Midweek Addition 9-11-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

A New Vintage of Rioja Alta 904

Two Exceptional Bordeaux Values
Chateau Carignan and the Return of L’Hetre

New Reviews from Wine Spectator and Grapelive
Plus Bonus Rosé Picks!

Trending Wines

Return of a Vinopolis Classic CdP: Olivier Hillaire

Some of Fourrier’s Rarest Wines


Just Arrived

A New Vintage of Rioja Alta 904

We’ve been selling the wines of La Rioja Alta like hotcakes the past few weeks—especially the 2010 vintage of their top of the line “904” Grand Reserva.  These are excellent wines top to bottom, but there’s something about the 904 that seems to capture the imagination and palate.  As a result, we’ve just brought in the outstanding 2009 vintage in—an earlier drinking companion (at a lower price) to the structured 2010.

La Rioja Alta is one of the Great Names of Rioja.  Along with Lopez de Heredia and Muga, they form a triumvirate of excellent, resolutely traditional producers in the heart of Haro.  Rioja Alta is perhaps the most under the radar of the three—not as romanticized as Lopez and not as big and everpresent as Muga.  Despite their (relative) obscurity, Rioja Alta makes wines that are every bit the top of the class of the region.

We’re stocking up on these and so should you—these are absolutely brilliant wines to drink now and to age, so it’s hard to buy too many.  They arrive in a few weeks and you’d do well to stock up—these are brilliant bottles at prices that are fantastic for what’s inside them.

Just Arrived In Stock Now:

La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904, Rioja DOCa 2009 750ML ($69.95) $49 special
James Suckling 97 points
“This is a driven and super tight Gran Reserva with dark berries and hints of spice and cedar. A spicy red-pepper undertone and some dried flowers. Full to medium body, integrated tannins and a superb finish. A great wine.. A wine for the cellar, but why wait?”
Tim Atkin, MW 96 points “(13.5%) Reflecting the excellence of the vintage, as well as its power, this is the latest in a superb run of 904 Gran Reservas. Combining Tempranillo with 10% Graciano for added backbone and grip, it’s a wine that is (as ever) supremely drinkable on release, but will reward further cellaring. Spicy, aromatic and enticing, with the vanilla sweetness of American oak, savoury tannins and a core of stylish, balsamic-edged fruit. Traditional Rioja with a modern accent. 2018-29.”
Peñín Guide To Spanish Wine 96 points “Podium Award Winner. Colour: pale ruby, brick rim edge. Nose: old leather, fruit liqueur notes, cigar, spicy. Palate: light-bodied, balanced, classic aged character, fine bitter notes, reductive nuances.”
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 95+ points “This super classical cuvée showcases the wines from Haro, silky and elegant after long aging in oak and a good future in bottle. 2009 was a powerful vintage, ripe but with good balance. The blend is approximately 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano, fermented in stainless steel with a 78-day natural malolactic. The aging was in four-year-old American oak barrels crafted by their own coopers; the wines aged from April 2010 until April 2014. During that time, the wine was racked every six months, to be finally bottled in November 2014. This is usually my favorite wine from the portfolio, where the balance between aging and youth reaches its highest point. It’s developed but it keeps some fruit character, plenty of spices and balsamic aromas. The palate is polished but has some clout, with clean, focused flavors and a long, spicy and tasty finish. This represents good value for the quality it delivers. Drink: 2018-2034.”
Wine & Spirits 95 points “A ‘Year’s Best Rioja Wine.’ …This is the most inviting kind of Rioja, melding its American oak scents and delicate maturity of fruit into elegance. It has the kind of robust delicacy that would match seafood paella.”

Also In Stock Now:

La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904, Rioja DOCa 2010 750ML ($71.95) $57.50 special
James Suckling 98 points
“Fresh blueberries and brambleberries take center stage, which is striking for a wine of this age. There are also lots of roasted herbs, such as sage, not to mention floral elements, including lavender and dried violets. Then come cedar, sandalwood and tar. The tannins are incredibly round and soft, without the slightest hint of anything dry. This is among the most elegant of Riojas, where the acidity is wonderfully pronounced and cuts right through any touch of dried fruit. Long and powerful, yet subtle on the finish. Drink now, or hold for a very long time.”
Wine Advocate 96+ points “It seems like yesterday when the superb 2001 was released, and now I already have the 2010 Gran Reserva 904 in my glass. It has to be among the greatest modern time vintages of this mythical bottling, where they aim for a wine that has a long aging potential. This is mostly Tempranillo with 10% Graciano and 13.5% alcohol, and it matured in fourth-used American oak barrels for four years, during which time the wine was racked every six months. It has the combination of elegance and power only the best vintages are capable of, with the classical aromas, great detail and nuance, very good balance and persistence. They consider 2010 among the best years of this century, and maybe future generations will talk about 2010 like we talk about the great classical vintages of yesterday today. The palate is polished but shows plenty of energy and tension, the tannins are very fine and elegant, and the flavors are focused and clean. This has to be one of the greatest wines from the vintage. A legend in the making. 150,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in July 2015.”

La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2009 750ML ($39.95) $28 special
James Suckling 96 points
“Very fresh and vivid 2009 with berries, dark spice and hints of walnuts. Full-bodied, reserved and so held back and muscular, but you don’t feel the tannins and the strength. A great wine. Give it two or three years. Try in 2020.”
Wine Advocate 93+ points “The current vintage of one of the flagship wines from La Rioja Alta is the 2009 Viña Ardanza Reserva, the second year it has contained 20% Garnacha grapes from their estate vineyards in La Pedriza in the village of Tudelilla in Rioja Baja. The Tempranillo comes from vineyards averaging 30 years of age in Fuenmayor and Cenicero. The hand-harvested bunches were sorted and put in boxes, transferred to the winery at 14 degrees Celsius to be destemmed and crushed, then the grapes fermented in stainless steel, including malolactic. The two varieties were aged separately, 36 months in used American oak barrels for Tempranillo and 30 months for Garnacha, and racked every six months. It was initially closed, shy and serious, riper and a little darker than the 2008 but still very balanced, serious and harmonious. The palate combines power with elegance, with some tannins, focused flavors, some chalky texture and a rustic touch that gives it character. 600,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in May 2014.”

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La Rioja Alta Vina Alberdi Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2014 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
James Suckling 92 points
“Dried red cherries, paprika, coconut, dried strawberries and earth. Medium body, steely and subtle tannins and a red plum-soaked, medium-chewy finish. Drink in 2021.”
Wine Advocate 90 points “The first wine in their portfolio is already at Reserva level (labeled Crianza in Spain…), of which I tasted the 2014 Viña Alberdi. 2014 was a challenging harvest with lots of rains, and they had to sort and select the grapes. The wine has plenty of balsamic and smoky notes, incense and cigar ash, smoke and spice. The palate is quite marked by the élevage of two years in barrel and reveals a medium-bodied wine with a bitter twist on the finish, and the balsamic notes that you find on the nose make a comeback in the finish. This seems to be a lighter vintage of Viña Alberdi. 500,000 bottles produced. it was bottled in June 2017.”

La Rioja Alta Vina Arana Grand Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2012 750ML ($49.95) $38 special
James Suckling 95 points
“Brambleberries, licorice, dried blueberries, cedar, tobacco, smoke, vanilla, dried citrus and even a hint of grapefruit. The lazer-sharp acidity evinces a real sense of purity, and the tannins are really edgy and structured. Full-bodied but very elegant and stylish. The finish goes on and on, thanks to the shimmering acidity. Beautiful now, but better in 2024.”


Two Exceptional Bordeaux Values

Chateau Carignan

In the world of value Bordeaux, Chateau Carignan’s wines are among the tops.  Located in the Cadillac Cotes de Bordeaux, an area nestled next to Entre-Deux-Mers, it’s a great source for high quality right-bank wines.  There’s a lot of evident care and craftsmanship in this wine—certainly a lot more than you’d expect given the (very) sub $20 price (and under $15/ea by the case!).  2016 was an outstanding vintage and while that certainly translates to the classed growth wines, it may move the needle on the less expensive wines even more.  This is rich and round, with dark plummy flavor and enough tannin to give the wine good length on the palate.

When we find Bordeaux we really like in this price range we buy as much as we can, so we’ve got this available by the bottle and with a little extra love by the case.  It’s due to arrive just in time for fall and winter Bordeaux drinking season and we’d highly suggest you squirrel away a case or two—this is going to be your house red.

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Chateau Carignan, Cadillac Cotes de Bordeaux 2016 750ML ($19.95) $16.50 special
Case-12 Chateau Carignan, Cadillac Cotes de Bordeaux 2016 750ML ($219.95) $179 special (that’s only $14.92/bottle!)
James Suckling 91 points
“This offers bright and ripe dark berries and plums with a smooth, dark-stone edge, continuing into the palate that offers a succulent and supple array of rich, plush tannins and ample flavor. A blend of 75 per cent merlot, 15 per cent cabernet sauvignon and ten per cent cabernet franc. Try from 2021.”

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The next best price is $19.99

Jacques Thienpoint is the iconic owner of Le Pin, the hyper-rare and sought after Pomerol, and L’if, a cult property in St. Emilion.  He’s recently added a third property to that list—L’Hetre, also named after a tree, in the emerging region of Castillon in Bordeaux.  There are a lot of reasons to think that Castillon is going to be the next big thing in Bordeaux (for one, it’s one of the highest points in the region) and Thienpoint’s investment is an important marker.  Unlike Le Pin (one of the most expensive wines in the world) L’Hetre is very much a value proposition, at least for now.  We’ve got the debut 2016 vintage arriving this week, along with the second wine, Raison L’Hetre, and these are as fantastic as any sub-$30 Bordeaux we can remember.

Only time will tell if L’Hetre ends up being one of the most expensive wines in Bordeaux (the initial vintage of Le Pin went for ~$20) but for now it’s one of the best values in classy, right-bank Bordeaux.  We sold through most of our first two tranches (all that remained was a bit of the second wine, Raison d’Hetre) but we’ve got another drop that just arrived, so we’re fully restocked..  Don’t sleep on this one—it’s a delicious wine that drinks well now and will continue to for a while to come.

Just Re-Arrived:

l’Hetre, Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon 2016 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Case-6 l’Hetre, Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon 2016 750ML ($159.95) $119 special (that’s only $19.83/bottle!)
Julia Harding MW – jancisrobinson .com
“L’Hêtre 2016 Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux is the first release of this wine from the organically farmed estate perched at 100 m on the end of the St-Philippe d’Aiguilhe limestone plateau, the highest point in Bordeaux…‘Rich in blackcurrant fruit with a savoury dark glow to make it more than just fruit. Just a touch of smoky char even though the oak is well in the background, a seductive fruit sweetness. On the palate, this is beautifully balanced, the alcohol perfectly integrated in the tannic structure and fruit core with a fresh tang that runs through the middle. There’s a cool fluidity to it even with its depth and length. Fine, dry, lingering and savoury aftertaste. Impressive first vintage with a promising future in the bottle. I opened this on a Sunday evening and it was still tasting fresh and vibrant four days later. This is a very classy wine, and the tannins tell you everything: fine, definite, building in the mouth but in perfect balance with the fruit and freshness. Blue-blooded Castillon. Catch it while you can.’”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
l’Hetre ‘La Raison d’Hetre’, Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon 2016 750ML ($21.95) $16.60 special
Case-12 l’Hetre ‘La Raison d’Hetre’, Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon 2016 750ML ($259.95) $179 special (that’s only $14.92/bottle!)
Julia Harding MW – jancisrobinson .com
“There is a second wine, Raison d’Hêtre, made from the younger vines and lower slopes. It’s a little lighter in body and tasted as if it had a little more of the Cabernets in the blend though the proportions are the same, but this was perhaps just slightly less ripe Merlot fruit.”

New Reviews

From Wine Spectator and Grapelive

Arriving ETA September:

Paolo Scavino Bricco Ambrogio, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 94 points
“An elegant style, boasting strawberry, cherry, currant and spice flavors, supported by vibrant acidity and refined tannins. Turns chewy on the finish, where eucalyptus and tar notes chime in. Best from 2022 through 2042.—B.S.”

In Stock Now:

Peyrassol Cotes de Provence ‘Commanderie de Peyrassol’ Rose 2018 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
Peyrassol Cotes de Provence ‘Commanderie de Peyrassol’ Rose 2018 1.5L ($51.95) $47 special
Grapelive 93 points
“The famous Cotes de Provence winery, Chateau Peyrassol, is located in the hills of the Var, north of St. Tropez…and is well known for their top notch dry Rosé. This tranquil and picturesque spot is home to vineyards planted to primarily Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah used in the Rosé bottlings…The current release of the Rosé, 2018, is a beautiful vintage for this in demand wine, one of the finest I’ve tried from this estate in fact, in particular I love this Cuvee de la Commanderie, the work horse wine of the domaine. Like all of the Rosés of Peyrassol this one was made in the direct press method, with maceration and fermentation being done with cool temperatures. According to the winery and importer Rosenthal Wine Merchant, this winemaking process gives the Rosés of Peyrassol their beautiful watermelon, and delicate salmon pink color. The fermentation is exceptionally long, resulting in rosés that are both lively, fresh and full-bodied and complex, as this one shows with its layers of tart cherry, the mentioned watermelon, strawberry and citrusy crisp fruits along with a steely/mineral character as well as having a wet stone, dried lavender and rosewater elements.  The Chateau Peyrassol, as it has been known since 2001, is one of the longest running domaines in the region being first established in the middle of the 1200s, when it was founded by the Knights of Templar, it rests near the sea and is surrounded by a beautiful Mediterranean forest, with Eighty hectares planted to vineyards which are cultivated on the dry, rocky clay and limestone based soils….I also really like the Blanc and Rouge (made from Cabernet and Syrah) a lot, though the Rosé is certainly the most charming and delicious of the wines and they go great with and without food, though they take on a more serious tone and fill out on the palate with food, I especially enjoy them with seafood like mussels in a Mediterranean inspired spicy broth.”

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Plus, other in stock rosé from Peyrassol and their importer, Neal Rosenthal:

Peyrassol Cotes de Provence ‘Chateau Peyrassol’ Rose 2018 750ML ($31.95) $26 special
Peyrassol Cotes de Provence ‘Chateau Peyrassol’ Rose 2018 1.5L ($99.95) $79 special
Peyrassol Cotes de Provence ‘Chateau Peyrassol’ Rose 2018 3L ($199.95) $169 special
Importer note
“This is the elite cuvée of the estate relying as it does on grapes harvested from the oldest vines of the domaine (35 years and older). Principally composed of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah, the “Chateau” bottling also sees the addition, from time-to-time of Tibouren, the ancient and regal Provencale grape. This Rosé is produced via the “direct press” method and has a long cuvaison designed to produce a wine of character and concentration. Vinified in stainless steel and bottled in late winter – early spring, production is quite limited.”

Lucien Crochet Sancerre Pinot Rose, Loire 2018 750ML ($34.95) $29 special
Importer Note
“Indeed, the 2018 Sancerre Rosé—clocking in just shy of 14%–is deeper in color than usual, as well as more vinous and commanding on the palate. Pure Pinot Noir produced solely from direct-press juice and aged on its lees in stainless steel, this ’18 manages to carry its weight very well, with ultra-bracing acidity and a sense of lift on the nearly viscous palate. While this wine often drinks much like Crochet’s epic whites—steely and mineral, with enormous cut—one feels the Pinot Noir a bit more in this vintage, but it is ultimately a very interesting and delicious rosé”

Chateau Simone Palette Rose, Provence 2017 750ML ($59.95) $51.90 special
Chateau Simone Palette Rose, Provence 2017 1.5L ($139.95) $119 special
Rosenthal Note
“The Rougiers’ justly legendary rosé—composed of the same field blend as the rouge, and produced by blending direct-press and free-run juice in equal proportions—may as well be from another planet as the sea of technologically produced pink concoctions flooding the market. Even serious growers often make rosé as an afterthought, using quick and inexpensive methods and rushing it into bottle to sell it before the first glimmer of spring warmth. At Chateau Simone, however, the rosé ferments spontaneously, and spends a full year in large oak foudres developing remarkable depth. Like all great wines, the best rosés require time—note that Simone is releasing their 2017 when almost every other producer is issuing their 2018—and a bit of risk in the cellar. And, whereas rosés fall apart within a year or two of being bottled, Simone’s is notorious for improving for over a decade, developing the savory notes and umami complexity of an aged red wine over time. The 2017 growing season dished out challenge after challenge—hail, frost, hydric stress, even hungry birds and pigs—with a subsequent 30-40% reduction in yields from 2016 (which was itself 15% down from 2015). Given that the rosé comprises only ten percent of the estate’s production to begin with, there is painfully little 2017 to go around. Those lucky enough to snare some, however, will encounter a wine of terrific expression, as those grapes that survived the season’s myriad challenges ended up remarkably healthy and concentrated. Amply fruited but with a core of lean minerality, the 2017 Palette Rosé offers excellent tension, and its flavors of juicy red apples, Provencal herbs, and softly smoky earth are particularly well delineated.”


Trending Wines
Previously sold out and just re-arrived!
Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas La Geynale, Rhone 2016 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 95-97 points
” (vines over 100 years old vines and no new oak) Brilliant purple. A complex, expansive bouquet evokes fresh black and blue fruits, Asian spices, incense, smoky minerals and olive paste. Deeply concentrated yet lively boysenberry, cherry pie, spicecake and bitter chocolate flavors are underscored by a building mineral quality. Shows a compelling blend of depth and litheness and finishes on a youthfully tannic note, displaying remarkable clarity and insistent mineral character. I don’t think I have ever tasted as profound a wine as this one from Vincent Paris, who seems to be one of the most underrated and under-the-radar producers in the northern Rhône.”
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “The 2016 Cornas Geynale comes all from a single vineyard (the Geynale lieu-dit) and is never destemmed. It has rockingly old school notes of currants, cedarwood, ground pepper, and cured meats. Deep, rich, layered, beautifully textured on the palate, it’s just loaded with charm, has terrific balance, no hard edges, and a big finish. It’s surprisingly accessible (this cuvée almost always requires short-term cellaring) but is going to cruise for two decades on its balance.”
Wine Advocate 95-97 points “There are only about 3,000 bottles of the stunning 2016 Cornas la Geynale. Tasted from tank prior to bottling, it looks every bit the equal of the 2015—oozing with concentrated purple fruit and crushed stone but without that vintage’s massive tannins. The 100-year-old vines Paris works with at this site face south and achieved terrific ripeness, making the wine approachable relatively young.”

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From Charles Smith’s right hand man, this is Bandol gone Hollywood.
B Leighton “Gratitude” Olsen Bros Vyd, Yakima Valley 2016 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points
“The Mourvèdre-dominated 2016 Gratitude Blend (there’s 25% Grenache and 5% Syrah) is a flat-out awesome wine as well as possibly the greatest expression of the variety to come out of Washington State. Beautiful notes of black and blue fruits, dried earth, peppery spice, and loads of floral and rose petal notes all flow to a full-bodied red that has an incredible sense of elegance and purity as well as richness and depth. It’s great today and will be great in a decade.”
Charles Smith / K Vintner’s Winery Note “Another year, another beauty to be thankful for. Very expressive and vibrant with currants, cherries, fresh tobacco and star anise. This wine twists and turns broadly, but with focus, continuing with cured meats to a warm gravel finish.70% Mourvedre, 25% Grenache, 5% Syrah / 100% co-fermented and whole cluster pressed / Native yeast / 33 days on skins / 100% neutral French oak puncheons / 19 mo. barrel-aged on lees.”

A back to school special bottle.
Krug Brut, Champagne 2004 750ML ($299.95) $259 special
Antonio Galloni 97+ points
“Krug’s 2004 Vintage is absolutely mesmerizing. Layers of bright, chiseled fruit open up effortlessly as the wine fleshes out with time in the glass. Persistent and beautifully focused, with a translucent sense of energy, the 2004 captures all the best qualities of the year. Moreover, the 2004 is clearly superior to the consistently underwhelming 2002 and the best Krug Vintage since 1996. Readers who can find it should not hesitate, as it is a magical bottle.”
Wine Advocate 97 points “Combining subtleness with complexity, the coolish Krug 2004 Brut opens with a highly elegant, fascinatingly clear, bright and refreshing bouquet of ripe (apple) fruits. Dense and round, with a delicate mineral soul, the pure but perfectly balanced 2004 reveals great finesse and weightless elegance with a long and round finish. This is a gorgeous Krug vintage that is 14 years old but still on the rise. Tasted from ID 316034 in New York in November 2018.”-SR
Decanter 97 points “This is the current and latest vintage release from Krug, and is a fitting successor to 2002, though it’s very different in style – unusually, the blend contains more Chardonnay than Pinot Noir. Despite this, it is hallmark Krug with its oxidative profile. It has a luminous freshness and good density without heaviness. There’s a controlled power to this poised, vinous, linear 2004, displaying candied fruits, minerals, gingerbread, white chocolate, caramel and marzipan. This has a long, dry autolytic finish, great balance and lovely bead. Disgorged just after the next, and very different, vintage we tasted, the Krug 2003. Drinking Window 2017-2037.”

Merkelbach remains one of the treasures of the Mosel.
Weingut Alfred Merkelbach Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Spatlese #7 Halbtrocken, Mosel 2016 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
David Schildknecht – Vinous 92 points
“I harbor fond memories of halbtrocken Merkelbach Würzgartens long past, so perhaps you’ll think I was overly influenced simply by having once again seen those words on a bottle of their Riesling. But its contents certainly left me wishing that they would let this happen in their cellar more often. A classic Würzgarten nose of fresh strawberry and lime adds hints of more Erden-typical tarragon and sassafras. Subtly silken in feel, this finishes buoyant and lusciously long, with animating, bright primary juiciness and transparency to shimmering impingements of stones and mineral salts. Incidentally, it weighs in at a mere 10% alcohol, a reminder that the Merkelbachs pick for Spätlese at must weights that most of today’s top Mosel growers would deem appropriate for Kabinett. A prime example of what I call “hidden sweetness” – residual sugar playing a supportive and catalytic role while not engendering any overt sense of sweetness – this will perform brilliantly at table as well as in your cellar.”

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French but drinks like California.
Domaine de L’Edre Cotes du Roussillon Villages 2013 750ML ($49.95) $38 special
Wine Advocate 95 points
“One of the wines of the vintage is the 2013 Cotes du Roussillon Villages Domaine de l’Edre. While this cuvee had a rustic edge in the past, today it’s incredibly polished and pure, with brilliant aromatics of cassis, black raspberries, licorice, crushed flowers and chalky minerality. Medium to full-bodied, ripe, yet elegant and balanced, it’s a classic Roussillon that can be enjoyed today or cellared for a decade.”

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98 points, under $60…if that sounds appealing, you’ll love this wine.
Hartford Family Winery Hartford Court Seascape Vineyard Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 2016 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points
“Leading off the Pinot Noirs, the 2016 Pinot Noir Seascape Vineyard comes from a ridgetop vineyard located west of the town of Occidental. Aged 17 months in 27% new French oak, it offers a savory, marine-influenced bouquet of wild strawberries, cranberries, rose petals, and Asian spices. With medium to full body, supple tannins, and a great, great finish as well as a singular character, this magical Pinot Noir from this team will benefit from a year in bottle and keep for over a decade.”
Wine Advocate 97+ points “The 2016 Hartford Court Pinot Noir Seascape Vineyard is pale to medium ruby-purple colored and opens with vibrant cranberries, pomegranate and Bing cherries scents with touches of underbrush, wild sage, red roses and mossy bark with a waft of tilled soil. Medium to full-bodied, the palate packs in the elegant red fruit and earthy layers, finishing on a long, lingering, provocative mineral note.”

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Return of a Vinopolis Classic Chateauneuf:

Olivier Hillaire

We’re pleased to announce the return of one of our favorite Chateauneuf du Pape producers, Olivier Hillaire. Back when the shop was in its old location, Hillaire was one of our two or three best-selling producers—there were stacks of those wines and they flew out the door by the case.  They deliver exceptional value at each price level, from the entry level to the top end.  We’ve been unable to source them for the last few years but are excited to bring them back in force.  Now’s a perfect time to restock and grab a case or two for all your winter drinking and cellaring needs.

Arriving ETA December:

Domaine Olivier Hillaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Petits Pieds d’Armand, Rhone 2016 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Domaine Olivier Hillaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Petits Pieds d’Armand, Rhone 2016 750ML ($599.95) $449 pre-arrival special (that’s only $74.83/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 96 points
“The 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Petits Pieds d’Armand comes from a parcel of Grenache originally planted at the end of the 19th century in a sandy part of La Crau. It’s Hillaire’s flagship, and it merits its status this vintage, where it shines with raspberry fruit and layers of dried spice complexity. It’s full-bodied and rich yet silky, elegant and long on the finish, epitomizing the delicious contradictions that Grenache can present.”
Josh Raynolds 95 points “Vivid ruby. An exotically perfumed bouquet evokes red fruit preserves, spicecake and incense, and a minerally element adds urgency. Impressively energetic on the palate, offering intense raspberry, cherry compote and lavender pastille flavors that deepen slowly on the back half. The floral note repeats emphatically on the impressively long, youthfully tannic finish, which leaves a smoky mineral note behind.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Domaine Olivier Hillaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape ‘Les Terrasses’, Rhone 2016 750ML ($89.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Domaine Olivier Hillaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape ‘Les Terrasses’, Rhone 2016 750ML ($539.95) $389 pre-arrival special (that’s only $64.83/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 95 points
“The 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Terrasses is a fine example of old-vine Grenache from a parcel of vines near La Nerthe. Rose petals and black tea accent pristine cherry and raspberry fruit in this full-bodied but silky-lacy, delicate wine. Long, briny and refreshing on the finish, it’s deceptively drinkable but undoubtedly packs a wallop.”
Josh Raynolds 94 points “Brilliant violet. Lively, mineral-accented red and blue fruit aromas are complemented by suggestions of lavender and vanilla. Silky and energetic on the palate, offering concentrated raspberry and boysenberry flavors that deepen and become spicier as the wine opens up. Closes sweet, energetic and very long, displaying harmonious tannins and lingering smoke and red berry liqueur notes.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Domaine Olivier Hillaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2016 750ML ($49.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Domaine Olivier Hillaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2016 750ML ($299.95) $189 pre-arrival special (that’s only $31.50/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 94 points
“The young estate has turned out some crazy good 2016s, including the “basic” 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape, a blend of 90% Grenache and the rest Mourvèdre and Syrah, all from the lieu-dit of Grand Pierre. Aged in concrete and neutral barrels, it shows terrific balance, matching black cherries and raspberries with hints of garrigue, and ample weight and richness on the palate with fine, silky tannins. Concentrated, flavorful and long, this should be available for around $50, making it a relative bargain.”

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Some of Fourrier’s Rarest Wines

Domaine Fourrier makes some of the most captivating wines in Burgundy. To Burgophiles, this isn’t much of a claim—the wines that Jean-Marie has produced since taking over from his father have become hot tickets in the Burgundy world. If you aren’t familiar, though, these are wines to put on your radar. Fourrier’s style is heavily influenced by his time working under Henri Jayer and the wines show this, with robust, succulent fruit balanced by beautiful pure minerality.

When young they’re among the most impressive wines in Burgundy and they improve with age, as well.  We’ve always had a hard time keeping our hands off of the lower-tier wines in the first five years after the vintage, but stash a few bottles in your cellar and you’ll reap the rewards later. Fourrier works exclusively with old massale vineyards (anything from vines younger than 30 years is sold off) and that sort of soul really makes it into the bottle.

The kicker with Fourrier is that quantities have really started to dry up in the last three+ years.  Prices have gone up correspondingly, but these are wines that are already starting to disappear from the marketplace.  We’ve worked hard to acquire a number of wines across a few vintages—some in stock now, some arriving soon—and we’d highly suggest (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) that you take advantage of our sourcing prowess while you can.’

We’ve got some new wines from Fourrier arriving soon, including the nearly-impossible-to-find Griotte-Chambertin and (negociant) Clos de Beze/Chambertin.  Plus, we’ve got a few wines in stock that deserve a spot of honor in your cellar as well.

Arriving ETA September:

Only one bottle available
Jean-Marie Fourrier Chambertin Clos-de-Beze Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes, Cote de Nuits 2015 750ML ($699.95) $599 pre-arrival special
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 93-95 points
“Moderately saturated medium red. High-pitched perfume of raspberry and crushed rock. Savory and sharply delineated, conveying strong soil character to its flavors of raspberry, minerals and rose petal. Still tight but not austere, this compellingly juicy wine finishes brisk and very long. This will need time in bottle to open and blossom. These vines are located just above Fourrier’s Cherbaudes holding.”
Burghound 92-95 points “Discreet wood does not interfere with the clear expression of the wonderfully spicy red currant, black cherry and softly earthy-scented nose. There is much more refinement to the powerful, intense and moderately dense flavors that delivers excellent complexity and outstanding length. A wine of class and grace.”

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Only two bottles available
Jean-Marie Fourrier Chambertin Grand Cru Vieille Vigne, Cote de Nuits 2015 750ML ($779.95) $679 pre-arrival special
Neal Martin-Wine Advocate 94-96 points
“The 2015 Chambertin Grand Cru has a beautifully defined bouquet with black cherries, crushed strawberry, bergamot and rose petal scents, the mineralité surfacing with a few swirls of the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy red berry fruit, gentle grip, fine structure with impressive density on the finish. The elegance will come later, with bottle age.”
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 94-96 points “(made from even smaller berries than the Clos de Bèze, according to Fourrier; this fruit was picked on September 20; just one new barrel out of four): Deep red. Wild, soil-driven scents of raspberry, minerals, spices and game. Boasts outstanding richness and depth of texture without heaviness, although some unabsorbed CO2 is muting the wine’s fruit today. Most impressive today on the spicy, building finish, which features utterly noble tannins and pronounced terroir character. “The magic of 2015 was the way the vines were able to maintain their plateau of ripeness for two weeks,” noted Fourrier.”
Burghound 93-95 points “Don’t miss! A prominently less spicy but even more complex nose displays admirable purity on the cool, dense and restrained array of various black berry fruit, earth, forest floor and a hint of the sauvage. The more mineral-driven and overtly powerful big-bodied flavors possess even better energy if less refinement on the hugely long, serious and built-to-age finale. This will absolutely require at least a decade of bottle age and reward double that.”

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Only three bottles available
Domaine Fourrier Clos Saint-Jacques, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru 2008 750ML ($699.95) $599 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 96 points
“The 2008 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St. Jacques engages all of the senses with its cool, mineral-laced fruit and expressive bouquet. This shows marvelous tension and energy, not to mention fabulous overall balance. It could not be more different in style than the 2009 tasted alongside it. Both are fabulous, though. The 2008 is one of the more backward wines of the vintage and will require considerable patience.”

Only two bottles available
Domaine Fourrier Clos Saint-Jacques, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($669.95) $599 pre-arrival special
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 94 points
“Healthy medium red. Sexy, complex aromas of strawberry, crushed stone and rose petal convey a captivating combe coolness. Wonderfully concentrated and bright, combining classic 2014 salty minerality with superb fruit intensity. Boasts the kind of restrained generosity of fruit that reminds me of the ’99s in the early going. A compelling, saline vin de terroir but not a powerhouse. The long, rising finish features very suave tannins.”
Wine Advocate 93 points “Tasted blind at the Burgfest 2014 tasting, Jean-Marie Fourrier’s 2014 Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St Jacques (labelled with “Vieilles Vignes”) has a very pure bouquet, almost coulis-like fruit, dark cherries intermingling with blueberry and light marmalade scents. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, a fine line of acidity, quite sensual in the mouth with good depth on the finish. Perhaps what it is missing is that peacock’s tail—it sort of ends in the wrong key. There is great potential here though not best in the (Clos Saint-Jacques) show this year. Like a television with its contrast turned up a bit too high when compared to its peers. Tasted September 2017.”
Burghound 92-94 points “Sweet Spot Outstanding. This is at once cooler and more elegant with its airy assortment of pure red and blue pinot fruit, floral, spice, earth and tea scents. There is fine intensity and excellent delineation to the pungently mineral-inflected and refined medium weight flavors where the sense of refinement is enhanced by the super fine-grained tannins, all wrapped in an explosively long and perfectly balanced finale. In a word, marvelous.”

Only one bottle available
Domaine Fourrier Griotte-Chambertin Grand Cru Vieille Vigne, Cote de Nuits GC 2014 750ML ($899.95) $799 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 94-96 points
“The 2014 Griottes Chambertin Grand Cru has a very intense bouquet with maraschino, blueberry and violets blossoming in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with succulent ripe black fruit, blueberry and a hint of balsamic, leading to a quite a structured and dense finish that just needs a touch more finesse. I think that will develop with time. Superb.”
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 94+ points “Good medium red. Strawberry and rose petal on the nose. At once dense and brisk, displaying a penetrating quality to its seamless, fine-grained flavors of red fruits and orange zest. Wonderfully taut and energetic but also fine-grained and suave. Less saline today than the Clos Saint-Jacques but boasts terrific fruit and mineral extension on the long, savory finish.”

Only one bottle available
Domaine Fourrier Griotte-Chambertin Grand Cru Vieille Vigne, Cote de Nuits 2009 750ML ($1399.95) $1199 special
Antonio Galloni 96 points
“The 2009 Griotte-Chambertin is a relatively delicate, ethereal wine with expressive aromatics and understated fruit. Deceptively medium in body, the Griotte needs time to flesh out a bit, but it is a stunner. Anticipated maturity: 2019-2029.”
Stephen Tanzer 94+ points “Medium red. Slightly high-toned aromas of blackberry, black raspberry, violet and licorice. The high-toned quality carries through in the mouth, where the sappy-sweet black and blue fruit flavors are complicated by saline soil tones. Less creamy than some of Fourrier’s 2009 premier crus, this very firmly structured, long wine will demand patience. The lovely lift on the back end suggests that it has the energy for a long evolution. Fourrier now gets all his corks from a single supplier in Corsica, who simply steams them and does not use a peroxide solution.”
Burghound 94 points “This is also intensely floral as well as quite elegant with a highly attractive sense of freshness to the high-toned red berry and wet stone suffused aromas. The seductively textured, concentrated and mouth coating flavors possess a taut muscularity on the refined, intense and hugely long finish where a discreet touch of wood surfaces. This should make for a seriously fine example of the appellation in a decade or so yet thanks for the ample dry extract, it should be enjoyable young if desired.”

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In Stock Now:

Only three bottles available
Domaine Fourrier Les Petits Vougeots Vieilles Vignes, Vougeot Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($499.95) $399 special
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 89-92 points
“Bright, moderately saturated medium red. Rather wild scents of crushed cherry stomp, flowers, medicinal herbs and minerals. Offers a lovely fine-grained texture and sweetness of fruit but still in a juicy style for all its ripeness. Very good for this cuvée but there are just three barrels of this juice from 0.34 hectare–or not much above 20 hectoliters per hectare. Savory and long on the aftertaste, with plenty of tannic support.”
Burghound 89-91 points “A discreet application of wood more easily allows the cool, pure and airy essence of black cherry and floral scents to be appreciated. The equally elegant flavors possess a sublime mouthfeel, indeed the word lacy would be apt, though the finish is sufficiently tight and linear at present that a few years of bottle age should help to flesh it out.”

Domaine Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes, Cote de Nuits 2009 750ML ($199.95) $179 special
Antonio Galloni 92 points
“The 2009 Gevrey-Chambertin floats on the palate in its finessed, well-articulated fruit. Subtle and ethereal through to the finish, the wine captures the essence and nobility of Gevrey. With time in the glass the fruit turns darker and the wine puts on weight, showing tons of pedigree and dazzling overall harmony.”
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 91 points “Good deep red. Musky aroma of raspberry, blueberry, smoke, crushed rock and game. At once sweet and taut, with an impression of lift and energy rare for the vintage. Really lovely fruit here. Fourrier told me he liked the effect of elevage in mostly older casks in 2009. “More new oak would have speeded up the evolution of the wines,” he explained. “That would have required using more sulfur dioxide but we still would have lost fruit.””

Only three bottles available
Domaine Fourrier Clos Saint-Jacques, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($999.95) $599 special
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 95 points
“The 2016 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos Saint-Jacques is brilliant, unfurling in the glass with a multifaceted bouquet in which aromas of raspberries, orange rind and cassis mingle with nuances of peony, spice and subtle grilled meat. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, ample and pure, with a deep, multidimensional mid-palate that’s framed by satiny tannins and juicy acids, concluding with a long, fragrant finish. The exquisite textural elegance that Fourrier routinely achieves with this site does not conceal the wine’s underlying power and concentration.”
John Gilman 94 points “With the shortened crop in Clos St. Jacques, there is no Cuvée Centennaire here this year, just a single, truly lovely bottling of this great vineyard. The nose is pure, nascently complex and very precise, offering up scents of red plums, cherries, gamebird, mustard seed, a complex base of soil, roses and cedar. On the palate the wine is deep full-bodied and classically structured, with a sappy core, excellent backend mineral drive, ripe tannins and a very long, vibrant and promising finish. 2030-2070.”
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 93-95 points “Bright dark red. Knockout ethereal nose combines raspberry, licorice, rose petal, lavender, wild mint and spices. Densely packed but juicy, suave and a bit youthfully imploded, conveying an almost magical impression of weightlessness. Cool and reserved but not at all hard, this fully ripe but reticent wine spreads out to saturate the palate, showing a lighter touch than the Combe Aux Moines. Displays a captivating restrained sweetness from start to long finish. As the lower part of his Clos Saint-Jacques parcel was frosted (production for this premier cru was cut by 30% in ’16), Fourrier chose not to make a separate Cuvée Centennaire.”

Thanks for reading!