Monday Newsletter 1-27-2020

In This Newsletter:

A Rare Vertical of Barthod Chambolle


Terre Nere’s Top Wines

2017 Merkelbach
New Reviews from David Schildknecht

Domaine Durand
New Offer Arrives Friday

Collector’s Corner
Arriving Friday

A Rare Vertical of Barthod Chambolle

Ghislaine Barthod makes some of the most magical wines in Burgundy.  A Chambolle specialist, her wines always capture the delicacy and ethereal qualities we look for in the village.  While her top wines command extreme prices, her village level Chambolle-Musigny is one of the better deals in the world of Burgundy.  Drinking it blind, you’d assume what’s in the glass would be Premier Cru (or better, in some vintages).

We’re excited to offer a seven-vintage vertical of that wine today—the perfect chance to grab some perfectly cellared wines that greatly exceed the destiny of their labels.  What’s better, these are half the cost of the premier cru wines—a do not miss opportunity.  Like higher end bottlings from other producers, these age exceptionally well—the 2009 is just entering its window of maturity and the younger vintages have time to go, as well. That said, if you crack a couple now, we won’t tell.

Arriving ETA January 31st:

Domaine Ghislaine Barthod Chambolle-Musigny, Cote de Nuits 2009 750ML ($199.95) $169 pre-arrival special, 1 bottle available
Stephen Tanzer 90 points
“Bright medium red. Wild strawberry, raspberry, mocha and menthol on the full-blown but fresh nose. Silky, sweet and seriously stuffed with fruit. Dense and strong for village wine. Finishes with good juicy length. To drink or age. (Ghislaine Barthod picked early in 2009, and this village wine gives strong evidence that this strategy was a good one.)”
Antonio Galloni 88-90 points “The 2009 Chambolle-Musigny is a hugely pleasing wine laced with dark red fruit, mint, minerals and flowers, all of which come together with notable persistence. A weightless, effortless wine, the Chambolle impresses for its impeccable balance and lovely sense of harmony. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today with no minimum order!

Domaine Ghislaine Barthod Chambolle-Musigny, Cote de Nuits 2010 750ML ($159.95) $136 pre-arrival special, 2 bottles available
Neal Martin-Vinous 89 points
“Reviewed May 2019. The 2010 Chambolle-Musigny Village has fine delineation on the nose with subtle cranberry and crushed strawberry scents, a touch of tomato leaf in the background. The palate is underpinned by fine tannin, quite precise and poised yet surprisingly backward with almost a recalcitrant grip on the finish. Therefore give this another couple of years in bottle. Tasted at Goedhuis’s Burgundy tasting at Vintners Hall.”
Antonio Galloni 88-90 points “The 2010 Chambolle-Musigny boasts an exotic bouquet redolent of super ripe dark cherries, flowers, mint and spices. This is a fairly exuberant wine, but there is more than enough minerality to provide balance. The balance and overall sense of harmony are first-rate. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2020.”

Domaine Ghislaine Barthod Chambolle-Musigny, Cote de Nuits 2012 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special, 4 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 90-92 points
“The 2012 Chambolle-Musigny is a great introduction to the year. Dark cherries, plums and spices jump from the glass in a sensual, expressive Chambolle with tons of near-term appeal. Violets, rose petals and spices all flesh out on the radiant, expressive finish. The 2012 is a bit richer and broader than is normally the case, but there is plenty of vibrancy to balance the intensity of the fruit.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today with no minimum order!

Domaine Ghislaine Barthod Chambolle-Musigny, Cote de Nuits 2013 750ML ($119.95) $89 pre-arrival special, 4 bottles available
Neal Martin-Wine Advocate 90-92 points
“The 2013 Chambolle-Musigny Village, which sees around 20% new oak and this year includes the entire fruit from Les Combottes, has a very controlled bouquet that gently unfolds with scents of raspberry, briary and just a touch of damp undergrowth. The palate is lithe and focused on the entry, the acidity nicely judged and slicing through the pure black cherry and iodine-tinged fruit. There is very fine density here, especially for a village cru. I would not hesitate in picking up a few bottles of this over-performing village cru.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today with no minimum order!

Domaine Ghislaine Barthod Chambolle-Musigny, Cote de Nuits 2014 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special, 6 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 89 points
“Medium red. Aromas of redcurrant, iron, coffee and spices. Supple, spicy wine with excellent definition and an impression of piquant acidity to its redcurrant, raspberry and mineral flavors. A captivating saline quality draws out the finish. There are still plenty of dusty tannins to be absorbed but they’re neither dry nor green. Lacks only the sweetness for 90 points.”
Neal Martin-Wine Advocate 88-90 points “The 2014 Chambolle Musigny, which includes the domaine’s 0.07 hectares pocket in Sentiers and includes around 20% new oak, has a crisp, airy, fresh strawberry and Morello-scented bouquet. The palate is well balanced with good weight for a village cru, with the fruit a little dark here with black plum and a touch of cassis, as well as a little roundeur towards the finish — completing a very commendable Chambolle village.”

Domaine Ghislaine Barthod Chambolle-Musigny, Cote de Nuits 2015 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special, 4 bottles available
Neal Martin-Wine Advocate 90-92 points
“The 2015 Chambolle-Musigny Village, which contains around 20% new oak, has a crisp black cherry and raspberry-scented bouquet, tight at first but fanning out with open arms upon aeration. The palate is just wonderful: super fine tannin, a killer line of acidity, a little crunchiness to the texture, but bestowed with immense purity on the finish. The saline touch completes one of the best village crus that I tasted during my visits.”
Stephen Tanzer 90 points “Good dark red. Aromas of roasted black cherry and licorice show a distinct element of surmaturité following the 2016s at this address, but quickly gained in energy and lift. Wonderfully sweet, spicy and concentrated for the vintage, with no shortage of acidity. A dark berry fruit bomb in the mouth, showing the creaminess of the vintage, but becomes more airy as it opens in the glass. Very long for village wine, finishing with ripe tannins saline mineral grip.”

Domaine Ghislaine Barthod Chambolle-Musigny, Cote de Nuits 2016 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special, 4 bottles available
Decanter 92 points
“From 11 parcels, two of which are classified as premier cru but are too small to vinify and bottle separately. The 2016 is superb, bursting from the glass with a bouquet of sweet red cherry, potpourri, raw cocoa and incipient bass notes. On the palate the wine is very concentrated, with a deep core of fruit concealing rich tannins, and a precise, tangy and long finish. If a better Chambolle villages was produced in 2016, I would love to taste it.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

Shop our collection of 200 Cote de Nuits Burgundies in stock now on our web store!

Entry-level tier from one of the top estates in Walla Walla. Leans Old World, just like their top wines.
Reynvaan Unnamed Series Syrah, Walla Walla 2016 750ML ($27.95) $24 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Winery Note
“Ripe blueberry, wet stone, dried cherry, Herbs de Provence, touch of leather, hint of licorice, cigar box, marionberry, dark chocolate with refreshing, smooth well integrated tannins, and a long finish of crushed rock.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $30

The best value out of Barbaresco!
Adriano Marco e Vittorio Basarin, Barbaresco DOCG 2016 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Adriano Marco e Vittorio Basarin, Barbaresco DOCG 2016 750ML ($479.95) $359 special (that’s only $29.92/bottle!)

#6 Wine Enthusiast Top 100 of 2019
Wine Enthusiast 96 points “Spearmint, black-skinned berry, blue flower and new leather aromas lead the way along with a whiff of menthol. Tight and taut, the elegant, structured palate delivers juicy black cherry, crushed raspberry, wild herbs and white pepper alongside assertive, close-grained tannins. Bright acidity provides balance. Best 2024–2036”
Wine Spectator 94 points “Aromas of rose, cherry, strawberry and white pepper draw you in, while vibrant acidity and a lacy texture carry the fruit flavors, adding tobacco and earth details. A solid base of tannins provides support. This should come together nicely. Best from 2022 through 2038.”

The standby—this is the most bang for your buck in Champagne, every year.
Andre Clouet Grande Reserve Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($39.95) $36 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Andre Clouet Grande Reserve Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($519.95) $399 special (that’s only $33.25/bottle —the lowest listed price in the country!)
Andre Clouet Grande Reserve Brut, Champagne NV 1.5L ($99.95) $89 special, 14 magnums in stock now
Andre Clouet Grande Reserve Brut, Champagne NV 3L ($319.95) $279 special, 12 double magnums in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 90 points
“The latest release of André Clouet’s NV Brut Grand Réserve Grand Cru is showing well, exhibiting a nicely integrated bouquet of red apple, ripe citrus fruit, honeycomb and blanched almonds, followed by a medium to full-bodied, enveloping palate with a fine mousse, ripe but racy acids and an elegant, understated profile, concluding with a well-defined finish. This is a stylish, harmonious wine that makes for a fine introduction to the Clouet portfolio.” [Reviewed April 2019]
The average price is $46

This is an outstanding alternative to Beaujolais at nostalgia-inducing pricing.
Domaine Serol Eclat de Granite Cote Roannaise, Loire 2017 750ML ($21.95) $16.50 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Grapelive 93 points
“Stephane Serol is making compelling wines from his upper Loire [Valley] Cote Roannaise estate [using the] Saint Romain clone of Gamay. These are wines that defy regional landscapes and should be almost considered an iconic individual appellation or maybe a lost Cru Beaujolais on par with Morgon or Cote de Brouilly! Especially this 2017 Eclat de Granite which is plush and expressive much in the same way Dutraive, Lapierre, Sunier, Thivin, Chanrion and Thevenet are with plenty of intense Cote Roannaise mountain tannin and structure. Minerally detailed, this beautifully clear Serol Gamay has a deep sense of varietal, place and remote wildness. Stephane has captured his place in the bottle to near perfection. Vivid purple, magenta and ruby/garnet in the glass the Eclat de Granite is bursting with vibrancy and dark flavors showing flinty spices, herbs, violets and walnut complexities to go along with a core of blackberry, blue plum and bing cherry fruit, adding a touch of grenadine, straw and tart blood orange as well as a faint trace of stony/earthiness in an absolutely balanced wine that really delivers exceptional quality. One of the best vintages from Serol, it combines a lovely and graceful medium bodied palate and a flowing almost seamless stream of Gamay flavors, textural pleasure and a vivacious personality. [It’s] easy to love from start to finish. Serol, whose Domaine sits at high elevation not too far from the Loire’s source at the Massif Central, has some 80 year old vines and is the fifth generation to farm and make wine up here. He and his wife Carine have made this wild almost forgotten land a serious place to search out. Stephane employed partial whole cluster and traditional fermentation with his 2017 Eclat de Granite and raised it in a combination of neutral cask and tank, again to add live, grip and sense of place and while non carbonic it has a pop of juicy fruit and some nervy coil from the limited use of stems. This is almost impossible for Gamay lovers to resist and Burgundy fans will also grudging and maybe secretly adore this stuff as they do with producers like Foillard! Serol works all organic and is almost finished converting to full biodynamic practices in the vineyards and in the cellar uses ultra-low sulfur. Rather than [label] him as a natural winemaker, I’d say he is committed to his land and passionate in everything he does. Drink his 2017 Eclat de Granite over the next 3 to 5 years, if not longer.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Budget-friendly Bordeaux that’s actually good is so hard to find. James Suckling did the work for you!
Chateau Puygueraud, Cotes de Francs 2016 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Chateau Puygueraud, Cotes de Francs 2016 750ML ($149.95) $119 special (that’s only $19.83/bottle!)
Case-12 Chateau Puygueraud, Cotes de Francs 2016 750ML ($299.95) $228 special (that’s only $19/bottle!)
James Suckling 94 points
“This is so good! I want to drink it now. Iodine, mushrooms, dark fruit and orange peel on the nose and palate. Full-bodied, yet polished and fresh. Lovely tension. A blend of 80 per cent merlot, 15 per cent cabernet franc and five per cent malbec.”

Just Arrived

Terre Nere’s Top Wines

More than any other winery, Terre Nere is responsible for the modern interest in wines from Etna.  With vineyards in most of the historically important crus of the slopes of Etna and very old vines, Terre Nere was the first to bottle single-parcel wines from the indigenous variety Nerello and brought international focus and admiration to this once-overlooked region. The terroir of high altitude and dark volcanic soils combined with the traditional model inspired by Burgundy help yield distinctive wines from the indigenous grape varieties.  We’ve just received our allocations for the stunning 2017 single vineyard reds and are excited to offer them today (as well as the rich and powerful ’18 whites).  2017 looks to be a highly successful vintage on Etna—more vibrant and aromatic than 2015, but with more richness than the 2016’s which preceded it. Lovers of Burgundy will find even more to like in this set of wines than usual.

Marc de Grazia started the Terre Nere winery in 2002 from 30 hectares of vineyards divided in 10 parcels over four crus.  The vines are between 50 to 100 years old except for 6 hectares of recently planted vines and several self-rooted plots over 130 years old that are famous for surviving phylloxera.  The red wines are 100% Nerello Mascalese, a variety known for producing wines of great elegance and the whites are based on Carricante a grape that gives mineral, piercing wines.

As for the individual wines…The soil in the Calderara Sottana cru is covered in large black volcanic pumice and is the stoniest cru.  The wine offers floral, spice and leather aromas.  The two vineyards composing the Guardiola cru stand at the highest elevation on Mount Etna, and are quite possibly the highest in Europe.  It has poor soil composed of volcanic sand, basalt and ash.  The vineyard is steeply terraced, necessitating manual labor and harvest.  The wine is lean and elegant.  Santo Spirito is adjacent to Guardiola but with black volcanic ash soil.  The Etna Rosso Prephylloxera “La Vigna di Don Pepino” is named for the grape grower who worked the parcel for over 70 years.  Grazia believes the vineyard survived and thrived only through Don Pepino’s meticulous care.

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Only 18 bottles available
Tenuta delle Terre Nere ‘Feudo di Mezzo’ Etna Rosso, Sicily 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Spectator 91 points
“Ripe black raspberry and blackberry fruit is accented by wild sage and mandarin orange peel hints in this minerally, medium-bodied red. Plush tannins emerge and become firmer on the finish. Drink now through 2025. 600 cases made, 400 cases imported.”
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 90+ points “Deep red. Ripe red cherry and raspberry aromas are complicated by musk and earth tones. Then rich, ripe and increasingly tannic in the mouth, with a mouthcoating quality on the long but slightly drying finish. Showcases the rich, forward personality of Quadro delle Rose wines in most vintages, but this seems to have slightly tougher tannins than most I remember at a similar stage of development. Closes long and clean. Try cellaring this to allow the tannins to smoothen a bit.”

Only 18 bottles available
Tenuta delle Terre Nere Santo Spirito Rosso Etna, Sicily 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
James Suckling 95 points
“Sour cherries, ripe strawberries, heather, rosemary, cedar, sweet tobacco and red licorice all spring from the glass. The full-bodied palate remains racy throughout, painting a precisely framed, confident portrait of subtle berries with loads of acidity crunch. Drink from 2021.”
Wine Spectator 92 points “A fragrant, medium- to full-bodied red that shows impeccable balance and integration, layering fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity with flavors of ripe strawberry, cured tobacco and star anise, balanced by a bright hint of pomegranate. The sculpted tannins show more presence on the long, minerally finish. Drink now through 2029. 650 cases made, 400 cases imported.”

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

Only 18 bottles available
Tenuta delle Terre Nere ‘Guardiola’ Etna Rosso, Sicily 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 93+ points
“Luminous crimson color. Offers minty red fruit and minerals on the captivating nose. Full, dense and rich, with multilayered flavors of red cherry, minerals, exotic spices and aromatic herbs. Finishes long with building mouthcoating tannins and with some alcohol-derived heat. The nose takes longer to open up than in the other 2017 Terre Nere wines, so decant an hour ahead (at least) prior to serving. Better still, cellar it for another five to six years for maximum enjoyment.”
Wine Spectator 91 points “Dense and chewy tannins are swathed in a finely meshed range of black cherry, baked fig, loamy earth and rose hip notes in this expressive, medium- to full-bodied red. A lovely skein of warm spice unravels on the lingering finish. Best from 2021 through 2029. 400 cases made, 250 cases imported.”

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

Only 18 bottles available
Tenuta delle Terre Nere ‘Moganazzi’ Etna Rosso, Sicily 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 92+ points
“Bright red-ruby. Clean, very mineral and floral, with juicy red/black cherry aromas and flavors. A refined, mineral wine that is very well balanced and precise. This clocks in at 14.5% alcohol, but doesn’t taste warm at all. In fact, I like this wine’s austere, mineral-tinged, long finish. Will likely improve in the bottle.”

Only 9 bottles available
Tenuta delle Terre Nere ‘San Lorenzo’ Etna Rosso, Sicily 2017 750ML ($79.95) $66 special
Wine Spectator 94 points
“There’s a lovely sweetness to the dried raspberry and strawberry fruit in this lithe, elegant, medium-bodied red, with supple tannins and juicy acidity forming a finely woven frame for the fruit and fragrant tea rose, sandalwood, anise and mineral notes. A stunner. Drink now through 2029. 750 cases made, 230 cases imported.”
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 92+ points “Vivid deep red. Perfumed sweet spice nuances complicate ripe red cherry and strawberry nectar aromas and flavors. Big, dense and juicy, with mounting tannins providing support to the ripe red fruit flavors. Very ripe and downright luscious, with a fruit-forward personality that will make this a crowd pleaser.”

Only 18 bottles available
Tenuta delle Terre Nere ‘Calderara Sottana’ Etna Rosso, Sicily 2017 750ML ($79.95) $66 special
Wine Spectator 93 points
“A fragrant red, offering lilac and sandalwood notes that lace the ripe raspberry, iron and Earl Grey tea flavors, echoing on the finish. Deftly knit, with a sense of grace and poise to the interaction of the fine-grained tannins and mouthwatering acidity. Drink now through 2030. 1,300 cases made, 1,000 cases imported.”
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 91+ points “Bright deep red. Flinty floral nuances complement red cherry and herbal notes on the enticing nose. Bright, juicy and round on entry, then showcases a stiff tannic spine and building alcohol-derived warmth with red cherry nectar and smoky flavors lingering nicely. Repeating, vibrant red cherry and sweet spice notes add complexity on the close. Currently lacks a little balance: I would have scored this higher if it didn’t taste so hot (the bottle’s label declares 14.5% alcohol).”

Only 12 bottles available
Tenuta delle Terre Nere Prephylloxera ‘La Vigna di Don Peppino’ Etna Rosso 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
Wine Spectator 95 points
“A graceful, medium-bodied version, with silky tannins and a pleasing juiciness to the array of plumped cherry, stemmy herb and tangy mineral flavors, accented by fragrant graphite, sandalwood and ground pink pepper notes. Finely knit and focused, with the tannins firming up on the long, spicy finish. Drink now through 2032. 400 cases made, 300 cases imported.”
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 93+ points “Bright red. Pungent flinty and floral nuances to the red cherry and raspberry jam aromas on the inviting nose. Enters rich, dense and almost sweet, with very precise sweet spice and red fruit flavors lingering nicely. An underlying green note remains in the background and adds complexity. Finishes with noteworthy but balanced tannic bite and plenty of freshness on the long juicy finish. A very complex wine with a beautiful nose; the tannins though are on the tough side as in many of these Terre Nere 2017 reds. A very good wine of noteworthy promise, my suggestion is to cellar this for another 4-6 years for full enjoyment.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

Only 17 bottles available
Tenuta delle Terre Nere ‘Vigne Niche’ Calderara Sottana Etna Bianco, Sicily 2018 750ML ($59.95) $45 special
No reviews yet for the 2018 vintage. The following review is for the 2017 vintage:
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 94 points
“Vibrant deep yellow. Deep, round and complex, this enters sweet then turns mineral and steely, with refined lemony, apple and chamomile flavors. Finishes long, very austere and stony, but manages the neat trick of tasting luscious and ripe at the same time. Deeper and more complex than the other 2017 whites I tasted from Terre Nere this year. This 100% Carricante, mostly from 60 years old vines, may well be the best white wine from owner Marc de Grazia’s Terre Nere estate I have ever tried at a similar stage of development.”

Only 17 bottles available
Tenuta delle Terre Nere ‘Vigne Niche’ Santo Spirito Bianco Etna, Sicily 2018 750ML ($59.95) $45 special
No reviews yet for the 2018 vintage. The following review is for the 2017 vintage:
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 93 points
“Luminous golden-tinged straw yellow. Minerals and a hint of white flowers on the saline accented nose. Rich round and smooth, with very deep, complex flavors of honey and pomaceous orchard fruit. Finishes long and vibrant, this is absolutely a knockout. 100% Carricante, the vines of which range from 7 to 60 years of age (but De Grazia uses the youngest vines for the entry-level Etna Bianco blend).”

2017 Merkelbach 

New Reviews from David Schildknecht

“Merkelbach’s wines are like the world before anyone wrote poems about it.” –Terry Theise

“[In 2017,] the Merkelbachs turned out a delicious – albeit by far their smallest-ever – collection featuring vintage-typical high acidity and (ultra-)high dry extract.” –David Schildknecht

We adore the wines that Rolf and Alfred Merkelbach make, irrationally and perhaps more than any other grower in the Mosel.  (Just check out the staff’s cellars for proof!) These are wines that are as old-school as you can find for the region (the brothers are in their 80’s and haven’t changed styles since they started) and they capture the delicacy and etherealness of Riesling like few other wines we’ve tried.

They have a charm and an energy that’s unlike almost any other wine we’ve tasted.  In fact, their closest comparison might not be in the Mosel at all, but rather with Truchot’s wines in Burgundy—another producer who managed to create unbearably delicate, ethereal wines that seemed to trigger Stendhal Syndrome anytime you had the pleasure of drinking them. All wines that will age beautifully but are drinking like a Vivaldi sonata right now.

In Stock Now:

Weingut Alfred Merkelbach Kinheimer Rosenberg Riesling Spatlese #1, Mosel 2017 750ML ($34.95) $26 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
David Schildknecht – Vinous 91 points
“Very ripe Bartlett pear garlanded in honeysuckle features both on the nose and in the mouth. The midpalate combines delicacy and animation – appropriate to the inner-mouth florality and fruit juiciness on display – with creaminess and glossiness of texture. A squeeze of lime adds to the liveliness of a subtly sweet, buoyant, stone-lined and satisfyingly sustained finish. Water-color-like in its alliance of transparency with slight diffusion, this lovely Spätlese offers a delicate wash of flavors.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
The average price nationally is $30

Weingut Alfred Merkelbach ‘Urgluck’ Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Spatlese, Mosel 2017 750ML ($39.95) $29 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
David Schildknecht – Vinous 92 points
“Picked at an Oechsle level that in any other vintage I can recall would have been labeled without question as Auslese, this is not however a Spätlese that exhibits more than very modest sweetness, for which not just the Merkelbachs’ tendency to let fermentations finish with less sugar, but also the presence of nearly nine grams’ acidity and nearly 30 grams of dry extract are jointly responsible. Sassafras, mint, black tea and fresh strawberry on the nose segue into an infectiously juicy but glycerol-slicked palate that suggests a cooling yet smoky infusion of green herbs and black tea into strawberry and apricot. A lightly saline savor of celery seed and an undertone of wet stone add to the appeal of a lusciously sustained finish that both soothes and refreshes.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
The average price nationally is $34

Weingut Alfred Merkelbach Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Auslese #7, Mosel 2017 750ML ($44.95) $33 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
David Schildknecht – Vinous 91 points
“This bottling reflects the only two fuders from 2017 – both harvested in the sector above their press house known as Lang Pichter – that the Merkelbachs considered worthy of designating as Auslese (though the must weights in question were only one degree Oechsle higher than that of this year’s Urglück Spätlese). On the nose, fresh strawberry and kiwi, garlanded in ultra-fragrant freesia, rest on a bed of wet stone, and that description pretty much sums up this wine’s entire winsome performance. The glossy, subtly creamy feel generates a delightful sense of caress, but there is more than enough tangy juiciness of surprisingly fresh strawberry and kiwi to animate and refresh, while a pinch of salt stimulates the salivary glands.”

Domaine Durand

New Offer Arrives Friday

We’re about to receive the new 2017’s from Durand, in the Northern Rhone, and are very, very impressed.  They’re definitely a producer on the rise and the last two vintages (’15 and ’16) are the finest wines they’ve ever produced—which makes the ’17’s even more impressive. These are the best young drinking Durand’s we’ve tasted—more delicious now than the ’15’s were at this stage, which is saying something.

It’s become harder and harder to find this sort of value in the Northern Rhone.  The market locates inefficiencies quicker than ever and exciting producers jump in price in the blink of an eye.  Nevertheless, here we are—these are fantastic bottles at prices far below what comparable St. Joseph and Cornas producers are selling for.

Stylistically, these wines are right in the pocket, so to speak.  It’s hard to find Northern Rhone wines that combine soul and polish—it seems as if most of the new wines we taste are either hyper glossy or very rustic.  To hit that sweet spot, where your wines speak very loudly of place but are elegant, drinkable and age-worthy—that’s special indeed.  To make those sorts of wines at the prices that the Durands charge seems almost unthinkable.  You owe it to yourself to check these out and drink these up before they become yet another casualty of rising Northern Rhone demand.

“Consistently brilliant wines emerge from Domaine Durand, which is run with incredible talent and passion by Eric and Joël Durand… while the winemaking is relatively modern, these are classic, pure, beautifully made wines that speak clearly to their region and terroir.” –Jeb Dunnuck

Arriving Friday:

Domaine Eric et Joel Durand Cornas Confidence, Rhone 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Decanter 94 points
“From 30-year-old vines on granite soils, the fruit for this wine is 30% whole-bunch fermented, the matured for 18 months in barriques, 30% new and the rest fairly recent. Deep, inky fruits on the nose lead to a concentrated, juicy, profound palate, veering towards being extracted but with well balanced acidity and fine, bright, crisp tannins. It has very persistent fruit, with an ingrained, toothsome structure. A wine that could play rugby at a professional level but also do some modelling on the side.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “Well-packed, featuring fig, steeped black currant and dark plum fruit flavors that slowly meld with warm cast iron, dark olive and earth notes. Shows tannic drive through the finish, with sanguine and floral echoes adding range and contrast to the muscular profile. Best from 2022 through 2040. 140 cases made, 30 cases imported.”
Joe Czerwinski-Wine Advocate 92-95 points “The Durands’ top cuvée, the 2017 Cornas Confidence comes from mature vines on the family’s most granitic sites. Aged in 30% new oak, it combines notes of crushed stone, resiny herbs, almond paste, raspberries, blueberries and cassis into a harmonious whirl of intense flavor. Full-bodied, deep and concentrated, it’s also richly tannic, picking up hints of mocha on the lengthy finish.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Domaine Eric et Joel Durand Cornas Empreintes, Rhone 2017 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Domaine Eric et Joel Durand Cornas Empreintes, Rhone 2017 1.5L ($99.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 93 points
“Solidly built, with a strong chalky spine buried deep in the core of dark plum and blackberry fruit. Smoldering tobacco, dark olive and warm cast iron accents fill in throughout. Frankly grippy, so some patience in the cellar is required. Best from 2022 through 2040. 800 cases made, 90 cases imported.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $44

Domaine Eric et Joel Durand Cornas Premices, Rhone 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 92 points
“Offers a ripe, slightly toasty profile, featuring plum and blackberry fruit, tinged with ganache and alder notes. Shows some heft, with the toast clinging to the finish. A light violet echo gives this some needed lift at the end. Best from 2020 through 2030. 875 cases made, 120 cases imported.”
Joe Czerwinski-Wine Advocate 91 points “From the Durands’ young vines, the 2017 Cornas Premices is an intentionally early-drinking cuvée. Pencil shavings accent red plums in this full-bodied, creamy-textured wine that is amazingly gulpable for a Cornas. Drink it on the young side, over the next 7-8 years.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Domaine Eric et Joel Durand Saint-Joseph Les Coteaux Rouge, Rhone 2017 750ML ($39.95) $29 pre-arrival special
Decanter 93 points
“Sourced from 15- to 30-year-old vines on granite soils towards the south of the appellation, the fruit for this wine is all destemmed, spending 12 months maturing in barriques and demi-muids, 15% new. It has a lovely purity of expression, the fruit using the oak for support, not influence. It’s a medium-bodied, very fresh expression with no overextraction and an elegant finish. It has refined tannins and good persistence. An unforced, easy to drink with with good typicity.”
Wine Spectator 92 points “Bright and juicy, with lots of blackberry and plum compote flavors, inlaid with licorice and singed apple wood notes. A lively briar accent through the finish offsets the toast. Best from 2021 through 2030. 2,000 cases made, 450 cases imported.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 91 points “Bright purple. Spice-accented blue fruit and floral scents, along with hints of cured tobacco and olive. Broad and fleshy in the mouth, offering sappy boysenberry and bitter cherry flavors that turn sweeter on the back half. Youthful, gripping tannins add shape to the finish, which hangs on with strong, dark-fruit-driven tenacity.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

Domaine Eric et Joel Durand Saint-Joseph Lautaret Rouge, Rhone 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 93 points
“Fleshy and forward in feel, with a hint of ganache leading steeped plum and raspberry fruit along, accented by singed alder and licorice root notes. The solidly grippy finish pulls everything together. Needs a touch of cellaring. Best from 2022 through 2032. 340 cases made, 50 cases imported.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Domaine Eric et Joel Durand Viognier, IGP Collines Rhodaniennes 2018 750ML ($21.95) $18 pre-arrival special

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Shop our 2015 & 2016 Durand wines on our web store!
Love Rhone wines? Visit our online shop to browse our Rhone reds & whites!

Collector’s Corner


Gaja is an iconic producer in the world of wine.  What DRC is to Burgundy, Gaja’s cru bottlings are to Barbaresco—they are the wines that put the region on the modern wine collector’s map, desirable long before anything else in their appellation was.  Like most pinnacle wines, they’re usually quite expensive—at our prices, though, you’d have a hard time finding something more collectible and profound.

Arriving Friday, January 31st:

Only 1 bottle available!
Gaja Sperss Langhe – Barolo, Piedmont 2004 750ML ($599.95) $479 pre-arrival special, ETA January 31st
Wine Spectator 99 points
“Powerful and structured. Delicate aromas of sandalwood, blackberry, licorice and cherry follow through to a full body, with very chewy tannins and loads of pretty fruit and hints of vanilla. Sneaks up on you to deliver a red for aging. Massive. An amazing wine. Best after 2014. 1,500 cases made.”
Antonio Galloni 97 points “Reviewed May 2015. The 2004 Sperss is one of the most finessed wines I have tasted from Angelo Gaja’s property in Serralunga. The darkness and gravitas of Serralunga are tempered by the supreme elegance of the year. Dark red and black cherries, smoke, tobacco, menthol and licorice flow through on the deep, resonant finish. This is another powerhouse wine that has been given an extra level of refinement in 2004.”

In Stock Now:

Gaja Sori Tildin Langhe-Barbaresco, Piedmont 2014 750ML ($499.95) $349 special, 2 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 96 points
“The nose has it all here with fresh cranberry character, brambleberries and lavender intermingled with darker, more complex notes of cedar, nutmeg and cinnamon. Full body, so much vibrant acidity, tangy fruit, expansive yet tight tannins and a long, savory finish. Profound minerality. Delicious now but better in 2020.” 

Gaja Costa Russi Langhe-Barbaresco, Piedmont 2014 750ML ($499.95) $349 special, 2 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 96 points
“Soft contours, silky tannins and sweet, perfumed fruit are some of the signatures in the 2014 Costa Russi. As always, Costa Russi is the most polished and open-knit of these wines in its youth. Succulent fruit, hard candy and lifted, perfumed aromatics give the 2014 considerable early appeal, but I expect time in bottle will work its usual magic. Today, the 2014 is showing only the barest hint of its potential. Even in the early going, though, the Costa Russi is a totally sexy wine.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2014 Barbaresco Costa Russi is a beautiful wine that delivers profound color saturation with deep ruby highlights and blackish intensity. I would describe the nose as being more horizontal rather than vertical, if that makes sense. In other words, the bouquet makes its approach with wide intensity and large-scale aromas of black fruit, spice, tar, leather and licorice. It offers fewer of the sudden high notes or moments of sharpness that you get in 2013. Despite the common perception that this was a very cool vintage, the fruit here actually tastes riper and rounder than you might expect. That’s because the vintage heat all came toward the end of the growing season, and the Gaja family left fruit on the vines to the end. In the mouth, the wine shows depth and finesse with some stubborn firmness at this young stage. It needs to flesh out further with more bottle aging.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “Tight and focused, this red features a beam of cherry, strawberry, leather, tobacco, tar and iron wrapped in the grip of dense, refined tannins. Fresh and balanced, showing plenty of energy on the resonant finish. Best from 2023 through 2040. 170 cases imported.”

Gaja Ca’Marcanda ‘Camarcanda’ Bolgheri, Tuscany 2010 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, 3 bottles in stock now
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 96 points
“The 2010 Bolgheri Camarcanda is an exceptional wine with a level of aromatic intensity and integrity that is impossible to exaggerate. The blend is Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, in that order of importance. The bouquet is impeccable and refined, with deep layers of Morello cherry, cassis, dried blackberry and spice that peel back in quick succession. The oak component is beautifully integrated, imparting notes of chocolate and tobacco that complete this beautiful portrait of Tuscan winemaking. Hold this bottle for a few more years.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

From a legendary year. A winner!
Gaja Barbaresco DOCG, Piedmont 2010 375ML ($119.95) $89 special, 5 half-bottles in stock now
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94 points
“Smack from the start, the 2010 Barbaresco shows full-on Gajissimo personality with irresistible opulence and intensity, magically contrasted against remarkable smoothness and finesse. Everyone wants to know his secret. The wine delivers seductively rich concentration and integrated oak that is offset by a delicate portfolio of chiseled mineral, dried berry fruit, Spanish cedar, crushed herb, anisette and blue flower. Fruit is sourced from 14 vineyards in Barbaresco. It already leaves a mark, but will reward those who wait. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2028.”
Wine Spectator 92 points “Tinged with new oak that lends a spicy impression, this red evokes cherry, menthol and underbrush notes. Supple and beautifully balanced, with a long finish. Best from 2015 through 2025. 2,100 cases made.”
Stephen Tanzer 92 points “Good bright medium red. Enticing, nuanced nose offers red berries, red cherry and spicy, earthy underbrush. Rich, broad and fine-grained, with lovely inner-mouth perfume and tension. Seemed to shut down in the glass, showing a penetrating juicy quality and finishing with suave tannins and terrific length. A splendid Barbaresco.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price for a half-bottle is $155

Gaja’s whites have long captivated collectors and it’s rare to find them this discounted.
Gaja Alteni di Brassica Langhe, Piedmont 2015 750ML ($149.95) $99 special, 12+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Gaja Alteni di Brassica Langhe, Piedmont 2015 750ML ($699.95) $499 special (that’s only $83.17/bottle!)
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 91 points
“The delightful 2015 Langhe Alteni di Brassica is a pure expression of Sauvignon Blanc. This is the only white wine in Angelo Gaja’s line that does not complete malolactic fermentation. The bouquet is exuberant and bright with green notes of salvia, wild oregano and white pepper. Those sharper tones are followed by bright layers of tropical fruit and zesty citrus. Drying mineral notes give sharp contours to the overall effect.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $127

In its prime drinking window.
Gaja Costa Russi Langhe-Barbaresco, Piedmont 2006 750ML ($499.95) $299 special, 2 bottles in stock now
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 93 points
“Good full red. Reticent strawberry and plum aromas are complicated by a medicinal component. Rounder and sweeter than the normale, but also showing excellent inner-mouth lift for all its fullness. This very broad, fine-grained wine finishes with a juicy quality and excellent structure. In spite of its firm tannins, this makes the young ’07 come off as a bit drier by comparison.”
Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2006 Langhe Costa Russi is a bit reticent at first, and two of the three bottles I tasted showed elements of reduction that eventually blew off. A gorgeous center of soft perfumed fruit lies behind the slightly unfocused bouquet. The wine reveals notable clarity and detail once it opens up in the glass, with dark cherries, flowers and minerals that linger on the finish. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2031.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Gaja is always a welcome presence in the cellar or at the table—the ’11’s are delicious, as well.
Gaja Sori San Lorenzo Langhe-Barbaresco, Piedmont 2011 750ML ($499.95) $399 special, 10 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 97+ points
“The 2011 Sorì San Lorenzo boasts massive depth, intensity and power. Black fruit, smoke, tar, licorice, savory herbs and leather are some of the many notes that emerge from the glass. Regardless of the year, the personality of Sorì San Lorenzo always comes through, which is why this is one of the great sites in Barbaresco, Piedmont and Italy. In 2011 the contours are a bit softer, which gives the wine a level of accessibility that is quite rare in Sorì San Lorenzos when the wines are young. Why is Sorì San Lorenzo one of the world’s most profound vineyards? Because its personality simply can’t be denied.”
Wine Advocate 96 points “The exciting 2011 Sori San Lorenzo is a wine of enormous beauty and grace. Gaia Gaja classifies her three single vineyard Langhe Nebbiolo wines as follows: Costa Russi is “flowers;” Sori Tildin is “fruit;” and San Lorenzo is “plant” (with more structure and a more compact feel). San Lorenzo does indeed boast a strong mineral component of pencil shavings and crushed granite, followed by red cherry and soft spice. The wine’s tannins start off harder than the other wines, but soften with time. Drink: 2018-2040.”

Shop the entire collection of 10 Gaja wines in stock now on our web store!

Thank you for reading!