Midweek VinopolPick 11-5-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

Vinopolis Champagne Extravaganza
Part One: Vilmart, Bereche and Aubry

The Coveted Spanish Reds of Goyo Garcia Viadero

Trending Wines

The Wines of Charles Smith

Veuve Clicquot’s Top Wine in a Top Vintage

Pommery’s Cuvee Louise: An Insider Secret

Jaboulet’s Defining Northern Rhones


Vinopolis Champagne Extravaganza

(Part One)

We’re just starting to get in our fall trove of Champagne.  We’ve got tons of great bubbly flowing into the store between now and the new year.  We’re starting to highlight these fantastic wines as they’re rolling in soon.  To kick off, we’re featuring three of our favorite growers, Vilmart, Bereche and Aubry—all of whom bring something very different to the landscape of Champagne.  We’ll be highlighting more over the coming weeks, but that just means you’ll have to load up a few times.


“At best, Vilmart’s wines are grandiose and resplendent. With sufficient bottle age these can take you up and up into rare altitudes of complexity. Even at ground-level they’ve got lots of flavor, as though the flavors were stated in BOLD CAPS. A further key to quality is the large proportion of pre-clonal Chardonnay vines… Wood-aged base wines give these Champagnes distinctly mealy and Burgundian flavors. They’re often described as the best grower in Champagne or “the poor man’s Krug.” Vilmart’s wines can offer a resonance and majesty unique among small estates.” – Terry Theise

Vilmart is perhaps the most grand grower Champagne we offer—the most powerful, intense expression of their terroir.  The Krug comparison is almost always bandied about, but although we love both Krug and Vilmart (and totally see the parallels) we think that it sells Vilmart a bit short.

These are wines that are vinified to be both lithe and powerful—a sinewy bolt to the palate of intense Champagne terroir.  They age beautifully, holding onto their acidity and freshness and developing an almond-creamy brioche quality that’s so prized.  We recommend holding onto all of the wines—down to the “basic” NV—for at least a few years and are excited to offer them again.

Arriving ETA November 22nd:

Vilmart & Cie ‘Coeur de Cuvee’ Premier Cru Brut, Champagne 2011 750ML ($159.95) $133 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93 points
“Aromas of confit citrus, pear, fresh pastry and English walnuts preface Vilmart’s 2011 Brut Premier Cru Coeur de Cuvée, a full-bodied, muscular and incisive wine with a deep core, racy acids and a delicately nutty finish. Disgorged a few months ago, it is a terrific effort that transcends the vintage, even if it won’t go down as one of the great renditions of Coeur de Cuvée. Champs told me that he picked five or six days after his neighbors, and that appears to be borne out by the wines body and Structure.”
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2011 Coeur de Cuvée is gorgeous, especially within the context of the year. Translucent and airy, the 2011 is a Champagne of real elegance. Sage, mint, dried flowers, orchard fruit and lemon peel all grace this super-expressive and pretty Champagne. These 60-year-old vines handled the challenges of 2011 well. Harvest took place in August, which after 2003 and 2007, is not as freakishly unusual as it would have been a generation ago. The 2011 is undoubtedly terrific. Even so, I would not push my luck on aging given the inherent fragility of the year. Dosage is 7 grams per liter.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Vilmart & Cie ‘Cuvee Rubis’ Brut Rose, Champagne NV 750ML ($89.95) $75 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 93 points
“A mouthwatering rosé Champagne, with a fine, lively mousse and a delicate skein of spice unraveling through the flavors of white peach, blood orange granita, saffron and almond biscotti. Offers a lingering, chalk-tinged finish. Disgorged November 2016.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 92 points “(Reviewed Aug 2019) Disgorged in November 2016, the NV Brut Premier Cru Cuvée Rubis is showing very well, offering up a delicate but complex bouquet of blood orange, warm bread, pastry cream, dried flowers and iodine. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, with an understated but beautifully balanced profile, its attractively complete core of ripe, vibrant and gently phenolic Pinot Noir fruit underpinned by ripe but racy acids. The finish is sapid and chalky.”
[Disgorged December 2016]

Vilmart & Cie Grand Cellier d’Or Premier Cru Brut, Champagne 2013 750ML ($119.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 93 points
“The 2013 Grand Cellier d’Or soars out of the glass with majestic intensity. Rich, concentrated and somehow also light on its feet, the 2013 is sublime. I could describe the aromas, flavors and textures, but, really, more than anything else, the 2013 is flat-out delicious. The level of detail and precision here is simply tremendous. Disgorged: July, 2017.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93 points “The July 2017 disgorgement of Vilmart’s 2013 Premier Cru Grand Cellier d’Or is showing brilliantly, bursting with scents of lime, citrus oil, freshly baked bread, crisp green apples and white flowers. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, broad and incisive, with an elegantly textural attack, a beautifully pure core of fruit, tangy acids and a nicely defined finish. While it’s still a young wine, just beginning its drinking window, its quality is already apparent.”
Wine Spectator 92 points “With an intense spine of rapierlike acidity, this sleek Champagne is fleshed out by rich, up-front spice, lime blossom and minerally oyster shell accents and dried white cherry and candied kumquat flavors set on the creamy mousse. Drink now through 2028. 400 cases imported.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Vilmart & Cie Grand Cellier d’Or Premier Cru Brut, Champagne 2014 750ML ($119.95) $89 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93+ points
“…the 2014 Brut Premier Cru Grand Cellier d’Or is an attractive rendition of this wine, which derives from south-facing lieu-dit Les Blanches Voies. Unfurling in the glass with aromas of crisp white peach, citrus oil, toasted bread and spices, it’s medium to full-bodied, taut and precise, with a chiseled core of ripe but racy fruit, lively acids and a lingering finish. This will unwind beautifully with a bit of bottle age.”
Antonio Galloni 93+ points “The 2014 Grand Cellier d’Or is stellar. Bright, focused and articulate, the 2014 speaks with class and pedigree to burn. I especially admire the wine’s balance. Hints of orange peel, spice, vanillin and a hint of chamomile lend nuance in a creamy, wonderfully articulate Champagne. The balance of energy and textural richness is compelling. I would give the 2014 at least a few years to be at its best. Exquisite and alluring, the 2014 Grand Cellier d’Or is one of the standouts in this range. Dosage is 7 grams per liter.”

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Vilmart & Cie Grand Cellier Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($89.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 91 points
“The NV Cuvée Grand Cellier (base 2015) is striking. Hints of lemon peel, crushed rocks and mint are framed by a kiss of new oak, with a hint of reduction that adds a further note of complexity. The Grand Cellier is based on 2015, with 25% 2014 and 25% 2013 reserve wines, aged exclusively in foudre. It is another stellar wine in the entry-level portion of the Vilmart range. Dosage is 8 grams per liter.”

“The essential point of Aubry is to limn the very fine line between a kind of country classicism and an absolute embrace of the avant-garde… When I first introduced the wines I was thrilled to highlight all the heirloom varieties, and the many ways Aubrys were true originals. I still am, and they still are.  But what’s striking me more and more of late is the dignity these wines have been showing. My marketing side—as pathetic as that is—keeps wanting to be playful about the novelties of the wines, but my human side keeps pausing before them, noticing their basic and unfussy truths.” –Terry Theise

Arriving ETA November 22nd:

Aubry Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($44.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Aubry Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 1.5L ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Importer Note
“(+) Meunier expresses here as barley, rusks, crackers, and so the wine tastes rusky, coppery-saline, iodé, mineral and appetizing. It’s beautifully expressive of a corner of Champagne and tastes as though it were fined with sel gris.We’re up to a 2016-base now, though it’s just 45% of that base, with 55% the perpetual reserve. Deg 1/2019, 30% Meunier, 30% PN, 35% CH and 5% “other” by which I infer whatever didn’t fit in the tanks of other cuvées. I’m starting to really like ’16 in the NV blends; this is an excellent edition, classically coppery and salty but with unusual elegance. Last year and this one seem to herald a new era at Aubry—at least for this calling-card wine.”

This is the lowest listed price for a magnum in the USA today!
Aubry Cuvee ‘Aubry de Humbert’ Premier Cru Millesime, Champagne 2012 750ML ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Importer Note
“([+])Named for the Archbishop who laid the cornerstone for the Reims cathedral, this is Aubry at their most classical. Deg. 2/2019, it’s 60% PN and 20% each CH/M; potentially a fine vintage, with a lot of salt and mineral; it’s more elegant and less woody (because there’s less Chard, which they raise in wood), it has both the rustic profile of PN but also its unlikely focus and length. Can a wine be both rustic and polished? This one seems to be.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Aubry ‘Ivoire et Ebene’ Premier Cru Brut, Champagne 2013 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Importer Note
” 60% CH, 30% PN and 20% Meunier; this is a salty (and slightly woody) Aubry exemplar, angular and fluffy at once, with a long herbal finish. Deb 12/2018″

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Aubry Le Nombre D’Or Campanae Veteres Vites Brut, Champagne 2014 750ML ($89.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Importer Note
” 40% CH—25% Petit Meslier—25% Arbanne—10% still red (a mish-mosh), and lower pressure than the norm—“Sablé” is their synonym for what used to be called “Crémant.”This is usually the non-plus-ultra for Aubry (if you don’t like it, it’s the reductio ad absurdum I guess) and it’s among the wildest animals you’ll encounter in Champagne, a civet with a just-caught mouse in its teeth. Whether I “like” it isn’t quite the point. I’ve liked earlier versions more. But as a pure gesture of one guy’s ultra-skewed perspective it’s compelling, if a little insolent.”

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Aubry Le Nombre d’Or Sable Blanc de Blancs Campanae Veteres Vites Brut, Champagne 2013 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
40% CH, 25% Arbanne, 25% Petit Meslier and 10% Pinot Blanc

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Aubry Premier Cru Demi-Sec, Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special

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Bereche is a nearly universally beloved Champagne producer—a testament to the absolute quality emanating out of their cellars.  Deep, resonant and vinous, Vincent and Raphael (the brothers Bereche) seem to spare no expense to turn out the best possible wines, whether aging under cork before disgorgement or fermenting in a mixture of stainless and old, large barrels to give the wines extra vinousity.  Everything Bereche produces oozes class and this is one of the strongest set of wines they’ve ever made.

Arriving ETA November 22nd:

Bereche et Fils Brut Reserve, Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special
L16 base. Disgorged Jan 2019.
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The NV Brut Réserve (2016 base, disgorged December 2018) is especially finessed on this release, with a bit more floral lift from the Chardonnay than is often the case, and also slightly higher dosage, all of which works very well. Lemon confit, white flowers and mint add to the wine’s decidedly bright profile. This is a fabulous edition of the Brut Réserve. Dosage is 7 grams per liter. Disgorged: December, 2018.” [Review is for December 2018 disgorgement]

Bereche et Fils Campania Remensis Extra Brut Rose, Champagne 2015 750ML ($89.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 91-92 points
“The 2015 Campania Remensis comes across as very lifted and airy in this release. Small red berries, chalk and mint add shades of nuance to this very pretty Rosé. At times, the 2015 comes across as a touch frail, but then again this is a trial disgorgement, so we will have to wait to see how the wine turns out. For now, the 2015 offers lovely freshness and an understated feel that is quite appealing. The blend is 60% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, 5% Meunier and 5% still red Pinot. Dosage is 2.8 grams per liter.”

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Bereche Crus Selectionnes ‘Cote” Blanc De Blancs Grand Cru, Champagne 2005 750ML ($119.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 93 points
“An elegant Champagne, with a rich, savory streak of mineral underscoring the layered pear tart, lime blossom and crushed white cherry flavors. Creamy, with finely honed acidity chiseling the finish. Drink now through 2027. 330 cases made.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Bereche et Fils Reflet d’Antan Brut, Champagne (2014) NV 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Bereche et Fils Reflet d’Antan Brut, Champagne (2014) NV 1.5L ($299.95) $279 pre-arrival special

The Coveted Spanish Reds of Goyo Garcia Viadero

The wines of Goyo Garcia Viadero are some of the most special wines in Spain.  Based in Ribera del Duero, which is known for blockbuster, ripe wines that often see more oak than they need, these are instead wines that temper the region’s natural generosity with elegance and panache.  That’s not to say that these beauties aren’t powerful, but rather that they go to nine-and-a-half instead of eleven.

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 limited to no more than 22 bottles of any of the individual wines. They arrive Friday and shouldn’t last long.

Arriving Friday:

Goyo Garcia Viadero Finca El Peruco, Ribera del Duero 2014 750ML ($79.95) $69 pre-arrival 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 pre-arrival 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”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Goyo Garcia Viadero Vinas de Arcilla, Ribera del Duero 2014 750ML ($79.95) $66 pre-arrival special
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.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
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.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!


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Trending Wines

This wine comes from a vineyard very close to Beaucastel’s old vine parcel.
Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Fontaine Blanc, Rhone 2016 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points
“The flagship 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc La Fontaine is a more substantial, serious effort that offers notes of caramelized citrus, brioche, honeysuckle and orange blossom. Rich, layered and concentrated, yet also fresh and lively, it’s a terrific white that’s going to sing on the dinner table. Drink it anytime over the coming 4-5 years (it will keep even longer).”
Josh Raynolds 94 points “Vivid straw-gold. An intensely perfumed bouquet evokes ripe pear, candied orange, smoky minerals and chamomile, along with a deeper suggestion of honey. Energetic, palate-staining citrus and orchard fruit flavors show outstanding clarity and slowly put on weight and spread out with air. The mineral note reappears on the finish, which shows a noteworthy combination of richness and sharply defined, bright, filigreed character.”

Is there a more consistently great wine that’s priced this fairly?
La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904, Rioja DOCa 2009 750ML ($69.95) $49 special
James Suckling 97 points
“This is a driven and super tight Gran Reserva with dark berries and hints of spice and cedar. A spicy red-pepper undertone and some dried flowers. Full to medium body, integrated tannins and a superb finish. A great wine.. A wine for the cellar, but why wait?”
Tim Atkin, MW 96 points “(13.5%) Reflecting the excellence of the vintage, as well as its power, this is the latest in a superb run of 904 Gran Reservas. Combining Tempranillo with 10% Graciano for added backbone and grip, it’s a wine that is (as ever) supremely drinkable on release, but will reward further cellaring. Spicy, aromatic and enticing, with the vanilla sweetness of American oak, savoury tannins and a core of stylish, balsamic-edged fruit. Traditional Rioja with a modern accent. 2018-29.”
Peñín Guide To Spanish Wine 96 points “Podium Award Winner. Colour: pale ruby, brick rim edge. Nose: old leather, fruit liqueur notes, cigar, spicy. Palate: light-bodied, balanced, classic aged character, fine bitter notes, reductive nuances.”
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 95+ points “This super classical cuvée showcases the wines from Haro, silky and elegant after long aging in oak and a good future in bottle. 2009 was a powerful vintage, ripe but with good balance. The blend is approximately 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano, fermented in stainless steel with a 78-day natural malolactic. The aging was in four-year-old American oak barrels crafted by their own coopers; the wines aged from April 2010 until April 2014. During that time, the wine was racked every six months, to be finally bottled in November 2014. This is usually my favorite wine from the portfolio, where the balance between aging and youth reaches its highest point. It’s developed but it keeps some fruit character, plenty of spices and balsamic aromas. The palate is polished but has some clout, with clean, focused flavors and a long, spicy and tasty finish. This represents good value for the quality it delivers. Drink: 2018-2034.”
Wine & Spirits 95 points “A ‘Year’s Best Rioja Wine.’ …This is the most inviting kind of Rioja, melding its American oak scents and delicate maturity of fruit into elegance. It has the kind of robust delicacy that would match seafood paella.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

The newest bottling from Savart is a very special Blanc de Noirs
Savart “Les Noues” Ecueil Premier Cru Extra Brut, Champagne 2015 750ML ($129.95) $99 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 95 points
“Due to be disgorged four weeks after my visit was the 2015 Extra Brut Premier Cru Les Noues, a new bottling from a parcel of Pinot Noir vines that used to go into Savart’s l’Ouverture cuvée. Unwinding in the glass with a complex bouquet that mingles waxy citrus rind, red apples, berries and blanched almonds with hints of oyster shell and crushed chalk, it’s medium to full-bodied and ample but incisive, with excellent depth at the core, a lovely spice of acidity and a long, precise finish.”
Jamie Goode-Wine Anorak 95 points “The grapes for this wine used to go into Ouverture, but it’s now a new cuvée, just 1362 bottles made. 100% Pinot Noir. Fine cherries, herbs and nuts on the nose, with a palate that shows detailed, fine citrus, pear and apple fruit with some lovely red cherry notes. This has incredible precision and detail, with fine savoury nut, almond and liquorice notes. Really detailed and fine. Expressive.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
A wildly expressive wine from a top Etna producer.
Alta Mora ‘Guradiola’ Etna Rosso, Sicily 2014 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
James Suckling 96 points
“The crystal-clear nose of jasmine, slate, quartz, wild strawberries, blueberries and tons of orange rind, not to mention chocolate shavings and walnuts, is stunning. The full-bodied palate is expansive and fruit-forward yet so minerally and uplifted by a fresh line of acidity that culminates in a long finish. Tight and refined in terms of tannin texture. So good now but better in 2019.”
Wine Advocate 95+ points “The 2014 Etna Rosso Guardiola is a wine of unique beauty and character. Having seen this stunning vineyard in person and climbed its steep ascent on the flank of the volcano, I am immediately reminded of the warm smells that come from these sun-scorched soils and the wild herbal notes that come off the scrub brush that grows in this harsh, otherworldly environment. This wine offers an immediate sense of place. The bouquet is elegant, almost ephemeral at first. It grows exponentially in intensity and complexity as the wine takes on more air in the glass. Give it the time it merits. Tangy acidity and sour cherry keep the palate very much alive. Congratulations to Cusumano of Alta Mora for this authentic taste of Etna inspiration. Only 5,310 bottles were made. Fruit comes from a three-hectare vineyard with 120-year-old vines.”-ML

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
The best Pinot Blanc in the world? It’s hard to argue otherwise.
Okonomierat Rebholz Birkweiler ‘Mandelberg’ Weissburgunder Grosses Gewachs, Pfalz 2017 750ML ($99.95) $69 special
Stuart Pigott-jamessuckling .com 97 points
“This proves that pinot blanc really can give a great dry white wine. Crazy, exotic fruit in the nose, but not a jot too much. Then comes the enormously concentrated palate and a finish that literally takes your breath away. From biodynamically grown grapes. Respekt certified. Great aging potential. Drink or hold.”

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


The Wines of Charles Smith

Charles Smith’s K Vintners wines need very little introduction, as they are some of our most popular year in and out.  The new releases just arrived and they’re highly praised and highly allocated, as usual.

If you’re unfamiliar with the winery, know that Charles Smith fashions himself a bit of a rock star and he ought to—he used to manage them.  Then, one day, on a motorcycle trip, he rode through Walla Walla and was struck by the majesty of the terrain and the vineyards.  Within a few years, he had returned to open a winery.

His first vintage was 1999 and he produced a mere 300 cases of Syrah under his label ‘K Vintners.’ The winery has grown by leaps and bounds since—by our count, K makes well more than 15 wines, most of them single vineyard Syrah, and that doesn’t count the additional projects he’s involved in such as Substance and Sixto.

At this point, Charles Smith is one of the defining wine makers for what might be the modern Washington style.  His wines are big, rich, and ripe but polished. They show distinct differences between the vineyards and always have a hint of that savory, bacony quality that Syrah can bring to the table like nothing else.  The only thing we can complain about is that they sell out and we can’t carry them more often.

Shop K Vintners Wines!

2008 La Grande Dame

Veuve Clicquot’s Top Wine in a Top Vintage

“To me, [2008] is one of the best of the last 20 to 30 years” – Dominique Demarville, Chef de Cave of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardan

The 2008 La Grande Dame looks to be a classic, and lovers of the style will want to stock up. It is the top vintage since the ’02 (and possibly since ’96—only time will tell).  2008 was a smaller harvest than normal (see: the pitifully small quantity of 2008 Salon, for example), yet yielded exceptionally high quality wines and so it seems unlikely this vintage will be offered for as long as the ’06 or ’04. The Wine Spectator was enamored by the vintage, interviewing Demarville for a special feature on 2008 Champagnes:

“Advocates for 2008 include Veuve Clicquot’s chef de cave Dominique Demarville. ‘2008 is a year I love, very much,” says Demarville. “I’m not sure I’ll have another possibility in my career to have such a vintage. To me, it is one of the best of the last 20 to 30 years.’ Demarville took a dramatic leap in 2008, shifting to an almost entirely Pinot Noir–dominant blend for Veuve Clicquot’s tête de cuvée label, La Grande Dame. The 2008 is 95 percent Pinot Noir, while the 2006 was only 53 percent (with the rest Chardonnay). The 2008 La Grande Dame (95, $150) shines for its sculpted frame of acidity and minerality finely dressed in a lovely range of black currant and spice notes.” -Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator, 12/2018

Snap up our offer arriving just in time for the holidays!

Arriving ETA November:

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin La Grande Dame Brut, Champagne 2008 750ML ($179.95) $139 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin La Grande Dame Brut, Champagne 2008 750ML ($999.95) $799 pre-arrival 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.”

Pommery’s Cuvee Louise: An Insider Secret

Pommery is one of the best kept secrets in top Champagne—at least in the US.  In France and in the UK they’re (rightly) held in top regard, especially for their Tete du Cuvee “Cuvee Louise” bottlings.  We’re secured excellent prices on the Nature and Rosé editions, both from the ’04 vintage and happily present them now.  These are wines that are delicious now and have the stuffing to go another decade if you’re patient now. Mature Champagne is one of the treats of the wine world, giving delight to anyone who manages to partake in its yeasty, creamy glory.  We’re always on the hunt for top examples with bottle age and this pair of wines is a perfect set.

Arriving ETA Spring 2020:

Pommery Cuvee Louise Brut Nature, Champagne 2004 750ML ($199.95) $149 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Pommery Cuvee Louise Brut Nature, Champagne 2004 750ML ($1199.95) $849 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 97 points
“A creamy and refined 2004 with a very reserved and tight palate of ultra fine tannins that lend the wine beautiful creaminess and finesse. Subtly floral, offering lightly cooked apples and lemons. Flavorful, yet always hiding behind the fine bubbles. Drink now.”

Pommery Cuvee Louise Brut Rose Millesime, Champagne 2004 750ML ($299.95) $219 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Pommery Cuvee Louise Brut Rose Millesime, Champagne 2004 750ML ($1799.95) $1,199 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 95 points
“The is a new release and shows wonderful finesse and beauty. You know that the moment you see the pale-amber color. It’s medium bodied with freshness and energy and a long, vivid finish. A joy to taste. Drink now.”

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Jaboulet’s Defining Northern Rhones

The hill of Hermitage is both one of the most famous wine landmarks in the world and also so much more interesting than common lore purports it to be. The story goes that the hill of Hermitage was the home of a knight seeking solace from the horrors of the Crusades upon his return home. He planted the vineyards that would become Hermitage and then built a chapel to pray in and that building, the Chapel of Saint Christopher, is the defining marker of the hillside. The name, Hermitage, takes the name of the hermit’s refuge.

Jaboulet purchased the Chapel of Saint Christopher and the surrounding plot of land in 1919—possibly the choicest part of the whole appellation. This is the core of their blend for La Chapelle, which for many defines what Hermitage can be, though the entire line of wines Jaboulet makes from the AOC (and its neighbor) is exceptional.  These are big, dense wines, with loads of Hermitage character and those effortless Syrah flavors that just don’t quit on extremely long finishes.  Both 2016 and ’17 are extremely successful vintages, with ’16 having the edge in potential longevity and ’17 the early-drinking curb appeal.  We are excited to offer the 2017’s for the first time (they arrive in the spring) in addition to the 2016’s we have arriving later this fall.  Stock up on both and thank yourself over the next decade or three.

2017’s, Arriving ETA March:

Jaboulet Aine Domaine Mule Blanche Crozes-Hermitage Blanc, Rhone 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 94 points
“A barrel-fermented blend of 50% Marsanne and 50% Roussanne, the 2017 Crozes Hermitage Domaine Mule Blanche is a terrific example of what those varieties can do when they’re grown in the right location and vinified with care. Gentle toasted grain scents waft from the glass, along with notes of marshmallow and melon. It’s full-bodied and richly textured, with notes of pineapple, crème brûlée and citrus on the long finish.”

Jaboulet Aine Chevalier de Sterimberg Hermitage Blanc, Rhone 2017 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 94-97 points
“Jaboulet’s 2017 Hermitage Blanc Le Chevalier de Sterimberg is approximately two-thirds Marsanne and one-third Roussanne. Subtle notes of crushed stone and pencil shavings frame honey, pineapple and baking spices, all wrapped around a tensile core of tangerine and lime. In a year when no La Chapelle Blanc is being made, this is the top white Hermitage from Jaboulet, and it’s a beauty, with a silky texture and a long, mouthwatering finish.”

Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle, Rhone 2017 750ML ($219.95) $189 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 97-99 points
“In need of serious air to open up, the 2017 Hermitage La Chapelle became more and more impressive the longer I kept it in the glass. At first it seemed a bit simple, if admirably plummy and rich, but by the time ten minutes had elapsed, it was showing off elegant notes of crushed stone, pencil shavings and cassis, while remaining full-bodied, rich and concentrated. It’s velvety and long on the finish, but something left me wanting a bit more. It’s surely a great La Chapelle, but will it reach that elusive triple-digit score?”
James Suckling 98 points “The icon is in dangerously seductive form. Such pristine dark cherries, blackberries and dark plums, dark chocolate, finely crushed spices and plenty of crushed dark stones on offer. The palate is very intense, very slick and fine tannins deliver an almost playfully soft impression. The oak is super integrated. Like La Maison Bleue, this approachability is an aberration, as it has immense power, concentration and length with such regal and alluring swagger at the finish. But there is so much more to come. Try from 2024, better after 2030.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 95-96 points “Brilliant magenta. A highly complex bouquet evokes ripe dark berries, cherry liqueur, incense and potpourri, while olive and exotic spice nuances build in the glass. Displays intense, alluringly sweet black/blue fruit, spicecake and violet pastille flavors that show sharp delineation and are braced by a spine of juicy acidity. Closes extremely long and precise, displaying a smoky, intensifying mineral quality and youthfully gripping tannins that build steadily.”

Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Maison Bleue, Rhone 2017 750ML ($69.95) $59.50 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 94-96 points
“Full-bodied, creamy and supple, the 2017 Hermitage La Maison Bleue looks to be a thrilling Hermitage to drink over the next 10-15 years. It’s loaded with mixed blueberries and raspberries, adds subtle notes of mocha and baking spices and picks up a savory hint of black olives on the long, silky finish. Don’t make the mistake of thinking only the La Chapelle is worth drinking, this should be a real beauty when it’s released next year.”
James Suckling 94 points “This is utterly delicious and has a very plush and sweetly fruited core of flavor with a sweepingly fleshy, rich and quite plush feel. The tannins are very fine here; sleek and assertive, they seem to suggest early drinking. It’s so balanced, too. However, this deserves to be reserved for later, as there’s a lot more to come. Try from 2024.”

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Jaboulet Aine Domaine de Thalabert Crozes-Hermitage, Rhone 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 94-96 points
“From a scorcher of a vintage that had tiny yields, the 2017 Crozes Hermitage Domaine De Thalabert offers a deep purple color as well as a classic Thalabert bouquet of black fruits, black olive, iodine, and peppery herbs. It’s a rich, rounded, sumptuous beauty that has plenty of sweet fruit, moderate tannins, and a great finish. It’s not going to match the 2015, but it’s a rocking wine I’d be thrilled to drink.”

Arriving Sooner: 2016’s
Arriving ETA Fall:

Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle, Rhone 2016 750ML ($269.95) $225 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points
“The 2016 Hermitage La Chapelle is slightly denser than the 2017 and is a bigger, richer, more structured wine than the La Maison Bleue. Crème de cassis, blackberries, crushed rocks, ozone, scorched earth, and violet notes all emerge from this beautifully classic, elegant, seamless wine that carries full-bodied richness, building tannins, and a big finish, all while staying in the classic, elegant, balanced style of the vintage. It has plenty of tannins and is a quintessential La Chapelle that will have three decades of longevity.”
James Suckling 97-98 points “Very spicy and peppery with blue-granite aromas plus hints of grilled and smoked meat. Cloves and nutmeg. Full body, round and juicy tannins and a super spicy finish that almost burns with so much character yet turns fine and focused at the end. A beauty.”
Josh Raynolds 96-98 points “(raised in 20% new oak) Dark purple. A highly expressive, mineral-accented bouquet evokes fresh blackberry and blueberry, candied flowers, incense and exotic spices. Sweet, palate-staining black and blue fruit liqueur and violet pastille flavors are complicated by suggestions of cracked pepper and bitter chocolate; a spicecake nuance gains strength with aeration. Steadily building tannins add shape and grip to the extremely long, incisive finish, which emphatically repeats the floral and mineral notes. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this wine turn out as well as the amazing 2015 version.”
Wine Advocate 96 points “Sourced from the granitic western portion of the appellation, the 2016 Hermitage La Chapelle features mouthwatering aromas of black olives and charred beef. It’s full-bodied and creamy-velvety in texture, incredibly lush without being overtly fruity. In fact, it’s largely savory, with elegant shadings of leather and spice on the long, silky finish. Yet despite being delicious now, this still has the granite backbone to age through 2040.-JC”

Paul Jaboulet Aine Domaine de Thalabert Crozes-Hermitage, Rhone 2016 750ML ($47.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Paul Jaboulet Aine Domaine de Thalabert Crozes-Hermitage, Rhone 2016 750ML ($279.95) $179 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“The 2016 Crozes Hermitage Domaine De Thalabert offers a rocking (and classic) bouquet of ripe black fruits intermixed with notions new saddle leather, pepper, garrigue, and hints of bacon fat. This ripe, medium to full-bodied, silky wine has remarkable purity, is already complex, and finishes with serious length. Drink it over the coming 10-15 years.”
Wine Advocate 93 points “The classically styled 2016 Crozes Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert boasts savory scents of black olive and leather. Medium to full-bodied, it’s plummy and rich, creamy and ripe but savory and earthy, not jammy at all, with a lingering, velvety-textured finish. It drinks well now, but it should continue to evolve and drink well through 2035.-JC”
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 92-94 points “(20% new oak) Bright violet. Highly perfumed, mineral-accented dark berries, cherry liqueur and candied violet on the nose. At once rich and energetic, offering juicy, focused black raspberry and cherry cola flavors along with a hint of smokiness. Turns sweeter on the lively, penetrating finish, which features sneaky tannins and a strong echo of smoky minerality.”
James Suckling 92-93 points “This shows pretty dark fruit along with cloves, dark berries and hints of black pepper. Medium to full body and a juicy finish.”


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