The Remarkable Value Freemark Chard
Schäfer-Frölich: The German’s/Insider’s Nahe Pick
Rosé of the Day
Delas’ Extremely Useful Northern Rhones
96 Points – Under $20 by the Six-Pack?
The Great Scott Paul Sell-Off
The Remarkable Value Freemark Chard
Freemark Abbey’s modern era dates back to 1967, when the winery was purchased quickly transformed into one of the most recognized and prestigious wineries in the 70’s and 80’s. Unfortunately, over time, quality slipped and the reputation of the once legendary winery fell into a bit of obscurity.
After a few ownership changes, the winery was sold in 2005 to Jackson Family, who have poured money and attention into it in a way that hasn’t been seen since the original heyday of the winery in the 70’s and early 80’s. Winemaker Ted Edwards was brought in and the winery has been on a steady path upwards ever since.
The 2017 Freemark Abbey Napa Chardonnay is a prime example of the new era—94+ points from the Wine Advocate and a surprisingly inexpensive tariff. It’s full-bodied, rich and textural—a hedonist’s Chardonnay. As you might expect, this combination of style, quality and score has led to shorter supply than previous vintage. It arrives at the beginning of next month, but you’d do well to secure yours now.
Arriving ETA Early May:
Freemark Abbey Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2017 750ML ($29.95) $24 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Freemark Abbey Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2017 750ML ($329.95) $259 pre-arrival special (that’s only $21.58/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 94+ points “The 2017 Chardonnay (no malolactic fermentation) offers notes of fresh pineapple, honeydew melon and lemon tart with touches of allspice, shaved almonds and lanolin. Medium to full-bodied, the fruit hits the palate with amazing freshness and vivacity, sporting loads of citrus and spice notions and finishing long.”
The German’s/Insider’s Nahe Pick
It would be understandable if you aren’t familiar with the Schäfer-Frölich wines—they’ve been pretty spottily imported into the US and aren’t “historically” important (it was really during the late 90’s when Schafer-Frolich’s quality ratcheted up to current standards). These days, though, they’re well represented on any top-tier wine list in Germany and highly allocated (especially on the top end dry wines).
We’ve been working to secure as much of the ’17’s (below) and ’18’s (on the website, click here—full writeup coming soon) as they’re probably the best vintages ever at the address. We’ve finally secured an allocation of these wines, from their top GG’s to the entry level trocken (plus an underrated Spatlese, for good measure). They arrive in September and anyone who loves profound, mineral white wine should be buying these by the six-pack.
“…the nowadays sensation quality at this address is a function among other things of this family’s fanaticism and teamwork. But you may be sure that the Fröhlichs are out to achieve the best possible results from each and every site in which they have holdings. So when their Grosses Gewächs from the Felseneck (with that from Bockenau’s Stromberg seldom far behind) consistently edges-out their superb bottlings from four of the Nahe’s historically most celebrated sites (two in Monzingen, two in Schlossböckelheim), one can confidently state that Bockenau terroir is Grand Cru quality, even though that fact escaped notice until two decades ago!” – David Schildknecht, Vinous
Arriving ETA September:
“a masterpiece in the making”-JG
Schafer-Frohlich Felsenberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe 2017 750ML ($99.95) $75 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Schafer-Frohlich Felsenberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe ($599.95) $419 pre-arrival special (that’s only $69.83/bottle!—the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
John Gilman 96 points “The 2017 Felsenberg GG is a masterpiece in the making, with the bouquet soaring from the glass in a youthful and very elegant constellation of pink grapefruit, wild yeasts, tart peach, plenty of smokiness, a great base of salty soil tones, dried flowers and a topnote of citrus peel. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and rock solid at the core, with ripe, snappy acids, superb complexity and great length and grip on the poised and perfectly balanced finish. This is a stunning young vintage of Felsenberg!”
James Suckling 96 points “Despite the ample concentration and power, this is really filigree with great delicacy and breathtaking freshness at the finish.”
Mosel Fine Wines 95 points “This Schlossböckelheimer Felsenberg GG is quite smoky and reductive at first, and only gradually reveals its complexity as notes of thyme, orange zest, black tea and a hint of fennel emerge from the glass. The nose expands by the minute yet remains highly smoky. The wine proves beautifully fruity and delicately smooth side on the palate, where some cream and pineapple juice add to the overall charming yet complex side of this Riesling. The finish proves still quite compact and beautifully linear, which gives a gorgeously focused and restrained feel to the wine. . This is in need of aging, but the potential at maturity is huge. 2027-2047.”
“bell-clear, vibrantly-sustained vinous tour de force”-DS
Schafer-Frohlich Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe 2017 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Stuart Pigott-jamessuckling.com 97 points “Super flinty and spicy, this very concentrated dry riesling is lean and mean. Relentless finish. It just goes on and on. Drink or hold.”
David Schildknecht – Vinous 95 points “White currant, grapefruit, almond, struck flint and sea breeze aromatically anticipate the combination of bright citricity, mouthwatering salinity and smoky accents that inform a palpably dense palate. In addition, a sense of crushed stone suffusion and a raw oyster-like animal, mineral and herbal savor add to the dazzling complexity and salivary gland-tugging insistence of this bell-clear, vibrantly-sustained vinous tour de force.”
Mosel Fine Wines 94 points “This 2017er Monzinger Halenberg GG is still marked by some residual scents from its spontaneous fermentation. These give however quickly way to delicate scents of almond cream, white flowers, yellow peach, mirabelle and pear. The wine is all about beautiful flavors of gingery spices and grapefruit acidity on the creamy palate. The finish is superbly long and focused, and the after -taste is nicely dry. This is a refined and elegant dry Riesling. 2024-2037.”
Schafer-Frohlich Bockenauer Stromberg Grosses Gewachs Riesling, Nahe 2017 750ML ($99.95) $85 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Schafer-Frohlich Bockenauer Stromberg Grosses Gewachs Riesling, Nahe ($599.95) $479 pre-arrival special (that’s only $79.83/bottle!)
David Schildknecht-Vinous 96 points “White peach, gooseberry and lime are laced in the nose with chamomile, peppermint and pennyroyal. Those juxtapositions anticipate the dynamic of ripeness and citricity as well as of soothing and pungently invigorating elements that characterize this entire amazing performance. There is remarkable sheer succulence and intensity of glowingly pit-tinged white peach, zesty lime and crunchy, seedy gooseberry on the surprisingly silken palate. It’s as if concentration of fruit flavors were inversely proportional to the Stromberg’s rocky, virtually topsoil-free surface. But this is not to suggest that mineral flavor elements are short-changed. Far from it! That “dark minerality” that Fröhlich deems can be unpacked as some combination of smoky peat and black tea with stone suffusion and alkaline accents. “As ripe as they might get,” notes Fröhlich, “the berries on these old vines never lose their greenish tint or make the transition to deep gold,” and that is reflected in the vivid freshness and juicy animation of a long, fugal finish that tingles the tongue and tugs at the cheeks. If Bockenau’s virtues went virtually unnoticed until the 21st century, those of today’s Stromberg sites were almost completely unknown until Schäfer-Fröhlich produced their first, vintage 2012 Grosses Gewächs showcasing them. “When we had to demonstrate to the VDP with historical evidence that this site was Grosses Gewächs-worthy,” relates Fröhlich, “we uncorked a [nearly-dry] 1957 Spätlese from my grandfather that was unbelievably fresh and fine.””
Mosel Fine Wines 96 points “The 2017er Bockenauer Stromberg GG proves rather reduced and smoky at first. It then gradually reveals riper notes of pineapple, orange, yellow peach, tangerine and gingerbread, all wrapped into spices and residual scents from the spontaneous fermentation. The wine proves coats the palate with juicy and lightly flavors. The finish is however focused and even racy thanks to a pure and lime driven acidity kicking in. A slightly tart side in the after-taste still needs to melt into the wine but the wine is hugely impressive. 2025-2037”
Case-6 Schafer-Frohlich Riesling Trocken, Nahe 2017 750ML ($159.95) $119 pre-arrival special (that’s only $19.83/bottle!—the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Stuart Pigott-jamessuckling.com 92 points “A seriously racy and minerally dry riesling that has serious depth at the long, sleek finish, where it achieves lift off! Drink now.”
David Schildknecht-Vinous 91 points “Here is one of those Nahe Rieslings from a vintage that leads with unusually Chablis-like animal and mineral elements. Saffron and sea breeze mingle with lemon rind, struck flint and chicken stock on the nose as well as on a polished, infectiously juicy palate, where an influx of ripe white peach serves for succulence and the piquancy of peach kernel and lemon pip for further counterpoint. The buoyant finish – by no means for the first time in a Schäfer-Fröhlich Gutsriesling – gets a remarkable purchase on the salivary glands while both enthralling and refreshing the lucky consumer. In its own way, arguably, this wine testifies as vividly to the value of Bockenau terroir as do Schäfer-Fröhlich’s two Grosse Gewächse from his home village, because nowadays this entry-level offering labors under the handicap of being sourced almost entirely from very young vines. Yes, the “Vulkangestein” and “Schiefergestein” bottlings that serve as the estate’s middle-tier dry Rieslings are more overtly concentrated. But in vintage 2017, they aren’t more complex than this ostensibly lesser sibling, and lack its sheer charm, buoyancy and infectious drinkability.”
John Gilman 91 points “The 2017 Estate Riesling Trocken here was really showing beautifully, having been bottled six weeks before my visit and having bounced back completely. This is really stunning in 2017, as the relatively low yields have given this extraordinary depth for its level, with the bouquet offering up a precisely ripe blend of grapefruit, tart orange, salty minerality, white flowers and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is crisp, fullish and racy, with an excellent core of fruit, fine cut and grip and outstanding backend minerality on the long, complex and utterly refined finish. This is made from the younger vines in all the top grand crus and with the reduced yields of 2017, this is approaching Grosses Gewachs quality! The wine is twelve percent octane and carries five grams per liter of residual sugar in 2017 and is an absolute steal! 2018-2040.”
Schafer-Frohlich Bockenauer Felseneck Riesling Spatlese, Nahe 2017 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Schafer-Frohlich Bockenauer Felseneck Riesling Spatlese, Nahe ($299.95) $219 pre-arrival special (that’s only $36.50/bottle!)
David Schildknecht-Vinous 93 points “Elder flower and peony, ripe quince and white peach on the nose presage a lusciously-fruity and profusely floral inner-mouth performance. The feel is glossy but buoyant. The succulent and superbly-concentrated finish remains transparent to floral nuances as well as revealing a shimmering sense of crystalline and flinty stoniness.”
Dominus Estate, Napa Valley 2015 750ML ($349.95) $289 pre-arrival special (Arrives Friday)
Dominus Estate, Napa Valley 2015 375ML ($179.95) $159 special
Wine Advocate 100 points “Bottled in July 2017 and composed of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc, the Dominus 2015 Proprietary Red Wine leaps from the glass with notes of fresh wild blueberries, crushed blackberries and black currant juice with touches of wild thyme, underbrush, iron ore and aniseed with wafts of lavender and pencil lead. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has incredible energy and vivacity, with the firm, pixelated tannins and lively backbone skillfully framing the muscular fruit, finishing with wonderful length and depth.”
Jeb Dunnuck 100 points “The 2015 Dominus is a flawless, perfect wine as well as a legend in the making. A blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and the rest Cabernet Franc, from dry-farmed vines and brought up in just 40% new French oak, its ruby/purple color is followed by an extraordinary bouquet of blackcurrants, crème de cassis, damp earth, smoke tobacco, and spring flowers. Reminding me of the 2015 Château Margaux with its incredible mix of elegance and power, this beauty hits the palate with full-bodied richness, stunning purity of fruit, building tannins, and awesome length. This sensational textured and voluptuous Dominus drink well today yet will evolve for 25-30 years or more.”
James Suckling 98 points “A phenomenal red from the vintage with sandalwood, roses, currants, blackberries and blackcurrants. Full-bodied, extremely structured and intense with a great finish. The tannins are so polished and poised. Shows tension and beauty throughout. Straight and focused. Drink in 2022.”
Antonio Galloni 97 points “The 2015 Dominus is fabulous. Explosive and alluring on the palate, the 2015 possesses stunning texture and intensity. Blueberry jam, cloves, menthol, licorice and graphite are some of the many nuances that develop over time. In 2015 Dominus artfully balances the richness of the year with the classic structural elements that are such a signature of this wine.”
The essential Provençal rosé.
Peyrassol ‘Chateau Peyrassol’ Rose, Cotes de Provence 2018 750ML ($31.95) $26 special
Peyrassol ‘Chateau Peyrassol’ Rose, Cotes de Provence 2018 1.5L ($99.95) $79 special
Peyrassol ‘Chateau Peyrassol’ Rose, Cotes de Provence 2018 3L ($199.95) $169 special
Importer note “This is the elite cuvée of the estate relying as it does on grapes harvested from the oldest vines of the domaine (35 years and older). Principally composed of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah, the “Chateau” bottling also sees the addition, from time-to-time of Tibouren, the ancient and regal Provencale grape. This Rosé is produced via the “direct press” method and has a long cuvaison designed to produce a wine of character and concentration. Vinified in stainless steel and bottled in late winter – early spring, production is quite limited.”
These are the only listings in the USA for the large formats!
Many points/Not much money.
Casarena Owen’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Agrelo 2015 750ML ($31.95) $26 special
Case-12 Casarena Owen’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Agrelo, 2015 750ML ($359.95) $279 special (that’s only $23.25/bottle—the lowest listed price in the country!)
Wine Advocate 94 points “Tasted side by side with the 2014, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Owen’s Vineyard feels a lot fresher. This is an old, balanced, traditional vineyard that yields wines with very good depth and natural balance. There is perfect ripeness here and a notable absence of those green pepper aromas that often mask the personality of many Cabernets. These old vines yield very concentrated juice and it shows in the tannins and acidity, which show in perfect harmony. 30,000 bottles produced.”
Beautiful, bold and textured.
Villa Symposia Pezenas L’origine, Languedoc 2013 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Wine Advocate 93 points “The terrific 2013 Pézenas l’Origine shows the hallmark spice-laced perfume of this appellation. Lots of red fruits, crushed flowers, spice and violet nuances give way to a medium-bodied, elegant and sweetly fruited 2013 that has fine tannin and a seamless, sexy texture. Drink this beauty anytime over the coming 5-6 years.”
This is stellar value. A top producer, great vineyard holdings, etc.
Cave Yves Cuilleron ‘Les Vignes d’a Cote’ Syrah, Rhone, 2017 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Grapelive 92 points “One of the Northern Rhone’s top guns, Yves Cuilleron, is making some of the best wine of his career… While his 2015 and 2016 were absolutely awesome, this 2017 looks just as good if not better!… While most known for his Condrieu and Cote-Rotie, [Yves] also makes a stellar collection of Saint-Joseph, Cornas and Crozes-Hermitage as well as a line of varietal wines including this 100% Syrah from granite and alluvial soils near his village, Chavanay, near the border with the Crozes zone, in the Collines Rhodaniennes, in a steep parcel of vines… This 2017 Les Vignes d’a Cote is striking and with exceptional varietal character. [It shows] a deep purple/garnet color in the glass with a beautiful perfume of crushed violets, primary black and blue fruits, spices and camphor notes that not only come through on the nose, but transfer to the palate as well. There is ripe blueberry, plum and black cherry fruits as well as subtle creme de cassis, black olive, fresh ground peppercorns, faint cedar and anise. The mouthfeel is richer and more substantial than you’d expect from this bottling, highlighting what looks like a great vintage in the making. The Cuilleron elegance and finesse is on full display. This is a case-worthy, if not more, wine to enjoy over the next couple of years while you cellar your Cote-Rotie, Saint-Joseph and/or Crozes-Hermitage!”
Half bottles of high quality Chard are a good thing.
Goodfellow Family Cellars Richard’s Cuvee Chardonnay, Oregon 2014 375ML ($24.95) $20.90 special
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2014 Chardonnay Richard’s Cuvee knocks it out of the park with a nose of ripe apricots, pink grapefruit and guava underscored by fresh ginger, baking bread, beeswax and yeast extract hints with a waft of jasmine. Medium-bodied, the palate is very elegant and refined, with incredible freshness and depth wrapped in a lovely satiny texture, finishing with long lasting mineral and spices layers. Wow!”-LPB
Winery note “Dry-farmed chardonnay from a 1-acre parcel at Whistling Ridge, hand-picked, whole-cluster pressed. After a brief period settling the wine is racked into large French oak vessels. Fermentation and elevage lasts about 21 months on the gross lees. The shallow marine sediment soils and windy environs at Whistling Ridge produce a Chardonnay that is mineral, deep and long with chalky citrus fruit.”
One of the most beautiful dry Rieslings from the Mosel.
Heymann-Lowenstein Uhlen Laubach Lay (Uhlen L), Mosel 2016 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 93 points “From a slate soil with 10% chalk, the 2016 Riesling Uhlen L ‘VDP Grosse Lage’ shows licorice, flinty and bright fruit aromas on the nose. Juicy, piquant and tensioned on the palate, this is an intense and complex Riesling with lush and intense fruit. The finish is long and promising. Tasted February 2018.”
Mosel Fine Wines 92+ points “This offers a stunning even if still rather reduced nose of pear, grapefruit, start fruit, ginger and smoky elements. The wine is beautifully balanced on the palate, where creamy fruits are nicely wrapped into a hint of acidity and some superb mineral and herby elements. The delicately powerful after-taste oozes refinement, under-toned freshness and multi-layered complexity. This is a gorgeous Uhlen L in the making and one with great upside potential as the wine gains in elegance at maturity.”
In Stock Now:
Caves Sao Joao Espumante Rose Bruto, Bairrada 2017 750ML ($24.95) $18 special
Importer note “Touriga Nacional gives intense rose petal aromas and Baga a bright red fruit character. Cabernet lends depth and herbal notes. Floral tones and red berry fruit lift the nose. On the palate, delicate and persistent bead makes for a silky, rich texture. Bright strawberry and red raspberry on the mid palate, complemented by mineral, white pepper and more floral tones. Racy acidity cuts a beam through the middle, making for a food-friendly sparkler. The singular terroir of Bairrada makes for world-class sparkling wine. The vineyards are planted 20km from the ocean, battered by the northern Atlantic winds for which the area is well known. Méthode traditionelle gives this wine a soft, silky texture, combined with the floral tones and bright fruit of its indigenous varietals.”
Want to see all 76 roses in stock and arriving soon? Just click here to view the full list in our web store.
Delas makes wines that are a) delicious and well-made and b) more than reasonably priced. This combination means that it’s possible to drink your way up and down the Northern Rhone, trying fantastic wines from fabled appellations, and you can still afford your next car payment. Sure, the wines aren’t collectible, but if you’re buying to drink, rather than to resell, give these a look. We’re proud to present a broad assortment of their wines here for your future enjoyment and winery-cellared vintages for now:
In Stock Now:
A rich, broad style of Condrieu.
Delas Freres Condrieu Clos Boucher, Rhone 2016 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 95 points “Pale green-hued yellow. Penetrating, mineral-tinged aromas of fresh citrus and pit fruits are complemented by chalky minerals, violet and fennel accents. Juicy, focused and concentrated, offering intense pear nectar, Meyer lemon and honeysuckle flavors that show outstanding clarity and minerally lift. The mineral and floral notes carry emphatically through a silky, appealingly sweet finish that hangs on with superb focus and tenacity.”
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “A step up, the bigger, richer 2016 Condrieu Clos Boucher is blockbuster stuff, offering serious notes of crushed rock, buttered citrus, orange blossom, and a smoky, meaty, mineral character that’s hard to describe. Possessing full-bodied richness, beautiful mid-palate concentration and a seamless texture, this beauty will be even better this time next year and keep for 4-6 years.”
Hermitage this quality is hard to find under $75, much less at these prices.
Delas Freres Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes-Marquise de la Tourette, Rhone 2015 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Case-6 Delas Freres Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes-Marquise de la Tourette, Rhone 2015 750ML ($479.95) $369 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.”
St. Joseph is one of the best value AOCs in the Rhone.
Delas Freres Saint-Joseph Francois de Tournon, Rhone 2015 750ML ($44.95) $38 special
Case-6 Delas Freres Saint-Joseph Francois de Tournon, Rhone 2015 750ML ($279.95) $199 special
Wine Advocate 93 points “Inky and concentrated, the 2015 Saint-Joseph Francois de Tournon is no easy-drinking Saint-Joseph. It’s smoky, herbal and ashy all at once, yet it’s buoyed by ample black cherry fruit and vibrant acidity. This medium to full-bodied Syrah has plenty of tannins, but they’re ultimately silky and most apparent on the long, licorice-tinged finish. This is approachable now but should be even better in 3 years and should drink well for at least another 10 after that.”
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points “Both Saint Joseph releases are brilliant in 2015. The 2015 Saint Joseph François De Tournon comes vines around Tournon, Mauves, Saint-Jean-de-Muzols, and Vion, and is always destemmed and aged in 30% new barrels. This full-bodied, rounded, sexy beauty shows the power and fruit of the vintage. With classic notes of black and blue fruits, violets, incense and pepper, drink this textured, expansive, terrific Saint Joseph over the coming 10-15 years.”
Back vintage Hermitage from a prime parcel.
Delas Freres Hermitage Les Bessards, Rhone 2004 750ML ($199.95) $119 special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 94 points “Ruby-red. Very pungent, deep aromas of tobacco- and underbrush-laced red and blackcurrant. Powerful and rich, showing impressive sweetness to its potent cassis and blackberry flavors. Really stains the palate, finishing with exceptional purity and mineral tones. Whatever tannins are here (and you know there are plenty) are completely absorbed by the sheer fruit mass.”
Big, powerful and every bit of 100 points.
Delas Freres Hermitage Les Bessards, Rhone 2015 750ML ($249.95) $219 special
Jeb Dunnuck 100 points “The top cuvée from Delas is the 2015 Hermitage Les Bessards, and it’s always 100% Syrah from the steep, broken granite soils of the Bessards lieu-dit. Aged 18 months in 30% new barrels, its purple/plum color is followed by a huge nose of blackcurrants, graphite, toasted spice, crushed rocks and saddle leather. Powerful, massively concentrated, and tannic, it has a broad, expansive, heavenly texture, a thick mid-palate (you could almost use a fork for this beauty), and a great finish. Despite the richness level, it stays balanced and graceful on the palate, and is never over the top or heavy. It’s a perfect Hermitage that will start to shine with 4-5 years of bottle age and keep for three decades or more. Bravo!”
Wine Enthusiast 96 points “Cellar Selection! There’s a striking balance here calibrating bold, almost muscular ripeness against an invigorating granite edge. This wine is plump and full bodied, full of supple blackberry and plum flavors balanced by pert acidity and taut, penetrating tannins. It should be in peak from 2020–2035 but hold further.”
Wine Advocate 95-97 points “The top cuvée is the 2015 Hermitage les Bessards, which comes from the middle to lower portion of the steep, granite hillside known as Bessards, unquestionably one of the best terroirs for Syrah in the world. Its inky purple color is followed by a full-bodied, rich, thrillingly concentrated red that has huge tannin, bright acidity and a solid mid-palate concentration. It still tastes like it just came from the press and will need to be forgotten for a decade. As normal, it’s completely destemmed and will see 18 months in 30% new oak.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 96 points “Inky ruby. A highly aromatic bouquet evokes candied black and blue fruits, along with complicating suggestions of smoky minerals, candied flowers, olive and vanilla. Deep, chewy and expansive in the mouth, offering impressively concentrated dark berry liqueur, fruitcake and salty olive flavors that are complicated by a hint of smoky minerality and a building floral pastille note. Distinctly rich and powerful but surprisingly graceful as well, showing noteworthy clarity and mineral-driven thrust on the strikingly long finish.”
The prestige cuvee from St. Joseph. This is from a prime lieu-dit.
Delas Freres Saint-Joseph Sainte-Epine, Rhone 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Spectator 94 points “Dark and winey, featuring a deep core of red and black currant fruit steeped gently with anise and apple wood notes. The finish lets a bright iron edge run through. There’s lots to like here. Drink now through 2026. 500 cases made.”
Jeb Dunnuck 93-95+ points “The 2016 Saint Joseph Sainte Epine comes from the cool, fine, granite soils of the Sainte Epine lieu-dit located just outside of Saint-Jean-de-Muzols. Its deep purple color is followed by a sensational perfume of crème de cassis, black pepper, graphite and crushed flowers. Full-bodied, elegant and seamless, with incredible purity, it’s going to be one of the superstars of the vintage.”
Wine Advocate 93 points “Impressively dark and saturated in color, the 2016 Saint Joseph Sainte-Epine showcases its granite origins, boasting scents of crushed stone on the nose, along with hints of plummy fruit and grilled meat. It’s medium to full-bodied, framed by firm yet ripe tannins and classy notes of pencil shavings that linger through the long, silky-textured finish.”-JC
Arriving ETA June:
Valtostao Legon Premium, Ribera del Duero 2015 750ML ($29.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Valtostao Legon Premium, Ribera del Duero 2015 750ML ($179.95) $119 pre-arrival special (that’s only $19.83/bottle!)
Decanter 96 points “Very good expression of Tempranillo from Ribera, the wine has pronounced intensity on the nose with red and black fruits, spices, oak and chocolate. The palate is full-bodied with a black cherry expression. It finishes impressively with just a touch of supportive liquorice. Bravo!”
Scott Paul ‘Azana’ Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains 2013 750ML ($59.95) $24 special
Case-12 Scott Paul ‘Azana’ Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains 2013 750ML ($299.95) $249 special (that’s only $20.75/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds 92 points “Brilliant red. Fresh red berries, cherry compote and a hint of blood orange on the highly perfumed nose and in the mouth. Juicy and lithe in character, with no rough edges; a suave floral pastille nuance emerges on the back half. Shows excellent clarity and spicy cut on the finish, which hangs on with strong, floral tenacity.”
Josh Raynolds 92 points “(12.9% alcohol; 20% new oak): Light, bright red. Sexy, high-pitched red berry and floral scents, with notes of star anise, underbrush and sassafras adding complexity. Offers intense raspberry and bitter cherry flavors, along with notes of rhubarb, candied flowers and orange zest. This lithe, focused, pure pinot finishes linear and very long, with echoing floral and spice notes. Pinot purists should definitely check this one out.”
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “Previously labeled as Les Gourmandises, this is now The Long Run in honor of Scott Wright’s completing his first full-length marathon in 2011. It’s all Nysa vineyard fruit, graceful and delicate, scented with rose water and satin smooth. Cranberry and wild strawberry fruit accents lead into a mouthful of cherry soda, delicate but lingering.”
Case-6 Scott Paul Quatre Journaux Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains 2012 750ML ($299.95) $249 special (that’s only $41.50/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds 93 points “Vivid ruby-red. Drop-dead gorgeous, highly perfumed aromas of red berry preserves, Asian spices, sassafras and smoky minerals, with an intense floral nuance. Sweet, penetrating and pure, offering nervy red fruit and rose pastille flavors complemented by deeper notes of mocha and licorice. Shows outstanding balance and clarity, with smooth tannins building slowly through a long spice- and mineral-inflected finish.”