Another Excellent Value from Casa Castillo
Clos de La Chapelle: Burgundy Star
The First Round of 2018 Beaujolais:
Bouland and Roilette
Goyo Garcia Viadero’s Alternative Ribera del Duero
Staff Pick: Plays Like the Real Thing
Trending Case Picks for Holiday Entertaining
Collector’s Corner: 2008 Champagne Edition
Doyard’s Singular Cotes de Blancs Vision
Another Excellent Value from Casa Castillo
Arriving Friday, November 15th:
Casa Castillo Vino de Finca, Jumilla 2017 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Casa Castillo Vino de Finca, Jumilla 2017 750ML ($299.95) $219 pre-arrival special (that’s only $18.25/bottle!)
Luis Gutierrez 93+ points “There is a big jump in depth, complexity and nuance between the Monastrell and the 2017 Vino de Finca, which is a blend of Monastrell with almost 25% Garnacha. This comes from four plots that were selected from what was previously used for the entry-level Monastrell; they aim was to find a wine with more finesse and elegance but with the inherent power of the zone. This is only the third vintage for this cuvée, and it feels quite established and different from the rest of the range; it has less varietal character and is more about the place, getting closer to the single-vineyard bottlings where they do not search for fruit character. The idea here is to ferment at temperatures that are quite so low and to stabilize the wine in oak barrels for a long-ish time (12 months in 500-liter barrels and 5,000-liter oak foudres). They are wines of sun and limestone. This is a good reflection of it with a perfumed and floral note on the finish (elegance!) that is quite remarkable. 31,000 bottles produced in 2017. It was bottled in November 2018.”
Also available from Casa Castillo, in stock now:
Casa Castillo Monastrell, Jumilla 2017 750ML ($17.95) $14 special
Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2017 Monastrell has some 12% Garnacha, and in 2018, it will probably have almost 20% Garnacha; at that point, they will remove the Monastrell name from the label and sell the wine as Casa Castillo, with no varietal mentioned. They have decided that the blend of Monastrell with Garnacha makes sense, so they’s been increasing the percentage of Garnacha in their vineyards and reducing the Syrah, a variety they think makes less sense on their property. This has notes of fresh fruit with a spicy touch and is quite pure, not reflecting heat at all. The palate is juicy, vibrant and tasty, with super fine tannins and a spicy finish. A blend of 20-something plots, this wine reflects the general character of the estate. It has 15% alcohol, reflecting the natural conditions, but with an incredible balance that makes the alcohol feel perfectly integrated. A true bargain in its finest vintage to date. They produced around 186,000 bottles of this wine. The same blend is bottled throughout the year. What I tasted was bottled in January 2019.”
Jeb Dunnuck 91 points “Another smoking value brought in by Eric Solomon, the 2017 Monastrell (there’s 12% Grenache) is a rich, medium to full-bodied, beautifully textured effort that offers a Bandol-like character in its blue fruits, ground pepper, violets, and chocolate aromas and flavors. Aged 10-12 months all in larger foudre, it a ripe, sexy, balanced effort that knocks it out of the park on the value scale. Drink it over the coming 3-4 years.”
Case-12 Casa Castillo Monastrell, Jumilla 2016 750ML ($179.95) $128 special (that’s only $10.67/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 91+ points “The first wine in the range is the 2016 Monastrell, which in reality contains some 8% combination of Garnacha and Syrah, cropped from a more continental, cooler and dry vintage. Like all the wines from the property, it fermented with indigenous yeasts, in this case with grapes from different plots, and matured in used oak barrels for eight to nine months. Juicy, primary, incredibly fresh and with a vertical palate, longer than wider, like a hypothetical blend of 2013 and 2015, cool but dry. This is always a great value, even more so in 2016. 160,000 bottles produced from a single blend that is bottled throughout the year.”
Clos de La Chapelle: Burgundy Star
That drive comes down to one person, their (American) owner, Mark O’Connell, who bought the domaine in 2011 and has poured money and time into elevating it from an historic (yet perhaps underperforming) producer with excellent holdings to one of the elite domaines in the Cote de Beaune. The winery now owns land in an array of the top vineyard sites in Volnay, Pommard and Corton and makes truly excellent renditions of each—with moderate whole cluster use, small amounts of new oak and brilliantly balanced ripeness.
This is a domaine that’s only been around in its current incarnation since 2011, and yet has already been a featured winery at La Paulee, with strong reviews from both Burghound and John Gilman. The original incarnation dates back to the middle of the 19th century, run by a member of the Boillot family up until the recent sale. The Clos de la Chapelle monopole was always considered to be one of the premier terroirs (it’s right next door to the Clos de la Bousse d’Or and there are records of Louis Pasteur buying 50 bottles of the 1858, so this is not a secret) but it’s mainly since the changeover that the wines have lived up to the promise of the land.
The domaine owns a total of 4 hectares of red and white vineyards, exclusively in Premier and Grand Cru sites and we’re excited to offer them for the first time today. Some of the wines, featured below, arrive next month and still more arrive at the beginning of the new year.
Reply to this email or give us a call (503-223-6002) with a shipping date
and we’ll get you on the schedule!
Bouland and Roilette
These are some of the most complete “warm vintage” wines we’ve tasted—as Kelley put it “Winemakers appear to have learned the lessons of recent ripe vintages such as 2017, 2015, 2011 and 2009 and were better prepared in 2018…In short, among the best producers, the 2018 vintage is impressively consistent in style and quality.” In other words—stock up.
From a winemaking perspective, the closest comparison to what Daniel Bouland is doing is probably Domaine Dujac. The cross-regional comparison probably violates some sort of law of wine-writing, but when you look at what Bouland does with his grapes, it makes sense. There’s almost exclusively whole cluster fermentation at both houses and Bouland’s wine show as muscular and robust—capable of very long aging and transformation into profound wines.
The difference, of course, is that working with Gamay, Bouland’s wines are more immediately drinkable than anything from Dujac (Bouland also doesn’t use new oak on his wines). And the prices are far below what top Burgundy can command. Young, the Bouland bottles show both intense fruit and structure—you wouldn’t necessarily think to drink Beaujolais with steak, but these are incredible pairings with even very hearty foods (especially since Gamay has a zesty freshness to it that keeps the meals light.
Arriving ETA November 15th:
Daniel Bouland Morgon Les Delys, Beaujolais 2018 750ML ($47.95) $39 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 96 points “There are some 6,600 bottles of Bouland’s 2018 Morgon Les Delys Vieilles Vignes de 1926—a cuvée that readers shouldn’t confuse with Bouland’s new Delys bottling from younger vines that he used to blend into his Corcelette. Revealing a deep and complex bouquet that mingles blackberry and cassis fruit with nuances of smoke, rich soil tones and spice, the wine is deep, full-bodied and enveloping, saturating the palate with layer after layer of sapid fruit and velvety tannin, its imposing structural bones entirely hidden by copious flesh. As is often the case, this is a Morgon with more than a passing resemblance to a young Clape Cornas, and in its muscular stylist register, it’s one of the finest cuvées being produced in the Beaujolais today.”
Daniel Bouland Chiroubles ‘Chatenay’, Beaujolais 2018 750ML ($29.95) $26 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 92 points “Bouland’s 2018 Chiroubles bursts with aromas of ripe blackberries, red plums, violets and cracked black pepper. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, ample and layered, with a succulent core of fruit, fine concentration and a long, lip-smacking finish. An especially gourmand rendition of this cuvée, it hails from a steep hillside site and is matured in tank.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93+ points “The 2018 Morgon Bellevue Sable comes from younger vines, planted on Viala rootstock in sandy soils—as the “sable” newly added to its label makes clear. Revealing aromas of blackberries, smoked meats, cracked pepper and violets, it’s medium to full-bodied, ample and muscular, with powdery structuring tannin, juicy acids and a blockier, more reserved profile than the Chiroubles and Brouilly that preceded it. This will demand a couple of years’ patience before it shows all its cards.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 94 points “From vines planted in sand—which is now indicated on the label—in 1927, Bouland’s 2018 Morgon Corcelette Vieilles Vignes Sable unfurls in the glass with notions of ripe plums, red cherries, smokes meats, violets and black pepper. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, ample and multidimensional, with a broad attack, considerable depth and dimension at the core, juicy acids and a long, intense finish. Powerful and concentrated but framed by velvety tannins, this brilliant Morgon is the antithesis of facile, ephemeral Beaujolais nouveau!”
The winery makes a set of outstanding wines, starting with the “basic” Fleurie, which isn’t basic at all. It’s a perfect embodiment of the estate, and if you plan on drinking your Beaujolais younger than 5 years old, is the one you should be buying out of the lineup.
The somewhat confusingly named “Cuvee Tardive” is from older vines and is meant to be aged longer—this is a wine I buy for people to celebrate their weddings, or kids, or any year that’s important to them. It’s not going to go 30 years like a classic Burgundy, but for drinking from 5-20 years from vintage, it’s stellar, resembling Pinot more and more as it ages. The ’18 is significantly more approachable young than any since the ’11, but given how that wine is aging, should go as long as you’d like in the cellar.
Finally, we have the “Griffe du Marquis,” a wine honoring Alain’s father. The Griffe is the most powerful wine out of the lineup, structured like the Tardive but with more fruit richness. This is a relatively new bottling and it should age well; it’s explosive out of the gate. It’s the Roilette equivalent of the Lapierre “Cuvee Marcel” or Foillard’s “3.14.”
Arriving ETA November 15th:
Clos de la Roilette Fleurie, Beaujolais 2018 750ML ($29.95) $24 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2018 Fleurie from the Clos de la Roilette is showing very well, revealing an inviting bouquet of ripe cherries and cassis mingled with spices, violets and peonies. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, enveloping and layered, with fine-grained structuring tannins, ripe acids and a fleshy core of fruit. Gourmand and expressive, Coudert says the 2018 reminds him of his 2011, an analogy with which I concur.”
Josh Raynolds 93 points “Shimmering violet. Highly perfumed dark berry and floral aromas are complemented by suggestions of exotic spices and minerals. Sweet and penetrating on the palate, offering black raspberry, cherry and floral pastille flavors that are given spine by a core of juicy acidity. In a seamless, energetic style, displaying a suave blend of richness and finesse and finishing gently sweet and impressively long, with well-knit tannins and lingering florality.”
Clos de la Roilette Fleurie Cuvee Tardive, Beaujolais 2018 750ML ($37.95) $29 pre-arrival special
Clos de la Roilette Fleurie Cuvee Tardive, Beaujolais 2018 1.5L ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 95 points “Youthful purple. A complex, highly perfumed bouquet evokes ripe red/blue fruits, baking spices and potpourri, with hints of blood orange and savory herbs emerging with aeration. Juicy, densely packed mulberry and boysenberry flavors show excellent clarity and powerful back-end thrust becoming sweeter with air. Shows serious power and sexy, floral lift on the impressively persistent finish, which is supported by slowly building, youthfully gripping tannins.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 95 points “Coudert’s brilliant 2018 Fleurie Cuvée Tardive offers up a deep and incipiently complex bouquet featuring raspberries, mulberries, rose petals, violets and cracked black pepper. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, deep and layered, with an abundance of rich and powdery structuring tannins, ripe but lively acids and a long, lingering finish. While this is built for the long haul—its name alluding to the aging potential of this old-vine cuvée, not to a later harvest—its enveloping profile and perfectly mature phenolics will make it unusually approachable in its youth.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 94 points “Lurid ruby. A suave, spice-accented bouquet evokes ripe red/blue fruits and incense, and a smoky mineral flourish adds urgency and lift. Chewy, focused and appealingly sweet, offering densely packed black raspberry, boysenberry and violet pastille flavors that open up slowly with aeration. Shows very good heft, but there’s distinct elegance here as well. Closes sappy, youthfully tannic and extremely long, leaving a sexy floral note behind.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2017 Fleurie Griffe du Marquis reveals an attractive bouquet of violets, rose petals and berries, framed by a light patina from its time in barrels (ranging between two and eight years of age). On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, with a similar structural profile to the Clos de la Roilette Cuvée Tardive but displaying less chunky structure and a more aromatic personality. The oak influence here is very deftly handled, and the wine is a success.”
Purchase now and ship ASAP to ensure you’re ready for your holiday entertaining and gift giving.
For clients on the East Coast, don’t forget prime shipping temperatures won’t last much longer!
Goyo Garcia Viadero’s Ribera del Duero
The only catch is that these wines are beloved in their native country and most of the production is sold to top restaurants in Madrid and Barcelona. The single-vineyard bottlings, in particular, are highly coveted and our “generous” allocation was about a case each. They just arrived and shouldn’t last long.
Just Arrived, In Stock Now:
Goyo Garcia Viadero Finca El Peruco, Ribera del Duero 2014 750ML ($79.95) $69 special
John Gilman 95 points “Readers may recall that Goyo Garci´a’s Finca el Peruco bottling hails from an eighty-five year-old vineyard that includes fifteen percent of the white grape of Albillo co-planted with the Tempranillo. The 2014 vintage of this fine single vineyard bottling tips the scales at 13.5 percent alcohol and delivers a fine young aromatic constellation of red plums, cherries, gentle spice tones of nutmeg and cinnamon, chalky soil tones, a bit of cocoa powder and a very discreet base of vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, focused and nicely tangy (from the inclusion of the Albillo?), with excellent transparency, a fine core of fruit, suave, ripe tannins and lovely focus and grip on the long, nascently complex and vibrant finish. This is tightly-knit out of the blocks and will need five to seven years to blossom, but this is going to be brilliant Ribera del Duero once it has blossomed! 2024-2065”
Goyo Garcia Viadero Finca Valdeolmos, Ribera del Duero 2014 750ML ($89.95) $66 special
John Gilman 93+ points “The 2014 vintage of Finca Valdeolmos from Goyo Garci´a is the new release of this single vineyard bottling. Readers may recall that these vines are well over eighty years of age, with the soils here a red sand topsoil over a hard base of limestone. The 2014 version of Finca Valdeolmos is a beautiful young wine, coming in at 13.5 percent octane and offering up stunning purity on both the nose and palate. The bouquet is still fairly primary, offering up a lovely blend of black cherries, plums, raw cocoa, a bit of lead pencil, a touch of clove, lovely, chalky soil tones and a hint of vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, focused and beautifully balanced, with an excellent core of fruit, fine soil signature, ripe, well-integrated tannins and a long, nascently complex and very, very promising finish. As always, this is a supremely elegant example of Ribera del Duero that will age very long and gracefully, but really deserves some time in the cellar to stretch its wings and start to blossom. 2023-2065”
John Gilman 93+ points “The 2014 Finca Vin~as de Arcilla from Goyo Garci´a is a tad riper than his other two single vineyard wines in 2014, coming in at an even fourteen percent, but offering the same classic balance and sense of classical restraint that defines all of Sen~or Garci´a’s wines. The bouquet wafts from the glass in more black fruity blend of cassis, black cherries, cigar smoke, lovely soil tones (there is more clay here than in el Peruco or Valdeolmos), chocolate and vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, ripe and beautifully balanced, with a rock solid core, still very good acidity, ripe, well-integrated tannins and a very long, still fairly primary finish. There is terrific backend energy here, but the wine is properly structured and will need some cellaring before it is ready for primetime drinking. 2025-2065.”
The next best price is $71.99
Goyo Garcia Viadero Joven Vina Viejas, Ribera del Duero 2018 750ML ($34.95) $28 pre-arrival special
Importer Note “Joven de Viñas Viejas is from a single vineyard planted entirely to Tempranillo on sandy clay & limestone soils at high elevation. The grapes are hand-harvested, destemmed, fermented with wild yeasts in steel tank with light extraction, then raised over the winter entirely in tank. Bottling is without fining or filtration, and only a tiny addition of SO2 if needed. This is a classic, young Ribera del Duero with an extra shade of vibrancy and fabulous tension between dark fruit, florals, mineral, and acidity. In short, the way Ribera should taste. Pair with blood sausage, charcuterie, and grilled lamb chops.”
Plays Like the Real Thing
Bow and Arrow remains one of my favorite Oregon wineries. Scott Frank (the winemaker/founder/etc) has managed to do two tough things—make wines that are bright and refreshing, plus keep them affordable. Perhaps no wine epitomizes this like his “Air Guitar,” a Cabernet Franc/Sauvignon blend that reminds me of fantastic wines from the Loire. At first taste, this seems like it’s a bit glou-glou (and it’s certainly poundable if you want to go that route) but with air or a bit of time in the cellar this wine always opens up to reveal a more serious side. I drank my last ’16 about a month ago and it was absolutely marvelous—everything you’d want out of a mid-tier bottling from Baudry, for example, but less expensive and local. That wine had a long life ahead of it and I wish I had more in the cellar (confessionally, I didn’t realize it was my last bottle at the time) but I won’t make that mistake again in ’17. I’m stocking up.
In Stock Now:
Bow & Arrow Air Guitar, Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($29.95) $21.90 special
Winery Note “Like Rhinestones, the name Air Guitar is a self deprecating poke at attempting French style wines in America. The “least likely to exist” of all of our Willamette Valley sourced wines, this is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon from Borgo Pass Vineyard and Cabernet Franc from Johan Vineyard. Don’t let the playful nature of the wine’s label fool you -this is our most profound expression of red wine from this region and the one that rewards the most patience. Aged 10 to 12 months in puncheon. ”
Case-12 Bernard Baudry Chinon Cuvee Domaine, Loire 2017 750ML ($299.95) $236 special (that’s only $19.67/bottle!)
Bernard Baudry Chinon Cuvee Domaine, Loire 2017 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Importer Note ” Baudry’s style exemplifies rich, precise fruit picked at perfect ripeness levels and vinified cleanly using state-of-the-art equipment. The Cuvée Domaine is a blend of parcels of older vines (30-35 years old) planted in alluvial gravel bed and hillside clay. It has bigger structure and can use a short aging period in bottle before drinking. The wine has deep, dark ruby color and is beautifully extracted.”
Case-12 Andre Clouet Silver Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs Brut Nature, Champagne NV 750ML ($419.95) $359 special (that’s only $29.92/bottle!)
Andre Clouet Silver Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs Brut Nature, Champagne NV 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
John Gilman 90 points “I believe that this bottle of André Clouet “Silver” Blanc de Noirs non-vintage Brut Nature is from the base year of 2013, as it has a small code printed on the back of the neck label that says “LS13”. In any case, the wine is quite good, showing that lovely structural rounding from a bit of additional aging in the cellars. The bouquet offers up scents of apple, nectarine, bread dough, a good base of soil and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and nicely balanced, with refined mousse, bright, nicely-integrated acids and a long, complex finish. This is a quite good bottle of Brut Nature. 2019-2030+.”
The average listed price is $46
Case-6 Domaine Huet Vouvray ‘Clos du Bourg’ Demi-Sec, Loire 2016 750ML ($299.95) $249 special (that’s only $41.50/bottle!)
Domaine Huet Vouvray ‘Clos du Bourg’ Demi-Sec, Loire 2016 750ML ($59.95) $46 special
Wine Spectator 95 points “Gorgeous, with creamy-edged nectarine, yellow and green apple, pear and quince flavors that are brightly defined from start to finish, flecked with verbena and honeysuckle hints and backed by a off-dry edge on the finish. Stays fresh and pure throughout. Tempting now but there’s no rush. Drink now through 2032.”
Wine Advocate 93 points “From 30-year-old vines on calcareous loam soils, the 2016 Vouvray Clos du Bourg Demi-Sec offers a clear, pure, fine and intensely aromatic bouquet with tropical fruit and chalky aromas. Round, lush and exotic on the palate, with a silky texture and salty piquancy on the finish, the 2016 needs up to a decade to integrate the 19 grams of residual sugar. The finish is lovey, concentrated, juicy and well structured, with a lingering and stimulating salinity. Tasted February 2018.”
Chablis is a wine we often use to pair with broad ranging foods.
Case-6 La Chablisienne Les Lys, Chablis Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($219.95) $179 special (that’s only $29.83/bottle!)
La Chablisienne Les Lys, Chablis Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Burghound 92 points “Outstanding! A subtle touch of wood sets off airy and elegant aromas of cool wet stone, tidal pool, algae and green apple. There is an equally cool and restrained mouth feel to the delicate, intense and delineated middle weight flavors that deliver excellent length on the lacy and chiseled finale. This is a classic Les Lys of finesse.”
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “Grapes from this lesser known Premier Cru are often blended with those from Vaillons, yet La Chablisienne has bottled it as a separate wine. The coolness of the site translates beautifully into a crisp fruit expression that’s tight with acidity and minerality, ready to age. Drink from 2019.”
Case-12 Descendientes de J. Palacios ‘Petalos’, Bierzo 2016 750ML ($279.95) $199 special (that’s only $16.58/bottle!)
Descendientes de J. Palacios ‘Petalos’, Bierzo 2016 750ML ($24.95) $18 special
Wine Advocate 92+ points “I tasted two vintages of their entry-level wine because the 2016 Pétalos del Bierzo was sold out and the 2017 has already been released. Depending on the vintage, they use more or less white grapes in the fermentation, and in 2016 it was around 6%. It has an elegant profile, clean, floral and spicy, with a soft palate and subtle acidity that gives it a kick and makes it longer. This is one of the best value wines in Spain, and 2016 is not an exception. Perhaps it won’t be the longest-lived vintage, but it’s drinking beautifully and gives a lot of pleasure. It’s somehow reminiscent of 2013 or 2014, perhaps a tad warmer. There were a whopping 318,000 bottles and 3,000 magnums, which means they had 1,568 barrels of this wine.”
Josh Raynolds 92 points “Deep, lurid ruby. Powerful, mineral- and spice-accented cherry and dark berry aromas, along with a suave violet nuance that builds in the glass. Sweet and penetrating on the palate, offering intense black raspberry, cherry-cola and spicecake flavors and a deeper suggestion of candied licorice. Shows excellent clarity and mineral cut on a long, subtle tannic finish that leaves a bitter cherry note behind.”
Wine Spectator 92 points “This savory red offers notes of espresso, black olive and graphite framing a core of black cherry and licorice. Fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity keep this balanced. Harmonious and graceful. Drink now through 2024. 27,000 cases made.”
James Suckling 92 points “In spite of all the blackberry and violet aromas, this wine has great herbal freshness and enormous vitality on the sleek and positively dry palate, with a long and crisp mineral finish. About as food-flexible as any red wine gets.”
In Stock Now:
Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs ‘Millesime de Collection Vieilles Vignes de Chardonnay’, Champagne 2008 1.5L ($349.95) $299 special
Decanter 97 points “The best-value sparkling wine of any kind that I have tasted in the past five years. In all its raw, youthful innocence, this is the epitome of introverted, tightly coiled restraint. A beguiling transparency of pure acid drive propels an incredible finish that splashes long and strong with breathtaking, scintillating, crystalline minerality. This is a cuvée of effortless poise and boundless energy. Drinking Window 2023 – 2038.” [Review is for the 750ml, which is bottled as the Special Club. This is the same wine, bottled in magnum.]
Louis Roederer Cristal Brut Millesime, Champagne 2008 750ML ($339.95) $249 special
Case-6 Louis Roederer Cristal Brut Millesime, Champagne 2008 750ML ($1699.95) $1,439 special (that’s only $239.83/bottle!)
Wine Enthusiast 100 points
James Suckling 100 points “Disgorged October 2016 and will be the first Cristal to be released ten years from harvest when it is offered in 2018. 35 parcels used from a possible 45 in this vintage. The assemblage is 60% pinot noir and 40% chardonnay. This is so fresh and tense and mineral with extremely exuberant chardonnay notes on the nose of white peach, lemon and yellow grapefruit, and hints of almost brambly sous bois aromas. The yeast characters are also super fresh, and there are subtle woody notes, with a hint of vanilla bean and light spices. The palate is super long, and very pure, powerful and focused. It drives deep and taut. Pinot noir is a strong core and the chardonnay sits at the edge offering lemon and white nectarine sorbet flavors. Staggeringly concentrated, yet the balance makes it seem airy and light. Acidity is perfectly positioned, and the power is intense and long. This is an ultra precise Cristal, finishing with a mere suggestion of savoriness and warmth to come. Impressive on release, this will be at its best drinking from 2025.”
Jeb Dunnuck 100 points “The 2008 Cristal is a perfect wine, and Champagne simple does not get any better. This incredible wine offers a beautiful perfume of clean, crisp fruits, layers of complexity in its toasted spice and white flowers, and an utterly seamless, yet powerful style on the palate. This is a rich, decadent expression of Cristal yet it’s still crystalline and elegant, with no sensation of weight, and it just glides over the palate. Haut Couture at its finest and this majestic, profound, legendary Cristal can be drunk anytime over the coming 2-3 decades.”
Antonio Galloni 98+ points “The 2008 Cristal is a wine that takes over all the senses and never lets up. The brilliance and cut of the Chardonnay finds an extra kick of resonance from the Pinot Noir to carry the mid palate and finish in this stunningly beautiful, chiseled Champagne. Lemon oil, almond, flowers, dried herbs and Mirabelle plum are some of the many aromas and flavors that develop as the 2008 shows off its pedigree. The 2008 is a regal, towering Champagne from Roederer. That’s all there is to it.”
Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin La Grande Dame Brut, Champagne 2008 750ML ($179.95) $139 special
Case-6 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin La Grande Dame Brut, Champagne 2008 750ML ($999.95) $799 special (that’s only $133.17/bottle!)
Decanter 97 points “A classic, slow-maturing year picked into October. It’s a pale, pristine hue – a beautifully assembled mix of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Aÿ, Ambonnay, Bouzy, Verzy, Verzenay and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, combining saline-wrapped orchard fruits with great Pinot Noir subtlety yet strength. THE aperitif Champagne, but also try with sea trout. Drinking Window 2020 – 2030.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “An elegant Champagne, powered by a sculpted frame of acidity and minerality, this wears the refined, lacy mousse and well-meshed flavors of black currant, lemon curd, toast and marzipan like finely tailored clothing. Fresh and lasting, with hints of spice and smoke on the finish. Disgorged August 2016. Drink now through 2033.”
Doyard’s Singular Cotes de Blancs Vision
Doyard puts a bit of a twist on the stereotype, though, and uses a combination of extended lees aging plus barrels for fermentation to add richness and texture to their steely base material. The results are captivating and this collection is some of the most exciting in Champagne. Prices, for the moment, remain reasonable—the word isn’t yet out on these gems, it seems.
Arriving ETA December:
Doyard Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, Champagne 2008 750ML ($119.95) $89 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 95 points “Fermented in used barrels with blocked malolactic, Doyard’s 2008 Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru saw 108 months on the lees before it was disgorged with three grams per liter dosage. Wafting from the glass with a complex bouquet of gingerbread, warm biscuits, citrus oil, dried white flowers and a delicate hint of olorosso sherry, it’s medium to full-bodied, deep and incisive, with an racy spine of acidity, a concentrated core of fruit and a long, searingly intense and delicately sapid finish. The subtle oxidative qualities lend it an appealingly old fashioned feel. As Doyard followers may know, this cuvée derives from Mesnil-sur-Oger, Cramant, Avize and Oger.”
Doyard Clos de l’Abbaye Premier Cru Extra Brut, Champagne 2013 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
60+ year old vines. Clos de l’Abbaye is a true clos worked biodynamically in Vertus 1er Cru, just behind the Doyard estate.
Wine Advocate 95 points “Doyard’s 2013 Grand Cru Extra Brut Millésime Œil de Perdrix is showing superbly, bursting from the glass with an expressive bouquet of honeyed red apples, brown sugar, confit citrus fruits and warm, exotic spices that speak of mature grapes. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, broad and vinous, with tangy acids, a deep core of ripe, concentrated fruit, a frothy mousse and a long, sapid finish.”
John Gilman 92 points “The Cuvée Vendémiare from Champagne Doyard is not marked on the label as a Blanc de Blancs, though it is composed entirely of chardonnay. The wine was finished with a dosage of four grams per liter after aging sur latte for fifty-six months. The wine is from the base year of 2013, but with only half of the blend from that year and thirty percent from 2012 and twenty percent from 2010. Forty percent of the vins clairs for this bottling are now barrel aged in older Burgundy casks. The wine offers up a superb nose of pear, apple, brioche, almond, chalky minerality and a gently smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is bright, full-bodied, focused and rock solid at the core, with excellent mineral drive, frothy mousse and excellent length and grip on the poised, balanced and complex finish. This cuvée has a great track record for aging in my experience and this new release will be no exception. It is quite tasty already, but it is a young wine and will be even better if tucked away in the cellar for five to ten years! 2019-2045+.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 91 points “(Reviewed Apr 2019) Disgorged with four grams per liter dosage after 56 months sur lattes, the latest release of Doyard’s NV Brut Premier Cru Cuvée Vendémiaire bursts with lively aromas of green apple, lemon oil, wet stones and blanched almonds. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, bright and incisive, with a crisp, elegantly tight-knit core of fruit, ripe but tangy acids and a vibrant, delicately chalky finish. It’s entirely Chardonnay, from Vertus, Les Mesnil, Oger, Avize and Cramant.”
Importer note “50% ’13, 30% ’12, 20% ’11” 92 POINTS JOHN GILMAN “The Cuvée Vendémiare from Champagne Doyard is not marked on the label as a Blanc de Blancs, though it is composed entirely of chardonnay. The wine was finished with a dosage of four grams per liter after aging sur latte for fifty-six months. The wine is from the base year of 2013, but with only half of the blend from that year and thirty percent from 2012 and twenty percent from 2010. Forty percent of the vins clairs for this bottling are now barrel aged in older Burgundy casks. The wine offers up a superb nose of pear, apple, brioche, almond, chalky minerality and a gently smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is bright, full-bodied, focused and rock solid at the core, with excellent mineral drive, frothy mousse and excellent length and grip on the poised, balanced and complex finish. This cuvée has a great track record for aging in my experience and this new release will be no exception. It is quite tasty already, but it is a young wine and will be even better if tucked away in the cellar for five to ten years! 2019-2045+.”
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