Champagne Thursday

September 4, 2014
Two Small & Outstanding Champagne Producers
[Ulysse Collin and Benoit Layahe]

But First…

Great Value Spanish Wines
Arriving Today

Bodegas Emilio Moro Finca Resalso Ribera del Duero 2012 (21.95) $18 special
Case-12 Bodegas Emilio Moro Finca Resalso Ribera del Duero 2012 ($249.95) $192 case price special
Josh Raynolds 91 points
 “Vivid purple.  Ripe boysenberry and blueberry aromas and an undercurrent of mocha on the nose, with candied licorice and vanilla qualities coming up with air.  Lush, weighty and round, showing good thrust to its dark berry liqueur and cocoa flavors.  Finishes creamy, round and long, with soft tannins and building notes of plum and dark chocolate.”

Bodegas Emilio Moro Malleolus Ribera del Duero 2009 ($49.95) $39 special
Josh Raynolds 92 points
 “Opaque ruby.  Highly nuanced aromas of cherry compote, smoky minerals, vanilla and candied flowers.  Offers seductively sweet red and dark fruit and floral pastille flavors, with exotic floral tones and sweet oak in the background.  This powerful yet lively wine finishes with excellent thrust and supple tannins.”

Bodegas y Vinedos Ilurce Rio Madre Rioja 2012 ($14.95) $11.90 special
Josh Raynolds 91 points
 “(100% graciano; aged in French oak for 11 months):  Opaque ruby.  Sexy, high-toned cherry and blackcurrant aromas are complicated by notes of Indian spices and fresh rose.  Smooth and seamless in texture, offering intense black and blue fruit flavors that become spicier with air.  The floral element repeats on the finish, which shows excellent clarity and persistence.  This wine delivers uncanny value and has the structure to age.”

Bodega Bernabeleva Camino de Navaherreros Vinos de Madrid 2012 ($19.95) $16 special
Case-12 Bodega Bernabeleva Camino de Navaherreros Vinos de Madrid 2012 ($199.95) $169 case price special
Josh Raynolds 91 points
 “Vivid ruby-red.  Sexy, highly perfumed aromas of raspberry, potpourri and Asian spices.  Silky, penetrating red fruit and rose pastille flavors pick up a mineral nuance with air.  Clings with excellent tenacity on the vibrant finish, which features fine-grained tannins and a touch of blood orange.”

Bodega Bernabeleva Navaherreros Vinos de Madrid Tinto 2011 ($24.95) $21.90 special
Josh Raynolds 92 points 
“Bright ruby-red.  Flamboyant aromas of raspberry, Asian spices, pungent herbs and white pepper.  Dense, juicy and focused, offering mineral-driven flavors of raspberry, spicecake and rose pastille.  The incisive finish features silky tannins and an echo of juicy red fruit.  This sexy wine is delicious right now.”

Bodegas Breca Garnacha de Fuego Old Vines Calatayud 2012 ($11.95) $9 special
Case -12 Bodegas Breca Garnacha de Fuego Old Vines Calatayud 2012 ($119.95) $99 case price special
Josh Raynolds 89 points
 “Bright purple.  Ripe dark berries and cracked pepper on the nose.  Smooth and broad on entry, then tighter in the mid-palate, offering tangy blackberry and bitter cherry flavors and a hint of licorice.  Sweeter on the finish, with the cherry and licorice notes echoing.  This is an amazing value.”

Bodegas Borsao Vina Borgia Campo de Borja 2012 ($11.95) $8 special
Case- 12 Bodegas Borsao Vina Borgia Campo de Borja 2012 ($99.95) $86 case price special
Josh Raynolds 88 points
 “(100% garnacha; all stainless steel):  Bright purple.  Jammy black and blue fruits on the nose and in the mouth.  Plump, juicy and tannin-free, making for very easy drinkability.  For the money, this really delivers, a point not missed by the numerous restaurants that are pouring this fruit bomb by the glass.”

Bodegas Borsao Campo de Borja Tinto 2012 ($11.95) $8.80 special
Case -12 Bodegas Campo de Borja 2012 ($119.95) $89 case price special
Josh Raynolds 89 points
 “85% garnacha and 15% tempranillo; all stainless steel):  Vivid purple.  Expressive aromas of black raspberry, violet and white pepper.  Supple, spicy and pliant, with an appealingly sweet quality to the dark berry, spice and floral flavors.  Plenty of personality here, especially at the price.  Finishes on a refreshingly bitter note, with silky tannins and very good persistence.”

Bodegas Borsao Garnacha Tres Picos Campo de Borja ($21.95) $18 special
Josh Raynolds 92 points
 “(half fermented in French oak and half in stainless steel):  Bright purple.  Heady aromas of blueberry, cherry compote, white pepper and woodsmoke, plus an exotic cinnamon note.  Fresh and seamless, offering vibrant blueberry and black raspberry flavors and suave floral notes.  The spicy quality lingers seductively on the tenacious finish.”

Bodegas Borsao Vina Borgia Campo de Borja 2013 3L BAG IN BOX ($29.95) $18 special
The equivalent of 2 standard 750ml bottles @ $9 / BOTTLE


2012 Oregon Pinot Noirs
Arriving Tomorrow

Cristom Eileen Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2012 ($69.95) $59 special
Winery’s note
 “The 15-acre Eileen Vineyard is a group of vineyard plots named for Paul Gerrie’s wife. The vineyard extends to the top of the winery’s property where cooler conditions and the chance to soak up the last sun of the day encourage the grapes to ripen slowly and evenly… Eileen Vineyard tends to produce a wine that is the most precocious of our four estate vineyards and it’s often the first wine we release into the market. It is always the wine we show first in a line-up of Cristom Pinot Noir. We often find them softer, meaning rounder on the palate with less minerality. Typically, Eileen is textured, layered and creamy on the palate and often recognizable by its bouquet of sweet spices.”Cristom Jessie Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2012 ($69.95) $59 special
Winery’s note
 “Situated on a spectacularly steep site, the Jessie Vineyard boasts the best views on the property. Named for Paul’s paternal grandmother, Jessie is the most diverse of Cristom’s vineyards, and a challenge to farm. As her vines matures (planting began in 1994), Jessie contineues to distinguish herself among the other vineyards with a uniqueness and complexity that likely stems from the site’s ranging slope and five distinct soil types… Jessie Vineyard tends to produce Pinot Noirs that we recognize by a savory aroma that often calls to mind rare-beef. It also tends to have a very fresh and appealing scent of minerality, along with some higher tone lavender—purple flower notes. On the palate, Jessie tends towards a full mouth-feel and a deeper—darker—rounder impression. We find a certain ‘nervosity’ in this wine that describes some part of the tension between the ripe fruit and the structure of the wine.”Cristom Louise Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2012 ($69.95) $59 special
Winery’s note
 “Paul’s maternal grandmother is the namesake for the Louise Vineyard, the first of the Cristom estate vineyards to be planted. Top sloipes that run up against woodland separate Louise’s lower vineyards from the upper, causing them to spend late afternoon in shade. The fruit on the lower slopes, which gets more sun, is often the first of the season to be harvested. Louise Vineyard is typically the last single vineyard wine to be released. The wine is more heavily textured, dark-fruited and more concentrated in flavor than any of our other estate Pinot Noir. We often find creamy-mocha latte notes on the bouquet co-mingling with dark red fruits that are reminiscent of fresh mulberries, very ripe blackberries, plums and black cherries along with hints of chocolate. We recognize Louise by a delightful velvet texture and a full and persistent finish.”
Roco Knudsen Vineyard Dundee HillsPinot Noir 2012 ($49.95) $41.90 special
Stephen Tanzer 91 points
 “Brilliant ruby-red. Black raspberry, cola, rose pastille and a hint of woodsmoke on the perfumed nose. On the palate, gently sweet dark berry flavors are lifted and firmed by juicy acidity and a touch of allspice. The spicy quality gains strength with air and carried through a long, seamless finish, which shows just a hint of dusty tannins. Very approachable now, but has the depth to suggest that a few years of cellaring would be rewarded.”Roco Marsh Estate Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Pinot Noir 2012 ($49.95) $41.90 special
Stephen Tanzer 91 points 
“Vivid ruby-red. Sexy spice-laced black raspberry and cherry-cola aromas are complemented by deeper notes of mocha and licorice. At once lush and lively, offering broad dark berry flavors and a bracing kick of peppery spices. Silky tannins shape the finish, which clings with excellent clarity and persistent smoke and spice notes.”

Roco Private Stash #10 Wit’s End Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir 2012 ($79.95) $66 special
Stephen Tanzer 93 points 
“Brilliant ruby-red. Heady, exotically perfumed aromas of black raspberry, cola, Asian spices, vanilla and pungent flowers, with a bright mineral quality adding lift. Offers intense, palate-staining dark berry and rose pastille flavors that become spicier and weightier with air. The mineral element returns on the subtly tannic finish, adding focus and cut to the persistent blackberry and cherry-cola flavors.”

Roco The Stalker Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2012 ($49.95) $41.90 special
Stephen Tanzer 91 points
 “Vivid ruby-red. Aromas of pungent dark berries, black tea, cola and lavender, with a spicy nuance adding lift. Expansive blackberry and boysenberry flavors are lifted by gentle acidity and a hint of blood orange, which adds refreshing cut. Finishes smooth, sweet and long, with lingering smokiness and soft, round tannins.”

Roco Wit’s End Vineyard Chehalem Pinot Noir 2012 ($49.95) $41.90 special
Stephen Tanzer 92 points
 “Brilliant ruby-red. Sexy, spice-tinged red and dark berry aromas pick up subtle smoke and floral pastille qualities with air. Fleshy and broad on entry, then tighter in the mid-palate, offering intense black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors and a jolt of allspice. Silky tannins build on the finish, which lingers with excellent focus and length and insistent berry fruit character.”

Scott Paul La Paulee Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2012 ($47.95) $36 special
Stephen Tanzer 92 points
 “Bright red. Exotic, spice-laced red berry and floral pastille aromas pick up a smoky quality with air, showing a pure, nervy character and a hint of musky earth. Sappy, incisive and focused on the palate, offering intense raspberry and cola flavors and a palate-numbing peppery kick. Gains in sweetness with air, picking up a bitter cherry note that carries through the long, gently tannic finish.”

Seven Of Hearts Special Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2012 ($49.95) $44 special
Stephen Tanzer 92 points
 “Brilliant ruby-red. Intense dark berry and floral pastille aromas are complicated by suggestions of cola, anise and smoky minerals. At once fleshy and lithe, showing excellent clarity and lift to its black raspberry and cherry-cola flavors. Brighter red fruits emerge with air and carry through a strikingly long, seamless finish, which features youthfully chewy tannins and a hint of spicecake. Bet on this concentrated, lively pinot to reward at least another six-plus years of aging.”

St Innocent Freedom Hill Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2012 ($41.95) $37 special
Stephen Tanzer 92 points
 “(28% new oak): Limpid ruby-red. Tightly focused cherry and black raspberry scents open up with air and are complicated by notes of cola, allspice and dried rose. Sappy, mineral-tinged bitter cherry and floral pastille flavors show very good focus and pick up a hint of smokiness with air. Fleshes out slowly on the persistent floral finish, which features youthfully chewy tannins. Based on this pinot’s power and structure I’d bet on it rewarding at least a decade of patience.”

St Innocent Momtazi Vineyard Mcminnville Pinot Noir 2012 ($37.95) $33 special
Stephen Tanzer 92 points
 “Bright red. Ripe red berries, sassafras and orange pith on the pungent nose, with a peppery quality adding lift. Spicy and precise on the palate, offering slow-to-open bitter cherry and raspberry flavors and a hint of rhubarb. Becomes sweeter with air and finishes with serious thrust, dusty tannins and an exotic floral pastille note that lingers with excellent tenacity. By all means let this one sit in a decanter, or a cool, dark spot, so that it can stretch out.”

Wildstock Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2012 ($29.95) $24 special
(Scott Paul Wines) Winery’s note
 “This wine is the perfect entry level Oregon Pinot Noir made with the same overriding philosophy of non-manipulated winemaking as the Scott Paul Pinot Noirs. We let the natural character of the Willamette Valley shine through in each bottle.”


Domaine Benoit Lahaye

The Lahaye family, based in the Grand Cru village of Bouzy, has been producing Champagne in the region of Montagne de Reims for over 80 years.  A passionate advocate for natural vineyard practices, Benoît Lahaye is producing some of the greatest values coming out of Champagne.  The Domaine’s vineyards consist of about 4.5 hectares located in Bouzay, Ambonnay and the Premier Cru village of Tauxières, with an average vine age of 35-40 years and about 88% comprised of Pinot Noir.

Benoît began converting the Domaine to organic viticulture in 2003 and received ECOCERT certification in 2007.  One year later, biodynamic practices came into the vineyards, further complementing each parcel and showing their individual expressions.  Benoît’s workhorse, Tamis, carries many laborious responsibilities in the vineyard that include ploughing, picking up frames and his contribution to the organic compost.   Essential oils and teas made with extract from fermented plants are just a few of the practices used in the vineyard, rather than opting for synthetic products to combat plant diseases.  With all of its complexities, biodynamic practice in Champagne deserves much respect for the extremely difficult, back-breaking, serious work it involves.

These wines are very scarce and although highly regarded in Europe, they are slowly making a name for themselves in the U.S as one of the best producers in Montagne de Reims.   These wines are very special and we are happy to provide you with one of the very few allocations brought into the States.

Benoit Lahaye Essentiel Grand Cru Brut NV ($59.95) $49 special, 2 cases available
Benoit Lahaye Grand Cru Le Jardin de la Grosse Pierre NV (2009) ($149.95) $119 special, 1 case available
Benoit Lahaye Brut Rose de Maceration NV (’10) ($69.95) $59 special, 1 case available


Champagne Ulysse Collin

Small grower Champagne is a subject of commitment and fascinating intricacies. Consumers have a desire to support the little guys so to speak, and celebrate their arduous work and passionate philosophies that truly define Champagne vignerons.  A great example of such a strong belief system both in the vineyard and cellar is from Domaine Ulysse Collin.  Located in the village of Congy in the Sézannais, the Collin family has been tending their vines since 1812.  Collin is one of the very few independent growers in the region, with the majority selling to the négoce and focusing on the weight of their grapes, rather than choosing to work the soils.

Olivier Collin has taken the Domaine by the reins, after successfully taking back a portion of the family’s vines in 2003 that had been rented out in the past to the négoce.  Fortunately, this gave Olivier the opportunity to start making his own wines, with a strong focus on the intimate relationship he has with the soils.  Olivier worked as an apprentice with Selosse back in 2001 and describes his time there as a life changing experience.   An attempt at 2003 was interrupted by extreme frost devastation and necessary plowing, therefore the 2004 vintage was Olivier’s first release as a vigneron.

I create nothing. I accompany the forces of nature.”   -Olivier Collin

Olivier focuses on three different parcels, each with their own individual personalities, but with the same resonating spirit.  Working the soils is the one example where he can ‘biologically see the results’ of his labor.   His strong beliefs include maintaining a steady stimulation within the soils microbiological activity.  Never using a tractor after harvest supports this, allowing the summer grass to naturally detoxify the soil.   The parcels of ‘Les Roises’ and ‘Les Perrières ’ contain a thick layer of chalk lying on the surface mixed with black Silex, a carbonated flint and rare geological combination in Champagne.   ‘Les Maillons’ does not contain any silex, being about a 30 minute drive from the other vineyards, but has a mixture of both chalk and clay, creating his Blanc de Noirs.

Minimal intervention in the cellar with naturally long fermentations, indigenous yeasts, absolutely no fining or filtration and little to no dosage all contribute to the complexities within each parcel.  Collin’s vinification process is an attempt to reveal in his words, the “true personalities of each parcel in function of its history.”

Ulysse Collin ‘Les Pierrieres’ Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut NV (2010) ($89.95) $79 special, 2 cases available
Ulysse Collin ‘Les Roises’ Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut NV(2010) ($119) $99 special, 1 case available
Ulysse Collin ‘Les Maillons’ Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut NV (2010) ($109.95) $99 special, 1 case available