Midweek Addition 10-2-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

A Trove of Bonneau

Dagueneau and Vatan
Two Sauvignon Stars of the Loire

New Releases from Bow & Arrow

Montegrossi Geremia:
A Follow-Up to Yesterday’s Hot Offer

Trending Wines

Rose of the Day

New Arrivals from Domaine Gramenon

Delas’ Powerful Rhone Vision


A Trove of Bonneau

Direct from the Cellar of the Local Importer/Distributor

“The Chateauneufs here have become legends in their maker’s lifetime, and anyone fortunate enough to try them can attest to the fact that these wines are utterly unique examples of the category, as well as some of the most idiosyncratic wines being made anywhere today. A visit to Bonneau is a step back in time-both in terms of the character of the wines and the bewildering maze of ancient cellars where the wines are raised. Tasting through the range of wines resting in cask here must not be much different today than a century or more ago.” –Josh Raynolds, Vinous

Henri Bonneau is a producer without peer in the Southern Rhone.  No other winemaker (other than perhaps Rayas) has produced as many epic bottles of Cheateauneuf as he has and at the top of his pyramid is the legendary Reserve des Celestins.

Produced only in the best years, it’s generally the best Southern Rhone wine made in the years that it’s bottled.  We just secured five bottles of the absolutely legendary 2005, arriving Friday, to go along with a bottle of the 2011 that’s in stock right now—and now we’ve added a bottle each of his legendary ’00 Celestins and ’98 Cuvee Special.

Of particular note is the provenance of these wines—from the personal cellar of the original importer/distributor of these wines.  They’ve been stored perfectly since release and are only hitting the market today—these aren’t wines that have been bought and sold 4-5 times.  Opportunities like this don’t come around often and we’re excited to offer these to you today.

Arriving Friday:

Only one bottle available
Henri Bonneau Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Speciale, Rhone 1998 750ML ($1,399.95) $1,199 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 98 points
“This offers an aroma of chocolate-covered prunes stewing on the stove, along with notes of brick dust, black currant preserve, fresh espresso and powdered rust. Powerfully tannic and very heady, with layers of overripe fruit on the finish. Drinks like a Bual Madeira infused with black truffles, yet it somehow manages to maintain a sense of freshness. Amazing, but not for everyone. Drink now through 2025. — JM”
Robert Parker 96 points “Bonneau’s 1998 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Speciale is something along the lines of 16.5%-plus natural alcohol with about 4-5% residual sugar. It is an amazing wine that tastes relatively dry, with huge extract of blackberries, roasted meats, and sweet strawberries and cherries intermixed with licorice, smoke and pepper. It makes a massive introduction on the palate and expands vertically, as if it were a skyscraper. It is intense, rich, and compelling, and no doubt capable of lasting 30-40 years. (The 1990 Cuvee Speciale, which has much in common with this wine, is still an infant in terms of its development.) This is a remarkable, but controversial wine. ”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $1300
Only five bottles available
Henri Bonneau Chateauneuf-du-Pape Reserve des Celestins, Rhone 2005 750ML ($799.95) $599 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points
“A big, muscular Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the 2005 Henri Bonneau Réserve des Célestins delivers a thrilling array of plum, crème de cassis, roasted garrigue, blood, and hints of graphite on the nose. Absolutely compelling aromatically, with awesome typicity and complexity, this full-bodied, structured effort is thick and rich on the palate, with a layered, concentrated mid-palate, integrated acidity, and blockbuster length on the finish. Given the almost voluptuous texture and quality of fruit, this is a profound drink now; nevertheless, it will benefit from 5-7 years of bottle age, and keep for 2 decades or more. If I had to choose one bottle to represents the essence of traditionally made Châteauneuf-du-Pape, this would be it!”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 96 points “Full ruby. Huge, room-filling bouquet of blackberry compote, cherry, potpourri and cured tobacco, along with an intense spicy quality and a hint of orange zest. Palate-staining dark fruit flavors are braced by a strong mineral component and complicated by star anise and candied lavender nuances. Refuses to let up on the finish, which emphatically echoes the dark berry and lavender notes. There are tannins lurking in here but they’re buried beneath this wine’s powerful fruit.”

Only one bottle available.
Henri Bonneau Chateauneuf-du-Pape Reserve des Celestins, Rhone 2000 750ML ($499.95) $399 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 97 points
“Looks browning and tired, but smells raw and untamed, with a powerful core of braised chestnut, flint, currant paste, bittersweet cocoa and brick dust. The long, grip-filled finish echoes with blood sausage, cedar and prune. Despite its power, the riveting acidity keeps this focused and driven. Drink now through 2026. — JM”
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 95 points “Dark red. Explosively aromatic nose features intense floral-accented red berry and cherry notes and a potent mocha quality. Velvety in texture and strikingly deep, with sweet kirsch and blackberry flavors lifted by a refreshing mineral tone on the back. The endless finish, featuring suave tannins, is lush and seamless.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $435
The average listed price is $490

In Stock Now:

Henri Bonneau Chateauneuf-du-Pape Reserve des Celestins, Rhone 2011 750ML ($399.95) $379 special, 1 bottle in stock now
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 93-95 points
“Bright ruby-red. Far more expressive than the Marie Beurrier, displaying a wild array of candied red fruits, flowers and Asian spices, along with an intense mineral overtone. Silky, sweet and pure on the palate, offering intense raspberry preserve and spicecake flavors and a jolt of lavender pastille. Closes long and sweet, with building spiciness and smooth, harmonious tannins that sneak up late.”
Wine Advocate 92-94 points “The 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve des Celestins (still in barrel) is rich, deep and concentrated. It’s also noticeably fresher tasting than the Cuvee Marie Beurrier from the same vintage, with ample cherry fruit and a touch of chocolate on the long, silky finish.”


Shipping Season is Here!

Have wines on hold, waiting to ship?
Reply to this email or give us a call (503-223-6002)
with a shipping date and we’ll get you on the schedule!


Dagueneau and Vatan

Two Sauvignon Stars of the Loire

Domaine Dagueneau
“Tasting a Dagueneau wine for the first time was a revelation. His Sauvignon Blancs had an unexpected purity and clarity to them. The flavors were intense but nuanced. It wasn’t the fruit that was piercing, as in so many Sauvignon Blancs, but the freshness and the focus. As powerful a personality as he was, his wines did not exalt the stature of the winemaker so much as the beauty of the terroir.” – Eric Asimov, New York Times

2016 was an unqualified success in the Loire–a vintage that combines the classicism of ’14 with a hint of ’15’s richness.  For the Didier Dagueneau estate (now helmed by son Louis-Benjamin), these are some of the best wines they’ve produced, which is a testament to how Louis-Benjamin has grown into his role as winemaker after his father’s death.

These wines still have the richness and texture that made the estate famous, but with a laser-beam of minerality and cut that makes the wines truly memorable and a level of refinement that’s reached a new level under the son’s stewardship.  The Silex is especially noteworthy this year, a monument to Sauvignon Blanc grown on flint.  It’s hard to think, much less suggest, that the wines are better than they were under Didier, but the 2016’s raise that as a very real possibility.

In Stock Now:

Didier Dagueneau Blanc Fume de Pouilly, Loire 2016 750ML ($99.95) $79 special
“When his father died in September of 2008, Louis Benjamin was only 26 years old. While some things have changed since then, much remains the same. The dogs are gone, and the house has a different flair, but the meticulous attention to detail in the vineyards and the precision in the cellar have, if anything, become even more perfectionist under his direction. With a hired hand for each of his 12 hectares, few vineyards in Pouilly are as well kept and he is the only one I know here who still harvests by hand.After a cold soak at 7 degrees C for three days, his sauvignon blancs are fermented with his own yeasts in small oak casks and kept on their lees for one year before being assembled and matured in stainless steel, where they remain for another six to eight months until bottling. It is an almost Burgundian style of winemaking, but then, as he says, Pouilly is technically a part of Burgundy even though it lies along the Loire. I have often heard the criticism that the hand of the winemaker is more evident here than that of the site, but time does allow the individual wines to show their true colors. It is merely that most of the bottles are consumed long before that day arrives.”-Joel Payne, Vinous

Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fume Silex, Loire 2016 750ML ($159.95) $125 special
Wine Spectator 94 points
“Minerally and intense, showing plump notes of yellow apple and peach, while ruby grapefruit and sea salt accents add to the vibrancy. Features a beautiful silky texture and focused acidity that proves the pedigree, adding to the charm and overall harmony. Drink now through 2031.—A.Z.”

Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fume Pur Sang, Loire 2016 750ML ($149.95) $119 special

Clos Neore, the parcel in Chavignol that the Vatan family owns, may produce the finest Sauvignon Blanc in the world.  The wine is spectacular, life-changingly mineral and capable of aging for a long time.  Our allocation of the 2017 just arrived and we’re pleased to offer them at the best prices in the country—with one catch.  Because of the price (fully $30/btl lower than our next competitor), we aren’t able to list these on our webstore. To order them, just give us a call (503-223-6002) or email us and we’ll take it from there.

Vatan Sancerre Clos la Neore 2017 750ML ($299.95) $219 special
Importer note
“Some winemakers are producers. A few are truly artisans. And then there are that handful who could perhaps be best described as monastic in their approach-making wine, as their duty, in complete harmony with their creator. With Vatan, I find it preposterous to “judge” vintages. Literally, no matter what the conditions of the year, whatever this domaine creates is remarkable, with amazing consistency from vintage to vintage. When once I asked Monsieur Vatan how he could do this, he replied that it is so simple a matter that it needs no explanation — if you plant low-yielding vines on only the steepest, perfectly exposed slopes, prune severely, provide only necessary and natural treatments, (and as little as possible, forcing the vine down for strength and character), harvesting after all the rest have finished (no problem finding pickers then!) and vinifying according only to the traditional (actually ancient) methods — it becomes a question of comparing the personality of each vintage, not which is “better.” What is this word “ancient” I use? Vinification in old, old barrels — a natural vessel – – but not of new oak, which would interfere with the natural fruit of the Sauvignon and terroir of Chavignol; one racking, and then bottling with no fining or filtration when the conditions are perfect in nature. If this sounds too out-moded to be true, you are in for an experience with your first taste. A unique wine which is unequalled, and only approached in Sancerre by the Cotat Domaine, which is enormous in comparison to Vatan (total production 500 cases, of which we in America get 125). Since the 2008 vintage, Edmond’s daughter, Anne Vatan-Foucault has taken over wine-making and administration of the domaine, and the results continue to be spectacular.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $249
The average listed price is $266
The Vatan Sancerre is not listed in our webstore.
To order, please call (503-223-6002) or email.

New Releases from Bow & Arrow

We can’t say enough good things about Bow & Arrow and the wines they make. Scott Frank seems to have cracked the code to do two things that are nearly impossible for other Oregon wineries. First, he makes wines that are vibrant, fresh and delicious in a truly old-world fashion. The wines are awesome. There’s a liveliness that we find in the Bow & Arrow wines that can often be lacking from lots of other wines from this state—a zippiness, if you will. As a result, the wines (especially the wines we’re featuring today) can be compulsively drinkable. We may have mentioned this already, but the wines are great.

The other major puzzle that Scott seems to have cracked is affordability. We often see wines from the US marketed as ‘daily drinkers’ in style but the wines are priced at $30++, well north of a comparable wine from Europe. With Bow & Arrow, though, we’re pleased as punch that a delicious local wine is cheaper than most of the competition from Europe.

We have the new releases from Bow & Arrow arriving Friday, including his one-off single vineyard Gamay from the Johan Vineyard.  This is a wine that’s truly singular, even for this house.  As Scott posted on Instagram “The last time we made a one-off bottling was Bone & Marrow in 2012. It took seven years to have another wine in the cellar demand a break from protocol.”  We also have the stunning Willamette Valley Gamay and the always-impresive Johan Melon arriving, as well (to go along with the wines, like his fantastic ’17 Air Guitar, already in stock).

Arriving Friday:

Only twenty four bottles available
Bow & Arrow Johan Vineyard Gamay, Willamette Valley 2018 750ML ($35.95) $31.90 pre-arrival special
Winery note
“A first for us at Bow & Arrow: a vineyard designate Gamay. Tasting through our winery over the course of élevage, we noticed a particular puncheon of Gamay that stood out to us. I know, I know…I have spoken on several occasions about my dislike for the expression of Gamay in oak, tending to work solely with stainless steel and concrete when vinifying said variety. But this old puncheon of Johan Gamay had such a beautiful and singular expression, we felt we had to run with it. Rustic fruit, with the spice and graphite we have come to love from Johan. So here it is, stepping out into the world for the first time!  Only 42 cases of this were produced. Get it while you can.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Bow & Arrow Gamay, Willamette Valley 2018 750ML ($29.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Winery Note
“Gamay is the first red wine to emerge from the fantastic 2018 vintage. Although time has ravaged my memory somewhat, I cannot recall a better expression of Willamette Valley Gamay coming from our cellar in the eight vintages we’ve produced. At it’s best, Gamay walks a high wire balancing the best of gluggable and fresh traditions with the seriousness of regions to the north of Beaujolais (aka Burgundy). The 2018 Gamay feels like crunchy red fruit locked inside a savory, herbal shell…with miniature lightning bolts coming out the sides.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Bow & Arrow Melon Johan Vineyard, Willamette Valley 2018 750ML ($29.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Winery Note
“Muscadet is often considered the biggest underdog in the world of wine. Another way to say it is Melon, the grape that makes Muscadet, is the poor man’s White Burgundy. Made in a similar fashion but in humbler vessels, Melon expresses terroir in a subtle and complex way just like it’s famous friend. It has an affinity for granite, and Johan is the only vineyard in the Willamette Valley with both. So drink your young Burgundies if you like and age your Melon. You will be rewarded with one of the biggest transformations you’re likely to experience in a cellared white wine. The 2018 vintage is a standout in the lineage of Johan Melon; not surprising as all the wines emerging from the cellar are benchmark in our opinion. Drink now or hold up to 15 years!”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

In Stock Now:

Bow & Arrow Air Guitar, Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($29.95) $21.90 special
Winery Note
“Like Rhinestones, the name Air Guitar is a self deprecating poke at attempting French style wines in America.  The “least likely to exist” of all of our Willamette Valley sourced wines, this is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon from Borgo Pass Vineyard and Cabernet Franc from Johan Vineyard.  Don’t let the playful nature of the wine’s label fool you -this is our most profound expression of red wine from this region and the one that rewards the most patience.  Aged 10 to 12 months in puncheon.  “

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Bow & Arrow Hughes Hollow Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($41.95) $29 special
Winery Note
“One of the greatest underdog stories in this region’s wine history.  Cynically planted on a north facing slope some 30 years ago it wasn’t even given a name.  It was just buried in some big houses Pinot for color and bulk.  We came along and convinced the owner to switch to Organic farming and sell us the Gamay block also planted on the site.  The Pinot was part of the deal however and despite begrudgingly accepting it the wine has proven to be the best source of this noble variety we’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.  The most sophisticated wine the cellar produces every year.  Always reminds me of cinnamon, hibiscus, raspberry blossoms and black tea.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Bow & Arrow Melon, Willamette Valley 2018 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Winery Note
“Better known as Muscadet, this is the grape responsible for the classic French wine famous for its versatility with all things Ocean born.  Sourced from multiple vineyards and aged in vat for 6 – 8 months our version treads the same ground as the wines that inspired it.  Briney, crystalline, and quenching this wine is made for summer feasts as well as winter seafood sessions.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Bow & Arrow Le Chenaie Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Eola-Amity Hills 2017 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Winery Note
“Proof that Sauvignon Blanc made the right way can be terroir wine, the short distance between Union School and La Chenaie belies the profoundly different ways in which the two sites express themselves. We make the two wines exactly the same way but the Eola-Amity Hills highlights wholly different attributes in Sauvignon Blanc.  This expression is more sophisticated than its southern brother and incorporates a savory aspect we find fascinating.  Texturally is carries more weight and depth without being ponderous.  Reminiscent of stone fruit, guava, mint and a whiff of Rum Agricole.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Montegrossi Geremia

A Follow-Up to Yesterday’s Hot Offer

Yesterday’s offer of the Chiantis from Rocca di Montegrossi caused quite a stir—you all clearly were excited about them (and for good reason).  Fresh off the heels of yesterday’s strong sales, we’re excited to present Montegrossi’s excellent Super-Tuscan, Geremia.

A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, the Rocca di Montegrossi Geremia captures so much of what we love about the estate with big, rich fruit and a surprising amount of elegance.  This is a wine that would be 2x as expensive if it were from Bordeaux (and probably 3x if it were from Napa, sadly) but the wines of Chianti offer superb value.  We have a mere four cases arriving in December, so hop on these fantastic wines now, while they’re available.

First Offer, Arriving ETA December:

Only forty eight bottles available
Rocca di Montegrossi Geremia Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 96 points
“The Geremia, Rocca di Montegrossi’s Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon blend, is outrageously beautiful in 2015. Racy and pliant, with soft curves, Geremia captures all of the radiant beauty of the vintage. Sweet red cherry, plum, mint, mocha and sweet spice are all fused together. At the moment, there is a touch of new oak that still needs to integrate, but a few more years in bottle should do the trick. Time in the glass brings out attractive floral notes and red-toned fruit character that lend freshness and lift to play off the wine’s more extroverted leanings. The 2015 is a gorgeous Geremia.”

Offered Yesterday, Moving Fast, Arriving Friday:

Only twelve bottles remaining
Rocca di Montegrossi Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany 2017 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 90+ points
“Rocca di Montegrossi’s 2017 Chianti Classico is a rich, exuberant wine that is going to need at least a few years in bottle to settle down. Super-ripe, dense and concentrated, the 2017 may very well shock readers with its intensity. Then again, that is 2017. Super-ripe dark plum, espresso, spice and licorice all race out of the glass. It will be interesting to see where the 2017 goes in the coming years. Today, it is shockingly raw and unformed.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

Only six bottles remaining
Rocca di Montegrossi Vigneto San Marcellino, Chianti Classico DOCG 2014 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 94 points
“The 2014 Chianti Classico Vigneto San Marcellino is dark, sumptuous and super-expressive. Like all of the wines here, the 2014 San Marcellino needs at least a few years in bottle to truly show everything it has, but there is more than enough here to provide for engaging drinking for many years to come. Time in the glass brings out gorgeous scents of black cherry, plum, menthol, licorice and smoke. The 2014 is a striking, complete wine.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Only four bottles remaining
Rocca di Montegrossi Vin Santo del Chianti Classico, Tuscany 2006 375ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 94 points
“Rocca di Montegrossi often makes one of the richest Vin Santos in Chianti Classico. The 2006 is a bit less opulent than is often the case, but that just means the Vin Santo is not a blockbuster. Voluptuous and beautifully layered throughout, the 2006 offers an attractive infusion of dried herbs, wild flowers, coconut, mint and leather, all wrapped around a core of dark, deeply spiced fruit.”


Trending Wines

Oregon is Syrah country, if you like normally your Syrah from the Rhone.
Twill Cellars Syrah, Oregon 2016 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
Winery note
“Licorice, olive paste, black pepper, and huckleberry are immediate on the aromatics. In time, black raspberry, ground coffee and baker’s chocolate are evident with light notes of allspice, grapefruit, and lavender in the background. On the palate, this wine is savory, bright and elegant.”

Dujac is also one of the best producers of white Burgundy.
Domaine Dujac Les Folatieres, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru 2017 750ML ($299.95) $199 special
Domaine Dujac Les Folatieres, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru 2017 1.5L ($599.95) $449 special
Wine Advocate 90-92 points
“The 2017 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Folatières offers up notes of ripe citrus, apples and white flowers, followed by a medium-bodied, pure and attractively tensile palate. The vines here are still young and the wine doesn’t have the depth or concentration of the Combettes, but it’s an elegant middle-weight that should offer a broad drinking window.”

This is the only listing in the USA today for the magnum!
One of the better values in Rioja out there, especially from a year like ’15.
Bodegas Muga Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2015 750ML ($31.95) $26 special
Case-12 Bodegas Muga Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2015 750ML ($359.95) $285 special (that’s only $23.75/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“One of the flagship cuvées from this estate that’s produced in every vintage, the 2015 Reserva is a blend of 70% Tempranillo and the rest Garnacha, Mazuelo, and Graciano that spent 24 months in used French and American oak. Blackberries, currants, cigar wrapper, cedar box, and hints of vanilla all flow to a medium-bodied, concentrated, beautiful Rioja that has ripe tannins, beautiful balance, and a great finish. You couldn’t go wrong with a case of this.”
James Suckling 94 points “Complex nose with ripe black cherries, deeply integrated cedary oak, baking spices, dried flowers, leather, fresh tobacco and earthy notes. This is silky and mellow with long, laid-back tannins that deliver ripe dark plum flavors into a spicy and earthy finish. Drink or hold.”

Mike Etzel focuses on this in lieu of Beaux Freres, these days.
Sequitur Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge 2016 750ML ($119.95) $79 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 96 points
“Glimmering red. A hugely aromatic bouquet evokes fresh red fruits, Asian spices and potpourri, along with a bright mineral overtone and a touch of smokiness. Juicy, seamless and precise on the palate, offering potent, mineral-laced raspberry preserve, rose pastille and spicecake flavors that deepen and spread out steadily on the back half. Delivers a compelling blend of power and finesse and finishes with silky tannins, outstanding clarity and floral- and mineral-driven persistence.”
Wine Advocate 94+ points “Pale to medium ruby-purple in color, the 2016 Sequitur Pinot Noir has a lovely, open nose of black and red cherries and blackberries with notions of wood smoke, turned earth, autumn leaves, cardamom and potpourri. Medium-bodied, it floods the mouth with ripe black and red fruits with wonderful earthy/spicy accents, very fine, grainy tannins and mouthwatering acidity, finishing long with spice and floral layers. 480 cases produced.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $89.95
The average listed price is $93
Charming and just weighty enough for fall.
Agathe Bursin Riesling Bollenberg, Alsace 2018 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Winery note
“[Translated] Bollenberg is one of the three arid hills bordering the village of Westhalten. A thin layer of loess lines the hillsides. The soil is a pale yellow loam, very fine and sandy with clayey limestone. This soil is particularly favorable to full expression of the different Alsatian grape varieties.

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Vajra’s standout Barolo cru, even better than usual in ’15.
G.D. Vajra Bricco delle Viole, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($79.95) $69 special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94+ points
“The 2015 Barolo Bricco Delle Viole is a delicate and pure expression of Nebbiolo. The wine shows its naked beauty with pride, provocatively semi-dressed in lacy, floral aromas of wild rose and pressed violets. At this young age, the wine exhibits a gentle mix of fruity and floral characteristics that merge into the bouquet with intrepidness. The fruit from this vineyard within the Barolo township has maintained its freshness and crispness despite the heat of the 2015 growing season. I think it would be a lovely match for a veal piccata and cream sauce, with parsley and capers.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “Enticing aromas and flavors of plum, cherry, iron and menthol are folded harmoniously into the lush texture and broad tannins of this long and vibrant red, with licorice, mineral and tobacco elements lingering. Best from 2022 through 2040. 1,200 cases made.”
Antonio Galloni 93+ points “The flagship Barolo Bricco delle Viole is quite understated and gracious in 2015. Medium in body, with the persistent tannins that are so typical of this site, the 2015 is lithe, focused and full of energy. The warm vintage notwithstanding, in 2015, Vajra’s Bricco delle Viole is distinctly sinewy and tense. It will offer considerable appeal to readers who find some of the other 2015 Barolos too open and giving in their youthful stage. Kirsch, rose petal, mint and chalky notes build into a finely cut finish. Time in the glass softens some of the youthful, austere contours, but this remains a 2015 Barolo that needs time in bottle to be at its very best.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Rosé of the Day

Bastide Blanche makes some of our favorite rosé from Bandol—that it happens to be under $20/btl (by the case) doesn’t hurt.  This is some legitimately great rosé at a fraction of the price of Pradeaux and Tempier.  Sure, it’s not quite as grand as those two wines, but at the price difference, why worry?  This is a wine to buy by the case and drink up whenever the mood strikes.

In Stock Now:

Domaine de la Bastide Blanche Bandol Rose, Provence 2018 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Case-12 Domaine de la Bastide Blanche Bandol Rose, Provence 2018 750ML ($259.95) $219 special (that’s only $18.25/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 92 points
“Vivid orange-pink. Bright, minerally and focused on the highly perfumed nose, displaying fresh blood orange, strawberry and floral aromas that expand steadily with aeration. Energetic and chewy in the mouth, offering concentrated red berry, citrus fruit and honeysuckle flavors that show excellent depth and delineation. Closes taut and precise, displaying strong persistence and a resonating floral note.”

New Arrivals

From Domaine Gramenon

Gramenon is one of the singular names in the world of wine—the inspiration and mentor for a score of natural winemakers scattered across the Rhone, Languedoc and Roussillon.  These are truly singular wines—organic before that was on anyone’s radar (the first vintage was 1990 and they’ve been resolutely sustainable+organic since) and committed to old-school elevage with minimal sulfur.  The wines that they produce show their unique old vines, from a cooler area of the southern Rhone (in the northeast corner, partially in Vinsobres) that have been vinified with a hands-off approach.  These can be some of the most stunning wines that come out of the region and bottles that should be on any wine lover’s must-try list.

“Domaine Gramenon is the authentic embodiment of the philosophies that the Laurents espouse. They do not merely champion organic farming, but they incorporate the concept of sustainability into their daily lives by growing their own food and raising their own animals. The domaine bottles an AOC Vinsobres and a myriad of parcels of Côtes-du-Rhône located around the domaine. Though Michèle and Maxime continue to test the confines of the appellation, the cellars are unsurprisingly old-fashioned. The Laurents use gravity-fed tanks and age their wines in oak demi-muids and foudres. That they take such gutsy risks as bottling old-vine fruit with so little sulfur, without fining or filtration, only demonstrates the lengths they will go to in order to highlight the freshness, purity, and intoxicating aromas of their small, rare production.”-Kermit Lynch

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Only nineteen bottles available
Domaine Gramenon Cotes du Rhone La Sagesse, Rhone 2017 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
James Suckling 93-94 points
“Dark, stony minerals, dark chocolate and pepper, with plenty of spice and a flinty edge. Silky texture with a lot of ripe, wild raspberries and gently placed layers of tannins. Fresh and elegant. Long and very complex already. A blend of four parcels of grenache. Barrel sample.”
Importer Note ” Pioneers of biodynamic viticulture in the Rhône Valley, the folks at Gramenon continue to put out beauties year after year, honing their craft to new levels with each vintage. If you’re unfamiliar with the style, imagine old-vine Grenache vinified by the likes of Foillard or Barral—pure, sensuous, sometimes a bit wild, with a velvety polish that helps it go down all too easily. I suggest decanting it to best appreciate its intoxicating perfume and voluptuous texture.”

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Domaine Gramenon Cotes du Rhone Poignee de Raisins, Rhone 2017 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Importer note
“A young-vine Grenache produced naturally and released early, this atypical Côtes-du-Rhône is designed specifically to quench thirst while showcasing the scrumptious flavor of fermented biodynamic grapes. The domaine’s organic approach to viticulture and nonintervention in the cellar may strike some as rebellious, yet the Gramenons humbly point out that “thirty years ago, we called that ‘working normally’!” In a landscape dominated by mass-market, technological Côtes-du-Rhône, however, these wines are anything but normal. Hand-harvesting, native yeast fermentations, élevage without any new oak, and negligible doses of sulfur are just a few of the factors that make Gramenon’s wines alive, expressive, and difficult to stop drinking. Serve this one cool, from a carafe, with a plain old burger—generously seasoned with herbes de Provence.”

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Delas’ Powerful Rhone Vision

Delas is one of the most notable landholders in the Northern Rhone, with holdings in some of the best vineyards in every major AOC, yet they still manage to be overlooked when people put together collections of wine from the region.  We’d like to remedy that, so permit us a few seconds to sing their praises.

Delas makes some of the most powerful, intense wines in the Northern Rhone at prices that make them one of the superior values in the region. Density and richness are a hallmark of both the reds and the whites—there are no shrinking violets in the lineup.  We turn to them for big, bold wines that often show very well young—a remarkable trait in their part of France.

For whatever reason, the market has yet to catch up to the quality coming out of Delas’ cellar.  The Northern Rhone has turned into one of the hottest markets in the wine world, with many wineries getting expensive overnight.  That hasn’t happened to Delas—yet.  With the quality of recent vintages and the scores involved, we definitely see it happening soon, though, so if you love these wines now is the time to back up the truck.

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Delas Freres Condrieu Clos Boucher, Rhone 2016 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 95 points
“Pale green-hued yellow. Penetrating, mineral-tinged aromas of fresh citrus and pit fruits are complemented by chalky minerals, violet and fennel accents. Juicy, focused and concentrated, offering intense pear nectar, Meyer lemon and honeysuckle flavors that show outstanding clarity and minerally lift. The mineral and floral notes carry emphatically through a silky, appealingly sweet finish that hangs on with superb focus and tenacity.”
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “A step up, the bigger, richer 2016 Condrieu Clos Boucher is blockbuster stuff, offering serious notes of crushed rock, buttered citrus, orange blossom, and a smoky, meaty, mineral character that’s hard to describe. Possessing full-bodied richness, beautiful mid-palate concentration and a seamless texture, this beauty will be even better this time next year and keep for 4-6 years.”

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The next best price is $94
Delas Freres Hermitage Les Bessards, Rhone 2004 750ML ($199.95) $119 special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 94 points
“Ruby-red. Very pungent, deep aromas of tobacco- and underbrush-laced red and blackcurrant. Powerful and rich, showing impressive sweetness to its potent cassis and blackberry flavors. Really stains the palate, finishing with exceptional purity and mineral tones. Whatever tannins are here (and you know there are plenty) are completely absorbed by the sheer fruit mass.”
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Delas Freres Hermitage Les Bessards, Rhone 2015 750ML ($249.95) $219 special
Jeb Dunnuck 100 points
“The top cuvée from Delas is the 2015 Hermitage Les Bessards, and it’s always 100% Syrah from the steep, broken granite soils of the Bessards lieu-dit. Aged 18 months in 30% new barrels, its purple/plum color is followed by a huge nose of blackcurrants, graphite, toasted spice, crushed rocks and saddle leather. Powerful, massively concentrated, and tannic, it has a broad, expansive, heavenly texture, a thick mid-palate (you could almost use a fork for this beauty), and a great finish. Despite the richness level, it stays balanced and graceful on the palate, and is never over the top or heavy. It’s a perfect Hermitage that will start to shine with 4-5 years of bottle age and keep for three decades or more. Bravo!”
Wine Enthusiast 96 points “Cellar Selection! There’s a striking balance here calibrating bold, almost muscular ripeness against an invigorating granite edge. This wine is plump and full bodied, full of supple blackberry and plum flavors balanced by pert acidity and taut, penetrating tannins. It should be in peak from 2020–2035 but hold further.”
Wine Advocate 95-97 points “The top cuvée is the 2015 Hermitage les Bessards, which comes from the middle to lower portion of the steep, granite hillside known as Bessards, unquestionably one of the best terroirs for Syrah in the world. Its inky purple color is followed by a full-bodied, rich, thrillingly concentrated red that has huge tannin, bright acidity and a solid mid-palate concentration. It still tastes like it just came from the press and will need to be forgotten for a decade. As normal, it’s completely destemmed and will see 18 months in 30% new oak.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 96 points “Inky ruby. A highly aromatic bouquet evokes candied black and blue fruits, along with complicating suggestions of smoky minerals, candied flowers, olive and vanilla. Deep, chewy and expansive in the mouth, offering impressively concentrated dark berry liqueur, fruitcake and salty olive flavors that are complicated by a hint of smoky minerality and a building floral pastille note. Distinctly rich and powerful but surprisingly graceful as well, showing noteworthy clarity and mineral-driven thrust on the strikingly long finish.”

Delas Freres Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes-Marquise de la Tourette, Rhone 2013 750ML ($119.95) $59 special
Jancis Robinson 18/20 points
“Very dark purple indeed. Altogether broader and less focused than the Côte Rôties on the nose. Peppery and subtle. Very glossy, layered, complex and magnificent. I would reproach this only very slightly on the finish but it’s a pretty magnificent wine.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “One of the gems in the vintage is the 2013 Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes, which comes from both the Bessards and Grandes Vignes lieux-dits on Hermitage Hill. Completely destemmed, then vinified in stainless steel and concrete tanks, the wine is aged 18 months in 30% new French oak; it offers terrific notes of dark fruits, graphite and ample minerality in a full-bodied, layered, ripe profile. It’s more approachable than the Les Bessards, yet will still have three decades of longevity.”

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The average listed price is $89
Delas Freres Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes-Marquise de la Tourette, Rhone 2015 750ML ($89.95) $59 special
Wine Spectator 95 points
“This is loaded with well-defined loganberry, blackberry and boysenberry pâte de fruit flavors, flecked with anise and black tea notes and carried by a fine iron streak that lingers wonderfully. A wine of cut, purity and precision. Best from 2020 through 2035. From France.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “A blend of Syrah grapes from several lieux-dits, including Les Bessards, the 2015 Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes is aged in new and second use barrels. It’s a dark, concentrated wine, meaty, rich and tannic but with a bright beam of cassis fruit that lifts it and gives it great definition and shape on the palate. Give this medium to full-bodied wine at least 5 years in the cellar and drink it over the next 15.”
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “While the Les Bessards gets all the attention, the 2015 Hermitage Domaine Des Tourettes isn’t far behind and is unquestionably the value play. Beef blood, cassis, blackberry liqueur and loads of crushed rock nuances all emerge from this ripe, concentrated, full-bodied Hermitage that has a classic, structured profile. It’s well worth a case purchase and will keep for two to three decades. As always, this cuvée comes from two parcels, the lower part of the Bessards lieu-dit and the Les Grandes Vignes located at the highest point on Hermitage Hill. It’s completely destemmed and sees 16 months in 30% new French oak.”
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “Enticing hints of sweet spice, black pepper and bacon fat seduce on the nose of this rich but balanced Hermitage. Blackberry and cherry flavors are fresh and juicy but structured by firm tannins and brisk acidity. A polished wine already, it should intensify its savory, smoky complexities well through 2030.”

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The average listed price is $87
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