Monday Newsletter 4-22-19

Please note, we will close at 5 pm on Easter Sunday.

We will re-open at 10 am for our regularly scheduled hours on Monday, April 22nd

In Today’s Newsletter:

Huet’s Legendary Cuvee Constance

Best Value in Barbaresco?
Soon-to-be Legendary 2015 Vintage Paitin

Scott Paul Final Call!


Rosés of the Day

Two Top Morey-St. Denis Grand Crus

Pax/New California Wine

The Best Kept Secret in the Rhone?
Darnaud Delivers

Huet’s Legendary Cuvee Constance

Huet makes some of the most undervalued great wine in the world.  Take any metric you’d use to adjudicate greatness (complexity, age-worthiness, terroir, aromatic intensity, world-wide praise, etc) and Huet’s Vovray is on the list, at prices far below almost anything else in the world of wine. They own some of the greatest vineyards in the Loire and make sure that they reach their potential year in and out.

Their top wine is the extremely rare sweet wine, Cuvee Constance.  Constance is only produced in the very best years—about 2-3 times per decade.  Made from botrytized grapes, it’s a full-throttle dessert wine as good as they come.  This is “nectar of the gods” type stuff, on par with Chateau d’Yquem yet rarer and less than half the average price.

How can this be? Because the Loire Valley is the last best region in France for value. And Cuvee Constance is the masterpiece.

Newly Arrived:

Domaine Huet Vouvray ‘Cuvee Constance’ Moelleux, Loire 2009 500ML ($199.95) $159 special
Wine Spectator 98 points
“This stunning wine is fresh, pure and driven at first, with seamless ginger, creamed fig and glazed pear fruit, before showing its density and power via the honeycomb-, quince- and heather-filled core. Then the minerality cuts in, turning the finish back to racy despite the range of exotic fruit. A jaw-dropping display of richness balanced by precision. Drink now through 2040. 400 cases made.”
David Schildknecht 96 points “At 11% alcohol and 150 grams of residual sugar, the Huet 2009 Vouvray Cuvee Constance – fourth in the past decade, incidentally – offers a striking nose of honey, white raisin, and concentrated herbal and floral essences. Salted caramel, hazelnut cream, marzipan, white raisin, liquid floral perfume, and honey are all leavened with fresh lime, white peach, and grapefruit. Like a refined cocktail of essence-of-Chenin mingled with fresh fruit juices with dashes of salt and chalk, this finishes with ravishing and invigorating persistence and should be worth following for 3 or more decades.”

Domaine Huet Vouvray ‘Cuvee Constance’ Moelleux, Loire 2015 500ML ($249.95) $219 special
Wine Spectator 99 points
“Stunning from the start, with a silky and refined feel despite the panoply of dried quince, fig, pear and apricot flavors that are exotic in nature. Lovely green tea, orange blossom and persimmon notes fill in the background. Obviously sweet, but with persistent dry almond and orange extract details that lend latent tension through the seamless and nearly endless finish. The first Cuvee Constance bottling since the 2009 vintage. Drink now through 2060.”
Wine Advocate 96 points “Rarely produced and selected from the vineyards Le Haut-Lieu, Le Mont and Clos du Bourg, Huet’s 2015 Vouvray “Cuvée Constance” offers a deep, clear, intense and concentrated nose of ripe stone fruits, peanut butter cookie, spicy, earthy-mineral and some volatile aromas. Sweet, salty, piquant and mineral with a firm structure and very elegant, concentrated, refined fruit, this is a sweet wine with great purity and mineral finesse on the very long, promising finish. The 2016 is still pretty sweet (142 grams of residual sugar) and should be cellared for at least two or three decades. Total production: 2,800 500-milliliter bottles. Tasted February 2018.”
John Gilman 98 points “I have been looking forward to the release of Domaine Huët’s 2015 Cuvée Constance ever since I tasted a year ago the rest of the stunning range of wines produced here in the vintage. It is a great vintage for Domaine Huët and the Cuvée Constance is everything one could hope for from the confluence of this great estate and a legendary vintage. The wine is still very youthful, but its ultimate brilliance is very easy to see, as the wine wafts from the glass in a celestial constellation of orange, fresh apricot, incipient tea leaves, a nice touch of soil, hints of lanolin, orange peel, barley sugar and a hint of upper register smokiness. On the palate the wine is pure, full and nascently complex, with laser-like focus, a bottomless core, great acids and marvelous balance on the very, very long, zesty and energetic finish. This is still a very young wine and will need years to start to show its secondary and tertiary layers of complexity, but they are lurking here and in the fullness of time, this will be breathtaking in its beauty. (Drink between 2025-2100).”

We carry 27 different bottlings from Domaine Huet, in all manner of sweetness levels and vintages.  Shop them all on our web store

Best Value in Barbaresco?

Soon-to-be Legendary 2015 Vintage Paitin

2015 is already shaping up to be a world class vintage in Barolo and Barbaresco (to say nothing of Alto Piemonte).  Combining aspects of 2009, 2013 and 2010 these wines are powerful, flamboyant and intensely complex.  From the moment we started tasting the early released Langhe Nebbiolos of the vintage, we knew this would be a year to stock up on, especially for lovers of bigger Barolo and Barbaresco wines.So the real question becomes: which producers to stock up on? That’s easy. Given the revelatory rise in quality from fantastic to phenomenal and the lack of a corresponding rise in price, the answer is Paitin.

The 2015s just hit our shelves, so stock your cellar for decades of enjoyment!

Latest Arrivals from Paitin:

Paitin di Pasquero-Elia ‘Sori Paitin Serraboella’, Barbaresco DOCG 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Paitin di Pasquero-Elia ‘Sori Paitin Serraboella’, Barbaresco DOCG 2015 1.5L ($149.95) $119 special, 3 magnums in stock now
Wine Spectator 95 points
“Sweet cherry and strawberry fruit is framed by earth, eucalyptus, tobacco and tar notes in this rich yet firm red. The assertive tannins suggest a glacial evolution but the lasting impression of fruit shows this wine’s potential. Best from 2022 through 2040. 815 cases made.”

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

This is the latest release of the old-vine bottling – it effortlessly outclasses reservas three times its price
Paitin di Pasquero-Elia ‘Sori Paitin Vecchie Vigne’, Barbaresco DOCG 2011 750ML ($89.95) $79 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 95+ points
“The 2011 Barbaresco Sorì Paitin Vigne Vecchie is just as stunning as it has always been. A wine of extraordinary purity, the 2011 is laced with rose petals, spices, mint, sweet red berries. The balance of fruit, acidity and tannin is simply magnificent. At the same time, the power and breadth of Serraboella comes through in spades.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $88.97
The average listed price is $95

Scott Paul Final Call!

This is your last chance to savor the incredible quality and value of the Scott Paul Pinots at deep discounts. Don’t hesitate to buy yours – multiple skus are already sold out for good!

See the complete list of Scott Paul Wines below or click to shop.


Hot, Hot Wine Re-Arriving Friday, April 26th
Dominus Estate, Napa Valley 2015 750ML ($349.95) $289 re-arrival special
Dominus Estate, Napa Valley 2015 375ML ($179.95) $159 special
Wine Advocate 100 points
“Bottled in July 2017 and composed of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc, the Dominus 2015 Proprietary Red Wine leaps from the glass with notes of fresh wild blueberries, crushed blackberries and black currant juice with touches of wild thyme, underbrush, iron ore and aniseed with wafts of lavender and pencil lead. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has incredible energy and vivacity, with the firm, pixelated tannins and lively backbone skillfully framing the muscular fruit, finishing with wonderful length and depth.”
Jeb Dunnuck 100 points “The 2015 Dominus is a flawless, perfect wine as well as a legend in the making. A blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and the rest Cabernet Franc, from dry-farmed vines and brought up in just 40% new French oak, its ruby/purple color is followed by an extraordinary bouquet of blackcurrants, crème de cassis, damp earth, smoke tobacco, and spring flowers. Reminding me of the 2015 Château Margaux with its incredible mix of elegance and power, this beauty hits the palate with full-bodied richness, stunning purity of fruit, building tannins, and awesome length. This sensational textured and voluptuous Dominus drink well today yet will evolve for 25-30 years or more.”
James Suckling 98 points “A phenomenal red from the vintage with sandalwood, roses, currants, blackberries and blackcurrants. Full-bodied, extremely structured and intense with a great finish. The tannins are so polished and poised. Shows tension and beauty throughout. Straight and focused. Drink in 2022.”
Antonio Galloni 97 points “The 2015 Dominus is fabulous. Explosive and alluring on the palate, the 2015 possesses stunning texture and intensity. Blueberry jam, cloves, menthol, licorice and graphite are some of the many nuances that develop over time. In 2015 Dominus artfully balances the richness of the year with the classic structural elements that are such a signature of this wine.”Stunning Willamette Pinot from an excellent vineyard.
Averaen ‘Eola Springs Vineyard’ Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2016 750ML ($49.95) $36 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds 93 points
“(50% whole clusters and 50% new French oak) Vivid red. Spice-tinged black raspberry and cherry scents are complicated by hints of cola, pungent flowers and smoky minerals. Sweet and seamless on the palate, offering energetic red and dark berry and vanilla flavors along with suggestions of rose pastille and blood orange that add complexity. Concentrated but vibrant and precise in character, delivering strong finishing thrust, interwoven tannins and excellent, floral-driven persistence.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $47
The most under the radar Pepiere bottling.
Domaine de la Pepiere Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine Sur Lie ‘Les Gras Moutons’, Loire 2017 750ML ($21.95) $18 special, 34 bottles in stock now
Importer note
“100% Melon de Bourgogne. First bottled in 2007, the “Fat Sheep” is a lieu-dit made up of 2 parcels totalling 1.7 hectares in the cru of Monnières-Saint Fiacre. Gras Moutons could be includes in their cru Monnières bottling, but Marc and Rémi have chosen to bottle these “younger” vines of 20 to 70 years old separately. The farming is organic and harvest and all work by hand as for all Pépière vineyards. It came into the Pépière fold through partner Rémi Branger, whose father farmed it for years. The gentle slope faces south and thus ripens well, but slowly, thanks to the constant wind blowing across the vineyard; as a result it is typically the last to be harvested. The soil features gneiss–a compressed form of granite that has a very different impact than the granites found in other Pépière sites–as well as amphibolite rocks scattered throughout.”One of the most delicious Rhone whites we’ve seen in a while.
Domaine Eric et Joel Durand Saint-Peray, Rhone 2016 750ML ($29.95) $24 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Domaine Eric et Joel Durand Saint-Peray, Rhone 2016 750ML ($289.95) $259 special (that’s only $21.58/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“This team has made a terrific 2016 Saint-Péray, (50/50 Marsanne and Roussanne aged in 15% new oak) from an appellation that continues to produce more and more outstanding wines. Honeysuckle, white flowers, caramelized peach and white currant notes give way to a pure, elegant, layered white that has terrific purity and length. It’s going to drink beautifully for 3-4 years or more.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 91 points “Pale yellow-gold. Fresh and incisive on the nose, displaying vibrant citrus and orchard fruit scents complemented by hints of honeysuckle and chalky minerals. Shows very good depth of flavor but comes off lithe, offering juicy Meyer lemon and bitter pear skin flavors that pick up a spicy ginger note on the back half. Closes very long and precise, delivering a firm snap of minerality and lingering floral character.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $27.99
A perpetual best value in Beaujolais.  Drink now or cellar.
Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Brouilly Pierreux, Beaujolais 2016 750ML ($29.95) $26 special, 36+ bottles in stock
Case-12 Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Brouilly Pierreux, Beaujolais 2016 750ML ($339.95) $279 special (that’s only $23.25/bottle!)
Nick Stock –JamesSuckling . com 93 points
“Intense and attractive freshness with aromas of red flowers, strawberries and raspberries, all leading to a palate with a steely edge. Super fresh, light and tangy. Drink now.”
Josh Raynolds 92 points “Lurid ruby. Bright and sharply focused on the nose, displaying intense red fruit and floral scents and a smoky mineral overtone that builds with air. Appealingly sweet and lively on the palate, offering intense raspberry and cherry liqueur flavors that deepen on the back half while maintaining energy. The floral quality comes back strong on an energetic, silky finish that leaves a juicy red berry note behind.”Veneur’s Chateauneuf are always excellent values for the quality.
Alain Jaume & Fils Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Le Miocene Rouge, Rhone 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 29 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 93 points
“Ripe and compact still, with a core of dark currant and plum puree flavors waiting in reserve while sleek graphite, Turkish coffee and ganache notes hold sway for now. There’s fresh acidity and nice detail throughout, though, so let this unwind fully in the cellar. Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Best from 2021 through 2032.”
Jeb Dunnuck 91-93 points “The entry-level effort is the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Le Miocène and it’s primarily Grenache with smaller amounts of Syrah and Mourvèdre. It offers a classic, fresh, beautifully focused style in its raspberry, garrigue, flower and spice aromatics. This gives way to a medium to full-bodied, deep, rich, layered red that has the underlying tannic grip and structure of the vintage. It’s going to keep for 10-15 years.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $53
Muncagota is a star in 2013—buy a case to cellar.
Produttori del Barbaresco Muncagota, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2013 750ML ($79.95) $59 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Produttori del Barbaresco Muncagota, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2013 750ML ($669.95) $599 special (that’s only $49.92/bottle!)
Antonio Galloni 94 points
“Like most of the wines in this lineup, the 2013 Barbaresco Riserva Muncagota is quite potent. A rush of raspberry jam, wild flowers, white pepper and mint make a strong opening statement. Succulent and yet also structured, the Muncagota has so much to offer. It should be one of the first wines in this range to start opening up, although when that will happen exactly is hard to say.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “Powerful yet underlined by racy acidity, driving the black cherry, black currant and mineral flavors. Menthol and tobacco notes add depth, keeping this intense. All the components are here, yet this will need time to really sing. Best from 2024 through 2040.”
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 94 points “You may remember that this wine was once called Moccagatta. Produttori del Barbaresco reverted to the local Piemontese spelling of the name in 2007 to stay consistent with the geographic mapping of local cru sites. The 2013 Barbaresco Riserva Muncagota stands apart from the nine other single-vineyard Riservas presented by Produttori del Barbaresco this vintage. Of these various wines, this is the most salty and savory. There is less primary fruit intensity here. The bouquet is laced with grilled rosemary and wild sage. This growing site absorbs loads of morning sunshine with southeast-facing exposures. The mouthfeel is characterized by dry tannins and very long, balsam-like persistence. Dried ginger and herbs appear on the menthol-like finish.”
Rosés of the Day

Neal Rosenthal brings in the best collection of rosés from Europe. From the refined and serious Chateau Simone, the Bandol challenger to the throne, Pradeaux, the vibrant and minerally Lucien Crochet Sancerre Rose, these represent the heights of their respective appellations.

And from Provence?  The delicious rosés from Chateau Peyrassol.  We think of these as being especially elegant and nuanced, with excellent minerality and poise and they’ve been customer favorites every year for the quality and value they deliver.  They have three tiers, and the wines gain polish and elegance the further up the quality spectrum you go.

In Stock Now:

Peyrassol ‘Le Clos Peyrassol’ Rose, Cotes de Provence 2018 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Peyrassol ‘Le Clos Peyrassol’ Rose, Cotes de Provence 2018 1.5L ($119.95) $99 special, 18 magnums in stock now
Importer note
“It is made from a single parcel which is equally planted to Cinsault and Tibouren (a touch of Rolle makes it into this cuvee as well). The soil is a mix of clay and limestone with a lot of large rocks on the surface. The site has a bit of depression which helps more even ripening, since the soil holds a little more water than other parcels.  The 2016 is the palest of the three roses, with a very silvery salmon hue.  At the moment of tasting the nose was a tad firm, showing flinty mineral notes. The palate is quite rich and dense with an almost white Burgundy presence. The fruits lean a little sweeter than the other cuvées, with hints of pear and passion fruit. Even so, the wine is completely dry and has a super-long mineral finish. It’s a great rosé that has the potential to age, and we hope some of you keep a few bottles to drink over the next several years.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Peyrassol ‘Chateau Peyrassol’ Rose, Cotes de Provence 2018 750ML ($31.95) $26 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Peyrassol ‘Chateau Peyrassol’ Rose, Cotes de Provence 2018 1.5L ($99.95) $79 special, 22 magnums in stock now
Peyrassol ‘Chateau Peyrassol’ Rose, Cotes de Provence 2018 3L ($199.95) $169 special, 6 jeroboams in stock now
Importer note
“This is the elite cuvée of the estate relying as it does on grapes harvested from the oldest vines of the domaine (35 years and older). Principally composed of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah, the “Chateau” bottling also sees the addition, from time-to-time of Tibouren, the ancient and regal Provencale grape. This Rosé is produced via the “direct press” method and has a long cuvaison designed to produce a wine of character and concentration. Vinified in stainless steel and bottled in late winter – early spring, production is quite limited.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today for the 750ml!
These are the only listings in the USA for the large formats!
Peyrassol ‘Chateau Peyrassol’ Rose, Cotes de Provence 2018 6L ($399.95) $319 special, 2 6-liter bottles in stock now
*****Shipping Not Available for 6L Bottle*****
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Peyrassol ‘Commanderie de Peyrassol’ Rose, Cotes de Provence 2018 750ML ($24.95) $19 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Peyrassol ‘Commanderie de Peyrassol’ Rose, Cotes de Provence 2018 1.5L ($51.95) $47 special, 10 magnums in stock now
Importer note
“For us, this wine is the classic representation of the pink-tinted wines of this region and is the workhorse wine of the estate. It carries a pale rose color, a lovely fruit blossom nose and finishes crisply dry with a stony touch that gives it class and elegance. The grape blend is usually Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah in varying percentages. The average age of the vines is 25 years or more. The Rosés of Peyrassol are made from the direct press method. The grapes undergo cold maceration before being pressed. This gives them their beautiful watermelon pink color. The fermentation takes place under controlled temperatures and is exceptionally long, resulting in rosés that are both lively, fresh and full-bodied. As production has increased at Peyrassol with the additional plantings, we too have increased our purchases.”
Two Top Morey-St. Denis Grand Crus2016 Clos des Lambrays

“One of the stars of the 2016 vintage”

Clos de la Roche, Clos St.-Denis, Clos de Tart, Clos des Lambrays—this quartet represents the heralded set of Grand Crus in Morey-St. Denis. The main difference between the first three and the Clos des Lambrays? Price.  All of the other major Grand Crus in Morey are easily $150-200 per bottle more expensive for new releases (with the major exception of Jouan’s CSD, below). Lambrays, on the other hand, is every bit the wine of the more heralded names, especially over the last decade or so, and costs less than half of some of its neighbors (2016 Clos de Tart is spectacular, but well over $500, for reference).  These are wines that show all of the glory and power of Morey St. Denis—the vineyard sits in between the Clos St. Denis and Clos de Tart—with elegant textures and rapturous aromatics. Domaine des Lambrays, as you might expect, is the best producer and majority holder of the vineyard, crafting highly praised wines, particularly in the 2016 vintage.

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Domaine des Lambrays Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2016 750ML ($319.95) $269 special, 6 bottles in stock now
John Gilman 96 points
“The grand cru here was raised in fifty percent new oak this year and is one of the stars of the 2016 vintage. The stunning bouquet delivers a complex combination of red and black cherries, black plums, pigeon, dark soil tones, raw cocoa, woodsmoke and a touch of nutty oak. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and shows off beautiful depth at the core, with plenty of sappiness in reserve, a great soil signature, ripe, suave tannins and a very, very long, nascently complex and vibrant finish. I love this wine’s potential!”
Wine Spectator 96 points “A racy style, defined by bracing acidity propelling the black currant, blackberry, iron, earth and spice flavors to a lingering conclusion. Balanced and full of energy, this needs time to really settle in and reveal all its facets in a harmonious way.”
Decanter 94 points “Vinified with 85% whole cluster fruit, the 2016 Clos des Lambrays wafts from the glass with a brooding bouquet of blueberry, wild berries, smoked duck, spice and rosehip. The wine is sappy, with lovely depth and concentration, a fine but firm structural chassis, succulent acids, and a long, penetrating finish. An elegant rendition of this wine in its largest harvest since 1999.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $274.99
The average listed price is $300
Jouan Clos-St.-Denis
Philippe Jouan has vaulted himself into the top tier of Burgundy producers since taking over the family domaine (Henri Jouan).  Based in Morey-Saint-Denis, he’s producing Burgundy both ethereal and intense, the top of which is his Clos-St.-Denis.  The Clos was historically the most famous vineyard in the town (hence the appendage of Saint-Denis to Morey), though in recent years that honor has probably moved to its next door neighbor, Clos de la Roche.  Jouan makes some of the finest Clos-St.-Denis out there, in the style of his spiritual cousin, Jacky Truchot.  This is a wine we work hard all year to secure and are excited to present at the lowest listed price in the country.  As with most top Burgundy, quantities are limited and this is first come,-first served.Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Philippe Jouan Clos Saint Denis Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2016 750ML ($259.95) $219 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 95 points
“The 2016 Clos Saint-Denis Grand Cru wafts from the glass with a glorious bouquet of dark berries, rose petals, candied peel, rich soil and dark chocolate. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, ample and layered, with excellent concentration, satiny tannins and a fleshy core of succulent and pure fruit, concluding with a long, precise finish. It’s a bit sappier than the richer, more gourmand 2015 rendition but the two wines are similar in ultimate quality.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $234.95
Pax/New California Wine

Pax Mahle is a true superstar in the world of California wine.  His eponymous label, Pax, achieved widespread acclaim and then imploded due to a dispute between the principal partners.  Pax went on to form Wind Gap and again his wines drew the spotlight and press—this time in part because he was moving away from the ripe, powerful wines he had made his early name with.

He’s finally restored his namesake brand, Pax, to the market. The latest incarnation offers  wines that might be described as a hybrid of the two styles that brought him to fame.  Bright, refreshing and electric, these nonetheless have more richness and power than Wind Gap.  We just received his rare Trousseau Gris and have a few more bottlings arriving at the beginning of next month—don’t miss out.

In Stock Now:

Pax Mahle Fannuchi-Wood Road Vineyard Trousseau Gris, Sonoma County 2018 750ML ($31.95) $28 special
Winery notes
“Fermented in concrete this playful wine is a welcome addition to the Pax line-up. This 2018 is a bit darker in color than our previous bottlings under the Wind Gap label due to the addition of some carbonic maceration which also adds some wild aromas as well as a deeper pink hue. Some people might even call this a Rosé, or a Vin Gris. Call it what you will, this is one mouthwatering wine. This wine was made without any additions of So2 at any point in the winemaking process.”
Grapelive Note “Trousseau Gris, a natural mutation from the red Trousseau grape most commonly found in the Jura region of France, … was once widely planted in California, but sadly that declined sharply in the 1980s until it was almost completely wiped out by the 1990s. Trousseau Gris can still be found inter-planted in a few old vine Zinfandel vineyards, and Pax’s Trousseau Gris comes from the only standing block in California: the ten acre parcel of the Fannuchi Wood Road Vineyard in the Russian River Valley. These days Trousseau Gris is mostly found in the Jura, Alsace, Lorraine and sometimes in the Champagne wine region. It makes for a bright and slightly phenolic white.” [No reviews yet for the 2018]

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Arriving ETA Early May:Pax Mahle Valdiguie Quail Run Vineyard, Suisun Valley 2018 750ML ($31.95) $28 pre-arrival special
Grapelive 90 points
“The deeply hued Pax 2018 Valdiguie with its intense purple/magenta color and whole cluster pop on the palate is an all-American rival to Cru Beaujolais with layers of tangy black fruits, spice, fresh cut flowers, exotic tropical elements, racy stems (herbal notes) and juicy acidity. [It] is wonderfully poundable! Pax, besides making some of America’s great Syrah wines, also does a fun selection of wondrous weird goodies including this ultra-fun Valdiguie and a light skin contact Trousseau Gris… This 2018 is a great mix of ripe fruity/grapey flavors along with zingy savory tones that give a balanced contrast in a low alcohol, 12.2% red that enjoys a slight chill. It is perfect for smashing at the beach or a picnic or as I had by a warm fire pit as the sun dipped below the horizon. This is what the French call a Glou-Glou wine: nothing to over think, it is a wine to share and laugh with and impossible not to smile contented with. Its licorice, crushed lilac and snappy peppercorns making it a nice choice with an array of easy simple foods. Just released, you’d better hustle to get some, it looks to be an under the radar hit, it certainly will sell out within days.”

Pax Mahle North Coast Syrah 2017 750ML ($41.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Winery Note
“Here is a wine that comes along only every so often. Driven by Mother Nature rather than market forces, this 100% Syrah is a blend of all of our favorite vineyards. Just because they are our favorites doesn’t mean that they don’t disappoint in some years. 2017 was one of those years that made it very difficult for us to carry out our desire to bottle these vineyards on their own as vineyard designated wines. So for 2017 you get all the great terroirs blended together to make one very compelling and over delivering bottle of Syrah.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Pax Mahle Castelli-Knight Ranch Syrah, Russian River Valley 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Winery Note
“Our 15th Vintage working with this exceptional site and the exceptional people that own the vineyard and farm the land. The bright orange Haire Clay soils that cling to the slopes of this site are a godsend in warm dry vintages like 2015.  Black pepper and intense black currants hold down the deep and brooding aromas. Brown spices, pink peppercorn, blackberries and black cherries show up with air. This Syrah is dense and concentrated but lifted by natural acidity and firm aromas and flavors from the stems. Not quite as fleshy as the 2012 (in a good way), but very enjoyable and approachable on release and guaranteed to improve in your cellar like every other Castelli-Knight Ranch before it.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Pax Mahle Griffin’s Lair Syrah, Sonoma Coast 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Winery Note
“Our 14th vintage working with this incredible site that introduced us to the Petaluma Wind Gap. Also, the first wine we have released from this site since Jim Griffin has passed and Joan Griffin has sold the property. Two people that we and all other Syrah lovers owe a tremendous debt of gratitude.  Black fruit, iodine, tar and a floral display of violets and white flowers frame this exotic Syrah. The palate weight is huge but lifted by the cool breezes that keep the acidity naturally high in this coastal vineyard. Iodine and salt air components ground the wine in coastal California, but the leather, tar and violets hint at a different landscape across the Atlantic. A wine that drinks very young and probably will for another 5+ years, drink one this spring with some lamb and squirrel the rest away for another occasion down the road.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The Best Kept Secret in the Rhone?Darnaud Delivers

Last year, Emanuel Darnaud’s wines were one of the best surprises. This small producer made spectacular Crozes-Hermitage wines, which were some of the best deals in red while they were in stock.  From top to bottom, the Darnaud wines over performed, with density, power and drinkability.  They are Syrah with soul and immediate appeal.

A passionate advocate for terroir-specific wines, Emmanuel Darnaud has been crafting robust reds from individual parcels in the northern Rhone since 2001. His six parcels are spread over 15 hectares, where the grapes are hand harvested. Each is vinified separately with differing oak aging and maturation practices depending upon the wine. No matter which bottling, though, he manages to bring the best of the site to the wine.

The 2016 versions are a worthy follow up to their breakthrough 2015’s.  From the low to the (relatively) high end, these are wines that over deliver at each price point… especially when we offer them all to you at the lowest listed prices in the country! Crozes often offers a good deal of value, but, as we found out last year, Darnaud is something unique.

In Stock Now:

Emmanuel Darnaud Crozes-Hermitage Au Fil du Temps, Rhone 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Emmanuel Darnaud Crozes-Hermitage Au Fil du Temps, Rhone 2016 1.5L ($99.95) $89 special, 5 magnums in stock now
Wine Spectator 92 points
“A soft, fleshy, generous style, with dark tea, mulled blackberry and plum fruit and warmed anise notes. Offers a velvety feel through the finish. Will have lots of fans. Drink now through 2021. 257 cases made.”
Winery note “Nose: Delicate and subtle. Aromas of blackberry and licorice stick. An impression of wet stones.  Mouth: The entry shows a great freshness. The tannins are velvety and offer a voluminous and racy mid-palate. This wine offers great harmony and will need a few years to reveal its full potential.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $44
This is the only listing for a magnum in the USA today!
Emmanuel Darnaud Crozes-Hermitage Mise en Bouche, Rhone 2016 750ML ($24.95) $19 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Grapelive 92 points
“One of the Northern Rhone’s best kept secrets and producer of some of finest values in the region, Domaine Emmanuel Darnaud crafts some excellent Syrah(s) from his tiny set of parcels in the Crozes-Hermitage area. He started his domaine in 2001 with just postage stamp (sized block) of vines but worked his way up to a more serious set of vineyards. [They are] all on the southern side of Crozes-Hermitage set on the zone’s glacial alluviums of mostly smooth pebbles. His painstaking work in the vineyard yields amazing results. How he can sell this beautiful and authentic wine at under $20 is one of the great and most pleasurable mysteries in the world of Syrah! The 2016 is utterly delicious with an earthy intensity that starts with porcini/truffle and gamey Crozes purity before opening to beautiful violets and blueberry notes. Darnaud’s Crozes Mise en Bouche is a fine example of time and place, yummy from start to finish adding bright peppery spice, a touch of anise, dried herbs and damson plum as well as mineral notes and a touch of kirsch. Lighter in frame than some, there’s no whimpiness, but rustic layers of classic Northern Rhone Syrah at its best. Fermented in concrete vats and rested in small barrels, this 100% Syrah, 100% de-stemmed cuvee [is one that] you’d never guess it had one third new oak such is the refinement and quality of fruit found here. This is a vintage to buy as much as you can. It drinks lovely now, and should easily go for a decade too! Search this one out; it’s a winner, and a no brainer for the price!”
Jeb Dunnuck 90-92 points “The 2016 Crozes-Hermitage Mise En Bouche comes from the southern parts of the appellation and is aging in a mix of tank, used barrels and foudre. It offers terrific red and black fruits, spice, tapenade and peppery herb aromatics, medium to full-bodied richness, moderate tannin and a great finish. It’s a hidden little gem in the vintage.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Emmanuel Darnaud Crozes-Hermitage Les Trois Chenes, Rhone 2016 750ML ($31.95) $24 special, 19 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92 points
“(made from destemmed fruit and raised in one-third new oak barriques and demi-muids) Deep bright-rimmed ruby. Smoke-accented black and blue fruits, mocha and a hint of olive paste on the perfumed nose. Silky, sweet and open-knit, offering energetic blackberry, cola and vanilla flavors that are energized by a vein of juicy acidity. Shows the energy of the vintage and finishes long and silky, with even tannins building slowly and adding shape and subtle grip.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $27
Emmanuel Darnaud Saint Joseph La Dardouille, Rhone 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Emmanuel Darnaud Saint Joseph La Dardouille, Rhone 2016 1.5L ($99.95) $89 special, 2 magnums in stock now
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 93 points
“(no stems; raised in a combination of one- to three-year-old barriques and demi-muids) Brilliant violet. Potent, mineral-accented black and blue fruit, spicecake and floral pastille aromas show outstanding clarity and pick up a smoky mineral nuance with air. Juicy and focused on the palate, offering vibrant bitter cherry, blueberry and star anise flavors that deepen and spread out steadily on the back half. Finishes floral, sweet and impressively long, displaying repeating spiciness and well-knit tannins.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
This is the only listing for a magnum in the USA today!

Thank you for reading!