Muga Rosado Stands Out Among the Crowd
Staff Pick: Larkmead Cellars
Produttori 2008 – Back on the Shelf
First Offer! The first 2017 Keller Wines
Casanova di Neri Cerretalto – The Flagship
Burgundy’s All-Star Alternates
Opus 2015 Pre-Arrival Continues
August Sale: The Savings Continue
Bodegas Muga Rosado, Rioja DOCa 2017 750ML ($17.95) $14 pre-arrival special
Josh Raynolds 92 points “Pale orange. A highly aromatic bouquet displays fresh red berry and citrus zest scents, along with suave mineral and floral flourishes. Dry and focused on the palate, offering bitter pomegranate, redcurrant and blood orange flavors that take a deeper and sweeter turn with air. Finishes with intense mineral cut and excellent clarity, leaving persistent red berry and floral notes behind.”
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.”
The average price nationally is $17
Case-12 Domaine de la Bastide Blanche Bandol Rose, Provence 2017 750ML ($299.95) $238 special (that’s only $19.83/bottle!)
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.”
Pascal et Nicolas Reverdy Sancerre Terre de Maimbray Rose, Loire 2017 750ML ($27.95) $24 special
Case-12 Pascal et Nicolas Reverdy Sancerre Terre de Maimbray Rose, Loire 2017 750ML ($299.95) $249 special (that’s only $20.75/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 91 points “Brilliant orange-pink. Displays mineral-tinged raspberry and tangerine aromas, with hints of candied flowers and anise in the background. Seamless and dry on the palate, offering lively redcurrant, orange zest and candied rose flavors that deepen as the wine opens up. Smoothly blends power and finesse and finishes with strong, floral-driven persistence and a jolt of chalky minerality.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2010 Barolo Bussia is a gorgeous expression that hits all the high notes, both in terms of bouquet and mouthfeel. The nose is redolent of pressed cherries, tar, licorice, crushed granite and chopped mint. It offers the special characteristics that are so forth coming with the Nebbiolo grape. The wine caresses the palate with a fine and enduring sense of freshness and structure. The 2010 vintage is a stunner. Drink: 2016-2028.”
Antonio Galloni 93+ points “The 2010 Barolo Bussia is gorgeous and super-classic in every way. Dark red cherry, plum, spice, new leather and tobacco are some of the many notes that take shape in the glass. The 2010 is a beautiful version of the Bussia, with less of the approachability of some previous vintages, but tons of potential for the future. There is a lot to look forward to here. This is one of the best versions of the Bussia I can remember tasting. The 2010 stands out for its precision and crystalline purity. Readers looking for a great 2010 Barolo that won’t kill the budget should check out the 2010 Bussia.’
The next best price is $86.80
The average price is $90
Christophe Mignon Brut Nature Pur Meunier, Champagne NV 750ML ($59.95) Was $49, Now $39 Clearance Price
Grapelive 94 points “Of Champagne’s new generation of natural/biodynamic winegrowers, Christophe Mignon is one of my favorite grower producers. His latest Brut Nature is a gorgeous sparkler. It comes from a blend of 2013 and 2014 vintages with no dosage. Christophe Mignon is an absolute Pinot Meunier specialist. He comes from a long line of family farmers in the Le-Mesnil-le-Huttier area….[This] terroir suits the Meunier and allows for complex ripe flavors, which makes it easier for him to use almost non dosage on all of his dry offerings. These are beautiful and detailed Champagnes with finesse, elegance and yeasty brioche notes that are not severe in style. They are wonderfully pleasing examples and show Pinot Meunier at its finest. Mignon is guided by holistic farming and follows the lunar cycle in working the vines and in the cellar, [and] he ferments in temperature controlled epoxy lined vats. Each terroir parcel is vinified separately at each sites’ perfect ripeness in a fermentation that lasts up to 30 days. This Brut Nature [was] aged 24 months in bottle, raised with lees, and as mentioned with no dosage. This… 100% Pinot Meunier and is drinking great right now with lovely white flowers, subtle red berry aromas and toasty notes along with layers of lemon, golden figs, hazelnut and white cherry elements all lifted by vital acidity and a luxurious, but vigorous mousse that delivers a divine textural or vinous mouth feel and lingering finish. This is brilliant grower fizz [has] a perfectly balanced sense of density/body and vibrancy. It finishes with a grip of dry extract making this an enthusiast all Meunier bubbly that is sublime with cuisine, but also opulent and easy to love on its own. Very impressive again from Christophe Mignon.”
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The NV Brut Nature Blanc de Noirs Pur Meunier is a fabulous wine that captures the essence of Christophe Mignon’s style. Rich and resonant on the palate, the Pur Meunier exudes creaminess. This is an especially weighty expression of Meunier, and yet all the elements are very nicely balanced. Red fruit, dried pear, smoke, menthol and hazelnut notes slowly open up in the glass adding further shades of nuance. Expressive mineral notes extend the finish while providing an attractive counterpoint to the dense, pliant fruit. The current release is a blend of equal parts 2014 and 2013. Mignon’s Pur Meunier is one of the most distinctive wines being made in Champagne today. Don’t miss it. Disgorged: March 2017 and bottled with no dosage.”
The average price is $52
Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas, Rhone 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Case-6 Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas, Rhone 2016 750ML ($519.95) $219 special (that’s only $36.50/bottle!)
Case-12 Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas, Rhone 2016 750ML ($519.95) $419 special (that’s only $34.92/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92-93 points “Vivid ruby. Highly perfumed aromas of candied red and blue fruits, incense and peppery spices pick up a hint of potpourri as the wine opens up. Appealingly sweet and seamless on the palate, offering juicy raspberry, boysenberry and lavender pastille flavors and a spicy jolt of white pepper. Shows excellent clarity and mineral lift on the long, smooth finish, which is framed by slow-building tannins.”
And the case deals are even lower!
The average price is $53
Casa Lapostolle Clos Apalta, Colchagua Valley 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.”
When the Larkmead wines arrived a week ago, I imagined that the wines would be lost in the shuffle of highly rated California reds on the shelf. Tasting through the line-up, I found that these wines stand out from the crowd for their ageability and deep aromatics and flavors. This is a throwback to Napa as it should be.
We started with the Firebelle, the right-bank tribute wine, Merlot, Cab, and Petit Verdot making up the blend. This is one of the most structured California Merlot that I have tasted in recent memory. Aside from coffee and spicy notes there is dark chocolate, mint and cherry. The finish is substantial, too, with hints of something more savory than I had tasted at first; I’d love to revisit this in a couple of years. It is a lot more wine than I had anticipated – perhaps the big tannins were the only drawback. It will drink well for a long time to come, and better in 2 to 5 years.
The Dr. Olmo, at 100 percent Cabernet, was the toughest to read immediately, but showed excellent long term potential. The dense graphite and baked blackberry fruit was accentuated by anise, cassis, and plenty of tannins. It reminds me of the 04 Bordeaux vintage with the combination of immediate flavor, freshness, and aging potential.
My favorite of the lineup was the classic Larkmead Cabernet Sauvignon. After coming off of the Dr. Olmo, I found the pretty floral aromatic note to be quite lifting and bright. The wine was still fairly wound up, but was showing violets, red fruit, tobacco shop, and pretty cedar. Also surprising was how well the wine felt – balanced and medium bodied with a finish that was lengthy but not overwhelming. This is one that, with air, will drink very well now but should age like a superstar.
The Larkmead wines are indeed the real deal. Hold all of these in your cellar for the most pleasure down the line, but don’t be afraid to take the sneak peek.
In Stock Now:
Larkmead Vineyards Firebelle Red, Napa Valley 2014 750ML ($179.95) $149 special
Robert Parker 94 points “A blend of 72% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Petit Verdot, the 2014 Firebelle finished at 14.9% alcohol. It is a beautifully rich, chocolaty wine with notes of savory spices, black cherries and mulberries, some fudge and coffee bean. It has medium to full body, outstanding purity, concentration and length. It was aged in 66% new French oak for 19 months prior to bottling. Drink it over the next 15-20 years.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2014 Firebelle, Larkmead’s Merlot-based wine, is terrific. Succulent black cherry, lavender, mint and dark spices infuse this pliant, creamy wine. Expressive savory and mineral-infused notes punctuate the finish. The tannins need time to soften, but there is plenty to like and look forward to.”
Larkmead Vineyards Dr. Olmo, Napa Valley 2014 750ML ($199.95) $169 special
Wine Advocate 95+ points “The “Black Label” wines include the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Dr. Olmo, which is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the clone of Cabernet that is also called Eisele. This wine spent 20 months in 62% new French oak. A magnificent wine by any standard of measurement, with notes of scorched earth, lead pencil shavings, charcoal embers, and blackberry and cassis fruit, this dense purple wine has undeniable minerality, a beautiful, full-bodied texture and a voluptuous finish. Drink it over the next 25 years.”
Antonio Galloni 92-95 points “The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Dr. Olmo is holding back quite a bit of its potential. Dark cherry, smoke, licorice, tar and menthol give the Dr. Olmo much of its brooding personality. The tannins are quite firm, but that should be less of an issue as the wine won’t be released for about a year.”
Larkmead Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2014 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Robert Parker 93 points “The 2014 “White Label” red wines include the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa, which is a beauty. An elegant, Pauillac-style wine with notes of chocolate, cedar wood, fruitcake, unsmoked cigar tobacco and underbrush, it is dense, full-bodied and rich. It is a blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Petit Verdot aged 19 months in 75% new French oak. There are 2,705 cases of this wine, which finished at 14.7% natural alcohol. It should drink well for 20-25 years, but there’s no reason to defer your gratification.”
Antonio Galloni 92 points “Larkmead’s 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is a very pretty, understated wine. Bright red stone fruit, floral notes and spice give the 2014 its refreshing, vibrant personality. The fruit is nicely pushed forward, but the 2014 is light on its feet and gracious, especially for a Calistoga Cabernet. Even so, this is a relatively laid-back style built on finesse more than power.”
The Top Crus
Asili and Rabaja are considered to be the best two vineyards in the Produttori and those Riservas are always the most complex, interesting wines of the lineup. Now, coming up on ten years since harvest they’ve started to come out of their shells a little bit, but realistically you should be buying these for another 5-25 years from now. Stock is limited, so if you’re looking for quantity, act quickly.
Produttori del Barbaresco Asili, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2008 750ML ($89.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 96 points “One of the absolute highlights in this portfolio of utterly amazing wines, the 2008 Barbaresco Riserva Asili possesses marvelous depth and richness, but also little of the early approachability and sexiness of Asili. With time in the glass, the wine’s inner perfume gradually emerges, but ultimately this is a Barbaresco to bury in the deepest corner of the cellar. Once again, the Produttori have done a fabulous job with the Asili. The 2008 has nerves of steel and a huge, never-ending finish. It is by far the most imposing and structured Asili I have ever tasted from the Produttori. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2048.” AG
Produttori del Barbaresco Rabaja, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2008 750ML ($99.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Produttori del Barbaresco Rabaja, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2008 1.5L ($219.95) $199 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 96+ points “The 2008 Barbaresco Riserva Rabaja is utterly magnificent in this vintage. Usually a powerhouse, the 2008 is incredibly refined to the point it seems to literally hover on the palate. It is a wine of exquisite grace and beauty. All the elements are in place. I could describe the aromas and flavors, but that would be doing this majestic Barbaresco a huge disservice. Ultimately, the 2008 Rabaja, is all about textural finesse and pure elegance. This is another breathtaking wine from the Produttori. A king among kings. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2048”
Klaus Peter Keller is a dynamo—a kinetic burst of ideas and will that has propelled him over the span of a decade and a half into the position of being the most sought after producer of Riesling in Germany. That he should do this from the Rheinhessen (not exactly the most famous region in Germany) should tell you how brilliant these wines are.
While Keller is best known for his magnificent GG wines, the first release for a vintage is always the more sanely priced bottlings. In this case that means the Silvaner, Scheurebe, and the RR and Von der Fels Rieslings. These massively over deliver and when you drink them, it’s impossible not to recognize them as Keller wines. If you’re new to the estate, this is a perfect chance to try them, and if you’re familiar, stock up—quantities grow more limited by the year.
Only 12 bottles available
Weingut Keller Gruner Silvaner Trocken, Rheinhessen 2017 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Weingut Keller Scheurebe Kabinett, Rheinhessen 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Weingut Keller ‘Von der Fels Riesling’ Trocken, Rheinhessen 2017 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Weingut Keller Westhofener Kirchspiel RR Riesling, Rheinhessen 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
The Final Six Bottles Arrive Tomorrow
Casanova di Neri Cerretalto, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2012 750ML ($399.95) $319 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 98 points “Flavors of medicinal herbs, juniper, macerated cherry, plum, tobacco and spice are the hallmarks of this intense red, which is ripe and concentrated, yet sleek and focused. Spice notes chime in on the long, minerally and firmly tannic finish. Best from 2023 through 2040”
Wine Advocate 98 points ” The 2012 Brunello di Montalcino Cerretalto offers a prolonged, flowing and carefully massaged drinking experience that drapes over the senses with some studied intensity and lots of intriguing complexity. This wine nails that perfect balance between power and elegance (that elusive exchange that so many winemakers hope to achieve) with effortless precision. Bold cherry fruit and spice are tightly woven together. In the mouth, the wine shows texture, depth and succulence. Generally speaking, this is not my favorite vintage in Montalcino, but this wine suddenly made me forget that thought. (ML)
A Pair of 2014 Burgundy Trophies
The first wine comes from the legendary Clos St. Jacques in Gevrey-Chambertin. This is a prestigious vineyard with only five owners, all excellent. Wines from the Clos regularly outperform the Grand Cru vineyards in the village but somehow prices for the wines are much, much less expensive than the Chambertin satellites. That makes them great deals, especially from a producer like Sylvie Esmonin, whose wines remain chronically undervalued by the marketplace. Compare this to wines that cost $300+ dollars—with a few decades of age this will be an absolute show stopper.
Arriving ETA Late August:
Only 6 bottles available!
Domaine Sylvie Esmonin Clos Saint-Jacques, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($179.95) $149 pre-arrival special
Neal Martin-Wine Advocate 92 points “Tasted blind at the Burgfest 2014 tasting, Esmonin’s 2014 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos Saint-Jacques feels a little jammy on the nose by comparison to Rousseau and Jean-Marie Fourrier’s 2014s: succulent ripe dark cherry and blackcurrant fruit, bold ‘n’ brassy yet with admirable purity. The palate is medium-bodied with chewy tannin, the oak still present and a guiding hand at the moment, though there is plenty of brooding dark fruit beneath it. It will need several years in the cellar before the rough edges are abraded by time and the terroir begins to show through. Tasted September 2017.”
Burghound 92 points “Outstanding! This is also markedly floral with more elegant aromas of spice, plum liqueur, mocha, earth and a hint of sandalwood. There is outstanding richness to the wonderfully vibrant and intense flavors where the underlying minerality is even more prominent while delivering simply terrific depth and length on the ever-so-slightly warm finale. This is also constructed to age but should be approachable young if desired as the supporting tannins are dense but much finer than those of the old vines cuvée.”
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 91+ points “Bright medium red. Wild scents of black raspberry, minerals and musky game. Juicy and penetrating; began quite linear, with modest flesh, but aeration brought an expanding creaminess to its black fruit flavors. Finishes with ripe, building tannins. The deepest of these 2014s–no surprise!–but in need of cellaring. This wine may ultimately merit a higher score.”
For our second wine, think of everything we said above, but more so. Dujac is a tip-top producer in Burgundy and their Beaux Monts, from Vosne, is superior to many a Grand Cru wine from even talented producers. Vosne is considered to be the “Pearl of the Cote” in Burgundy—the crown jewel of all the villages. Beaux Monts might be its most undervalued vineyard, then, less expensive than Malconsorts but over delivering year in and out. Quantities are smaller on the Dujac than on the Esmonin, so if you want it, act quickly.
Arriving ETA Late August:
Domaine Dujac Les Beaumonts, Vosne-Romanee Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($299.95) $249 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 92-94 points “The 2014 Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru les Beaux Monts has a very attractive bouquet, pure and sensual with black cherries, boysenberry and a touch of blueberry. Understated but quite compelling. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, silky in texture, beautifully balanced with very well judged acidity with a touch of salinity towards the finish. This is a very well crafted Beaumonts that deserves several years in bottle.”
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 91-94 points “Bright red-ruby. Very pure aromas of raspberry, red licorice and smoky minerals, plus a hint of animal fur. Plush, rich and fine-grained, offering a silky, spherical texture to its expressive flavors of raspberry, smoke, minerals, game and mocha. Finishes with broad, building tannins and terrific persistence.”
The average price is $272
We also have a few of Dujac’s stunning 2016’s arriving in September. Many wines have already sold out but the following are available:
Our Hottest California Wine
2015 Opus One
Opus One, Napa Valley 2015 750ML ($369.95) $333 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 98 points “Purity and brilliance on the nose with so much currant and flower character. Roses, currant bush and fresh leaves, too. Brightness is the word that comes to mind. Full-bodied and broad-shouldered. Juicy and so gorgeous now. Balance is so wonderful here. All about harmonious fruit and tannin balance. I like it slightly better than the excellent 2014. 81% cabernet sauvignon, 4% petit verdot, 7% cabernet franc, 6% merlot and 2% malbec. Drink or hold. (7/2018)”
Wine Advocate 96-98 points ” Blended of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 4% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 3% Malbec and displaying a medium to deep garnet-purple color, the Opus One 2015 Proprietary Red Wine is a sexy, beautiful spice-bomb, with tons of cinnamon stick, cloves, fenugreek and pepper notes springing forth over a core of mulberries, plum preserves, blackberry pie and fragrant earth plus a waft of lavender. The palate is big, voluptuous and totally decadent, with velvety tannins and just enough freshness framing the rich, spicy black fruits, finishing with a lovely perfumed lift. This wine was tasted as a tank sample, but it is due to be bottled soon. (LPB) (10/2017)”
Antonio Galloni 96 points “The 2015 Opus One is just as fabulous from bottle as it was from barrel. Dark, sumptuous and voluptuous in the glass, with no hard edges, the 2015 captures all the essence of the vintage while retaining a good bit of aromatic freshness. At this stage, the new oak is still a bit prominent, but that should not be an issue as the wine ages. There is more than enough depth for the 2015 to develop positively for 20-25 years, perhaps more. Just bottled a month prior to this tasting, the 2015 is naturally a bit more reticent than it has been in the past. Winemaker Michael Silacci add that the 2015 will, in his view, follow a similar trajectory to the 2008, which he later opened for the sake of comparison. In my view, the 2015 will always be more extroverted, although it does need time to be at its most expressive. The blend is 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 6% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec. 96+ (AG)”
Want to see all of the wines in our August Clearance Sale? Check out the full list below or visit our web store!
Thanks for reading!