Midweek VinopolPick 4-9-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

“God Help the French”

Rose of the Day!

Kruger-Rumpf: Newly Reviewed, Always Delicious

Trending Wines

Up and Coming Willamette Valley Stars

Staff Pick: They [Occasionally] Make ‘Em Like They Used To

Ageworthy + Undervalued: Chandon de Briailles

Hooray for Meyney

2016 Jaboulet La Chapelle and Thalabert


“God Help the French”

Grapelive Reviews an Iconic Oregon Pinot

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Cameron Winery Clos Electrique Rouge, Dundee Hills 2016 750ML ($79.96) $66 special
Grapelive 96 points
“The monopole ‘Clos Electrique’ Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir has to be one of Oregon’s most iconic wines and John Paul, Cameron’s winemaker, has made an epic version in 2016. I mean god help the French if this wine ever got into a blind tasting versus some of the top Grand Cru Burgundies, because this stuff will blow their minds! The original Pinot Noir clones at this special Dundee Hills site were planted on their own roots in 1984 and over the years, Paul has added new vines that were grafted onto American root stock. This vintage is heavenly deep in color with dark garnet red hues and core of opaqueness. This stuff looks the part and tastes even better with a stunning range of fruit, earth, spice and mineral tones on the concentrated medium full palate. As warm, ripe and dense as the year was, Cameron’s Clos Electrique, named after the vineyard’s ring of electric fencing to keep marauding deer out of the grapes, has a sublime sense of balance, and refined low natural alcohol at a surprising 13.2%, but with a powerful mouth feel and unbelievable length, this is ultra-serious stuff that rivals Dujac, Meo-Camuzet and Rousseau! This wine bursts from the glass with a slight touch of reductive funk before revealing intense sensational fruit led by blackberry, racy plum, black cherry and tart currants along with hints of truffle, anise, red spices, which I feel is the underlying Jory soils expressing themselves, as well as a touch of smoky wood, earthy fig, orange zest, leather and violets. The addition of tart garden grown strawberries and bitter cocoa only add to the gorgeous complexity while the textural side of things gains in a dance between regal opulence and vigorous grip in a play of sensual heightened tension and release, something all great wines seem to deliver. The Dundee Hills AVA grown Clos Electrique Rouge, as this Pinot is known as by the winery, consists of at least 15 different clones of Pinot Noir selections that were planted by Paul on a mere 2 acres (less than 1 hectare) of land. The yields at Clos Electrique are always very small averaging between 1 and 2 tons of fruit per acre (that is less than 25 hl/hectar) of which makes it rare and concentrated in style, with Paul adding that his Clos Electrique is typically gnarly and intense, (it is) changing constantly in the glass and has fooled many wine-lovers into declaring it to be an old world wine, which I can attest to myself. The winemaking at Cameron is old school and traditional Burgundian with all of the wines fermented with the indigenous yeasts in open top tanks, John Paul jokingly adds, in which beautiful women immerse their nude bodies in the warm must to keep things exciting in the cellar. (maybe not true?) Then resulting wines are raised for nearly 2 years in French oak barrels, which vary from new to completely neutral, never heavy handed in their use and then bottled without filtration. To ensure real terroir, Clos Electrique is farmed organically and without irrigation. Cameron use only elemental sulfur during the growing season to prevent growth of powdery mildew and use copper hydroxide and leaf removal in the vicinity of grape clusters to inhibit botrytis. Insect pests are kept at bay by cultivation of predatory insects with an integrated cover crop. This site is thought of as one of the warm zones, but John Paul’s wines are full of energy and remarkably fresh and age worthy, and this cuvee is one of the Willamette Valley greatest wines. It is a bucket list Pinot, no question.

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We have twelve different wines in stock now from Cameron Winery. Check out some highlights below and click here to shop them all!

Cameron Winery ‘ Giovanni’ Pinot Bianco, Willamette Valley 2018 750ML ($19.95) $16 special
Winery note
“Giovanni is our introduction to the fabulous 2018 vintage.  The nose is resplendent with aromas of lemon verbena, citrus blossom and white peach.  Flavors of Anjou pear and melon are perfectly balanced with acidity, finishing together on the back of the palate.”

Cameron Winery Abbey Ridge Vineyard Chardonnay, Dundee Hills 2016 750ML ($79.95) $66 special
Abbey Ridge sits high atop the Dundee Hills; a collection of vines planted on their own roots in the mid-70’s. It’s unquestionably one of the most special sites in the Willamette Valley and though it’s better known for Pinot Noir, the Abbey Chard is fantastic.  This is the most limited of the Chardonnay bottlings from Cameron and isn’t produced every year (there was no 2014 version).

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The next best price is $77.99

Cameron Winery Clos Electrique Blanc, Dundee Hills 2016 750ML ($79.95) $66 special
Cameron Winery Clos Electrique Blanc, Dundee Hills 2016 1.5L ($189.95) $159 special, only 2 magnums in stock now
The Clos Electrique is Cameron’s estate vineyard, named after the electric deer fence that surrounds it.  This is planted to a mix of clones and is vinified traditionally—no racking and all in older barrels.  This is crisp and coiled, with distinct minerality and a lot of power in a lithe frame.  Like most vintages of the Electrique Blanc, this is quite good now but will be stellar in a few years.

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The average listed price is $74

Uber delicious with lots of upfront, robust appeal. Buy a case and drink this while you wait for the other Pinots to reach maturity!
Cameron Winery Ribbon Ridge Pinot Noir 2017 750ML ($27.95) $24 special
Winery note
on the Armstrong Vineyard (this bottling also includes fruit from the White Oak Vineyard) “Doug and Michele Ackerman’s 16 acre vineyard in the Ribbon Ridge AVA was planted in 2007 and has been farmed organically since 2013.  It consists of numerous South facing slopes planted exclusively to Pinot Noir.  Armstrong Vineyard is a recent addition to the Cameron Family.  The Ackermans converted a special block of the vineyard to dry farming in 2014, and this section is sold exclusively to Cameron Winery.  The opulent fruit from this 1/2 acre of Pinot noir is incorporated into our Ribbon Ridge wine.”

Cameron Winery Abbey Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills 2016 750ML ($79.95) $66 special
Abbey Ridge is one of the most hallowed sites in the Willamette Valley.  Planted in 1975, the Pinot Noir here is own rooted and at one of the highest elevations in the Dundee Hills.  The elevation and classic Jory soils give the wine an intense personality—high toned, elegant and tensile, with good power and a strong voice.  This bottling has been one of the defining Oregon Pinots since John Paul started making it.



Rose of the Day!

We’ve got a ton of fantastic rosé in stock for warm weather drinking! You can see all 75 bottles that are available in our web store by clicking here, but we wanted to highlight one of our favorites every day.  Today we’re focusing on this beauty of a bottle from classic Provencal producers Chateau de Roquefort.  Fresh, delicious and minerally, it’s at home on the porch or next to a delicious meal.

In Stock Now:

Chateau de Roquefort Cotes de Provence Corail Rose 2017 750ML ($24.95) $16 special
Case-12 Chateau de Roquefort Cotes de Provence Corail Rose 2017 750ML ($279.95) $169 special
Josh Raynolds 90 points
“Brilliant pink. Incisive and highly perfumed, displaying intense aromas of fresh red berries, tangerine and succulent flowers that show impressive delineation and mineral lift. Stains the palate with juicy raspberry, pink grapefruit and candied lavender flavors that deepen steadily on the back half. Finishes long, minerally and smooth, with repeating citrus fruit and floral character and a touch of spicy white pepper. This wine delivers superb bang for the buck.”



Newly Reviewed, Always Delicious

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Kruger-Rumpf Abtei Riesling Trocken, Nahe 2017 750ML ($34.95) $28 special
Grapelive 92 points
“The bright and precise Abtei Trocken shines with a delicate and generous nature. It shows a crystalline mineral-driven character and peachy fruits, vibrant crisp detail and a lingering charm in the glass. Very pale greenish gold in the glass and full of energy the 2017 Abtei bursts to life on the palate with that peach, key lime, green apple and tangerine fruits along with flinty wet stones, minty zest, citron/verbena and a saline mouthwatering note. This is a wine of refined form and dry extract, making for a Riesling that can be drunk young and one that should age nicely. I always appreciate the class and lacy style of Georg’s wines, especially in his drier wines. They are easy to love and have subtle power and underlying vigor, while his sweeter wines always show impeccable balance. This is a winery that doesn’t always get the credit it deserves and always gives exceptional value for the quality in the bottle. The Abtei Erstes Gewachs was all spontaneous fermentation (native yeast) fermented and aged in over 30 years old Stückfässern (German oak large cask) on the lees for close to 9 months before bottling, coming in at 12.5% natural alcohol. The vines here, all hand tended, are between 50 and 80 years old, which shows in this Riesling’s concentration and vitality. Ever since I walked this vineyard with Georg, in 2016, I have been a huge fan. Georg Rumpf’s latest set of wines are some of the best yet from this estate near the confluence of the Nahe and Rhein Rivers and the town of Bingen, which sits across the Rhein from the historic Rudesheim. The 2017 Abtei maybe the best kept secret in Rumpf’s portfolio. [It] comes from the closest parcel of vines to the winery, and a site that is extremely difficult to work, especially to their organic leaning practices. It always shows amazing energy and terroir elements that are similar to the famous Schlossberg Grand Cru on the other side of the Rhein as it shares the same soils and exposures. The Kruger-Rumpf estate is located in Münster-Sarmsheim, a small village (close to Bingen) on the western side of the Nahe River in the most northern section of this region. [It] has a bit more warmth than the southern middle zone of the Nahe, which gives the Kruger-Rumpf’s wines their concentration and sunny warmth. The Bingerbrücker “Abtei” im Ruppertsberg 1er Cru is set on phyllite, which is mica slate, again as mentioned on a south facing very steep hillside. Abtei, which means abbey, once belonged to the abbey at Bingen, home to Hildegard vom Bingen, the matron of the city, and is the most northern vineyard in the Nahe. If you want a wine Kruger-Rumpf wines to look for besides this one, be sure to check out their Dautenpfanzer GG Riesling, the Binger Scharlachberg GG Riesling, the Münsterer Pittersberg Spatlese and their gorgeous Scheurebe!.”

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Grapelive isn’t the only big fan of these wines—we love them, as well.  Their dry wines are making a play to be considered in the Nahe’s top-tier (and at extraordinary prices for the quality) and their off dry wines are delicious, ageworthy and often released from the estate’s library.  All of the wines from Kruger-Rumpf are worth checking out:

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Library/Cellar Release
Kruger-Rumpf Munsterer Dautenpflanzer Riesling Spatlese, Nahe 2004 750ML ($49.95) $33 special
Grapelive 93 points
“Deep, golden and mature in character, the opulent and beautiful 2004 Münsterer DautenpflänzerSpatlese from Kruger-Rumpf is in a wonderful window. It may just be the peak period for this vintage with layers of apricot, quince jelly, candied pineapple, marmalade notes and vinous textural charm along with nice salinity, mineral, rose led florals and light earthy and petrol fume notes in a classic Nahe Riesling. In recent years I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to re-visit some 2004’s and they have really blossomed, losing the year’s awkward form, going from an almost an ugly duckling into a swan in bottle with age. This is especially true in some late releases by Schlossgut Diel and this Weingut Kruger-Rumpf Münsterer Dautenpflänzer Spatlese, both of which can still be found if you look, a well worth it exercise. The VDP Grosse Lage (Grand Cru) Münsterer Dautenpflänzer, a tiny parcel within Kapellenberg, is set on quartzite and loess-clay based soils, which in my humble opinion highlights fruit detail and brings out a yellow fruit profile along with crystal clear mineral intensity with this wine bringing out baked peach core on the palate with hints of honey, fig and liquid stone. Georg Rumpf is moving towards organic in most of the vines with his vineyards being farmed to sustainable  practices with hand harvesting employed to ensure that only optimally ripe grapes are selected. There is intense attention to detail here. I was here at harvest in 2016 and saw the team in action as well as the vines, which are steep and well cared for. Rumpf goes for native (spontaneously with ambient yeast) on the cru trockens (dry) and fruity (off-dry and sweeter) Rieslings and he uses large old stuckfass (oak casks) with extended lees aging. This all adds to the wines purity, extract and concentrated depth. This such a steal, I highly recommend searching for a few bottles, drink now.”

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Library/Cellar Release
Kruger-Rumpf Munsterer Pittersberg Riesling Spatlese, Nahe 2004 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
“Off-dry, this shows plenty of pepper and mineral notes, along with peach and citrus flavors. It’s elegant and balanced, showing the Mosel style of Nahe Riesling. Moderate length. Drink now through 2018. 140 cases made.” -Wine Spectator
Importer note “Pittersberg is the other of the top Crus, and this site is more classic and less mischievous than its neighbor. Stefan refers only to “slate” and very often the wine smells just like Mosel wine – in fact just like Graacher Himmelreich. “In parts dusty loam over slate,” according to the textbook. Pittersberg is related to the Rüdesheimer Berg Schlossberg, which is just over the Rhine less than two miles north, though without the Taunus-quartzite of the Rheingau site. Diel’s great Pittermännchen is also on slate; I’m sure the similar names are not coincidence. Pittersberg gives firm, nutty Rieslings.”

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Kruger-Rumpf Munsterer Dautenpflanzer Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe 2016 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special
Stuart Pigott – jamessuckling.com 93 points
“Quite a powerful ripe wine, but with a serious acidity that you’ll either go for or you won’t. If the first impression doesn’t decide that, then the whiplash finish will either knock you into ecstasy or knock you out of the game! Drink now and for many years beyond.”
David Schildknecht-Vinous 92 points “Suggestions of rutabaga mingle with thyme, oregano, and intimations of fresh lemon on the nose, then translate into a brightly juicy, intriguingly earthy impression on a palpably high-extract palate. This finishes with glowing piquancy, consummate refreshment and plenty of intrigue. It should prove fascinating to follow.”

Kruger-Rumpf Abtei Riesling Trocken, Nahe 2016 750ML ($37.95) $33 special
Grapelive 94 points
“… The winery took this vineyard on in recent years and is restoring it after it was neglected for many years. Even in the short time Rumpf has had it the promise of greatness shines through with both the 2015 and now the 2016 vintages delivering outstanding wines. In what looks set to become a Grosses Gewachs in the future, this vineyard is one to follow, especially now with the price being so reasonable for the quality, and for the difficult hand work this vineyard requires! Farmed organic and on soils that mimic Rudesheimer Berg, this wine has an inner brilliance and powerful energy. It’s an amazing tiny terroir that graces this dry Riesling, giving slate character and remarkable fresh detail. While the 2015 has a raw/feral side to its concentration, the 2016 shows more elegance and finesse. It’s brighter, more intense and pure. Both are fascinating wines that are moving and certainly wonderful examples of mineral driven Trocken Riesling. The 2016 Abtei as tasted with Georg Rumpf at the Skurnik Wines West Portfolio Tasting in San Francisco, starts with orange blossom, flinty mineral/stone essences, vivid stone fruit, white peach and melon fleshiness as well as verbena, rosehip tea, tangerine, green apple and lingering lime and saline infused shale. The palate is forceful and crisp, but still refined and generous at the same time. [This is] a trait you find in all of Georg’s wines, especially his dry styles. While his fruitier wines are slightly more flamboyant/sexy they never feel overtly sweet or heavy. I love everything he produces, but this Abtei might be my secret favorite, as well as his Scheurebe, tough choices! Drink the 2016 Kruger-Rumpf Abtei Erste Gewachs between 2020 and 2030, though there won’t be any penalty for opening anytime.”
David Schildknecht-Vinous 93 points “A head-turningly variegated and intriguing nose features saffron, thyme, marjoram and lemon zest, as well as an intimation of the raw-scallop-like saline-sweet savor that goes on to captivate the salivary glands on a superbly sustained finish. The feel is flatteringly silken, and there is a welcome sense of buoyancy even at 12.5% alcohol. (For background on this fascinating quartzitic slate site and its vines, planted in the 1930s and featuring unusually loose clusters, consult my review of the inaugural 2015 Abtei bottling. The Rumpfs are planting additional adjacent vines. Note also that in reviewing the 2015, I neglected to add “Ruppertsberg” – which only appears in small print on the wine’s back label – to the official name of the site.)”
Wine Advocate 92 points “From phylitte soils, the spicy-mineral 2016 Nahe Riesling Bingerbrück Abtei Rupertsberg is a pure, round and rich Riesling with intense and concentrated fruit. On the palate, this is a rich, intense, very fruity, mineral and well-structured Riesling with a lingering, well-structured finish. The first attack is pretty round and sweet but also rich and intense, with remarkable elegance and a persistent finish. This is a highly promising Riesling that was macerated between five and eight hours. The finish is super piquant and salty. Total production: four stück barrels (4,500 liters).”

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Trending Wines

Beautiful Condrieu, perfect for spring.
Domaine Garon Condrieu La Vieille Maison, Rhone 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“The 2017 Condrieu La Vieille Maison from Garon shows the richer style of the estate nicely. Buttered peach, tropical fruits, white flowers, and honeysuckle notes all flow to a rich, beautifully textured 2017 that has plenty of richness and depth, notable purity of fruit, and a rounded, textured, rich and full-bodied style on the palate. Drink it over the coming couple of years.”

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#3 Wine of the Year – Wine Spectator Top 100 in 2018
Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Wine Spectator 96 points
“Though saturated with black currant and blackberry fruit and backed by opaque tannins, this red is pure and balanced. Thyme, iron, leather and tar notes give this complexity, while the finish goes into overtime. Best from 2023 through 2040. 2,500 cases imported.”

Party in a bottle.  Spritzy and fun.
Ameztoi Txakoli di Getaria Hondarribi Zuri, Getariako Txakolina 2018 750ML ($24.95) $19.90 special

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Beautiful and powerful. This is stunning, especially for the price.
Vignobles Prissette Villa Symposia Coteaux du Languedoc l’Origine 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.”

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We probably shouldn’t bother with the single-bottle price.
Commanderie de la Bargemone Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Rose 2017 750ML ($17.95) $11.90 special
Case-12 Commanderie de la Bargemone Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Rose 2017 750ML ($199.95) $119 special
Jeb Dunnuck 91 points
“Like the white, the 2017 Coteaux d’Aix en Provence Rosé (30% Grenache, 28% Syrah, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cinsault, and the rest Rolle, Carignan, and Counoise) has a beautiful saltiness that makes your mouth water. White cherries, strawberries, and spice notes all flow to a medium-bodied rosé that has terrific acidity, plenty of fruit and a clean, dry finish.”
Wine Enthusiast 91 points “Editor’s Choice. This ancient estate, founded in the Middle Ages by the Knights Templar, has produced an exemplary rosé. It has lightness and poise as well as great fruitiness, acidity and a crisp, zesty texture. Perfumed and with red-currant and strawberry flavors, the wine is ready to drink.”
Josh Raynolds 90 points “Light, vivid orange. Clean, focused and minerally on the nose, displaying fresh citrus and pit fruit scents and a hint of candied lavender. Sappy and precise in style, offering bitter cherry and redcurrant flavors and a spicy jolt on the back half. Clings very nicely on the finish, leaving floral and orange pith notes behind.”

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Beautiful, new-school, crisp Chard from Napa.
Arnot-Roberts Watson Ranch Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2017 750ML ($44.95) $39 special
Antonio Galloni 93 points
“The 2017 Chardonnay Watson Ranch is a gorgeous wine. Apricot, chamomile, dried flowers, sage and dried pear are all laced together in this super-expressive, inviting Chardonnay. Readers should be prepared to cellar the 2017, as it is quite closed today. Bright saline notes add freshness and zip to this super-expressive Chardonnay.”

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One of the best deals in Willamette Pinot we’ve had in a while.
Grochau Cellars Zenith Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2013 750ML ($47.95) $28 special
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 93 points
“Brilliant red. Powerful, spice-accented cherry and raspberry aromas are complemented by hints of candied rose, anise and smoky minerals. Sweet and focused on the palate, offering intense red and dark berry and spicecake flavors and a strong suggestion of floral pastilles. Rich yet lithe in the style, this elegant Pinot finishes with powerful, spicy thrust and silky, slow-building tannins that contribute shape and grip.”

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New Releases from Up and Coming

Willamette Valley Stars

The Willamette Valley is still a young wine region and if you need proof, you only have to look at the number of wineries starting up every year and the new voices they’re bringing to the table.  Two of the more notable young wineries in the valley are Morgen Long, maker of some of the best Chardonnay to come out of the state, and Flaneur, whose wines offer exceptional value.  The Morgen Long wines, in particular, are worth the time of anyone who loves white Burgundy—these are linear, mineral wines with real spine and intensity.

Arriving Friday:

Morgen Long
Morgen Long Seven Springs Vineyardd Chardonnay, Eola-Amity Hills 2017 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Winery Note
“There is a subtle richness to the Seven Springs Vineyard, as vivid aromatics of fresh lemon curd, key lime, golden florals, and minerals are warmed with fine-grained wood spice. The palate is dry, with bright acidity and flavors of mixed citrus, golden apples and ginger brioche. There is density to the flavors and fine texture as the wine finishes mineral and long. I am grateful to lease an acre of mixed Dijon clones (95 and 76) from two blocks at Seven Springs Vineyard, which face southeast at 500’. The South Block has the tightest spacing of any site I work with. This portion of Seven Springs was planted in 2013, although the oldest vines on the property date back to 1984. It is easily one of the most iconic vineyards in the Willamette Valley, and for good reason. Seven Springs is farmed biodynamically by Jessica Cortell’s Vitis Terra outfit. It is a pleasure to work with the dry-farmed vines here, which are rooted in volcanic basalt soils. ”

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Morgen Long Chardonnay, Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Winery Note
“Lemon curd, bright citrus oils, graham, ginger and yellow apple aromatics mingle with subtle wooden spice and sweet tea. The palate is bone dry and chalky with expansive, rich flavors that follow the nose. Bright acidity buoys the dense and wide mid-palate and stretches the wine out long with a refreshing finish.  Each lot of Chardonnay was pressed hard as whole clusters and the juice was settled overnight. Some lots were allowed to hyperoxidize before a small dose of SO2 was added, other lots were sulfured in the press pan. After transferring to barrels for fermentation, some lots were chaptalized, others were not. Fermentation commenced with native yeasts and full malolactic conversion occurred. Selected yeasts completed fermentation. After one year in 25% new French oak barrels, the wine was blended and transferred to stainless steel for a second winter on lees. After nearly six months in steel on lees, the wine was lightly fined with bentonite before a gentle lenticular filtration. 12.5 barrels produced. ”

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Morgen Long “Pink Label” Chardonnay, Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($29.95) $24 pre-arrival special
Winery Note
“With a subtle copper hue, The Pink Label is Willamette Valley Chardonnay which aged on Dundee Hills Pinot noir lees from Maresh Vineyard in large format Pinot noir barrels for its final six  months of aging.  Demure aromatics of lemons and white raspberry mingle with white peach, blood orange and briny minerals. Flavors of lemon pith, grapefruit, white cranberry and salty mineral fill the palate. Dry, lithe and bright, there is a whisper of cranberry and wood spice before the wine finishes airy and light.”
VinopolNote: A unique Chardonnay! This is composed of 25% each Seven Springs, Durant, AlexEli and Yamhill Vineyards fruit with a splash of Maresh Vineyard Pinot Noir lees. The lees addition adds texture, body, and a fascinating twist to the beautiful aromatics.

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Flaneur Wines

Flaneur Wines Chardonnay, Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($33.95) $27 pre-arrival special
Winery Note
“This barrel fermented wine boasts fresh orchard fruit, citrus, and spice character with zippy acidity. Sourced from all basalt and jory volcanic soils, this zesty, lighter bodied chardonnay is ideal for early drinking.”

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Flaneur Wines Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($31.95) $27 pre-arrival special
Winery Note
“This wine was fermented in a variety of stainless steel tanks and one large oak vessel. After a native yeast fermentation, it was aged in a combination of 228, 60t, and 2300 L oak vessels. Light and fresh, and boasting a balance of tart red fruit and earthy characteristics, this Pinot Noir is an ideal match for many meals…. or simply enjoyable on its own.”

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Staff Pick:

They Sometimes Make ‘Em Like They Used To

While the modern conception of the Southern Rhone is all 15%+ alcohol monsters with lots of new wood, there are still a few holdouts who value an old school style.  Gour de Chaule is a top example, in the heart of the Southern Rhone but with drinkability in their hearts.  These are powerful wines, but with a soulful edge and a freshness that makes them immensely appealing.  When you factor in their pricing, they become can’t miss offerings for anyone who longs for older style wines from the Rhone.  I recently had a chance to try both the 2015 and 2005 Gour de Chaule Gigondas at a dinner and was blown away both by the depth, complexity and freshness of the older version as well as the promise that the younger version clearly showed.  On a night with a number of other world class wines open, this sub $30 bottle was one of the highlights.  I’ll be grabbing a few to open in 10+ years, confident that it’ll be suitable for any occasion, no matter how fancy.

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Domaine du Gour de Chaule Gigondas Tradition, Rhone 2015 750ML ($39.95) $29 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92-94 points
“Brilliant ruby. A heady bouquet evokes ripe red and blue fruits, Indian spices and smoky minerals, along with a hint of candied lavender in the background. Deeply concentrated yet energetic black raspberry, boysenberry and spicecake flavors unfold slowly, picking up a licorice quality that expands on the back half. Shows excellent clarity and mineral cut on a sweet, seamless finish shaped by smooth tannins.”
Grapelive 93 points “Vigneron Stéphanie Bonfils, following her mom’s absolute love of Grenache, continues to craft Domaine de Gour de Chaule’s Gigondas with that focus. 85% of the vineyards [are] planted to Grenache, with about 10% dedicated to Syrah and Mourvedre, along with a tiny amount to Cinsault. This historic estate was started in 1900, but was not selling their own wine until the early 1970’s and not a serious domaine until Bonfils the elder got things rolling in the 1980’s…. Similar to the more famous Chateauneuf du Pape, Gigondas is blessed with the sunny Mediterranean climate and clay and limestones soils, but they can be fresher and certainly less costly, with some having higher elevation vines that give a vibrant intensity to these heady full flavored Rhone reds. The average age of the Grenache vines planted within the Domaine de Gour de Chaule plots is 55 years old. Stéphanie uses whole cluster fermentations with cement cuves employed for both primary and malo (secondary) before being racked to used large foudres (oak cask) to rest, for about 18 months prior to bottling unfixed and unfiltered. This 2015 is brilliantly detailed, full bodied and shows the vintage’s depth and concentration perfectly. It delivers a warm rush of Grenache purity and character with sweet strawberry, boysenberry, kirsch and plum along with dusty stones (chalky), light floral notes, peppery spices, classic lavender (garrigue) and anise. This feels rich and textured in the mouth gaining earthy elements and while deeply fruit driven there is a spine of fine ripe tannins that gives a sense of structure that holds the weight in check. It never feels too heavy or dull. It’s a beautiful old school Gigondas that really impresses the palate. Imported by Rosenthal Wine Merchant, Domaine de Gour de Chaule Gigondas “Cuvee Tradition” is always a treat and a bell weather for the year. This 2015 [is] an absolute must for Rhone fans. Enjoy it for its youth now or put a few away for exceptional mid-term drinking, as it will reward some patience. Best from 2018 to 2026.”

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Ageworthy and Undervalued

The Fantastic Chandon de Briailles

The wines of Chandon de Briailles are old-school Burgundies and brilliant because of it.  Made with lots of whole clusters and an age-worthy approach, they are wines that need time but pay off in a big, big way.  The estate has been a bit of an insider secret for years, as these wines are fantastic for their prices.

Speaking of those prices—the Burgundy market tends to reward wines that drink well on release and/or come from prestige appellations.  These wines are neither (though Corton was quite the glamorous location a few hundred years ago).  They require time to come into their own, putting on weight and texture in bottle until you open them up and they show up every other wine on the table (including many that released at triple the price).  They’re special wines, which we’re offering at very special pricing  If you like structured, old-school Burgundy, don’t pass these up.

In Stock Now:

Domaine Chandon de Briailles Corton-Bressandes Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune 2015 750ML ($199.95) $119 special
Burghound 92-95 points
“Sweet Spot. A markedly ripe yet elegant nose that consists of rose petal, plum liqueur, lilac, spice and wet stone aromas is trimmed in enough wood to notice. The very rich, intense and wonderfully vibrant big-bodied flavors evidence obvious minerality on the mouth coating and impressively long finish. This is a big and refined effort that is very much built-to-age so patience required.”

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The next best price is $140
The average price is $168
Domaine Chandon de Briailles Corton-Bressandes Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune 2014 750ML ($149.95) $89 special
Wine Spectator 94 points
“This needs air to reveal the deep cherry and raspberry flavors. Pure, with mineral and earth details adding grace notes. Though balanced, this will require time for the structure and flavors to meld. Fine length. Best from 2020 through 2035. 367 cases made.”
Burghound 93 points “Reduction presently dominates the nose and I would again strongly suggest decanting this first if you’re going to sample a bottle before 2 to 3 years of age. On the palate there is a seductive texture to the velvety, complex and attractively mineral-inflected medium weight plus flavors that possess a fine sense of balance and deliver excellent finishing persistence along with impressive depth. This too is textbook.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $99.97
The average price is $112

Domaine Chandon de Briailles Corton-Bressandes Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune 2013 750ML ($149.95) $79 special
Burghound 91-93 points
“This too is quite reduced yet from barely perceptible fruit seems fresh. As is usually the case there is slightly finer mouth feel to the broad-shouldered flavors that also possess fine mid-palate concentration, all wrapped in a firmly structured but not hard finish. This is youthfully austere with just a hint of rusticity and this too will definitely require patience.”
Wine Spectator 91 points “This is spicy, with sandalwood, vanilla, green olive and wild berry flavors building from start to finish. Balanced in a lean, tightly wound style, presenting a lingering, spicy aftertaste. Best from 2018 through 2032. 334 cases made.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $110
Domaine Chandon de Briailles Corton-Marechaudes Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune 2015 750ML ($199.95) $119 special
Wine Spectator 93 points
“Though concentrated, this is also lean and chewy, with big, dusty tannins framing blackberry and blueberry fruit. Good acidity keeps this focused, though this will need some time for the structure to resolve. Fine length. Best from 2022 through 2036. 15 cases imported.”
Burghound 91-94 points “This too manages to be at once very ripe but attractively fresh with its liqueur-like aromas of dark currant, plum, lilac and warm earth. The powerful yet sleek medium weight plus flavors brim with dry extract thanks to the concentrated amount of sappy dry extract that imparts a velvety mouth feel to the hugely long finale. This is less rustic than it usually is though with that said, it’s less refined than its two big boy stablemates.”
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Joining Us This Fall

Hooray for Meyney

Chateau Meyney is a perennial best value in Bordeaux.  One of the oldest estates in the region, it’s superbly situated on some of the best vineyard land in St. Estephe, though it curiously isn’t a classified growth.  That’s helped to keep the price down, despite the fact that the wines age as well as any in the AOC aside from Estournel and Montrose.  The ’82 and ’86 are still stellar and the ’89 and ’90 have only recently moved into their prime.  That wouldn’t be much to talk about except that we’re talking about a $40 wine—and that’s for current releases from strong vintages.  We’ve just confirmed our stock of the 2016, arriving in the fall, and the ’14 is here now.

Arriving ETA Fall 2019:

Chateau Meyney, Saint-Estephe 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 96 points
“Wild nose. Impressive, deep hue and a wealth of fresh, violet-like aromas, as well as cassis, graphite and dark cherries. The palate has a very sleek, fine, powerful core of tannins that bring a lot of depth and deliver rich dark-fruit flavor. A classic Meyney. Best since 1961! Try from 2023.”
Decanter 94 points “Rich and full, this is very St-Estèphe: round through the mid-palate, with an amazingly tasty balance of richness and freshness leading to salinity and minerality on the finish. It will need another five to eight years before being ready to drink, but it has to be one of the value picks of the vintage.”
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2016 Meyney is a bold, powerful wine. Tobacco, menthol, chocolate, spice and torrefaction notes all add shades of darkness. Meyney is potent and quite broad in feel, and yet everything is very nicely balanced. Although not especially subtle, Meyney delivers the goods, and then some.”

In Stock Now from Chateau Meyney:

Chateau Meyney, Saint-Estephe 2014 750ML ($44.95) $39 special
Antonio Galloni 92 points
“Super-ripe dark cherry, plum, smoke, chocolate, licorice and tobacco are some of the signatures in the 2014 Meyney. This is one of the more overt, flamboyant 2014s readers will come across. Although certainly not a shy wine, it is loaded with personality. The late harvest and the generally intense style favored by consulting winemaker Hubert de Boüard are very much in evidence. Tasted two times.”
James Suckling 92 points “This is one of the most immediately appealing 2014s from the appellation thanks to its very ripe black fruits, and there’s still a lot of structure behind it. Reminds me of some of Meyney’s top vintages of the 1960s.”

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2016 Jaboulet La Chapelle and Thalabert

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. The 2016 version is a true legend in the making and we expect this will be a wine that is talked about reverentially in twenty years.  We have a small lot of ’16 La Chapelle arriving in the Fall, along with the 2016 version of the Thalabert Crozes-Hermitage (a worthy follow-up to the best selling 2015). Quantities are limited, so you’d be wise to grab these now—they aren’t going to be around for very long.

Arriving ETA Fall 2019:

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.”

Can’t Wait? Check out these fantastic wines from Jaboulet, In Stock Now:

Paul Jaboulet Aine Domaine de Thalabert Crozes-Hermitage, Rhone 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Jeb Dunnuck-Rhone Report 97 points
“The finest vintage to date, better even than the stellar 2010, the 2015 Crozes-Hermitage Domaine De Thalabert is a gorgeous, deep, layered, and incredibly satisfying Crozes. Blackcurrants, olive tapenade, truffles and earthy notes all emerge from this full-bodied, gorgeously textured and seamless 2015. With fine tannin and no hard edge, it can be drunk today or cellaring for 15-20 years.”
Grapelive 94-96 points “This Jaboulet Crozes-Hermitagev Domaine de Thalabert 2015 with it’s concentration, ripe flavors and refined tannins is a lovely and impressive effort, not without grip or intensity, displays a meaty soul and terroir driven personality with layers of boysenberry, damson plum, blueberry compote, creme de cassis, fig paste, light cedar notes, mocha and earthy/tar like elements with hints of black licorice, leather, bacon fat and embers. Caroline Frey and team have done a masterful job, making a purple/garnet hued wine that gathers itself with air adding a hint of sweet toasty oak, with about 20% new barrels were used and crushed violets and candied black cherry in a sultry, seductive and a full bodied effort. Still in throws of youth, this Domaine de Thalabert will need plenty of cellar time to fully evolve, but the potential is clear as day to see in the bottle, curiosity got the best of me, rather than common sense, as I should have cellared this beauty another decade at least….The Domaine de Thalabert Crozes-Hermitage site was the first vineyard purchased by Jaboulet and is considered one of the benchmark vineyard sites in the Appellation as well as being the oldest, it now sports 60 to 80 year old vines, biodynamically grown on pebbly terraces that are glacial in origin, with the bedrock close to the topsoil….Jaboulet is one of the iconic estates in the Northern Rhone, most famous for their La Chappelle Hermitage Rouge from the spiritual home high up on Hermitage Hill overlooking the Rhone River….this label is as popular as ever with her top wines being as highly praised and sought after as any in France. For those that cannot afford the La Chapelle, like me, it is great to be able to drink Frey’s wines, and this Crozes-Hermitage “Domaine de Thalabert” is a great one to invest in without too much guilt, so be sure to look for it and be as patient as possible”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 94 points “Inky ruby. Suave, mineral-accented scents of ripe blueberry, black currant and Indian spices, along with a slowly emerging floral component. Plush, broad and deeply concentrated, displaying black and blue fruit, licorice and mocha flavors that are energized by an intense, peppery overtone. Finishes extremely long, fleshy and sweet, delivering intense mineral thrust, a subtle cracked pepper nuance and youthful, building tannins.”

Paul Jaboulet Aine Saint-Joseph Domaine de la Croix des Vignes, Rhone 2012 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Wine Advocate 95 points
“The only Saint Joseph produced, the 2012 St Joseph Domaine de la Croix des Vignes is another incredible effort from this team. Coming from steep, granite soils and a vineyard located just beside the famed Vignes de Hospice, this beauty knocks it out of the park with its massive minerality, currants, rare beef and tapenade-like aromas and flavors. Ripe, medium to full-bodied, beautifully textured and still lively and elegant, it too will knock your socks off over the coming 15-20 years.” WA

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