In Today’s Newsletter:
New Week – New Arrivals, including: Domaine Drouhin in Oregon & The Genre-Defining Barolo of Aldo Conterno
Yves Cuilleron: New Grapelive Review
2009 & 2012 Domaine Ghislaine Barthod
The Incredible 2016’s from Marcus Molitor
Delas’ 2015: Your Second Chance at Legends
New Week – New Arrivals
James Suckling 94 points “A layered and pretty wine with dried apples and fresh fruit. Linear and spicy, showing plenty of salty undertones. Full-bodied, solid and fresh. Lovely intensity. Drink now.”
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “Some of the region’s oldest Dijon clone plantings are in this wine, done in a firm, classy style with little new wood apparent. With its crisp apple and citrus fruit and steely edge, it delivers plenty of flavor, a long, penetrating finish and the sense that it will age nicely for a decade at least.”
Wine Advocate 91 points “The 2015 Chardonnay Estate Arthur offers notions of fresh grapefruit, warm pears and honeydew melon with suggestions of coriander seed, baking bread and clotted cream. Medium-bodied, with a lively line of invigorating acidity cutting through the intense citrus and spicy flavors, it has a pleasant creaminess to the texture and some minerals coming through on the finish.”Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills 2015 750ML ($44.95) $38 special
James Suckling 95 points “A great pinot noir that shows dried flowers, violets and orchids. Cherry and raspberry undertones, too. Medium to full body with an incredible polished texture. Ripe and round tannins and a fresh and vibrant finish. Delicious now but better in 2020.”
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “This delicious wine shows focused black cherry, cola, cream soda and baking spice flavors. It’s perfectly balanced, with all components in proportion and settled nicely together. Drink now through 2022.”
Josh Raynolds 91 points “Brilliant red. Fresh cherry and raspberry on the nose, complicated by candied rose, licorice and musky earth flourishes. Juicy, finely etched red berry and bitter cherry flavors show very good energy, and a deeper, sweeter suggestion of cola emerges with aeration. Closes on a bright, spicy note, with sneaky tannins lending framework and grip.”
Chateau du Grand Bos Rouge, Graves 2005 750ML ($39.95) $29 special
International Wine Report 90 points “The 2005 Chateau du Grand Bos offers aromas and flavors blackberry and dried cherries fruit followed by crushed stones and tobacco notes. Balanced and focused with a pretty finish that lingers. 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc make up the final blend. (Best 2013-2019) – May, 2013.”
Domaine du Chateau de Chorey Les Vignes Franches Vieilles Vignes, Beaune Premier Cru 2002 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Burghound 89-92 points “Very ripe and expressive black cherry-infused aromas blend into linear, beautifully textured and detailed flavors underpinned by very firm but ripe tannins. Despite the structure, this is quite elegant, indeed feminine in style with gorgeous balance. A stellar effort.”
The Genre-Defining Barolo
Of Aldo Conterno
Poderi Aldo Conterno has been producing remarkable wines ever since it was created in 1969 by the man whose name is on the label. Sick of fighting with his brother over the winemaking style to be used at the family’s estate, the venerable Giacomo Conterno, Aldo left and never looked back. Over the course of the next several decades he established the winery as one of the most important in Italy.
Based in the Bussia hamlet in Monforte, the estate’s wines have always been powerful yet polished, with dark rich fruit. These wines are bold Barolos, with great density and power—though they still have nuance and complexity. The Aldo Conterno wines are identified with the modernism movement in Barolo, which emphasized clean cellars, modern fermentation techniques and bigger, richer fruit, though these wines have always leaned more classic than some.
We just received a small assortment of wines in from two heralded vintages, 2008 and 2013, both excellent years. Antonio Galloni rated the 2008 vintage in Barolo at 96 points and obviously 2013 is shaping up to be one of the best years in a long time as well. Needless to say these wines are epic and if you like powerful Barolo, you should buy as much as you can.
Poderi Aldo Conterno Bussia Cicala, Barolo DOCG 2013 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
James Suckling 99 points “The aromas of flowers, blackberries, and white truffles are superb. Full to medium body and ultra-fine tannins. The finish lasts for minutes. An amazing Cicala. Don’t miss this. Drink in 2022.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2013 Barolo Bussia Cicala is a beautiful wine with impressive depth and a profound sense of sharpness. This part of the Bussia cru sees a mix of clay soils (40%) with limestone (60%). In a sense, Cicala is the most indicative of the greater Bussia cru both in terms of its geological properties and its general taste profile. You get a lot of fruit in this wine followed by tannic firmness and evident power. Together, the wine presents balanced results. The alcohol here is 14.5% and I’m told that the upcoming 2016 vintage is almost a full degree stronger.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “This starts out with brilliant macerated cherry flavors, accented by rose, tar, spice and mineral elements. Firm, yet pure, complex and long, with a dense matrix of tannins shoring up the finish. Offers a fine, brambly aftertaste. Best from 2022 through 2043. 400 cases made.”
The average price is $154
Wine Spectator 96 points “Round and supple, with a fleshy profile enveloping pure cherry, raspberry and spice flavors. Ripe and harmonious, with no shortage of structure. A mineral element emerges on the tight finish. Best from 2016 through 2035. 200 cases imported.”
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2008 Barolo Colonnello is super impressive. It shows gorgeous richness and depth in its focused, energetic fruit. Sweet red berries, flowers and spices are woven together beautifully in the 2008 Colonnello. The elegant side of Barolo comes through, but with an extra degree of muscle. The oak, sometimes noticeable in this bottling, is very well integrated. Floral notes are woven throughout the finish. The Colonnello often gives the impression of being early to mature relative to the estate’s other Baroli, but the 2008 is surprisingly powerful and structured.”Poderi Aldo Conterno Colonnello, Barolo DOCG 2013 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
James Suckling 98 points “Terrific aromas of blackberries, walnuts, spices, bark and mushrooms. Full body, ultra-fine tannins and bright acidity. So beautiful now but be patient. This needs four or five years to come completely together. Wow. What class and precision define this wine. The aromas show such subtle complexity and beauty. Full and tight with a solid core of fruit. Polished tannins to the maximum. Better in 2021. ”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Camphor and leather notes introduce this rich red, which transitions to cherry, licorice, spice and tobacco flavors. Firm and intense, with a lingering aftertaste of mineral, licorice and spice. Terrific now, but should be even better with time. Best from 2021 through 2042. 400 cases made.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2013 Barolo Bussia Colonnello is the most ethereal and delicate of the Bussia series of wines. Fruit is sourced from a portion of the Bussia vineyard that is located closer to the village of Barolo (one kilometer away) than it is the village of Monforte d’Alba (five kilometers away). The sandy soils found here make for softer and tamer tannins especially when compared to the other parts of Bussia. The bouquet opens to aromas of blue flowers, spice, wild berry, licorice and white truffle. This is a softly nuanced and finessed Barolo made with fruit from 45-year-old vines.”
The average price is $142
James Suckling 100 points “Incredible aromas of blackberries, blueberries, dark chocolate and hints of cream. Roses, rose petals and leaves. Speechless. Full-bodied, tight and concentrated. The finish is endless. Perfect harmony. Made from a selection of the best grapes from the oldest vines: 70% romirasco, 15% cicala and 15% colonnello. All co-fermented and macerated for one month in wood. Aged in a 25-hectoliter cask for 33 months. Five years in bottle. Only 3,000 bottles. Perfect now and it will improve with age for decades ahead.”
Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2008 Barolo Riserva Granbussia is an unexpected wine and is perhaps the least characteristic of the three Granbussia vintages presented in this mini vertical. The wine opens to a deeply ruby red color and bright aromas that show some very distant touches of jam or marmalade. This is a big surprise given the generally cooler conditions of the vintage. Franco Conterno tells me fruit was harvested very late —at great risk—during the first week of November. The Nebbiolo grape loves a long growing season. The aromas are dense and dark with blackberry, plum and black fruit. Those super charged tones continue with leather, spice and tar.”
Wine Spectator 96 points “This is beginning to open, with fragrant cherry, rose, leather and sweet spice aromas and flavors. Vibrant and intense, with a terrific finish of sweet fruit, spice, tar and mineral notes. Shows fine presence and harmony, yet this should only improve over the next decade. Best from 2018 through 2030. 250 cases made.”
The average price is $496
James Suckling 98 points “Beautiful dark fruits of crushed raspberries and blueberries plus hints of champignon mushrooms and black truffles. Lavender undertones. Full and chewy with lots of tannins. Old vines give this a mossy, bark-like undertone. Needs five to six years to come around.”
Wine Advocate 97 points “The stunning 2013 Barolo Bussia Romirasco represents a stylistic blend between the elegance of Monforte d’Alba and the brooding power of Serralunga d’Alba. These are magnesium-rich soils mixed with limestone and clay. Romirasco is also home to some of the estate’s oldest vines at 55-years-old on average. This beautiful wine opens to a dark and rich garnet color that comes from the concentrated fruit produced by these old plants. The bouquet is laced with mineral and iodine-like nuances with rust and iron. It comes across as rich and intense and the mouthfeel is slightly softer, but denser overall. The wine ends with long balsam tones of rosemary and dried ginger.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “This packs some vanilla- and Bourbon-scented oak aromas, with a core of cherry, leather, tar, iron and tobacco flavors. Solidly built, with dusty tannins clinging to the long finish. A powerful example, this should gain finesse with age. Best from 2022 through 2040. 400 cases made.”
The next best price is $187.99
The average price is $210
New Grapelive Review
Cave Yves Cuilleron Saint-Joseph Rouge Les Pierres Seches, Rhone 2015 750ML ($37.95) $28 special, 21 bottles in stock now
Grapelive 94 points “Founded back in 1920, the Cuilleron family domaine from the tiny hamlet of Verlieu in Chavanay is a Northern Rhone specialist and one of the great names in the region. Yves Cuilleron [took] over from his uncle Antoine in 1987. Since then, he has built a new facility and built up the vineyard holdings to an impressive 52 hectares that includes great parcels in Condrieu, Cote-Rotie, Saint-Peray, as well other unique sites, and of course his prized blocks in Saint-Joseph where he makes some of his best wines like this Les Pierres Seches Rouge. Yves style is refined, elegant and clean letting the terroir and grapes to speak in their own voice and allowing each vintage to show its distinct personality. In 2015, a grand year in the Rhone, it is without question [a vintage] to buy as much as you can, [and] the Cuilleron reds, again like this one, [are] outstanding and a great value. Tasted twice, once blind, the 100% Syrah, 2015 Cuilleron Saint-Joseph Les Pierres Seches is thrilling and very Cote-Rotie like with gorgeous perfume, loads of glycerin and beautifully defined Syrah purity. It starts with violets, game, blackberry and mineral notes on the nose and layers of boysenberry, damson plum, blueberry and cassis on the medium/full palate as well as an array of spices, flinty rock and subtle wood with minty herb, olive tapenade, peppercorns, garrigue, light cedar and a faint meatiness. The tannins are velveteen, but still firm and, while the acidity is slightly lower in this vintage, there is plenty of vitality and energy here. It gains an opulent and textural mouthfeel with each sip without dulling the excitement one bit. This is fantastic stuff. Cuilleron employs partial whole cluster, just enough to get a bit of tension, and allows lengthy ferments on the Cru (lieu-dit) wines before aging in mostly used French oak for 18 months. The wines see a light fining and all along the way gentile techniques are used to ensure clarity of form and elegance, which really shows in the quality across the range. This is a do not miss wine, and a killer deal, though you’ll also want to check out the old vine 2015 Saint-Joseph Rouge Cavanos ($36) as well as Cuilleron’s 100% Viognier 2016 Condrieu La Petite Cote ($52) and his Roussanne & Marsanne masterpiece, the 2016 Saint-Joseph Blanc Digue ($44), which I reviewed last month. Cuilleron’s lineup from bottom to top is wildly engaging and filled with stars, though this Les Pierres Seches way over delivers in the quality v. price ratio and it should go a decade and then some in bottle.”
Highlight Yves Cuilleron Selections, In Stock Now:
Cave Yves Cuilleron Condrieu La Petite Cote, Rhone 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 18 bottles in stock now
Importer (Neal Rosenthal) Note “The vineyards of Viognier are planted on terraces with a south-southeast exposure in the commune of Chavanay. The wine is barrel-fermented and barrel-aged; the elevage is nine months with regular batonnage occurring.”
Cave Yves Cuilleron Saint-Joseph Blanc Lieu-Dit Digue, Rhone 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Grapelive 95 points “As a long time follower and fan of Cuilleron, I was thrilled with his latest set of wines… This rare 100% Roussanne Saint-Joseph Blanc Lieu-Dit Digue was my personal favorite. Cuilleron ferments his AOC whites with native yeasts and in wood with long lees elevage (aging in barrel) and malos in small barrels with Burgundy like care and batonage (aged Sur Lie with lees stirring). This especially shows in the heavenly mouth feel and beautiful class in the glass. It’s a fresh and vibrant wine, but with impressive depth and density. It is great alternative to the money pricy Hermitage Blanc and really is exceptional and ultra-quality for the money. The Yves Cuilleron Digue starts with faint delicate [aromas of] white flowers, yeasty notes, wet stone and white orchard fruits on the nose before opening up on the full bodied palate to gorgeous apricot, peach and exotic tropical fruits, which are not overt or sweetly expressed, but lifting and seductive in their subtlety along with hints of fennel, clove and creamy melon and citrus sorbet, a touch of classic oily charm and saline with a background of liquid rock and flinty mineral tones. This an absolutely brilliant wine. The verve and vibrancy add cut and structure… While stunning now it will gain tremendously with mid-term cellaring and would be awesome with lobster or swordfish as well as baked ham or chanterelles in simple rich cuisine. Drink this fantastic Saint-Joseph Blanc over the coming decade. It’s a Roussanne superstar and delivers a huge win for this varietal on the world stage!”
April showers bring out our best—the April sale runneth over with great deals and everything we’re highlighting today is only the beginning—just click here to see all of the April Sale wines on our website!
Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Crau Blanc, Rhone 2016 750ML ($79.95) Was $69, Now $59
Wine Spectator 95 points “Ripe and rich, but focused, with verbena, bitter almond and wet stone notes threading through the core of creamed yellow apple, pear and melon flavors. Very long, with a gorgeous salted butter echo. Drink now through 2020.”JM
Wine Spectator 95 points “This has a lovely, perfumy mix of savory, mint, tobacco, blood orange, cherry and bergamot notes, with finely beaded acidity and silky but ample structure. Long, mineral- and shiso leaf-infused finish. Best from 2020 through 2035.”JM
Stephen Tanzer 94 points “Deep amber-yellow. Sexy, kaleidoscopic nose combines exotic tropical fruits, chestnut honey, raisin, dried fig, caramel and a musky iodine note. Then sharply delineated and penetrating on the palate in spite of its honeyed sweetness, with superb acidity giving spine to the dried fruit and ripe citrus flavors. This wonderfully vibrant yet thick and rich Vin Santo coats the mouth on the long, smooth finish. Great stuff.” ST
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 92 points “Darkly saturated and rich in personality, the 2012 Brunello di Montalcino offers an immediate and approachable expression of the grape. Your palate yearns for succulent bistecca alla fiorentina with roasted potatoes on the side—all of it drenched in olive oil. That’s because the wine is so upfront and soft even at this young stage in its evolution. This Brunello is soft in texture and mouthfeel, yet it offers loads of chewy fruit and enough bright acidity to pair with whatever you have on the menu tonight.”
David Schildknecht—Vinous 93 points “Surprisingly floral for a Kalkofen Riesling, this leads with head-turning freesia and lavender perfume, behind which are intimations of white peach and passion fruit that then saturate a polished, almost plush palate. Sweet suggestions of almond paste enhance the mid-palate sense of richness, but brightly juicy white peach and grapefruit serve for consummate refreshment and floral-herbal impingements for invigoration in a seductively sustained finish. The chalk that is part of this site’s namesake may be implicated in its energetic finish, but there is no overt impression of chalkiness let alone austerity to be found here; on the contrary, this is the richest and most winsome of the youthful Von Winning single-vineyard 2014s.”
Wine Advocate 92+ points “The 2014 Deidesheim Kalkofen Riesling trocken GG comes from a plateau above the Grainhübel where the grapes ripen a few days later. The soil is chalky and marly, and delivers a rather discreet but very potent wine that needs more time to develop its talents. The 2014 shows a chalky, powdered nose with fresh lemon flavors and rather white fruit aromas. Full-bodied, very round and elegant on the palate, this is a well balanced Riesling with a Burgundian touch thanks to the stimulating, finesse-full salinity and the okay kiss that also gives this Riesling a very delicate tannin structure. I recommend to store this well structured and juicy wine for another three years.” SR
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Antonio Galloni 92 points “A gorgeous wine, the 2014 de Pressac is dark, bold and voluptuous. Dark cherry, plum, bittersweet chocolate, smoke, lavender, sage and licorice all run through it. Deeply expressive, pliant and succulent, the 2014 will drink well with minimal cellaring. The dark, flamboyant style works beautifully here.The blend is 69% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon plus dollops of Malbec and Carmenère. Tasted two times.”
The average price is $35
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.”Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2011 750ML ($49.95) $36.60 special
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2011 Brunello di Montalcino is fabulous. In 2011, proprietor Paolo Bianchini bottled just one Brunello. That commitment to quality comes through loud and clear. Dark cherry, plum, smoke, tobacco and licorice all flesh out in an effortless, incredibly inviting wine. The warmth of the vintage and the natural generosity of these vineyards in Castelnuovo is evident, yet the 2011 possesses remarkable balance to match all of that intensity. I don’t expect the 2011 to make old bones, but is gorgeous today. Readers should expect a flamboyant, decadently full-throttle wine built on voluptuousness and generous, racy fruit. Bianchini gave the 2011 three full years in cask.”
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2011 Brunello di Montalcino is a very beautiful wine that shows a fraction of good things to come. Very fruit-driven at the moment, it should flesh out further with time. Evident fruit underlines the warm growing conditions of this vintage. You get dark cherry, raspberry, dried strawberry and plum. The bouquet doesn’t feel overripe per se, but you definitely get a taste of the warm growing season. Delve deeper, and this Brunello begins to reveal spice, herb, cola, tar and black licorice. These elements form the base of the wine’s budding complexity. As nice as this wine is to drink now, I look forward to trying it five years from now.”
Wine Enthusiast 93 points “Earthy and structured, this opens with aromas suggesting underbrush, grilled porcini, sunbaked earth, wild berry and dried aromatic herb. The big, bold palate doles out layers of mature black cherry, raspberry jam, licorice, sage, tobacco and black tea. Firm, velvety tannins provide structure and finesse. Drink 2019–2029.”
The next best price for the 2011 is $40
The average price for the 2011 is $52
Wine Spectator 95 points “This cuts more of a broad swath than its peers, yet remains graveful, evoking strawberry, cherry, tobacco and stony mineral flavors. Long and dense in structure, with a tobacco- and under-brush-tinged finish. Best from 2021 through 2033.”
2009 & 2012 Domaine Ghislaine BarthodArriving Late April
Domaine Ghislaine Barthod is the touchstone producer in Chambolle. Her estate was founded in the 1920s, and Ghislaine began working under her father in the 1980s. She farms just under six hectares of vines in and around Chambolle, with vines that average 30 years grown on limestone gravel soils. The wines are raised traditionally and thoughtfully, with a gentle and slow, hands-off approach. Her wines are well known for their elegance and finesse: these are ageworthy wines that are profoundly marked by their sense of place. We’re excited to share these highly limited back-vintage releases with you from two exceptional vintages, arriving at the end of this month.
Domaine Ghislaine Barthod Aux Beaux Bruns, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru 2009 750ML ($249.95) $199 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The 2009 Chambolle-Musigny Les Beaux-Bruns is rich immediate wine. The Beaux-Bruns shows excellent depth and mid-palate juiciness, not to mention terrific freshness for the year. There is a delineation and energy to the Beaux-Bruns that is rare in 2009.”
Stephen Tanzer 91 points “Good medium red. Very ripe cherry and raspberry aromas are enlivened by orange zest and lemon; unusually fresh for this cuvee in a hot year. Silky and fine-grained, with harmonious acidity framing the red fruit flavors. Strong and ripe but not at all overly sweet. Finishes very long, with suave tannins and good verve. Here’s another 2009 that benefited from early picking.”
Burghound 90-92 points “This is notably riper with aromas of warm earth, spice and red and blue fruit liqueur that merge into rich, generous and quite plump medium-bodied flavors that possess good mid-palate fat and a long and delicious finish. This is not the most complex wine in the range but it is very Chambolle in basic character.”
Domaine Ghislaine Barthod Les Cras, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru 2009 750ML ($279.95) $249 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2009 Chambolle-Musigny Les Cras is loaded with class and energy. There is tremendous energy in the glass as layers of dark cherries, mint, graphite, crushed rocks, spices and licorice gain volume and breath through the mid-palate and finish. I very much like the intensity and focus here. The Cras is going to need at least another few years in bottle, but it is shaping up to be truly stellar.”
Stephen Tanzer 93+ points “Good medium red. Aromas of musky raspberry, coffee and earth, with a note of sappy cherry emerging with air. Large-scaled and silky in texture but utterly unevolved today, coming across as dry and uncompromising. This youthfully imploded wine is distinctly linear today and will need extended aging to ripen in the bottle. Strong mineral and menthol notes carry through to the long aftertaste. An austere 2009 with substantial dusty tannins, but built for long life.”
Burghound 94 points “Outstanding. This is also exceptionally fresh and bright with relatively deeply pitched aromas of primarily red and blue pinot fruit that are in keeping with the rich and intensely mineral-driven medium-bodied flavors that possess excellent depth of material on the firm, long and gorgeously balanced finish. This is terrific juice though note that patience is part of the price of entry. A knockout.”
Domaine Ghislaine Barthod Les Veroilles, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru 2012 750ML ($219.95) $179 pre-arrival special
Stephen Tanzer 93+ points “Full medium red. Sexy aromas of wild red berries, crushed rock, licorice, chestnut and minerals, plus an intriguing suggestion of white fruits. Very ripe but juicy, precise and backward, showing superb inner-mouth tension to its flavors of maraschino cherry, red berries and mint. The broad finish features noble tannins.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!
There may be no more ambitious winemaker in the world than Marcus Molitor. His determination and drive to make the best possible wines has made him a towering figure in the Mosel, with an impressive, modern winery and holdings in almost every important vineyard in the region. This drive also means there are a lot of different bottlings—Molitor believes that every single sub-parcel and selective pick should be vinified to its utmost potential.
This is the essence of the brilliance of Marcus Molitor. Most winemakers would pick once or twice (or three times) in a vineyard and vinify many lots together—it’s easier and the wines are good. Molitor, though, asks what each parcel and pick would be like on its own—treated as if it were a wine of distinction rather than a blending component. This is a lot of extra work and requires time and space that most winemakers would rather not spend, but the result is a dizzying number of bottlings that all strive toward perfection.
The critical praise backs this up—Marcus Molitor’s wines are some of the most lauded in the world. Whether white capsule (dry), green capsule (off-dry), or gold capsule (fruity to nobly sweet), he manages to produce wines that captivate and astound. 2016 is among the best vintages he’s produced—possibly better across the board than the lauded 15’s. They arrive in September and last year most of the top wines sold out before they arrived. We expect the same this year so don’t hesitate!
Arriving ETA September:
David Schildknecht-Vinous 93 points “Here is a gorgeous example of delicacy allied to flavor intensity and luscious fruit allied to savory mineral notes. Scents of fresh strawberry and lime anticipate the brightly juicy impression on a polished, buoyant palate. Lily-of-the-valley and rowan waft throughout, casting a memorable floral spell. The sweet-saline savor of raw scallop tugs at the salivary glands on a superbly sustained finish. Bear in mind that we’re talking here about a dry Riesling (okay, perhaps legally halbtrocken – I neither checked nor cared) with only 10.5% alcohol!”
Wine Advocate 92+ points “The 2016 Riesling Ürziger Würzgarten Kabinett (White Capsule) is deep and concentrated on the complex, citric and slatey nose but still discreet in its fruit aromas. This is serious Riesling at 10.5% alcohol! Dry but round and intense, with a creamy texture, fine tannins and lush fruit, the Würzgarten has a remarkable mineral expression, but there is not much Mosel charm and primary fruit at this early moment. Early? Well, yes. It’s early March 2018, and the wine is only slowly starting to develop. The finish, however, is dense, lush, compact, very fine, well-structured and perfectly balanced.”
Wine Advocate 95+ points “The 2016 Riesling Ürziger Würzgarten Spätlese (White Capsule) offers a deep and complex yet delicate and discreetly flinty nose with a very fine, fresh and bright citrus and stony aroma. Full-bodied, intense and lush on the palate, this is a silky textured, highly elegant and superbly balanced Würzgarten with an intense and powerful, very mineral and salty finish. The wine reveals great complexity along with serious grip and tensioned length but keeps its great finesse. Fermented and aged in large oak barrels until the bottling in September 2017. Tasted March 2018.”
Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2016 Riesling Bernkasteler Badstube Auslese ** (Green Capsule) offers a pretty clear and delicate, fresh and flinty bouquet with bright fruit aromas and clayey wet slate notes. On the palate, this is a tensioned, fresh, mineral and tightly woven Auslese in the medium sweet style. It’s truly piquant and fresh, and the ripe, concentrated fruit is well balanced by vibrating minerals and phenolic grip. The finish is very long and fine, with a lot of salinity and slatey freshness. This is an impressive wine, but you should be patient with it. Tasted March 2018.”
Wine Advocate 98 points “The 2016 Riesling Graacher Himmelreich Auslese *** (White Capsule) opens with very clear, super fine, precise and delicate yet deep, intense and concentrated fruit intertwined with just a hint of noble oak leaf notes. Full-bodied, fresh and very dense in its mineral structure, packed with mocha and nougat flavors, this is an elegant, highly vital and complex Himmelreich—by far the best dry Riesling I have ever tasted from this vineyard. Molitor’s parcel is the steep part behind the Josephshof where the vines were planted in 1990. The soil is pretty stony, but there is also fine earth. The 2016 was fermented in a 2,000-liter oak vat plus a 225-liter barrique. The wine reveals enormous finesse and salinity and is spectacular in its purity and refreshing tension. This is so saliva-inducing that I tried to spit it four times—and failed four times. I tasted the wine three times in 14 days from the same bottle in March 2018. The second and third encounter showed a much fruitier, more classic Himmelreich style. The wine is the perfect expression of ripeness, elegance, finesse and freshness. Its finish is much (!) longer, more tensioned, salty and vibrantly fresh than any other wine I have ever had from this steep grand cru between Wehlen and Graach. Molitor’s parcel is located pretty high (straight next to his Pinot Noir plot); the vines are “only” 26 years old, but the trunks are as big as if they were much older.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Your Second Chance at Legends
Including the 100pt Bessards
Arriving This Fall
Delas is one of the most notable landholders in the Northern Rhone, with holdings in some of the best vineyards in every major AOC, and as a resulte are rightfully considered to be one of the most important producers in the Northern Rhone.
Delas makes wines that are powerful and impressive, with density and richness a hallmark of both the reds and the whites—there are no shrinking violets in the lineup. The Condrieu is all about the rich, opulent side of the AOC, with a thick mouthfeel and powerful aromatics. Ditto the St. Joseph, which is among the more structured, ageworthy examples to come of the region. Finally, we’re offering the legend-in-the-making Hermitage Les Bessards, from Delas’ choicest parcel of the fabled hill. Jeb Dunnuck recently gave a 100 point score to the 2015, so we’re happy to have secured our allocations before the score came out—prices have already started going up.
Arriving ETA Fall 2018:
Delas Freres Condrieu Clos Boucher, Rhone 2016 750ML ($89.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “A step up, the bigger, richer 2016 Condrieu Clos Boucher is blockbuster stuff, offering serious notes of crushed rock, buttered citrus, orange blossom, and a smoky, meaty, mineral character that’s hard to describe. Possessing full-bodied richness, beautiful mid-palate concentration and a seamless texture, this beauty will be even better this time next year and keep for 4-6 years.”
Delas Freres Saint-Joseph Francois de Tournon, Rhone 2015 750ML ($44.95) $38 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Delas Freres Saint-Joseph Francois de Tournon, Rhone 2015 750ML ($279.95) $199 pre-arrival special (that’s only $33.17/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Wine Advocate 93 points “Inky and concentrated, the 2015 Saint-Joseph Francois de Tournon is no easy-drinking Saint-Joseph. It’s smoky, herbal and ashy all at once, yet it’s buoyed by ample black cherry fruit and vibrant acidity. This medium to full-bodied Syrah has plenty of tannins, but they’re ultimately silky and most apparent on the long, licorice-tinged finish. This is approachable now but should be even better in 3 years and should drink well for at least another 10 after that.”
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points “Both Saint Joseph releases are brilliant in 2015. The 2015 Saint Joseph François De Tournon comes vines around Tournon, Mauves, Saint-Jean-de-Muzols, and Vion, and is always destemmed and aged in 30% new barrels. This full-bodied, rounded, sexy beauty shows the power and fruit of the vintage. With classic notes of black and blue fruits, violets, incense and pepper, drink this textured, expansive, terrific Saint Joseph over the coming 10-15 years.”
Jeb Dunnuck 100 points “The top cuvée from Delas is the 2015 Hermitage Les Bessards, and it’s always 100% Syrah from the steep, broken granite soils of the Bessards lieu-dit. Aged 18 months in 30% new barrels, its purple/plum color is followed by a huge nose of blackcurrants, graphite, toasted spice, crushed rocks and saddle leather. Powerful, massively concentrated, and tannic, it has a broad, expansive, heavenly texture, a thick mid-palate (you could almost use a fork for this beauty), and a great finish. Despite the richness level, it stays balanced and graceful on the palate, and is never over the top or heavy. It’s a perfect Hermitage that will start to shine with 4-5 years of bottle age and keep for three decades or more. Bravo!”
Wine Advocate 95-97 points “The top cuvée is the 2015 Hermitage les Bessards, which comes from the middle to lower portion of the steep, granite hillside known as Bessards, unquestionably one of the best terroirs for Syrah in the world. Its inky purple color is followed by a full-bodied, rich, thrillingly concentrated red that has huge tannin, bright acidity and a solid mid-palate concentration. It still tastes like it just came from the press and will need to be forgotten for a decade. As normal, it’s completely destemmed and will see 18 months in 30% new oak.”