Monday December 8th Newsletter

December 8, 2014

New Champagne, New Sales, Exploring Nahe Riesling, & Much More!

Jump Start Sale

Egon Muller Scharzhofberger Riesling Auslese 2011 ($419.95) $279 jump start special
Wine Advocate – David Schildknecht 96 points
“Mullers 2011 Scharzhofberger Riesling Auslese delivers a penetrating and multifarious nose of heliotrope, lily, candied lime rind, quince preserves, white peach preserves, distilled herbal essences, marzipan and brown spices. Almost weightlessly delicate yet simultaneously expansive and creamy, this both caresses and stimulates the palate with a kaleidoscopically interactive array of those diverse and exotic elements that on the nose signaled its ripeness and botrytis ennoblement. An almost syrupy sense of white peach along with hints of white raisin that emerge in that prodigious finish fails to tip the scales in too-confectionary a direction thanks to a vibratory sense of energy and refreshing rivulet of juicy fresh peach and lime that is threaded throughout.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA
The average listed price in the USA is $413 / bottle
Offer limited to 9 bottles presently available – offer expires December 12



Brick House Evelyn’s Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2012 ($79.95) $69 special
Wine Spectator 95 points
“Focused, juicy, precise and expressive, this offers a gorgeously balanced mouthful of plum, currant, red berry and floral flavors that come together harmoniously and persist into the long finish. Has depth and distinction. Best from 2016 through 2022.”

J Christopher Pinot Noir Abbey Ridge Dundee Hills 2012 ($69.95) $59 special

J Christopher Pinot Noir Lumiere Eola-Amity Hills 2012 ($41.95) $36 special
Matt Kramer ‘My Wines of the Year’–“Oregon Pinot Noir continues to surprise if only because, as a still youthful and hugely ambitious category, it continues to evolve. J. Christopher is a formerly tiny producer that has grown in size thanks to a partnership between founder and winemaker Jay Somers and his new, deep-pocketed partner, German winegrower Ernst Loosen. A new winery was built, and Somers, who is one of Oregon’s finest wine-makers, is now issuing multiple Pinot Noirs, all fashioned in his signature austere, detailed, low-oak style. The 2012 Pinot Noir called Lumiere leaped out when I tasted it for its rich fruit allied with an unusual degree of flavor delineation and easily discerned mineral notes. I was surprised by its exquisiteness in a vintage that trades more in dramatic fruitiness.”

Orin Swift The Prisoner Red Wine Napa Valley 2013 ($44.95) $39 special
Winery notes
“The Prisoner truly is… “one of a kind”. When Dave Phinney (founder) launched the wine in 2003, there really was no other wine like it. Inspired and created by the drinkable “mixed blacks” first made by the Italian immigrants who originally settled in the Napa Valley, it was innovative and unique. In the late ’90s a handful of Napa producers took an interest in making this style of wine. The blend soon began to incorporate not only Zinfandel, but also Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Charbono, and Grenache.”

Dom Perignon Champagne Brut 1999 ($219.95) $189 special
Stephen Tanzer & Antonio Galloni 93 points
“Green-tinted gold. Tightly wound lime and pink grapefruit aromas open slowly to reveal a gently smoky mineral and floral character, with a light kiss of green cardamom adding interest. Very fresh on the palate, with youthful citrus and green apple flavors giving way to slightly riper blood orange and pear. Finishes firm and dry, with serious grip. This only hints at its potential, and I’d advise anyone drinking it for what’s in the bottle rather than on the label to stash it away for at least another five years, minimum.”

Taittinger Comtes De Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs 2005 ($179.95) $149 special
Wine Enthusiast 95 points
“With just a touch of bottle age giving a toasty character, this impressive wine is already showing some maturity. That said, the apple and citrus character, the mineral tight texture and crisp acidity promise some aging. The wine conveys a sense of elegance, intensity and richness. Drink now, but the wine will also age.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “Shows lovely balance, with a chinalike backbone of acidity, finely meshed with a creamy mousse and rich and toasty flavors of roasted hazelnut, creamed apple, lemon parfait and spun honey. A vein of smoky minerality echoes on the finish. Drink now through 2028.”

Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs Gastronome Premier Cru 2009 ($79.95) $49 special
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 91 points
“Vivid yellow. A seductively perfumed bouquet of tangerine, pear skin, smoky lees, minerals and anise. Deeply pitched, supple orchard and citrus fruit flavors are braced by a dusty mineral quality and complemented by notes of buttery brioche and honey. The tangerine and mineral notes carry through a long, sappy finish that features a touch of gentle smokiness.” Wine Advocate 90+ points “From the Côte des Blancs grands crus Cramant, Chouilly and Oger plus the premiers Cuis and Vertus, the 2009 Cuvée Gastronomique 1er Cru Brut opens very clear on the nose indicating fully ripe (partly brown), cooked and also baked apples, ripe pears, butter, some exotic spicy and limey flavors as well as tobacco and brazil nut along with discreet yeasty flavors and a mineral touch. Full-bodied and very rich, this well structured and persistent Champagne develops an intense taste of cooked, brown apples with cinnamon but keeps its citric freshness also in the finish. I sniffed the bouquet for 15 minutes and the bouquet became more and more complex with every single minute. I was also impressed by the long lasting purity and minerality on the palate and this is why I recommend to spend more time with this excellent Champagne and to pour it into a big wine glass.”
Vinopolnotes– This is the lowest listed price (including tax) in the USA! The average listed price is $56 / bottle.

Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs Cuvee Oenophile Premier Cru Extra Brut Non Dose 2008 ($89.95) $59 special
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 92 points
“Light yellow. Powerful citrus and orchard fruit scents are complicated by honeysuckle, chalky minerals, iodine and anise. Offers palate-staining pear and orange flavors, with an intense floral quality building on the back half. The suave, seamless, nicely focused finish lingers with resonating florality.”
Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2008 Oenophile Extra Brut offers an invitingly clear, bright and fresh bouquet of crisp apples, lemons, brazil nuts and grated hazelnuts along with some hints of herbs and flowers. On the palate this is a very elegant, firm, fresh and minerally accentuated Champagne of with a good grip and an animating citric finish. It is a crisp, elegant, refined and a really stimulating aperitif on a really high level. Beautifully structured and mineral, I just can’t get enough!”
Vinopolnotes– This is the lowest listed price in the USA! The average listed price is $66 / bottle.

Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Cuvee Special Club Brut Millesime 2006 ($119.95) $71.90 special
Josh Raynolds Vinous 92 points
“Light, green-tinged yellow. Aromas of melon, fresh fig, honey and pear skin, along with a citrussy overtone. Dense and broad but lively too, boasting very good concentration to its orange, honeydew and poached pear flavors. Energetic, fruity and very long on the finish, featuring a bright, chalky quality and a hint of sweet butter.”
Wine Advocate 91+ points “The 2006 Special Club opens irritatingly with predominating lactose flavors which do not fade away but are accompanied by sweetish yeasty flavors. The wine is rich, intense and elegant on the palate but much less fruity than the regular vintage Champagnes. It is firm, tightly woven and long but the lactose flavors don’t go away.”
Vinopolnotes– This is the lowest listed price in the USA! The average listed price is 21% higher at $87 / bottle.

Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Paradoxe Premier Cru Brut 2007 ($79.95) $49 special
Josh Raynolds Vinous 91 points
“Bright yellow. High-pitched citrus fruit and floral aromas show very good clarity and pick up a leesy quality with aeration. Rich but lively and precise on the palate, offering intense tangerine and melon flavors and an undercurrent of chalky minerality. Carries the mineral and citrus fruit notes through on the finish, with a subtle anise quality sneaking in late.” Importer Note: “52% PN (from Aÿ and Mareuil) and 48% CH (from Mareuil, interestingly, along with Cuis, Cramant, Chouilly and Oger), disgorged 11/2013. Of course the “paradox” is that this arch-wizard of Blanc de Blancs, who swore he’d never make Champagne with PN, did it anyway and did it brilliantly. And this is detailed, sophisticated Champagne, judicious and prudent, but it needs time, time and more time—as many ’07s do. If you recall last year’s 2006 with its open-armed greeting, this one seems markedly stern, for now at least.”
Vinopolnotes– This is the lowest listed price in the USA! The next best listed price is over 35% higher at $69.99 / bottle.

Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Rose de Blancs Premier Cru Brut NV ($79.95) $49 special
Importer note:
“The ‘Rose de Blancs’ from Gimonnet is 90% Chardonnay based on the 2011 vintage from Chouilly, Cramant, Oger, and Cuis. The remaining 10% is Pinot Noir from Bouzy. The wine was fermented in stainless steel before spending 18 months sur latte.”
Vinopolnotes– This is the lowest (and only) listed price in the USA

Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Cuvee Fleuron Millesime Premier Cru Brut 2006 750ml ($79.95) $55 special
Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Cuvee Fleuron Millesime Premier Cru Brut 2006 1.5L ($149.95) $119 special
Stephen Tanzer 93 points
“Pale gold. Smoky pear and nectarine aromas are brightened by zesty minerals and deepened by hints of toasty lees and iodine. Intense orchard fruit and melon flavors stain the palate, picking up citrus pith and floral honey qualities with air. Turns firmer and more minerally with air, finishing with excellent lift and smoky persistence.”
Robert Parker 92 points “Intense golden yellow in color, the 2006 Cuvée Fleuron 1er Cru from 100% Chardonnay offers a deep, rich and complex aroma of ripe apples, quinces and other autumn fruits. Full-bodied, rich and intense on the palate, this excellent Champagne is also very pure, elegant, fine and well balanced and finishes with a stunningly intense and ripe aroma of ripe apples. This is not only a real character but also a great value Champagne.”
Vinopolnotes– This is the lowest listed price in the USA! The average listed price is $67 / 750ml and $145 / magnum.

Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs ‘Millesime de Collection Vieilles Vignes de Chardonnay’ 2005 1.5L ($249.95) $168 special
Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media 94 points
“The 2005 Brut Vintage Collection, tasted from magnum, is stunning. Intense, layered and drop-dead gorgeous, the 2005 covers every corner of the palate with layers of mineral-infused fruit. Smoke, slate, crushed rocks and flowers appear later, adding gorgeous dimensions of pure nuance. Still young, the 2005 appears to have a bright future. This is one of the best 2005 vintage Champagnes I have tasted. The 2005 is 100% Chardonnay from Cramant, Chouilly and Cuis. This bottle was disgorged in January 2013 after spending 84 months on its lees.”
Vinopolnotes– This is the lowest listed price in the USA!

Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs Cuis Premier Cru Brut NV ($59.95) $39 special
Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs Cuis Premier Cru Brut NV 1.5L ($149.95) $119 special
Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs Cuis Premier Cru Brut NV 375ML ($37.95) $26 special
Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs Cuis Premier Cru Brut NV 3L ($419.95) $319 special
Stephen Tanzer 92 points
“80% 2010 wine, 10% 2009, 4% 2008, 5% 2007 and 1% 2002; disgorged in May, 2013 after 30 months on its lees): Green-tinged yellow. Intense, mineral-accented aromas of orange zest, pear and white flowers, with an iodiney quality building in the glass. Chewy in texture and nicely concentrated, offering precise citrus and bitter quinine flavors and a strong topnote of dusty minerals. Finishes clean, bright and very long, with lingering chalkiness. This would make a superb match with fresh oysters or crab.”

Hudelot-Baillet Bourgogne Rouge 2012 ($34.95) $28 special

Hudelot-Baillet Chambolle Musigny Vieilles Vignes 2012 ($79.95) $66 special
Wine Advocate 91-93 points “The 2012 Chambolle-Musigny Vieilles Vignes comes from four lieux-dits to the south of Chambolle, courtesy of vines aged between 55 and 70-years. It has a very elegant bouquet that needs a little more encouragement than the regular Chambolle, opening to reveal brambly black fruit, cold stone and a touch of forest floor. The palate is medium-bodied with fine, supple tannins matched with good acidity. There is fine depth here, adorned with rounded blackcurrant and raspberry fruit and perhaps just requiring a little more tension right on the finish. Still, this is very fine.”

Hudelot-Baillet Chambolle Musigny Les Charmes Premier Cru 2012 ($99.95) $89 special
Wine Advocate 92-94 points
“From two parcels of 60+ year old vines totalling 0.63-hectares, the 2012 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Charmes has an entrancingly beautiful bouquet with blackberry, wild hedgerow, iris and cold stone that has wonderful definition. The palate has very good structure and mineralite: real tension here with a taut, linear finish that goes on and on. This is one of the best Chambolle premier crus this year.”

Hudelot-Baillet Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 2012 ($279.95) $219 special
Wine Advocate 95-97 points
“The 2012 Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru comes from a 0.29-hectare parcel of 70-year old vines that this year yielded just two barrels, one of them new. It has a very perfumed, quite floral bouquet with crystalline, red berry fruit intermingling with rose petals and just superb delineation. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine fruit concentration on the entry (black cherries, blueberry and raspberry) with supple yet fine tannins. It fans out wondrously towards the finish that is surfeit with energy and mineralite. This is a superb Bonnes-Mares–though it will be difficult to find!”

Chateau Redortier Gigondas 2010 ($39.95) $33 special
Stephen Tanzer 92-94 points
“(70% grenache and 30% syrah):  Youthful purple.  Intense red and dark berry aromas are complicated by notes of garrigue and minerals, plus exotic nuances of passionfruit and apricot.  Palate-staining raspberry and mulberry flavors are brightened by a spicy quality and show striking purity.  Closes with sappy red fruits, a seamless texture and very good persistence.”

Sottimano Barbera d’Alba Pairolero 2012 ($27.95) $24 special
Antonio Galloni 91 points
“Sottimano’s 2012 Barbera d’Alba Pairolero is built on finesse and persistence. Raspberry jam, cinnamon, mint and rose petals are all laced together in a subtle, refined Barbera that impresses for its purity of its fruit and total sense of finesse. This is one of the more refined, laid back Barbera Sottimano has made.”

Vietti Barolo DOCG Ravera 2010 ($399.95) $299 special
Antonio Galloni 100 points
” The 2010 Barolo Ravera is one of the greatest wines I have ever tasted from Vietti. Stunning. It’s as simple as that Freshly cut flowers, mint, spices, crushed rocks and pine jump from the glass in a vivid, crystalline wine endowed with captivating purity, clarity and finesse. The 2010 takes hold of the palate and never lets up, gaining body, breadth and volume over time. A breathtaking, perfumed finish rounds out the finish. The Ravera represents a bit of a stylistic departure for Vietti and a return to a more traditional style of winemaking. The 2010 was done entirely in cask, with minimal racking. In its early years, it was virtually impossible to taste as the reductive winemaking style gave a wine with closed aromatics and searing tannin. Today, the 2010 is beginning to blossom into an epic Barolo. The 2010 Ravera may well be the single greatest Barolo Luca Currado has ever made. It is also a wine that, along with the Barolos of Elvio Cogno, show just how much potential the hills of Ravera have to offer. Readers who can find the 2010 Ravera should not hesitate. It is a legendary, benchmark Barolo in the making. As an aside, a bottle of the 1999 I tasted last year was extraordinary, and it was made in the slightly more modern style that was typical at Vietti during that era.”

G.D. Vajra Barolo DOCG Ravera 2010 ($69.95) $59 special
Antonio Galloni 95+ points
“Vajra’s 2010 Barolo is striking. Freshly cut flowers, mint, crushed rocks, pine and aromatic spices all take shape in the 2010 Barolo Ravera. Vibrant and pulsating to the core, the 2010 impresses for its pure tension. Freshly cut flowers, mint and sweet spices add lift, but ultimately the 2010 is a dark, brooding Barolo that is going to require cellaring. There is so much to like here.”

Frescobaldi Castello di Nipozzano Chianti Riserva DOCG 2010 ($21.95) $17.70 special
Wine Spectator 92 points
“Black cherry, spice, tobacco and earth flavors prevail in this dense red. The tannins verge on being gritty in texture, yet there’s adequate acidity to keep this fresh. Best from 2016 through 2024.”

Ornellaia Masseto Toscana IGT 2011 ($649.95) $559 special limited availability 3 bottles available
James Suckling 100 points
“Wow. Fabulous aromas of currants, rosemary, mint and orange peel. Perfect nose. Full body with perfectly integrated tannins. It’s long and incredible with tangerine, toasted-oak, berry, terracotta and chocolate flavors. It lasts for minutes on the palate. This needs at least five years to soften but so spellbinding now.”

Occhipinti Il Frappato Sicilia IGT 2012 750ML ($39.95) $32.70 special
Occhipinti Il Frappato Sicilia IGT 2012 2012 1.5 LITER ($89.95) $69 special
Stephen Tanzer 91 points
“Good bright medium red.  Wild red berries, sour red cherry, violet and sweet spices on the nose, plus hints of blood orange and savory earthy scents.  Bright and juicy on entry, then tougher and concentrated in the middle, showing less floral lift and more fleshiness than is usual with frappato.  Finishes long and full, with strong iron and saline traces.  Very well done:  give this highly promising frappato at least two years of cellaring for optimal drinking.  Unlike the 2013 SP68 white wine, the new red wine vintages by young Arianna Occhipinti show pure floral aromas unmarred by oxidative tones, which were once much more evident in these wines.”
Vinopolnotes– This is the lowest listed price in the USA! The average listed price is 25% higher at $41 / bottle

Do Ferreiro Albarino Cepas Vellas Rias Baixas 2013 ($44.95) $39 special
Winery notes
“The Cepas Vellas is from the vineyard that is over 200 years old. These vines are planted on a hillside vineyard of mainly sandy (broken granite) composition and they predate any othervineyards in Rias Baixas.”

Veramonte Pinot Noir Casablanca Valley Chile 2012 ($17.95) $8.80 super special
Winery notes
“On the Veramonte estate, 65 acres are planted to Pinot Noir, including 5 acres organically farmed. Clonal selections include Dijon 777 and 115. The vines are densely planted at 2,000 vines per acre and managed to one cluster per shoot, yielding fewer than four tons per acre. The vineyards enjoy a variety of sun exposures and canopies are managed carefully to avoid sunburn and create even ripening.”


Spotlight Highlight
New Arrival

Champagne Philipponnat

“[Clos des Goisses is] arguably the greatest vineyard site in all of Champagne.”
Peter Liem

There can be no doubt that Clos des Goisses boasts the most climatically distinct, naturally occurring and expressive terroir in Champagne.”
Tom Stevenson


For centuries, members of the Philipponnat family have lived in Aÿ, whether owning vines, growing grapes or working as wine merchants.  In 1910, Auguste and Pierre Philipponnat established the Champagne house.  Since 1999, Auguste’s grandson, Charles, has run the House, which is part of the Lanson-Boizel-Chanoine Champagne Group.  The House works primarily with Pinot Noir grapes, using at least 30% Chardonnay to add freshness and complexity to the wines.  One third of the grapes are estate grown, the rest are sourced from growers in the area.  Work is done by hand or horse.  The wines are from first press juice to ensure intensity and freshness.  The NV is done in solera; Philipponnat was the first House to indicate the base year for its NVs, disgorgement dates, and other information about the wines.

In 1935, Pierre acquired the Clos des Goisses vineyard, arguably one of the best sites in Champagne.  It produced the region’s only single-vineyard for over 40 years.  The vineyard is on a steeply graded hill overlooking the Marne canal, at about a 45 degree incline.  It is south-facing with a thin, chalk topsoil.  The House converted about 70% of the vineyard from Chardonnay to Pinot Noir beginning in the 1950s.  It is rare for the site not to have an excellent vintage due to its warm, near-perfect situation.  The wines are barrel-fermented, never chaptalized, and undergo some malolactic fermentation before being aged on the lees for 8-9 years.

Just Arrived Here at Vinopolis

Philipponnat Champagne Clos Des Goisses Brut 2000 ($219.95) $189 special 6 bottles available
Gilbert & Gaillard 99 points
“Deep gold. Intense nose deploying notes of stone fruits, dried fruits and toasted undercurrents after swirling. The palate combines abundant fullness, vinosity and magnificent freshness. Already nicely open, this 2000 is at its peak. Excellent.”

Also Available Here Now

Philipponnat Clos des Goisses Brut 2001 ($249.95) $149 special 7 bottles available
Wine Advocate 93+ points
“The 2001 Brut Clos des Goisses has begun to take on attractive early tertiary nuances. A big, broad-shouldered wine, the 2001 has gorgeous depth but not quite the finesse of the very best years. Even with all of the intense fruit and rich, palate-staining finish, some slightly rough edges remain. Dried apricots, spices, licorice, sweet herbs and tobacco add elements of exoticism on the finish. A spell of cold weather and rain during the harvest appears to have marked the 2001. This is going to be a fascinating wine to follow, although I don’t think it will reach the heights of the 2002. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2041.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA!
The average listed price is $173 / bottle

Philipponnat Clos des Goisses Brut 2002 ($279.95) $249 special 3 bottles available
John Gilman 97 points, Wine Advocate 96 points
“The flagship 2002 Brut Clos des Goisses is simply stunning in this vintage. Seamless, ripe and beguiling, the 2002 is pure harmony in the glass. Dried pears, apricots, flowers, red berries and spices are some of the many notes that inform this towering, aristocratic wine. At once vertical yet endowed with serious length, the 2002 stands out for its breathtaking balance and overall sense of harmony. Layers of fruit built to the huge, creamy finish. This is a great showing from Philipponnat.”

Philipponnat Clos des Goisses Brut 2004 ($279.95) $219 special 10 bottles available
John Gilman 95+ points
“The 2004 Clos des Goisses is one of the very few vintages here that has undergone malolactic fermentation, as the wine undertook this decision on its own, and the malo took place in bottle while the wine was resting on its lees and awaiting its dosage for the secondary fermentation. Given the raciness of the 2004 vintage in general, the full malo here is hardly to be noticed, and without Charles Philipponnat having told me about this, I doubt that I would have ever noticed. The wine has opened up a bit since I last tasted it at the domaine at the end of March, and this is destined to be a great vintage of Clos des Goisses in the fullness of time. The superb bouquet shows off outstanding depth and nascent complexity in its constellation of apple, tart orange, a touch of cranberry, complex, youthful minerality, plenty of smokiness and early signs of the wine’s classic nuttiness already emerging in the upper register. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and rock solid at the core, with outstanding focus and grip, very refined mousse and simply superb length on the poised and perfectly balanced finish. I did not note 2004’s telltale touch of herbacité here in New York that I noted in Mareuil in March, and I now think that this element was more a function of its relatively recent disgorgement (only four months previous when I first tasted it), rather than a signature in this vintage of Clos des Goisses. This will be a great wine. 2020-2070.”

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Arriving This Week

Hall Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2012 ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Winery notes
” Our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon delivers our interpretation of the quintessential Napa Cabernet: dense, opulent, and symphonic, with balance and beauty to the core. Achieving a wine with these attributes, vintage after vintage, drives our winegrowing and winemaking efforts. This wine incorporates choice fruit from vineyards throughout Napa Valley—from the small rugged hillside sites of our partner growers to each of our organic estate vineyards. By blending these various lots, we create a rich panorama on the palate, a landscape of complexity and character that clearly depicts Napa Valley.”
Vinopolnotes– The Hall 2012 is a blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot, 3% Syrah, 3% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc, 1% Malbec.

Andre Clouet Brut Millesime 2008 ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Antoni Galloni 92 points
“Clouet’s 2008 Brut Millesime shows quite a bit more tension and focus than the 2007, hardly a surprise given then personality of the vintage. Bright, saline notes frame expressive red fruits, flowers and sweet spices. The 2008 Brut is a gorgeous wine with plenty of appeal today, but it will also develop beautifully in bottle. Stylistically it is less overt than the 2007 but places more emphasis on length. Brut Millesime is mostly Pinot, with 30-40% Chardonnay.”
Vinopolnotes– This is the lowest listed price in the USA! The average listed price is 22% higher at $72/ bottle.

Andre Clouet Brut Cuvee Un Jour de 1911 NV ($99.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Antoni Galloni 93+ points
“The NV Grand Cru Cuvee 1911 emerges from the glass with the most haunting of perfumes. Sweet rose petal and jasmine are some of the nuances that emerge over time. Despite recent disgorgement, the purity of the fruit and the extraordinary elegance of the mousse are hard to miss. This is an exceptional, elegant version of the 1911 that should drink beautifully for years to come. The bottle I tasted needed quite a bit of air to open up, so readers should be patient with the wine at this stage.”

Just a reminder about our current shipping specials during this season:We offer flat rate shipping on any size single order / single shipment
-to Oregon for $17,
-Washington & Idaho for $20,
-and California for $25

These rates do not apply to orders held in storage here for any reason.
Multiple orders consolidated into one shipment do not qualify for flat rate shipping.



Germany Wine Tour
The Nahe Region

Named for the Nahe River, which is a tributary of the Rhine, this region offers wines that are a balance between the ethereal delicacy of the Mosel and the bold, masculine style of the Rheingau.  It is a small winemaking region with only
10,400 acres of vineyard land.  It was originally planted as early as 778, some 500 years after the Mosel.  Although it was acclaimed worldwide by the 19th century, economic difficulties pulled the region back into obscurity by the beginning of the 20th.  It was not until heightened interest in Riesling in the 1990s that the region was rediscovered.  By this time, most producers had replanted their Muller-Thurgau and Silvaner vines with the higher quality Riesling.

In general, the Nahe is known for its volcanic soils.  The best vineyards face south or south-east and are planted on steep volcanic slopes.  Since the 1971 classification, only Riesling wines can name the vineyard source on the label.  There are three sub-regions of the Nahe.  The Upper Nahe is primarily composed of volcanic soil, with plenty of variation of sandstone, porphyry, melaphyr and slate.  Notable villages include Schlossbockelheim, Oberhausen, Niederhausen and Norheim.
Wines from this area are redolent with spice, mineral and red fruit aromas.  In the Bad Kreuznach, it is warmer and at a lower altitude, allowing producers to obtain greater ripeness and greater weight.  The soil here is loess and clay.  Top vineyards include the Brucke, Kahlenberg and Krotenpfuhl.  The Lower Nahe shows similarities to the Rheinhessen due to the slate and quartzite soil.  Many alternative grape varieties are grown here.  Schlossgut Diel produces three single-vineyard, dry Grosses Gewachs wines from the three Grosse Lage (Grand Cru) vineyards of Burgberg, Goldloch and Pittermannchen here.

The Donnhoff Estate produces some of the best examples of German Rieslings in the Nahe region.  Situated between the villages of Niederhausen and Schlossbockelheim in the middle Nahe, the Dönnhoff family has been making wine since 1750, with Helmut Dönnhoff in charge of winemaking at the estate since 1971.  His son Cornelius has been the winemaker of the estate since 2007 after working under his father, who still assists in winemaking.  The estate has over 60 acres of Erste Lage (“first class”) vineyards sites.  None of their vineyards are irrigated, all are organic, and their grapes are hand-picked over several passes.  Here we find such vineyards as Hermannshohle along a steep hill that at its peak is rich in slate and slowly becomes more volcanic towards the base.

I want the wines I make to contain a story, and the story I can offer is that of me at home in my landscape. Winemaking alone cannot bring quality, it can only retain the available quality. The concentration of all the flavors of the grape, especially the mineral extract, gives the wine its real taste and structure.
— Helmut Donnhoff

Grosses Gewachs? 

In 2002, a group of top German winemakers including Donnhoff introduced the Grosses Gewachs category to identify top quality dry wines made from the best vineyard sites (Grosse Lage).  These wines are produced from the best vineyard parcels and offer breathtaking expressiveness and aging potential.  They are pure expressions of very specific vineyard sites with distinct terroir, sustainably grown with careful and strict pruning by passionate producers in Germany.  Other Trocken (dry) wines from Donnhoff offer superb complexity and focused acidity.

Nahe Wines Available Here Now

Hexamer Schlossböckelheimer In Den Felsen Riesling Feinherb “Porphyr” 2011 ($23.95) $18 special 4 bottles available
Wine Advocate 89 points
“Hexamer’s 2011 Schlossbockelheimer in den Felsen Riesling feinherb Porphyr issued from young vines in the rather uninspiringly flat lower section of In den Felsen. But it’s lovely: buoyant at a mere 11% alcohol, and at 19 grams/liter residual sugar infectiously succulent in its amalgam of apple, peach, mirabelle and liquid floral perfume, yet still able to pass as dry-tasting. There is less mineral complexity but more charm here than in this wine’s trocken siblings, and it should prove delightfully versatile over at least the next 3-5 years.”

Hexamer Meddersheimer Rheingrafenberg Riesling Spatlese* 2003 ($39.95) $33 special 3+ cases available
Terry Theise:
“A few of you will despise this on principle because you heard somewhere that the hot 2003s were “flabby.” Ohhh-Kay. Just taste this almost virginal, superb Riesling and then tell me. Bottled under screwcap, there’s barely a tertiary note in sight, just a surmise of the beeswaxy signature of the best `03s. BUT, you do get something like adult vinosity instead of the baby-fat primary fruit of all these newborns.”

Jakob Schneider Riesling Kabinett 2010 1L ($21.95) $14 special 17 liter bottles available

Schlossgut Diel Dorsheimer Burgberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs 2012 ($79.95) $69 special 7 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 91 points “($81) Tropical fruit, persimmon and lemon oil on the nose, with a floral twist. Intense, full-bodied papaya fruit is highlighted by flinty minerality. Rich and concentrated on the finish. A bit youthfully closed today, but with excellent potential.”

Schlossgut Diel Dorsheimer Pittermannchen Riesling Grosses Gewachs 2012 ($69.95) $49 special 9 bottles available

Schlossgut Diel Dorsheimer Goldloch Riesling Grosses Gewachs 2012 ($74.95) $59 special 9 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 90 points “($75) Bright aromas of white peach, acacia blossom and pine nuts. Crisp pear fruit paired with subtle saltiness gives the palate a vibrant character. Pure and clean, with a delicate spicy character lingering on the finish.”

Weingut Donnhoff Riesling Trocken 2012 ($23.95) $16 special 5 bottles available
Fine Wine Review 92+ points:
“It seems that with every vintage, Helmut Dönnhoff manages to come up with a collection that is striking both for the quality of the wines and for the consistency across the board, no matter what the vintage conditions — such is the extent of his knowledge, skill, and care. The trocken is mostly from volcanic soils. The nose is pure, focused, and dusty. The mouth is dry with a fair amount of power. There are dusty, almost earthy, flavors with plum fruit starting to come out. 12% stated alcohol. (Issue #142; 2014)”
John Gilman 88 points (View From the Cellar): “The 2012 Estate Riesling Trocken from Weingut Dönnhoff is a lovely wine, with alcohol in the 11.5 to 11.8 percent range and a fine base of minerality to augment the very stylish fruit tones. The bouquet offers up scents of grapefruit, slate, petrol, wild yeasts, citrus peel and a gentle topnote of smokiness. On the palate the wine is medium-bodied, long and crisp, with lovely focus and grip, bright acids and fine mineral drive on the backend. This is a really delightful bottle of dry Riesling for everyday drinking and would be great as a wine by the glass for restaurants. 2013-2025+. (Mar/Apr 2013)”

Weingut Donnhoff Oberhauser Leistenberg Tonschiefer Riesling Trocken 2011 ($27.95) $18 special 3 bottles available
Wine Advocate 88 points
“Significantly clearer and more persistent than this year’s corresponding-basic-dry estate Riesling, the Donnhoff 2011 Riesling trocken Tonschiefer–originating as usual in the Oberhauser Leistenberg–delivers nut, lime peel, juniper and huckleberry piquancy against a background of wet stone, its firm feel and uncompromising dryness lending a certain austerity to a formidably tenacious finish. I would anticipate this being best employed over the next 2-3 years.”

Weingut Donnhoff Kreuznacher Krotenpfuhl Riesling Kabinett 2010 ($34.95) $29.50 special 3+ cases available
Wine Advocate 91 points
“Honeysuckle, green tea, and apple blossom in the nose of Donnhoff’s 2010 Kreuznacher Krotenpfuhl Riesling Kabinett set the tone for a buoyant, pure-fruited palate and a lip-smacking, dynamically interactive finish of flowers, herbs, apple, plus a saline, meat stock- and soy-like savor. Something about the gravel that here overlays volcanic stone seems to conduce (hypothesizes Donnhoff) to a floral, forwardly fruity, and buoyant personality. “And that would probably be rendered kaput if the wine were vinified trocken,” he adds. (Though flowers and levity, in fact, seem to be common themes in this year’s collection.) Expect this fine value to delight for 12-15 years.”

Weingut Donnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling Spatlese 2010 ($79.95) $59 special 7 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 92 points
“Pale golden yellow. Tantalizing aromas of papaya, cherry, sweet herbs and tobacco. Discreet but intense cherry fruit rises from the mid-palate, brightened by brilliant acidity. This lusciously spicy sp a tlese finishes deep and long. I may be underrating this.”

Weingut Donnhoff Oberhauser Brucke Riesling Spatlese 2010 ($59.95) $49 special 1 bottle available
TerryTheise ++(+)
: “It has its wisdom-smell. It’s learned at last how not to waste time, and having learned, can release a deep kindness that isn’t charming. The wine makes no apparent effort. It relaxes and issues a numinous pulse of solid beauty. This may not delight in its first several years, but give it the 12-15 years it needs, and then open the windows, look out at the moon, observe the inexplicable longing the wine seems to bring, or to want you to feel, and be glad: you are alive, there are people who love you, and still there’s a sense that it isn’t enough. Because it can’t be, it isn’t supposed to be. You are designed to hunger and to grieve and to yearn, and also to be amazed and connected and grateful. Who’d have thought, the reminder of what it’s all for, living in a tiny sip of wine?”

Weingut Donnhoff Norheimer Kirschheck Riesling Spatlese 2012 ($37.95) $29 special 19 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 89 points
“($39) A subtle honeysuckle aroma blends with hyacinth and lime on the nose. Polished peachy fruit and a refined minerality drift across the palate. Delicate and eminently drinkable.”

Weingut Donnhoff ‘Felsenturmchen’ Schlossbockelheimer Felsenberg Riesling Spatlese 2012 ($39.95) $29 special 24 bottles available

Weingut Donnhoff Norheimer Dellchen Riesling Auslese 2006 375ML ($119.95) $79 special 5 bottles available
Wine Advocate 97 points “The 2006 Norheimer Dellchen Riesling Auslese seems to be following a mission for this site to display in the most elegant, delicate, and seemingly effortless way the concentrated ripeness of the vintage, in the process proving Donnhoff’s hypothesis that – like the Hermannshohle – Dellchen “has talent at all levels of residual sugar.” This Auslese puts away the botrytis as the dry Spatlese dispatched its alcohol and the sweet Spatlese its residual sugar. A cherry-nectarine liqueur redolent of distilled essences and laced with lemon generates an inner-mouth explosion of floral perfume. Deep honey and chocolate richness well-up but do not pull this masterpiece down from its orbital state. I would not pull a cork for 15 years nor be in any hurry (were I a young man) to drink it up in less than 40 years.”

Weingut Donnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel 2010 375ML ($59.95) $39 special 8 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 94 points
“Rich golden yellow. Luscious aromas of candied pineapple, lemon oil and acacia honey on a bed of smoky botrytis. The succulent weight of papaya fruit is levitated by crisp minerality on the palate. A fine balance of creamy fruit and herbal spice on the seductive, very long finish.”

Weingut Donnhoff Oberhauser Brucke Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel 2010 375ML ($59.95) $37 special 10 bottles available
Wine Advocate 94 points
“Picked-out, like its Hermannshohle counterpart, in the last, early-November days of harvest, Donnhoff’s 2010 Oberhauser Brucke Riesling Auslese gold capsule was, he estimates, “perhaps 50% affected by botrytis, and dry botrytis, no mere rot.” Candied lime rind and marzipan; lily and honeysuckle; white peach and salted caramel inform this wine’s haunting nose and rich yet buoyant palate, with the mouthwatering savor that characterized the corresponding Spatlese undiminished. This needs some time in bottle to better focus, and it will be interesting to see whether it develops more sense of cut and brightness. But it’s already irresistible, and almost sure to prove worth following for a quarter century or more.”

Weingut Donnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling Grosses Gewachs 2011 ($99.95) $79 special 23 bottles available
John Gilman 97+ points
“Not to be outdone by the Dellchen, the 2011 Hermannshöhle Grosses Gewächs is also profound! The deep and completely kaleidoscopic nose soars from the glass in a magical blend of white cherries, pink grapefruit, crystalline minerality, citrus peel, lemongrass and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, pure and Porsche-like in the passing lane, with stunning mid-palate depth, ripe, racy acids, brilliant focus and grip and a very, very pure and very long and elegant finish. A seamless and utterly stunning young wine! 2020-2050.”

Weingut Donnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling Grosses Gewachs 2012 ($89.95) $69 special 7 bottles available
John Gilman 95+ points
“I mentioned how impressed I had been last year with the brilliance of the 2011 Hermannshöhle Grosses Gewächs to Herr Dönnhoff, and he suggested it would be fun to taste it again after sampling the 2012 version–which made for a very interesting comparison indeed. I gave a very, very slight nod to the more extroverted 2011, but the 2012 is very, very close in potential. The 2012 Hermannshöhle Grosses Gewächs offers up a young and stunning aromatic blend of tart apple, pink grapefruit, a touch of rosemary, petrol, slate, wild yeasts, smoky overtones and a topnote of orange zest. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and very precise, with a rock solid core, crystalline minerality, brisk acids and stunning length and grip on the snappy finish. A great wine in the making! 2020-2045+.”
Stephen Tanzer 91 points “Sumptuous aromas of dried apricot, blackberry and oyster shell, complicated by a smoky, herbal character. Dense passion fruit and finely polished minerality animate the palate. Rich, elegant and spicy on the persistent finish, this will certainly improve with bottle age.”

Weingut Donnhoff Norheimer Dellchen Riesling Grosses Gewachs 2012 ($.95) $49 special 4 bottles available
Case-6 Weingut Donnhoff Norheimer Dellchen Riesling Grosses Gewachs 2012 ($.95) $279 special 1 six-pack available
Fine Wine Review 95 points
“The Dellchen GG is from a combination of slate and volcanic soils. The nose is a bit smoky and has dust elements. The mouth is austere and deep with clarity, excellent acidity, and great penetration. (Issue #142; 2014)”
John Gilman 94 points (View From the Cellar) “The 2012 Dellchen Grosses Gewächs is a superb wine in the making, jumping from the glass in a youthfully complex mélange of grapefruit, tart orange, wild yeasts, complex slate tones, citrus peel and smoke. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and has laser-like focus, with a rock solid core, ripe acids and a very, very long, primary finish. This superb Grosses Gewächs will need a good six or seven years’ worth of bottle age to really blossom and come into its own, and it should prove to very long-lived. 2020-2045+. (Mar/Apr 2013)”

Weingut Donnhoff ‘Felsenturmchen’ Schlossbockelheimer Felsenberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs 2012 ($69.95) $49 special 12 bottles available
Terry Theise
“A big, smoky and determinedly important wine; still very early days, but this made me think of a Grand Cru Alsace with the fat removed and the mineral intact. But this isn’t just mineral; it’s a swollen dialogue of stones and smoke and exotic flowers. By the way, taste this for an exegesis of porphyry flavor.”

Weingut Donnhoff Grosses Gewachs 6-PACK 2012 ($499.95) $299 special 2 six-packs available
Two bottles each of the 3 Grosses Gewachs bottlings from 2012:
Dellchen, Felsenberg & Hermannshohle

Weingut Donnhoff Schlossbockelheimer Felsenberg Riesling Beerenauslese 2007 375ML ($199.95) $179 special 6 bottles available
Wine Advocate 99 points “The over-ripe pear and quince featured in other nobly sweet wines of this collection are very much present in Donnhoff’s 2007 Schlossbockelheimer Felsenberg Riesling Beerenauslese, along with aromas of distilled gentian, gardenia, lemon oil, freshly baked bread, and white truffle. The intensity of inner-mouth perfume here – orchard fruit, floral, and herbal distillates – is nearly beyond belief. Pear nectar, quince preserves, apple jelly, liquid gardenia, brown spices, and a certain saline and smoky suggestions of things mineral inform a finish of trance-inducing duration. This amazing elixir – harvested largely in the Turmchen section of the site – should be worthy of 40 years cellaring. When Donnhoff laughingly referred to this as the year of Felsenberg, he was not in fact kidding, nor was he referring just to the sheer number of bottlings!”

Weingut Donnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling Beerenauslese 2011 375ML ($199.95) $149 special 17 bottles available
Wine Advocate 96 points
“Intriguingly musky and subtly fungal as well as piercing in its evocation of distilled pit fruits and botanicals, the nose of Donnhoff’s 2011 Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling Beerenauslese – which was picked alongside its Auslese counterpart – promises an intense palate experience that the wine very much delivers. Distilled extracts of wormwood, woodruff and anisette; maraschino and serviceberry seem to lace the amalgam of quince jelly with pear and white peach nectars in a lusciously multi-layered yet animated palate performance. A spicy and tropical suggestion of mango chutney compounds the vibrantly penetrating effect of pungent herbal and pit fruit essences in a tonsil-gripping, mouth-shaking finish.”

Weingut Donnhoff Oberhauser Brucke Riesling Eiswein 2010 375ML ($249.95) $199 special 6 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 97 points
“Rich gold with green highlights. Crisp aromas of glazed pineapple, nut oils and frankincense. Rich, dense tropical fruit flavors show a honeyed texture but vibrant, uplifting acidity gives the middle palate a subtle complexity. The long finish combines juicy fruit and salty mineral layers. One of the great wines of the vintage.”

Weingut Donnhoff Oberhauser Brucke Riesling Eiswein 2011 375ML ($239.95) $149 special 16 bottles available
Wine Advocate 92 points
“Musk and leather; prickly radish and lemon rind; caramel apple and honey; passion fruit and mango inform an intense aromatic as well as ultra-concentrated palate performance. Unlike with so many other 2011s rendered from frozen grapes in early 2012, one can’t complain here about a lack of Eiswein-like acidity – but it takes-on a somewhat detached, slightly metallic and strident edge. Perhaps this extreme wine’s caramelized and animal aspects will reconcile themselves in time with its sharp citricity and radish-like sizzle, but the ways of Eiswein in the bottle are capricious.”

Weingut Donnhoff Oberhauser Brucke Riesling Eiswein 2012 375ML ($219.95) $179 special 3 bottles available
Terry Theise
“Brücke is predestined for Eiswein, as its warm situation next to the Nahe gives ripe grapes and yet the way it sits in the valley takes the sun away early in the Fall, and what has been one of the warmer vineyards suddenly becomes one of the colder ones.This wine has a fragrance that makes you want to cry, and then dance. It’s pure Dönnhoff in its sanguine Buddhist peace. The prayer-flags whip in a stiff wind and the frost clings to each bit of shade, yet on the hillside the sun is shining, and getting closer. The later picking has more lavish fruit, mellower acids and more opulence. A cuvée of the two wines will be bottled.”

Nahe Wines Arriving Next Week

Schlossgut Diel Dorsheimer Burgberg Riesling Spatlese 2004 ($69.95) $54.50 pre-arrival special
Stephen Tanzer 92 points
“Resplendent aromas of papaya, pineapple and oyster shell. Dense but juicy, with a finely spiced acidity that seizes one’s palate. Finishes with impressive concentration and length. One of the finest spatleses of the vintage.”

Weingut Donnhoff Felsenberg Riesling GG “Felsenturmchen” 2013 ($69.95) $54.50 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 94 points
“Coming from volcanic porphyry soils, the citrus colored 2013 Schlossbockelheimer Felsenberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs displays aromas of powdered volcanic stones mixed with intense citrus flavors and layers of lees-notes. Showing a complex palate that is very mineral, tightly structured and dusted with stone powder, it has very good mid-palate weight and very good length with citric aromas. It is an impressive wine that is still closed but full of potential.”

Weingut Donnhoff Dellchen Riesling GG 2013 ($69.95) $54.50 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 94 points
“Citrus colored, the 2013 Norheimer Dellchen Riesling Grosses Gewachs has a lovely clear and perfumed bouquet of fresh limes and cooked apples. Very pure on the palate, the juicy fruit is completely integrated into the thrilling, mineral texture of this beautiful and tension-filled, full-bodied wine that seems light and open-hearted. ”

Weingut Donnhoff Hermannshohle Riesling GG 2013 ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 95 points
“Intense yellow with greenish shimmer, the 2013 Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling Grosses Gewachs has spicy flavors with ripe peach aromas alongside spiced shortbread biscuits and almond notes. Pure and intense on the palate, quite powerful and full-bodied, very salty, far away from maturity, great aging potential though. A very long and complex wine indeed and one of the finest dry German Rieslings of the vintage. ”

Weingut Donnhoff Oberhauser Leistenburg Riesling Kabinett 2013 ($31.95) $24 pre-arrival special
Terry Theise
“A trebly wine in general meets a trebly vintage in particular, and the result is like a St. Elmo’s fire of flavor; high-toned lemony aromas, talc, spearmint, with a scythe-like cut and relief; almost shockingly taut in this very young stage”

Weingut Donnhoff Oberhauser Brucke Riesling Spatlese 2013 ($49.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special
Terry Theise
“An aside—there’s no Felsenberg Spät in the small crop of 2013, as all of it went into the dry wine. Thus we head straight into Brücke, and into its quiet monastic stirring and yearning. That’s the essence of Brücke, this kind of ur-Riesling that seems to find our own primordial souls. In ’13 its acids feel more prominent, and it’s brooding just now, but serenely—Brücke can be obscure but is never austere. I opened the 2001 over the winter and it needs 4-5 more years, though you can drink Hermannshöhle now if you insist. ”

Weingut Donnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling Spatlese 2013 ($64.95) $51.90 pre-arrival special
Terry Theise
“After the Brücke this was vividly lively again. Qualities of sublimity and qualities of almost hyperactive acidity. A decades- keeper, or if you drink it young, then food please. You need to carpet over an end-palate snappiness. The trebly skeins-of-herbs-and-flowers style of ’13 is well expressed here! But again—take this all with some grains of salt. I was early to this particular party.”

Weingut Donnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel 2013, 375ml ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Terry Theise
“Now we see the cherry and verbena elements of this greatest of all Riesling vineyards in the elevated form of a parfait. It’s sweet and overt yet also mysterious, as intense and as light as the best macaroons.”

Staff Picks

Von Hovel Scharzhofberg Saar Riesling Kabinett 2012 ($27.95) $21.90 staff pick special
“The wine is light and herbal on the nose. Nice acidity balances out the ripe sweetness. Notable flavors of berries, mint and anise on the palate. A nice Kabinett  for the money, and will pair well with holiday dishes.”


Ostertag Sylvaner Vieilles Vignes 2012 ($24.95) $19 staff pick special

“ A full bodied  and rich Sylvaner with a lot of fruit expression. Starts off round with a firm minerality and finishes with floral and citrus notes. An excellent alternative to Riesling from a famed Alsace producer.”



Pre-Arrival Feature

Clape Cornas
Arriving December 11th

“…the passionate guardian of a tradition that in many ways he defined … the reference point for the appellation.”
– Robert Parker

Cornas is still an underappreciated appellation despite producing very high end and exciting age-worthy Syrah-based reds. Located at the Southern-most part of Northern Rhone on south-facing hills, Cornas wines are known for an
intensity and body similar to those of Hermitage, if lacking some of the finesse, and for the extreme values that come from this underrated appellation. Many winemakers in the area are just beginning to gain worldwide attention, with August Clape at the forefront. Clape was the village’s first producer to bottle his own wine in 1957, having previously sold it in barrel to négociants such as Jaboulet. Since that time, Clape’s wine has been the essence of Syrah grown in Cornas’ suntrap of steep granite slopes. Today Clape’s wines are greater than ever before, and a new generation of winemakers, his son Pierre-Marie and grandson Olivier, are ready to make the most of his old vines and treasured plots. (Pictured left to right: Three generations of the Clape family; Auguste Clape, his grandson Olivier and Pierre-Marie to the far right)

Clape’s masterpiece is his classic Cornas, precisely blended from five to six cuvées of the oldest vines in the best sites, primarily Reynard, La Côte and Sabarotte. The old vines here are Petite Syrah-the old clone considered by many to be the true Syrah-which creates a stunningly deep and complex wine that will develop for decades. Since 1998, Clape has produced a Renaissance Cornas, made from 20- to 25-year-old vines on the domaine’s best slopes as well as older vines from the lower slopes, this is an earlier maturing wine than the classic Cornas but will continue to develop over time.

Arriving This Week

Domaine Auguste Clape Cornas 2012 750ml ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Domaine Auguste Clape Cornas 2012 1.5 LITER ($399.95) $299 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 95-97 points
“Moving to the reds and one of the most impressive efforts from Cornas I was able to taste, Clape’s 2012 Cornas offers up an inky purple color to go with massive aromas and flavors of charred earth, graphite, cassis, black raspberry and searing minerality. Turning meatier with air, this full-bodied 2012 has a blockbuster texture, thrilling mid-palate depth and a decadent finish, yet never loses focus or seems over the top in any way. It will need 3-4 years to become approachable, and evolve gracefully for two decades or more.”

Domaine Auguste Clape Renaissance Cornas 2012 750ML ($89.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 94-96 points
“Also gorgeous, and a wine that will be approachable at a slightly earlier date than the straight Cornas, the 2012 Cornas Renaissance delivers thrilling aromas and flavors of black fruits, liquid flowers, charcoal and charred beef that continue to develop and change in the glass. Full-bodied, deep and layered, with sweet tannin, this beauty can be consumed early on, or cellared for over a decade.”

Available Here Now from Auguste Clape

Domaine Clape Cornas 2010 750ML ($349.95) $299 special 2 bottles available
Domaine Clape Cornas 2010 1.5 LITER ($699.95) $599 special 1 magnum available
Robert Parker 100 points
“Eclipsing even the 2009, the 2010 Cornas achieved one of the highest natural alcohol levels (14%) ever recorded at Clape. This complex, inky/purple-colored effort boasts abundant notes of charcoal, licorice, blackberries and blueberries intermixed with a hint of scorched earth (or is it charcoal embers?), a full-bodied mouthfeel, a seamless personality and a crushed rock-like minerality. The tannins are so sweet it will be drinkable in 2-3 years, and should keep for 25 or more. It is a tour de force in what Syrah can achieve in this hallowed appellation. Kudos to the Clape family, especially Pierre-Marie.”


Time to Say Goodbye


H. Gouges Nuits Saint Georges 2011 ($59.95) $39 special
Stephen Tanzer 87-89 points
“Good bright, deep red.  Strong animal reduction along with black and red fruits on the nose.  Silky and supple for a Nuits villages owing to ripe acidity, with a lovely restrained sweetness to its dark fruit flavors.  Finishes with suave tannins and good breadth and length.  Very nicely balanced.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today
The average listed price is $59 / bottle

H. Gouges Nuits Saint Georges Chenes Carteaux 2011 ($89.95) $59 special
Burghound 89-92 points
“A discreet touch of wood surround the ripe and well-layered mix of red berry fruit scents that are liberally laced with earth and underbrush nuances. There is good ripeness to the suave, even seductive middle weight flavors that possess really lovely depth on the persistent, balanced and harmonious finish. This is really quite good and worth considering.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today
The next best listed price is 33% higher @ $79 / bottle