2005 Defaix Chablis Returns
A Case of Vinsanity!
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Thursday, January 2nd
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Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley 2016 1.5L ($479.95) $449 special, 1 magnum in stock
Jeb Dunnuck 98+ points “The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Colombia Valley is a beautiful wine and has a more classic profile than the more sexy, massive 2015. Beautiful notes of creme de cassis, lead pencil shavings, graphite, dried herbs, and loamy earth all flow to a full-bodied, incredibly pure and perfectly balanced Cabernet Sauvignon that has no hard edges, a deep, concentrated mid-palate, good acidity, and a great, great finish. It reminds me of the 2002 with its uber classic, balanced yet broad and powerful style.”
Stephen Tanzer – Vinous 97 points “Moderately saturated dark red with ruby tones. Classic, complex Cabernet scents of black fruits, cocoa powder and sexy herbs lifted by a strong mineral component; the high-quality Taransaud and Darnajou barrels come through clearly but not loudly. Wonderfully smooth, tight-grained wine with gloriously ripe but not roasted flavors of wild blackberry, cassis, bitter chocolate and minerals. Harmonious ripe acidity gives this wine outstanding finesse and lifts the fruit. I find this wine more relaxed than the superb 2015 version, perhaps because there was little in the way of vine stress in ’16. Perhaps most impressive in the early going on the extremely long, slowly building back end, which features noble tannins, great suavity and outstanding lift. (3.97 pH; made from Palengat, Champoux and Wallula vineyards, all in Horse Heaven Hills, but the label for this wine has said Columbia Valley for a long time; in an earlier era the label used the even more generic Washington State appellation)”
Big, bold, and, thanks to the ’17 vintage, surprisingly seductive young.
Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas ‘Les Souteyrades Vieilles Vignes’, Rhone 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Case-12 Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas ‘Les Souteyrades Vieilles Vignes’, Rhone 2017 750ML ($479.95) $359 special (that’s only $29.92/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Wine Advocate 95 points “A blend of Grenache and Mourvèdre, the 2017 Gigondas les Souteyrades—from a clay-based, north-facing site—is rich and earthy, with cinnamon and cola notes accenting dark plums and black cherries. It’s full-bodied and velvety, adding hints of chocolate on the long finish.-JC”
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points “Black cherries, garrigue, leather, and a kiss of spice emerge from the 2017 Gigondas Les Souteyrades, which is Grenache and Mourvèdre brought up in foudre. It’s medium to full-bodied, has light tannins, beautiful balance, and a charming, elegant style. As with the other releases here in 2017, it’s a seamless, layered, complex wine that relies more on elegance and complexity than overt power and richness.”
Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spatlese #5, Mosel 2016 750ML ($54.95) $49 special
David Schildknecht – Vinous 93 points “Ripe apple and pear garlanded in honeysuckle entice the nose, accompanied by high-toned suggestions of almond and pistachio extracts. A subtly creamy palate displays luscious fruit, heady inner-mouth perfume and rich nuttiness. There is less counterpoint or refreshment here than in the corresponding A.P. #10, but greater opulence has not precluded a delectable sense of delicacy, and the seductively soothing, superbly sustained finish offers a reassuring whisper of wet stone.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 93 points, Mosel Fine Wines 93 points
This is a classic Provençal rosé: crisp, pale and dry. It’s been a customer favorite over the last few years and this vintage looks to be one of the best.
Chateau Routas Coteaux Varois en Provence Rose 2018 750ML ($19.95) $16 special
Chateau Routas Coteaux Varois en Provence Rose 2018 1.5L ($34.95) $28 special
Case-12 Chateau Routas Coteaux Varois en Provence Rose 2018 750ML ($219.95) $169 special (that’s only $14.08/bottle!)
2019 Best in Show; 2019 Best Value – James Suckling
James Suckling 93 points “The nose here is immediately captivating with its freshness, focus and interest. It suggests sea salt, thyme, freshly squeezed nectarines and a touch of well-executed, lifted citrus. The palate shows some good density and the fruit/acid balance is played out nicely. Medium-bodied and sleek and refreshing. Makes you come back for more. Routas on the money as always. Drink now.”
Daniel Bouland makes gutsy wines from old vines in the heart of Beaujolais premier appellations. These are wines that recall what Beaujolais would have been like before industrial farming and certainly before industrial winemaking. They’re special, powerful and age-worthy.
Daniel Bouland Chiroubles ‘Chatenay’, Beaujolais 2018 750ML ($29.95) $26 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 92 points “Bouland’s 2018 Chiroubles bursts with aromas of ripe blackberries, red plums, violets and cracked black pepper. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, ample and layered, with a succulent core of fruit, fine concentration and a long, lip-smacking finish. An especially gourmand rendition of this cuvée, it hails from a steep hillside site and is matured in tank.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93+ points “The 2018 Morgon Bellevue Sable comes from younger vines, planted on Viala rootstock in sandy soils—as the “sable” newly added to its label makes clear. Revealing aromas of blackberries, smoked meats, cracked pepper and violets, it’s medium to full-bodied, ample and muscular, with powdery structuring tannin, juicy acids and a blockier, more reserved profile than the Chiroubles and Brouilly that preceded it. This will demand a couple of years’ patience before it shows all its cards.”
Domaine Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes, Cote de Nuits 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
Decanter 92 points “Vieille Vigne (always singular at Fourrier) is sourced from 12 different parcels, most of them on the better, western side of the route nationale. This is always a pleasure to drink, and the 2017 is no exception, with supple, scented, alluring red berry notes, some vanilla oak and a zesty finish.”
They’re not really ex-cellar or library release, but represent the current vintage on offer (and imported by Rosenthal, so you know it’s good). After spending 11 years in tank, these wines were bottled in 2016 and then only released earlier this year, when Defaix thought it appropriate. These are magnificent bottlings that have just reached their peak maturity window. What could you possibly expect to pay for such an experience? At Vinopolis – under $50/bottle!
The quantities of each wine are smaller this time, though. As you might guess, nearly fifteen year old Chablis doesn’t grow on trees, so if you want to restock (or you missed out earlier), time is not your friend. Exactly the opposite of the wines themselves.
“These are textural, complex wines that evoke the white Burgundies of yesteryear, and they may confuse consumers habituated to the tart, brittle, processed wines that are often passed off as expressions of region’s “terroir.” Their potential to develop in bottle and their capacity to pair with a thrilling variety of foods, however, make them fascinating, at least to this writer. Much of the production is sold to France’s best restaurants, but what reaches the export market is well worth seeking out.” – William Kelley, Wine Advocate
Re-Arriving ETA Early January:
Domaine Daniel-Etienne Defaix Vaillon, Chablis Premier Cru 2005 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2005 Chablis 1er Cru Vaillon is drinking beautifully, wafting from the glass with a pretty bouquet of honey, buttered citrus and confit lemon. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, satiny and bright, with a generous, textural attack, vibrant acids and a charming, open-knit profile that belies its evident capacity to age. It will be well worth seeking out when it’s released.”
Importer Note “The astute reader will notice the singular “Vaillon” instead of the more commonplace “Les Vaillons” on Defaix’s label. The boundaries of this vineyard were extended in 1976 to take advantage of its popularity in the market, but the Defaix family owns a prime parcel of old vines (45 years of age) in the original cru—the Vaillon. The steep 28-degree gradient and iron-rich soils of this southeast-facing site render a wine of spicy richness, and Danny’s 2005 is a real powerhouse. Showing both remarkable concentration and excellent acidity, this wine has a luscious quality that contrasts gently with the more chiseled crus below. At thirteen years old, it still feels downright youthful, such is its density of fruit and commandingly long finish. It’s an authoritative, hugely impressive wine that should continue to blossom for many years to come.”
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2005 Chablis 1er Cru Côte de Léchet is more complex than the Vaillon, unfurling with complex aromas of honeycomb, mandarin oil, fresh mushroom, almond paste and oyster shell. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, rich and gourmand, with a satiny attack, a deep, concentrated core and tangy balancing acids. It’s a textural, sapid Chablis that will work well at the table.”
Importer Note “In fascinating contrast to “Vaillon” above, Defaix’s “Côte de Lechet” is a master class in mineral precision. This remarkably steep site (a 45% gradient) with very poor soil produces a wine that Danny describes as embodying “the real, true mineral expression of Chablis,” and even the generosity of the 2005 vintage cannot dull the blade of this limestone scythe. Freshly blasted chalk dominates the nose, with notes of candied lemon, acacia honey, and fresh herbs lurking underneath; still, this is a wine of minerality first and foremost. The palate is strikingly broad, but with a strictness and linearity that carries the intense limestone of the nose all the way through the lengthy finish like an ice luge. This is a wine of immense tension and mouth-watering salinity that, like the “Vaillon” above, also comes across as youthful, but offers a great deal of secondary pleasure at the moment as well. The family owns a 3.5-hectare parcel of 45-year-old vines in this distinctive cru, most of which are planted within a parcel known as the “Clos des Moines.””
Domaine Daniel-Etienne Defaix Les Lys, Chablis Premier Cru 2005 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 93 points “Dramatic aromas of blanched almonds, beeswax, honey and preserved lemon introduce the 2005 Chablis 1er Cru Les Lys, a full-bodied, textural wine that’s rich, concentrated and structured, with a tight-knit core, tangy acids and a stony finish. Like Defaix’s other 2005s, it’s very much in its prime and will be well worth seeking out when it reaches the marketplace.”
Grapelive 93 points “Daniel-Etienne Defaix … continues [his family’s] tradition of wine growing, which has been working the vines around Chablis since the 1500s. He manages 26 hectares planted exclusively to Chardonnay, which most all there vines in a selection of Premier Crus. Defaix, a natural minded vigneron whose family is from Avallon, not far from Chablis, he uses largely self-taught methods to craft his wines with ideas passed down and learned from his own experiences. His severe selections of grapes and his long fermentations highlight his deft and gentle touch in the cellar, which shows here in his latest release of Les Lys from the 2005 vintage. [This] is a gorgeous Chablis with incredible texture, mineral notes, remarkable lively character from this warm vintage and polished depth. This 2005 gives a subtle floral perfume, hints liquid rock, clarified cream, apple, pear and lemon preserves as well as wet stone (chalk), acacia honey, hazelnut and lingering fleshiness of form. It is a seamless Chardonnay of great class and detail. The Chablis 1er Cru Les Lys comes from a monopole plot known as ‘Clos du Roi’ and the average age of the vines is close to 45 years. [The vines are planted] on a sloping hillsides that has a near perfect southwest exposure allowing warm ripe flavors and richness, while the Kimmeridgian (limestone) soils give fabulous structure, acidity and minerallity. Daniel Defaix ferments 100% de-stemmed grapes in stainless steel tank using 100% natural yeasts at cold temps, which takes close to three weeks, and then the wine is rested almost three years on the lees, again in stainless (only) and goes through natural malos, then racked again back to stainless tanks to aged up to ten years before bottling! The results are amazing and this 2005, which shows the benefits of that regime and the age delivers a great performance in the glass with a sexy layered mouth feel and secondary elements beginning to shine through. The ‘Les Lys’ Premier Cru vineyard, part of the Vaillons, is located on the left bank of the Serein River, overlooking the villages of Chablis and Milly, making for an intriguing terroir, one of the most rare in the series of Premier Crus from Chablis and with a stony personality, but with a softer tone than some of neighboring sites. This Defaix version is wonderfully elegant, especially now.”
Here’s some trendy picks, or browse the full list below!
Case-6 Domaine Vocoret et Fils Valmur, Chablis Grand Cru 2014 750ML ($349.95) $299 special (that’s only $49.83/bottle!)
Domaine Vocoret et Fils Valmur, Chablis Grand Cru 2014 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Stephen Tanzer 92+ points “Much less expressive on the nose than the Blanchots but still with noteworthy incipient complexity to the aromas of citrus peel, white flowers, wet stone, white pepper and clove. Boasts terrific grain and thrust, but this youthfully dry, uncompromising wine is downright brooding today in spite of its essential light touch. Incisive flavors of citrus fruits, white flowers and ginger are further lifted by subtle herbal accents. This is excellent.”
Burghound 92 points “In contrast to the Vaudésir this is much better with much more evident Chablis character on the green fruit and citrus-infused nose that displays an appealing hint of mineral-reduction. There is excellent punch and detail to the relatively rich and powerful flavors that possess reasonably good mid-palate concentration before culminating in a notably stony and lingering finish that is presently quite tightly wound. This is definitely going to require a few years to further flesh out and develop better depth but the balance and underlying material are present for that to occur.”
The average listed price is $80
Case-6 L’Hetre, Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon 2016 750ML ($159.95) $119 special (that’s only $19.83/bottle!)
L’Hetre, Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon 2016 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Julia Harding MW – JancisRobinson “L’Hêtre 2016 Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux is the first release of this wine from the organically farmed estate perched at 100 m on the end of the St-Philippe d’Aiguilhe limestone plateau, the highest point in Bordeaux…‘Rich in blackcurrant fruit with a savoury dark glow to make it more than just fruit. Just a touch of smoky char even though the oak is well in the background, a seductive fruit sweetness. On the palate, this is beautifully balanced, the alcohol perfectly integrated in the tannic structure and fruit core with a fresh tang that runs through the middle. There’s a cool fluidity to it even with its depth and length. Fine, dry, lingering and savoury aftertaste. Impressive first vintage with a promising future in the bottle. I opened this on a Sunday evening and it was still tasting fresh and vibrant four days later. This is a very classy wine, and the tannins tell you everything: fine, definite, building in the mouth but in perfect balance with the fruit and freshness. Blue-blooded Castillon. Catch it while you can.’”
The average listed price is $24
Case-6 Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo Carolus Bianco, Piedmont NV (2018) 750ML ($129.95) $99 special (that’s only $16.50/bottle!)
Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo Carolus Bianco, Piedmont NV (2018) 750ML ($21.95) $19 special
VinopolNote: A blend of Erbaluce, Arneis and Chardonnay. This wine is all about contrasts–bright and crisp, but with some texture from the Chardonnay. It has a melange of stone fruit on the nose and palate, but also a pleasant herbaceousness and a touch of spice. Pairs with just about anything, including just by itself.
Shop the entire Case-6 selection on our web store
New Champagne Arriving Early January
Only 3 cases available!
Chartogne-Taillet Les Barres Pinot Noir Extra Brut, Champagne (2015) 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 94 points “From a climat Chartonge made famous for its Pinot Meunier growing in chalky soils, the NV Extra Brut Blanc de Noirs Les Barres (Pinot Noir) derives from a westerly exposed parcel of Pinot Noir growing in sand—and hails entirely from the 2015 vintage. It’s showing very well, exhibiting attractive aromas of mirabelle plums, raspberries, anise, pastry cream and yellow chartreuse. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, ample and muscular, with tangy acids, excellent concentration and a long, chalky finish.”
Shop the entire selection on our web store!
ETA March 2020
Thibaud Boudignon Anjou Blanc, Loire 2018 750ML ($47.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special
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.”
The average listed price is $47
Thibaud Boudignon Savennieres La Vigne Cendree, Loire 2018 750ML ($99.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Importer note “La Vigne Cendrée is the smallest parcel of the domaine, 0.5 hectares, in the commune of Savennières. In spite of its small surface area there is an exceptional mosaic of terroir : purple schist, granite and clay silt. Because of the clay and the southern exposition, this wine is naturally richer. Half is aged in 226 liter burgundy barrels and half in foudre, with no new wood, for 12 months, this wine is very ‘burgundian.’ La Vigne Cendrée offers a combination of generosity and mineral tension under a noble reduction.”
Thibaud Boudignon Savennieres Clos de Fremine, Loire 2018 750ML ($99.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Importer note “Clos de Frémine is located behind the wall of Clos de la Hutte; this parcel of 1.5 hectares is in the commune of La Poissonnière. Exposed to the landscape, the Clos de Fremine is a soil of schist sandstone to gritty sandstone. The Clos de Frémine is aged in demi muids of 500L and 600L to preserve the finesse of the terroir. This is the most delicate and aromatic expression of Chenin from the domaine. Very feminine in its texture and in the nose, it offers a seductive, moth watering mouth.”
Thibaud Boudignon Anjou Blanc ‘a Francoise..’, Loire 2018 750ML ($79.95) $61.90 pre-arrival special
Importer note “Cut like a diamond with clean lines and explosive fruit. Long detailed finish that fans out with a touch of creaminess. Still evolving and will reward the one who has patience. A worthy homage to his mother and grandfather.”
Importer note “[A new] addition to Thibaud’s range of Chenin Blanc comes from a half hectare plot within the Clos de la Hutte (1.5ha) lieu-dit. The vines are young but the wine is profound. There is a long history to this site and Thibaud is channeling every bit of it here. The volumes are miniscule – 1000 bottles released.”
Importer note “Clos de la Hutte is situated in the commune of La Poissonnière; the Clos de la Hutte is an ancient religious site of 7 hectares, of which 2.6 are planted with vines. At the heart of this ancient monastery are vines produced from a massal selection of Chenin Blanc coming from the best domaines of the Loire. 5 different varieties of Chenin were planted together so as to best express the intensity and singularity of this special place. 50% vinified in oval demi muid, 25% in 320 liter cigars, and 25% in 500 liter. The ageing last one year in wood and a minimum of 3 months in stainless steel. The Clos de la Hutte seduces with its aromatic finesse and the intense minerality in the mouth.”