Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines
A Bit More Rombauer (At Incredible Prices)
The Perfect Wine Gift?
Seghesio’s Defiant, Restocked
New Italian Values from Masi
Collector’s Corner: Perfectly Cellared Henri Bonneau
Gimonnet’s Pristine Blanc de Blancs
Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines
#21 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2019
E. Guigal Cote Rotie Brune et Blonde de Guigal, Rhone 2015 750ML ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special, ETA March 2020
Wine Spectator 96 points “Dark and winey, this is youthfully tight, with a core of intense black cherry and black currant preserves, encased within layers of olive, singed alder, juniper and iron. Very focused and driven through the finish. Cellar for maximum effect. Best from 2022 through 2038. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. 23,333 cases made, 700 cases imported. — JM”
#35 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2019
Beaux Freres The Upper Terrace Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, 4 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 96 points “Seduces you immediately, with expressive violet and dark raspberry aromas that open to polished and brilliantly structured blueberry, savory anise and tea flavors that take on richness on a long finish. Drink now through 2026. 1,850 cases made. —TF”
#36 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2019
Nervi Conterno Gattinara DOCG, Piedmont 2015 750ML ($59.95) $47 special, 26 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 94 points “Haunting aromas of rose, wild cherry, kirsch, mineral and leather are the hallmarks of this silky, elegant red, which is linear and balanced, extending on the finish with notes of fruit, spice, mineral and tobacco. Very harmonious. Drink now through 2033. 5,000 cases made.”
Ca’ del Baio ‘Autinbej’, Barbaresco DOCG 2015 750ML ($34.95) $28 special, 22 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 93 points “A briny mineral note in the aroma signals this high-tension red. There is ample fruit and flesh on the palate, with cherry, strawberry, stone and white pepper flavors. Tightens up again on the finish. Best from 2021 through 2038.”
Bernard Baudry Chinon Cuvee Domaine, Loire 2017 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Bernard Baudry Chinon Cuvee Domaine, Loire 2017 750ML ($299.95) $236 special (that’s only $19.67/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 92 Points “A gorgeous red, with tobacco, bay leaf and black pepper notes underscoring the dark cherry and cola flavors. Beautifully integrated tannins join the fresh acidity and create a solid structure that gives this harmony and promises a long life ahead. Delicious now, but should be even better in a few years. Best from 2021 through 2030. 600 cases imported”
Substance ‘Cs’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley 2017 750ML ($19.95) $16 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 91 points “Precise and vibrantly structured, with black cherry, espresso and spice flavors that take on richness toward polished tannins. Drink now through 2024. 162,605 cases made. — TF”
#53 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2019
Quinta do Noval Vintage Port, Portugal 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special, ETA February 2020
Wine Spectator 98 points “This is well-packed, offering the vivid plum, boysenberry, cassis and açaí berry fruit profile of the vintage, along with a dark edge of tar, baker’s chocolate and salted licorice that courses underneath. The long finish lets the fruit play out, keeping singed alder and chai spice hints in the background. Smolderingly seductive. Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Cão, Sousão and Tinta Roriz. Best from 2035 through 2060. 3,500 cases made. — JM”
#91 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2019
Snowden Vineyards ‘Brothers Vineyard’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($89.95) $79 pre-arrival special, ETA November
Case-12 Snowden Vineyards ‘Brothers Vineyard’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($1079.95) $849 pre-arrival special (that’s only $70.75/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 94 points “Offers a tasty core of plum and blackberry fruit, backed by lively anise and apple wood notes. Restrained overall, with an alluring freshness and a subtle charcoal hint lingering deftly at the end. Drink now through 2032. 639 cases made.”
A Bit More Rombauer
(At Incredible Prices)
In Stock Now:
Rombauer Vineyards Diamond Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2014 750ML ($119.95) $59 special
Wine Spectator 93 points “Pure and rich, focused on a supple core of licorice, dark berry, light cedar, fresh earth and savory herb flavors, ending with a long, smooth finish that keeps repeating the core fruit themes. Drink now through 2033.”
Wine Enthusiast 93 points “Blended with 6% Petit Verdot, this wine is treated as a reserve-tier bottling. It delivers high-toned red fruit and plum notes dusted with spice and dried herb. It’s robust in body and weight and long on the finish.”
The average listed price is $124
Wine & Spirits 90 points “”Gentle passion-fruit flavors fill this broad, creamy sauvignon. There’s brightness to the fruit, which cushions the structure, the wine full enough to serve on its own or with roast fish.
The average listed price is $25
Wine Spectator 90 points “Warm blueberry, açaí berry and blackberry puree flavors form the core. Polished in feel, with melted licorice and sweet tobacco accents hanging on the finish. Drink now through 2024.”
Case-12 Rombauer Merlot, Napa Valley 2014 750ML ($449.95) $219 special (that’s only $18.25/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 91 points “Rich, ripe and full of powerful flavors of Christmas pudding, dark cherry and black currant that are backed by muscular acidity and tannins. Dried mint and slate details show on the dense finish. Drink now through 2021. 5,225 cases made.”
Wine Enthusiast 90 points “Given additional structure from the addition of 21% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Petit Verdot, this well-made wine shows a wealth of plum and raspberry that’s succulent on the palate. Soft supple tannin provides support and a touch of heat, the finish is awash in cinnamon and vanilla.”
The next best price is $36.99
The average listed price is $40
90 points Wine Advocate “The 2016 Zinfandel contains 6% Petite Sirah. Medium garnet-purple colored, it gives up preserved plums, raspberry pie and Black Forest cake with baking spices, underbrush and potpourri in the background. The palate is full-bodied, plush and juicy with loads of earth and spice layers on the finish.”
Winery note “Introduced to California during the Gold Rush, Zinfandel is considered by many to be America s heritage grape. A tribute to California wine history, this Zinfandel was sourced from some of the state s oldest and most revered wine regions, from family-owned vineyards that in some cases date back over 100 years. This wine blends lots from select vineyards in top growing regions: El Dorado (50%), Amador (25%), Lake (14%) and Napa (11%) counties. 2015 bought the earliest harvest in our 35-year history. Yields were down overall, but prolonged warm weather resulted in exceptional fruit quality and richly flavored wines… Our classic California Zinfandel is dark purple-ruby, with a bright crimson hue. On the nose, concentrated aromas of blackberry and raspberry meld with clove and spice. Lush flavors of blackberry, cherry, licorice and vanilla flood the palate, followed by touches of pepper in the background. Plush and round tannins and great length make for a fresh and enticing finish.”
The average listed price for a 750ml is $36
Reply to this email or give us a call (503-223-6002) with a shipping date
and we’ll get you on the schedule!
Long Shadows’ Gift Box is a Winner
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 this 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.
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!
A Powerful Zinfandel Blend
At Half Off the Winery’s Price
The original inspiration for the Defiant bottling was the wineries centennial celebration in 1995. The name paid tribute to the founding spirit of the winery and the generations that kept the winery alive (through prohibition) and the wine is bold in tribute to them and their spirit. We’re offering it today at an astounding price—just $14/btl by the case. That’s $16 less than the winery charges and $21 less than the average wine-searcher price. This is one to stock up on for winter drinking—though if you end up cellaring some for a few years, that won’t be so bad, either. We sold out of our initial offer but are happy to be able to offer a new batch of this wine, just back in stock!
Back in stock:
Seghesio Family Vineyards Defiant, Sonoma 2015 750ML ($32.95) $16 special
Case-12 Seghesio Family Vineyards Defiant, Sonoma 2015 750ML ($379.95) $168 special (that’s only $14/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 91 points “Savory black cherry aromas lead to well-framed flavors of sage and pepper. A new blend from this winery offers the zest of Zinfandel with the focus of Cabernet Sauvignon. Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alicante, Barbera and Syrah. Drink now through 2027. 5,000 cases made.”
The next best price is $29.94
The average listed price is $35
In Stock Now:
Masi ‘Masianco’ Pinot Grigio – Verduzzo delle Venezie 2017 750ML ($17.95) $14 special
Case-12 Masi ‘Masianco’ Pinot Grigio – Verduzzo delle Venezie 2017 750ML ($219.95) $149 special (that’s only $12.42/bottle!)
“A light, tangy white, with a hint of smoke underscoring melon and star fruit notes. Drink now. 70,000 cases made, 16,000 cases imported.” –Wine Enthusiast
Case-12 Masi Brolo di Campofiorin Oro Rosso Veronese IGT, Veneto 2014 750ML ($299.95) $199 special (that’s only $16.58/bottle!)
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 91 points “This was a surprisingly seamless and tight rendition for such a difficult vintage. The 2014 Brolo Campofiorin Oro is a blend of 80% Corvina, 10% Rondinella and 10% Oseleta, and those two last grapes add broad richness and darkness to the wine. They also would explain the super tight nature of the fruit, which is surrounded by notes of smoke and tobacco. This is a great wine for a typical Veronese risotto al tastasal, a type of ground-sausage risotto. The wine ages in 600-liter casks from Verona, or fusti veronesi, for 24 months. Some 230,000 bottles were made.”
Other Great Italian Values, Also Just Arrived:
Michele Chiarlo Rovereto, Gavi del Comune di Gavi DOCG 2018 750ML ($24.95) $18 special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 90 points “This vineyard site has dark marlstone soils, which are rare here. Most of the rest of the appellation sees white soils instead. The 2018 Gavi del Comune Gavi Rovereto opens to fragrant aromas of citrus, anise, crushed rock and even a tangy touch of spring onion. The bouquet of this wine is full and generous, with candied orange skin and preserved lemon, ending with a dusty mineral signature that is characteristic of the Rovereto vineyard site. You can no longer write “Gavi di Gavi” on the label. Now it must read “Gavi del Comune di Gavi.””
Wine Enthusiast 90 points “Aromas of ripe yellow stone fruit and Spanish broom mingle with a smoky note. Reflecting the nose, the linear, elegant palate offers yellow peach, citrus and flinty mineral alongside vibrant acidity.”
James Suckling 94 points “Beautiful aromas of tile, spice, fresh Mediterranean herbs and oyster shell. Full body, firm and silky tannins and a polished and caressing finish. Lovely length and texture. One of the best ever from here. Drink now or hold.”
Wine Advocate 91 points “The 2015 Sicilia Saia is a dark, plump and exuberant expression of Sicily’s mighty Nero d’Avola grape. The wine offers a distinctive bouquet with dark cherry, wild fennel and toasted pistachio nut. This is a soft and nicely concentrated expression with a long delivery of ripe fruit to keep your attention. Drink this wine over the next 5 years.”
K Vintners The Cattle King Syrah, Snipes Mountain 2016 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Jeb Dunnuck 97+ points “The 2016 Syrah Cattle King Upland Vineyard comes from Snipes Mountain and has a singular, pretty, fresh style with more obvious acidity as well as tannins, yet it still stays in the plush, sexy style of the estate. Blue and black fruits, blood orange, violets, and exotic spice notes all define the bouquet and it’s full-bodied, incredibly pure and seamless on the palate. It’s a beautiful wine that’s going to come together nicely for 2-3 years of bottle age and keep for over a decade.”
James Suckling 95 points “From a sloping plot of deep river rock, this has a fresh array of red and blue berries with a fine, stony edge. The palate has a very sleek, composed feel with such length and composure. The purity of blackberry and blueberry flavors is entrancing. Holds so fresh. Drink this now or hold for a decade or more.”
At ten years in, this is in a great drinking window.
Beringer Vineyards Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2009 750ML ($159.95) $99 special
Stephen Tanzer – Vinous 93 points “Full, bright ruby. Pungent scents of blackberry, cassis, licorice and bitter chocolate are complemented by a note of crystallized berries. Juicy, savory and intense, conveying a strong impression of spine without any obvious dryness. The wine’s dark berry and licorice flavors show a sexy subtle sweetness, along with salty minerality and an element of peppery lift. This classically dry, sharply delineated, penetrating wine finishes with firm but refined tannins and lovely rising violet perfume. Youthful and gripping, it displays the energy of the vintage’s better examples and should go on in a cool cellar for another two decades. (14.4% alcohol) [Reviewed July ’19]”
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve is a beautifully balanced wine. Firm yet well-integrated tannins frame a core of dark red berries, flowers, mint, spices and licorice. The Reserve shows lovely inner perfume and mid-palate juiciness. It should drink well with a minimum of cellaring. The main vineyards in the 2009 are Home (37%), Lampyridae (23%), Vogt (14%), Chabot (11%) and Rancho del Oso (9%). Each lot was aged separately for about two years before the final blend was assembled.”
A monument to the greatness of Austrian wine.
F.X. Pichler Durnsteiner Liebenberg Gruner Veltliner Smaragd, Wachau 2015 750ML ($69.95) $48 special
Wine Advocate 93-94 points “The 2015 Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Dürnsteiner Liebenberg comes from 70- to 80-year-old vines on a rare calcareous slate soil. The wine displays a very clear and pure, pretty open and lovely spicy, crystalline and flinty bouquet with ripe pip fruit aromas. Very distinguished and rather coolish in its expression. Full-bodied, round and elegant, with tension, salt and grip in the finish, this is a charmingly ripe and juicy but also challenging mineral and piquant Veltliner from one of the most exciting terroirs. The finish is powerful and complex but also fresh and stimulatingly piquant. Pichler has bottled this wine since 2010.”
Andre Clouet ‘Dream Vintage’ Brut, Champagne 2012 750ML ($69.95) $55 special
Case-6 Andre Clouet ‘Dream Vintage’ Brut, Champagne 2012 750ML ($399.95) $299 special (that’s only $49.83/bottle!)
100% Chardonnay, bottled one year after harvest. Disgorged to order for the importer.
The next best price is $61
Weingut Korrell Johanneshof Riesling “Von den Grossen Lagen Trocken”, Nahe 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Stuart Pigott-jamessuckling .com 94 points “What a beautiful nose of leaves and white flowers, dripping after rain. With aeration, peach, nectarine and mandarin-orange notes emerge. Concentrated, racy and very polished, this is a stunning dry riesling with a long, mineral finish. Drink or hold. Screw cap.”
Wine Spectator 92 points “This fruity yet dry Riesling is filled with flavors of currant and gooseberry, while juicy, orangelike acidity cuts through, carrying freshness and providing balance. The complex finish is long and inviting. This nicely sculpted white is ready to drink now, but will only get better with age. Drink now through 2027. 1,500 cases made.”
Delas Freres Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes, Rhone 2015 750ML ($89.95) $59 special
Wine Spectator 95 points “This is loaded with well-defined loganberry, blackberry and boysenberry pâte de fruit flavors, flecked with anise and black tea notes and carried by a fine iron streak that lingers wonderfully. A wine of cut, purity and precision. Best from 2020 through 2035. From France.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “A blend of Syrah grapes from several lieux-dits, including Les Bessards, the 2015 Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes is aged in new and second use barrels. It’s a dark, concentrated wine, meaty, rich and tannic but with a bright beam of cassis fruit that lifts it and gives it great definition and shape on the palate. Give this medium to full-bodied wine at least 5 years in the cellar and drink it over the next 15.”
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “While the Les Bessards gets all the attention, the 2015 Hermitage Domaine Des Tourettes isn’t far behind and is unquestionably the value play. Beef blood, cassis, blackberry liqueur and loads of crushed rock nuances all emerge from this ripe, concentrated, full-bodied Hermitage that has a classic, structured profile. It’s well worth a case purchase and will keep for two to three decades. As always, this cuvée comes from two parcels, the lower part of the Bessards lieu-dit and the Les Grandes Vignes located at the highest point on Hermitage Hill. It’s completely destemmed and sees 16 months in 30% new French oak.”
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “Enticing hints of sweet spice, black pepper and bacon fat seduce on the nose of this rich but balanced Hermitage. Blackberry and cherry flavors are fresh and juicy but structured by firm tannins and brisk acidity. A polished wine already, it should intensify its savory, smoky complexities well through 2030.”
Isole e Olena Cepparello Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($99.95) $79 special
Isole e Olena Cepparello Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 1.5L ($219.95) $199 special
Antonio Galloni 97+ points “The 2016 Cepparello is dense, dark and also very closed in on itself. Those qualities bode well for the future, but readers will have to be patient, as the 2016 is going to need at least a few years to come into its own. Black cherry, plum, lavender, spice and new leather gradually open up in the glass, but the 2016 is not ready to show all of its cards. This fruit was brought in during the second week of October, which is pretty much optimal at Isole e Olena. The 2016 spent 20 months in French oak, with a bit less than 30% new oak, and a few months in cask prior to bottling. An explosion of floral and spice notes punctuates the super-refined finish. The 2016 is shaping up to be epic. Don’t miss it!”
Perfectly Cellared Henri Bonneau
Direct from the Cellar of the Local Importer
Henri Bonneau is a producer without peer in the Southern Rhone. No other winemaker (other than perhaps Rayas) has produced as many epic bottles of Cheateauneuf as he has and at the top of his pyramid is the legendary Reserve des Celestins. Produced only in the best years, it’s generally the best Southern Rhone wine made in the years that it’s bottled, though if Bonneau made a Cuvee Speciale, you’d have to flip a coin. We’ve got two vintages of the Celestins and one of the Speciale in stock, all with age and in great condition.
Of particular note is the provenance of these wines—from the personal cellar of the original importer/distributor of these wines. They’ve been stored perfectly since release and are only hitting the market today—these aren’t wines that have been bought and sold 4-5 times. Opportunities like this don’t come around often and we’re excited to offer these to you today.
In Stock Now:
Only one bottle available
Henri Bonneau Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Speciale, Rhone 1998 750ML ($1,399.95) $1,199 special
Wine Spectator 98 points “This offers an aroma of chocolate-covered prunes stewing on the stove, along with notes of brick dust, black currant preserve, fresh espresso and powdered rust. Powerfully tannic and very heady, with layers of overripe fruit on the finish. Drinks like a Bual Madeira infused with black truffles, yet it somehow manages to maintain a sense of freshness. Amazing, but not for everyone. Drink now through 2025. — JM”
Robert Parker 96 points “Bonneau’s 1998 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Speciale is something along the lines of 16.5%-plus natural alcohol with about 4-5% residual sugar. It is an amazing wine that tastes relatively dry, with huge extract of blackberries, roasted meats, and sweet strawberries and cherries intermixed with licorice, smoke and pepper. It makes a massive introduction on the palate and expands vertically, as if it were a skyscraper. It is intense, rich, and compelling, and no doubt capable of lasting 30-40 years. (The 1990 Cuvee Speciale, which has much in common with this wine, is still an infant in terms of its development.) This is a remarkable, but controversial wine. ”
The next best price is $1300
Henri Bonneau Chateauneuf-du-Pape Reserve des Celestins, Rhone 2005 750ML ($799.95) $599 special
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points “A big, muscular Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the 2005 Henri Bonneau Réserve des Célestins delivers a thrilling array of plum, crème de cassis, roasted garrigue, blood, and hints of graphite on the nose. Absolutely compelling aromatically, with awesome typicity and complexity, this full-bodied, structured effort is thick and rich on the palate, with a layered, concentrated mid-palate, integrated acidity, and blockbuster length on the finish. Given the almost voluptuous texture and quality of fruit, this is a profound drink now; nevertheless, it will benefit from 5-7 years of bottle age, and keep for 2 decades or more. If I had to choose one bottle to represents the essence of traditionally made Châteauneuf-du-Pape, this would be it!”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 96 points “Full ruby. Huge, room-filling bouquet of blackberry compote, cherry, potpourri and cured tobacco, along with an intense spicy quality and a hint of orange zest. Palate-staining dark fruit flavors are braced by a strong mineral component and complicated by star anise and candied lavender nuances. Refuses to let up on the finish, which emphatically echoes the dark berry and lavender notes. There are tannins lurking in here but they’re buried beneath this wine’s powerful fruit.”
Only one bottle available
Henri Bonneau Chateauneuf-du-Pape Reserve des Celestins, Rhone 2011 750ML ($399.95) $379 special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 93-95 points “Bright ruby-red. Far more expressive than the Marie Beurrier, displaying a wild array of candied red fruits, flowers and Asian spices, along with an intense mineral overtone. Silky, sweet and pure on the palate, offering intense raspberry preserve and spicecake flavors and a jolt of lavender pastille. Closes long and sweet, with building spiciness and smooth, harmonious tannins that sneak up late.”
Wine Advocate 92-94 points “The 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve des Celestins (still in barrel) is rich, deep and concentrated. It’s also noticeably fresher tasting than the Cuvee Marie Beurrier from the same vintage, with ample cherry fruit and a touch of chocolate on the long, silky finish.”
Gimonnet’s Pristine Blanc de Blancs
The estate has been on a real roll over the last few years, keeping overall production unchanged but bottling a greater number of wines. The fractalization of their lineup has seemed to give each individual wine a greater identity and stronger personality, resulting in one of the most compelling sets of Blanc de Blancs in Champagne. Even the basic NV bottling has greater purity and poise than it used to—and it’s always been one of the best values in Champagne. We buy as much of these as we can and this year is no exception—it’s a can’t miss portfolio.
Arriving ETA November 22nd:
Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs Cuis Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs Cuis Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($349.95) $279 pre-arrival special (that’s only $46.50/bottle!)
Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs Cuis Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 375ML ($39.95) $28 pre-arrival special
Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs Cuis Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 1.5L ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 90 points “The current release of Pierre Gimonnet “Cuis Premier Cru” Blanc de Blancs non-vintage Brut is from the base year of 2015, with reserve wines dating back to 2010 included in the blend. It was disgorged in March of 2019 and finished with a dosage of six grams per liter, after three years aging sur latte. The wine delivers a pretty nose of pear, delicious apple, almond, chalky minerality and brioche. On the palate the wine is fullish, crisp and complex, with a good core, fine mineral drive, elegant mousse and quite good length and grip on the very nicely balanced finish. This is nicely aperitif in weight and is drinking pretty well right out of the blocks, but like all of the Gimonnet non-vintage bottlings, it is still a tad youthful, should age quite nicely and will be even better with three or four more years in the cellar. Good juice. 2019-2040+.”
Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Chouilly Grand Cru Special Club, Champagne 2012 750ML ($169.95) $138 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 92 points “Elegant and well-meshed, this layers lively, lightly mouthwatering acidity, a fine, chalky texture and a delicate range of poached apple and pear fruit, dogwood blossom and biscuit notes, and minerally saline and oyster shell accents. Disgorged July 2017. Drink now through 2028. 100 cases imported.”
Terry Theise Note “[+] This is starting to show its stuff. It’s 100% Montaigu from 61-year-old vines. It’s a kind of Champagne intrigue, to hack a fascinating slice out of a blend. There’s a nicely intricate call and response of juniper, quince and chalk, and I’m curious to see where this goes.”
Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Cuvee Special Club Brut Millesime, Champagne 2012 750ML ($119.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 93 points “Interestingly, the 2012 Special Club is quite a bit riper and bigger than any of the three single-village Special Clubs. Light tropical overtones meld into a core of candied orange peel, apricot, chamomile and wild flowers. In this tasting, the 2012 comes across as adolescent and not fully put together. Hopefully that will come in time. Disgorged: July 20, 2017.”
Wine & Spirits 93 points “The most ornate and complex of the Gimonnet wines we tasted for this issue, this Special Club is built to age. Nearly half of the wine comes from ancient vines-the Montaigu vineyard, in Chouilly, planted in 1951, and parcels in Cramant planted in 1911 and ’13. Its flavors contrast sun and shadows, bright scents of jasmine, lemon and thyme against pale, earthy notes of chalk and gun flint. It buzzes with acidity and chalky abrasion, taut and intense. Treat it to some rest and relaxation in your cellar.”
Wine Spectator 92 points “Fresh and refined, with a delicate range of Honeycrisp apple, spring blossom, chalk and citrus flavors, this elegant Champagne is more about precision and fine texture than power and bold flavor. Disgorged May 2017. Drink now through 2028.”
Terry Theise Note “[++] 60% Cramant, 30% Chouilly and 10% Cuis. Gimonnet Club is one of the absolute icons of the Côte des Blancs, and this one joins an illustrious family. Joins, and stands out: it’s a young, strong, somewhat brashly beautiful Club. There’s a calm in the euphoric aroma but it’s assertively chalky, with iron and brassica on the palate. This muscular youngster is finding his way, and won’t be ungainly forever…”
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The 2010 Brut Blanc de Blancs Fleuron is a very pretty and expressive wine. It is also noticeably broader and creamier than most of the wines in this range. Lemon confit and marzipan notes give the Fleuron a real feeling of density and sweetness that is quite alluring. The 2010 is ready to drink, but it is also fresher and more elegant than so many other wines in this challenging vintage. Readers who enjoy Champagnes that have started to develop the aromatic complexity that comes with age will find much to like. Dosage is 5 grams per liter.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 92 points “Gimonnet’s 2010 Brut Blanc de Blancs Cuvée Fleuron is showing very well, unfurling in the glass with aromas of white flowers, lemon oil, mandarin, fresh hazelnuts and oyster liquor. It’s medium to full-bodied, elegantly textural and incisive on the palate, with ripe but racy acids, a crystalline core of fruit and a fine, low-pressure mousse, concluding with a saline, chalky finish.”
Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs Gastronome, Champagne 2014 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 92 points “Disgorged in July 2018 with five grams per liter dosage, the 2014 Brut 1er Cru Blanc de Blancs Gastronome is showing beautifully, bursting from the glass with an expressive bouquet of ripe citrus fruits, Anjou pear, warm bread and fresh peach. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, fleshy but fine boned, with ripe but racy acids, a pretty core of fruit and an elegantly chalky finish.”
John Gilman 90 points “The 2014 Pierre Gimmonet et Fils “Cuvée Gastronome” Blanc de Blancs is composed of a nice blend of premier and grand cru vineyard sources and was aged three years on its fine lees prior to its disgorgement in July of 2018. It was finished with a dosage of five grams per liter. The wine offers up a lovely bouquet of pear, apple, crème patissière, chalky soil tones, warm bread and a topnote of spring flowers. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, complex and very nicely balanced, with frothy mousse, good focus and grip and a long, open and tasty finish. This has good, but not great depth at the core, but that is my only minor complaint with what is otherwise a very stylish bottle. 2019-2040.”
[Disgorgement date may vary]
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2012 Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru Oenophile Non Dosé is showing very well, offering up a pure bouquet of citrus oil, wet stones and subtle hints of pan d’épices. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, deep and chalky, with an incisive spine of acidity that’s nicely integrated, good depth and concentration at the core and a long, mineral finish. Disgorged in April 2018 without dosage, it’s a steely Blanc de Blancs will appeal to more than just the purists.”
Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Oger Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($79.95) $66 pre-arrival special
Terry Theise Note “[+] After finding Oger to be a difficult blending partner (“Even a small amount dominates a cuvée and changes its character.”) I suggested, facetiously, that he bottle it alone. This of course he would never do. Ever. Until he did it.Now the furies are unleashed and there are all manner of previously verboten Champagnes, and it’s all good; it doesn’t supplant the blended wines, it joins them. The wine is authoritative, the chalkiest Oger I’ve ever tasted, and if it’s “Other” then it’s a most compelling Other! The latest iteration is 90-10 2016/15, deg. 7/2018. It’s a lovely young Champagne with the white-flower winsome fruit of ’16; something between Rheingau-Riesling and chalk and plum blossom, with a mineral finish. It’s 51% Terres de Noël and Brulisalong with 33% Champs Nérons (on chalk) and 16% Fondy (on clay).”