The Last Undervalued Great Barolo House?
New Reviews from Wine Spectator and Grapelive
High Scoring Napa Cab from Bevan Cellars
Vajra’s Top Tier Dolcetto : 93 Points, Under $25
Rose of the Day – Cult Loire Hero
The Revolutionary Dry Riesling of Marcus Molitor
New Champagne: Bollinger and Lilbert Fils
2017 Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneufs
The Last Undervalued Great Barolo House?
If you’re new to Brovia, here’s the scoop: Wonderful, expressive wines made and farmed in traditional methods. They hit all the right notes in terms of thoughtful vineyard management (organic without certification, careful pruning, and hand harvesting) and are unapologetically classic in their winemaking (long and slow fermentation and long aging in large barrels and, subsequently, in bottle).
Brovia has an assortment of excellent vineyard holdings that are mostly in Serralunga. Rocche and Villero are obviously top vineyards that are well known, but the other gem in the portfolio is the Brea “Ca’Mia” which is a wine that stands out in any lineup for its combination of Serralunga power and elegance.
We try and carry as many of their wines as we can and the 2015 Barolos, which we’re offering for the first time today, are notable successes. Brovia’s normal style is lean and coiled, so the extra warmth of the vintage pushed the wines to be a little grander than usual. These are all wines that are shaping up to be epics and are also wines that you’ll look back on and wish you had bought more of (especially the way Brovia’s star/pricing is rising).
Arriving ETA October:
Brovia Rocche di Castiglione, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Brovia Rocche di Castiglione, Barolo DOCG 2015 1.5L ($269.95) $219 pre-arrival special
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 95 points ” The Brovia 2015 Barolo Rocche di Castiglione (the last wine I tasted in this series of cru expressions) opens to the darkest color of this series, with a firm core of black fruit. This wine is silky and satiny in terms of texture—one of the trademarks of this sandy-soil cru in Castiglione Falletto—but don’t underestimate that structural firmness that holds it tightly together. It would take nicely to veal involtini with asparagus.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “Brovia’s flagship 2015 Barolo Rocche di Castiglione is a decidedly full-bodied wine. The richness of this warm vintage comes through loud and clear in an ample, resonant Barolo endowed with serious textural depth. Lifted floral and spice notes add an attractive upper register as the 2015 starts to open up in the glass. Even so, the Rocche stands out for its volume and sheer size, both of which are unusual for this Castiglione Falletto site, where the wines tend to be more lithe. The Rocche appears to be the Barolo most shaped by the growing season in this range.”
Brovia Brea ‘Vigna Ca’ Mia’, Barolo DOCG 2015 1.5L ($249.95) $199 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 94+ points “The 2015 Barolo Brea Vigna Ca’ Mia captures all the best the vintage has to offer. Black cherry, plum, espresso, sage, menthol, licorice and leather are all kicked up a few notches in a decidedly dark, strapping Barolo that screams with Serralunga character. Exotic, dark and totally alluring, the 2015 has a very bright future, but readers should be prepared to be patient, as the tannins clearly need time to soften.”
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 93 points “The Brovia 2015 Barolo Brea Vigna Ca’ Mia offers good balance and an authentic representation of the vintage. You can sense some of the heat of the growing season here, thanks to the wine’s open and accessible persona; it enters the palate with softness and elegance. This was the first of the single-vineyard wines from Brovia released this year that I tasted in a flight meant to increase in intensity.”
This is the only listing for a magnum in the USA today!
Brovia Garblet Sue Barolo DOCG, Piedmont 2015 1.5L ($219.95) $189 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2015 Barolo Garblèt Sue’ is dense and powerful in the glass. A rush of black cherry, plum, lavender, iron and sage literally burst from the glass. Ample, full-bodied and intense, the Garblèt Sue’ is another stellar wine in this range. The typically incisive Garblèt Sue’ tannins are nearly buried by the sheer richness of the fruit. Today, the Garblèt Sue’ is distinguished by its wild, feral profile and huge core of fruit. In this vintage, the Garblèt is the overachiever in the range relative to how it shows in most vintages.”
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 94 points “Showing some immediate softness, the 2015 Barolo Garblèt Sue’ is beautifully approachable and generously accommodating, even at this early stage in the wine’s drinking window. Bring it out with a selection of goat cheeses. It’s interesting to note that, at 40 years old, the vines of this cru in Castiglione Falletto actually rank as some of the youngest held by the Brovia estate, founded in 1863, before the unification of Italy.”
Brovia Villero, Barolo DOCG 2015 1.5L ($249.95) $199 pre-arrival special
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2015 Barolo Villero offers richness and darkness with fruit from Castiglione Falletto, and it’s one of the more intense wines I tasted within this selection. The Villero is a balanced and polished Barolo that opens to nicely integrated fruit and spice tones, expertly interwoven and united. The wine has a beautiful entry to the palate. Indeed, this pretty wine presented a united front, with seamless and graceful integration.”
Antonio Galloni 93+ points “The 2015 Barolo Villero is a very pretty, mid-weight wine. Silky tannins and beautifully expressive aromatics give the Villero considerable finesse. On the palate, though, the 2015 is far less expressive. That is not entirely surprising, as the Villero often needs a few years to truly blossom. Sweet floral and spice notes start to open with time in the glass, but the Villero is not an especially forthcoming 2015 Barolo.”
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Ridge Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains 2016 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Wine Spectator 92 points
Arriving ETA December:
Schlossgut Diel Dorsheimer Pittermannchen Riesling Kabinett, Nahe 2018 750ML ($41.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Grapelive 93 points “One of the most perfect Kabinett wines of the vintage so far is the gorgeous and impeccably balanced Pittermanchen by Schlossgut Diel…The Diel 2018 Pittermanchen, sourced from a slate driven VDP Grand Cru site in Dorsheim flows across the palate with amazing texture and a full array of flavors that feel a touch drier than one would expect, but still with a generous caress with green apple, lime, apricot and melon fruits along with flinty and wet stones, sea salt, crystalized ginger and a delicate essence of white flowers, finishing with a creamy rich detail, white still crunchy and jazzy at the same time. The latest Diel Kabinett perfectly captures the serious and elegant styling that is hallmark of Caroline’s wine with the playful and ease of use character of a Kabinett level wine, it’s brilliant stuff that gets more interesting with every sip and gains depth and complexity in the glass, especially with food, for a lighter Riesling it sure delivers an impressive performance.… The three prized Grosse Lage vineyards include Goldloch, Burgberg and Pittermännchen that comprise Diel’s esteemed holdings and were well documented as early as 1901 as an exceptional source for fine and high quality wines…The Pittermännchen vineyard which benefits from those south-facing slopes and its mineral soils, mostly of slate, but with quartz and gravel gives complexity and zesty detail to the wines, as well as that great minerality found in them. Diel prefers whole cluster pressing and “Sponti” native yeast fermentations done in stuckfass, doppelstuck and cement tanks, along with severe selections of the grapes, which are farmed as organic and sustainable as possible with subtle lees aging to balance freshness and richness of form for long lived wines. This Dorsheimer Pittermanchen Kabinett is a savvy choice and one of my favorites, great with spicy Asian cuisine as well as with briny/savory dishes too, drink this joyous Riesling over the next 3 to 7 years, though it should live 20 years, maybe more!”
Thierry Triolet Cuvee Grande Reserve Blanc de Blancs, Champagne NV 750ML ($44.95) $36 special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 91 points “Pale gold. Intense citrus and orchard fruit aromas are complicated by notes of honeysuckle, tarragon and iodine. Chewy tangerine and pear skin flavors become silkier and spicier with aeration. Shows a seductive floral quality on the clinging finish, which features a dusty mineral nuance and a touch of buttered toast.”
Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Annata, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2012 750ML ($199.95) $169 special
Wine Enthusiast 96 points “Underbrush, ripe berry, new leather and Mediterranean herb aromas slowly take shape in the glass. Showing youthful tension, the vibrant palate delivers red cherry, pomegranate, white pepper and pipe tobacco notes framed by bright acidity and taut, refined tannins. It already shows great balance and finesse but is still young and tight. Drink 2022-2035.”
James Suckling 95 points “Love the dried lemon rind, florals and red fruits. Medium to full body and a solid core of fruit and spices. Long and flavorful finish. Just a hint of sweet tobacco. Better in 2020.”
Soulful, powerful and entering a nice drinking window now.
Jacques Lassaigne Millesime Brut Nature, Champagne 2006 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
Wine Advocate 94+ points ” The 2006 Millésime Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature from Montgueux’s Le Cotet vineyard (64%) and 60-year-old vines in Les Paluets is a fascinating, absorbing Champagne. Golden in color, it offers a deep and rich yet unmasked, natural bouquet of yeasty-scented Chardonnay flavors quoting pineapples, buttercup, ripe honeydew melon, biscuits, turrón, white chocolate with pine nuts and dried apricots. Rich and full-bodied but pure and natural again on the palate, this is an intense, full-flavored and multi-layered Champagne with an alluringly salty finish. Each gram of more sugar would have reduced the purity, and by nature, the rich character of this Brut Nature that has power and complexity enough to mesmerize by its natural beauty. I tasted the wine again in November 2015 and it offered a lovely iodine and chalky bouquet, a highly elegant and balanced palate with a complex minerality and structure, and an iodine/salty aftertaste. This is great Champagne and worth a try. The wine did not see any oak, although you might feel there must have been at least a kiss of oak — none! The 2006 was disgorged in September 2013.”-SR
Arnaldo-Caprai Montefalco Rosso, Umbria 2015 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
Case-12 Arnaldo-Caprai Montefalco Rosso, Umbria 2015 750ML ($299.95) $212 special (that’s only $17.67/bottle!)
James Suckling 92 points “Ripe plums, dried lavender, basil, tar, licorice and hot stones show here on the nose. Medium to full body, fresh acidity, round yet tight tannins and a fruity finish. Drink now.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 90 points “I really like the 2015 Montefalco Rosso and am happy to recommend this attractive value wine. It shows dark fruit and spice with a supple and round style. There is not too much dimension here, but the wine is upfront and immediate instead. I make roasted chicken according to an old family recipe with roasted garlic and potatoes, and this is exactly the kind of wine I’d want to pair with that dish.”
Do Ferreiro Albarino Lourido, Rias Baixas 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2017 Lourido shows the austerity of the poor granite soils, like the ones in this zone very close to the island of La Toja. But the palate is also more mineral, vibrant, intense and pungent, with citrus acidity and very long in the palate. They started working these small plots in 2014 and were surprised because the vines are very close to the sea, yet the wine has less salinity. This is because salinity comes from fog, not from proximity to the sea, and so they ended up with a very mineral, electric palate. This is a great addition to the Do Ferreiro portfolio. 1,300 bottles produced. It was bottled in late September 2018. It would be very interesting to see how this ages.”
Wine And Spirits 93 points “Gerardo Méndez selects this wine from parcels of 50-year-old vines rooted in weathered granite. There’s a delicate pink cast to its zesty grapefruit flavors. The texture is just creamy enough to surround the wine’s structure, creating a push-pull of freshness and toasty richness. Tina Vaughn of The Simone in NYC likened those toasty flavors to the yeastiness of fregola sarda, a couscous-like pasta from Sardinia; you could bridge it to this wine with saffron and clams.”
Castello di Volpaia Coltassala, Chianti Gran Selezione DOCG 2015 750ML ($69.95) $49 special
James Suckling 96 points “A decadent nose of vanilla, brambleberries, resin, coffee beans, tobacco and hot stones with a touch of citrus and other fresher elements. Full-bodied and very intense on the palate, but the ripe tannins also show plenty of firmness. The bright acidity carries this through to a delightfully long finish. From organically grown grapes. Drink in 2021.”
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 95 points “This wine has now been upgraded from Riserva to Gran Selezione status. The 2015 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Coltassala is a beautifully enriched wine that bursts open with a satisfying display of bold fruit, ripe blackberry, tobacco, spice and tar. There is ample muscle and brawn, but the wine shows impressive balance thanks to its soft textural richness and full-bodied approach. The blend is 95% Sangiovese and 5% Mammolo. This is a real beauty that pairs a hot vintage with one of the coolest, high-altitude subzones (Radda in Chianti) in this celebrated appellation. I’m sure this is the best wines I have ever tasted from Castello di Volpaia. Some 12,000 bottles were produced.”
Arriving ETA October:
Bevan Cellars Tench Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville 2016 750ML ($249.95) $199 pre-arrival special
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.”
Bevan Cellars Proprietary Red EE Tench Vineyard, Oakville 2016 750ML ($249.95) $199 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 98 points “A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Cabernet Franc and 5% Merlot, the deep garnet-purple colored 2016 Proprietary Red EE Tench Vineyard is scented of pure plums and ripe blueberries with redcurrants and touches of lavender, roses, bay leaves and dusty earth. The palate is medium to full-bodied, firm, fine-grained, vibrant and refreshing, finishing long and perfumed. 1,403 cases produced.”
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points “The 2016 Tench Vineyard EE Red Wine checks in as a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc, and the rest Merlot, which is the smallest amount of Cabernet Franc to date. Brought up in new barrels, it has gorgeous blue fruits, violets, spring flowers, and damp earth. Medium to full-bodied, elegant, and just about as seamless and silky as it gets, this is a magical wine to drink over the coming 15 years or more.”
Bevan Cellars ‘Ontogeny’ Red, Oakville 2016 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Bevan Cellars ‘Ontogeny’ Red, Oakville NE 2016 750ML ($719.95) $569 pre-arrival special (that’s only $94.83/bottle—the lowest listed price in the USA!)
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points “While the 2016 Ontogeny Red Wine might be the least expensive wine in the lineup, it’s unquestionably at the same quality level as the top tier releases. Boasting a saturated purple color and sensational notes of plums, currants, chocolate, and graphite, this beauty hits the palate with full-bodied richness, incredible opulence and decadent, no hard edges and perfect overall balance. It’s the real deal, and readers should snatch up this beauty.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “Blended of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Cabernet Franc, 15% Petit Verdot and 4% Merlot, the deep purple-black colored 2016 Ontogeny Proprietary Red Wine gives pure blackberries, black cherries and blueberries with bay leaves and black pepper plus a touch of cedar. The palate is medium to full-bodied, fresh, grainy and harmonious, finishing long and juicy. 2,963 cases produced.”
Vajra’s Top Tier Dolcetto
93 Points, Under $25
Their Dolcetto “Coste & Fossati” comes from the two cru Barolo vineyards of the same names and offers up surprising power, concentration and nuance for a wine under $25, much less one made from a grape with Dolcetto’s reputation. Perhaps only Giacosa’s Dolcetto is in the same sort of plane within Barolo—this is a wine that’s worth buying in bulk and drinking over the next half decade.
In Stock Now:
G.D. Vajra Coste & Fossati Dolcetto d’Alba, Piedmont 2017 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2017 Dolcetto d’Alba Coste & Fossati is a wine of extraordinary and arresting beauty. Intense and yet also remarkably delineated, the Coste & Fossati is a terrific example of the heights Dolcetto can reach in skilled hands. Readers will find a gorgeous, beautifully layered wine endowed with tremendous energy and focus. Dark plum, graphite, smoke, menthol and licorice all build in this super-expressive and nuanced wine from Vajra. I loved it.”
Vajra has emerged as one of our favorite producers of Barolo over the last half-decade. The estate has always been good, but seems to have reached another level over the last 5-10 vintages. These are stunning wines, built to age. They are best known for the Bricco delle Viole, however the Ravera might just be the best wine in the cellar, especially in a warm vintage like 2015. We acquired a few cases of this stunner and any Piemonte enthusiast needs to have it in their cellar.
G.D. Vajra Ravera, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2015 Barolo Ravera captures all the best the vintage has to offer. More importantly, it has that extra level of textural richness and sweetness that the Bricco delle Viole does not have, at least not today. Creamy and beautifully textured in the glass, the 2015 is a total winner. Bright red raspberry and pomegranate fruit notes are lifted, while expressive floral and blood orange overtones add brightness. The 2015 suggests that the Ravera might, in time, become the flagship wine here. Don’t miss it!”
A Cult Loire Hero
In Stock Now:
Thibaud Boudignon Rose de Loire 2018 750ML ($27.95) $24 special
Importer note “80% Cabernet Franc, 20% Grolleau from 25+ year old vines grown on shallow soils of grey schist and rhyolite (volcanic soil) and clay. Indigenous yeast fermentation of direct press rosé with no malo. Aged in stainless steel.”
That vision has also led to a complete reimagining of how selective picking might work in any given vineyard. Most winemakers would pick once or twice (or three times) in a vineyard and vinify many lots together—it’s easier and the wines are good. Molitor, though, asks what each parcel and pick would be like on its own—treated as if it were a wine of distinction rather than a blending component. This is a lot of extra work and requires time and space that most winemakers would rather not spend, but the result is a dizzying number of bottlings that all strive toward perfection.
Whenever Germans visit our shop, they’re blown away at the selection of Markus Molitor wines more than anything. In his native land, Molitor’s wines are tightly allocated and so to see so many different bottlings in one place is a bit jarring. (Imagine piles of Sine Qua Non sitting around and you get the idea.) These are brilliant, coveted wines and we’re always on the hunt for as many as we can get our hands on. We’re highlighting a collection of his white capsule (ie: dry) wines today, but you can see the totality of our Molitor stock (and pre-arrival offerings) in our webstore, as well.
In Stock Now:
“a very elegant, lush and finessed Spätlese [trocken] with crystalline acidity”
Markus Molitor Erdener Treppchen Riesling Spatlese Trocken (White Capsule), Mosel 2016 750ML ($34.95) $27 special
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2016 Riesling Erdener Treppchen Spätlese (White Capsule) has a very clear and precise bouquet of ripe and concentrated yet fine and flinty Riesling expressions intermixed with yeasty notes from the long lees aging, which lasted until September 2017. On the palate this is a very elegant, lush and finessed Spätlese with crystalline acidity and beautiful Mosel elegance. The purity, finesse and terroir expression are really remarkable here. A great and promising Spätlese. Tasted March 2018.”
Markus Molitor Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese*** Trocken (White Capsule), Mosel 2016 750ML ($99.95) $89 special
Wine Advocate 98 points “The 2016 Riesling Graacher Himmelreich Auslese *** (White Capsule) opens with very clear, super fine, precise and delicate yet deep, intense and concentrated fruit intertwined with just a hint of noble oak leaf notes. Full-bodied, fresh and very dense in its mineral structure, packed with mocha and nougat flavors, this is an elegant, highly vital and complex Himmelreich—by far the best dry Riesling I have ever tasted from this vineyard. Molitor’s parcel is the steep part behind the Josephshof where the vines were planted in 1990. The soil is pretty stony, but there is also fine earth. The 2016 was fermented in a 2,000-liter oak vat plus a 225-liter barrique. The wine reveals enormous finesse and salinity and is spectacular in its purity and refreshing tension. This is so saliva-inducing that I tried to spit it four times—and failed four times. I tasted the wine three times in 14 days from the same bottle in March 2018. The second and third encounter showed a much fruitier, more classic Himmelreich style. The wine is the perfect expression of ripeness, elegance, finesse and freshness. Its finish is much (!) longer, more tensioned, salty and vibrantly fresh than any other wine I have ever had from this steep grand cru between Wehlen and Graach. Molitor’s parcel is located pretty high (straight next to his Pinot Noir plot); the vines are “only” 26 years old, but the trunks are as big as if they were much older.”
“Bold and rather powerful but also very fresh.”
Markus Molitor Kinheimer Hubertuslay Riesling Auslese** Trocken, Mosel 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2016 Riesling Kinheimer Hubertuslay Auslese ** (White Capsule) shows a deep yet very fine and mineral slate bouquet with very fine bright Riesling aromas. Full-bodied and complex, with a firm and persistent mineral structure, this is a very elegant, refined and persistent Auslese that reflects the fine slate soils of the Hubertuslay beautifully. This is superbly balanced, finessed and elegant. Although it already drinks with pleasure today, the wine will gain complexity over the years in the bottle.”
Stuart Pigott-jamessuckling.com 94 points “Slightly funky from the wild ferment. However, with aeration, this blows off quite quickly with a big wave of citrus and herbs following through. Bold and rather powerful but also very fresh. This is a very expressive dry Mosel riesling. Better from 2019, but there is no rush.”
Markus Molitor Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Spatlese Trocken, Mosel 2016 750ML ($34.95) $27 special
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2016 Riesling Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Spätlese (White Capsule) is clear, fresh and precise on the nose where a ripe, concentrated and spicy white fruit aroma is displayed and intermixed with crystalline and crunchy slate flavors. On the palate, the Bockstein reveals lush, concentrated, very elegant and mineral structured fruit that is terribly precise and piquant. The finish is pure, clean, intense and persistently salty, again showing crunchy slate flavors. The wine was bottled in September 2017. Tasted in March 2018.”
Stuart Pigott-jamessuckling.com 93 points “Full of blossoms and citrusy freshness. This Saar wine is so juicy and refreshing that you might think it is too charming, but it has a firm and mineral core that builds up at the long finish. Drink or hold.”
Markus Molitor Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese** Trocken, Mosel 2016 750ML ($59.95) $51.90 special
Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2016 Riesling Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese ** (White Capsule) has a clear and flinty-scented bouquet of great elegance. With ripe stone fruit aromas on the nose and a very delicate flinty character, this is a beautifully lush and elegant Auslese with enormous complexity, length and mineral tension. It’s crystalline and powerful yet always balanced, and the acidity is absolutely delicate and intertwines with finely grained tannins. The finish is dense and persistent. The wine was fermented and aged in a single 2,000-liter barrel. Bottled at the end of September 2017; tasted March 2018.”
David Schildknecht-Vinous 94 points “Rowan, heliotrope and apple blossom introduce a performance of flattering creaminess and luscious appley fruitiness perfectly complemented by persistently wafting floral perfume and undertones of almond paste and vanilla. There is a strikingly custardy combination of creaminess and density midpalate. Yet, for all of its soothing richness, this beauty finishes with an unexpectedly and impressively decisive note of wet stone as well as infectious, refreshing primary juiciness.”
“highly complex and persistent Auslese from Markus’s most important single vineyard”
Markus Molitor Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese** Trocken, Mosel 2016 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Wine Advocate 98 points “The 2016 Riesling Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Auslese ** (White Capsule) is a different style of Mosel Riesling compared to the other 2016 Auslesen. Fermented in different oak vats, from barrique size to 3,000-liter vats (including one big Stockinger vat that was new), this is clear, ripe and complex on the nose, with toasty as well as smoky-mineral notes framing the perfectly ripe and elegant stone fruit aromas. Full-bodied, round and complex, with gorgeous sweetness and mind-blowing silkiness and balance, this is a rich yet fine, elegant, highly complex and persistent Auslese from Markus’s most important single vineyard. The 2016 is concentrated yet very clear and elegant, revealing very fine tannins and a very long, complex finish. It already drinks with great wonder, and this wine will even gain more complexity though it’s already hard to resist.”
Stuart Pigott-jamessuckling.com 95 points “Still a bit funky from the wild ferment. The power and delicacy are almost exactly matched here, and they are beautifully complemented by notes of nectarines and Mandarin oranges. The finish is long and very graceful. Better from 2019 and decades of aging potential ahead of it.”
“there is perhaps just one competitor in the Mosel and that’s Markus’ own…Auslese ***”
Markus Molitor Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese** Trocken, Mosel 2013 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Wine Advocate 96 points “Compared to the dry Sonnenuhr Spätlese, the dry 2013 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Auslese ** is significantly more refined and detailed in its subtle, slightly fumy mineral flavors on the nose, but as clear and healthy in its citrus aromatic, which is completed by delicate pineapple flavors. The wine is absolutely elegant and delicate on the palate and the concentration has nothing to do with power or richness here, but with purity, finesse, complexity and length. The mineral or slate taste is remarkably fine and densely woven which gives this Auslese a great elegance and the finish of a world-class Riesling. The finish is not only very persistent but also aromatic, piquant and salty plus full of needles. This is a great wine made for decades and there is perhaps just one competitor in the Mosel and that’s Markus’ own 2013 Auslese ***. “
Drawing from Grand Cru vineyards, Lilbert makes blanc de blancs wines from some excellent vineyards in a finessed, minerally style that has lots of brioche-y character due to the large quantities of reserve wines in their various blends. At the prices asked, these are wines that massively over-deliver. That’s certainly because they fly under the radar(at the moment) but that could (and should) change over the next few years.
Arriving ETA January:
Lilbert-Fils Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut, Champagne NV ($69.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 92 points “A fresh and elegant blanc de blancs Champagne, with juicy nectarine and mango fruit accented by hints of candied kumquat, spring blossom and salted almond. Long and creamy on the mouthwatering finish. Disgorged summer 2016. Drink now through 2022. 1,650 cases made, 100 cases imported. — AN”
Lilbert-Fils “Perle” Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut, Champagne NV ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 93 points “This bottle of Lilbert’s NV Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Perle was disgorged in summer 2018 with five grams per liter dosage and is based on the 2013 vintage, with 35% reserve wines. Offering up aromas of lemon oil, crushed chalk and hints of warm biscuits, it’s medium to full-bodied, with an elegant pinpoint mousse, a deep and tight-knit core, racy acids and a penetrating, precise finish. Dry and incisive, it’s classic Lilbert, showing Cramant’s serious side, and it will evolve beautifully in the cellar.”
Bollinger Special Cuvee Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($69.95) $54.50 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 92 points “Fine bubbles combine nicely with the cooked apples, pie crust and lemon rind. Some biscuit, too. Full body. Layered and creamy with a crisp finish. Always delicious. Drink now.” [Reviewed July 2019]
Bollinger Rose, Champagne NV 750ML ($99.95) $75 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 93 points “This offers ripe plum and nectarine fruit, with mouthwatering acidity in abundance, as well as accents of anise, tea rose and orange peel. Bright and finely knit, featuring a satiny mousse and good focus through to the chalk-laced finish. Drink now through 2024. 950 cases imported.” [Reviewed 2019]
James Suckling 93 points “A fruity and fresh, tangy rosé with peach and apple aromas and flavors and hints of cream and lemon rind. Subtle and satisfying. Drink now.” [Reviewed July 2019]
These are big, rich wines with incredible textures and explosive personalities. We’ve secured significant allocations of their three major Chateauneuf du Papes, the VV, Les Origines, and Miocene, all arriving this winter. The VV is one of the best wines made in the region every year, while the Les Origines and Miocene both deliver excellent value for their prices. We’re able to offer these at excellent pricing, despite the insane demand for the 2017 vintage—so lovers of the Rhone, take note. These always sell fast and we expect this set will continue that trend.
Arriving ETA December:
Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2017 750ML ($119.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2017 750ML ($719.95) $479 pre-arrival special (that’s only $79.83/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 97+ points “The 2017 Châteauneuf Du Pape Vieilles Vignes is a bigger, richer, more opulent wine. Beautiful notes of blackcurrants, scorched earth, graphite, and crushed violets, all flow to a full-bodied, Châteauneuf Du Pape that has a voluptuous, sexy texture, brilliant depth of fruit, fine tannins, and a purity of fruit that’s hard to find in this vintage. It’s a thrill a minute, and while it’s approachable today, it will keep for 15-20 years. 416 cases.”
Decanter 96 points “Grown on galets, the fruit for this wine is all destemmed and fermented in stainless steel before being aged for 16 months, half in concrete and half in new barriques. The strong Mourvèdre component comes through as deep, ripe dark fruits and violets. It’s full-bodied and dense with soft, lush tannins, and is held together by a beam of strong acidity, finishing long. A lithe, muscular, impressive wine that will last the course. Just 5,000 bottles made.”
Case-6 Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Origines, Rhone 2017 750ML ($419.95) $289 pre-arrival special (that’s only $48.17/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 95+ points “The 2017 Châteauneuf Du Pape Les Origines takes things up a notch on the serious scale and has a much more concentrated, focused, structured style. A blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, and the rest Syrah that saw 50% new barrels, it offers a rich, concentrated, focused texture, notes of black raspberries, roasted garrigue, pepper, and tons of minerality, building tannins, and outstanding length. The new oak is beautifully integrated, it’s perfectly balanced, and it’s one of those wines that has a kiss of modern character yet stays firmly planted in the Southern Rhône.”
The next best price is $69.99
Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Le Miocene Rouge, Rhone 2017 750ML ($299.95) $219 pre-arrival special (that’s only $36.50/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 91 points “The traditional cuvée at this great estate is the 2017 Châteauneuf Du Pape Le Miocene, and in 2017 it’s a classic blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvèdre, brought up mostly in concrete (there’s a small amount in older barrels). It has a wonderful fresh, forward, delicious style as well as notes of black raspberries, garrigue, pepper, and hints of flowers. Pure, medium to full-bodied, upfront and ready to go, it’s a beauty geared for drinking over the coming 8-10 years.”
The next best price is $45