Vinopolis Champagne Extravaganza
Part Two: Gimonnet and Geoffroy
Classic Ports from Ramos Pinto
John Gilman Reviews a Value Champagne Favorite
Striking, Yet Overlooked, Brunello
The Most Undervalued Great Mosel Producer?
Bevan Cellars’ High Scoring Napa Cabernet
Vinopolis Champagne Extravaganza
The estate has been on a real roll over the last few years, keeping overall production unchanged but bottling a greater number of wines. The fractalization of their lineup has seemed to give each individual wine a greater identity and stronger personality, resulting in one of the most compelling sets of Blanc de Blancs in Champagne. Even the basic NV bottling has greater purity and poise than it used to—and it’s always been one of the best values in Champagne. We buy as much of these as we can and this year is no exception—it’s a can’t miss portfolio.
Arriving ETA November 22nd:
Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs Cuis Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs Cuis Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($349.95) $279 pre-arrival special (that’s only $46.50/bottle!)
Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs Cuis Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 375ML ($39.95) $28 pre-arrival special
Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs Cuis Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 1.5L ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 90 points “The current release of Pierre Gimonnet “Cuis Premier Cru” Blanc de Blancs non-vintage Brut is from the base year of 2015, with reserve wines dating back to 2010 included in the blend. It was disgorged in March of 2019 and finished with a dosage of six grams per liter, after three years aging sur latte. The wine delivers a pretty nose of pear, delicious apple, almond, chalky minerality and brioche. On the palate the wine is fullish, crisp and complex, with a good core, fine mineral drive, elegant mousse and quite good length and grip on the very nicely balanced finish. This is nicely aperitif in weight and is drinking pretty well right out of the blocks, but like all of the Gimonnet non-vintage bottlings, it is still a tad youthful, should age quite nicely and will be even better with three or four more years in the cellar. Good juice. 2019-2040+.”
Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Chouilly Grand Cru Special Club, Champagne 2012 750ML ($169.95) $138 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 92 points “Elegant and well-meshed, this layers lively, lightly mouthwatering acidity, a fine, chalky texture and a delicate range of poached apple and pear fruit, dogwood blossom and biscuit notes, and minerally saline and oyster shell accents. Disgorged July 2017. Drink now through 2028. 100 cases imported.”
Terry Theise Note “[+] This is starting to show its stuff. It’s 100% Montaigu from 61-year-old vines. It’s a kind of Champagne intrigue, to hack a fascinating slice out of a blend. There’s a nicely intricate call and response of juniper, quince and chalk, and I’m curious to see where this goes.”
Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Cuvee Special Club Brut Millesime, Champagne 2012 750ML ($119.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 93 points “Interestingly, the 2012 Special Club is quite a bit riper and bigger than any of the three single-village Special Clubs. Light tropical overtones meld into a core of candied orange peel, apricot, chamomile and wild flowers. In this tasting, the 2012 comes across as adolescent and not fully put together. Hopefully that will come in time. Disgorged: July 20, 2017.”
Wine & Spirits 93 points “The most ornate and complex of the Gimonnet wines we tasted for this issue, this Special Club is built to age. Nearly half of the wine comes from ancient vines-the Montaigu vineyard, in Chouilly, planted in 1951, and parcels in Cramant planted in 1911 and ’13. Its flavors contrast sun and shadows, bright scents of jasmine, lemon and thyme against pale, earthy notes of chalk and gun flint. It buzzes with acidity and chalky abrasion, taut and intense. Treat it to some rest and relaxation in your cellar.”
Wine Spectator 92 points “Fresh and refined, with a delicate range of Honeycrisp apple, spring blossom, chalk and citrus flavors, this elegant Champagne is more about precision and fine texture than power and bold flavor. Disgorged May 2017. Drink now through 2028.”
Terry Theise Note “[++] 60% Cramant, 30% Chouilly and 10% Cuis. Gimonnet Club is one of the absolute icons of the Côte des Blancs, and this one joins an illustrious family. Joins, and stands out: it’s a young, strong, somewhat brashly beautiful Club. There’s a calm in the euphoric aroma but it’s assertively chalky, with iron and brassica on the palate. This muscular youngster is finding his way, and won’t be ungainly forever…”
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The 2010 Brut Blanc de Blancs Fleuron is a very pretty and expressive wine. It is also noticeably broader and creamier than most of the wines in this range. Lemon confit and marzipan notes give the Fleuron a real feeling of density and sweetness that is quite alluring. The 2010 is ready to drink, but it is also fresher and more elegant than so many other wines in this challenging vintage. Readers who enjoy Champagnes that have started to develop the aromatic complexity that comes with age will find much to like. Dosage is 5 grams per liter.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 92 points “Gimonnet’s 2010 Brut Blanc de Blancs Cuvée Fleuron is showing very well, unfurling in the glass with aromas of white flowers, lemon oil, mandarin, fresh hazelnuts and oyster liquor. It’s medium to full-bodied, elegantly textural and incisive on the palate, with ripe but racy acids, a crystalline core of fruit and a fine, low-pressure mousse, concluding with a saline, chalky finish.”
Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs Gastronome, Champagne 2014 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 92 points “Disgorged in July 2018 with five grams per liter dosage, the 2014 Brut 1er Cru Blanc de Blancs Gastronome is showing beautifully, bursting from the glass with an expressive bouquet of ripe citrus fruits, Anjou pear, warm bread and fresh peach. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, fleshy but fine boned, with ripe but racy acids, a pretty core of fruit and an elegantly chalky finish.”
John Gilman 90 points “The 2014 Pierre Gimmonet et Fils “Cuvée Gastronome” Blanc de Blancs is composed of a nice blend of premier and grand cru vineyard sources and was aged three years on its fine lees prior to its disgorgement in July of 2018. It was finished with a dosage of five grams per liter. The wine offers up a lovely bouquet of pear, apple, crème patissière, chalky soil tones, warm bread and a topnote of spring flowers. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, complex and very nicely balanced, with frothy mousse, good focus and grip and a long, open and tasty finish. This has good, but not great depth at the core, but that is my only minor complaint with what is otherwise a very stylish bottle. 2019-2040.”
[Disgorgement date may vary]
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2012 Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru Oenophile Non Dosé is showing very well, offering up a pure bouquet of citrus oil, wet stones and subtle hints of pan d’épices. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, deep and chalky, with an incisive spine of acidity that’s nicely integrated, good depth and concentration at the core and a long, mineral finish. Disgorged in April 2018 without dosage, it’s a steely Blanc de Blancs will appeal to more than just the purists.”
Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Oger Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($79.95) $66 pre-arrival special
Terry Theise Note “[+] After finding Oger to be a difficult blending partner (“Even a small amount dominates a cuvée and changes its character.”) I suggested, facetiously, that he bottle it alone. This of course he would never do. Ever. Until he did it.Now the furies are unleashed and there are all manner of previously verboten Champagnes, and it’s all good; it doesn’t supplant the blended wines, it joins them. The wine is authoritative, the chalkiest Oger I’ve ever tasted, and if it’s “Other” then it’s a most compelling Other! The latest iteration is 90-10 2016/15, deg. 7/2018. It’s a lovely young Champagne with the white-flower winsome fruit of ’16; something between Rheingau-Riesling and chalk and plum blossom, with a mineral finish. It’s 51% Terres de Noël and Brulisalong with 33% Champs Nérons (on chalk) and 16% Fondy (on clay).”
With roots in the village of Cumières dating back to the 17th century, the wines can still be characterized as stylistically Cumières, despite a recent move to nearby Aÿ. While delivering the classic power of which the Vallée de la Marne is known, Geoffroy produces some of the region’s most balanced wines by generally avoiding malolactic fermentation. This produces wines that are livelier and more refreshing than many of its peers. We love these wines because they deliver transparency without sacrificing flavor, a trick reserved for only the world’s most skilled winemakers.
Arriving ETA November 22nd:
Rene Geoffroy Expression Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $44 pre-arrival special
60% 2014 and 40% 2013/2012
Terry Theise Note “In general this is what one might call a “party wine,” if the people at your party were all Mensa members. It’s extroverted and flavorsome yet also detailed and silky. Meunier shows as soy and shiitakes. The Chardonnay component is increasing over the years. The wine is classic Cumières, ripe and smoky—it’s some of the steepest and warmest land in all of Champagne—yet it’s also high-energy because Jean-Baptiste almost never does malo.We’re still shipping the cuvée I previewed last year, deg. 9/2018, and 53% ’14 to 47% ’13. It’s 35% Meunier, 36% PN and 29% CH. It bears mentioning that these proportions change all the time, as JB does nothing by rote or formula. This is a fine edition of the wine, rather more measured and perhaps less extroverted than usual, though if you taste it (as I did, reluctantly) from a Zalto “Universal” it becomes curiously lush”
Rene Geoffroy ‘Les Tiersaudes’ Brut Nature Millesime, Champagne 2013 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2013 Brut Nature Les Tiersaudes, 100% Meunier, is fabulous. Soaring aromatics and creamy, beautifully layered fruit meld together in a deeply expressive Champagne that hits all the right notes. Refined, perfumed and exquisitely elegant, the Tiersaudes takes Meunier into a rarified expression of total finesse. Bright, saline notes punctuate the finish. I loved it.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93+ points “…derived entirely from Cumières Pinot Meunier, the 2013 Brut Nature Les Tiersaudes offers up a lovely bouquet of lime zest, smoky orchard fruit, red berries, bitter orange and spices. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, broad and vinous, with a youthfully frothy but incipiently fine mousse, excellent concentration at the core and a firm girdle of acidity, concluding with a long, dry and chalky finish. The expression of fruit is so pristine and the wine’s structure is so complete that I can understand why Geoffroy opted to release this as Brut Nature, though I would love to experience the additional plenitude that a disgorgement with one or two grams per liter dosage might possess.”
Terry Theise Note “[(+)] Another single-vineyard wine, this is entirely Meunier, grown on clay (not chalk), a 1-time-only bottling of just 1300 bottles. It’s alovely, almost delicate Meunier; caraway and rye-toast, not austere but pure and ascetic; detailed finish and high-register aromasof seemingly every sweet grain. As refined as Meunier can be. With a new deg. 4/2018 it remains a curiously expressive Meunier,though for whatever reason I found it more austere this time.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93 points “…derived entirely from the 2014 harvest, the NV Brut Premier Cru Rosé de Saignée wafts from the glass with a rich bouquet of mandarin, honeycomb, red berries and spices. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, broad and vinous, with a powerful, multidimensional profile and a delicate mousse that’s entirely subordinate to this rosé’s phenolic structure and sapid fruit tones. The finish is long and expansive. This is an intense, characterful wine in an extreme style, best served with food, but I loved it.”
Antonio Galloni 93 points “Geoffroy’s NV Brut Rose de Saignee is absolutely gorgeous. Deep, fleshy and wonderfully expressive, the Rose has so much to offer. The flavors are racy and boldly sketched throughout. Raspberry, mint, dried flowers, rose petal and star anise all fill out the wine’s ample, radiant frame. The 2014 edition of the Rose de Saignee is particularly outstanding.”
In Stock Now:
Rene Geoffroy ‘Les Houtrants Complantes’ Premier Cru Brut Nature, Champagne NV 750ML ($219.95) $188 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 94 points “Disgorged in February 2017 with no dosage, this bottle of the NV Brut Nature Premier Cru Les Houtrants Complantés derives from the 2012 triage, and consists of a blend of reserve wines from 2008 to 2011 that were aged in magnum. Les Houtrants is a precocious lieu-dit in Cumières that Geoffroy planted with a field blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay, Arbanne and Petit Meslier in 2004. The wine wafts from the glass with a subtle but complex bouquet of white currants, smoke, wet stones, warm biscuits and verb, followed by a medium to full-bodied, fine-boned and tensile palate that’s exquisitely balanced, its bright spine of acidity cloaked in just enough vibrant flesh and texture to avoid any hint of asperity, concluding with a searingly chalky finish. Intellectually stimulating and compulsively drinkable in equal measure, it’s a pity that only a tiny number of bottles are produced.”
James Suckling 94 points “The nose offers subtly spiced brioche with a light, toasty layer and bright citrus fruit. The palate has a more complex array of fruit and deep, silky texture, laced with salty minerals and grilled nuts at the finish. A non-vintage blend of pinot noir, pinot meunier, chardonnay, arbanne and petit meslier. Drink now.”
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The NV Brut Les Houtrants, a field blend of the seven varieties permitted in Champagne, is one of the highlights in this range. The combination of white and red grapes yields a Champagne of distinction. Aromatic presence, fruit and structure are all impeccably balanced in this delicious, supremely delicious Champagne. Orange confit, spice, tobacco, dried flowers and lightly honeyed noted add an element of exoticism. There is so much to like here. Disgorged: February 2017.”
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Ramos Pinto, one of Vila Nova de Gaia’s venerable port houses, has a history dating back to 1880. Although, not a household name in the U.S., Ramos Pinto has long been one of the leading exporters of port. In fact, at one point during the 20th century it accounted for half of all port being exported to South America. Today, Ramos Pinto produces the range of ports you’d expect from any top producer. All at a quality level consistent with more iconic brands. So these are wines to share with friends and family this holiday season. And for you we’re offering a special case-6 price, as well.
Ramos Pinto 20 Year Old Quinta do Bom Retiro Tawny Port NV 750ML ($79.95) $66 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Ramos Pinto 20 Year Old Quinta do Bom Retiro Tawny Port NV 750ML ($399.95) $369 pre-arrival special (that’s only $61.50/bottle!)
Decanter 98 points “From a single estate where a quarter of the vines are more than 80 years old: soft and seamless, boasting waves of dates, dried figs, brazil nuts and toasted almonds. Suave silky texture and wonderful savoury- sweet length. Supremely good.”
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “Old gold in color, this is the most complete style of aged tawny. The long barrel aging (in old barrels) has given concentration, a touch of oxidation and a wonderful spicy character. It is rich, luscious and beautifully ready to drink.”
Ramos Pinto Late Bottled Vintage Port 2013 750ML ($27.95) $24 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Ramos Pinto Late Bottled Vintage Port 2013 750ML ($169.95) $136 pre-arrival special (that’s only $22.67/bottle!)
Decanter 95 points “A ripe, intense, full-flavoured vintage-a-like with rich juicy plums and berries, earthy spice and opulent tannins. Elegant, complex and plenty of wine for the money!”
Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2013 Late Bottled Vintage Port is a traditional LBV, unfiltered and bottled with a long cork in 2017. It is a blend of 51% Touriga Franca and 36% Touriga Nacional, the rest being Sousão and a field blend. It comes in with 95 grams per liter of residual sugar. When I saw this the first time around, when it was not quite bottled, it seemed rather fruity and forward for a relatively dry LBV. With some time in the bottle, that has changed, as I expected. It shows beautiful structure now, real but controlled tannins. The fruit has dried a little to give this a somewhat sterner feel, but its exuberant beginnings are nicely replaced by a more nuanced finish laced with blackberries and dried herbs. There are some cistus aromatics up front too. This should develop more over the next 5-10 years and hold for another decade or more beyond that, without problem. This is another fine LBV from Ramos Pinto.”
Case-6 Ramos Pinto Tawny Port, Portugal NV 750ML ($109.95) $89 pre-arrival special (that’s only $14.83/bottle!)
Importer Note “Ramos Pinto’s wood-aged ports are blended from several vintages and several quintas. Unlike the majority of port houses, Ramos Pinto owns almost all of its own vineyards and controls the grape quality from pruning to harvest. The Tawny is a three to five-year-old blend obtained by blending wines with different degrees of maturity brought about by the ageing process in barrels and hogshead casks. This is a tawny red with a topaz meniscus. The first aroma gives the impression of buoyancy and develops into a great smoothness acquired from having been matured in wood. In the mouth, it feels light, warm and very soft as a result of its ageing. This adolescent Port is mature and fruity, with a complex and delicate character. Its finish is perfectly balanced, giving it some delicateness.”
Ramos Pinto Lagrima White Porto, Portugal NV 750ML ($24.95) $19 pre-arrival special
Importer Note “The Lágrima is a special port made from extremely ripe grapes which confer body and density to the wine. It is a favorite of the Portuguese, who enjoy it at any time of day. This is the sweetest of all Port wines with around 140 grams of sugar per liter. This port has a predominantly golden color. Within its characteristic fruit and sweetness, floral aromas of chamomile and orange blossom stand out with hints of honey. It has a light, unctuous palate with flavors of ripe fruit surrounded by an intense freshness. It has a rich, persistent finish with a pleasant touch of honey.”
Andre Clouet Silver Grand Cru Brut Nature, Champagne NV 750ML ($39.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Andre Clouet Silver Grand Cru Brut Nature, Champagne NV 750ML ($419.95) $359 pre-arrival special (that’s only $29.92/bottle!)
John Gilman 90 points
A killer deal on an all-purpose white wine.
Stonestreet Estate Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, Alexander Valley 2015 750ML ($34.95) $17 special
Case-12 Stonestreet Estate Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, Alexander Valley 2015 750ML ($419.95) $179 special (that’s only $14.92/bottle!)
Wine Enthusiast 91 points “Stonestreet consistently delivers complex, refreshing renditions of Sauvignon Blanc. Grassy on the nose, with an exotic tease of pea shoot, it seemingly vibrates on the palate with lemon, grapefruit and apricot flavors.”
The next best price is $24.99
The average listed price is $32
Andy’s staff pick is a robust, sexy red.
Tiberio Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2017 750ML ($24.95) $18.50 special
Case-12 Tiberio Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2017 750ML ($269.95) $199 special (that’s only $16.58/bottle!)
Ian D’agata – Vinous 92 points “Vibrant red. Captivating aromas of red currant, dark plum, blueberry, licorice and Oriental spices. Broad and ripe on entry, then luscious in the middle, finishing with a riper mouthfeel than is usual for this wine, but in keeping with the 2017 vintage (dry and hot). Finishes long, with serious, building tannins and noteworthy sweetness. This is a real miracle considering the vintage’s less-than-stellar growing season; timely rainfall at the end of September provided much-needed liquid refreshment for the Montepulciano, allowing the vines to recover from the summer drought and heat and benefit from longer hang times. On a side note, wine lovers have something else to look forward to, as the 2018 vats of Montepulciano I tried during my cellar visit were absolutely superb; they are undoubtedly the best entry-level Montepulciano wines Tiberio has ever made, so there’s something to really look forward to here.”
Bollinger on a budget (or close enough).
Gatinois Ay Grand Cru Reserve Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($57.95) $47 special
Winery Note ” As for all of our Champagnes, the wines selected for the Brut Réserve blend are sourced exclusively from our family’s vineyards in Aÿ. This Grand Cru from Aÿ is a true reflection of the power and elegance of its terroir. Predominantly Pinot Noir from Aÿ (80%) which brings structure and volume. Chardonnay completes the blend with a soft and feminine touch. The champagnes are aged “sur lattes ” (horizontally on racks) for a prolonged period of 3 years before the yeasts are disgorged (compared to two years for the Brut Tradition). Attractive yellow hue with honeyed reflections. The complex nose offers white flowers, yellow fruits and candied citrus. 3 years of ageing in our cellars allows the champagne to develop a rich, smooth texture on the palate, with notes of stewed fruit, brioche and honey complemented by the generosity of Pinot Noir.”
A one of a kind red from the unknown extremes of Galicia.
Ladeiras do Xil As Caborcas, Valdeorras 2016 750ML ($99.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2.5 hectares of north- and west-facing terraces planted with old vines produced the 2016 As Caborcas, a wine of unusual intensity, elegance and balance in 2016. The cooler year seems to have worked wonders for the reds here, and the wine is expressive and open, floral and aromatic, developing nuances of moss and fern, with a textured palate where the tannins have the granite mark of stony austerity that is then coated by the glycerin and the fruit, making a wine that is both elegant and powerful, with a very Galician feeling to it. 2,619 bottles produced. It was bottled in May 2017.”
Importer note “As Caborcas is a unique vineyard, full of different varieties, of different ages, from different strains, growing at different altitudes and exposures. Among the native grapes planted are mencía, merenzao, sousón, godello, and brancellao. Indigenous yeasts cause spontaneous fermentation in small wooden barrels of various sizes, with light foudre aging for 12 months to preserve the “Atlantic” delicacy of this wine of inland Galicia. True to the origins, As Caborcas could be made nowhere else. As Caborcas is extremely limited, with less than 3,000 bottles produced in a good year.”
This Bordeaux by way of Tuscan is really refined, delicious stuff.
Poggio al Tesoro ‘Il Seggio’ Bolgheri, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Wine Spectator 93 points “($60) Fresh black currant and leafy flavors announce this juicy red. Wild herb, graphite and olive notes complete the picture as this unwinds on the lingering aftertaste. Very youthful, yet has all the components, including a dense structure. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Best from 2021 through 2033.”
James Suckling 93 points “A super refined and pretty red with sweet tobacco, currant and berry character. Red stone. Medium to full body, fine tannins and a fresh finish. Drink now.”
Striking, Yet Overlooked, Brunello
La Fortuna’s vineyard sits smack dab in the middle of some of the best names in Brunello, just barely west of the town of Montalcino. Casanova di Neri is barely more than a half mile east on the same ridge and Fuligni is the next address on their street. Luciani and Lazzeretti sit on the other sides of the vineyard, too—by all accounts this should be a Very Famous Estate.
Instead, La Fortuna’s wines represent a bargain for Brunello. The winemaking shows lots of skill, but their humble personalities have kept prices reasonable, at least for now. These are some of the most striking wines in the DOCG, with bold, rich flavors and lots of complexity. Until the secret gets out, these wines represent some of the best opportunities in Brunello di Montalcino to drink fantastic wines (especially the 97 point Riserva) at below market prices
Arriving November 22nd:
La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($119.95) $88 pre-arrival special
Case-6 La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($619.95) $499 pre-arrival special (that’s only $83.17/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 95 points “Fluid and fruity, supported by a matrix of dense tannins, this features a fine texture and structure, offsetting the saturated flavors of cherry, red berry, leather, iron and tar. Stays focused while cruising to a lingering finish. Really youthful, intense and long. Best from 2022 through 2045. 330 cases made, 200 cases imported.”
James Suckling 95 points “Very attractive and intense aromas of ripe black cherries and plums, leading to a palate that has a quite firm tannin core and finishes with a convincing serving of rich, ripe darker plums and berries. Drink or hold.”
La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, in stock now
Case-6 La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($699.95) $564 pre-arrival special
La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2012 1.5L ($259.95) $219 pre-arrival special
La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2012 3L ($499.95) $428 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 97 points “Perfumed, with wild herb aromas and a subtle mix of strawberry and cherry fruit. Vibrant and dense, with fine acidity driving the long finish. Though elegant, there is intensity and fine energy on the aftertaste. Best from 2022 through 2028.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
In Stock Now:
La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
James Suckling 93 points “Aromas of blackberry and cherry with flowers. Smoky. Hot stone. Medium to full body, firm and fresh tannins and a delicious finish. Beautiful now but needs a year or two to soften.”
James Suckling 93 points “Some ash and spice undertones to the cherry and berry aromas. Medium to full body, silky tannins and a flavorful finish. Linear and focused. Better in 2020.”
The Most Undervalued Great Mosel Producer?
What makes the Selbach wines so special (and perhaps what makes them as underrated) is that they aren’t showy or extreme, especially when it comes to levels of residual sugar and, in the drier wines, with acidity as well. This makes them incredibly useful at the table.
The growing trend among prestige German wine producers is to make the dry wines enamel-strippingly dry and the pradikat wines very sweet and opulent for their class (ie: everything is really Auslese). Selbach has very much resisted that trend and as a result you can drink the Spatlesen and Auslesen with meals; things that aren’t just cheese or lightly sweet desserts. Their dry wines have enough fruit that you don’t have to drink them with food, though they’re certainly zippy enough to pair with any number of classic dishes.
The wines are from great vineyards and made by an incredibly talented winemaker. They are useful at the table now, but will age (as long as you want) into even more interesting wines. The prices are great. What more could you ask for?
In Stock Now:
Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2016 750ML ($31.95) $24 special
Case-12 Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2016 750ML ($289.95) $249 special (that’s only $20.75/bottle!)
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 92 points “Opening with nice reduction but precise and ripe fruit as well as crunchy slate aromas on the nose, the 2016 Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Kabinett is pure and flinty, well-structured and quite aristocratic (though a frivolous aristocrat), with a firm structure, lush fruit and a lovely lightness and buoyancy. Very stimulating and mouthwatering, but it’s far too young to appreciate the full complexity it will deliver in a couple of years. Salty, grippy and fruity—just a perfect Kabinett.”
Stuart Pigott – jamessuckling. com 91 points “Super-fresh and vibrant with a cool, mineral-herbal personality and a very clean, long finish. You could drink it any time during the next decade, but why wait?”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2016 Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Spätlese (AP 07 17) offers a bright, fresh and slightly flinty bouquet with nice reduction. Lush, piquant and elegant on the palate, this is a light and mouth-filling Spätlese you’d probably like to take your bath in.”
David Schildknecht – Vinous 90 points “The nose anticipates site-typical, mint-tinged honeydew melon, apple and dark cherry that then lusciously inform a silken, expansive palate. The combination of textural caress, looseness and sheer juiciness makes for infectious drinkability, and a sustained finish harbors stimulating hints of lime zest, wet stone and salt.”
Mosel Fine Wines 90 points “This offers a beautifully delicate nose of pear, white peach, lemon, laurel and smoke. The wine is juicy and delicately tickly on the palate and leaves a nicely citrusy feel in the overall satisfyingly juicy and ripe finish. 2026-2041.”
Grapelive 94 points “This Bömer Trocken is amazingly perfumed [and] really highly aromatic at this stage, much more so than when I tried the cask sample (a year ago). It is full of jasmine, rose oil and citrus blossom with a mineral tone… the wine is wonderfully lively, fresh and tangy with loads of dry extract and a light body at this stage. The delicacy is simply dreamy. Johannes Selbach’s 2016’s are remarkable wines, and I’m a huge fan of the Zeltinger Schlossberg site. It is magic and this single block “Bömer” is stunning in detail and unbelievably sexy on the palate with layers of apricot, white peach, passionfruit and tangerine/lime fruits, with a crystalline beauty, as well as flinty shale, verbena, minty tea, candied dried mango and saline notes in a refined Riesling that way over delivers. It’s a class act all the way. Zeltinger Schlossberg is a steep vineyard set on pure blue Devonian slate with the Bömer block being a parcel that sits directly behind the village of Zeltingen. It faces south east and gets reflected light from the Mosel and heat from the town’s rooftops which helps with ripening and the opulent flavors. I wonder if Selbach should join the VDP for his dry Riesling offerings, as this certainly would make for a Grand Cru in my opinion, but then again the price is outstanding the way it is without that GG on the bottle. Still it’s an interesting question. That said, Selbach-Oster’s strength is the balance achieved with generous sugar levels, and their fruity Spatlese and Auslese wines are some of the best in Germany. The “Bömer” is a gorgeous Riesling that should not be missed. It offers exceptional quality and stylistic charm with a heightened impact on the senses. It’s a brilliant dry wine. This one and Selbach’s Ur-Alte Reben Feinherb are my two absolute favorites in the lineup of greatness this Mosel winery has out right now. Both will drink beautifully for years to come.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2015 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese is bright, pure, very fine, floral and flinty on the nose. It is provided with perfectly ripe and concentrated, slate-flavored fruit aromas intermixed with lemon and grapefruit notes. This is a lush, piquant and elegant, filigreed and finessed Auslese. It has great finesse and provided with a lot of Spiel and salt. The finish is pure, piquant and salty, but also lush and generous. This is a very precise, straight and stimulating, highly digestible Auslese with a lot of energy, tension and aging potential. It is very clear and there is no hint of botrytis here.”
Mosel Fine Wines 93 points “This offers a beautiful nose of cassis, grapefruit, greengage, apricot tree flower, white flowers and herbs. A more yellow fruit driven side comes through on the palate with yellow peach playing with acidity to produce a mouth-watering cocktail of Mosel charm. A hint of sweetness in the finish is still in need of integration of this gorgeous Auslese in the making. 2025-2045.”
Grapelive 95+ points “The brilliant and exotic Schmitt comes from the steep slate hill above the church, set back from the Mosel. There is great southern exposure here and it less affected by noble rot, a big plus in 2014. It allowed this rich and lush wine to remain crystalline and focused. This is one of the great wines of the vintage! Johannes Selbach’s top wines are not Trocken/Grosses Gewachs, but are single block wines from Cru sites. They are also heavy weighted, dense and medium sweet, but it is not about the sugar: it is all about the terroir and overall balance. These are wines of hedonism, power, textural pleasure and vitality, especially the Schmitt in 2014. It explores the boundaries of perfection in a fantastically difficult vintage. The was a savage thinning of the crop and a tiny window to get the grapes in to make this masterpiece from the old vines at Zeltinger Schlossberg. It is truly amazing with all the problems and heartbreak endured here that a wine of this quality and gorgeous detail managed to happen at all. Somehow this block come through and made one of the most glorious Riesling wines of the year. The 2014 Schmitt by Selbach-Oster starts with a sweet perfume. This wine shows white roses, dripping jasmine, hints of gardenia and tropical essences that lead to a full bodied, Auslese weight palate with apricot, green apple, lime and mango fruits leading the way along with a mix of spicy mineral and flinty stones, briny sea shore notes, soft honey decadence, creamy verbena and sweet peach flesh. The finish carries over the core of fruit and richness, but there is a burst of dynamic acidity and vibrancy. This is not a flabby wine and you are left with a dreamy/haunting impression with lingering tangerine sorbet, crushed stone and wet steeliness. This is fabulous Riesling and one you’ll want in the cellar. This has 100 Point potential and it will also drink well young. It already has poise and elegance, but should last two or three decades! Don’t be afraid of its sugar levels, it drinks like a lavish Grand Cru Corton-Charlemagne and is a spectacular wine from Selbach-Oster!”
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.”