Monday Newsletter – 12-4-17

New Arrivals; Featured New Arrival: Daniel Bouland 2016; Veuve La Grande Dame: Arriving Tomorrow; #Trending; New Grapelive Review; Michel Juillot’s Masterful Mercurey; Long Shadows Vintners Collection – Arriving Friday; Domaine Auguste Clape – Legendary Cornas; Vietti Castiglione – Late Breaking News

New Arrivals

Failla Seven Springs Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Wine Spectator 93 points “Plump, ripe and richly structured, with expressive blackberry and blueberry flavors accented by smoky anise and dark tea notes. The tannins are big but refined. Drink now through 2024.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $62
Failla Chuy Vineyard Chardonnay, Sonoma Valley 2015 750ML ($69.95) $57 special
Antonio Galloni 94 points “Once again, the Chardonnay Chuy is one of the most intriguing and unique wines in the Failla range. This rugged, mountain site yields wines of real distinction. All of that comes through in a Chardonnay that is powerful and understated at the same time. A host of bright, acid-driven tones give the flavors fabulous vibrancy. There is so much to admire here. Fifty year old vines planted on St. George rootstock and red, volcanic soils are some of the features visitors will notice in this Moon Mountain vineyard.”Failla Keefer Ranch Chardonnay, Russian River Valley 2015 750ML ($49.95) $36 special
Antonio Galloni 92 points “Failla’s 2015 Chardonnay Keefer Ranch shows plenty of Russian River exuberance. Ripe, tropically-leaning fruit, almond, passion fruit, lemon confit, orange peel, butter and wild flowers give the wine its rich, unctuous personality. There is lovely creaminess and depth to the Keefer that is impossible to miss.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $43
France – Champagne
Cedric Bouchard Roses de Jeanne Blanc de Noirs Cote de Val Vilaine, Champagne NV (2015) 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
The average price nationally is $74
Cedric Bouchard Roses de Jeanne Cote de Bechalin, Champagne NV (2010) 750ML ($119.95) $99 specialMoet & Chandon Grand Vintage Brut 2006 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “This offers great balance between the freshest fruit and toasty maturity. That poise gives this impressive Champagne a tension, a high wire act that works superbly. It is rich, full of fruit but also with great depth. It will certainly age, so drink now or hold through 2019.” WE

France – Rhone
Domaine Vincent Paris Saint-Joseph Les Cotes, Rhone 2016 750ML ($31.95) $27 special
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Domaine Vincent Paris Selection Syrah, IGP Collines Rhodaniennes 2016 750ML ($17.95) $14 special

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Daniel Bouland:

The Dujac of Beaujolais

Daniel Bouland makes gutsy wines from old vines in the heart of Beaujolais premier appellations.  You often hear that they’re traditionally made and, although that’s true, it doesn’t begin to describe what makes the wines unique.  These are wines that recall what Beaujolais would have been like before industrial farming and certainly before industrial winemaking.  They’re special, powerful and age worthy.

From a winemaking perspective, the closest comparison to what Daniel Bouland is doing is probably Domaine Dujac.  The cross-regional comparison probably violates some sort of law of wine-writing, but when you look at what Bouland does with his grapes, it makes sense.  There’s almost exclusively whole cluster fermentation at both houses and Bouland’s wine show as muscular and robust—capable of very long aging and transformation into profound wines.

The difference, of course, is that working with Gamay, Bouland’s wines are more immediately drinkable than anything from Dujac (Bouland also doesn’t use new oak on his wines).  Young, the Bouland bottles show both intense fruit and structure—you wouldn’t necessarily think to drink Beaujolais with steak, but these are incredible pairings with even very hearty foods (especially since Gamay has a zesty freshness to it that keeps the meals light.

Daniel Bouland Chiroubles, Beaujolais 2016 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Importer Note “A parcel in lieu-dit Chatenay that lies about one km to the north of Corcelette, high on the hill of Chiroubles.  The soil is friable sandstone, and the wine the epitome of Chiroubles – sensational aromatics and brimming with fruit.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Daniel Bouland Cote de Brouilly Cuvee Melanie, Beaujolais 2016 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Importer Note “Daniel’s parcel lies within the lieu dit Tête Noire, high on the Cote de Brouilly, which like Côte de Py in Morgon, is volcanic blue schist.  This terroir gives the wine its distinctive minerality to go with the elegance and structure of Brouilly.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Daniel Bouland Morgon Corcelette Vieilles Vignes, Beaujolais 2016 750ML ($34.95) $28 special
Importer Note “Daniel’s classic Morgon, vines 60-70 years, with a combination of part of the cuvée being aged in tank and part in 2000 Liter Rousseau foudre.  Fine, silky and long, from the sable soil.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Daniel Bouland Morgon Delys Vieilles Vignes, Beaujolais 2016 750ML ($34.95) $28 special
Importer Note “DeLys is sable soil and one of the best situated in the appellation.  Daniel’s parcel was planted in 1926 and yields are sometimes as low as 15 hl/ha.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!

Arriving Tomorrow!

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin La Grande Dame Brut, Champagne 2006 750ML ($169.95) $99 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 94+ points “The final blending of the 2006 La Grande Dame was completed prior to Dominique Demarville joining the team at Veuve Clicquot, so we will have to wait for the release of the 2008 version to see his impact on this bottling. The 2006 Grande Dame is a blend of fifty-three percent pinot noir and forty-seven percent chardonnay and was finished with a dosage of eight grams per liter. The wine is excellent, wafting from the glass in a complex blend of apple, pear, wheat toast, fine minerality, a touch of smokiness and a nice note of caraway seed in the upper register. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, deep and complex, with elegant mousse, fine focus and grip and a very long, vibrant and zesty finish. This is drinking beautifully, but has the balance to age long and gracefully as well. High class juice. 2016-2040.”
Champagne Guide 96 points “(disgorged early 2014; 53% pinot noir, largely from Verzy and Verzenay, with a touch of Bouzy, Ambonnay and Ay; 47% chardonnay, predominantly from Avize, Oger and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger; 8g/L dosage). In response to the generous, rounded, supple 2006 season, Demarville’s predecessor, Jacques Peters, increased the share of chardonnay in his final La Grande Dame. Demarville confessed to some nervousness at launching the 2006 after the caliber of the linear and refined 2004. The two seasons certainly stand in contrast, with the 2006 already much more approachable and immediate. It launches confidently into generous, rich ginger, honey, toast, roast nuts and brioche, well into its phase of secondary evolution, yet in no way broad or developed. Citrus-zest liveliness defines a honed focus, while a fine chalk mineral structure keeps the finish lively and energetic.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “The prestigious 2006 La Grande Dame is made from 47% Chardonnay and 53% Pinot Noir, and assembles the fruit of eight grand cru villages. Very intense and complex on the nose, this is a full-bodied, round, rich and mouth-filling, but also refined prestige cuvée; it reveals a fascinating purity, precision and freshness. The finish is long and complex, and shows a spicy minerality. There are coffee beans, bread and toast aromas in the aftertaste. This comes highly recommended.
Wine Spectator 94 points “A waft of spring blossom draws you into this elegant Champagne, whose subtle notes of poached quince, toasted brioche and mandarin orange gracefully ride the satiny mousse, supported by a vibrant backbone of acidity. Disgorged February 2016. Drink now through 2029.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $154

Don’t miss this new featured Champagne arrival:

In Stock Now & Lowest Price in the USA

Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage Brut 2008 750ML ($69.95) $48 special
Wine Spectator 93 points “Sleek, with a smoky underpinning and a lively, detailed bead, this firm version offers flavors of black currant, toast, lemon curd and honey. Lingering finish. Drink now through 2030.”
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “Just beginning to mature, this balanced, ripe wine is complex, with bright acidity, toast and pear and green-plum fruits. It is rich, with a tight mouse that shows intensity as well as a stylish character. This is a fine wine just coming into its own but well worth aging further until 2020.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $72


#15 Wine of the Year – Wine Spectator Top 100 2017
Domaine des Baumard Savennieres, Loire 2015 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Wine Spectator 94 points “Alluring, with quince, creamed pear, verbena and green almond flavors allied to a creamy texture, all offset beautifully through the finish by light quinine and mineral hints. Approachable, but this seems built for the cellar. Best from 2018 through 2030.”Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco DOCG, Piedmont 2014 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2014 Barbaresco is a beautiful wine that encompasses the important qualities that we look for in fine Nebbiolo. Ultimately, this is the kind of vintage that transfers best to the delicate grape. It saw a long growing season (Nebbiolo loves a late harvest) and steep diurnal temperature shifts to lock in the freshness of aromas. The mouthfeel is a bit thinner in texture, but it delivers plenty of beautiful length and endurance instead. It offers crisp tones of cherry fruit with licorice, wet earth and blue flowers. The line of Barbaresco Riserva wines from the various single vineyards will be made in 2014 (and will be released in early 2018).”
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2014 Barbaresco is fabulous. Lifted in the glass, with striking perfume and captivating translucency, the Produttori’s Barbaresco captures all the elements that make this vintage so compelling. Today, the 2014 is very, very young. What stands out most is its textural finesse and balance. It will be a number of years before the aromas and flavors are fully expressive. The only thing that might come as a surprise is the touch of new cask in this wine. Otherwise, the 2014 is one of the finest editions of the straight Barbaresco I can remember tasting, not to mention a superb example of how magnificent this vintage is in Barbaresco. Don’t miss it. As a postscript, the Produttori will release 2014 Riservas as well.”

Cantine del Notaio Il Repertorio Aglianico del Vulture, Basilicata 2013 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Wine Advocate 93 points “The Cantine del Notaio 2013 Aglianico del Vulture Il Repertorio is a fabulous wine that possesses the depth and noble sophistication that you should expect from this small, quality wine denomination in the deep south of Italy. The bouquet is beautifully embellished with blackberry preserves, tobacco, bitter chocolate and smoky granite. The presentation is tight and seamless with a firm tannic nature that pulls the wine together in terms of substance and length. This excellent wine should flesh out further with more aging.”

Bodegas Ordonez Vatan Tinta de Toro, Toro 2013 750ML ($39.95) $29 special
Wine Advocate 93 points “I also tasted the just-bottled 2013 Vatan, from a completely different vintage that despite the cooler growing season, achieved 2% more alcohol than the 2012 (this is 16% and remained with 3.5 grams unfermented sugar). The wine is ripe and hedonistic, juicier and fresher than the 2012, and despite having more alcohol it feels much more balanced. It is still a baby with plenty of puppy fat to be rendered by the time in bottle. There are some lactic aromas, ripe black berry fruit and integrated oak scents; it has plenty of spices and some underbrush hints. The palate is full-bodied with glossy tannins; it is juicy, chewy and nicely balanced within its XXL size. The velvety tannins make it approachable now, but it should develop more complexity in bottle, and for sure it should have a long life ahead. It is a nice representation of a powerful Toro style, and at this quality level, the price is quite good.”

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

Re-Arriving Friday, December 8th

(So trendy, we sold out in 24 hours!)

#42 Wine of the Year Wine Spectator Top 100 2017
Colene Clemens Dopp Creek Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2014 750ML ($39.95) $24 re-arrival special
Wine Spectator 91 points “Firm and focused, with cinnamon notes floating around red berry and floral flavors, finishing with gentle persistence against lively acidity and fine tannins. Best from 2018 through 2022. 3,100 cases made.”

New Grapelive Review

Foradori’s Tuscan Project

Ampeleia Alicante Costa Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($34.95) $27 special, 24 bottles in stock now
Grapelive 91 points
“Wildly sweet and sour this Alicante Nero (true Grenache or Alicante Bouschet?) from Elisabetta Foradori tastes like Cru Beaujolais meets Jura Trousseau/Poulsard. [It has] fresh and vibrant flavors and a light to medium body picking up substance and ripe character with air, while still having a charming old world earthy/savory core. This is part of Ampeleia’s ‘Monovarietali’ single varietal project. [It comes] from a small plot of organic estate vines known as “Vigna della Pieve”, grown on Tuscany’s coastal sandy soils and strewn with pebbles at about 800 feet above sea level. [The wine] sees native ferments and [is] aged only 6 months in cement tank. This pretty Mediterranean red has bright flavors and is wonderful fresh and vibrant with layers of medium bodied fruit and ripe textural mouth feel shows sour plum, cranberry, brambly raspberry, mini backyard strawberries, minty herbs, a hint of leather, dusty stones and snappy anise. Turns a bit more lush with air and gives a warm impression, gaining in style and complexity with every minute in the glass, while all the while still being vivid, transparent and elegantly focused. This is lovely expressive wine that highlights the diversity and uniqueness of this sleepy little part of Tuscany. Interesting, the winery (and many places in Italy) often refer to Alicante as a form of Grenache, though it really is not the same grape. Alicante Bouschet was an old crossing of Petit Bouschet, which was [an] earlier crossing of Teinturier du Cher and Aramon, and Grenache Noir which has been cultivated in France since around 1866 and is now found around the world, though used mainly as a blending grape or found in heritage field blends. Alicante Bouschet is one of the few red grapes that actually has red juice and pulp. It has a thick skin and does well in almost any climate. It’s in Spain, in the western Galicia where it’s known as Garnacha Tintorara and blended with Mencia; it’s also in Alentejo Portugal as well as in old vine vineyards in California, where it is usually blended into Zinfandel blends, like Ridge Lytton Springs and I believe Bedrock and Bucklin’s Old Hill Ranch. In some ways Alicante reminds me of Cinsault or Trousseau, though usually darker in color, but this one has a Gamay like juiciness and a bit of tannin and floral notes that are like Petit Verdot too. Drink this lively fun wine now and often, it’s naturally delicious and is a great food wine.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Arriving Friday

Michel Juillot’s Masterful Mercurey

We’re going to beat this drum pretty hard: Buy 2015s from the best producers in “unknown” and lesser villages in Burgundy.  Warm years, like 2015, tend to raise the qualitative floor more than push the top end wines to new heights.  The top end 2015s are going to be spectacular, but the “other” wines of Burgundy are unusually excellent in this vintage.  For villages like Fixin, Santanay and especially Mercurey, 2015 represents the best vintage to buy since 2009—and in the hands of a master like Michel Juillot, these are especially wines to pay attention to.

Mercurey is the top village in the Cote Chalonnaise, which exists in between the Cote d’Or and the Macon.  It boasts 32 Premier Cru vineyards and one of the highest volumes of red wine production, with the wines tending to be elegant and lighter.  In warmer years (and from better producers) the wines put on more substance, resembling wines from the Cote de Beaune.  2015 is a perfect year for the region, and in the best hands the wines deliver outstanding value.

Michel Juillot is one of those top producers, the head of a family farming in the Cote Chalonnaise for generations (and with his son, Laurent, assuming more of the winemaking responsibilities, the tradition looks to continue.  The estate owns a number of different parcels in a dizzying number of climats, with old vines throughout.  Winemaking is pretty hands off, as well—these are wines that have polish, but not excessively so.  In 2015, they’re extremely smart buys—someone in 10+ years is going to mistake one for a solid Volnay or Beaune 1er (blind) and you’re going to look like a genius, especially for the prices.

Arriving Friday:

Domaine Michel Juillot Mercurey Les Vignes de Maillonge Blanc, Cote Chalonnaise 2015 750ML ($29.95) $24 pre-arrival special
Importer Note “87, 57 and 52 years old (1928, 1958, 1963) vines on clayey limestone, clear marl, with hard pebbles on the surface. Entirely hand-harvested, selective picking on sorting table. Natural yeasts. Full bunches on the press.  Fermentation in barrels and demi-muids.  Malolactic fermentation completed. Aged 12 months in oak, 20% new.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $28.99
Domaine Michel Juillot Bourgogne Rouge, Burgundy 2015 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Importer Note “41 and 26 years old (1974, 1989) vines on clayey limestone marl soils. Entirely hand-harvested, selective picking on sorting table. 100% destemmed, open fermentor. Low intrusive vinification, with such a level of concentration, the structure comes naturally and allows all the soil expression. Natural yeasts. Vertical press. Malolactic fermentation completed. Aged 1 year in large oak casks.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Domaine Michel Juillot Clos Tonnerre, Mercurey Premier Cru 2015 750ML ($37.95) $29 pre-arrival special
Importer Note “57 years old vines on hard limestone with chert soils. Entirely hand-harvested, selective picking on sorting table. 100% destemmed, open fermentor. Low intrusive vinification, with such a level of concentration, the structure comes naturally and allows all the soil expression. Natural yeasts. Vertical press. Malolactic fermentation completed. Aged 18 months in oak barrels, 15% new.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Domaine Michel Juillot Mercurey Les Vignes de Maillonge Rouge, Cote Chalonnaise 2015 750ML ($37.95) $29 pre-arrival special
Importer Note “57 and 33 years old (1958, 1982) vines on clayey limestone, clear marl, with hard pebbles on the surface. Entirely hand-harvested, selective picking on sorting table, 100% destemmed, open fermentor, 18 days temperature controlled vatting with little intrusion, vertical press. Malolactic fermentation completed. Aged 18 months in oak barrels, 15% new.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Staff Pick:
Long Shadows Gift Box

Arriving Friday

For me the real stand-out wine in this collection is the Saggi from Giles Nicault and Giovanni Folonari who create this exciting super Tuscan style blend. This wine delivers the wonderful bright cherry aromas of Sangiovese selected from the Boushey Vineyard. The fruit comes forward on the palate with hints of raspberry, while a healthy dose of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah help to round out the mid-palate and offer a full mouth feel and a rich but elegant finish. The producer’s notes also describe “a hint of nutmeg and smoky earthiness.” Also included in this set:The fruity, lush and deep Pirouette Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Merlot; the 100% Cabernet Sauvignon Feather from Randy Dunn which delivers plenty of richness and complexity for the more domestic leaning palate; also, Pedestal from Michel Rolland which is 100% Merlot and showcases the fresh fruit flavors of which this varietal is capable while remaining soft and approachable; Sequel from John Duval who chose the Columbia Valley to continue his work in delivering rich Syrahs; and Chester-Kidder from Allen Shoup and Giles Nicault which continues to explore an emphasis on Cabernet Sauvignon with a blend of Syrah, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc for greater depth and color. Beautifully presented in a wooden crate, this collection will make a great gift for new world and old world lovers alike.

Case-6 Long Shadows Vintners Collection, Columbia Valley (2014/2015) 750ML ($419.95) $319 pre-arrival special
Contains one 750ML bottle each of Long Shadows’ six acclaimed red wines, packaged together in a beautifully etched wood box: 2014 Pirouette, 2014 Feather, 2014 Pedestal, 2014 Chester-Kidder, 2015 Sequel, 2015 Saggi.

Domaine Auguste Clape

Legendary Cornas

New Releases Arriving December 15th

The burden of success is scrutiny – everyone’s watching a bit closer, chalking each vintage against the last. Within the northern Rhone Valley, few producers are under closer watch than Auguste Clape, nestled within eight hectares in Cornas.Though the Clape family made wine across many generations within the Languedoc, growers’ strikes in the early 1900’s sent the family up to the northern Rhone Valley. Once there, they started anew, carving out their land from the steep western slopes of the Rhone River. Auguste, the former mayor of Cornas, was the first in the area to bottle estate fruit. The family operation now includes Auguste’s son, Pierre-Marie, and grandson Olivier.

The family’s eight hectares under vine sit stacked precariously on terraced parcels, a difficult topography which renders machines useless. Thus, vineyard work is done by hand. Winemaking overall has changed little, if at all, since the beginning. Harvest occurs at full ripeness, stems remain on the fruit, and primary fermentation occurs in concrete tanks for roughly one week followed by a prolonged skin maceration. There is never new oak – after all, “the Syrah must breathe,” Clape once proclaimed.

In Stock Now from Domaine Auguste Clape

Domaine Auguste Clape Cornas, Rhone 2011 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, 9 bottles available
Wine Advocate 95 points
“Starting with his 2011 Cornas, it’s a rocking wine in the vintage that’s still showing every bit as well as it did on release. Massive minerality, violets, bloody meat and sweet blackcurrant and black raspberry-like fruit all emerge here, and it’s fabulously textured and silky on the palate. It will be interesting to see if this ever shuts down, but right now, it’s a great drink. If you have multiple bottles, give one a try.”

Domaine Auguste Clape Cornas, Rhone 2014 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, 15 bottles available
Wine Spectator 95 points
“Solidly packed, with a bramble-edged core of dark plum, bitter cherry and black currant fruit, inlaid with bay leaf and savory notes. The serious chalky grip through the finish will need some time to stretch out. Shows terrific interplay between the grip and fruit.”
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 93-95 points “Brilliant purple. Powerful, mineral-tinged cherry and blackberry scents, along with notes of bacon fat, licorice, potpourri and pungent flowers. Pure, concentrated and energetic on the palate, offering deeply concentrated black and blue fruit flavors that gain weight and become sweeter with air. Closes extremely long, sappy and sweet, juicy acidity adding lift and cut to the blue-fruit-dominated, youthfully tannic finish.”

We’re excited to present the newest releases, arriving December 15th:

Domaine Auguste Clape Saint-Peray Blanc, Rhone 2016 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Domaine Auguste Clape Cornas, Rhone 2015 750ML ($179.95) $149 pre-arrival special
Domaine Auguste Clape Le Vin des Amis, Rhone 2016 750ML ($39.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Domaine Auguste Clape Cornas Renaissance, Rhone 2015 750ML ($99.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Domaine Auguste Clape Cotes du Rhone, Rhone 2016 750ML ($69.95) $49 pre-arrival special

Late Breaking News!

Arriving Friday

Vietti 2013

Vietti Castiglione, Barolo DOCG 2013 750ML ($59.95) $44 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Vietti Castiglione, Barolo DOCG 2013 750ML ($299.95) $249 pre-arrival special (that’s only $41.50/bottle!)
Antonio Galloni – Vinous 93+ points
“The 2013 Barolo Castiglione is rich, powerful and intense, especially for what is the estate’s entry-level Barolo. Dark cherry, plum, spice, new leather and menthol are all used together. Intense and voluptuous, the Castiglione shows the richer, more intense side of the vintage. Time in the glass helps release the aromatics and the brighter side of Nebbiolo. Quite simply, the 2013 is a super Barolo Castiglione that is starting to close the qualitative gap with the single vineyard Barolos.”
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 93+ points “The 2013 Barolo Castiglione is a terrific success story. This is the estate’s bread and butter Barolo. Fruit is sourced throughout the Castiglione Falletto township. The wine is consistent and steady, offering amazing value and quality with each new release. The nose is generous and full. It imparts fresh fruit and dark cherry aromas with tar, smoke and licorice at the back. Evident structure gives the wine a firm backbone and will carry it through the next decade of cellar aging.”
Thank you for reading!