Monday Newsletter 10-18-21

In This Newsletter:

New Arrivals Alert:
Cayuse / Horsepower / No Girls

Rosé Feature:
Bandol Pink & Domaine de la Bastide Blanche

Producer Spotlight:
Dr. H. Thanisch

Vega Sicilia

Louis Roederer
Willi Schaefer’s Exquisite 2020s

Collector’s Corner:
2019 Domaine Leflaive

New Arrivals Alert:

From Cayuse / Horsepower / No Girls

Additional Stock & Winery-Cellared Library Releases

Cayuse Vineyards Armada Vineyard Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($179.95) $149 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 98+ points
“A wine that’s held back three months in barrel and then held a year in bottle (as is the GOK), the 2016 Syrah Armada Vineyard saw 70-80% stems and 15% new oak (both demi-muids and foudre). Slightly deeper ruby in color, it has a mix of both red and blue fruits, salt, violets, damp earth, and smoked earth. Deep, tight, backward, but just loaded with potential, it needs 3-5 years of bottle age and will be very long lived.”
Anthony Mueller-Wine Advocate 98 points “From the moment you stick your nose in the glass, you are immediately struck with something special. The 2016 Syrah Armada Vineyard has fantastic focus on the nose, with black fruits and a grippy core of minerality, revealing some soft truffle tones and black spices along the way. Full-bodied on the palate, the wine shows an impressive weight and continues to gain in breadth and depth, expanding and unfolding on the mid-palate. Beautifully structured flavors of cured meats and peppercorn evolve with incredible mineral tension and dusty red fruits, and the wine ends with a long, thought-provoking finish. The Armada Syrah is collector-worthy. The 472-case production leaves me speechless.”
Stephen Tanzer – Vinous 95 points “Healthy medium red, with moderate saturation. Musky black raspberry, red cherry, game and red licorice on the nose, lifted by a floral topnote; more red fruit in character than the Bionic Frog. Intensely flavored and energetic, displaying a penetrating spicy quality to its flavors of red cherry, raspberry and wild herbs. For all its verve, this ripe but classically dry Syrah is also wonderfully silky. Large-scaled but still tightly wound, finishing with fine-grained tannins, terrific rising floral length and late notes of wet soil and bacon. The Armada vineyard is located next to La Paciencia. (from vines planted in 2001 at 6 by 4 spacing; 10% new oak)”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $165

Cayuse Vineyards God Only Knows Armada Vineyard Grenache, Walla Walla Valley 2014 750ML ($169.95) $136 special, 13 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck-Wine Advocate 97 points
“There are 533 cases of the 2014 Grenache God Only Knows Armada Vineyard, and as always, it’s an unknown blend that’s dominated by Grenache (reportedly from vine cuttings from Rayas). It’s fermented with just about 100% whole clusters in concrete and aged mostly in neutral puncheons and foudre, with one concrete egg. A bigger, richer wine than the No Girls cuvee, this beauty packs a punch in its black cherry, reduced strawberry, herbes de Provence and crushed violet aromas and flavors. With full-bodied richness, a supple, elegant style and fine tannin, this singular beauty will benefit from a year or three of cellaring and keep for 10-15 years.”

Cayuse Vineyards Impulsivo Tempranillo, Walla Walla Valley 2018 750ML ($179.95) Was $149, Now $129 super special, 24+ bottles in stock now
Case-3 Cayuse Vineyards Impulsivo Tempranillo, Walla Walla Valley 2018 750ML ($399.95) $375 special (that’s only $125/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points
“Showing beautifully, with pure cassis and black raspberry fruits as well as loads of dried flowers, cedar, tobacco, and dried herbs, the 2018 Impulsivo is medium to full-bodied and has a seamless, elegant texture, ultra-fine tannins, and a great finish. It shows more meaty, almost bloody nuances with time in the glass, and it’s certainly a singular expression of Tempranillo. The tannins are present yet polished and ripe, and it has a great mid-palate as well as the balance and elegance to drink nicely today yet also improve with short-term cellaring and keep for two decades.”

Cayuse Vineyards Cailloux Vineyard Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2019 750ML ($149.95) $128 special, 4 bottles in stock now

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

Cayuse Vineyards En Chamberlin Vineyard Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2017 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, 1 bottle in stock now
Anthony Mueller – Wine Advocate 97 points
“The 2017 Syrah en Chamberlin Vineyard is unmistakable on the nose, boasting an intensely framed Syrah that offers up generous and juicy dark fruit, framed by meaty, umami and savory expressions of olive tapenade, black pepper and charcuterie before drifting back to aromas of violets and lavender. Full-bodied and firmly structured, the wine is built like a tank, revealing layers of complexity and elegance that are supported by fine-grained tannins and rocky minerality across the mid-palate. With power and finesse, the wine somersaults in the mouth, before leading to a long, impressive conclusion that continues to develop in length. Only 365 cases were produced of this stellar wine. Yum!”
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “More tapenade, dried herbs, chocolate, sweet mulch, and sweet black fruits emerge from the 2017 Syrah En Chamberlin, a medium to full-bodied, ripe, powerful 2017. With building tannins, a plump, expansive mid-palate, plenty of classic Rocks funk, and a great finish, it doesn’t quite have the precision of the En Cerise yet is more sexy and opulent. It benefits from a decant if drinking any time soon and will evolve gracefully for 15 years.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $136

Cayuse Vineyards Wallah Wallah Special Series Syrah #12, Walla Walla Valley 2018 1.5L ($319.95) $289 special, 3 magnums in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points
“Christophe often releases a special blend in magnum (he never says which vineyards it’s from), and the 2018 Syrah Special #12 is another gorgeous wine. Revealing a deep ruby/plum hue as well as classic Rocks notes of blue fruits, ground pepper, bacon fat, lavender, and violets, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, a seamless, elegant texture, ripe yet certainly present tannins, and a great finish. It needs 4-5 years of bottle age and will cruise for two decades.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Horsepower Vineyards The Tribe Vineyard Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($199.95) $169 special, 24 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 97+ points
“The 2016 Syrah The Tribe is largely in the same mold with a gamy, meaty, backward profile. Smoked meats, earthy dark fruits, ground pepper, and wood smoke are all present in this medium to full-bodied, concentrated Syrah that’s going to benefit from 3-5 years of bottle age and cruise for 15-20 years.”

No Girls La Placiencia Vineyard Tempranillo, Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, 12+ bottles in stock now
Case-3 No Girls La Placiencia Vineyard Tempranillo, Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($399.95) $345 special (that’s only $115/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points
“Similarly colored, the 2016 Tempranillo La Paciencia Vineyard offers an exotic bouquet of black cherries, violets, chocolate, tobacco, smoke, and candied orange rind. It’s deep, beautiful, savory, and full-bodied, with a thrilling texture. It’s another incredibly elegant, singular wine from this estate. 321 cases.”
Anthony Mueller-Wine Advocate 94+ points “Not yet released when I tasted it in November 2019, the 2016 Tempranillo la Paciencia has a dusty core of dark fruit on the nose, with blackberry, wild strawberry and hints of soft leather and wet river rock. In the mouth, the wine is medium to full-bodied and shows a subtle spiciness that persists through to the finish, with building and structuring tannins. It ends with a long, mineral finish and lingering tannins that make this wine ready for food. 321 cases produced.”

Shop the full selection of 155 in-stock bottles of Cayuse, Horsepower, and No Girls wines on our webstore!

Love Cayuse and looking Champagne for the holidays? Shop our selection of Champagnes crafted by Christophe Baron from his family’s vines. Only a true insider knows Monsieur Baron has a deep passion for Pinot Meunier Champagnes.  These are profoundly mineral and expressive wines ready to stun any lover of bubbles.

Christophe Baron Charly-Sur-Marne Les Alouettes Vignes Brut Nature, Champagne 2016 1.5L ($299.95) $259 special, only 7 magnums available
Antonio Galloni 94 points
“The 2016 Brut Nature Les Alouettes (Magnum) is ample and broad, with a real sense of volume that grows over time. Layered and beautifully resonant, the Alouttes is also the most sensual and immediate of these wines. Even with all of its intensity, the Alouttes is translucent and so expressive, even in the early going. Spice, dried pear, flowers and nutty accents linger. Disgorged: March, 2020.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93+ points “The most reserved wine in the range is the 2016 Brut Nature Les Alouettes, from a southeast-facing site in Charly-sur-Marne. Unwinding in the glass with scents of citrus zest, apricot, orange oil and pear, framed by hints of wet stones and struck match, it’s medium to full-bodied, tightly wound and chalky, with racy acids and an elegant pinpoint mousse. Interestingly, a magnum tasted in November 2020 was rather more open and expressive than this one, tasted in early 2021.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Christophe Baron Crouttes-Sur-Marne ‘Le Dessus du Bois Marie’ Brut Nature, Champagne 2016 1.5L ($319.95) $279 special, only 7 magnums available
Antonio Galloni 96 points
“The 2016 Brut Nature Le Dessus Du Bois Marie (Magnum) is a wine of cut and precision. Lemon confit, spice, baked apple tart and pear notes abound. Here the expression is all about energy, tension and delineation. Tangerine oil, spice, crushed rocks and white flowers add the closing shades of complexity. Disgorged: March, 2020.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 95 points “Disgorged in March 2020 without dosage, Baron’s 2016 Brut Nature Le Dessus du Bois Marie is showing nicely, wafting from the glass with delicately exotic aromas of mandarin orange, pear, musky peach, clear honey and white flowers. Medium to full-bodied, satiny and vinous, it’s fleshy and saline, with an enveloping core of fruit, lively acids and a long, mouthwatering finish.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Christophe Baron Charly-Sur-Marne Les Hautes Blanches Vignes Brut Nature, Champagne 2016 1.5L ($349.95) $299 special, only 7 magnums available
Antonio Galloni 97 points
“The 2016 Brut Nature Les Hautes Blanches Vignes (Magnum) is a deep, powerful, vinous wine. Meunier screams with character. Dried pear, spice, menthol, kirsch, Mirabelle plum and hazelnut soar out of the glass. Crystalline and exotically beautiful, with mesmerizing aromatics, the Hautes Blanches Vignes is incredibly distinctive and full of personality. The purity of the flavor is just breathtaking. This is such a gorgeous wine. Wow! Disgorged: March, 2020.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 95 points “Disgorged in March 2020, the 2016 Brut Nature Les Hautes Blanches Vignes is showing beautifully, wafting from the glass with notes of ripe apples, pear, baking spices and peach. Full-bodied, fleshy and vinous, it’s a rich and textural wine, girdled by tangy acids and concluding with a long, delicately honeyed finish.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Shop our web store for the complete collection of wines from Christophe Baron or our massive selection of over 230 Champagnes!

Rosé Feature:

Bandol and Domaine de la Bastide Blanche

Bandol rosé has taken the world by storm and for good reason: it’s delicious! Bandol became famous as a source for dense reds from Mourvèdre, Grenache, and Cinsault. Today, the rosé revolution has commandeered the lion’s share of production.

To exemplify the richer style we can’t think of a better example than Domaine de la Bastide Blanche, who delivers a harvest basket full of blood orange, sorbet, mandarin orange, fresh raspberry, hibiscus, lavender and sage that’s all underscored by a chalky minerality. Made from a minimum of 75% Mourvèdre, Bastide Blanche is considered a benchmark producer of Bandol rosé; with the estate being originally founded to compete with the best of Châteauneuf-du-Pape to the north. Also known for being one of the few roses that benefits from bottle age, the texture of the wine becomes almost tea-like on the finish with the fruit also softening as well. Bastide Blanche is a “red wine drinker’s rosé” and the perfect wine for the fall.

In Stock Now:

Domaine de la Bastide Blanche Bandol Rose Provence 2020 750ML ($31.95) $26 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Domaine de la Bastide Blanche Bandol Rose Provence 2020 750ML ($319.95) $288 special (that’s only $24/bottle!)
Domaine de la Bastide Blanche Bandol Rose Provence 2020 1.5L ($69.95) $59 special, 24 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92 points
“Limpid orange-pink. Expressive red berry, blood orange and pit fruit aromas are accompanied by building mineral and floral nuances. Taut and energetic in the mouth, offering sappy strawberry, orange zest and lavender flavors braced by a spine of chalky minerality. Finishes silky and impressively long, with repeating mineral and floral notes.”
Weygandt-Metzler Import note “Mourvedre, Grenache, Cinsault, Clairette. Organic. Clay, limestone & cailloux. Tasting note: Dense cherry and raspberry fruit with citrus and stone flavors. Full body with a perfectly balanced and long finish.”

Don’t miss other Bandol rosés from Chateau Pradeaux, Domaine Tempier, and Le Galantin on our web store now!

Producer Spotlight:

Dr. H. Thanisch Erben Thanisch

Weingut Wwe. Dr. H. Thanisch Erben Thanisch is classic Germany, a spectacular Riesling producer that is a mouthful to say. Named after the widow (Wwe. being the German abbreviation) who inherited the estate in the 19th century, Thanisch has been producing wine since 1636. Already considered one Germany’s most exceptional producers, Thanisch was one of the first estates to join the VDP Consortium in 1910, and the estate has continued to pursue excellence ever since.

Working entirely with old vines and some of the most lauded vineyards in the Mosel, it should come as no surprise that Thanisch holds the crown for highest price ever fetched at auction for a German producer. The wine in question? A bottle of 1921 Berncastler Doctor Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese that had been secretly hidden in their underground cellar for decades. It was sold in 1986 for over $16,000. 

When one thinks of extreme vineyards, most point to the Northern Rhône, Liguria, or the Canary islands. But the verdant slopes of the Mosel hide some of the most dangerous and challenging sites in the world. Any slope over 30 degrees makes mechanized assistance nearly impossible, further exacerbating backbreaking work for farmhands. If that wasn’t difficult enough, the various types of slate found in the Mosel become dangerously slippery when wet, oftentimes requiring safety winches and harnesses for laborers. About half of the estate vineyards farmed by Thanisch have aspects of 60 degrees or more, offering mind-bending views of the village of Bernkastel and the Mosel River. And the resulting wines are absolute marvels across the board.

Highlights in stock now: 

Wwe Dr. H. Thanisch Erben Thanisch Bernkastel-Kues Alte Reben, Mosel 2019 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special, 21 bottles in stock now
Mosel Fine Wines 90 points
“The 2019er Bernkastel-Kues Riesling Alte Reben is a barely off-dry wine (with 12 g/l of residual sugar) made from grapes harvested from 40-year-old vines in the Kueser part of the city. It offers a superbly complex and refreshing nose of anise, pink grapefruit, orange peel, tangerine, mint, lead pencil, and smoke. The wine proves hugely enjoyable thanks its animating presence on the palate and leaves a precise and dry-tasting feel in the long finish. The wine develops more weight and presence with airing, but retains a great sense of grip and playfulness in the animating and beautifully balanced after-taste. Now-2034.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Wwe Dr. H. Thanisch Erben Thanisch Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2016 750ML ($34.95) $24 special, 23 bottles in stock now
David Schildknecht – Vinous 91 points
“Ripe pear and apple dominate on the nose as well as on a silken, buoyant palate, supported by subtle sweetness. Mouthwatering salinity and transparency to crystalline stony nuances give the long, refreshingly juicy finish a fascinating and delightful sense of shimmer.”
Mosel Fine Wines 90 points “The 2016er Badstube Kabinett was harvested at 88° Oechsle. It offers a delicately ripe nose of pear, earthy spices, slate and smoke. The wine comes to life on the palate as acidity peps up some succulent pear right into the long finish and gives it a gorgeously lively and well-balanced side. The after-taste is elegantly playful. 2026-2041”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

Wwe Dr. H. Thanisch Erben Thanisch Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Spatlese, Mosel 2017 750ML ($34.95) Was $29, Now $24 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Stephan Reinhardt – Wine Advocate 93 points
“The 2017 Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Spätlese is still pretty reductive but clear and elegant on the crunchy slate and floral nose. Lush and salty on the pure, refined and elegant palate, this is a concentrated, densely woven and sensual Badstube with the mineral grip and tension of this often underrated Grosse Lage. Tasted from AP 8 18 in March 2019.”
Mosel Fine Wines 91 points “The 2017er Bernkasteler Badstube Spätlese offers a gorgeously ripe and fruity nose of pineapple, candied grapefruit, melon and pear, all wrapped into a touch of aniseed herbs. It displays quite some ripe yellow fruits on the structured and quite intense palate often found in Auslese rather than Spätlese. The finish is driven by zesty acidity and spices, so that the feeling of sweetness is well packed into a racy structure. 2025-2037.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Wwe Dr. H. Thanisch Erben Thanisch Bernkasteler Doctor Riesling Spatlese, Mosel 2017 750ML ($54.95) Was $46, Now $39 special, 31 bottles in stock now
Stephan Reinhardt – Wine Advocate 95+ points
“The coolish, precise and elegant 2017 Berncasteler Doctor Riesling Spätlese (AP 3 18) opens to very fine tropical fruit aromas intermixed with the smoky scents of crushed black rocks. Lush and finessed on the palate, this is a firmly structured, very elegant and persistently mineral Doctor Spätlese whose salty-piquant finish and fine, crystalline structure develops enormous length and tension but also finesse and a highly elaborate style. Highly stimulating. Tasted in March 2019.”
Mosel Fine Wines 93 points “The 2017er Berncasteler Doctor Spätlese offers a ripe nose of yellow peach, orange blossom, apricot, coconut cream, pear and smoke, all wrapped into some toffee. The wine is compact and still on the sweet side and intense on the palate. Riper fruits including apricot, mango and melon kick in and make for a delicately creamy and still rather sweet feel in the finish. This big backward offer will need more than a decade to absorb its sweetness and develop the inherent finesse of Doctor wines. 2032-2057.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Wwe Dr. H. Thanisch Erben Thanisch Bernkasteler Doctor Riesling Auslese, Mosel 2019 750ML ($79.95) $69 special, 29 bottles in stock now
Mosel Fine Wines 95 points
“The 2019er Berncasteler Doctor Riesling Auslese was made from fruit harvested at approx. 100° Oechsle and was fermented down to sweet levels of residual sugar. It offers a hugely restrained, aniseed, and smoky nose of honeyed yellow peach, minty herbs, pear, melon, quince jelly, and vanilla touch. The wine coats the palate with ample juicy and exotic fruits, as well as apricot, black berry, and a hint of smoky raisin. The finish is still on the smooth and creamy side, even if the after-taste more than hints already at the depth, complexity, and freshness to come. Patience will be needed for this beautiful Auslese to come around and deliver all its nuances. But the wait will be more than worth it! 2034-2069.”

Wwe Dr. H. Thanisch Erben Thanisch Bernkasteler Graben Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Mosel 2019 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special, 24 bottles in stock now
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 91+ points
“The 2019 Bernkasteler Graben Riesling GG is adjacent to Thanisch’s Doctor parcel yet a bit less warm. From 60- to 70-year-old-vines, this is a smoky, intense and elegant Riesling with very fine, precise and crunchy gray slate aromas. Medium-bodied, intense and complex on the palate, this is a tight, long and structured dry Graben Riesling with a refreshing lemon aroma on the concentrated and refreshing finish. This is complex but very promising and currently pretty closed, although the bottle was opened two days earlier. Tasted at the domain in September 2020.”

See the complete list of wines in stock now from Thanisch on our web store.

While you’re there, browse other classic Mosel producers such as Max Richter, Merkelbach, JJ Prum and more!

Vega Sicilia

If Spain had an aristocracy of wines, Vega Sicilia would be king. Founded in 1864, over a century before creation of the Ribera del Duero DOC, the estate’s various owners have made singular wines ever since. In fact, Vega Sicilia can hardly be compared to other Spanish wines, not even the greats of Rioja. For one thing, the grape varieties originally planted and still grown in Vega Sicilia’s 500-acre limestone-soil vineyard include Bordeaux varieties, though eighty percent of the vines are Tempranillo. As a result, Vega Sicilia doesn’t taste like other Tempranillo-based wines from Spain.

They’re dense and sumptuous, intense but full of finesse, complex and long-lingering on the palate, with the individuality of a monarch. Vega Sicilia is one of the rare instances were a singular producer is synonymous with the entire region as a whole, not unlike Biondi-Santi in Brunello, Dönnhoff and the Nahe and Ridge Vineyards in Sonoma. 

In Stock Now:

Vega Sicilia Tinto Valbuena 5, Ribera del Duero 2015 750ML ($199.95) $179 special, 2 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 97 points
“The aromas to this are so complex and enticing with nutmeg, dark berries, chocolate and white pepper. Full body. Dense and layered with so much wonderful, complex and succulent character. It just makes you want to drink it. Drink or hold.”
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2015 Valbuena, a red blend of mostly Tempranillo with some 5% Merlot, is released in the fifth year after the harvest. It’s explosive and showy, with a complex nose that shows a mixture of flowers and wild herbs, balsamic touches and great nuance. This wine has gained in complexity since the 2010 vintage, where they implemented some changes that increased the expressivity and precision of this wine. The tannins are fine-grained and there is very good balance, and the warm conditions of the year have been absorbed well by the wine. Despite the natural conditions of the year, the wine follows the path of freshness of the 2010. 173,673 bottles, 5,625 magnums and some larger formats produced. It was bottled in June 2018.”

Vega Sicilia Tinto Valbuena 5, Ribera del Duero 2009 750ML ($249.95) $199 special, 3 bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 95 points
“(Reviewed 2019) No, the 2009 Valbuena is not a current release, but I had a bottle blind at a tasting and most people, including myself, guessed it was a Grand Cru Burgundy, so aromatic, floral, expressive and elegant it was. We couldn’t believe it when the wine was revealed. Later, a bottle of the 2010 was opened, and it confirmed it as the best Valbuena of recent times, with a rare combination of elegance and power, combining characters of fine Burgundy and elegant Syrah from the Northern Rhône.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 94 points “(virtually all tempranillo, with a bit of merlot; fermented in large oak tanks and raised in a 50/50 blend of French and American oak, followed by brief sojourns in used oak barrels and vats before bottling): Opaque ruby. Spice- and mineral-accented aromas of dark berries, cherry pit and potpourri, with a toasty topnote. Minerally, incisive and sweet on the palate, offering smoky cherry and blackcurrant flavors complicated by vanilla, mocha and licorice. Shows impressive power and vivacity on the youthfully tannic finish, with the smoke and spice notes strongly repeating.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

In 1993, Vega Sicilia purchased just over 100 hectares of first growth vineyards, founding the estate of Tokaj-Oremus Viñedos y Bodegas. The winery features ancient, 700 year old cellars where the wines are aged.

“Oremus is one of the most well-known wineries in Tokaji… there was a sense of opulence at Oremus that I rarely encountered elsewhere in Tokaj. It not only infused their impressive portfolio, but was translated in their splendid tasting room, furnished with plush antique furniture more suited to a Bordeaux chateau. Of course, that has no bearing on the wines themselves, which are generally top quality and some of the purest Tokaj wines that you will find in the region.” –Neal Martin, Wine Advocate 

Oremus Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos, Tokaj, Hungary 2008 500ML ($99.95) $79 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 95 points
“Editor’s Choice. Brilliant amber in the glass, this elegant Tokaji Aszú has bright aromas of citrus blossom and candied lemon peel. On the palate there are flavors of fresh apricot, honeycomb and canned peaches. The finish is smooth and has just the right amount of acidity to balance the sweetness. -Jeff Jenssen”
Wine Spectator 94 points “Vibrantly golden, this seamless dessert wine deftly knits a firm backbone of acidity and a streak of salinity to a broad range of glazed apricot, singed orange peel, almond skin, ground cardamom and crystallized honey flavors. Delivers a long, lacy finish. Drink now through 2033. 2,000 cases made, 200 cases imported. — AN”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today for any vintage!

Don’t miss our collection of Royal Tokaji wines in stock now and arriving this month!

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Louis Roederer

As the old saying goes, for every end there’s a new beginning. This year marks the end of the Roederer Brut Premier Champagne, as the Grande Marque is now emphasizing estate-based production after 40 years of producing the cuvee. While the Brut Premier was previously sourced from purchased and homegrown fruit, the Collection 242 is entirely from estate vineyards in the Côte des Blancs, Montagne de Reims and Vallée de la Marne. There’s nothing missing from this Champagne. The encapsulation of freshness, nuance, and breadth make this right at home in the Roederer house and a textbook example of a Grande Marque. We secured a limited allotment of these wines, so be sure to grab these while you can. Much like the Brut Premier these are Champagnes that can be enjoyed on release or cellared for a truly unique expression.  

In stock and available now: 

Louis Roederer Collection 242 Brut Champagne NV 750ML ($69.95) $55 special, 17 bottles in stock now
Louis Roederer Collection 242 Brut Champagne NV 1.5L ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special, ETA November 
Antonio Galloni 92 points
“The NV Collection 242 is a new wine from Roederer that replaces the Brut Premier in the range. The Collection (which now will be numbered by harvest) is a blend of three components: a perpetual reserve done in the classic non-malo Roederer style, reserve wines in oak with a touch of malo, and a base vintage, in this case 2017. That blend results in a NV Champagne that offers lovely richness and resonance, with plenty of yellow orchard fruit and floral character. Whereas Brut Premier was typically a focused, nervy wine that, while consistently excellent, also was not always in line with the Roederer house style, the 242 tastes more like a Roederer Champagne in terms of its complexity. Incidentally, there is no Vintage, Cristal or Cristal Rosé in 2017, so all the best lots went into this bottling. Dosage is 8 grams per liter, so lower than the 9 or so that was typical for recent Brut Premier and much lower than the 12-13 that was once customary. The 242 was also bottled with a bit less sugar than the norm, which results in lower atmospheres of pressure in the bottle and silkier texture. ‘Brut Premier was created in the late 1970s and 1980s, when we struggled to ripen,’ Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon explained. ‘It was our way of compensating for lack of ripeness in the field and the variability of quality across vintages. Because of climate change, achieving ripeness is not an issue today. Instead, our challenge is maintaining freshness and precision. For that reason, we decided to re-think our NV and start from a place of positive rather than negative selection.’”
Decanter 92 points “Softly shimmering straw gold, green tints, with a delicate filigree dancing at will around the glass. The nose is gently authoritative; spring flowers garlanding stone fruit, a hint of hawthorn maybe, then lemongrass. The palate has encyclopedic depth, the intricacies of the Perpetual Reserve weaving their early magic; almond, sloe, gingerbread and apples; the finish has a pleasing twist of bitterness, courtesy of the small percentage of oak-aged reserve wine. Maybe the dosage (8g/L) can come down even further, such is the engaging and subtle complexity harnessed elsewhere? Drinking Window 2021 – 2025.”

Louis Roederer Cristal Brut 2013 750ML ($319.95) $289 special, 12 bottles in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 96 points
“Notes of crisp yellow orchard fruit, white flowers, blanched almonds and warm brioche introduce the 2013 Cristal, a full-bodied, layered and incisive wine that’s taut and chiseled but also notably exuberant in a vintage that I admire immensely but which can sometimes present an austere side. Deep, concentrated and penetrating, it’s complemented by a pinpoint mousse and concludes with a long, saline finish. Less introverted than its 2012 predecessor, readers won’t regret trying a bottle of the 2013 Cristal young—even if I’d recommend forgetting some for a decade too.”
Decanter 96 points “The peak of drinkability is between 15 and 20 years from the harvest; so says Jean-Baptiste, but he has not spared the taster the wondrous early impression of perfection in the making. A soft gold with glistening highlights, like the river meadow at dawn; the nose effortlessly marries a panoply of flavours, the citric grip nodding to hints of passion fruit and Mirabelle plum, with hazelnut and almond signalling the grace of development. Texturally generous, yet tightly wound, taut and flinty yet ripe and open, the wine faithfully underlines the vigneron’s philosophy, every nuance of its template deftly rehearsed and charmingly enacted. Disgorged: autumn 2020. Dosage: 7.5g/L. Drinking Window 2021 – 2033.”
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points “I think the 2013 Cristal checks in behind the 2008, but it’s nevertheless a beautiful wine. Lots of ripe orchard fruits, toasted bread, brioche, and chalky mineral notes define the nose, and it’s medium to full-bodied, with a layered, nicely concentrated, tight, inward style, beautiful precision and purity, and a great finish. It needs a good 5-7 years of bottle age to hit its stride and will keep for two decades or more.”

Arriving in November:

Louis Roederer et Philippe Starck Brut Nature 2012 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 94 points
“The 2012 Brut Nature is rich, powerful and incredibly expressive. It is also the most complete Brut Nature Roederer has made, as it has less of the austerity of previous releases and more creaminess. Powerful and yet gracious, the 2012 has so much to offer. Dried flowers, chamomile, dried pear and mint are all laced throughout this sublime, wonderfully nuanced Champagne. The Brut Nature is a field bend of 50% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay and 20% Meunier taken from three parcels in Cumières and vinified together.”
Wine & Spirits 94 points “Coming after 2006 and 2009, this is the third vintage of Roederer’s Brut Nature, a wine Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon makes in collaboration with Philippe Starck. Its production is determined by the years when pinot noir, meunier and chardonnay ripen at the same time, so they can be harvested together and cofermented. It grows in the clay soils of Cumières, what Lécaillon describes as “the dark side,” a contrast to the chalk terroirs that provide Cristal. The 2012 starts out with earth tones, scents of mushrooms and dark spice. And like prior vintages of this wine, it keeps gaining complexity with each successive day open. From a tough and powerful structure, it turns luscious, generous, its flavors of white nectarine carried with a youthfully staccato energy. It’s a wine to decant, or to cellar.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2012 Brut Nature is showing beautifully, bursting from the glass with an expressive bouquet of lemon oil, crisp green apple, wheat toast, hazelnuts and wet stones. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, ample and fleshy, with its generous core of concentrated and delicately sun-kissed fruit girdled by brisk acids and undeniable mineral grip and complemented by a delicate pinpoint mousse. Concluding with a saline finish, this lovely wine is a blend of 55% Pinot Noir, 25% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay, reflecting its origins in Cumières.”

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We do our best to provide the most up to date reviews, but please note that disgorgement dates, lot codes, and base-years may vary.

Willi Schaefer’s Exquisite 2020s

Willi Schaefer, one of the Mosel’s most celebrated producers, is known for crafting wines that are approachable when young with beautiful fruit components. However, like all of the valley’s finest exports, they always impress with the ability to maintain vitality and finesse for 15+ years.

“For many tasters, these are the Ne Plus Ultra of Mosel wine, and they have attracted an almost religious following. Thus my most frustrating agency, as there is never enough wine. It is hard to put a finger on exactly what it is that makes these wines so precious. There is a candor about them that is quite disarming. They are polished too, but not brashly so. They are careful to delineate their vineyard characteristics, and they offer fruit of sublime purity. They are utterly soaring in flavor yet not without weight. What many of you seem to have warmed to is their clarity, precision and beauty of fruit, so maybe I’ll leave it at that!” – Terry Theise

New Willi Schaefer Releases Arriving Late November:

Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2020 750ML ($44.95) $36 pre-arrival special
Mosel Fine Wines 95 points
“The 2020er Graacher Domprobst Riesling Kabinett was fermented down to fruity-styled levels of residual sugar. It offers an incredibly subtle feel of pear, cassis, bergamot, white flowers, vineyard peach, wet stone, and fine subtle smoky elements. The wine is stunningly vibrant, subtly multilayered with ripe and citrusy fruits, but, above all, incredibly light-footed on the palate. The finish is all about elegance and finesse. This stunning Kabinett is clearly still on the backward side but the airy finesse is simply stunning. This brings us right back to the glorious 1990s! 2030-2050.”
James Suckling 95 points “Feel the dark side of the Kabinett force! Plenty of cassis and grapefruit aromas, but also ripe stone fruit, darker wild berries, wet earth and rocks. And the interplay of these is what makes this wine so exciting. Extremely long and graceful finish that makes it almost impossible not to reach for the glass again. Drink or hold.”

Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2020 750ML ($44.95) $36 pre-arrival special
Mosel Fine Wines 94 points
“The 2020er Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett was fermented down to fruity-styled levels of residual sugar. It offers a superb nose made of residual scents from the spontaneous fermentation, chalky minerals, wet stone, mirabelle, cassis, melon, pear, and some subtle aniseed elements. The wine is beautifully pure and airy on the palate and leaves a stunningly juicy feel in the long, subtly ripe, and spicy finish. The wine really shines through its incredible silky airiness delivered with the presence and zest of a light Spätlese. This Kabinett is truly remarkable! 2030-2050.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2020 Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett is a Schaefer classic that opens with a brilliantly clear and still reductive bouquet of crushed slate and perfectly ripe Riesling fruit. The attack on the palate is vibrantly fresh, but there is also lush fruit and generosity as well as this hedonistic lightness and brightness that makes you quaff this Kabinett masterpiece until the bottle’s end. This is a highly stimulating, cool and grippy wet Riesling with so much Jugendstil. 7.5% alcohol. Natural cork. Tasted in September 2021.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $41

Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spatlese #5, Mosel 2020 750ML ($69.95) $56 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 97 points
“Could a modern Mosel Spätlese be more classic than this? Stunningly ripe stone-fruit and floral character, married to considerable richness, with an almost buttery texture on the mid-palate. Long and succulent finish that remains fresh and vivid. Drink or hold.”
Mosel Fine Wines 96 points “The 2020er Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spätlese AP 05 was made essentially from grapes harvested in the Gerdsgrub and Fergert sectors of the vineyard and was fermented down to fruity-styled levels of residual sugar. It proves still rather backward and marked by residual scents from its spontaneous fermentation. After a while subtly apricot-infused flavors of melon, cassis, blueberry, blackberry, and aniseed herbs emerge from the glass. The wine proves subtle, intensely cream, and nicely zesty on the palate and leaves a gorgeous feel of ripe and delicately exotic fruits in the long finish. The combination of dark fruits, whipped cream, and juicy acidity packed into mouthwatering sweetness are truly remarkable. 2030-2050.”

Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spatlese #10, Mosel 2020 750ML ($54.95) $44 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 97 points
“Mind-blowing nose of cassis and forest berries with white flowers and a hint of cedar. Staggering depth, packed into a very sleek silhouette, but the brilliant acidity and enormous wet-stone freshness are even more astonishing, because they completely distract you from the natural grape sweetness for a long while. So enjoyable now, but with such a great future ahead of it. Drink or hold.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 95+ points “Willi Schaefer’s 2020 Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spätlese #10 is deep, fine and complex on the still reductive yet clear, dense and elegant nose. Lush and piquant on the palate, this is a very fine and finely concentrated, intense and persistent Domprobst with sustainable juicy fruit and stimulating grip. This is a mouthful of great Mosel Spätlese from one of the region’s finest producers. 7.5% alcohol. Natural cork. Tasted in September 2021.”
Mosel Fine Wines 95 points “The 2020er Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spätlese AP 10 was harvested mainly in different prime sectors of the vineyard and was fermented down to sweet levels of residual sugar. It offers a beautiful and subtly exotic nose made of pear, passion fruit, vineyard peach, apricot, whipped cream, aniseed herbs, and fine smoky spices. The wine is gorgeously light-footed on the fruity palate and leaves a superbly intense feel of melon, cassis, wet stone, and herbs in the nicely playfully fruity-styled finish. The aftertaste is intense yet comes overs as light as a feather. This gorgeous Spätlese will turn into a modern-day legend at maturity, in 10 years and more. 2030-2050.”

Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spatlese, Mosel 2020 750ML ($59.95) $56 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 96 points
“The extremely fresh white-peach, herbal and savory nose pulls you into this sleek and vibrant Spätlese that’s brimming with white-flower and wet-stone character. Dances over your palate with the greatest of ease. Very long,pure and poised finish. Drink or hold.”

Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese #11, Mosel 2020 375ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special, only 12 half-bottles available
Mosel Fine Wines 97 points
“The 2020er Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese AP 11 was made from fully ripe grapes harvested with little botrytis in the Fergert sector of the vineyard and was fermented down to noble-sweet levels of residual sugar. It offers a backward yet stunningly airy nose made of pear, quince, whipped cream, carraway, and subtly honeyed elements. The wine is gorgeously light-footed on the palate and leaves the most incredibly complex, discreet yet intense feel in the long and hugely persistent finish. A hint of almond enhances the flavors in the aftertaste. This Auslese is a huge success and shines through its marvelous delicate style! 2030-2060.”
James Suckling 97 points “In spite of the ripeness, which edges in a caramelized direction, this retains dramatic freshness that builds and builds as it flows across the palate. The concentration is underplayed, so that the whole composition comes across as extremely delicate. Lime freshness and floral delicacy at the finish. Who can resist these charms? Drink or hold.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 96 points “Picked on October 17, the 2020 Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese #11 represents the finish of the harvest and is the only Auslese and the highest predicate that was produced last year chez Willi Schaefer. Based on ripe, intense and concentrated yet healthy berries, this Auslese opens with a very clear, precise and fresh, finely flinty bouquet. Lush and round on the palate, this is a dense yet filigreed and beautifully balanced Auslese with a long, intense and stringent finish. The acidity is highly finessed and stimulatingly salty. A gorgeous Riesling filled into 375-milliliter bottles. 7.5% alcohol. Natural cork. Tasted in September 2021.”

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Collector’s Corner

2019 Domaine Leflaive

Arriving This Month

Domaine Leflaive is the white Burgundy domaine against which all others are judged.  Moreso than names like Coche or PYCM (who are great, but sui generis), the whites of Leflaive are immaculate in their quality but very much what we all think of when we hear the words “white Burgundy.”  The wines are an experience and a master class in terroir. The vineyard team has had direct lineage for three generations and the late Anne-Claude Leflaive took their farming craft to a new level as one of the earliest adopters of biodynamics in the Cote d’Or. These are, quite simply, the best wines you’ll find in Puligny-Montrachet, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a more pure expression of Chardonnay anywhere on the planet.

Arriving in October:

Domaine Leflaive Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2019 750ML ($1,399.95) $1,299 pre-arrival special, only 1 bottle available
Decanter 96 points
“Balance is always the hallmark of the Bâtard from Leflaive as the fresh minerality of the Puligny side plays against the luxurious ripe, almost tropical notes of the south-facing Chassagne side of the vineyard. Here the wine is a bit restrained on the nose, but the substance and structure is immediately apparent. 2019 is a vintage that will need some time to show its full potential, but the rich, voluptuous character is evident from the start. Immense length and potential for ageing. Drinking Window 2021 – 2040.”
Burghound 95-97 points “Don’t Miss! An exuberantly floral-suffused nose speaks of citrus, spice, passion fruit, exotic Asian-style tea and a touch of anise. The bigger and richer broad-shouldered flavors remain focused and almost as refined with superb depth and persistence on the impeccably well-balanced finale. This is also very classy and a wine that should age gracefully for several decades. This is also a bona fide stunner of a wine.”

Domaine Leflaive Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2019 750ML ($1,299.95) $1,149 pre-arrival special, only 1 bottle available
Decanter 96 points
“Leflaive owns four contiguous parcels in the center of BBM that total 1.15 hectares, nearly half of the appellation. The vines lie just down the slope from one of their four Bâtard parcels. In 2019, Leflaive began their harvest on September 11th. The Bienvenues has retained a rewarding freshness, with a forward fruit that has both tropical and citrus elements and plenty of floral notes. The texture is lively but supple; there is plenty of fresh acidity that brings a pleasant energy to the wine. This should age for decades to come. Drinking Window 2021 – 2040.”
Burghound 94-96 points “Don’t Miss! Here the equally beautiful nose is quite similar to that of the Pucelles save for being much more restrained. Cool, pure and almost painfully intense flavors possess the same sleek, sophisticated and graceful texture as well as even better persistence on the youthfully austere, compact and wonderfully complex finale. This is a stunner of a Bienvenues.”

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Domaine Leflaive Clavoillon, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru 2019 750ML ($319.95) $289 pre-arrival special, only 6 bottles available
Burghound 91-94 points
“Outstanding. An overtly floral suffused nose displays notes of pear compote, citrus confit and subtle spice wisps. There is excellent vibrancy to the attractively textured medium weight flavors that also exude a refreshing salinity on the citrusy, dry and notably more complex finish that is perceptibly firmer. This should age well.”

Domaine Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc 2019 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special, only 12 bottles available
“Outstanding Top Value. Freshly sliced pear, apple and lemon-lime scents give way to solidly concentrated and vibrant medium weight flavors that also exude a refreshing salinity on the attractively complex and sneaky long finish. This isn’t refined but it offers excellent quality for a regional wine. Recommended.” -Allen Meadows, Burghound

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Thank you from the team at Vinopolis!

Be well & drink well.