musar
Cellar Del Roure: Rarity of Valencia
Celler del Roure ‘Safra’Valencia 2019 750ML ($29.95) $24 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 94 Points “The 2019 Safrà was produced with a base of Mandó, but it’s a different Mandó from Parotet, livelier and more fluid. They say it’s a red with the soul of a white. In any case, both wines change in 2019 with the addition of Arcos. They harvest the grapes early and use some 30% stems for the vinification in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts. This 2019 is a blend with 30% Arcos, an almost forgotten grape they are recovering and to which they are paying very much attention. Like many of the other wines, it matured in ancient buried 2,600-liter tinajas in their impressive 17th-century cellar. I’ve always liked the floral and aromatic expression of this wine, which has nice aromas and complexity, developing beautiful notes of sour cherries; and in the palate, it’s more serious than you expect, longer, deeper and very tasty. This is more ethereal than Vermell and less spicy that Parotet. I think it has gained in freshness and complexity with the addition of Arcos, which is part of the blend for the first time in 2019. In fact, this is better than ever! 20,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in June 2020.”
Decanter 93 Points “Mainly Mandó grapes with Arcos (rather than Garnacha Tintorera as in previous blends) – a change that brings greater finesse to this aromatic wine. Bright, mid-weight, juicy, with sour cherries and cranberries and the faintest rasp of tannin. Fermented in stainless steel and matured in buried clay amphorae in the remarkable cellar. Organic. Drinking Window 2021 – 2024. -Sarah Jane Evans MW.”
Celler del Roure ‘Safra’ Valencia 2017 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special, 18 bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 93 Points “The third vintage of my favorite red, the 2017 Safrà is from an early and low-yielding year when they got larger grapes that delivered fresher and more fluid wines than a normal warm year. It fermented with 30% full clusters in stainless steel vats, and like all of these wines, it didn’t see any oak; it matured exclusively in 2,600-liter clay “tinaja” for six months. It’s floral and subtle, super elegant, without any excess, expressive and perfumed. The palate is equally elegant, with very fine tannins, good freshness and very tasty, almost salty flavors. This has to be the finest vintage for this wine. Even if 2017 can be similar to 2015, this feels more balanced and complete. Most of the wines are a bargain, and this is a steal.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 94 points “(for 375 ml.; made from frozen grapes from the Bien Nacido Vineyard) Deep yellow-gold. Intensely spicy aromas of vibrant peach and apricot are enlivened by steely minerality. Lush and sweet but vibrant, with vivid pit fruit flavors, tactile sweetness and outstanding clarity. Possesses a taffeta-like texture, finishing with grip, supple acids and lingering honey and orange marmalade character. Krankl avoids botrytis for his ice wines because he believes that true ice wine should show “the marrow of the fruit” and that botrytis overrides the variety.””
Sine Qua Non Into The Dark Grenache Sta Rita Hills 2004 1.5L ($219.99) $1599 special, only 1 magnum in stock now
Wine Advocate 99 points “More up-front and open-knit, the 2004 Into the Dark (Grenache) checks in as a blend of 84% Grenache, 8% Mourvedre, 7% Syrah and 1% Viognier that comes mostly from Manfred’s 11 Confessions Vineyard, yet includes small portions from Alban (10%) and Alta Mesa (9%) Vineyard. Reminding me of Clos Saint-Jean’s Sanctus Sanctorum with its incredible bouquet of sweet kirsch, licorice, dried baking spices, graphite and ground pepper, this beauty flows onto the palate with impeccable purity, perfect integration of its fruit, tannin and acidity, and blockbuster length. As is common with this estate’s wine, it’s the purity paired with serious richness that sets it apart. While still youthful and benefiting from a healthy decadence, I think it’s drinking at point and would aim to drink bottles over the coming 4-5 years. It will evolve gracefully for longer, but I see no reason to hold off.-JD”
Robert Parker 99 points “2004 Into the Dark: This absolutely magnificent wine is a blend of 84% Grenache, 8% Mourvedre, 7% Syrah and 1% Viognier, with most of it emerging from the estate’s 11 Confessions Vineyard. It still has a very opaque ruby/purple color, along with a sweet nose of graphite, wood smoke, spice box, white chocolate, kirsch and creme de cassis. Still quite infantile in terms of its development, the wine is full-bodied, with a 45- to 50-second finish. Another 2-3 years of cellaring will be beneficial, and it is certainly capable of lasting 10 or more years.”
Beau Marchais Clos Pepe Vineyard Est Pinot Noir Sta Rita Hills 2020 750ML ($99.95) $89 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 94-96 points “While there won’t be any releases from Santa Lucia due to smoke, they were able to release their Clos Pepe Pinot Noirs. The 2020 Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Est Vineyard saw 25% stems, 48 days on stems, and aging all in new barrels. Lots of mulberry, chocolate covered strawberries, and plum fruits as well as notes of orange blossom and spice emerge from the glass, and it’s a rich, full-bodied, textured beauty that packs one heck of a mid-palate. With ripe tannins and an expansive, supple texture, drink this hedonistic, sexy Pinot Noir on release and over the following 7-8 years.”
Beau Marchais Clos Pepe Vineyard Ouest Pinot Noir Sta Rita Hills 2020 750 ($99.95) $89 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 95-97 points “The 2020 Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Ouest Vineyard comes from the western side of the vineyard, which sees slightly smaller berries and yields due to being hammered by the winds. It tends to be a riper Pinot Noir yet always seems more structured and focused than the Est Pinot Noir. Similarly deep purple-hued, with a beautiful bouquet of blue fruits, iron, candied orange zest, and spice, it’s another rich, full-bodied, concentrated Pinot Noir that stays beautifully balanced and has ripe, building tannins as well as a great finish. While it’s not for the Burgundy lovers out there (although you might be surprised), it has depth, structure, and is a brilliant Pinot Noir!”
Vinous-Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2020 Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard Ouest is terrific. Powerful and ample in the glass, the 2020 possesses tremendous richness right out of the gate. Luscious red/purplish berry fruit, blood orange, spice and pomegranate are all dialed up. The super-sized Santa Barbara Pinot offers tons of immediacy and yet retains a good deal of energy as well. The Ouest is a noticeably bigger wine than the Est. “
Beau Marchais Soberanes Vineyard Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands 2019 750ML ($99.95) $89 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points ” loved these wines from barrel last year, and they didn’t disappoint from bottle. Starting with the Santa Lucia Highlands release, the 2019 Pinot Noir Soberanes Vineyard has a deep, nuanced yet powerful style that offers impressive black raspberry and red currant fruits to go with lots of spice, loamy soil, spring flower, and earthy forest floor notes. Gorgeously textured on the palate, this medium to full-bodied Pinot has ripe, polished tannins, a great mid-palate, and the fruit and opulence to drink nicely today yet also evolve for a good 7-8 years, if you’re so inclined.”
Wine Enthusiast 96 points “This collaboration between California’s Adam Lee and the Rhône Valley’s Phillipe Cambie yields a rich, spicy wine. Heavy aromas of cola, root beer, baked cherry and boysenberry gummies lead into a multi-layered palate of cardamom, clove, nutmeg and baked fruit, framed by polished tannins.”
Erin Brooks-Wine Advocate 92-94 points “I tasted the 2019 Pinot Noir Soberanes Vineyard as a final blend while still in barrel, aging in about 90% new oak. Medium ruby-purple, it’s loaded with dark fruits and nuances of bitter chocolate, mint leaves, charcuterie and fragrant earth. In the mouth, it’s medium-bodied with a firm, grainy frame and good freshness, opening up to brighter fruits on the long finish. This is shaping up to be a concentrated, savory and structured Pinot Noir. This is due to be bottled sometime around August 2020.”
Racines La Rinconada Vineyard Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills 2018 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Decanter 96 points “This Sta. Rita Hills-focused label between Justin Willett and Étienne de Montille takes a ‘low and slow’ approach to the winemaking process, contrasting the relatively delicate, high-toned style of the Tyler wines. Pinot Noir at La Rinconada Vineyard tends to exude a burly and structured style, as is the case with the 2018 Racines bottling. Sourced from a plot just feet away from that which supplies Tyler, a savoury and soft nose introduces a weighty, wide and tannic showing that is built to last. Drinking Window 2022 – 2045.”
Bevan Cellars Tench Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville 2016 750ML ($249.95) $199 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 97+ points “The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Tench Vineyard is very deep purple-black in color with an earthy, meaty, broody nose with notes of mocha over baked plums and crème de cassis plus wafts of spice box and mincemeat. The palate is full-bodied, concentrated, rich and earthy with great vibrancy on the finish. 839 cases produced.”
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points “From a steep hillside in Oakville, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Tench Vineyard offers a more savory, masculine, layered style as well as a huge nose of red and black fruits, dried herbs, chocolate, and earth. It hits the palate with a full-bodied, mouthfilling style that carries plenty of tannins, a deep, concentrated mid-palate, and a great finish. I like it today, yet it’s going to continue drinking brilliantly for two decades.”
Cardinale Estate Red Napa Valley 2018 750ML ($379.95) $319 special, 5 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points ” The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is based on a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot that spent 22 months in 81% new French oak. It’s a wonderfully complete, borderline perfect wine that shows the class of this estate as well as the vintage, revealing a seamless, full-bodied style that carries lots of blackcurrant, graphite, lead pencil, and tobacco aromatics, a deep, layered mid-palate, ultra-fine tannins, and flawless balance. As with most of Chris’s 2018s, it’s a wine that builds slowly with time in the glass, offering a layered, singular character. It’s a gorgeous 2018 that can be drunk today with ample pleasure, but it will ideally be given 4-6 years of bottle age, at which point it should evolve gracefully for 30-40 years.”
Lisa Perrotti-Brown – Wine Advocate 98 points “Composed of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot, the 2018 Cardinale was aged in French oak barrels for 22 months, 81% new. Deep garnet-purple colored, it prances out of the glass with gregarious notions of warm cassis, black cherries and wild blueberries, followed by emerging earth scents with a tobacco and garrigue undercurrent. Medium to full-bodied, gracefully styled and refreshing, the vibrant black and blue-fruited palate offers a wonderfully fine-grained texture and bags of energy, finishing long with a skip in its step. 5,107 cases were made.”
Heitz Cellar Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2015 ($279.95) $249 special, 9 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 98 points “Structured and powerful with chewy and firm tannins with a light vanilla and currant undertone. Full bodied. Juicy and savory. Luscious and intense yet polished. Tension, energy and wonderful length and brightness. Drinkable but needs another three to four years to come around.”
Decanter 97 points “No other Cabernet has the aromatic profile of Martha’s, its signature eucalyptus note being perennially present and well documented. It is quite floral for a Cabernet, with aromas of dried cherry blossom, fresh sage, dry earth and cocoa powder. Aged three years in French oak and an additional two in bottle before release, there is clear evidence of new oak, but in a deliciously creamy, enhancing way rarely found in modern Cabernet. The palate is juicy, clean, dark and deep all at once. Explosive and long on the finish, showing multidimensional layers of black fruits, fresh herbs and charred earth with stunning delineation. There isn’t a more definitive Cabernet Sauvignon in the world, at any price. Drinking Window 2021 – 2061.”
Wine & Spirits 96 points “Extended bottle age at Heitz’s cellar is a long-term investment in a wine like this 2015 Martha’s Vineyard. Mysteriously, the wine manages to be plump and austere at once, like an aristocrat who’s a little soft in the middle but tough as nails. The vintage has the eucalyptus scent that famously marks this vineyard’s cabernet, a complex element in the midst of the wine’s fresh, bright red fruit and silken texture. Seriously grand Napa Valley cabernet, bristling with energy, this has a long life ahead. —J.G.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Enticing, with the frankly ripe profile of the vintage showing off in a display of slightly exotic plum and blackberry coulis flavors, while dark licorice, menthol and sassafras notes course through. Sweet spice accents sparkle through the finish, revealing a lingering hint of singed juniper. The long finish features rippling acidity. Best from 2022 through 2038. 2,300 cases made. — JM”
Continuum Proprietary Red Oakville 2017 375ML ($149.95) $128 special, 20 half bottles in stock now
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 97+ points “A blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petit Verdot and 9% Merlot, the deep garnet-purple 2017 Proprietary Red soars out of the glass with notions of baked blueberries, plum preserves and blackcurrant cordial, backed up by nuances of chocolate mint, wild sage, violets and pencil shavings, plus an earthy hint of Chinese five spice. The rich, seductive, full-bodied palate is jam-packed with spicy black fruit preserves, framed by wonderfully plush tannins and a lively backbone, finishing long and opulent.”
Antonio Galloni 96+ points “The 2017 Proprietary Red Wine Sage Mountain Vineyard comes across as remarkably primary. Bright red-toned fruit and floral notes give the 2017 striking freshness as well as nuance. Deep and layered on the palate, with superb depth, the 2017 Continuum is easily one of the wines of the year. Even in the early going, it is truly magnificent.”
Continuum Proprietary Red Oakville 2018 750ML ($299.95) $259 special, 25 bottles in stock now
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 98-100 “Composed of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petit Verdot and 6% Merlot, the deep garnet-purple 2018 Proprietary Red has a fantastically fragrant nose of candied violets, red roses, Morello cherries and blackcurrant pastilles with hints of wild blueberries, red currant jelly, iron ore and forest floor, plus a waft of cinnamon stick. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is completely packed with tightly wound black and red berry layers, framed by firm, ripe, finely grained tannins and seamless freshness, finishing with incredibly persistent and evocative floral and mineral layers. An absolute head-turner, this 2018 is all that and then some. Tim Mondavi mentioned that this is due to be bottled in just a few weeks—mid-August—meaning this barrel sample I tasted is pretty close to being a finished wine. With the estate vineyard turning 10 year’s old in 2018, here’s where we see how incredibly special this singular Pritchard Hill site really is.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “Fresh and vibrant, with a welcoming blast of cassis, cherry puree and plum reduction flavors, laced liberally with red licorice, sassafras and floral notes and a hint of singed vanilla. The long finish is harnessed by fine-grained structure. Approachable, but no rush. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot. Drink now through 2038. —J.M.”