The Long Shadows Vintners Collection
First Offer: St. Damien’s 2017 Gigondas
Highlights from Jorge Ordonez Imports
Rosés of the Day
Arnaldo Caprai’s Fantastic Rosso
Charles Heidsieck: The Overlooked Grande Marque
Delas’ Powerful Rhone Vision
The Long Shadows Vintners Collection
As in past years, we’re offering a gift box with one bottle of each of six wines in the collection, each one distinctive and excellent. From the classic Cabernet made by Randy Dunn, to Phillipe Melka’s spin on the Columbia Valley to John Duvall’s brooding Syrah, these are all fantastic wines in an extremely attractive gift box. They arrive next month, in time for holiday gifting.
Arriving ETA November:
Case-6 Long Shadows Vintners Collection, Columbia Valley 2016 750ML ($449.95) $349 pre-arrival special
Contains one 750ML bottle each of Long Shadows’ six acclaimed red wines, packaged together in a beautifully etched wood box.
2016 Pirouette, 2016 Feather, 2016 Pedestal, 2016 Chester-Kidder, 2016 Sequel, 2016 Saggi
Pirouette: A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Merlot. Richly layered and complex, with a generous spectrum of aromas and flavors including black cherry, sweet spices and a hint of earth. The wine’s refined texture provides a seductive mouth feel and lengthy finish.
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points “The 2016 Pirouette is made by Philippe Melka and it’s a total blockbuster based on 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, and the palate Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec that was fermented in barrel and aged 22 months in 75% new oak. Crème de cassis, blackberries, toasted spices, cedar, and forest floor notes all emerge from this deep, rich, opulent red that has sweet tannins, a thrilling texture, no hard edges, and a monster finish. This is another best-to-date from this estate and it’s an awesome wine.”
Feather: Randy Dunn selects the Cabernet Sauvignon the Feather from a diversity of sites: the estate Benches Vineyards for dark fruit and earthiness, the Wahluke Slope for structure and ripe tannins, and two of Washington State’s oldest vineyards, Weinbau and Dionysus, for complexity. The wine is concentrated and beautifully balanced, offering an array of fresh berry aromas, complimented by spicy, dark cherry and dried current flavors that persist on the palate.
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “Made by California’s Randy Dunn, the 2016 Feather is, as always, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and spent 22 months in 90% new. It has a classic, firm, focused style in its crème de cassis, spicy oak, and graphite bouquet. This carries to a concentrated, powerful Cabernet that has beautiful mid-palate depth, ample tannins, but more than enough fruit. It will keep for 20 years or more.”
Pedestal: Michel Rolland selects the Merlot from the Conner Lee, Dionysus and Benches Vineyards to produce an unusually complex Merlot. Tapteil Vineyards Cabernet gives it its strength and extra richness. The wine shows intense, fruit-forward notes, bursting with fresh blueberries, ripe plum, cedar and spice. Good concentration in the wine adds to its pleasing mouth feel; balanced acidity enhances its appeal. Supple tannins are well-integrated on the entry, across the mid-palate and throughout a long, layered finish.
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “The 2016 Pedestal from Michel Rolland checks in as a blend of 75% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the rest Petit Verdot that spent 22 months in 85% new French oak. It has a rocking bouquet of smoked black fruits, espresso, chocolate, and tobacco that gives way to a full-bodied, plump, incredibly sexy red that does everything right. It’s one serious mouthful of Merlot and should keep for 10-12 years.”
Sequel: John Duval, formerly of the iconic Penfolds Grange, uses grapes from the Benches Vineyard for its dark flavored fruit, the Red Mountain Vineyard adds structure, and Boushey Vineyards add elegance. A generous and concentrated wine of great character. Almond, dark chocolate and cherry notes fill the glass, complemented by hints of black licorice, blackberry, cocoa powder and a touch of smoke.
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points “A blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2016 Sequel is another ripe, sexy, yet pure and balanced vintage for this cuvée. Lovely blackberry, smoked earth, graphite, and ground pepper all flow to a medium to full-bodied, silky, elegant wine that packs less of a punch than normal, yet is balanced and layered, with a great finish. It will benefit from a year or two in bottle and keep for a decade.”
Saggi: Saggi is a blend from father and son team Ambrogio and Giovanni Folonari of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese (from a 1993 planting) and Syrah. Dark cherry aromas and raspberry flavors combine with a hint of nutmeg and smoky earthiness. An elegant entry in the front of the mouth reveals refined tannins with focused concentration, enhanced by the wine’s rich and supple mouth feel.
Jeb Dunnuck 92 points “The 2016 Red Wine SAGGI is mostly Sangiovese but has 29% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Syrah. Medium ruby-colored, with notes of ripe cherries, spice box, and dried flowers, it hits the palate with medium-bodied richness, present yet ripe, polished tannins, terrific balance, and a clean, graceful finish. It’s certainly one of the best expressions of Sangiovese coming from Washington.”
Chester-Kidder: The back bone of this wine is Cabernet from Walla Walla and nearby Candy Mountain. Its deepness and darkness is Syrah from the estate’s Benches Vineyards with a touch of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Aromas of dried figs and cocoa powder, along with hints of tamarind and toasty oak are followed by intense violent and blueberry jam flavors beautifully integrated around a spicy core.
St. Damien’s 2017 Gigondas
Gigondas has become the shooting star of the Southern Rhone—occupying the space that Chateauneuf du-Pape did during the 90’s and early 00’s. This is a region that’s producing electric, thrilling wines at prices that despite recent increases are some of the best deals in the world of the highest quality wines. Saint Damien has emerged as one of the best producers in the AOC. These are some of the top wines coming out of the Rhone, at prices that should make other top producers blush.
Arriving ETA Mid-November
Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas La Louisiane Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2017 750ML ($49.95) $38 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas La Louisiane Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2017 750ML ($599.95) $419 pre-arrival special (that’s only $34.92/bottle—the lowest listed price in the USA!)
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points “I think the standout in the 2017 is the 2017 Gigondas La Louisiane, a blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah from a single lieu-dit near the domaine, which is located further down on the plateau. Incredible notes of blackcurrants, smoked herbs, spring flowers, and peppery meat notes emerge from this full-bodied beauty that has terrific concentration, sweet tannins, no hard edges, and a blockbuster finish. It actually reminds me of the 2007 yet has more structure and focus. It’s an incredible bottle of wine that will drink well for 20+ years.”
Wine Advocate 95+ points “Bottled in May, the 2017 Gigondas La Louisiane looks every bit as good as expected. Licorice, dark cherries and plums feature on the nose, while the full-bodied palate is silky and rich, just a wonderful balance of power and elegance. It should drink well soon after release and for at least decade thereafter.-JC”
Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas Les Souteyrades Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas Les Souteyrades Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2017 750ML ($479.95) $359 pre-arrival special (that’s only $29.92/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 95 points “A blend of Grenache and Mourvèdre, the 2017 Gigondas les Souteyrades—from a clay-based, north-facing site—is rich and earthy, with cinnamon and cola notes accenting dark plums and black cherries. It’s full-bodied and velvety, adding hints of chocolate on the long finish.-JC”
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points “Black cherries, garrigue, leather, and a kiss of spice emerge from the 2017 Gigondas Les Souteyrades, which is Grenache and Mourvèdre brought up in foudre. It’s medium to full-bodied, has light tannins, beautiful balance, and a charming, elegant style. As with the other releases here in 2017, it’s a seamless, layered, complex wine that relies more on elegance and complexity than overt power and richness.”
Case-12 Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2017 750ML ($419.95) $319 pre-arrival special (that’s only $26.58/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points “The ruby/purple-hued 2017 Gigondas Vieilles Vignes is a finesse-oriented, medium to full-bodied wine from this estate that has classy notes of dark fruits, kirsch, sappy flowers, and peppery spice. With no hard edges and beautiful balance, it’s reminiscent of the 2011 and will drink nicely for 7-8 years or more.”
Wine Advocate 92-94 points “The 2017 Gigondas Classique Vieilles Vignes was scheduled to be bottled the week after my visit, so I tasted the final assemblage, which is 75% to 80% Grenache and the rest Mourvèdre. Scents of crushed stone, pepper and licorice lead the way, followed by intense notes of black cherries and tree bark. It’s full-bodied, silky and long, with hints of chocolate that creep in on the finish. It looks suppler than I remember it being last year, and it’s for the better.-JC”
Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas La Louisiane Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2016 750ML ($39.95) $36 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points
Grapelive 95 points “The awesome 2016 La Louisiane old vine cuvee from Saint-Damien is an intensely dark purply Rhone blend of 80% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre, plus a 5% remaining balance of Cinsault and Syrahwith amazing depth and complex, while still being wonderfully easy to drink, a hallmark of this vintage. Layered with blackberry/raspberry, boysenberry, plum and pomegranate fruits and a sweet nose of lilac and roses flows across the palate with hints of kirsch, anise, garrigue (lavender/sage) and a touch of exotic spices. This beauty of a Gigondas is from all organic vines set on sandy clay and red old alluvium soils with broken cailloux (round rocks) strewn throughout which shows in the lovely color, density and depth here and these vines, primary Grenache over 70 years old, this parcel was planted in 1942, give this wine ripe tannin and age worthy structure. With air the Gigondas La Louisiane gains a meaty power with sanguine, leather and peppery elements adding some soulful charm to this fantastic year’s silken and expressive fruit.…One of the great values of the Southern Rhone, Domaine Saint-Damien, run by Joel, and his son Romain Saurel….The Saurel’s, with Romain now much more involved in the winemaking, keep things simple in the cellar trying to focus on the terroir and the vineyards, use traditional techniques, and with this wine used native yeast vinification with maceration lasting for about 6 weeks in concrete vats, with regular pump overs before racking to large foudre where it was aged just over a year. They really put a lot of attention to detail in the vineyards so they can pick a bit later without losing the energy of the wine which they bottle unfined and unfiltered, and while full bodied and richly textured it has superb balance and rustic charms with mineral/stone and earthy elements adding a contrast to the opulent fruit. This 2016 gets better and better in the glass, it’s a wine that expresses everything that it can and has that extra bit more that puts it in that special place among wines a level of greatness that is not pretentious, but magical, especially if you are a Grenache lover! Drink this glorious vintage for the next 10 to 15 years, though as mentioned it is hard to resist even now!”
We’re excited to offer rare magnums of their “Souteyrades” bottling from the 2015 and 2016 vintages. The vineyard yields the biggest, richest and most powerful of all of the wines that St. Damien makes and consequently it is the most sought after of the lineup.
The combo of vintage and vineyard mean that these are some of the best wines that St. Damien have ever made, at a price and format that means it’ll be perfect for parties or for laying down for a long time in your cellar. Quantities are limited (we only were able to source 30 of these bad boys, between both vintages, and have sold a few) so anyone who loves massive, dense Southern Rhone wines ought to have some in their cellar.
Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas Les Souteyrades Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2015 1.5L ($109.95) $89 special
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points “The most opulent and voluptuous of the 2015s, the 2015 Gigondas Les Souteyrades is heavenly juice that, again, drinks well past its humble price point. Just loaded with notions of strawberries, framboise, spring flowers, dried orange peels and spice, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a thick, unctuous texture, sweet tannin and a great, great finish. This cuvee is the normal 80/20 split of Grenache and Mourvèdre, aged all in foudre, and there’s just 750 cases made.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “Like the La Louisiane, the 2015 Gigondas les Souteyrades spent a year in foudres prior to bottling. It a similar blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvèdre, but grown on north-facing gray clays. There’s more pepper and herb here, still wonderfully ripe raspberries but less chocolate. Full-bodied, it’s still silky and refined, with tremendous length on the finish.”
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points “The 2016 Gigondas Les Souteyrades checks in as 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvèdre that was brought up all in foudre. It’s another powerful, concentrated, awesome wine that has slightly more exotic notes of black raspberries, crushed flowers, spice, and sappy garrigue. I almost always find a citrus note in this cuvée, which is full-bodied, opulent and mouthfilling on the palate, yet always stays graceful and lively.”
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Muga you know, but the Vatan and Sierra Cantabria fly under the radar. Vatan is the personal project of Jorge Ordonez in the Toro region. It’s a follow up to Numanthia, a winery that Ordonez created to highlight the singular terroir of the region. He sold Numanthia to LVMH and promptly turned around to start a new project—which brings us to the Vatan wine arriving Friday. It’s the spiritual successor to the higher end Numanthia wines, just at a mid-tier pricepoint. Like everything else Ordonez does, it delivers exceptional value.
Likewise, the Sierra Cantabria is one of the most important Rioja producers for the Spanish consumer, but here flies under the radar on these shores. From top to bottom, they make some of the richest and most voluptuous wines in Rioja. They’re really special wines, aged in French rather than American oak and given a tremendous amount of care in the production process. We’ve got an assortment of Jorge’s wines in stock and arriving over the next several months, all highlighted below.
In Stock Now:
Bodegas Muga ‘Prado Enea’ Gran Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2011 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Jeb Dunnuck 95+ points “The 2011 Prado Enea checks in as a blend of 80% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, Mazuelo that spent a full three years in oak, followed by three years in bottle before being released in May of 2019. It reveals a deep ruby/plum color as well as a closed, tight nose of blackcurrants, smoked earth, graphite, and Asian spices. It’s rich, medium to full-bodied, has a layered, balanced texture, integrated tannins, and a great finish. It’s holding things a little close to its vest at the moment, so I suspect 2-4 years of bottle age are warranted.”
Bodegas Ilurce Rioja Rio Madre Graciano, Rioja DOCa 2016 750ML ($14.95) $11.90 special
Josh Raynolds 90 points “(aged for six months in one to three year old French oak barrels) Inky ruby. Pungent black and blue fruits, licorice, vanilla and cola scents are complemented by a smoky nuance that builds in the glass. Chewy and focused on the palate, offering concentrated bitter cherry and cassis flavors that are lifted and braced by a spine of juicy acidity. The smoke and cherry notes echo on the youthfully tannic finish, which shows sharp delineation and strong persistence. For the price point this is quite a serious wine, and one that will reward some patience.”
Jeb Dunnuck 90 points “Made from 100% Graciano aged in neutral oak, the 2016 Rio Madre offers a ripe bouquet of black cherries, blackberries, dried flowers, leather, and damp earth. Rich and nicely concentrated, it’s medium-bodied, well-balanced, and has a solid, layered texture as well as a great finish. It blossoms with time in the glass, has plenty of fruit and character, and is a rock-solid value.”
Bodegas Ordonez Vatan Tinta de Toro, Toro 2015 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points “Seeing the same élevage as the 2016, the 2015 Vatan offers a slightly more saturated color as well as smoking good notes of blackcurrants, smoked earth, melted licorice, violets, and dark chocolate. Fabulous on the palate as well, with full-bodied richness, flawless balance, ripe tannins, and a great, great finish, it’s a primordial baby at the moment, yet this thrilling wine could compete with wine costing 3-4 times the price.”
Case-12 Sierra Salinas Casa Mira, Alicante 2016 750ML ($249.95) $175 special (that’s only $14.83/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points “Also 100% Monastrell but a selection of old, head-trained vines, the 2016 Mira Salinas was brought up in a mix of new, once-, and twice-used barrels. Its deep ruby/plum color is followed by a Bandol-like bouquet of smoked black fruits, earth, meat, and spice. It’s rich, medium to full-bodied, has beautiful fruit, good acidity, and plenty of tannins, and it’s a classic, balanced Monastrell that more than over-delivers at the price. These are custom cuvées for Jorge Ordonez that are only brought into the US.”
Case-12 Bodegas Muga Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2015 750ML ($359.95) $285 special (that’s only $23.75/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “One of the flagship cuvées from this estate that’s produced in every vintage, the 2015 Reserva is a blend of 70% Tempranillo and the rest Garnacha, Mazuelo, and Graciano that spent 24 months in used French and American oak. Blackberries, currants, cigar wrapper, cedar box, and hints of vanilla all flow to a medium-bodied, concentrated, beautiful Rioja that has ripe tannins, beautiful balance, and a great finish. You couldn’t go wrong with a case of this.”
James Suckling 94 points “Complex nose with ripe black cherries, deeply integrated cedary oak, baking spices, dried flowers, leather, fresh tobacco and earthy notes. This is silky and mellow with long, laid-back tannins that deliver ripe dark plum flavors into a spicy and earthy finish. Drink or hold.”
Newly Reviewed Wines Arriving Fall through December:
Sierra Cantabria Finca El Bosque, Rioja DOCa 2016 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points “Another tiny production, single vineyard release that’s all Tempranillo, from vines planted in 1973, the 2016 Finca el Bosque was brought up mostly in French oak yet had 10% of the blend aged in Hungarian oak. It has a Pomerol-like bouquet of black and blue fruits, earth, graphite, and lead pencil that develops beautifully with time in the glass. Rich, full-bodied, powerful, and mouthfilling on the palate, it has rocking purity of fruit, sweet tannins, and a killer finish. It’s another rich yet elegant wine from this estate that’s going to keep for four decades or more. Bravo!”
The average listed price is $138
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points “A tiny production, single vineyard release, the 2016 Mágico is based on a field blend of 65% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, and the rest a mix of permitted varieties, all aged 20 months in new French oak. Its deep, saturated purple color is followed by an exotic bouquet of blackcurrants, blueberries, crushed violets, licorice, and flowery incense. Medium to full-bodied, with incredible purity of fruit, nicely integrated acidity, and fine tannins, it’s another elegant, seamless wine from this estate that builds with time in the glass, has no hard edges, and delivers a massive finish. This gorgeous wine will benefit from 2-4 years of bottle age and keep for 15+ years.”
Case-12 Sierra Cantabria Reserva Unica, Rioja DOCa 2015 750ML ($379.95) $299 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “The single vineyard 2015 Reserva Unica is one of the few from this estate that’s not 100% Tempranillo, as it includes 3% Graciano. Aged two years mostly in French oak (30% new), its deep ruby/purple color gives way to a brilliant wine that’s loaded with notions of ripe black cherries, blackcurrants, smoked earth, crushed violets, cigar, and lead pencil shavings. It’s rich, full-bodied, has a terrific mid-palate, flawless balance, and a great, great finish. This is a beautiful wine.”
Spottswoode Family Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena 2014 750ML ($199.95) $169 special
Robert Parker 96+ points “This first-growth estate in St. Helena has produced a 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon that is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. It is certainly one of the wines of the vintage. Gorgeously opaque purple, it offers up notes of spring flowers, blueberries, blackcurrants, some baking spice and graphite. It is full-bodied, concentrated and rich, with layers of fruit. The wine builds and builds on the palate, with a great finish of 45+ seconds. This is a sensational 2014 to drink over the next 20+ years.”
Antonio Galloni 96 points “Spottswoode 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is striking. Black cherry, plum, graphite, spice and menthol are some of the signatures. Intensely mineral and savory, the 2014 comes across as a slightly restrained version of the 2013. The flavor and tannin profiles are both quite similar, but the 2014 is a bit smaller-scaled in all of its dimensions. That is not a bad thing, as the 2014 will be ready to drink sooner. This is an impressive showing.”
James Suckling 96 points “Amazing burnt-orange and currant aromas with tar and lead pencil. Blackberries, too. Changes all the time. Mesmerizing. Full-bodied and powerful with super-polished tannins and a long and intense finish. The polished and fine tannins coat your mouth. Glorious. Needs three to four years to soften.”
Truly top tier Cote Rotie for far less than its peers.
Domaine Garon Cote Rotie Les Triotes, Rhone 2016 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Domaine Garon Cote Rotie Les Triotes, Rhone 2016 1.5L ($149.95) $119 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92 points “(40% new oak) Opaque ruby. Smoky, mineral-accented cherry and blueberry scents are complicated by hints of vanilla, Indian spices and licorice. Supple and broad on the palate, offering pliant blackberry and bitter cherry flavors that become sweeter as the wine opens up. A sexy floral pastille note emerges on the clinging finish, which shows excellent clarity and gentle, slow-building tannins.”
Jeb Dunnuck 92 points “The 2016 Côte Rôtie Les Triotes offers a darker, smokier style with meaty notes of red and black fruits, crushed rocks, spice box, and violets. Medium-bodied, rounded, and nicely textured on the palate, it lacks the seamless texture of the other two wines here but is still one seriously impressive wine.”
Wine Advocate 90-92 points “The 2016 Cote Rotie Les Triotes is a blend of the domaine’s parcels in the Côte Blond that will spend 18 months in oak. It doesn’t have the excitement of the lieu-dit wines, but it’s solidly made, offering hints of cedar and vanilla over red berries. It’s medium to full-bodied, with a plush texture and a long, velvety finish.”
This is up there with Vieux Chateau Certan or any other top flight Pomerol.
Castello di Ama L’Apparita Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($199.95) $137.50 special
Antonio Galloni 98 points “Ama’s 2015 L’Apparita is shaping up to be phenomenal. That is the good news. But readers are going to have to give the 2015 at least another 8-10 years before the wine starts to drink well, as today, the flavors are remarkably primary. That is hardly a surprise given how this Tuscan thoroughbred ages. A rush of blackberry jam, spice, menthol, and graphite build into a crescendo of aromas, flavors and textures. Over the years, I have had the chance to take virtually every vintage of L’Apparita. There is little doubt the 2015 will soon take its place as one of the epic editions.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 96 points “It’s impossible not to be completely smitten by the 2015 L’Apparita. This pure expression of Merlot from Chianti Classico is an exceedingly smooth and enriched expression with abundant tones of black cherry, spice, chocolate and barbecue smoke. The mouthfeel is gorgeous, and although this wine is not as extracted or dense as past editions, it is far more finessed and elegant. You get a clear taste not only of the grape but of the gravely soils that make up this extraordinary territory. What could be better than Merlot and Tuscany blended together in a single bottle?”
James Suckling 96 points “Aromas of black olives and violets with black fruits following through to a full body with firm and silky tannins. An intense finish. Shows linear yet strong tannins. 100% merlot. Drink in 2020.”
K Vintners Rock Garden Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “Coming from a site in the Rocks region of the Walla Walla Valley, the 2016 Syrah Rock Garden boasts a deep ruby/purple color as well as a sweet nose of red fruits, spring flowers, ground pepper, and assorted leafy, herbal notes. Ripe, medium to full-bodied, and just a straight-up sexy wine, drink it any time over the coming decade.”
Wine Spectator 93 points ” Expressive river stone and blueberry aromas open to silky and refined raspberry, licorice and black olive flavors that build on the dynamic finish. Drink now through 2026. 598 cases made. — TF”
Winery note “Purity speaks! A creature of its vineyard. Stone, Asian five spice, game, cocoa, dried herbs and cold riverbed aromas that waft up from the glass and fill your senses with the most amazing perfume. WOW. 100% Syrah / 100% whole cluster pressed / Native yeast / 35 days on skins / 21 mo. barrel-aged on lees.”
In Stock Now:
Plouzeau Chinon Rive Gauche Rose, Loire 2018 750ML ($17.95) $14.40 special
Case-12 Plouzeau Chinon Rive Gauche Rose, Loire ($199.95) $149 special (that’s only $12.42/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 90 points “Shimmering orange-pink. Highly perfumed, mineral-accented strawberry and floral scents are complemented by a slowly building hint of orange zest. Dry and lively on the palate, offering bitter cherry and red berry flavors and a spicy touch of white pepper. Finishes clean and long, displaying repeating florality and a nervy touch of dusty minerals.”
VinopolNote “While Chinon is best known for its lovely, savory bistro reds, a few producers make dynamite rosé from the AOC as well. Plouzeau is one of those that makes excellent rosé, and the 2018 version is tops. As a red, some don’t love Chinon because of its herbal, savory streak, but that’s tempered in rosé form, turning into a lovely background note of thyme or rosemary to complement the bright juicy fruit. This is dry and crisp—and more importantly budget friendly. It’s one of the best values in the rosé world, especially if you buy it by the case!”
Importer note “80% Cabernet Franc, 20% Grolleau from 25+ year old vines grown on shallow soils of grey schist and rhyolite (volcanic soil) and clay. Indigenous yeast fermentation of direct press rosé with no malo. Aged in stainless steel.”
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”
Pascal et Nicolas Reverdy Sancerre Terre de Maimbray Rose, Loire 2018 750ML ($27.95) $24 special
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 92 points “Pale, shimmering pink. Vibrant, mineral-accented red currant, strawberry and blood orange aromas are complemented by a suave floral nuance. Shows impressive energy and precision on the palate, which displays intense citrus fruit, red berry and floral pastille flavors supported a bracing spine of dusty minerality. The floral note comes back strong on the bright, focused finish, which leaves a building mineral note behind.”
In Stock Now:
Like a Chianti on steroids, this is rich and ready for dinner tonight.
Arnaldo-Caprai Montefalco Rosso, Umbria 2015 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
Case-12 Arnaldo-Caprai Montefalco Rosso, Umbria 2015 750ML ($299.95) $212 special (that’s only $17.67/bottle!)
James Suckling 92 points “Ripe plums, dried lavender, basil, tar, licorice and hot stones show here on the nose. Medium to full body, fresh acidity, round yet tight tannins and a fruity finish. Drink now.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 90 points “I really like the 2015 Montefalco Rosso and am happy to recommend this attractive value wine. It shows dark fruit and spice with a supple and round style. There is not too much dimension here, but the wine is upfront and immediate instead. I make roasted chicken according to an old family recipe with roasted garlic and potatoes, and this is exactly the kind of wine I’d want to pair with that dish.”
The Overlooked Grande Marque
Arriving ETA January:
Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve, Champagne 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve, Champagne 750ML ($359.95) $269 pre-arrival special (that’s only $44.83/bottle!)
Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve, Champagne 1.5L ($149.95) $99 pre-arrival special
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 92+ points “Based on the 2014 vintage, complemented by fully 40% old reserve wines, the new release of Charles Heidsieck’s NV Brut Réserve was disgorged earlier this year. It’s showing very well, opening up in the glass with notes of green apple, dried white flowers, pear, candied peel and walnuts. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, deep and layered, with a textural attack and a racier, tighter-knit core than either the 2012- or 2010-base renditions, displaying good concentration and underlying richness. This is a bottling that continues to punch above its weight and which both merits and rewards a few years in the cellar before opening.”
Charles Heidsieck Blanc de Blancs, Champagne NV 750ML ($99.95) $75 pre-arrival special
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 92 points “Based on the 2012 vintage, the latest rendition of Heidsieck’s NV Blanc de Blancs incorporates some 20% reserve wines, derived from younger vintages to emphasize what Cyril Brun described as the “youthful” side of Chardonnay, in contrast to the mature expression of that cépage offered by the house’s Blanc de Millénaires. Unwinding in the glass with aromas of citrus oil, white flowers, green apple and walnut oil, complemented by some of the empyreumatic nuances so typical of the base vintage, it’s a medium to full-bodied, elegantly textural and incisive wine that’s lively and inviting. It was disgorged last year with nine grams per liter dosage.”
Charles Heidsieck Brut Rose, Champagne 750ML ($89.95) $61.50 pre-arrival special
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 93 points “The new release of Heidsick’s NV Rosé Réserve is based on the 2012 vintage, with the usual 20% of reserve wines and some 6% still red wine from Les Riceys in the Aube. Already exhibiting considerable complexity, it wafts from the glass with scents of orange rind, red plums, gingerbread and red berries. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, satiny textured and fleshy, with lively acids and an attractively vinous profile. It was disgorged a few months ago with 11 grams per liter dosage”
Charles Heidsieck Brut Rose Vintage, Champagne 2005 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 94 points “A rich, toasty overtone brings you into the glass of this satiny rosé, offering flavors of baked white cherry and raspberry fruit, saffron, brioche and citrus peel, all deftly meshed with vibrant acidity. Elegant. Disgorged 2017. Drink now through 2029. 100 cases imported. — AN”
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 93 points “This bottle of the 2005 Brut Rosé was disgorged in 2017 with ten grams per liter dosage. It’s a lovely wine that offers up complex notes of red apple, mandarin, white cherries, brioche and nutmeg. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, pure and vibrant, with a fleshy core of fruit, brisk acids, a refined mousse and lovely chalky grip on the finish. This is a serious, vinous rosé that numbers among the challenging 2005 vintage’s successes.”
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Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires, Champagne 2004 750ML ($199.95) $169 special
Decanter 97 points “It says much that Charles Heidsieck went for the 2004, not the richer 2002, as the long-awaited successor to the epic 1995 Millenaires – the ’04 has an admirable beauty and finesse in the classic mould that fits the style of this wine so well. It’s an intriguing blend of great Chardonnays from Oger, Mesnil, Avize and Cramant, but also from Vertus, a premier cru punching above its weight. Vanilla and butter flatter this wine famously, but there’s no oak. It has controlled richness, with precision and purity ruling over the green and tropical fruits. A magnificent champagne with impressively elegant acidity, a triumph now and for years to come. Disgorged in 2016. Drinking Window 2020 – 2035.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “A seamless Champagne, showing a texture of raw silk, this weaves vibrant acidity with an expressive range of glazed apple and poached white cherry fruit flavors, with pickled ginger and saffron spice details and rich notes of pastry cream, toast and coffee liqueur. More about finesse than power, this is long and creamy on the mineral-tinged finish. Drink now through 2028. [Reviewed Dec 2018]”
Delas makes some of the most powerful, intense wines in the Northern Rhone at prices that make them one of the superior values in the region. Density and richness are a hallmark of both the reds and the whites—there are no shrinking violets in the lineup. We turn to them for big, bold wines that often show very well young—a remarkable trait in their part of France.
For whatever reason, the market has yet to catch up to the quality coming out of Delas’ cellar. The Northern Rhone has turned into one of the hottest markets in the wine world, with many wineries getting expensive overnight. That hasn’t happened to Delas—yet. With the quality of recent vintages and the scores involved, we definitely see it happening soon, though, so if you love these wines now is the time to back up the truck.
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Delas Freres Condrieu Clos Boucher, Rhone 2016 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 95 points “Pale green-hued yellow. Penetrating, mineral-tinged aromas of fresh citrus and pit fruits are complemented by chalky minerals, violet and fennel accents. Juicy, focused and concentrated, offering intense pear nectar, Meyer lemon and honeysuckle flavors that show outstanding clarity and minerally lift. The mineral and floral notes carry emphatically through a silky, appealingly sweet finish that hangs on with superb focus and tenacity.”
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “A step up, the bigger, richer 2016 Condrieu Clos Boucher is blockbuster stuff, offering serious notes of crushed rock, buttered citrus, orange blossom, and a smoky, meaty, mineral character that’s hard to describe. Possessing full-bodied richness, beautiful mid-palate concentration and a seamless texture, this beauty will be even better this time next year and keep for 4-6 years.”
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Josh Raynolds–Vinous 94 points “Ruby-red. Very pungent, deep aromas of tobacco- and underbrush-laced red and blackcurrant. Powerful and rich, showing impressive sweetness to its potent cassis and blackberry flavors. Really stains the palate, finishing with exceptional purity and mineral tones. Whatever tannins are here (and you know there are plenty) are completely absorbed by the sheer fruit mass.”
Jeb Dunnuck 100 points “The top cuvée from Delas is the 2015 Hermitage Les Bessards, and it’s always 100% Syrah from the steep, broken granite soils of the Bessards lieu-dit. Aged 18 months in 30% new barrels, its purple/plum color is followed by a huge nose of blackcurrants, graphite, toasted spice, crushed rocks and saddle leather. Powerful, massively concentrated, and tannic, it has a broad, expansive, heavenly texture, a thick mid-palate (you could almost use a fork for this beauty), and a great finish. Despite the richness level, it stays balanced and graceful on the palate, and is never over the top or heavy. It’s a perfect Hermitage that will start to shine with 4-5 years of bottle age and keep for three decades or more. Bravo!”
Wine Enthusiast 96 points “Cellar Selection! There’s a striking balance here calibrating bold, almost muscular ripeness against an invigorating granite edge. This wine is plump and full bodied, full of supple blackberry and plum flavors balanced by pert acidity and taut, penetrating tannins. It should be in peak from 2020–2035 but hold further.”
Wine Advocate 95-97 points “The top cuvée is the 2015 Hermitage les Bessards, which comes from the middle to lower portion of the steep, granite hillside known as Bessards, unquestionably one of the best terroirs for Syrah in the world. Its inky purple color is followed by a full-bodied, rich, thrillingly concentrated red that has huge tannin, bright acidity and a solid mid-palate concentration. It still tastes like it just came from the press and will need to be forgotten for a decade. As normal, it’s completely destemmed and will see 18 months in 30% new oak.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 96 points “Inky ruby. A highly aromatic bouquet evokes candied black and blue fruits, along with complicating suggestions of smoky minerals, candied flowers, olive and vanilla. Deep, chewy and expansive in the mouth, offering impressively concentrated dark berry liqueur, fruitcake and salty olive flavors that are complicated by a hint of smoky minerality and a building floral pastille note. Distinctly rich and powerful but surprisingly graceful as well, showing noteworthy clarity and mineral-driven thrust on the strikingly long finish.”
Delas Freres Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes-Marquise de la Tourette, Rhone 2013 750ML ($119.95) $59 special
Jancis Robinson 18/20 points “Very dark purple indeed. Altogether broader and less focused than the Côte Rôties on the nose. Peppery and subtle. Very glossy, layered, complex and magnificent. I would reproach this only very slightly on the finish but it’s a pretty magnificent wine.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “One of the gems in the vintage is the 2013 Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes, which comes from both the Bessards and Grandes Vignes lieux-dits on Hermitage Hill. Completely destemmed, then vinified in stainless steel and concrete tanks, the wine is aged 18 months in 30% new French oak; it offers terrific notes of dark fruits, graphite and ample minerality in a full-bodied, layered, ripe profile. It’s more approachable than the Les Bessards, yet will still have three decades of longevity.”
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