Monday Newsletter 12-27-21

In This Newsletter:

New Grapelive Review for Longtime Favorite:
Saint Cosme

Cote des Blancs Champagne
Featuring Lilbert-Fils

Casanova di Neri

Collector’s Corner:
Champagne Salon
Arriving Tuesday!

Please note:

We will close at 5 pm sharp on New Year’s Eve,
be closed New Year’s Day,
& reopen on Sunday the 2nd for our regular hours
10 am – 6 pm

New Grapelive Review
For Longtime Shop Favorite:

Saint Cosme

Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone France 2020 750ML ($17.95) $14 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone France 2020 750ML ($199.95) $149 special (that’s only $12.42/bottle!)
Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone France 2020 1.5L ($37.95) $29 special, 20 magnums in stock now
Grapelive 92 points
“The latest Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone, 100% Syrah, is an all tank aged and partial whole cluster wine with a deep purple color and far more complexity than you’d expect from a bottle in this price range with layers of blackberry, boysenberry, plum and blueberry fruits along with hints of earth, graphite, black licorice, dried herbs and crushed flowers in a beautifully smooth and textured full bodied wine. This vintage, which is Louis Barruol’s 24nd vintage of this juicy Saint Cosme Côtes du Rhône, is very polished and pleasing with just enough savory crunch to keep things interesting. This edition is an easy companion with a variety of foods and was perfect with a chilly rainy night outside, it provided lots of comfort without any pretense. Being all Syrah it feels a bit more rustic and dense than most Grenache based versions, but you can see the family relationship with Barruol’s famous Gigondas and other classic Rhone bottlings with its warm and Mediterranean personality. This is always a great wine and sublime value… The Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone vines are set on mostly limestone sand, red clay and pebbles on Villafranchian terraces that gives this remarkably expression its stylistic charm, density and class. Barruol [notes that] he thinks Vinsobres is the best area to grow Syrah in this area, which is just to the north of Gigondas and influenced by cool alpine winds that help refresh the vines, giving ripe fruit, but with energy of natural acidity… Every year I get a bunch of Saint Cosme, of course their legendary Gigondas is a must, but I also grab bottles of their Crozes-Hermitage, Saint-Joseph and lots of this Cotes-du-Rhone Rouge!”

Shop our incredible selection of Saint Cosme wines in stock now on our web store or browse highlights below:

Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas, Rhone 2018 750ML ($44.95) $38 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas, Rhone 2018 750ML ($269.95) $219 special (that’s only $36.50/bottle!)
Château de Saint Cosme Gigondas, Rhône 2018 1.5L ($99.95) $79 special, 35 magnums in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points
“Moving to the wines from bottle, the base Gigondas from this estate is a perennial winner and readers can safely buy bottles of this in just about every vintage. Giving up a Provençal bouquet of red and black currants, peppery herbs, leather, and loamy soil, the 2018 is medium to full-bodied, has a forward, sexy style, no hard edges, and a great finish. It’s terrific today yet still has enough tannins to evolve for 10-15 years if you’re so inclined.”
Wine Advocate 92-94 points “Blended on the spot from several different barrels, the 2018 Gigondas looks very promising. Asphalt, black cherries and tapenade feature on the nose, while the palate is almost painfully intense, with ample weight, great richness and a long, velvety finish.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $55

Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas Hominis Fides, Rhone 2018 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, 10 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points
“One of the wines of the vintage, 2018 Gigondas Hominis Fides comes from a single parcel of old vines planted in more limestone/sandy soils not far from the estate (it’s just across the street from the Le Claux lieu-dit). This dense purple/ruby hued beauty boasts a sensational bouquet of ripe black raspberries, mulled cherries, black licorice, loamy soil, and a kiss of camphor, as well as plenty of peppery herb-like nuances. With full-bodied richness, it hits the palate with a seamless, elegant texture, no hard edges, building tannins and one seriously good finish. It’s not a powerhouse like the 2007 or 2016, yet has incredible finesse as well as purity of fruit and length. It benefits from a quick decant and is guaranteed to put a smile on your face any time over the coming 15+ years.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “This is dense and dark, with lots of currant and fig paste flavors that have melded with licorice root, singed apple wood and warm earth notes, followed by a long, tobacco- and garrigue-edged finish. Youthfully gutsy, but with everything in place and plenty of energy, so this should cellar well. Best from 2022 through 2036.”
Wine Advocate 94-96 points “Bold scents of asphalt and cassis appear on the nose of the 2018 Gigondas Hominis Fides. Like the other 2018s here, it’s a big, concentrated and powerful wine. In this case, it’s loaded with intense fruit and backed by waves of rich, velvety tannins, yet it finishes with zesty-briny notes and tremendous length.-JC”

Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas Le Claux, Rhone 2019 750ML ($129.95) $119 special, 9 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 97 points
“This is packed together, with taut iron cables providing a platform for mouthwatering bitter plum, cassis and blackberry reduction flavors. Sage, bay tobacco and warm earth notes play equally important roles, adding superior range and depth. Everything pulls together through the finish, though the end point takes some time to reach. Best from 2025 through 2040. —J.M.”
Jeb Dunnuck 97-99 points “Also all Grenache from a single vineyard just down from the estate, the 2019 Gigondas Le Claux offers more minerality as well as structure and is another 2019 that’s going to benefit from bottle age. A complex bouquet of redcurrants, loamy soil and dried garrigue, camphor, and licorice emerges from the glass, and this beauty has building tannins, flawless balance and a great, great finish.”
Decanter 96 points “Very dense, somewhat earthbound for now with an extremely dense tannic structure. Great energy and salinity, very vibrant with a lovely acid structure. Will take a long time to come round but will be good. Organically grown Grenache planted in 1870, planted on Miocene marls and yellow clay. Fermented in concrete, no destemming, indigenous yeasts, and matured 100% in barriques; 30% new, 30% second use, 30% third use.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $141

Saint Cosme Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2017 750ML ($49.95) $45 special, 36+ bottles in stock now 
Wine Spectator 95 points
“Offers mulled plum, blackberry and black cherry fruit mixed in with steeped black tea, sandalwood and tobacco leaf notes. A mineral edge adds cut and drive to the finish, while the black tea note smolders seductively. Built for the cellar. Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah and Cinsault. Best from 2022 through 2036.”
Wine Advocate 94-96 points “Still awaiting bottling during my June visit, the 2017 Chateauneuf du Pape features bold notes of black cherries, cassis and spice cake. Owner Barruol says the Christmas cake is typical of La Crau. Full-bodied and voluptuous, with a long, fine and silky finish, this great effort provides one intense ride from start to finish.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $50
The average price is $60

Cote des Blancs Champagne

Featuring Lilbert-Fils

Fruit from the Côte des Blancs is among the most in demand in all of Champagne. With a high degree of chalk in the soils from ancient sea beds and an emphasis on Chardonnay, it’s no surprise the descriptors of the region are all variations on the theme of “mineral.” Krug, Bollinger, Roederer, Piper-Heidsieck and Moët & Chandon all have holdings in the region, and often use it for their top offerings. With this much corporate influence from the Grand Marquises you’d be hard pressed to find grower-producers, but find we have.

Lilbert-Fils is one of the best kept secrets in Champagne.  Drawing from Grand Cru vineyards in the Cote des Blancs, Lilbert makes blanc de blancs wines from some excellent vineyards in a finessed, and yes, minerally style.  Their wines have a notable brioche-y character, as well, due to the large quantities of reserve wines in their various blends.  At the prices asked, these are wines that massively over-deliver.  That’s certainly because they fly under the radar (at the moment) but that could (and should) change over the next few years.

In Stock Now from Lilbert-Fils:

Lilbert-Fils Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($69.95) $51.90 special, 24 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 92 points
“Grand cru grapes from the Côte des Blancs give this Champagne great intensity and texture. While the bottling is still a little young, it does have hints of the richness of maturity that will shine through the white fruits and lemon flavors. Drink this fine bottling from 2021. -Roger Voss”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 91+ points “The latest rendition of Lilbert’s NV Grand Cru Cramant Blanc de Blancs was disgorged in spring 2019 with a low three grams per liter dosage. It’s based on the 2016 vintage, complemented by 50% reserve wines. Offering up a crisp and pure bouquet of green apple, wet stones and lemon oil, as well as subtle suggestions of freshly baked bread, it’s medium to full-bodied, racy and incisive, with fine depth at the core, a delicate mousse and a chalky finish. This is quite a tender, charming rendition of this cuvée, despite the very low dosage, but as usual it will amply reward some aging on cork.”
Antonio Galloni 90 points “The NV Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru is a very pretty entry-level wine in this lineup. Citrus and floral overtones give the Brut lovely freshness to match its weightless, gracious personality. Understated and classy, the Brut is an absolute delight. I would prefer to drink it as an aperitif or alongside lighter foods. The low dosage of 3 grams per liter adds to the wine’s taut feel. The current release is based on 2016, with 50% reserve wines.”

Lilbert-Fils Perle Blanc de Blancs Perle Grand Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($89.95) $75 special, 24 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 93 points
“The Perle style is a comparative rarity in Champagne, bottling the wine at a lower than usual pressure. This dry Champagne is therefore softly textured with an open mousse. It does however have all the fine, tight minerality of great Chardonnay in Champagne and will surely develop further. Drink from 2021.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 92 points “The latest release of the NV Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Perle was disgorged in fall 2018 with five grams per liter dosage, and it’s a blend of equal parts 2015 and 2014, complemented by some 10% reserve wines. Offering up a lovely bouquet of fresh peach, lemon oil, white flowers and hints of the elegantly nutty complexity to come, the wine is medium to full-bodied and textural but incisive, with a creamy low-pressure mousse, a tight-knit core that needs a little time on cork to unwind and an elegantly chalky finish.”
Wine Spectator 91 points “Ripe pineapple and white cherry fruit flavors are accented by honeysuckle and spice notes in this appealing blanc de blancs Champagne, which is lithe and harmonious, with a fresh, lightly chalky finish. Disgorged autumn 2018. Drink now through 2023. 200 cases made, 40 cases imported.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $79.99

There’s plenty of bargains and gems to be had from the Cote des Blancs in Champagne, including from some of our favorite growers and family-owned estates that we have in stock now:

Intensely mineral and a bargain for the village
Lombard & Cie Le Mesnil sur Oger Grand Cru Brut Nature, Champagne NV 750ML ($119.95) $81.90 special, 5 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 94 points
“Editor’s Choice. Here is one of a series of Champagnes from three major Chardonnay villages in the Côte des Blancs. Le Mesnil has some of the top Champagne vineyards and this wine shows the quality of the terroir with its tight minerality and intense acidity balanced by the ripe lemon and grapefruit flavors. Drink now. -Roger Voss”
Importer note “2013-base.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

Largely based in the Cotes de blancs village of Cremant, Diebolt Vallois has been making blanc de blanc style Champagne since 1959 under two generations of vignerons. With a house style characterized by crisp minerality, food friendly acidity and refreshing fruit profile redolent of green pear and citrus rind. A budget friendly introduction to blanc de blanc Champagne and the sub- reigion as a whole!  

Lemon and pear blossom aromatics tempered by a hollowing acidity, with a cushion of Yuzu, chalk, Meyer lemon oil and black lime. There’s a classic Côte des Blancs “Electric Minerality” that’s perceivable across the aromas, flavors and finish.     
Diebolt-Vallois Tradition Brut Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Diebolt-Vallois Tradition Brut Champagne NV 750ML ($249.95) $219 special (That’s only $36.50 per bottle!)
Wine Spectator 92 points
“Like an orchard in late spring, this blends floral and fruit notes of ripe apple, white cherry and apricot. There’s a firm backbone of zesty acidity and underlying minerality, with a lingering hint of ginger on the finish.”

Diebolt-Vallois Blanc de Blancs Brut Millésimé, Champagne 2013 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 14 bottles in stock now

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $59.99

A vintage Champagne drinking beautifully today
Diebolt-Vallois Blanc de Blancs Brut Millésimé, Champagne 2011 750ML ($59.95) $46 special, 20 bottles in stock now
No reviews for the 2011 vintage. 2010 review provided for reference.
Wine Spectator 92 points
“This elegant blanc de blancs shows a pleasing vibrancy from the lively bead and bright acidity, both well-meshed to pretty floral and spice accents and flavors of Gala apple, biscuit and lemon zest. Creamy. Drink now through 2025. 16 cases imported.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Didier Gimonnet’s wines are pure, classical Blanc de Blancs Champagne.  Gimonnet’s devotion to cool, minerally Champagne made from Chardonnay borders on monastic. At their best, Gimonnet seems to have a quiet resonance, like a beautiful bell struck in a quiet stone hallway. The wines draw you in, not with bombast or noise, but with a clear directness and purity of tone, a personality just as much reflected in the man himself. That pursuit of beauty and elegance, from the entry-level to the top of the line, makes Gimonnet a perpetually top grower in Champagne.

“Emphasizing old vines, low yields and ripe grapes, these Champagnes [from Pierre Gimonnet] are site-driven wines…” -William Kelley, Wine Advocate

Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs ‘Millesime de Collection Vieilles Vignes de Chardonnay’, Champagne 2008 1.5L ($349.95) $289 special, 9 magnums in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 95+ points
“Released only in magnum, the 2008 Brut Millésime de Collection Vieilles Vignes is the same wine as Gimonnet’s Special Club, bit it sees more than 10 years sur lattes before disgorgement. Unwinding in the glass with a deep and complex bouquet of pear, green apple, citrus zest, oyster shell, smoke and pastry cream, it’s full-bodied, chalky and incisive, with terrific depth at the core, promising reserve and a long, resonant finish.”

Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs Cuvee Oenophile Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($89.95) $79 special, 9 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 94 points
“The 2014 Extra-Brut Cuvée Oenophile stands out in this flight of three releases of the Oenophile for its density and sheer power. It’s a Champagne for the dinner table, that much is evident. Pear, dried flowers, mint and lemon confit all flesh out in this decidedly ample, resonant edition.”

Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Cuvee Special Club Brut 2014 750ML ($119.95) $95 special, 9 bottles in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 94+ points
“Disgorged in May 2019 with four grams per liter dosage, Gimonnet’s 2014 Brut Special Club Grands Terroirs de Chardonnay has turned out beautifully, wafting from the glass with aromas of citrus oil, crisp orchard fruit, white flowers and fresh yogurt that are still quite youthfully reserved. Medium to full-bodied, layered and concentrated, with racy acids and an elegant pinpoint mousse, it’s seamless and complete. Still tightly wound after its recent disgorgement, it will reward patience.” 
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2014 Brut Spécial Club is a blend of fruit taken mostly from Cramant, with Chouilly and Cuis in supporting roles. The breadth and power of Cramant comes through loud and clear. Readers will find a potent, at times austere, Champagne that needs a bit of time in the cellar to soften. The Special Club does not offer the immediacy of the Chouilly or Cramant Special Clubs, but it has plenty of its own allure. Dried pear, spice, crushed flowers and chamomile are some of the aromas and flavors that linger on the imposing finish. Dosage is 4 grams per liter.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
The average price is $106

Doyard is a Cotes de Blancs producer, through and through. Based in Vertus, they specialize in Chardonnay based Champagne from their villages and a few neighboring towns—all of which are some of the best places to grow the grape in the world. With holdings in Avize, Mesnil and Cramant, as well as Vertus, their wines have the chalkiness and precision that we always look for in Cotes de Blancs Champagne. Doyard puts a bit of a twist on the stereotype, though, and uses a combination of extended lees aging plus barrels for fermentation to add richness and texture to their steely base material (that rarely undergoes malo). The results are captivating and this collection is some of the most exciting in Champagne.  

Doyard Cuvee Vendemiaire Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru Brut NV 750ML ($69.95) $54.50 special, 20 bottles in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 92 points
“The NV Brut Blanc de Blancs Cuvée Vendémiaire (2014 base) Doyard’s latest release. It was disgorged in February 2020 with four grams per liter dosage after 89 months on the lees. Wafting from the glass with aromas of honeycomb, yellow orchard fruit, dried citrus peel, warm bread and toasted almonds. Medium to full-bodied, fleshy but incisive, it’s elegantly layered and racy, with a pinpoint mousse and a long, sapid finish.”

Doyard ‘Revolution’ Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Non-Dosé NV 750ML ($89.95) $69 special, 11 bottles in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 94 points
“Based on the 2014 vintage and disgorged in March 2020 without dosage, the latest rendition of Doyard’s NV Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Non Dosé Révolution offers up aromas of lemon oil, white flowers, mandarin, golden orchard fruit and buttered toast. Full-bodied, layered and muscular, it’s tangy and incisive, with a satiny attack that segues into a generous core of fruit, concluding with a long, mouthwatering finish.”

Shop our complete selection of offerings from 74 Champagnes different producers (that’s 200+ different wines!) on our web store now!

Casanova di Neri

Casanova di Neri is one of Italy’s truly elite modern producers—an icon of Brunello. Their Tenuta Nuova and Cerretalto are profound, highly-sought after wines. The Cerretalto is an event of a wine.  Produced only in the best years, with extra aging before release, it’s one of the true landmark wines of Italy. The 2015 Cerretalto comes from a “fairy tale” vintage, in the words of James Suckling—a year that’s seen more rabid demand than any in recent memory. 

In Stock Now from Casanova di Neri:

A relatively warm vintage, 2012 produced generous and structured Brunello that retained a surprising amount of freshness.
Casanova di Neri Cerretalto, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2012 750ML ($419.95) $379 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 98 points
“Flavors of medicinal herbs, juniper, macerated cherry, plum, tobacco and spice are the hallmarks of this intense red, which is ripe and concentrated, yet sleek and focused. Spice notes chime in on the long, minerally and firmly tannic finish. Best from 2023 through 2040.”
Wine Advocate 98 points “The 2012 Brunello di Montalcino Cerretalto offers a prolonged, flowing and carefully massaged drinking experience that drapes over the senses with some studied intensity and lots of intriguing complexity. This wine nails that perfect balance between power and elegance (that elusive exchange that so many winemakers hope to achieve) with effortless precision. Bold cherry fruit and spice are tightly woven together. In the mouth, the wine shows texture, depth and succulence. Generally speaking, this is not my favorite vintage in Montalcino, but this wine suddenly made me forget that thought.”
James Suckling 97 points “The density is so impressive in this great single-vineyard wine of Casanova. It’s full yet agile at the same time. Shows such integrated tannins and fresh acidity at the finish. Energized and focused. Tangy and citrusy. Mineral undertone. One of the great Brunellos of 2012. Better in 2022.”

Casanova di Neri Cerretalto, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2013 750ML ($359.95) $289 special, 7 bottles in stock now
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 97 points
“There are a handful of wines in Italy that make me nervous before I taste them because my expectations are so high. This is one of those wines. Indeed, previous editions of Cerretalto have earned the coveted 100 point score, and I am astutely aware of the pedigree and potential that comes forth with each new vintage. As enthusiastic as my assessment of the 2013 Brunello di Montalcino Cerretalto is, I’m stopping short of that perfect score. This vintage is something of a moving target with wines that are beautiful, without a doubt, yet the growing conditions were not even across the appellation, and achieving optimal tannic management posed a challenge to many producers. If I were to make any criticism of this wine, it would fall along those lines. That aside, this is a beautiful Brunello that boasts deep intensity and bold black fruit flavors that are plummy and rich. Spice, toasted oak and tobacco frame that primary fruit. Cerretalto ages in oak for 30 months and that strong imprint has added to the structure, depth and contemporary character of this A-list Brunello. That oak imprint is also reinforced in the wine’s tannins. There’s no doubt that this wine needs more cellar aging. I would absolutely not suggest drinking it within the next five years. Any awkwardness it shows now should iron itself out with more bottle time. Only 9,771 bottles were made.”

Casanova di Neri Cerretalto, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2015 750ML ($399.95) $319 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 98+ points
“Of these new releases from this benchmark estate, the Casanova di Neri 2015 Brunello di Montalcino Cerretalto is my favorite wine. This Riserva is larger than life with ripe fruit, raspberry, cherry, spice, cola, root beer, mesquite and cedar. The wine offers a flashy and generous quality of fruit that unfolds over time with a multifaceted and multi-layered presentation. One thing that stands out here is the acidity that is bracing and tart at first but then succumbs to an important supporting role, rendering lasting freshness and persistence to the finish. With time, you get a flash of cherry and crème de cassis that seals the deal.”
Eric Guido-Vinous 95 points “The 2015 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Cerretalto is remarkably fresh and balanced despite its large-scale persona. Minty herbs give way to raspberry and cherry with exotic spices and a hint of pine resin. It boasts depths of silky textures; yet it remains juicy and full of energy, displaying ripe red and black fruits, laced with salty minerals, as hints of cinnamon and baker’s chocolate form toward the close. Fine tannins come forward on the finish, tugging at the cheeks, yet all under an air of sweet spice and violet florals. As young as this is today, it’s hard to put the glass down, and I can only imagine the depths that will be revealed with five or more years of cellaring.”

Casanova di Neri Tenuta Nuova, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2015 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, 16 bottles in stock now
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 98+ points
“Giacomo Neri and his family have crafted a wine that impresses from the first sip forward (especially when the wine is given ample time to open). The Casanova di Neri 2015 Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova must be treated with patience, and that patience is returned with many great rewards. Blackberry, plum and summer cherry are slowly folded into lasting flavors of spice, leather and beautiful balsam or medical herb. These are always a distinctive signature of this estate. The aromas flow with seamless transitions, and that fluid and ever-changing nature of the bouquet is what helps to build intensity and staying power. Fruit is harvested from a south- and southeast-facing slope at 250 to 300 meters above sea level. The soils are mixed loosely with crushed rock, allowing access to air and moisture. Indeed, pretty mineral accents appear as the wine takes on more air in the glass. What stands out most in this Brunello is the quality of the bouquet that is rigid and firm, yet not excessively so. You feel the structural texture of the wine as it sits firmly over the palate, yet there is mobility and softness to its many moving parts. I tasted this wine at various intervals over a 24-hour period. Tenuta Nuova was bottled in June 2018, and some 70,032 bottles were released.”
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 96 points “Bright full red. Redcurrant, red cherry, violet, sweet spices, and orange zest on the scented nose. Not in the quite sweet and fleshy style this bottling is famous for, but suave and very well delineated, with the orange peel note providing inner-palate lift. Closes very clean with excellent length.”
Eric Guido – Vinous 96 points “The 2015 Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova was quite restrained at first, requiring time in the glass to fully blossom, as subtle red berry fruits slowly gain volume and are then complemented by sweet red florals with hints of exotic spice, peppery herbs, and dusty minerals. On the palate, silky textures flood the senses with rich red berry fruits and sweet herbal tones, leaving hints of savory spice and minerals in their wake. The finish is long and unexpectedly fresh, showing the first hints of round tannins under a top note of sweet cherry, plum and a hint of black tea. There is so much going on here, yet it is all densely wrapped up in its youthful state.”

Casanova di Neri Tenuta Nuova, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2016 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, 7 bottles in stock now
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 97+ points
“This is one of my sweetheart wines from Montalcino. The Casanova di Neri 2016 Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova offers a long list of aromas on an ever-shifting and fluid bouquet. You get bright cherry, rose potpourri, black truffle, caramel, butterscotch, sandalwood, road pavement and chalky mineral. In fact, each time I come back to this wine, that mineral element seemed to grow in intensity and scope. The wine offers a grounded fruit side that is contrasted nicely against a grounded oak component. The mouthfeel is creamy and long, and the wine shows terrific tannic integration. When you come back hours later, you might find black olive, bresaola and licorice.”
Eric Guido-Vinous 96 points “The 2016 Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova drawing you in with a display of exotic brown spice, mint and cedar dust. Further coaxing unlocks depths of cherry, plum, hints of dark chocolate and roses. It coasts along a medium-bodied frame with velvety richness, complemented by polished red and black fruits while contrasted by brisk acids and hints of sour citrus. This coats the teeth in concentration, as if you can feel the pulp, seeds and skins of its fruit, while a layer of fine tannin slowly grounds you back to earth. The Tenuta Nuova already has so much to give, yet it will be many years before it reaches its apex. Wow. Thinking back to my tasting of the 2015, I can’t say that the 2016 is necessarily a better wine, just a little less immediate. Either way, both wines are beautiful expressions of vintage.”
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points “The 2016 Tenuta Nuova has layered aromatics of black raspberry, menthol, baking spice and cedar. The palate is intensified and has another gear, with mouth-filling cherry fruit, tobacco, and a balanced but powerful structure. Enjoy a couple of the 2016 Brunello while you wait for this one in the cellar for 3-5 years and drink 2025-2041.”

Casanova di Neri ‘Giovanni Neri’ Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscany 2019 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 34 bottles in stock now
Winery Note
“Giovanni Neri is the new wine of Casanova di Neri, dedicated to the founder in order to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the estate. A unique wine that respects the philosophy and the style of Casanova di Neri, that are still the same as fifty years ago. Giovanni neri is the expression of a Sangiovese that comes from a vineyard that has a wonderful exposition, exceptional soil and vines forty five years old.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $63

Shop our Tuscan selections on our web store now!

Collector’s Corner:

Champagne Salon

Arriving Tuesday, December 28th

A wholly unique house in that they produce a single wine and only during the most exceptional growing years. Sourced from 20 parcels in the center of Le Mensil-Sur-Oger with their first vintage in 1905, this is one of the rarest wines in the entire world and the apex of Chardonnay, with razor sharp austerity requiring extensive bottle age before enjoyment. 

Chez Salon, each vintage is attributed with its own personality and showing. The house describes the vintages in this collection as “Luminosity in 2007, Romance in 2006 and Serenity in 2004”. All of the bottles on offer were disgorged in 2019, a tribute to what extended aging can do.

Arriving Tuesday, December 28th:

Salon Cuvee ‘S’ Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs Brut, Champagne 2004 750ML ($999.95) $899 pre-arrival special, only 3 bottles available
Wine Enthusiast 98 points
“Top 100 Cellar Selection in 2016. Salon’s releases are rare and signify a great vintage—the last release was the 2002. Coming from grand cru vineyards in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, this 2004 is complex and concentrated, capturing the essence of Chardonnay in Champagne. Intense minerality and ripe apple and citrus fruits accompany the purity and crisp texture that are part of its ability to age. The wine can continue for many years, certainly to 2025 and beyond. -Roger Voss”
Antonio Galloni 97 points “The 2004 Salon (Edition 2019) is fabulous. That is hardly a surprise, as the 2004 has always been magnificent. Subtle, nuanced and classy to the core, the 2004 shows the more refined side of Salon. In that sense, it shares a good bit stylistically with both the 2007 and 2008, but much less so than with the 2006. Sweet floral notes add lift to a core of crystalline, mineral-infused Chardonnay fruit in a Salon that is precise, light on its feet and buffered by enough energy to drink well for decades to come. Disgorged: January, 2019.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2004 Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil Brut is another rather structured, tensile wine from a generally rather open vintage. Wafting from the glass are scents of citrus rind, crisp green apple, preserved citrus, fresh bread and smoke. Medium to full-bodied, tangy and chiseled, with fine depth at the core and a long, chalky finish, it’s complemented by a pillowy pinpoint mousse. Unlike many wines from 2004, this Salon (tasted from a bottle disgorged in January 2019) still has potential to improve with further bottle age.”
Decanter 95 points “Almost deceptively silky and soft for Salon. One expects this blanc de blancs, fermented in tank without malolactic conversion, to show slightly livelier acidity. Here the wine is deliciously drinkable – almost too much so – with ripe apple, citrus and floral notes and a supple, approachable texture that is somewhat lacking in tension, consistent with the conditions of the year: a big crop, swollen slightly with summer rains that needed until the final week of September to ripen fully.”

Salon Cuvee ‘S’ Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs Brut, Champagne 2006 750ML ($999.95) $899 pre-arrival special, only 3 bottles available
Wine Enthusiast 100 points
“#11 Cellar Selection in 2017. This new release from a great vintage for Chardonnay in Champagne is a perfect blanc de blancs, showing a wealth of intensity from the crisp, chalky, mineral tones to the perfumed apple notes. The aromas hint at developing toastiness that adds depth and complexity. The wine is still young and it will age for years. Drink from 2020. -Roger Voss”
Antonio Galloni 97 points “The 2006 Salon is a very rich wine, almost uncharacteristically so. Deep and exotic the 2006 exudes richness in all of its dimensions, with myriad inflections of sumptuous fruit that fill out its ample, large-scaled frame. Today, the 2006 is surprisingly accessible for a young Salon, but it needs time to shed some baby fat. At times, the 2006 recalls the 2002, but it appears to have more phenolic intensity and overall structure. Even with all of its flamboyance and pure volume, the 2006 retains quite a bit of energy and freshness. I imagine it will be a fascinating, utterly compelling Champagne to follow over the next several decades.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2006 Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil Brut is quite tangy and reserved by the standards of this sunny, demonstrative vintage. Offering up aromas of smoke, toasted bread, orange oil, mocha and confit lemon, it’s medium to full-bodied, fleshy and enveloping, with racy acids and a concentrated, surprisingly structured mid-palate. Concluding with a long and gently empyreumatic finish, this is a fine success. This bottle was disgorged in January 2019.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “The creamy mousse of this graceful Champagne caresses the palate like cashmere, carrying a beautiful range of glazed nectarine, chopped almond, pastry and candied ginger flavors framed by vivid acidity. Seamless, with a long, lasting finish accented by minerally chalk and saline notes. Drink now through 2031.  –AN”

Salon Cuvee ‘S’ Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs Brut, Champagne 2007 750ML ($999.95) $899 pre-arrival special, only 4 bottles available
Wine Enthusiast 99 points
“This legendary Champagne, only produced in exceptional years, comes from the village of Le Mesnil in the Côte des Blancs. It is made from 100% Chardonnay and aged for many years before release. Its minerality, concentration and beautiful fruit are still astonishingly young and deserve further aging. Drink from 2020.”
Wine & Spirits 97 points “This latest release of Salon announces itself with energy and leaves with freshness. It comes from a vintage marked by a cool, cloudy August that delayed ripening; after the vines recovered in September, they yielded this delicate chardonnay, completely saturated with flavor. It comes from 20 parcels in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, a selection established by the founder, Aimé Salon, in the early 1900s, including one estate parcel of 2.5 acres. Other than exclaiming on the wine’s delicious flavors, our panel was seduced by its texture, describing it in variations of silk, satin or chalk and velvet whiteness. It has a presence—a remarkable infusion of chalk soil—that sets it apart.”
Antonio Galloni 96 points “The 2007 Salon is gorgeous. Weightless, delicate and understated, the 2007 is all class. Today, the 2007 reminds me of the 2004 in its bright, citrus and floral-infused profile, but with a bit more creaminess, mid-palate depth and softer contours, all of which will make the 2007 easy to drink with minimal cellaring. Next to the 2006, the 2007 is quite a bit fresher and more delineated, with none of exuberance, power of tropically-leaning overtones found in its younger sibling. At this stage, the 2007 is a bit inward and closed in on itself. Then again, it is Salon. This is another terrific showing from Salon and the team headed by President Didier Depond. Dosage is 5 grams per liter.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 96 points “…the weightless and delicate 2007 is a coolish, elegant and smoky gentleman dressed in a white tie and silk hat… The performance on the palate is pure yet concentrated, fresh and linear, very elegant and perfectly balanced, but most of all, it is extremely fine and stimulating!…The radiant 2007 Salon is one of the greatest champagnes I have had from this vintage…”

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