Midweek Vinopolpick 1-14-20

In Today’s Newsletter:

Featured New Arrival
Crowley’s 2018 Willamette Valley Chard and Pinot

Staff Pick Estate: Chinon’s Enduring Legend

High Scoring, Under the Radar Pinot and Chard

Two 97 Point Cabs from Freemark Abbey

Trending Wines

Collector’s Corner

“Odds and Ends” – Deals from France and Italy


Featured New Arrival

Crowley’s 2018 Willamette Valley Chard and Pinot

The entry level wines from Crowley are always some of the most anticipated wines of the year—they’re excellent values from a top-tier producer and are previews into what’s to come from the vintage.  The 2018 Willamette Valley Chard and Pinot just arrived in the shop and based on these two wines, vintage looks like a truly great one.

Both of these wines are shockingly serious wines for the price—bottles that you could probably age for a decade, but they’re absolutely delicious right now.  The Chardonnay is sourced exclusively from the Four Winds vineyard, a cool site that gives precise, mineral wines with a firm backbone, while the Pinot comes from a blend of sites.  In 2018, the WV Pinot shows great depth and power for a wine at its price, with beautiful dark-cherry fruit and a great sense of freshness for the power.

These are wines to stock up on while we look forward to the new single-vineyard releases.

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Crowley Chardonnay, Willamette Valley 2018 750ML ($29.95) $24 special

VinopolNote: This wine is 100% from the Four Winds vineyard, a cool site in the coastal foothills.  This year’s bottling includes some of the new Draper clone in the mix and which seems to give it a touch more power to go along with the customary brightness and vibrancy.  Another don’t-miss vintage of one the best values in WV Chard.

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Crowley Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2018 750ML ($26.95) $21.90 special
VinopolNote: 2018 across the valley is going to be known as a year of concentration and power without over-ripeness and this wine is a prime example.  Dark cherry fruits, a hint of a florals and good density, this wine manages to have richness and weight without feeling overly heavy.  A real winner.

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!


Staff Pick Estate

Chinon’s Enduring Legend

Like many wine lovers, I adore Kermit Lynch’s classic Adventures on the Wine Route.  It’s responsible for my interest in a lot of wine regions, but none more so than Chinon.  Lynch’s description of the magnetic Charles Joguet captivated me and is certainly part of the reason I love the wines of the Loire.  The dirty secret, though, was that for a period of time in the late 90’s/very early 00’s, the wines from Joguet weren’t particularly great.  Charles had retired and the new winemaking team wasn’t quite up to his exacting standards.

Thankfully, Kevin Fontaine, the current winemaker, is a talented individual who has fully restored the Charles Joguet to the very top tier of producers in Chinon—recent releases have made me a believer again.  The wines have more polish than in the past, but they do so without sacrificing the character of the place or the ageability of the wines.  He’s really doing justice to one of the best collections of vineyards in the Loire—and being Chinon, prices are still reasonable.

I’m very excited about the assortment of wines from the estate that we have arriving Friday.  We’ve secured an variety of Joguet’s wines, from their approachable “Les Petites Roches” (a cuvee made from gravelly soil, mean to be drunk young) to the top end, single vineyard wines from the Clos du Chene Vert, Clos de la Dioterie and Les Varennes du Grand Clos.

Those three bottlings are a good as Chinon gets, especially from the top-tier ’14 and ’15 vintages and our prices on them are really exceptional.  These are wines that age like fine Bordeaux (and often can fool blind tasters into thinking that’s what they’re drinking) at prices that are a fraction of the quality level these wines are at.  The Clos de la Diotere, for example, is a wine made from 90+ year old vines in one of the most hallowed terroirs in the Loire and (from one of the best vintages of the decade) is available for less than $45 per bottle.

On the lower end, the Petites Roches bottling is a perfect bistro Franc, showing off the elegance and charm of gravelly terroirs in Chinon. This is a step up from their entry-level bottling (the Cuvee Terroir) that we’re able to offer for entry level pricing (less than $20/btl by the case!).  These are wines that are available in sadly limited quantities, so I’m buying some now and, if you love classic Loire reds, you should too.

Arriving Friday:

Only twenty bottles available
Domaine Charles Joguet Chinon Clos de la Dioterie, Loire 2014 750ML ($69.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 92 points
“Solid, with a broad, fleshy feel to the mix of smoldering bay leaf, tobacco and warm dark olive notes that meld steadily with a core of gently steeped red currant and damson plum fruit. Approachable now. Drink now through 2022. 450 cases made, 126 cases imported. — JM”
Importer Note “On the gravelly left bank of the Vienne River in Sazilly lies Charles Joguet’s oldest parcel, Clos de la Dioterie. The ninety-year-old Cabernet Franc vines here are harvested with a little extra love and respect, as their juice transforms into the most age-worthy wine from the estate, thanks in part to northeast exposure and limited yields. Charles Joguet once mused that he had gotten a lot of experience drinking good wine while studying art in Paris, but that that was far from teaching him how to make good wine. On the long road of trial and error, he discovered a respect for patience over manipulation. “Finesse is the opposite of action,” he said in La Revue du Vin de France. “You have a terroir, a microclimate, and you do what you can with it.” Clos de la Dioterie is the essence of finesse: a harmony of ripe fruit aromas followed by silky spice on the palate; the freshness of a just-ripe blackberry and a trace of vanilla to soften the acidity. A wine that is easy to call pretty, in the most charming sense of the word.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $49

Only eight bottles available
Domaine Charles Joguet Chinon Clos du Chene Vert, Loire 2014 750ML ($59.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 91 points
“A light bramble frame surrounds the mix of olive, tobacco, bay leaf, red currant and bitter cherry notes in this lively version, which shows good latent grip and solid energy throughout. Drink now through 2023. 450 cases made, 78 cases imported. — JM”
Importer Note “Monks first planted Cabernet Franc vines on this well-exposed chalky slope in the eleventh century, making Clos du Chêne Vert one of Chinon’s oldest parcels. Charles Joguet acquired the land by auction and was left with the laborious task of clearing and replanting the overgrown, untended hillside. In 1988 Kermit wrote, “Le Chêne Vert, once the vines are of sufficient age, will produce Joguet’s finest wine.” Today, the vines are more than thirty-five years old, and that statement has proven true. The wine has appropriate magnitude for such a storied vineyard, expressing this legendary site with intensity and refinement. Raised eighteen months in used barrels, this is a thick, profound Chinon that will evolve much like a great Bordeaux growth. While you can definitely appreciate the 2014 now—ideally, after patiently decanting it and serving with a rare cut of steak—several years in the cellar will bring out its full potential.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $51

Only twenty bottles available
Domaine Charles Joguet Chinon Les Varennes du Grand Clos, Loire 2015 750ML ($49.95) $36 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 93 points
“A bramble- and bay leaf–edged version, with a mix of dark cherry and red currant fruit forming the core. Light singed tobacco and a fresh chalk threads line the finish. Long and refined, showing a lovely tug of earth at the end. Drink now through 2026. 600 cases made, 150 cases imported. — JM”
Importer Note “In the Loire Valley’s great appellations of Chinon, Bourgueil, and Saumur-Champigny, the Cabernet Franc grape is capable of producing some of France’s finest reds. From the best vineyard sites, these wines can rival top Bordeaux in age-worthiness, and the price of entry is a mere fraction compared to that of a classified growth. Les Varennes du Grand Clos is a slope of siliceous clay and limestone that has proven its ability to yield complex Chinons that stand the test of time—old bottles from decades past are still in their prime. Farming is organic, and the wine ages for over a year in barrel before bottling. The trademark of Les Varennes is its finesse: while structure is certainly not lacking, there is a harmony to fruit, acid, and tannins that allows us to pull the cork today. Its earthy flavors pair perfectly with rustic French cuisine; try a beef stew or wild mushrooms for a guaranteed match.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Domaine Charles Joguet Chinon Les Petites Roches, Loire 2016 750ML ($29.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Domaine Charles Joguet Chinon Les Petites Roches, Loire 2016 750ML ($359.95) $219 pre-arrival special (that’s only $18.25/bottle—the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Domaine Charles Joguet Chinon Les Petites Roches, Loire 2016 1.5L ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Importer Note
“When Charles Joguet took over the family vineyards in 1957, he set out to do something that was unheard of in the Loire Valley. Rather than blending all the fruit from his varied parcels, he opted for a more Burgundian approach and began vinifying each individually, highlighting Chinon’s diversity of soils and exposures and playing with the nuances of vine age to propose a gamut of different wines of unique character. It is in this spirit that the domaine’s current vigneron, Kevin Fontaine, crafts the cuvée Les Petites Roches, named for the estate’s gravelly terroirs. Given light treatment in the cellar, this wine shows off Cabernet in its most delicate, charming form, rife with aromas of roses, damp earth, and little red berries, along with a gentle tannin holding it all together. This classic representation of Cabernet Franc from Chinon can be enjoyed over the next five or so years with roast chicken, pork chops, or game.”

This is the only listing for a magnum in the USA today!



High Scoring, Under the Radar Pinot and Chard

From Hartford Court

Hartford Court is a leader in top tier Pinot and Chardonnay from Sonoma—regularly making wines that out score names like Martinelli, Kosta Browne, Williams-Selyem and more.  Based on scores and critical press, Hartford belongs in the conversation with names like Peter Michel—except that they do it for a steep discount over those glitzy producers.

We’ve featured high scoring wines from them in the past and they’ve always been crowd favorites—for good reason.  It’s hard to find wines with this sort of quality at these prices and Hartford Court manages to deliver thoroughly California wines at very high quality for not a lot of money.  We have two new Chards and a Pinot Noir arriving Friday, ready for you to buy now.

Arriving Friday:

Hartford Court Far Coast Vineyards Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast 2016 750ML ($79.95) $66 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Hartford Court Far Coast Vineyards Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast 2016 750ML ($479.95) $359 pre-arrival special (that’s only $59.83/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 96 points
“The 2016 Hartford Court Chardonnay Far Coast Vineyard is a little youthfully closed with crushed rocks and chalk dust notes over a core of mandarin peel, Golden Delicious apples, pear tart and lightly browned toast. Medium to full-bodied, the palate simply vibrates with electric tension, offering vibrant citrus and apple layers and finishing long and stony. 323 cases produced.”

Hartford Court Jennifer’s Chardonnay, Russian River Valley 2016 750ML ($79.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Hartford Court Jennifer’s Chardonnay, Russian River Valley 2016 750ML ($479.95) $389 pre-arrival special (that’s only $64.83/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 97+ points
“The 2016 Hartford Court Chardonnay Jennifer’s Vineyard displays intense notes of grapefruit, green guava, mango and pineapple with nuances of talc, oyster shells and fresh ginger. The palate is medium-bodied, elegant and super intense with tightly wound layers of citrus and tropical fruits and bags of mineral notions on the epically long finish. This needs time but should emerge from the cellar gloriously in 2-3 years! 337 cases produced.”

Hartford Court Arrendell Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley 2016 750ML ($99.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 97 points
“Medium to deep ruby-purple colored, the 2016 Hartford Court Pinot Noir Arrendell Vineyard is a little youthfully mute to begin, opening out to display gorgeous rose hip tea, kirsch and warm cranberries with hints of dried thyme, black soil and tree bark plus a hint of fungi. The medium to full-bodied palate completely coats the mouth with earth-laced red berry and kirsch notions, framed by very firm, very fine-grained tannins and great freshness, finishing very long with a compelling herbal lift. 348 cases produced.”



Two 97 Point Cabs from Freemark Abbey

Freemark Abbey makes some of the most undervalued Cabernet in Napa, from old vineyards in prime terroirs that (now) command high scores.  We’ve just secured our allocation of their two stellar 2015 single vineyard Cabs—both of which scored an eye-opening 97 points from the Wine Advocate. You’d expect wines from these sorts of terroirs with these scores to cost well over $200, but we’re able to offer you both bottlings for under $150 per bottle. 

A lot of that has to do with Freemark Abbey’s rocky road their current status as an elite producer. Their modern era dates back to 1967, when the winery was purchased quickly transformed into one of the most recognized and prestigious wineries in the 70’s and 80’s.  Unfortunately, over time, quality slipped and the reputation of the once legendary winery fell into a bit of obscurity.

After a few ownership changes, the winery was sold in 2005 to Jackson Family, who have poured money and attention into it in a way that hasn’t been seen since the original heyday of the winery in the 70’s and early 80’s.  Winemaker Ted Edwards was brought in and the winery has been on a steady path upwards ever since. 

The single vineyard wines are the showstoppers with Bosché and Sycamore leading the way. Bosché is the most famous of these vineyard designates, from an old vineyard that been producing spectacular wines for Freemark since the winery’s early days.  Sycamore is located only a few miles down the road, with a profile that belies its proximity to Oakville (compared to Bosché’s pure Rutherford signature).  Both excelled in the 2015 vintage and scored 97 points from the Wine Advocate. We have limited quantities of each arriving Friday and would urge you to secure these now.

Arriving Friday:

Only seventeen bottles available
Freemark Abbey Bosche Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford 2015 750ML ($179.95) $149 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 97 points
“Blended of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Merlot, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Bosche Vineyard has a deep garnet-purple color and is scented of earthy nuances of truffles, dusty soil and underbrush with a core of crème de cassis, black cherry compote and blueberry pie plus hints of camphor and scorched earth. Full, concentrated, rich and densely packed with loads of earth and black fruit layers, it has a firm, ripe, grainy frame and oodles of freshness, finishing long. 2,018 cases produced.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Only eighteen bottles available
Freemark Abbey Sycamore Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford 2015 750ML ($179.95) $139 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 97+ points
“A blend of 88.2% Cabernet Sauvignon,  4.4% Petit Verdot, 4.2% Cabernet Franc and 3.2% Merlot, the deep garnet-purple colored 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Sycamore Vineyards comes skipping out of the glass with a spring it its step and singing notes of crushed blackcurrants, fresh blackberries and red and black plums with touches of underbrush, fungi, wild sage, chocolate mint and cigar boxes. Full-bodied and built like a brick house, it has a rock-solid frame of firm, grainy tannins and seamless freshness supporting the generous, crunchy fruit, finishing long with a touch of minerality. 2,101 cases produced.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Trending Wines

Carmignano the OG Super-Tuscan.  This wine has a beautiful blend of power and elegance.
Piaggia Il Sasso Carmignano, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($37.95) $29 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 93 points
“Dedicated to the estate’s paternal figure Mauro Vannucci, the 2016 Carmignano Il Sasso (with 40,000 bottles produced) is a compelling blend of 70% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot. This vintage delivers ample power, yet the wine remains smooth and elegant from a tactile point of view. Sangiovese’s identity emerges with aromas of wild berry, tilled earth and rose hip. The two international grapes serve to shape the firmness and structure of the mouthfeel. This wine is fermented in oak and later aged in medium-toast neutral barrique for 12 months.-ML”
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The 2016 Carmignano Il Sasso is a veritable explosion of aromas, flavors and textures. A rush of dark red and purplish berry fruit makes a strong opening statement. The interplay of rich fruit, expressive aromatics and brightness makes for a wonderfully complete, vibrant Carmignano that will be impossible to resist upon release. The 2016 is a wine of pure and total pleasure.”

A very, very serious wine for the price. Buy a case for now and for your cellar.
Valle Reale Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2018 750ML ($17.95) $14 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Valle Reale Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2018 750ML ($179.95) $149 special (that’s only $12.42/bottle—the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Ian D’Agata – Vinous 94 points
“Bright red. Red cherry and flowers on the perfumed nose; much more fragrant than the 2017 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Then fresh and juicy, with bright red fruit repeating in the mouth. Finishes long and savory, showcasing notable purity. Outstanding cool-climate Montepulciano of noteworthy refinement. Very, very well done; I’m not sure readers fully realize just how hard it is to obtain a result of this level in a cold-weather environment such as that of Popoli. This success speaks loudly of the capability and talent of owner Leonardo Pinzolo and his Valle Reale technical team.”

This is classical Seven Springs—black cherry fruit with earthy, savory notes overlayed.
Evening Land ‘Seven Springs Vineyard’ Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 17 bottles in stock now
Winery Note
“Of all our bottlings, the Seven Springs Pinot Noir tells the story of our vineyard. Built around a core of own-rooted, Pommard and Wädenswil vines planted in 1984, this bottling is a hearkens back Oregon’s winegrowing infancy, when savoriness, smokiness, and nuance brought curious and adventurous Burgundy lovers to our region in droves.”

A baby-Super-Tuscan (there’s an Incredibles joke in here somewhere) that over delivers.
Querciabella Mongrana Maremma Toscana, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Querciabella Mongrana Maremma Toscana, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($299.95) $239 special (that’s only $19.92/bottle!)
James Suckling 95 points
“Love the aromas of plums, cherries and currants with hints of flowers and undertones of dried flowers. Full body, round and silky tannins and fresh and bright finish. A blend of sangiovese, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. Needs two or three years to come together, but already beautiful. From biodynamically grown grapes and vegan.”

Reynvaan Family Vineyards ‘The Contender’ Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($99.95) $69 special, 28 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points
“The 2016 Syrah Estate The Contender from this terrific estate checks in as 95% Syrah and 5% Marsanne that was mostly destemmed (there’s 35% stems) and aged 18 months in barrel. Black raspberries, plums, toasted spice, ground pepper and decaying flower notes all emerge from this incredibly elegant, seamless Syrah that shines for its complexity, elegance, and richness. With plenty of tannins and impeccable balance, it’s approachable today yet will keep for 10-15 years with no issues.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $79.98
The average listed price is $84

Points:Price, this is a stunning deal.
Domaine Petroni Vin de Corse Rouge, Corsica 2016 750ML ($16.95) $14 special
Case-12 Domaine Petroni Vin de Corse Rouge, Corsica 2016 750ML ($179.95) $149 special (that’s only $12.42/bottle—the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“Also a mix of Niellucciu and Syrah, the 2016 Corse Domaine Petroni came from granite soils along the Mediterranean and was raised all in demi-muids. This medium to full-bodied beauty certainly makes an impression. It has sensational minerality as well as notes of black cherries, blackberries, spice, and flowers. Deep, layered, incredibly elegant, and seamless, with the tension and vibrancy common from granite soils, it should evolve for well over a decade.”

This is an excellent value Northern Rhone Syrah from an excellent vintage.
Saint Cosme Saint-Joseph, Rhone 2017 750ML ($37.95) $29 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Saint Cosme Saint-Joseph, Rhone 2017 750ML ($419.95) $299 special (that’s only $24.92/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points
“A step up, the 2017 Saint Joseph offers another level of class and purity. Beautiful blackberry, black raspberries, cured meats, and pepper notes give way to a medium to full-bodied Saint Joseph that has subtle oak, a seamless texture, and fine tannins. It’s going to benefit from 2-4 years of bottle age.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!


Collector’s Corner

Gaja is always a welcome presence in the cellar or at the table—and the ’11’s are delicious right now, making this a rare young Gaja you can open today.
Gaja Sori San Lorenzo Langhe-Barbaresco, Piedmont 2011 750ML ($499.95) $399 special
Antonio Galloni 97+ points
“The 2011 Sorì San Lorenzo boasts massive depth, intensity and power. Black fruit, smoke, tar, licorice, savory herbs and leather are some of the many notes that emerge from the glass. Regardless of the year, the personality of Sorì San Lorenzo always comes through, which is why this is one of the great sites in Barbaresco, Piedmont and Italy. In 2011 the contours are a bit softer, which gives the wine a level of accessibility that is quite rare in Sorì San Lorenzos when the wines are young. Why is Sorì San Lorenzo one of the world’s most profound vineyards? Because its personality simply can’t be denied.”
Wine Advocate 96 points “The exciting 2011 Sori San Lorenzo is a wine of enormous beauty and grace. Gaia Gaja classifies her three single vineyard Langhe Nebbiolo wines as follows: Costa Russi is “flowers;” Sori Tildin is “fruit;” and San Lorenzo is “plant” (with more structure and a more compact feel). San Lorenzo does indeed boast a strong mineral component of pencil shavings and crushed granite, followed by red cherry and soft spice. The wine’s tannins start off harder than the other wines, but soften with time. Drink: 2018-2040.”

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

This spent 84 years in barrel. It’s an incredible bottle for so many reasons—taste first among them.
Bodegas Toro Albala Don PX Convento Seleccion, Montilla-Moriles 1931 750ML ($399.95) $279 special
Wine Advocate 98 points
“If someone told you they kept a wine for 84 years in barrel before bottling, you’d think they are nuts, right? Well, that’s what the folks at Toro Albalá in Aguilar de la Frontera – in the province of Cordoba, part of the Montilla Moriles appellation – did with their 1931 Don PX Convento Selección. This is part of what they call ‘vinos olvidados,’ which means ‘forgotten wines.’ The border is amber, with green tints that denote very old age. Such old age provides an array of unusual aromas and flavors, including iodine and salt that compensate the sweetness (403 grams) and even the alcohol (18%). It’s terribly balsamic, with notes of dry herbs and spices, cigar ash, carob beans (algarrobas), incense and noble woods. The palate is very, very sweet and concentrated, unctuous, dense, with a chewy texture. This goes beyond a glass of wine, a drop of it is like having a piece of cake. I don’t think this reaches the complexity and depth of the 1946, which remains the benchmark for these old sweet PX, but it’s truly terrific!… bottles were filled in June 2015.”

Roumier’s Bonnes Mares is a legendary wine and to have two vintages in stock is hard to do. 
Domaine Georges & Christophe Roumier Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2009 750ML ($2,499.95) $2,199 special, 3 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 98 points
“Roumier’s 2009 Bonnes-Mares is without question one of the wines of the vintage. Firm yet beautifully integrated tannins provide the backdrop for the highly nuanced, expressive aromas and flavors that emerge from the glass. All the elements are in the right place in this extraordinary, moving wine. At times the Bonnes-Mares comes across as very powerful, at other times it is quite sensual. In other words, it is pure magic in the glass. Burgundy fans will flock to the Musigny because of its rarity but there is a very real possibility that the Bonnes-Mares will outshine it over time.”
Burghound 96 points “This is also remarkably fresh with very ripe but not over ripe aromas of cassis, spice, stone and raspberry liqueur. There is a palpable sense of energy running through the rich, powerful and brooding broad-shouldered flavors that benefit from a huge dollop of dry extract that pushes the very firm tannic spine to the background on the explosive and youthfully austere finish that possesses genuinely outstanding length. I very much like the balance here and this should age effortlessly for decades.”

The ’13s are looking like the Next Great Undervalued Vintage a la 2001.
Domaine Georges & Christophe Roumier Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2013 750ML ($1,119.95) $999 special, 1 bottle in stock now
Burghound 95 points
“This is quite floral with plenty of earth and assorted spice elements adding interest to the very fresh mix of green tea and red and dark berry fruit scents. There is outstanding power and concentration to the broad-shouldered flavors that possess a robust mouth feel and ample minerality, all wrapped in a moderately austere and hugely long finish. This is a big, indeed even opulent but balanced wine that is clearly built for longer-term cellaring.”

A considerable step down in price from the Cuvee Rodin, but perhaps not very much in quality.
Domaine Faiveley Chambertin Clos de Beze Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2016 750ML ($449.95) $379 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 98 points
“A rich, powerful version, backed by flashy oak and beefy tannins that sandwich the flavors of black cherry, blackberry, licorice, iron and tobacco. Concentrated, yet vibrant and long. Best from 2024 through 2050. 500 cases made.—B.S.”
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2016 Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Grand Cru is also showing superbly, offering up aromas of cassis, grilled meats, pungent spices and a savory bass-note reminiscent of oyster sauce. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, rich and fleshy, with velvety structuring tannins, succulent acids and a long, expansive finish. It isn’t quite as multidimensional or complete as this year’s spectacular Ouvrées Rodin bottling, but it’s a very fine Clos de Bèze.”
Stephen Tanzer 94-97 points “Bright, dark red-ruby. Knockout sappy nose combines black raspberry, crushed rock and white pepper. Boasts remarkable intensity and clarity–not to mention class–to its flavors of raspberry, spices and pungent minerals. Wonderfully sappy and dense but almost magically light on its feet. This sharply delineated wine finishes with ineffable rising perfume and outstanding length. This wine manages to combine the best traits of Faiveley’s other Gevrey grand crus–not to mention the finest qualities of the 2016 vintage–in an utterly weightless package.”
Burghound 93-96 points “(from a 1.29 ha parcel). This is softly oaky with a wonderfully spicy array of black cherry, pungent earth and evident sauvage nuances that can be found on the impressively rich and seductively textured broad-shouldered and concentrated flavors that coat the palate with extract, all wrapped in a balanced, long and deep finish. I very much like the way this fans out on the strikingly persistent finish. Note that plenty of patience is a requisite here and it would be largely pointless to open a bottle before its 10th anniversary. (93-96)/2036+.”


“Odds and Ends”

Deals from France and Italy

We’ve got a wonderful assortment of wines arriving Friday that are unified by two factors: they’re from Europe and the pricing on them is fantastic.  The highlight is probably Gros Nore’s Bandol, but we’ve got wines from the Northern Rhone, Chianti Rufina, Faugeres and Alsace as well.  None of these are available in large quantities, so if you see something that’s special to you, hop on it quickly.

Arriving Friday

’16 is one of the better Bandol vintages in recent years, especially for early drinking.
Domaine du Gros’ Nore Bandol, Provence 2016 750ML ($49.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 93 points
“One of my favorite 2016s, Gros Noré’s 2016 Bandol is a complex, savory offering with at least 15 years of life ahead of it. Dark, plummy fruit picks up notes of mocha, roasted meat and mushrooms on the medium to full-bodied palate. Rich and velvety from start to long, long finish, this is nice, nice stuff, a blend of 80% Mourvèdre with 15% Grenache and 5% Cinsault aged in foudres.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $39
The average listed price is $42

Basciano is one of the better producers in Chianti Rufina and their Riserva is fantastic.
Fattoria di Basciano Chianti Rufina Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($29.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 91 points
“Black currant, black cherry, dusty herb and spice flavors highlight this rich, densely structured red. Balanced and long, with cedar, olive and herb notes lining the finish. Drink now through 2023. 2,000 cases made”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

An iconic Natural producer’s top cuvee—Barral is always exciting stuff.
Domaine Leon Barral Faugeres Valiniere, Languedoc-Roussillon 2014 750ML ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 93 points
“A blend of Mourvèdre and Syrah, the 2014 Valiniere is a bit richer and darker-fruited than the Jadis but not otherwise more impressive. The fruit is plummy, the wine full-bodied on the palate, but it remains silky-textured and long. These were two outstanding offerings from the talented Didier Barral.”

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A great value in classical N. Rhone Syrah.
Ferraton Pere & Fils Crozes-Hermitage La Matiniere, Rhone 2015 750ML ($29.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Josh Raynolds 89-91 points
“Deep ruby. Aromas of cherry pit, black currant, peppery spices and succulent herbs, lifted by a zesty mineral quality. Juicy and focused on the palate, displaying very good depth to the smoke-accented dark berry and bitter cherry flavors. Shows good heft as well as vivacity and finishes with firm mineral cut, building tannins and lingering spiciness.”

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Kuentz-Bas Riesling Tradition, Alsace 2015 750ML ($21.95) $14 pre-arrival special

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