Our Top Gift-Worthy Champagnes
2008 Cristal + Special Pricing on ’04 Krug
A Great Price on a Back Vintage of a Tuscan Classic
’12 Flaccianello Arrives Friday
Trending: Wine Gift Boxes
Burlotto and Rinaldi’s Delicious Piedmont Values
New Champagnes In Stock Now
A Case of Vinsanity: Six Packs, On Sale
Our Top Gift-Worthy Champagnes
2008 Cristal – A Legend in the Making
We’re offering a very special case-6 price on this because it’s a wine that any collector is going to want to stock up on. It’s incredibly vibrant and engaging now, but this is also clearly a wine that’s going to go the distance. Even if you’re only buying a single bottle for yourself or a present, this is a wine you’re going to want to try. The holidays are around the corner and we can think of no better treat for yourself or a loved one.
In Stock Now
“one of the most complete, most dazzling Champagnes I have ever tasted. A stunning wine from any and all perspectives, the 2008 simply has it all” – Antonio Galloni
Louis Roederer Cristal Brut Millesime, Champagne 2008 750ML ($339.95) $249 special
Case-6 Louis Roederer Cristal Brut Millesime, Champagne 2008 750ML (1999.95) $1,439 special (that’s only $239.83/bottle!)
Wine Enthusiast 100 points “Top Cellar Selection. This latest incarnation of the famous brand is a superb wine. It is on par with, maybe even better than, the already legendary 2002. Its balance is impeccable: Apple and citrus flavors working with the tight minerality to give a textured yet fruity wine. Produced from Roederer’s own vineyards which are mainly biodynamic, the wine has its own intense purity and crispness. It has amazing potential and is likely to age for many years. Drink from 2020.”
James Suckling 100 points “Disgorged October 2016 and will be the first Cristal to be released ten years from harvest when it is offered in 2018. 35 parcels used from a possible 45 in this vintage. The assemblage is 60% pinot noir and 40% chardonnay. This is so fresh and tense and mineral with extremely exuberant chardonnay notes on the nose of white peach, lemon and yellow grapefruit, and hints of almost brambly sous bois aromas. The yeast characters are also super fresh, and there are subtle woody notes, with a hint of vanilla bean and light spices. The palate is super long, and very pure, powerful and focused. It drives deep and taut. Pinot noir is a strong core and the chardonnay sits at the edge offering lemon and white nectarine sorbet flavors. Staggeringly concentrated, yet the balance makes it seem airy and light. Acidity is perfectly positioned, and the power is intense and long. This is an ultra precise Cristal, finishing with a mere suggestion of savoriness and warmth to come. Impressive on release, this will be at its best drinking from 2025.”
Jeb Dunnuck 100 points “The 2008 Cristal is a perfect wine, and Champagne simple does not get any better. This incredible wine offers a beautiful perfume of clean, crisp fruits, layers of complexity in its toasted spice and white flowers, and an utterly seamless, yet powerful style on the palate. This is a rich, decadent expression of Cristal yet it’s still crystalline and elegant, with no sensation of weight, and it just glides over the palate. Haut Couture at its finest and this majestic, profound, legendary Cristal can be drunk anytime over the coming 2-3 decades.”
Antonio Galloni 99 points “The 2008 Cristal is one of the most complete, most dazzling Champagnes I have ever tasted. A stunning wine from any and all perspectives, the 2008 simply has it all. Spherical in construction, with superb persistence. The 2008 takes hold of all the senses and never gives up. One of the many things that makes the 2008 special is a combination of ripe fruit and bright, piercing acidity. Marzipan, lemon confit, dried flowers and orchard fruit all build into the explosive, resonant finish. “We learned from the mistakes of 1996, when we picked more on acid than ripeness, as was the norm in Champagne back then” Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon told me recently. “In 1996, the best fruit turned out to be the last picks, where the fruit was physiologically ripe. Today, we aim to pick all our fruit with that criteria.””
Absolutely mesmerizing… the best Krug Vintage since 1996” – Antonio Galloni
“14 years old but still on the rise…” – Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate
“already a joy to drink…, though it will continue age gracefully for many, many decades to come” – John Gilman
Krug Brut, Champagne 2004 750ML ($299.95) Was $259, Now $233 special
Antonio Galloni 97+ points “Krug’s 2004 Vintage is absolutely mesmerizing. Layers of bright, chiseled fruit open up effortlessly as the wine fleshes out with time in the glass. Persistent and beautifully focused, with a translucent sense of energy, the 2004 captures all the best qualities of the year. Moreover, the 2004 is clearly superior to the consistently underwhelming 2002 and the best Krug Vintage since 1996. Readers who can find it should not hesitate, as it is a magical bottle.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 97 points “Combining subtleness with complexity, the coolish Krug 2004 Brut opens with a highly elegant, fascinatingly clear, bright and refreshing bouquet of ripe (apple) fruits. Dense and round, with a delicate mineral soul, the pure but perfectly balanced 2004 reveals great finesse and weightless elegance with a long and round finish. This is a gorgeous Krug vintage that is 14 years old but still on the rise. Tasted from ID 316034 in New York in November 2018.”-SR
Decanter 97 points “This is the current and latest vintage release from Krug, and is a fitting successor to 2002, though it’s very different in style – unusually, the blend contains more Chardonnay than Pinot Noir. Despite this, it is hallmark Krug with its oxidative profile. It has a luminous freshness and good density without heaviness. There’s a controlled power to this poised, vinous, linear 2004, displaying candied fruits, minerals, gingerbread, white chocolate, caramel and marzipan. This has a long, dry autolytic finish, great balance and lovely bead. Disgorged just after the next, and very different, vintage we tasted, the Krug 2003. Drinking Window 2017-2037.”
John Gilman 97 points “The new release of 2004 Krug is absolutely beautiful and is already quite elegant and open on both the nose and palate and is drinking with great finesse. I had expected this wine to be a bit more steely in structure out of the blocks, but the refinement of the blend this year has produced a wine that is already a joy to drink at age thirteen, though it will continue age gracefully for many, many decades to come. The cépages in 2004 is thirty-nine percent Chardonnay, thirty-seven percent Pinot Noir and twenty-four percent Pinot Meunier, with the wine having been disgorged in the winter of 2016. The bouquet jumps from the glass in a refined mix of apple, a touch of walnut, warm bread, lavender, a superb base of soil tones and a topnote of smokiness. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and utterly seamless, with vibrant acids, great focus and grip, a lovely core, refined mousse and a very long, complex, racy and energetic finish. There is marvelous precision here on both the nose and palate, not to mention a sense of harmony and grace that is fairly rare in the 2004 vintage. Chapeau! 2017-2060.”
James Suckling 97 points “This is an extremely fresh edition and remains in a restrained mode with an intense serve of Chardonnay’s lemon citrus dominating the nose alongside lime zest, bright florals, grassy elements, fresh dough, white stones and very subtle background spice. The palate has a svelte and elegant shape. Smoother than the 2002, it shares the same quality of precision but not the raging power of that vintage. The poise is unquestionable, the wine very reserved, with plenty of lemon-infused citrus flavors, hints of fresh cashew and a lot of potential. Acidity holds superbly, the dosage is exactly where it should be. This is a classic release. It’s all about Chardonnay. Best from 2022 and will mature gracefully in linear style in bottle for several decades.”
The average price nationally is $288
A Great Price on a Back Vintage of a Tuscan Classic
Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 97 points “Tasted next to the 2012 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo, the Flaccianello is richer, deeper and more flamboyant. Super-ripe red stone fruit, smoke, licorice and dark spices meld together in a deep, powerful wine. The 2012 is impressive, but personally I prefer the finesse and freshness of the Sorbo. The greater influence of new French oak is also felt in the wine’s texture. Still, that is splitting hairs, as the level here is high. Very high.”
If you’re unfamiliar with the estate, allow us a quick introduction: Mike Etzel (Beaux Freres) planted, farmed and vinified this site just up the hill from the Beaux Freres estate vineyard. Like the BF wines, it’s big and rich, with lots of Ribbon Ridge character. There are three different vintages in each box (15/16/17) and all are worth drinking, with their own personalities and stages of maturity. If it inspires you to put a few six packs of your favorites away? All the better.
In Stock Now:
Case-3 Sequitur Vertical Gift Pack (’15/’16/’17) 750ML ($299.95) $225 special
A Case of Three Bottles: One Bottle Each 2015, 2016, and 2017 Sequitur Pinot Noir
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 95 points “Deep brilliant red. A strikingly complex bouquet evokes ripe, mineral-accented red berries, cherry cola, vanilla, five-spice powder and sandalwood. Alluringly sweet, seamless and expansive on the palate, offering concentrated black raspberry, cherry liqueur, spicecake and lavender pastille flavors that are given spine and lift by a core of juicy acidity. Delivers a compelling blend of power and delicacy and finishes extremely long and smooth; rounded tannins frame the lingering red fruit preserve notes.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “Pale to medium ruby purple in color, the 2015 Sequitur Pinot Noir has a very provocative nose of Bing cherries and cranberries over a core of red roses, game, yeast extract and underbrush. Medium-bodied, with wonderful energy and freshness, it has a lively backbone and long finish paved with very fine, ripe tannins.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 96 points “Glimmering red. A hugely aromatic bouquet evokes fresh red fruits, Asian spices and potpourri, along with a bright mineral overtone and a touch of smokiness. Juicy, seamless and precise on the palate, offering potent, mineral-laced raspberry preserve, rose pastille and spicecake flavors that deepen and spread out steadily on the back half. Delivers a compelling blend of power and finesse and finishes with silky tannins, outstanding clarity and floral- and mineral-driven persistence.”
Wine Advocate 94+ points “Pale to medium ruby-purple in color, the 2016 Sequitur Pinot Noir has a lovely, open nose of black and red cherries and blackberries with notions of wood smoke, turned earth, autumn leaves, cardamom and potpourri. Medium-bodied, it floods the mouth with ripe black and red fruits with wonderful earthy/spicy accents, very fine, grainy tannins and mouthwatering acidity, finishing long with spice and floral layers. 480 cases produced.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 94-95 points “Lurid red. Spice-tinged blackberry and cherry aromas are complicated by suggestions of cola, incense and smoky minerals. Sweet and expansive on the palate, offering concentrated dark berry and spicecake flavors and suggestions of rose pastille and mocha that build with air. Concentrated but also vibrant and precise in style, delivering superb finishing cut, well-knit tannins and impressive, fruit-driven persistence. (30% new French oak).”
Nick Stock-jamessuckling .com 96 points “Beautifully deep, blueberries and plums on offer with notes of fresh violets and moist, fresh-tilled earth. This is full of life and very pure. The palate has focused and fresh tannins that sit in very vibrant style with a deep push of concentrated blue fruit, holding the finish in superb style. So fresh and long, this will age well. Drink across the next decade or more.”
The next best price is $250
As in past years, we’re offering a gift box with one bottle of each of six wines in the collection, each one distinctive and excellent. From the classic Cabernet made by Randy Dunn, to Phillipe Melka’s spin on the Columbia Valley to John Duvall’s brooding Syrah, these are all fantastic wines in an extremely attractive gift box. It’s in stock now, perfect for holiday gifting.
In Stock Now:
Case-6 Long Shadows Vintners Collection, Columbia Valley 2016 750ML ($449.95) $349 special
Contains one 750ML bottle each of Long Shadows’ six acclaimed red wines, packaged together in a beautifully etched wood box. (2016 Pirouette, 2016 Feather, 2016 Pedestal, 2016 Chester-Kidder, 2016 Sequel, 2016 Saggi)
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Merlot. Richly layered and complex, with a generous spectrum of aromas and flavors including black cherry, sweet spices and a hint of earth. The wine’s refined texture provides a seductive mouth feel and lengthy finish.
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points “The 2016 Pirouette is made by Philippe Melka and it’s a total blockbuster based on 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, and the palate Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec that was fermented in barrel and aged 22 months in 75% new oak. Crème de cassis, blackberries, toasted spices, cedar, and forest floor notes all emerge from this deep, rich, opulent red that has sweet tannins, a thrilling texture, no hard edges, and a monster finish. This is another best-to-date from this estate and it’s an awesome wine.”
Randy Dunn selects the Cabernet Sauvignon the Feather from a diversity of sites: the estate Benches Vineyards for dark fruit and earthiness, the Wahluke Slope for structure and ripe tannins, and two of Washington State’s oldest vineyards, Weinbau and Dionysus, for complexity. The wine is concentrated and beautifully balanced, offering an array of fresh berry aromas, complimented by spicy, dark cherry and dried current flavors that persist on the palate.
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “Made by California’s Randy Dunn, the 2016 Feather is, as always, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and spent 22 months in 90% new. It has a classic, firm, focused style in its crème de cassis, spicy oak, and graphite bouquet. This carries to a concentrated, powerful Cabernet that has beautiful mid-palate depth, ample tannins, but more than enough fruit. It will keep for 20 years or more.”
Michel Rolland selects the Merlot from the Conner Lee, Dionysus and Benches Vineyards to produce an unusually complex Merlot. Tapteil Vineyards Cabernet gives it its strength and extra richness. The wine shows intense, fruit-forward notes, bursting with fresh blueberries, ripe plum, cedar and spice. Good concentration in the wine adds to its pleasing mouth feel; balanced acidity enhances its appeal. Supple tannins are well-integrated on the entry, across the mid-palate and throughout a long, layered finish.
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “The 2016 Pedestal from Michel Rolland checks in as a blend of 75% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the rest Petit Verdot that spent 22 months in 85% new French oak. It has a rocking bouquet of smoked black fruits, espresso, chocolate, and tobacco that gives way to a full-bodied, plump, incredibly sexy red that does everything right. It’s one serious mouthful of Merlot and should keep for 10-12 years.”
John Duval, formerly of the iconic Penfolds Grange, uses grapes from the Benches Vineyard for its dark flavored fruit, the Red Mountain Vineyard adds structure, and Boushey Vineyards add elegance. A generous and concentrated wine of great character. Almond, dark chocolate and cherry notes fill the glass, complemented by hints of black licorice, blackberry, cocoa powder and a touch of smoke.
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points “A blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2016 Sequel is another ripe, sexy, yet pure and balanced vintage for this cuvée. Lovely blackberry, smoked earth, graphite, and ground pepper all flow to a medium to full-bodied, silky, elegant wine that packs less of a punch than normal, yet is balanced and layered, with a great finish. It will benefit from a year or two in bottle and keep for a decade.”
Saggi is a blend from father and son team Ambrogio and Giovanni Folonari of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese (from a 1993 planting) and Syrah. Dark cherry aromas and raspberry flavors combine with a hint of nutmeg and smoky earthiness. An elegant entry in the front of the mouth reveals refined tannins with focused concentration, enhanced by the wine’s rich and supple mouth feel.
Jeb Dunnuck 92 points “The 2016 Red Wine SAGGI is mostly Sangiovese but has 29% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Syrah. Medium ruby-colored, with notes of ripe cherries, spice box, and dried flowers, it hits the palate with medium-bodied richness, present yet ripe, polished tannins, terrific balance, and a clean, graceful finish. It’s certainly one of the best expressions of Sangiovese coming from Washington.”
The back bone of this wine is Cabernet from Walla Walla and nearby Candy Mountain. Its deepness and darkness is Syrah from the estate’s Benches Vineyards with a touch of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Aromas of dried figs and cocoa powder, along with hints of tamarind and toasty oak are followed by intense violent and blueberry jam flavors beautifully integrated around a spicy core.
We’re getting in our yearly allocations of these workday wines from two trusted, traditional producers on Friday and want to bring them to your attention. Burlotto and Francesco Rinaldi both offer extremely well made bottlings from the bottom to the top of their range—all at prices that offer a great deal of value. Both specialize in old-school, traditionally made wines that highlight the grape and place without oak, over-extraction or other winemaking make-up. In short, they’re the kind of wines we like to drink, as well, and you’d be smart to stock up on an assortment of these bottlings.
Francesco Rinaldi & Figli Gavi DOCG, Piedmont 2018 750ML ($21.95) $18 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Francesco Rinaldi & Figli Barbera d’Alba, Piedmont 2017 750ML ($359.95) $289 pre-arrival special (that’s only $24.08/bottle!)
Winery Note “The vineyards located in Barolo, in the flatter areas of the Cannubi hill, have a sandier soil; in La Morra, in the areas of Zonchetta and Boiolo, the soil is more clayey with calcareous components. Fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled cement or stainless steel tanks with the skins contact for at least 15 days. After racking, the various lots from the different vineyards are blended and then aged in medium-capacity Slavonian oak barrels for at least a year. Refinement in bottles for several months gives the wine a vibrant red ruby color with violet reflections and an ethereal and intense bouquet. The taste is dry, robust and suitable for medium-term aging.”
Francesco Rinaldi & Figli Nebbiolo d’Alba, Piedmont 2017 750ML ($34.95) $29 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Francesco Rinaldi & Figli Nebbiolo d’Alba, Piedmont 2017 750ML ($389.95) $315 pre-arrival special (that’s only $26.25/bottle!)
Winery Note ” Traditional vinification is carried out in cement tanks with skin-contact fermentation for 15-20 days and automatic pump-overs. The wine is aged for one year in medium-capacity Slavonian oak barrels. This is followed by refinement in bottles for several months to enhance the freshness and bouquet of the wine. The color is ruby-red, not too intense, respecting the character of the Nebbiolo grape variety. The aroma is ethereal with scents of flowers and fresh fruit. The taste is dry with a good body.”
Winery Note “Its colour is light ruby red. The smell is subtle with scent of rose. Its taste is fresh, flowery and mild to the palate. It perfectly matches with hors d’oeuvres, soups, fish and white meat. Fermentation in steel at a controlled temperature for about 8 days. Ageing in steel goes on for some months before bottling in spring.”
Importer Note “Fresh and savory, this opens with aromas of dark berry, ground cooking spice and whiff of chopped herb. The vibrant palate doles out juicy black cherry, clove, star anise and blood orange accompanied by racy acidity.”
Importer Note “The 40 year old Neirane vineyard with full sunny exposure produces a full flavored well structured Dolcettod’Alba. Two additional vineyards contribute to this excellent Dolcetto: SuJort and Perno. Dolcetto means ‘little sweet one’ and though this wine is definitely not sweet it is however, fresh, light and zippy, “like the little sweet nephew of the family”.Very much made in a traditional Italian style, this wine has a refreshing and food friendly finish to it. So sit back, relax and let your mind transport you back to “la dolce vita.””
Importer Note ” Mores is a co-fermanted blend of 50% Nebbiolo and 50% Barbera. The Barbera functions very well in softening the tannins of the Nebbiolo and contributing bright acidity and berry flavors. This is a stunning red wine, whether you are a Barolo lover or not, it has all the depth, body, length of finish and finesse you would expect from a glass of fine red. Give it a try!”
Importer Note ” The Langhe Nebbiolo is a delicious wine to drink now and over the next few years. Sweet floral and tobacco notes meld into a core of bright red stone fruits, mint and anise.”
Importer Note “Pelaverga is an hierloom Piedmontese varietal. Matteo Ascheri aims to highlight the grape’s potential as a dry, still red with spicy, dark cherry and red-berry flavors. A medium bodied, fresh and bright red, the Pelaverga pairs well with a wide range of pastas, pizzas and lighter grilled meats and fish.”
In Stock Now:
The newest iteration of a long-standing favorite, this is one of the better disgorgements in years.
Pierre Peters Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($59.95) $55 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 90 points “(Reviewed Aug 2019) Based on the 2016 vintage and disgorged with six grams per liter dosage, the NV Brut Cuvée de Réserve offers up a pretty bouquet of lemon oil, white flowers, mandarin and clear honey, followed by a medium to full-bodied, bright and lively palate that’s quite delicate and charming, with an inviting profile and good length on the finish.”
Antonio Galloni 90 points “The NV Cuvée de Réserve (base 2016) is absolutely delicious and also shows the greater natural harmony of 2016 vis-à-vis 2015. Creamy and open-knit, the 2016 will be easy to drink pretty much upon release, as it is a Champagne of absolutely exquisite balance. White orchard fruit, crushed rocks, flowers and mint all grace this sublime, wonderfully nuanced Champagne from Rodolphe Péters. Dosage is 6 grams per liter.”
From an assortment of “heritage” grapes, this slightly-lower pressure bottling is a stunner!
Champagne Aubry Le Nombre d’Or Sable Blanc de Blancs Campanae Veteres Vites Brut, Champagne 2013 750ML ($99.95) $79 special
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2013 Blanc des Blancs Sablé Le Nombre d’Or Sable is a Champagne of extraordinary precision and class. Bright, lifted and wonderfully nuanced, the 2013 toes the line between Champagne and wine because of the low pressure Aubry uses in bottling this cuvée. In a word: dazzling.”
40% CH, 25% Arbanne, 25% Petit Meslier and 10% Pinot Blanc
Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Cuvee Fleuron Premier Cru Brut Millesime, Champagne 2010 750ML ($79.95) $66 special
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The 2010 Brut Blanc de Blancs Fleuron is a very beautiful wine. Light tropical notes, passionfruit, mint, orange peel and spice are all lifted in an airy, understated Champagne that has so much to offer. The 2010 is not an obvious wine, but rather a Champagne that speaks to finesse and nuance above all else.”
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The 2010 Brut Blanc de Blancs Fleuron is a very pretty and expressive wine. It is also noticeably broader and creamier than most of the wines in this range. Lemon confit and marzipan notes give the Fleuron a real feeling of density and sweetness that is quite alluring. The 2010 is ready to drink, but it is also fresher and more elegant than so many other wines in this challenging vintage. Readers who enjoy Champagnes that have started to develop the aromatic complexity that comes with age will find much to like. Dosage is 5 grams per liter.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 92 points “Gimonnet’s 2010 Brut Blanc de Blancs Cuvée Fleuron is showing very well, unfurling in the glass with aromas of white flowers, lemon oil, mandarin, fresh hazelnuts and oyster liquor. It’s medium to full-bodied, elegantly textural and incisive on the palate, with ripe but racy acids, a crystalline core of fruit and a fine, low-pressure mousse, concluding with a saline, chalky finish.”
The Oenophile releases are always more austere, non-dosé versions of his BdB vintage wine.
Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs Cuvee Oenophile Premier Cru Extra Brut – Non Dose, Champagne 2012 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2012 Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru Oenophile Non Dosé is showing very well, offering up a pure bouquet of citrus oil, wet stones and subtle hints of pan d’épices. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, deep and chalky, with an incisive spine of acidity that’s nicely integrated, good depth and concentration at the core and a long, mineral finish. Disgorged in April 2018 without dosage, it’s a steely Blanc de Blancs will appeal to more than just the purists.”
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The 2012 Extra-Brut Oenophile is one of the more austere, clenched wines I have tasted in this generally radiant vintage. Bright and punchy, with tremendous energy, the 2012 makes its case more on persistence and energy than with volume. A range of floral, citrus and mineral notes build as this wiry, taut Champagne develops in the glass. This is an especially reticent style, and yet there is so much to like.”
This is smoking good—rich, powerful and textured.
Vilmart & Cie Grand Cellier d’Or Premier Cru Brut, Champagne 2014 750ML ($119.95) $89 special
Grapelive 95 points “The thrilling 2014 vintage Brut Grand Cellier d’Or by Laurent Champs of Champagne Vilmart & Cie is a gorgeous wine that proves this is going to be a much better year for top bubbly than people may have thought, it shows bright intensity, fine detail, mineral tones and vinous grace on the palate. This latest collection of Vilmart is simply gorgeous stuff with amazingly pure flavors and delicacy along with lively freshness, especially this stunning 2014 vintage Grand Cellier d’Or Brut with its vivid apple and lemon fruits and subtlety divine leesy character and ultra-fine mousse. This beauty gains with air and fill out richly on the palate and the beading bubbles are invigorating and creamy helping with the impression of energy and luxuriousness, while liquid mineral, brioche, hazelnut and white flowers all add to the depth and complexity. This one, with its vitality and wet stones or chalky finesse was my favorite of the main line of this set of bottlings ….Laurent Champs is an absolute master at his craft and his Champagne is one of the world’s great wines, it was a great pleasure and honor to have tasted with him on many occasions, including as recently as last month when I sampled his current releases, and as mentioned they are all delicious, elegant and sophisticated sparklers that offer terroir driven brilliance and stylish opulence. The Vilmart Champagnes are true grower producer wines and this one comes from estate grown organic vines from a single Lieu-Dit “Blances Voies” in the Premier Cru Rilly-la-Montagne area. Laurent…used 65 year old ungrafted Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to craft this cuvee, fermenting and aging the grapes in a combination of wood vessels including large foudre, demi -muids and some barriques. Champs chose 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir and allowed it to age on the lees for 48 months and used zero malo to preserve its laser like freshness, while being wonderfully pleasing, exotic and deep, it should age incredible well, this is special stuff. Enjoy this with your favorite people and or family for any celebration, it is a thrilling and rewarding vintage Champagne.”
A Case of Vinsanity
Six Packs, On Sale
A killer Gigondas with big fruit and big personality.
Case-6 Domaine des Bosquets Gigondas, Rhone 2016 750ML ($199.95) $144 special (that’s only $24/bottle—the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Domaine des Bosquets Gigondas, Rhone 2016 750ML ($31.95) $26 special
Jeb Dunnuck 92 points “Leading off the wines from bottle, the 2016 Gigondas is a classic wine from this estate, offering a deeper ruby/purple color as well as tons of garrigue, peppery spice, and earth intermixed with ample red and black fruits. Polished, rounded and sexy, with sweet tannin, it has a modern style that won’t appeal to traditionalists yet is beautifully done. The blend is 60% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, and the rest Cinsault.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92 points “Vivid ruby-red. Lively, expansive red berry, floral pastille and white pepper scents, along with suggestions of garrigue and smoky minerals. Sweet, focused and seamless in the mouth, offering juicy raspberry, spicecake and lavender flavors that deepen steadily on the back half. Clings with very good authority on the gently tannic finish and leaves succulent floral and herb notes behind.”
Joe Czerwinski-Wine Advocate 92 points “Hints of garrigue accent raspberries and Rainier cherries in the 2016 Gigondas. This blend of 60% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre and 5% Cinsault is full-bodied and supple, with no hard edges, just lovely fruit. Long, seamless and delicious for drinking over the next 6-7 years, it’s a terrific introduction to the fruit-forward style at this estate. Tasted twice with consistent notes.”
Case-6 Domaine de la Mordoree Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Dame Voyageuse, Rhone 2016 750ML ($399.95) $276 special (that’s only $46/bottle!)
Domaine de la Mordoree Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Dame Voyageuse, Rhone 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “The new entry-level release from this estate is the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Dame Voyageuse, a more Grenache-dominated blend of 90% Grenache, 4% each of Mourvèdre and Syrah, and the balance Counoise and Vaccarèse. Aged mostly in tank, with 15% in old barrels, it boasts a deep violet/purple color as well as a full-bodied, voluptuous style in its blueberry and cherry fruits, violets, damp earth, and spice-laced aromas and flavors. This cuvée is always more upfront and sexier compared to the more structured La Reine des Bois cuvée, and it’s already drinking brilliantly today. Nevertheless, it will keep for a good 10-15 years if you’re so inclined.”
Case-6 M. Chapoutier Domaine de Bila-Haut Cotes du Roussillon Villages R.I. Rectificando Invenies 2015 750ML ($799.95) $534 special (that’s only $89/bottle!)
M. Chapoutier Domaine de Bila-Haut Cotes du Roussillon Villages R.I. Rectificando Invenies 2015 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
Wine Advocate 98 points “As always, the 100% Syrah 2015 Cotes du Roussillon Villages Lesquerde Rectificando Invenies (Ri) shows more minerality than the VIT release and offers blockbuster styled aromas and flavors of blackcurrants, crushed rocks, toasted bread and chocolate. Made in a voluptuous, pedal-to-the-metal style, with huge fruit and texture, it has building tannin and an uber sexy, incredibly layered and decadent palate. Drink it anytime over the coming decade. This cuvee was completely destemmed and aged 18 months in demi-muids.”
Grimaldi has emerged as a star Barolo producer and we offer incredible pricing.
Case-6 Bruna Grimaldi Bricco Ambrogio, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($299.95) $216 special (that’s only $36/bottle–the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Bruna Grimaldi Bricco Ambrogio, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 92+ points “($80) From the less-traveled Roddi township, the 2015 Barolo Bricco Ambrogio is a balanced and pretty expression that shows floral aromas of wild rose and pressed violets, followed by wild berry and blackcurrant. The wine is simple and straightforward in delivery with a clean and accessible personality. Bruna and Franco Grimaldi purchased this vineyard site in 2006, and this wine has improved in complexity and depth with each vintage that I taste. Some 6,000 bottles are made.”
Bruna Grimaldi Badarina Vigna Regnola, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 93+ points “($90) This wine has already evolved to show some tar and savory aromas. The 2015 Barolo Badarina offers pretty color saturation with linear and fresh lines of plum, black fruit, dark spice and tilled earth. The wine delivers much of the heft and power promised by this Badarina cru in Serralunga d’Alba. If you’re looking for a Barolo vintage to pair with a rich meat like liver or game, this could be the one. This is Bruna Grimaldi’s flagship Barolo, as her mother was born in Badarina and this site has always had special meaning to her family. Some 8,000 bottles were produced.”
Case-6 Chateau Coutet, Barsac 2014 750ML ($399.95) $294 special (that’s only $49/bottle!)
Chateau Coutet, Barsac 2014 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Wine Spectator 96 points “This shows the vivid, racy side of Barsac, with streaming flavors of pineapple, yellow apple, green plum and white ginger, displaying lovely energy from start to finish. Ends with enough honeysuckle and orange blossom notes to balance the richness. Best from 2020 through 2035. 4,000 cases made.”
The classic, now $3 off per bottle by the six-pack!
Case-6 Produttori del Barbaresco ‘Barbaresco DOCG’, Piedmont 2015 750ML ($299.95) $216 special (that’s only $36/bottle!)
Produttori del Barbaresco ‘Barbaresco DOCG’, Piedmont 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Wine Spectator 93 points “Charming aromas of cherry, strawberry and rose are inviting in this red, with flavors to match, showing ripeness and focus. Earth and mineral elements chime in as this firms up, but the harmony is there and this should really sing in about five years. Best from 2022 through 2040. 23,333 cases made.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 93 points “I tasted this wine after bottling but before its commercial release. The 2015 Barbaresco will hit the market on September 1st. It was scheduled to be released in October, but because Produttori del Barbaresco is already out of stock of the ’14 Barbaresco, they decided to move this release up and shorten waiting times. I mention that because you definitely don’t want to pop the cork too early. The 2015 vintage opens to a visibly darker color and thicker concentration compared to recent past vintages. Next to the upcoming 2016 and 2017 editions, we can expect 2015 to be the most fruit-forward of the three. You get dark tones of plum and blackberry with dry tannins at the rear.”
Case-6 Chateau Lilian Ladouys, Saint-Estephe 2016 750ML ($279.95) $180 special (that’s only $30/bottle!)
Chateau Lilian Ladouys, Saint-Estephe 2016 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
James Suckling 93 points “The blueberry and blackberry aromas are certainly attractive here. Full-bodied and dense with a very velvety texture and a long, generous finish of ripe fruit and spice. Drink from 2022.”
Jeb Dunnuck 92 points “A perennial overachiever, the 2016 Château Lilian Ladouys brings the goods in 2016 and has a complex, medium to full-bodied, character-filled style to go with loads of blue fruits, incense, dried herbs, and a hint of violets. A blend of 62% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 6% Petit Verdot all raised in 30% new barrels, this charming, front end-loaded effort is well worth seeking out. It should keep for 10-15 years.”
Neal Martin – Vinous 92 points “This is the third time I have tasted the 2016 Lilian Ladouys in bottle. It retains a very intense blackberry and boysenberry bouquet laced with minerals, but displays a little more amplitude than it did in August. The tightly knit palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin and still shows the graphite seam that I remarked upon previously. There is a little more persistence now, hence the slightly higher score. Good potential.”
Truly baby Brunello in a vintage like ’16.
Case-6 Azienda Agricola La Torre Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($289.95) $174 special (that’s only $29/bottle—the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Azienda Agricola La Torre Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Grapelive 95 points “The 2016 is going to be legendary in Tuscany. We are seeing the top wines already getting unbelievably good press, but there are also some killer deals on lesser known wines, especially wines like this gorgeous deep fruited and elegant La Torre Rosso di Montalcino. [Such wines] are incredible and offer a wonderful value for much less than their Brunello version. Lighter on its feet than the Brunello(s) the Rosso [shows] style and grace, it shows a complex array of flavors and a sense of never-ending length with a beautiful rose petal perfume and exotic spices. This La Torre has, what it is cliche to say, Burgundy class in the glass with ripe tannins and a gorgeous garnet/ruby hue that seduces the senses with layers of black cherry, raspberry, strawberry and plum fruits to begin on its open and generous palate with gains structure with air as well as highlighting the background elements, mineral notes and light earthiness. Additionally there is classic anise, fine cigar tobacco wrapper, sandalwood and lingering dried flowers and cranberry/currant, making for a lovely Sangiovese wine that gets even better with food, bringing out more depth and fruit intensity. There is almost nothing to fault here and the detailing and mouth feel is exceptional in this remarkable Rosso di Montalcino. This is a wine that needs to be taken out of the “Baby Brunello” box; it is really next level stuff on its own. The La Torre winery was founded not all that long ago by Italian standards back in 1976 by Giuseppe Ananìa, who purchased the La Torre estate from the famous Ciacci family of Montalcino. Now Luigi Anania, Giuseppe’s son, is the present owner and producer of the wines of La Torre. The estate is located in the commune of La Sesta, approximately 8 kilometers south of Montalcino, which is in the highest altitude section of the Brunello appellation. La Torre make four main wines, all from organic vines: Brunello di Montalcino (with a Riserva in the best years as well), Rosso di Montalcino, with the Brunello and Rosso being exclusively Sangiovese Grosso (Brunello Clone) by law, as well as a Rosso di Toscano and a Rosso di Toscano “Ampelio” which have touches of Ciliegiolo and Alicante added to a mainline of Sangiovese. The wines are all made from all grapes that are de-stemmed prior to fermentations and only indigenous yeasts are used before an extended 20 maceration on the skins. Ferments are done in a combination of steel and oak with an 18 month elevage being in large oak casks of French origin, with only about 10% of the ultimate cuvée being aged in small French barrels. Made for more early drinking pleasure and a sublime vintage really show here and I absolute love this stuff. Judging it purely on its intent and delivery it is fantastic, drink this brilliantly crafted beauty over the next 3 to 5 years.”