Midweek VinopolPick 9-4-18

In Today’s Newsletter:

The Insider’s Cornas
Trending Wines of the Week
Perrot-Minot and Simone In the September Sale
Warm Days Call for Rosé
Resonance Subscriber Special Ends Thursday at Midnight
French Treasures from Beaujolais, Burgundy and Sauternes
Mosel Fine Wines Loves the Incoming ’17’s of Thanisch
Clos Apalta: Chilean Perfection
September Clearance Roundup

The Insider’s Cornas

The Best Under-the-Radar Producers

Of the Rhone’s Hottest Region

Cornas is the hot appellation in the Rhone, possibly in all of France. It’s coveted for its unique blend of elegance, power and raw character, with the top wines as good as any Grand Cru Burgundy or Hermitage.  Unfortunately, pricing for the top producers is skyrocketing, to the point where if you have to ask, then…

That said, there’s a clear tier of growers just below the Clape/Allemand level whose wines are priced far, far lower, reminding us of Allemand and Gonon five to ten years ago in terms of QPR.  These are wines that won’t stay underpriced for too long, though—as Cornas has become more popular, there’s more and more incentive for savvy consumers and importers to focus on these less well known winemakers.  We wanted to highlight a few growers whose wines are worth keeping an eye on and spotlight a few of each of their wines.  This is just the tip of the iceberg, though—we have more wines from each producer available on our website and you can see all of our Cornas by clicking here.

In Stock Now
Matthieu Barret
If Barret is a new name to you, know that his Domaine du Coulet is one of the new great producers of Cornas, threading the needle between classic and modern.  He destems his Syrah for a more refined mouthfeel, but doesn’t use new wood and ages in large barrels.  He farms old vineyards Biodynamically and keeps his yields down—in short he does everything that we’re looking for in Cornas and the wines are dynamite.  We have some library stock examples, as well, if you’re looking for versions of Cornas with age.

2011 yielded delicious wines with tremendous richness and fruit.
Matthieu Barret Domaine du Coulet Cornas Billes Noires, Rhone 2011 750ML ($99.95) $79 special
Wine Advocate 95 points “Even better, the 2011 Cornas Billes Noires, which spends one year in old wood followed by one year in concrete tank, offers blockbuster levels of black raspberry, smoked earth, chocolate, licorice and crushed rock on the nose and palate. Medium to full-bodied, long, elegant and with laser-like focus, it nevertheless does not lack for fruit or texture, and has fine-grained tannin framing the finish beautifully. With a scant 600 cases to go around, there’s not much of it, but don’t miss a chance to grab a couple of bottles if you can. It too will drink well for 10-15 years.”

Extended elevage, no new wood and a fantastic year.
Matthieu Barret Domaine du Coulet Cornas Billes Noires, Rhone 2012 750ML ($99.95) $79 special
Wine Advocate 96 points “Coming from the upper part of Cornas and seeing 24 months in 400-500 Liter barrels (none new), the 2012 Cornas Domaine du Coulet Billes Noires is an incredible effort that’s up with the crème de la crème of the vintage. Its inky purple color is followed by an awesome bouquet of cassis, bacon fat, olive, peppered meat and iron, with additional minerality coming through with air. Classic in every way, with full-bodied richness, stunning purity and integrated acidity, it’s a big, brooding and concentrated effort that’s reasonably approachable now due to its fruit and texture, yet won’t hit prime time until 6-7 years after the vintage and will have two decades of longevity.”

Domaine Lionnet
Lionnet is basically the Levet of Cornas—the heir to Robert Michel, stylistically.  In fact, it was Levet that referred Lionnet to Neal Rosenthal, which tells you all you need to know. These are old-school Cornas, made with 100% whole clusters, fermented in cement vats and then aged in older, large barrels.  No new wood, no pretension, and just one wine—the domaine only owns 2.2 hectares!  These are gamey, funky and full of soul (though not particularly full of polish).  This is a domain on the rise and we were lucky enough to acquire a solid mini-vertical, though we only have space to feature a few vintages here.

2015 is Lionnet’s star turnthis is a do-not-miss wine.
Domaine Lionnet Cornas Terre Brulee, Rhone 2015 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Domaine Lionnet Cornas Terre Brulee, Rhone 2015 1.5L ($149.95) $119 special
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “The 2015 Cornas Terre Brûlée comes from a total of seven different lieux-dits throughout the appellation (all are granite soils) and was vinified in concrete tanks before spending 18 months in older demi-muids. It offers a classic, traditional feel in its blackberry, peppery herbs, bouquet garni and violets aromas and flavors. With full-bodied richness, nicely integrated acidity and superb concentration, it’s just another sensational Cornas from this vintage. Bravo to Corinne Lionnet and Ludovic Izerable!”
Grapelive 95+ points “One of my favorite wines and producers, Domaine Lionnet makes an incredible and authentic Cornas that never disappoints this Syrah geek. It’s always a nervy, stemmy wine, but with gracious fruit and textures to balance everything out. I find these wines to have a raw sex appeal and with a dark earthy seduction. In terms of pure Syrah it rarely gets much better than this! Corinne Lionnet’s family has been here and wine growing since 1575…. Ludovic’s style is all about nature, with 100% whole cluster, 100% stems and all organic farming. He ferments native and uses long maceration (three weeks) in cement vats before malos in large cask, all well used and never new, with lengthy elevate/aging. There are never any additions or adjustments with just a tiny amount of sulfur. Each parcel is between 40 and 100 years old, including four great lieu-dit sites: Chaillot, Combes, Brugeres and Mazards. [Each is] hand-picked and fermented individually. Each of these Crus add to the whole and give this wine its special personality and chemistry. Domaine Lionnet’s attention to detail really shows in the bottle.… This deep garnet hued Cornas lingers on and on recalling the violet and edgy stems for minutes in the aftertaste. This is a ridiculously great terroir-driven wine with stellar potential in 3 to 5 years. If you love Jamet or Allemand you’ll want this wine, and at almost half their price this wine is a rockstar value.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “A terrific wine, the 2015 Cornas Terre Brulee combines smoky notes of grilled plums and meat in a full-bodied format. It’s richly tannic and velvety at the same time, with a finish that’s simultaneously drying (from tannins) and mouthwatering (from juicy fruit). Farmed organically, vinified with stems in concrete and aged in used, large-format oak, Cornas doesn’t get more authentic (or better) than this!”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $63
The best 2013’s are long haul wines that are going to shine in 5-10 years.
Domaine Lionnet Cornas Terre Brulee, Rhone 2013 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Spectator 92 points “Dark in profile, with a tarry edge to the core of steeped black currant and fig fruit, along with smoldering tobacco, licorice root and singed alder on the finish. Maintains ample grip and drive throughout. Best from 2018 through 2028. 200 cases imported.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
One to two hours in the decanter and this sings.
Domaine Lionnet Cornas Terre Brulee, Rhone 2012 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Advocate 94 points “Made by Ludovic Izerable and crazy good, the 2012 Cornas Terre Brûlée is a stunning Cornas that spent 18 months in 2- to 8-year-old barrels and demi-muid. Offering up notes of black raspberry, cassis, currants, ground herbs, spice and insane minerality, it hits the palate with a full-bodied, rich, yet taunt and pure texture that carries vibrant acidity and length. Still reserved and backwards, give this beauty another 3-4 years and enjoy bottles through 2027+.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
Vincent Paris

Vincent Paris’ wines have everything we love about Northern Rhone Syrah packaged in a clean, direct style.  He has the benefit of incredible vineyard material, too, as he now works the vineyards his uncle, Robert Michel, made famous.  Stylistically, there’s definitely some of that old-school Michel rusticity, but overall, his wines are far more polished and in line with what we think of as good modern Cornas. Don’t look for new oak here, though there is an elegance about them that has always impressed us.  We have a broad assortment available in the store and on the website, but here are a few highlights.

Perfect pop-n-pour Cornas.
Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas Granit 30, Rhone 2016 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Case-12 Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas Granit 30, Rhone 2016 750ML ($419.95) $359 special (that’s only $29.92/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92-94 points
“(no new oak) Opaque ruby. Potent, mineral-accented dark berry scents are complicated by floral oil and peppery spice nuances. Smooth and seamless on the palate, offering gently sweet black raspberry, blueberry and violet pastille flavors that become livelier with air. Sappy and open-knit, closing with solid thrust, silky, even tannins and strong persistence.”
Jeb Dunnuck 91-93 points “Looking at the Cornas releases, the 2016 Cornas Granite 30 comes from the Patou and Saint Pierre lieux-dits and was completely destemmed before aging in a mix of barrels. It’s a ripe, vibrant beauty that’s overflowing with fruit. Blackberries, blueberries, violets, spring flowers and hints of minerality all give way to a full-bodied, unctuous effort that has good acidity and sweet tannin. It’s another no-brainer wine from this estate.”

From some of the best holdings in the AOC.
Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas La Geynale, Rhone 2016 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 95-97 points ” (vines over 100 years old vines and no new oak) Brilliant purple. A complex, expansive bouquet evokes fresh black and blue fruits, Asian spices, incense, smoky minerals and olive paste. Deeply concentrated yet lively boysenberry, cherry pie, spicecake and bitter chocolate flavors are underscored by a building mineral quality. Shows a compelling blend of depth and litheness and finishes on a youthfully tannic note, displaying remarkable clarity and insistent mineral character. I don’t think I have ever tasted as profound a wine as this one from Vincent Paris, who seems to be one of the most underrated and under-the-radar producers in the northern Rhône.”
Wine Advocate 95-97 points “There are only about 3,000 bottles of the stunning 2016 Cornas la Geynale. Tasted from tank prior to bottling, it looks every bit the equal of the 2015—oozing with concentrated purple fruit and crushed stone but without that vintage’s massive tannins. The 100-year-old vines Paris works with at this site face south and achieved terrific ripeness, making the wine approachable relatively young.”

Franck Balthazar
Franck Balthazar has been one of the hottest names in Cornas in the last few years—his connections to Thierry Allemand (plus his fantastic wines) have seen these wines grow increasingly limited in the last three years.  We could easily see him complete the transition to superstar producer and if so, these wines will double in price, especially the sought after “Chaillot” bottling.  Stylistically they bear more than a passing resemblance to his mentor, Allemand, but with a bit of a more rugged texture and style.  These are fantastic wines that are unfortunately already only available in small quantities.

Unsulfured and undeniably delicious.
Franck Balthazar Cornas Sans Soufre Ajoute, Rhone 2015 750ML ($79.95) $69 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 93 points “Lurid ruby. Expressive red/blue fruit aromas are complemented by suggestions of pungent flowers, olive and smoky minerals. Sweet, penetrating and energetic on the palate, offering intense black raspberry, boysenberry and violet pastille flavors that become deeper with air. This is quite lively for the vintage and finishes with outstanding clarity, well-knit tannins and lingering florality.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Balthazar killed it in 2016.
Franck Balthazar Cornas Cuvee Casimir Balthazar, Rhone 2016 750ML ($69.95)
$59 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92-94 points “Lurid ruby. High-pitched red and dark berry scents are complemented by exotic spice and floral pastille accents. Sweet and penetrating on the palate, offering juicy black raspberry, cherry cola and violet flavors sharpened by a spicy jolt of cracked pepper. Shows impressive purity and no rough edges on a very long, silky, floral-driven finish.”

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

Arriving this later this month:

Balthazar’s flagship bottle from an all time vintage.
Franck Balthazar Cornas Chaillot, Rhone 2015 750ML ($99.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 96 points “Inky ruby. An alluringly perfumed bouquet evokes ripe black and blue fruits, candied licorice, exotic spices and incense, and shows a bright mineral topnote. Stains the palate with intense, spice-laced blackberry, boysenberry and violet pastille flavors that deepen and become sweeter with aeration. Delivers a compelling blend of richness and finesse and finishes extremely long and spicy, with smooth tannins sneaking in late”



Trending Wines of the Week

From a signature vineyard in the Dundee Hills
Arterberry Maresh Pinot Noir ‘Maresh Vineyard’, Dundee Hills, 2016 750ML ($79.95) $69 special
Wine Advocate 96 points “This wine comes from Pinot Noir vines planted in the early 1970s. Pale to medium ruby-purple in color, the 2016 Pinot Noir Maresh Vineyard is scented of lilac, violet, pure strawberry jam, rhubarb and cranberry sauce with layers of warm earth, red and black licorice and exotic spice. Medium to full-bodied, it floods the mouth with warm red cherries, strawberry and rhubarb jam notions and wonderful accents of dried violets, earth, licorice and spice. It has very, very fine, grainy tannins and juicy mouthwatering acidity, finishing epically long with spiced warm red fruits. This just sings! 371 cases produced.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Profound and a superb value.
Arterberry Maresh ‘Old Vines’ Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills 2016 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special
Wine Advocate 96 points “This is the first non-vineyard designate made by Jim Maresh. Pale to medium ruby in color, the 2016 Pinot Noir Old Vines has a lovely pure nose of pink peppercorn, dried black tea leaves, red and black licorice and violets with dried cranberries, red cherries and layers and layers of spice. Medium to full-bodied, it has amazing concentration of flavor in the mouth, blossoming out to pure red fruits and spicy layers, with cinnamon and autumn leaves accents, very fine-grained tannins and juicy acidity, finishing very, very long with tons of earth-laced fruit. Wow! 1,040 cases produced.”

Toasty, rich and a fantastic value.
Arlaux Grande Cuvee Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Case-6 Arlaux Grande Cuvee Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($239.95) $189 special (that’s only $31.50/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 92 points
“The nose of this wine seduces you straight away with a great balance of autolytic and fruit aromas: toasted hazelnuts, warm apple tart and kaya (coconut and egg) jam. The palate is equally well balanced providing plenty of evolved fruit and toasty / yeasty flavors. Small, fine bubbles, seamless use of dosage and a long nutty finish. This fine if relatively unknown Brut NV takes first place in the derby – a shocker even for me!”
Importer notes: “Arlaux is a small family-run champagne house producing only 5,000 cases a year located in a small village on the Petit Montagne de Reims called Vrigny.  Arlaux has been producing champagne since 1826 but the Arlaux-Marchal family have lived in Vrigny since the 13th century. Exclusively 1er Cru Champagne with a minimum of 4 years aging. They only use their own grapes from 20 to 100 year old vines which are hand-picked in order to select only the very best. All Arlaux cuvées are 100% Premier Cru and 100% Tête de Cuvée (meaning that they only use the juice of the 1st press).”

“it has to be one of the best wines in Rioja in 2013”
Bodegas Muga Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2013 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Case-12 Bodegas Muga Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2013 750ML ($299.95) $219 special (that’s only $18.25/bottle!)
James Suckling 92 points
“This is an excellent 2013 with such purity and finesse. Cherry, stone and light cedar aromas follow through to a full body, very fine tannins and a fresh and clean finish. Hints of cedar. It shows a focused energy. Drink now.”
Wine Advocate 90 points “Jorge Muga told me he’s very proud of their 2013 Reserva, which he considers the most challenging vintage he’s seen: cold, rain, botrytis, vigor, mud … horrible! They only produced this Reserva, there’s no Selección Especial Torre Muga or Prado Enea, and they even produced less than the average volume of this bottling. This is the year they introduced optical sorting for the grapes, and they reckon that really helped to achieve the quality of this wine. In this price range and volume, it has to be one of the best wines in Rioja in 2013. It has the classical Muga character, polished and drinkable.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $27


Three French Classics

Just Added to the September Sale

As fall kicks into gear, we’re adding three perfect wines for the season to our September Clearance Sale.  The first is Perrot-Minot’s impressive 2010 Beaux Monts—a top Vosne 1er from a great vintage.  The next two are rosé from the famed producer Chateau Simone.  These are some ageworthy, complex rosé wines that are suitable for drinking all through the year.

A wow wine from a tip top vintage.
Domaine Perrot-Minot Les Beaux Monts Vieilles Vignes, Vosne-Romanee Premier Cru 2010 750ML ($199.95) Was $179, Now $159 Clearance Price
Antonio Galloni 91-93 points “The 2010 Vosne-Romanée Les Beaux Monts is deep, dark and sensual. It currently comes across as young, but there is gorgeous fleshiness and mid-palate pliancy that makes the Beaux Monts totally irresistible.”

The “second” rosé from Simone—a wonderful 
Chateau Simone Les Grands Carmes de Simone Rose, IGP Bouches-du-Rhone 2014 750ML ($39.95) Was $33, Now $26 Clearance Price
Importer note “We are pleased to be able to access a larger quantity of the “Grandes Carmes de Simone” Rosé this year, which is classified as a Vin de Pays des Bouches du Rhone. From a small north-facing site just around the hill from the Chateau itself, the wine is 45% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, 20% Merlot and 5% Cinsault. It receives the same special care as the flagship Palette, with manual harvests and extended elevage in small foudre.”

A rosé in a class and style by itself.
Chateau Simone Palette Rose, Provence 2016 750ML ($64.95) Was $51.90, Now $41.90 Clearance Price
Chateau Simone Palette Rose, Provence 2016 1.5L ($139.95) Was $119, Now $99 Clearance Price
Neal Rosenthal “The Château Simone Rosé is a wine that belies the notion that rosés are simple wines to be drunk up young. We have indulged ourselves with 10-year old Château Simone Rosé and have marveled at the tenacity, vibrancy and complexity of this very serious wine. The blend is identical to the rouge: 45% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 5% Cinsault, 20% Syrah, Castet, Manosquin, Carignan, Muscat Noir & Blanc. Aged in barrel, it is powerful and age-worthy with a steely character and a grey-tinted aura to the faded rose-petal robe.”

Want to see all of the wines in the September Clearance Sale? Keep reading until the end of the newsletter for the full list!


Warm and Sunny Days

Call for Rosé

Warm sunny days keep on going, which means we’re still drinking lots of bright, fresh rosé outside! (Admittedly, we’ll keep drinking rosé as the weather cools, but it’ll change in form and function.) Here are a few of our favorites for right now:

The best Sancerre rosé? We don’t know any better.
Lucien Crochet Sancerre Pinot Rose, Loire 2017 750ML ($34.95) $29 special
Lucien Crochet Sancerre Pinot Rose, Loire 2017 1.5L ($79.95) $61.90 special
Importer note “Always among our most coveted rosés (and for very good reason), Gilles Crochet’s 2017 Sancerre Rosé (100% direct-press Pinot Noir) is wonderfully classic in character, with tangy strawberries and punchy chalk on the nose, and a soft, mellow, pale pink color in the glass. The fruit is very cool and pure this vintage, with great drive and persistence on the acid-driven yet scrumptious palate. While Sancerre overall experienced around 15% losses due to frost in 2017, Crochet was thankfully spared completely.”

A fantastic deal, even better by the case.
Chateau de Manissy ‘La Belle Etoile’ Rose, Rhone 2017 750ML ($14.95) $11.90 special
Case-12 Chateau de Manissy ‘La Belle Etoile’ Rose, Rhone 2017 750ML ($159.95) $119 special (that’s only $9.92/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 90 points
” The 2017 Vin de France Rose La Belle Etoile—a blend of 50% Cinsault, 25% Grenache and 25% Syrah—is a screaming bargain. With its scents of crushed stone, pressed flowers and white cherries, its quality belies its modest price. Medium-bodied, with a silky mouthfeel and a long finish, it’s a no-brainer purchase for summertime drinking.”
Importer Note “50% Cinsault, 25% Syrah, %25 Grenache. Covering an area of 1.5ha, this site is bathed by the sun and swept by the mistral on a flat plain that rich in limestone with a clay subsoil. Entirely hand-harvested organic grapes that have a cold maceration before being pressed. Low temperature fermentation with indigenous yeasts, which allow the yeast to develop its fruit flavors. Aged in stainless steel tank. Given the name “beautiful star” by the Manissy Brotherhood’s missionary preist, the grapes originate from organically certified vineyards owned by wine-maker Florian André’s mother.”

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

Allocated and delicious, less than three cases left.
Bernard Baudry Chinon Rose, Loire 2017 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 90 points “Very pale orange-pink. Mineral-tinged red berry and floral scents, along with an herbal flourish that emerges with aeration. Dry and sharply focused on the palate, offering juicy strawberry, rose pastille and orange zest flavors that deepen and become spicier on the back half. Finishes on a repeating mineral note, with displaying very good clarity and floral-driven persistence.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Chinon rosé is a great combination of fruit and savoriness.
Plouzeau Chinon Rive Gauche Rose, Loire 2017 750ML ($17.95) $14 special
Case-12 Plouzeau Chinon Rive Gauche Rose, Loire 2017 750ML ($189.95) $149 special (that’s only $12.42/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds 90 points
“Light, bright orange. Vibrant, mineral-accented aromas of fresh red berries, orange pith and rose oil on the tightly focused nose. Dry and nervy in the mouth, offering lively strawberry, cherry and citrus zest flavors that show very good clarity and minerally cut. Closes brisk and long, with resonating floral and red fruit notes and a hint of succulent herbs.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
The average price nationally is $16
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

The best bang-for-your-buck Bandol rose.
Domaine de la Bastide Blanche Bandol Rose, Provence 2017 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 92 points “Light, brilliant orange-pink. Fresh and incisive on the nose, displaying intense raspberry, blood orange and nectarine scents and a hint of pungent flowers. Taut and focused on entry and then fleshier in the middle, offering juicy, nicely concentrated red berry and pit fruit flavors and a spicy jolt of white pepper. Shows excellent clarity and mineral cut on the finish, which lingers with strong, floral-driven persistence.”

Quintessential Provencal rosé.
Chateau de Calavon Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Rose, Provence 2017 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Case-12 Chateau de Calavon Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Rose, Provence 2017 750ML ($249.95) $179 special (that’s only $14.92/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 90 points
“Light bright orange. Mineral-tinged red fruit and peach aromas show very good clarity and pick up a subtle floral nuance with air. Juicy and light on its feet, offering zesty strawberry and orange pith flavors that slowly deepen as the wine stretches out. Lingers with strong persistence on the incisive finish, leaving an appealingly sweet strawberry note behind.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

From a favorite Chateauneuf producer, this is fantastic.
Domaine Charvin Cotes du Rhone Rose, Rhone 2017 750ML ($21.95) $16.60 special
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 90 points “Light lurid orange. Mineral-accented red berry and floral aromas are complemented by a subtle mineral element that gains power as the wine opens up. Juicy and expansive in the mouth, showing appealingly sweet raspberry, tangerine and lavender flavors and seamless texture. Concentrated yet lively in style, finishing with strong mineral thrust and a suave floral echo.”
Resonance Subscriber Special

Extra Savings on a Willamette Favorite

Until Thursday at Midnight

We’re offering a Subscriber Special on the 2016 Resonance Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. Valid until Midnight on Thursday, when the price turns back into a pumpkin.  This is the entry level wine from Louis Jadot’s acclaimed Oregon project—a wine which constantly delivers rich and delicious Pinot Noir.  2016 looks like another great vintage across the valley and this wine looks like a rousing success.

Arriving Friday, September 7th:

Resonance Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2016 ($39.95) Was $33, Now $28 pre-arrival Subscriber Special—save $5 per bottle!
Wine Spectator 93 points
“Precise and impressively structured, with refined raspberry, crushed rock and savory tea accents that take on richness and depth toward polished tannins. Drink now through 2024. 4,000 cases made.”

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Subscriber Special ends Thursday, September 6th at 11:59PM PT


A Bundle of French Treasures

Arriving Friday

A fantastic Burgundy vintage and an excellent Beaune producer.
Domaine du Chateau de Chorey Les Vignes Franches Vieilles Vignes, Beaune Premier Cru 2005 750ML ($79.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Burghound 92 points “Outstanding. Notably ripe and very pretty aromas of violets and spiced plum, where the latter can also be found on the lacy and pure flavors that offer outstanding detail and really lovely persistence. A velvety wine of style and grace that is built to reward extended cellaring.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $74.40
This is very good, very under the radar Morgon.
Chateau de Pizay Morgon, Beaujolais 2016 750ML ($17.95) $14 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Chateau de Pizay Morgon, Beaujolais 2016 750ML ($219.95) $149 pre-arrival special (that’s only $12.42/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 90 points
“Vivid ruby. Lively cherry and raspberry aromas are energized by a bracing suggestion of peppery spices. Silky and precise on the palate, offering bitter cherry and red berry flavors that turn sweeter and rounder with air. Silky tannins lend shape to a lively finish that leaves a hint of bitter cherry pit behind.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Piron consistently makes some of the best value serious Beaujolais.
Dominique Piron Morgon Cote du Py, Beaujolais 2015 750ML ($29.95) $19 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 91 points “Glazed raspberry and red licorice notes are front and center in this plump, medium-bodied red, with integrated, tangy acidity highlighting the floral, ground spice and strawberry elements midpalate. Hints of marjoram mark the chewy finish. Drink now through 2022. 3,000 cases made.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
This is big and seductive, a mark of producer and vintage.
Chateau de Poncie Fleurie ‘Le Pre Roi’, Beaujolais 2015 750ML ($29.95) $24 pre-arrival special
Burghound 92 points “A notably ripe but still attractively fresh nose features notes of black raspberry liqueur, pepper, spice and plenty of earth. There is fine concentration to the relatively refined medium weight flavors that possess really lovely vibrancy, all wrapped in a delicious, intense and beautifully long and complex finale. While this could be enjoyed young it should amply reward mid-term cellaring as well. Recommended.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 91 points “Limpid violet. Highly perfumed aromas of ripe red berries, incense and candied flowers pick up a subtle mineral nuance in the glass. Seamless in texture and appealingly sweet, offering juicy raspberry and spicecake flavors that deepen on the back half. Smoothly blends richness and vivacity and finishes sweet, focused and long, with gentle tannins coming in late.”

2004 produced Sauternes in a fresher, brighter style.  Delish.
Chateau Coutet, Barsac 2004 750ML ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “A fresh, delicious wine, the natural richness of the botrytis balanced beautifully with acidity. It is ripe but delicate, a style that floats over the sweet fruit.”


New Mosel Fine Wine Scores

For Thanisch’s Excellent 2017’s

It can be easy to forget why the vineyards around the town of Bernkastel are so famous—there are very few producers today whose wines are “relevant” that make wines from Doctor or Lay.  Historically, though, the Bernkasteler Doctor is one of the two or three most important vineyards in the Mosel, named for its supposed life-giving properties to a 13th century Archbishop.  The vineyard is only 8.1 acres (a little less than 1/10th the size of Beaux Freres, to put that into local perspective). The wines from these vines are exceptionally prized in Germany, so it’s always tough for us to acquire any.

The challenge is worth it, though, as the best wines from the Doctor, including these from Thanisch, are spectacular indeed.  Every year we fight and scrap to secure as much as we can from Thanisch, who’s turned into a cult classic producer.  They make bottlings from two vineyards. One is from the Doctor and the other from the Badstube, which incorporates a few different vineyards in and around Bernkastel.  These wines are the essence of thrilling Mosel wines, with a richness and stature that only the Doctor can bring.   We have an assortment of 2016’s in stock now and the highly anticipated 2017’s, which were just reviewed, are arriving in November.

Arriving ETA November:

Dr. H. Thanisch Bernkasteler Doctor Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Mosel Fine Wines 93 points “The 2017er Berncasteler Doctor Kabinett offers a wonderfully complex and refined nose of white flowers, spices, whipped cream, minty herbs, earl grey and vanilla. The wine is ethereally light and refined on the palate, where it delivers some Kabinett precision and finesse with great multilayered complexity. The finish is all about finesse, delicacy and refinement. This is a great Kabinett in the making. 2027-2042.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Dr. H. Thanisch Bernkasteler Doctor Riesling Spatlese, Mosel 2017 750ML ($54.95) $46 pre-arrival special
Mosel Fine Wines 93 points “The 2017er Berncasteler Doctor Spätlese offers a ripe nose of yellow peach, orange blossom, apricot, coconut cream, pear and smoke, all wrapped into some toffee. The wine is compact and still on the sweet side and intense on the palate. Riper fruits including apricot, mango and melon kick in and make for a delicately creamy and still rather sweet feel in the finish. This big backward offer will need more than a decade to absorb its sweetness and develop the inherent finesse of Doctor wines. 2032-2057.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Dr. H. Thanisch Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Spatlese, Mosel 2017 750ML ($34.95) $29 pre-arrival special
Mosel Fine Wines 91 points “The 2017er Bernkasteler Badstube Spätlese offers a gorgeously ripe and fruity nose of pineapple, candied grapefruit, melon and pear, all wrapped into a touch of aniseed herbs. It displays quite some ripe yellow fruits on the structured and quite intense palate often found in Auslese rather than Spätlese. The finish is driven by zesty acidity and spices, so that the feeling of sweetness is well packed into a racy structure. 2025-2037.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Dr. H. Thanisch Bernkasteler Badstube Kabinett Feinherb 2017 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Mosel Fine Wines 90 points “The 2017er Bernkasteler Badstube Kabinett Feinherb was fermented down to fully off-dry levels at 26 g/l of residual sugar. It delivers an animating nose made of citrusy fruits including lime, tangerine, Limoncello and grapefruit as well as anise, earthy spices, smoke and pear. The wine is beautifully focused on the palate where some nicely juicy fruits are wrapped into racy yet ripe acidity. Yellow fruits join the party in the long and energetic finish, giving the wine more than a hint of Spätlese structure. 2020-2032.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Dr. H. Thanisch Bernkasteler Badstube Kabinett 2017 750ML ($29.95) $24 pre-arrival special
Mosel Fine Wines 90 points “The 2017er Bernkasteler Badstube Kabinett displays a subtly fruity and floral aromatic profile with great complexity and finesse on the nose. Notes of whipped cream, candied grapefruit, yellow peach, pear and herbs are wrapped into delicately cream and light sweetness on the palate. The finish is light-weighted and delicately creamy. 2025-2037.”
Clos Apalta

Chilean Perfection

Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle and her husband Cyril de Bournet founded Lapostolle in 1994. The Marnier Lapostolle family, known for founding Grand Marnier liqueur, drew on long long roots in wine and spirits within France. Their project in Chile, under the name Lapostolle, delivers world-class wines across every tier.  Their flagship wine, the Clos Apalta, is a wine spared no expense (as you’d expect given the names involved.  It’s regularly considered one of the top two wines in Chile, a Bordeaux styled blend that combines rich, opulent fruit and the structure to age for a long time.

We’re pleased to offer the 2015, a wine that received a perfect score from James Suckling as well as its sibling—the 2015 “Petit Clos”.  Both of these arrive in March and are going to be absolute must buys for lovers of Napa Cabernet or Modernist Bordeaux.

Arriving ETA March 2019:

Casa Lapostolle Clos Apalta, Apalta 2015 750ML ($149.95) $128 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 100 points “There is a subtle complexity on the nose with currant, berry, fresh herb and wet earth aromas. Cut fresh flowers, too. Full body, dense and powerful. Incredible character here with such purity and polish. It goes on for minutes. Formed, sculptured yet soulful. A monumental wine for Chile. Unbelievable. More powerful than the 2014 which was 100 points. A blend of 46% carmenere, 30% cabernet sauvignon, 19% merlot and 5% cabernet franc. Made from biodynamically grown grapes. Better in 2022”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Casa Lapostolle ‘Le Petit Clos Apalta’, Apalta Valley 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Casa Lapostolle ‘Le Petit Clos Apalta’, Apalta Valley 2015 750ML ($299.95) $219 pre-arrival special (that’s only $36.50/bottle!)
James Suckling 95 points
“Blackberry, fresh herb, wet earth and tar aromas follow through to a full body, with powerful tannins and density yet an agile and polished, textured finish. Much better than 2014. The second wine of Clos Apalta. Try it in 2021”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Can’t wait?  Check out the 2014, in stock right now!

Casa Lapostolle Clos Apalta, Apalta 2014 750ML ($159.95) $119 special
James Suckling 100 points “An extremely aromatic and focused Clos Apalta with blackberry, blueberry, floral and hot stone character. Full body, very linear and ultra-fine tannins. Focused and tight. Precise and long. This is the most polished and beautiful definition of this wine ever. You want to drink it now but better in 2020. A blend of carmenere, cabernet sauvignon and merlot.”


September Clearance Sale Recap

Want to see all the fantastic wines on the September Sale? Just click here to head to our website or view the entire list below:

Thanks for reading!